Thursday, January 10, 2019

10-JAN Bracket Projections: LSU, Murray State rise.

Teams with a Zero
Another unbeaten goes down as Houston loses on a charge in Philadelphia, and Temple knocks off the Cougars 73-69.  The Cougs basically played from behind throughout, and with mere tenths of a second left momentarily looked to have earned an and-one opportunity that would have given them the lead.  That was ultimately clarified to an offensive foul in what looked to be an acceptable call on replay, but nonetheless a tough way to get your first loss. 

That leaves us with only Virginia and Michigan left as unbeaten teams.  The Cavaliers boatraced Boston College on Wednesday night 83-56 to move to 14-0, and knock off half of the last acronym who gave them their last loss.  The Hoos will be at Clemson on Saturday and probably around a two possession favorite.  Michigan picked up another double digit win on Thursday night at Illinois.  The Wolverines have now won 30 of their last 31 games, with the lone loss behind the national championship game.  Michigan will get Northwestern at home Sunday.

Congratulations to the North Alabama Lions for their first division I win as a member of D1.  The Lions had Florida Gulf Coast at home on Tuesday, and turned in their best defensive effort of the year.  Freshman Cantavio Dutreil picked a fine time for his first double double, in fact it was the first time hitting double figures in either points or rebounds, and added four blocks and a steal to round out the stat sheet in the 61-56 win. 

Not to be overshadowed there was also joy to be had in Durham, New Hampshire as the Wildcats beat UMass Lowell on Wednesday.  New Hampshire hit a season high 56% of their two point attempts, and clamped down for their best defensive effort as well, allowing a 43% effective field goal percentage.  Still, it nearly wasn’t enough as UMass Lowell led 64-60 with a minute a change left until New Hampshire finished on an 8-0 run to earn the 68-64 win.

As for the five remaining winless teams, only Maryland Eastern Shore will be home as they host North Carolina Central.  South Carolina State travels to Morgan State, Southern is at Grambling State, UNC Asheville will go to Hampton, and Alcorn State is at Jackson State.  All five games are on Saturday.

Notable Games
This weekend's top five as I see them (3-2 last week, 59-26 overall):
#5 Louisville at North Carolina, Sat – North Carolina 81, Louisville 74
#4 Nevada at Fresno State, Sat – Fresno State 74, Nevada 72
#3 Mississippi at Mississippi State, Sat – Mississippi State 75, Mississippi 72
#2 Gonzaga at San Francisco, Sat – Gonzaga 76, San Francisco 75
#1 Indiana at Maryland, Fri – Maryland 73, Indiana 70

My updated bracket can be found below.  The pre-season weighting is now eliminated, and 100% weighted with this season’s results.  This bracket (as well as my previous brackets) are a projection of where I think the teams will be as of Selection Sunday.  In other words, it includes their future schedule, for better or for worse. 

Two automatic bids are being swapped out in this update. 
Ivy- Yale (Brown)
Pac Twelve- Colorado (Oregon)

As for the at large teams, just one change this update.  Toledo is out, and Iowa is in. 
My latest bracket has one bid going to a first timer, with Abilene Christian hanging on to the Southland spot.  Wichita State (7), Arizona (6), Xavier (5), Providence (5), West Virginia (4), Butler (4), Seton Hall (3), Miami FL (3) and Iona (3) would see multiple year streaks of tournament appearances snapped if this bracket would hold.  Rider, and Texas State would be ending droughts of at least 20 years with an automatic bid.  San Francisco I have securing an at large bid, would be earning a bid for the first time since 1998.

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