Thursday, January 24, 2019

24-JAN Bracket Projections: Kansas rises, Old Dominion drops.

Teams with a Zero
UNC Asheville, the lone program without a win against Division I competition, could not wait to get back on the court this week with a game at Winthrop at 2pm last Monday.  That’s about where the enthusiasm died as the Eagles jumped out to a 13-0 lead, grew it to 23-4 about midway through the first half, and knocked out a 21 point victory. 

The Bulldogs fall to 0-6 in the Big South, and 2-18 overall against all competition including two games against lower level programs.  This Saturday they’ll continue their road trip with a game against High Point, who is 10-9 overall and 3-2 in league play.  This has the makings of a double digit Panther win.


Notable Games
This weekend's top five as I see them (3-2 last week, 68-37 overall):
#5 Ohio State at Nebraska, Sat – Nebraska 73, Ohio State 68
#4 Iowa State at Mississippi, Sat – Mississippi 73, Iowa State 72
#3 Auburn at Mississippi State, Sat – Mississippi State 74, Auburn 73
#2 Kansas at Kentucky, Sat – Kentucky 76, Kansas 71
#1 Michigan State at Purdue, Sun – Michigan State 74, Purdue 73


Bracket
My updated bracket can be found below.  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.  One major addition with this update is that I’ve reduced the impact related to margin of victory which has led to numerous at large changes among the final teams getting in.

Two automatic bids are being swapped out in this update. 
SWAC- Texas Southern (Grambling State)
Big South- Liberty (Lipscomb)

Eight at-large bids being updated in this bracket.  From the Big Twelve, Baylor and Kansas State are now in.  Alabama, Arizona State, Florida State and Minnesota are in, as well as two additional programs from the Big East.  Seton Hall is in, and perhaps by proxy DePaul is in.  I think a logical argument can be made for the first seven, but I’m mixed on DePaul, who is 3-4 against the Big East with wins against Seton Hall (twice) and St. John’s.  My projections have them at 9-9 in conference.  It might be a short stay for the Blue Demons as they are at Providence on Sunday, then hosting 6-0 (in conference play) Villanova next week.

Pittsburgh, Florida, Ohio State, Fresno State, Utah State, Toledo, San Francisco and Saint Mary’s are now listed outside of the field.  Ohio State is my first team out.

My latest bracket has two bids going to a first timer, with Abilene Christian and Sacred Heart each earning a spot.  Wichita State (7), Xavier (5), Providence (5), West Virginia (4), 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


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