Thursday, January 3, 2019

3-JAN Bracket Projections: Gonzaga, St. John’s rise, Wisconsin drops.


Teams with a Zero
Virginia, Michigan, Nevada, and Houston all easily dispatched opponents this week to remain perfect.  Michigan’s win over Penn State by thirteen was the closest of all the games.  Each of the four will be in action this weekend.  Nevada will be the only one on the road, with a game at the Pit against New Mexico.  Michigan (Indiana), Virginia (Florida State) and Houston (Memphis) all have conference games at home.  I would posit that Michigan is most at risk, but all four should be favored in their matchups. 

We are down to nine winless teams after King Rice took his Monmouth Hawks into Penn and came out with a 76-74 OT win on Monday.  That was the last MAAC team searching for its first division one win of the 2018-19 season, which leaves the MEAC (3), SWAC (3), Atlantic Sun (1), American East (1), and Big South (1) the final conferences housing such teams.  We’ll see the list continue to dwindle, especially in the MEAC and SWAC when schools meet up with other teams in the same predicament. 

All nine teams are in action this weekend, several of which have winnable games.  Coppin State will host Savannah State, South Carolina State will welcome in North Carolina A&T, Southern is home against Prairie View A&M, and Alabama State has Grambling State in Montgomery.  All are fairly close to coin flip games.  New Hampshire is at Binghamton, and while maybe not as even as the games above, this is still a reasonable opportunity for the Wildcats.  Alcorn State gets Texas Southern at home, and kenpom has this as a double digit game, but I think it’s worth keeping an eye on.  Maryland Eastern Shore is at Morgan State, North Alabama is at North Florida, and UNC Asheville will host Winthrop in some of the anticipated lopsided matchups. 


Notable Games
This week's top five as I see them (4-1 last week, 53-22 overall):
#5 Florida State at Virginia, Sat – Virginia 73, Florida State 64
#4 North Carolina at Pittsburgh, Sat – Pittsburgh 77, North Carolina 75
#3 Kansas at Iowa State, Sat – Iowa State 77, Kansas 71
#2 Indiana at Michigan, Sun – Michigan 70, Indiana 66
#1 Michigan State at Ohio State, Sat – Ohio State 74, Michigan State 73


Bracket
My updated bracket can be found below.  The pre-season weighting is now eliminated, and 100% weighting is 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. 

Four automatic bids are being swapped out in this update. 
Ivy- Yale (Brown)
Pac Twelve- Oregon (Colorado)
Patriot- American (Lehigh)
Northeast- Wagner (LIU Brooklyn)

As for the at large teams, swapping out two after this week’s games.  Vanderbilt and Texas are in, Northwestern and Iowa are out. 

My latest bracket has three bids going to first timers, with Grambling State, Gardner Webb and Abilene Christian taking a spot.  Wichita State (7), Villanova (6), 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.  Grambling State, Rider, and Texas State would be ending droughts of at least 20 years with an automatic bid.  Toledo and San Francisco I have securing an at large bid, would be snapping a drought of 38 and 20 years, respectively.  



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