Sunday, January 29, 2006


Bracket Projection for Sunday, 29 January

We're clearly in flux here at the end of January (as Raycom/JP's coverage of the end of NC State-Clemson blares in my ears). Remember last week, when I said, "We've hit the point of the season again where teams are playing as if they don't want to make the Big Dance." Their collective alarm clocks must have rung loudly on Monday morning. There was a lot of competitive basketball this week. Kentucky is back in, so is Oklahoma. Kansas and Louisville are not; however, I must say that the Jayhawks are very close at this point. It was a good week for Big East bubble boys Seton Hall and Georgetown. It was also good for St. John's and Rutgers, but not good enough for them to crack my field of 65. Louisville is barely in the Big East tournament right now, so they have a lot to do to get in. The ACC is down to five teams this week, Clemson is back out, along with Miami and Wake Forest.

Here's the link to the bracket. Here's last week's for reference (still getting the hang of this Blogger setup, so I lost last week's post trying to write this one).

Short Summary
Duke is still number one overall. UConn is now the second number one seed, Memphis is three, and Illinois moves up to the top tier. Florida drops to a two, joined by newcomer Texas (a one in most other brackets, but I dropped them because of the loss to OU last night), and two holdovers, Pitt and Villanova. West Virginia moves up to a three seed, while Tennessee moves to a four, swapping places again with NC State. The Wolfpack were comprehensively outplayed by Seton Hall at home mid-week.

Last Four In
Wichita State
Seton Hall

First Four Out
Iowa State

Next Four Out
Miami (Florida)
St. John's
Wake Forest

Other Teams Who Fell Out This Week
Alabama (They still have a good chance.)
Old Dominion (Colonial is now pretty much a one-bid league.)

League Breakdown

9 Big East
7 Big Ten
4 Missouri Valley
4 Pac-10
3 Big 12
3 Atlantic 10
2 Conference USA
2 Mountain West

Everyone else is on their own...which brings me to this week's Banana Peel list.

America East
Albany is first after winning at Binghamton yesterday. The Bearcats are a half-game back still. Boston University is a gama and a half out.

Atlantic Sun
Lipscomb now leads the Burrowing Owls of Florida Atlantic by half a game. (Now that there are two sets of Owls in the A-Sun (Kennessaw State are the others), we need to figure out a way to distinguish between them. The two sides are meeting right now (Sunday afternoon) at Lipscomb.

Big Sky
Northern Arizona is currently unbeaten, but preseason favorite Montana is a game back. The two meet the day after V-Day in Missoula.

Big South
Winthrop and Birmingham-Southern are tied. The Eagles get the auto bid this week based on their RPI.

Big West
Surprising UC-Irvine still leads Pacific and all other challengers by at least two games.

George Mason and UNC-Wilmington are tied for the lead (Patriots overall record and RPI get them in this week). They play Saturday at the Patriot Center. VCU and Old Dominion are a game back, with Hofstra a game and a half behind.

Milwaukee is running away and hiding. Butler is three games back.

Ivy Group
The Ancient Eight is still a logjam thanks to the slow moving Ivy League schedule. Penn is now the lone unbeaten, but Harvard and Yale are just a game back in the loss column.

Metro Atlantic
Iona now leads Manhattan by a game.

Akron has the automatic bid this week, but is tied with Kent State atop the East. The Zips have a better overall record. Ohio is a game back. West Division leader Northern Illinois would be last in the East.

Unbeaten Delaware State leads Coppin State by two games.

Central Connecticut State has jumped to the front of Fairleigh Dickinson, Robert Morris, and Monmouth, who are all a game back.

Ohio Valley

Samford and Murray State are tied atop the league. The Bulldogs get the automatic bid this week thanks to a higher RPI. The two teams meet on the Racers home floor Monday night.

Bucknell leads, but Lehigh is a game back.

Davidson and Furman trail Elon by a half-game.

Northwestern State is back on top this week, with Lamar and Sam Houston State a game back.

Sun Belt
Western Kentucky is now back on top of the league. South Alabama is a game and a half back.

West Coast
Gonzaga is a game and a half ahead of San Francisco.

Western Athletic
Louisiana Tech leads newcomer Utah State by a game and a half. Aggies host fourth-place Hawai'i (road Warriors they are not) Monday night. LA Tech hosts third-place bubble team Nevada Thursday.

Bubble Teams
Rhode Island
Notre Dame
Kansas State
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech
Colorado State
Utah State

Right now, I'm watching the end of NC State-Clemson. Wolfpack have a 6-point lead in double OT. I'm waiting on the bubble battle between FSU and Miami, then Syracuse hosts Seton Hall. Tonight, I'll be paying attention to Washington at Stanford in particular.

As always, thoughts and feedback are welcome.

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