Sunday, February 26, 2006


Two weeks 'til Selection Sunday

Championship week is edging closer and closer. Lots of shuffling in this week's bracket. Plus, we also have some regular season winners in the one-bid leagues (who are at least guaranteed an NIT spot).

Short Summary

Syracuse is back in as a 9 seed (but a true 10 seed, I had to flip them with Michigan to avoid early conference matchups). Arizona and Kentucky are barely hanging in there. They're only seeded as high as they are because of the collapse of the Missouri Valley's challengers. The Valley still has five teams in this week, but that number is looking very dicey. Northern Iowa, Creighton, and Southern Illinois are all struggling. The Salukis would've been out had they not beaten the Panthers yesterday. Watch out for Bradley.

On the top lines, Memphis is back up to a #1, Texas drops to a 2, Pittsburgh to a 3. UNC jumps up to the three line, since they're really a force to be reckoned with at this point of the season. Ohio State is now a 2, Illinois moves up to a 3, and Iowa falls to a 4 (thanks to losses to Minnesota and Illinois). Michigan State is down to a 6 (and I can't see how anyone rates them any higher, especially if they lose to Indiana). None of the four seeds are terribly strong at the moment, Florida needs to beat Alabama badly. UCLA probably needs to win the Pac 10. Iowa needs to be more consistent. GW needs to hope they don't get passed by a power conference team.

UTEP moves into the bracket as the third team in from Conference USA. Houston was making a strong case too, until they lost to the Miners. The chances of four from C-USA gets better and better as teams like the Valley challengers and Utah State struggle. Seton Hall falls out after losing to St. John's (bad) and DePaul (worse).

Last Four In
Southern Illinois
Utah State

First Four Out
Texas A&M

Next Four Out
Florida State
Seton Hall

Falling Out
Seton Hall

League Breakdown

8 Big East
6 Big Ten
5 Missouri Valley
4 Pac-10
3 Big XII
2 Conference USA
2 Colonial
2 Mountain West
2 Western Athletic

Banana Peel List
The Banana Peel List is getting shorter and shorter as teams clinch regular season titles and move into conference tournaments (the exercise that make this whole list pretty much irrelevant). Here are the teams that have clinched their regular-season conference titles:
Atlantic 10 - George Washington
Big Sky - Northern Arizona
Big South - Winthrop
Colonial - George Mason and UNCW tied
Horizon - Milwaukee
Mid-American - Kent State
Mid-Continent - Oral Roberts
Mid-Eastern - Delaware State
Ohio Valley - Murray State
Patriot - Bucknell
Southland - Northwestern State
Southern - Georgia Southern and Elon tied
Sun Belt - Western Kentucky
West Coast - Gonzaga.

As for the rest...
America East
Albany has a game lead on Binghamton. Great Danes travel to UMBC to wrap up the regular season, while the Bearcats go to Vermont.

Atlantic Sun
Lipscomb and Belmont are tied for the league lead right now. FAU is a half-game back, but their conference season is over. Belmont hosts ETSU today. Lipscomb hosts Kennesaw State.

Big West
Pacific continues to lead Cal-Irvine by a half game. The Tigers still have a game in hand on the Anteaters.

Ivy Group
Penn leads Princeton by two games with three to play. Quakers are very close to becoming the first team officially in.

Metro Atlantic
Iona and Manhattan are tied atop the league. The regular season will be decided on the Jaspers' home floor tonight.

Fairleigh Dickinson has a only a one game lead on Central Connecticut State and Monmouth. The Knights lost at Monmouth, and now must play them again in Teaneck on Monday night.

Southern leads Grambling by two games with two left, so they've clinched at least a tie for the title. The two won't meet again unless it's in the SWAC tournament.

Enjoy the week! I hope to be able to post a new projection at midweek (based on work considerations).

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