Sunday, January 27, 2008


Almost a Fire Sale...

Changes All Around

Bracket Number Three pretty much gave me a headache this afternoon. This week, we have some new one seeds, some shuffling in lines two through four, a certifiable mess in the at-large pool, and very little change at the bottom of the s-curve. Taking it from the top, Memphis and Kansas are exactly where you'd expect the last two unbeatens in the country to be, as the first and second one seeds. However, UNC and UCLA have slipped down to the 2 line. Duke moves up to the top line in the East region since they're unbeaten in the ACC and looking impressive. Tennessee is the new one seed in the West, despite the loss to Kentucky at midweek. It's very hard to deny the top RPI team a one seed, especially considering their schedule. UNC is the number 2 seed out West now, while the Bruins have the second spot in the East. Why is this not reversed? Well, the top two teams from a conference should never be in the same region, so these two teams go out of their natural regions for this projection. Georgetown remains on the 2 line, but Indiana (again, despite a loss to UConn) replaces Michigan State, who slips down to the 3 line. Xavier, Wisconsin, and Washington State remain as 3 seeds this week. Pittsburgh, Texas, and Butler remain on the 4 line, while Louisville, new to the bracket last week, moves up to join them. Dayton, who crushed Pitt earlier in the season, drops down to the 5 line after 3 straight Atlantic 10 losses. I was tempted to drop the Panthers after their loss to Rutgers, but outside of Louisville, no one on line 5 or 6 is screaming "Protected Seed" at the moment. Arizona and Stanford need another Pac-10 win or 2. Baylor could get there with another Big 12 road win. I'm not convinced that St. Mary's and Drake are quite as good as their computer numbers suggest. Marquette and Vandy have road issues.

Bracket Bingo

Seriously, the committee may have to raffle off the last four or five at-large spots at the end of the season. Teams certainly don't seem to want to earn them on the court right now. After another week of general inconsistency, the Big East is the big winner in this projection. 10 Big East clubs are in this week. Do I think this will last? No. If Maryland had beaten Duke, this evening, the Terps would've been in at the expense of Syracuse. The Orange are in because they beat Providence in a bubble battle today at the Dome, BC lost two ACC games this week, and Maryland is just a hair short of being in. Miami was also considered for this spot, but the Hurricanes form outside of today's home win against Clemson has left much to be desired. UConn and Seton Hall are the two Big East newcomers this week. The Huskies win at Indiana without suspended Jerome Dyson and Doug Wiggins was impressive, and it followed a road win at Cincy and a big home win against Marquette. These are three results that should worry the rest of the league. The Pirates, meanwhile, have reeled off 4 straight conference wins, including ones over Louisville and fellow bubble boys Providence.

Oregon falls out this week, as being swept on consecutive weekends is never a good thing in the Pac-1o. Illinois State also drops out of the bracket. After two conference losses, the holes in the profile are starting to become more evident. Kansas State and Purdue are making moves in their leagues, which put them in this week. Arkansas is also in. The Hogs' SEC opponents haven't really helped them, but their win over Baylor in Dallas looks better and better.

Finally, Cleveland State no longer has the auto-bid from the Horizon after two straight conference losses, so the Vikings are out. However, Mississippi State is unbeaten in the SEC, so the Bulldogs take CSU's place in the bracket.

Bids by Conference
Big East - 10
Big 12 - 6
Pacific 10 - 6
SEC - 6
ACC - 4
Atlantic 10 -4
Big Ten - 4
West Coast - 2

New This Week
Kansas State
Lamar (auto)
Marist (auto)
Mississippi State (auto)
Nevada-Las Vegas (auto)
Seton Hall
Wagner (auto)

Out of the Bracket
Boston College
Cleveland State (auto)
Illinois State
Quinnipiac (auto)
San Diego State (auto)
Siena (auto)
Stephen F. Austin (auto)

Last Four In
Arizona State

Last Four Out
Boston College

Next Four Out
Brigham Young
Illinois State
Saint Joseph's

Also Considered
Florida State
George Mason
NC State
Texas Tech
Virginia Tech
Wake Forest

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