Friday, December 02, 2005

Early Season Brackets

Since this is "The Bracket Board" and all, you might expect to see all kinds of early season brackets popping up on here. If need be, you can go to or and get your fix. Those guys do a nice job. But romancing the bracket is about MUCH more than simply slapping 64 teams into four regionals. There has to be some basis for placing teams into the bracket. Four or five games is not enough, in this (somewhat) humble writer's opinion. Three weeks ago, few teams had played a game! It's never too early for a bracket, but it is too early for a meaningful bracket.

So, until the New Year, here is what will happen at The Bracket Board. I will post lists of bracket-related items. Lists like "Remaining Undefeated Teams," "The Danger Zone" (Preseason/perennial powers who are on the ropes), "Stockpilers" (teams that have nice early season wins that will help come Selection Sunday), "Keep an Eye On..." and other lists like this. I will publish a non-conference season bracket at the end of the month to serve as a reference point for the weekly brackets that will start sometime in January.

For kicks, let's start today with a Danger Zone list. All records are against D-I teams.
1. Kansas (1-3). KU has Saint Joseph's, Cal (both in the Jimmy V Classic), and Kentucky (in Lawrence) left on the non-conference slate. In addition, they have Western Illinois, Pepperdine, Northern Colorado, New Orleans, and Yale left to play at home as well. That's right. Kansas plays ZERO true road games in the non-conference. NONE. They played neutral court games in Maui and will play two more in the Jimmy V Classic. If they head into Big 12 play with a losing record, the Jayhawks could be in major trouble.
2. Miami-FL (4-3). The 'Canes were a sexy pick to make serious noise this season, but already have sustained losses to Temple, Michigan, and Air Force. Those are not horrible losses, but Miami-FL's wins are Morgan State, TX-Arlington, and North Carlolina A&T. In a couple of weeks, the Canes will play NC State, Florida and Louisville. They will need to win a couple of those games to get back on track.
3. UW-Milwaukee (0-2). Last year's NCAA darlings have been utterly routed by Memphis and also lost to Tennessee Tech. It's only two games and they are transitioning under a new coach, so it's too early to panic, but UWM needs to start piling up some wins.
4. Southern Illinois (2-2). The unbelievable event regarding SIU was their loss to D-II Alaska-Anchorage (not reflected in the record displayed here). They also lost to Monmouth and Saint Louis. The perennial MVC power will have to step it up to hang with Northern Iowa and Creighton this season.

Last Night's GOI
--at Denver 78, Northern Arizona 63. The Pioneers (4-1) look like the team to beat in the Sun Belt West. They won the Top of the World Classic, then lost to undefeated Colorado State (5-0) before cruising past the Lumberjacks last night. C Yemi Nicholson went for 20 points and 18 boards. Ho hum.
--at Tennessee-Martin 80, Arkansas State 77 (OT). Oy. The Indians lose again. The Skyhawks roared back from a 30-19 halftime deficity to topple ASU in overtime.
--Nevada 72, at Kansas 70. What a big win for Nevada. They are a better team than Kansas and they went into Lawrence and proved it.

Tonight's GOI
--Missouri at Arkansas. Two coaches who need BIG seasons to cool their respective seats.