Friday, January 30, 2009

Weekend Forecast 1/30-2/1

Last Night's GOI
--at Gonzaga 69, St. Mary's 62. Gaels still have no top 50 RPI wins and only two top 100 wins.
--at Minnesota 59, Illinois 36. Vicious Gopher defense ended a 20-game skid to Illini in a BIG way.
--at Southern Cal 70, Stanford 69. Trojans take a step toward the bracket while Cardinal fall to 3-5 in Pac-10.
--at UCLA 81, California 66. Bruins pull into a tie with Washington (who was clipped at Arizona) for first in the Pac-10.
--at Utah State 72, Nevada 61. Aggies keep clicking along at 19-1.
--Clemson 86, at Virginia Tech 82. This leaves Duke and Wake as the only 1-loss ACC teams.

--Washington State at Arizona. Two teams coming off big wins last night. Someone will put together a couple of nice ones.
--Washington at Arizona State. Two teams coming off losses last night. One will be the proud owner of a 2-game skid.
--Virginia Tech at Boston College. BC needs it more.
--Wright State at Cleveland State. Raiders have won 13 of 15, but the Vikings have been pretty tough at home (8-2).
--Providence at UConn. It's a long shot, but a Friar win would lift them to "contender" status.
--VCU at Hofstra. The Pride are riding a 4-game streak including a win over CAA leader Northeastern--a team that just dealt VCU a loss.
--South Carolina at Kentucky. We'll see what the Gamecocks are made of in the next 5 games (4 on the road). UK is stinging from a loss at Ole Miss on Tuesday.
--West Virginia at Louisville. Both playing well as of late...Cards are really coming on.
--Georgetown at Marquette. Hoyas badly need a win, but this is a tall order.
--Austin Peay at Morehead State. Probably the two best teams in the OVC.
--Baylor at Missouri. Two likely NCAA teams jostling for Big XII position.
--Wisconsin at Northwestern. Both need it, but the Badgers are an NCAA mainstay staring a 6-game losing streak in the face if they can't scratch one out here.
--Notre Dame at Pitt. Could be 5 losses in a row for ND if they don't pull the upset here.
--Michigan at Purdue. Wolverines have lost 4/5 and need a win.
--California at Southern California. Bears are cooling, Trojans are warming up.
--Florida at Tennessee. Neither of these teams have comfy profiles.
--Oklahoma State at Texas A&M. Couple of Big XII Bubble Boys.
--Saint Joseph's at Dayton. Hawks have won 7 straight while Flyers are 19-2 overall.
--Penn State at Michigan State. Long shot, but this would likely vault the Lions into this week's bracket.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

BracketBusters 5

Buster update is up.

Marquee match ups would likely be something resembling:

Butler at St. Mary's
Utah State at Davidson
Miami-OH at Siena
Northeastern at Creighton

Last Night's GOI
--at Cincinnati 65, Georgetown 57. Hoyas are heading to Bubbletown on the express train.
--North Carolina 80, at Florida State 77. No win, but the 'Noles look like a team that isn't going away.
--American 68, at Navy 67. Eagles get a big conference road pelt.
--Kansas 68, at Nebraska 62. Jayhawks had to work, but the maturation process is coming along.
--at Northern Iowa 59, Illinois State 55. Panthers are now TWO games clear of the Valley field.
--at Ohio State 72, Michigan 54. Wolverines also drifting a bit.
--at Providence 100, Syracuse 94. Friars landed their big fish. Now it's time to consolidate and maintain. This team is VERY much alive.
--at Rhode Island 67, Temple 59. Probably not going to happen for the Owls.
--LSU 79, at Tennessee 73. Tigers are making their case, but that OOC schedule is going to be a millstone.
--at Villanova 67, Pitt 57. Nova also collects their signature win.
--at Wake Forest 70, Duke 68. Wake defends the home court and strengthens its claim for a 1-seed.

Tonight's GOI
--St. Mary's at Gonzaga. Gaels have rolled up a ton of wins, but no huge ones. This would count.
--Illinois at Minnesota. Tough one for the Illini, but they need it stay within one game of Sparty.
--Stanford at Southern Cal. These two look like classic Bubble boys at this stage.
--California at UCLA. Both in the mix for Pac-10 supremacy and currently one game back of Washington.
--Nevada at Utah State. Pack are coming around, but USU is 18-1 and undefeated at home for a reason.
--Clemson at Virginia Tech. Note that VT is ahead of Clemson in the ACC standings right now.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lockbox 1/28

Lockbox has been updated.
The Bubble by the Numbers
--31 Automatic Bids. That number will not change this season.
--34 At-Large Bids. That also is a static number.
--19 teams are listed in black. They could miss, of course, but at this stage it would be very surprising if they did.
--I have 15 other teams listed in blue this week, which means if they win the games they "should" win (based on RPI, Pomeroy ratings, performance to this point), they should be fine. I am not predicting anything and I realize that this is a nebulous designation, but I am looking at what they have done to this point. Of these 34 black and blue teams, 10 are conference leaders. That means 24 at-large slots look fairly secure at this stage.
--Hence, the Bubble stands at 10 slots right now. That's down from 12 last week. This will shrink over the coming weeks, and on Selection Sunday it is usually no more than four or five. Teams in green are Bubble-IN and those in red are Bubble-OUT.

One change from Monday's bracket: South Carolina IN and Wisconsin OUT.

BracketBusters update coming tomorrow.

Last Night's GOI
--Texas 78, at Baylor 72. Horns stay one game back of the Sooners and win their 23rd straight over the Bears.
--Boston College 76, at Maryland 67. Terrapins are in bad shape.
--at Utah 94, BYU 88 (OT). Utes knock Cougars from the MWC leaders and damage their Bubble status as well.
--Northeastern 68, at VCU 63. Huskies take sole possession of first place in the CAA with a gigantic road triumph.
--at Wisconsin 64, Purdue 63. Badgers would be OUT as of today.

Tonight's GOI
--Georgetown at Cincinnati. Hoyas really need to take care of this one lest they fall onto the Bubble.
--North Carolina at Florida State. Big for both for different reasons.
--American at Navy. Two of the top 3 in the Patriot.
--Kansas at Nebraska. These are the kinds of games that will determine if KU is going to compete for a top 5 seed or not.
--Illinois State at Northern Iowa. Probably the two best Valley clubs.
--Michigan at Ohio State. Wolverines need it more and the Buckeyes have already won in Ann Arbor.
--Syracuse at Providence. Friars have a HUGE opportunity to make a serious move toward the bracket here.
--Temple at Rhode Island. Just keeping an eye on the Owls.
--LSU at Tennessee. Tigers need it more. Their baby-soft schedule is not going to get them IN unless they win the West and/or beat teams like Tennessee, Kentucky, and Florida.
--Pitt at Villanova. Nova is not a mortal lock by any stretch, but this would go a long way to erasing that "no big wins" status. Pitt is playing to win the Big East and secure a one seed so every game is big in that regard.
--Duke at Wake Forest. This will test the Dukies' mettle and they can prove that they are deserving of the title "best team in the country" at this stage.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Watch List

The Cats are just 2-5 in the Big Televen, but they have 5/6 conference games at home in the coming weeks are they are toting some big pelts already (Minnesota, Michigan State, Florida State). If they can defend the home court, they are going to be in the at-large conversation.

Just keep them on the back burner. That monster SOS is going to pay off if they keep winning in the A10.

Saint Joseph's
The at-large profile is not there, but they have won 6 straight and are blemish-free in the A10.

Wright State
TBB has been all over the Raiders for weeks, but just an update: 12-2 after starting 0-6 and playing some of the best D in the nation. Those two losses were at Wake and at Butler. Who COULD win those games??!?! Mark your calendar for Feb 7. That's when Butler comes to town.

Last Night's GOI

--Oklahoma 89, at Oklahoma State 81. Another solid win for the Sooners. They are looking more and more like a 1-seed.
--Marquette 71, at Notre Dame 64. Irish may need to dig out some road wins. They have three in a road coming up.

Tonight's GOI
--Texas at Baylor. Two teams with designs on challenging Oklahoma. If they want to do that, they need to win this game.
--Boston College at Maryland. Feel the desperation?
--BYU at Utah. Two of the 39 contenders for the Mt West crown. Seriously, SIX teams are tied atop the league with two losses!
--Purdue at Wisconsin. Badgers find themselves approaching desperation mode due to a 4-game losing streak.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bracket Update 1/26

New bracket is up.

I took Missouri, Oklahoma State, UNLV, and Wisconsin over teams like South Carolina, Penn State, Southern Cal, Northwestern, Stanford, LSU, Temple, Miami-OH, Boston College, and Texas A&M among a few others.

Tonight's GOI
--Oklahoma at Oklahoma State. Can the Red River run red with blood or is it redundant to say so?
--Marquette at Notre Dame. Irish need to bounce back quickly after having their home streak snapped by UConn. Eagles are STILL blemish-free in conference play.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Weekend Forecast 1/23-25

Last Night's GOI
--at Butler 69, UW-Green Bay 59. Dogs continue to handle all comers.
--West Virginia 75, at Georgetown 58. They Hoyas might get beat up a bit in league play...and be one of the most fearsome 8/9 seeds to ever bedevil the days of man.
--Purdue 70, at Minnesota 62. The kind of road game league champs win.
--St. Mary's 65, at San Diego 42. It appears it is once a gain a two-horse race in the WCC.
--at Washington 78, Southern Cal 73. Huskies are certainly tracking in the right direction.
--Providence 98, at Seton Hall 93 (OT). Friars stay on the fringe of Bubbledom.

Weekend Forecast
--San Diego State at BYU. Couple of Mt West Bubble Boys.
--Wisconsin at Illinois. Badgers try to avoid slipping below .500 in league play. That's a tall order here.
--Kansas at Iowa State. Young Jayhawks must learn to fly out of their comfy nest.
--Xavier at LSU. Tigers have been hammering schools from Mississippi of late, but lack ANY wins of real significance. This would change that.
--Buffalo at Miami-OH. Probably the two best teams in the MAC.
--Northwestern at Michigan. Both need it, but a loss would be Michigan's fourth straight. Can't really afford to lose this one at home.
--Oklahoma State at Nebraska. A test for Bubble Cowboys.
--UConn at Notre Dame. Irish have the nation's longest home win streak on the line.
--Baylor at Oklahoma. Bears fall two games back of Sooners with a loss.
--Iowa at Penn State. Two fringe teams looking to get into the bracket.
--Niagara at Siena. If any MAAC team is going to challenge the Saints, it's the Purple Eagles.
--Mississippi at South Carolina. Gamecocks need to pile up a bunch of SEC wins to have a shot.
--Memphis at Tennessee. One of the bigger non-conference tilts left this season.
--Texas A&M at Texas. At this stage, Aggies are going to need to beat some Big 12 heavies.
--Utah at UNLV. Two more Mt West Bubble Boys.
--UCLA at Washington. For the outright Pac-10 lead. Also, Huskies are 12-1 in their last 13.
--Virgnia Tech at Miami-FL. Hokies have new life after winning at Wake. They are 8-1 in last nine, too.
--Michigan State at Ohio State. Sparty looks to maintain its 1-game lead while tOSU tries to avoid falling below .500 in league play.
--Louisville at Syracuse. Orange would be three back of leaders with a loss.
--Pittsburgh at West Virginia. Panthers certainly do not want to fall two back of leaders in the loss column.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Buster 4

Buster update is up. Marquee match ups would look something like:

Butler at Davidson
Utah State at St. Mary's
Miami-OH at Siena
George Mason at Creighton

Tonight's GOI
--UW-Green Bay at Butler. GB has won 9 of 10.
--West Virginia at Georgetown. Some of these Big East have to lose some games.
--Purdue at Minnesota. Big Televen race is wide open so every game seems to have championship implications.
--St. Mary's at San Diego. Two of three WCC that are still unbeaten in conference play.
--Southern Cal at Washington. Trojans need it more.
--Providence at Seton Hall. Friars have little margin for error. They are going to have to win this type of road game to stay in the hunt.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lockbox 1/21

The Lockbox has been updated.

The Bubble by the Numbers
--31 Automatic Bids. That number will not change this season.
--34 At-Large Bids. That also is a static number.
--18 teams are listed in black. They could miss, of course, but at this stage it would be very surprising if they did.
--I have 14 other teams listed in blue this week, which means if they win the games they "should" win (based on RPI, Pomeroy ratings, performance to this point), they should be fine. I am not predicting anything and I realize that this is a nebulous designation, but I am looking at what they have done to this point. Of these 32 black and blue teams, 10 are conference leaders. That means 22 at-large slots look fairly secure at this stage.
--Hence, the Bubble stands at 12 slots right now. That's down from 16 last week. This will shrink over the coming weeks, and on Selection Sunday it is usually no more than four or five. Teams in green are Bubble-IN and those in red are Bubble-OUT.

BracketBusters update coming tomorrow or Friday.

Last Night's GOI
--Creighton 79, at Evansville 57. The Valley is a carnival and these two are especially tough to figure.
--at Illinois 67, Ohio State 49. Illini are going to be a factor in the Big 10 title race.
--at Penn State 73, Michigan 58. Lions strengthen their NCAA hand.
--Tennessee 76, at Vanderbilt 63. Vols brought back the defense.

Tonight's GOI
--Northwestern at Michigan State. Cats looking for that signature win.
--George Mason at Northeastern. CAA leader at a title challenger. Good one.
--Villanova at UConn. Tough row to hoe for Cats, but also an opportunity to land a big fish.
--Florida at South Carolina. If the Gamecocks are going to stay in the picture, they are going to have to win against the better SEC teams.
--Florida State at Miami-FL. ACC and big-time Bubble implications.
--Mississippi State at LSU. Both are fringe Bubble Boys looking to make hay.
--Bradley at Northern Iowa. Maybe the two best Valley teams. Who knows...
--Wisconsin at Iowa. Badgers are not nearly as secure as in former seasons. They cannot afford to lose games like this one.
--Clemson at North Carolina. Clash of the Titans Game of the Night.
--Missouri and Oklahoma State. The Big 12 version of FSU/Miami-FL.
--Arizona State at Arizona. In-state rivalry alert! And Zona is in desperate need of a good win.
--UNLV at BYU. Massive MtWest tilt.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

GOI 1/20

Lockbox update/analysis coming tomorrow.

Last Night's GOI

--at East Tenn State 87, Belmont 57. A Reagan-over-Mondale-level blowout in this A-Sun co-leader (Belmont no more) match up.
--at Kansas 73, Texas A&M 53. Aggies remain classically Bubbly.
--at Pitt 78, Syracuse 60. Keeping with the theme of blowouts...
--at Providence 72, Cincinnati 63. And we closed with another comfy win by the home team keeping with the theme of the night.

Tonight's GOI
--Creighton at Evansville. Sputtering Valley teams look to right the ship.
--Ohio State at Illinois. Two teams with designs on the Big Televen title and protected NCAA seeds.
--Michigan at Penn State. Lions can get into the convo with some big conference wins. Good chance at home here.
--Tennessee at Vanderbilt. Memorial Magic has tripped up many a team in Nashville.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bracket Update 1/19

Bracket is up.

At the bottom, I took BYU, Stanford, Miami-FL, UNLV, and Missouri over teams that included Maryland, Boston College, Arkansas, and Texas A&M.

There will be a substantial Lockbox update this week either tomorrow or Wednesday that looks at the multi-bid conference situation.

Tonight's GOI
--Belmont at East Tenn State. A-Sun powers square off in a BIG game (2/3 A-Sun's 1-loss teams).
--Texas A&M at Kansas. Aggies need some weight on their resume.
--Syracuse at Pitt. Clash of Titans Game of the Night.
--Cincinnati at Providence. Fringe BEast Bubble Boys must feel like they are already in must-win mode.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Buster 3/Weekend Forecast 1/16-18

Buster Update is up. The marquee match ups would look something like:

Butler at Davidson
Utah State at Siena
Illinois State at St. Mary's
George Mason at Creighton

Last Night's GOI
--at Nevada 77, Boise State 63. Pack still has life in them.
--Purdue 63, at Northwestern 61. A KILLER for the Cats. They led by 13 at half, but the Boilers stormed back.
--Xavier 67, at Rhode Island 65. The Rams may truly regret this one on SelSun.
--at USC 61, Arizona State 49. Trojans get a nice win. Maybe this will spark a march toward the bracket.
--UConn 67, at St. John's 55. The Johnnies were game for a good while, but...
--at UCLA 83, Arizona 60. Zona has been to 24 straight NCAA Tourneys. That's the longest streak in the nation. And it's in real jeopardy this season.
--at UW-Green Bay 80, Cleveland State 65. Game was tied at half!
--North Carolina 83, at Virginia 61. Heels get their first ACC win.
--at WKU 63, Middle Tennessee 61. Toppers do their job by holding serve at home and now are tied with MT atop the league standings and hold the moment.
--Minnesota 78, at Wisconsin 74 (OT). Gophers rally from 9 down with 3.24 left to clip the Badgers in the Kohl Center. Time to start thinking of the Gophers as serious Big 10 challengers.

--Maryland at Florida State. Terps could use some quality wins. FSU is in pretty good shape, but they have to hold their home court.
--Notre Dame at Syracuse. Irish need to show they can get things done on the road against top teams if they want a protected seed.
--Northern Iowa at Drake. One of these two will not be tied for first after this tussle.
--Georgetown at Duke. A peach of a inter-conference game this late in the season.
--Oklahoma State at Baylor. Both looking Bubbly.
--Oklahoma at Texas A&M. Aggies are 11-0 at home.
--Arkansas at Florida. Couple of SEC Bubble Boys.
--Wake Forest at Clemson. CLASH OF THE TITANS game of the weekend.
--Arizona State at UCLA. Devils try to bounce back in a tough roadie after falling to USC.
--Boston College at Virginia Tech. Eagles bracket line is in jeopardy.
--Rider at Niagara. Probably the two best MAAC teams not named Siena.
--Miami-FL at North Carolina. 'Canes have won 6 straight.
--Marquette at Providence. With Cincy fading, the Friars are the only legit NCAA Bubble team apart from the Top 9 in the BEast.
--Arizona at USC. Both need it BADLY.
--Cal at Stanford. Cardinal are 1-3 in conference, so losing home games in not advisable.
--South Carolina at Tennessee. With the Vols looking quite vulnerable, the Gamecocks have a shot to lift themselves into Bubble contention with a win here.
--Middle Tennessee at UALR. MT is tied for Belt lead in the East while the Trojans lead the West.
--Wyoming at UNLV. Nobody is talking about the 10-4 Cowboys, but their 4 losses are to teams #54 and better in the RPI and they have beaten Northern Iowa and San Diego State. They are a sleeper in the MWC.
--Boise State at Utah State. Another big MWC game.
--Cleveland State at UW-Milwaukee. Couple of tough Horizon customers.
--Minnesota at Northwestern. Gophers need to consolidate that win over Wiscy while Cats fight for their lives.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

BracketBusters Tomorrow

I am in a conference at my real job all day today, so the Buster update will have to wait until tomorrow.

Lotta BIG action tonight.

Tonight's GOI
--Boise State at Nevada. New-guard WAC vs. old-guard WAC.
--Purdue at Northwestern. This game will help show if Purdue is the real Big Televen fave or not.
--Xavier at Rhode Island. Rams almost must have it if they harbor any at-large hopes.
--Arizona State at USC. Trojans' prospects are bleak. They need a big one.
--UConn at St. John's. The Johnnies just took care of Notre Dame at home, so beware, Huskies.
--Arizona at UCLA. Not as big as it usually is as the Cats are playing for their Bubbly lives already.
--Cleveland State at UW-Green Bay. Two of several good Horizon teams.
--North Carolina at Virginia. Heels seeking their first ACC win in three tries.
--Middle Tennessee at WKU. The two best teams in the Sun Belt. Toppers almost have to have it if they expect to challenge MTSU in the East. A loss sends them two games back of the Blue Pegasi with a trip to Murfreesboro still to go. WKU needs it much more.
--Minnesota at Wisconsin. Nice Big 10 tilt and a win by the Gophers at Wiscy would send a loud message.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lockbox 1/14

There is more security in the Lockbox this week, but the Bubble is still too unwieldy to talk about with any definition.

The Bubble by the Numbers
--31 Automatic Bids. That number will not change this season.
--34 At-Large Bids. That also is a static number.
--15 teams are listed in black. They could miss, of course, but it would be very surprising if the did even at this early stage.
--I have 10 other teams listed in blue this week, which means if the win the games they "should" win (nebulous at this point), they should be fine.
--Hence, the Bubble stands at a massive 16 slots right now. This will shrink over the coming weeks, and on Selection Sunday it is usually no more than four or five.

A lot of the teams in green will upgrade their status this week with a couple more wins. But, rest assured, some of the blue teams will slip as they lose a head-scratcher.

BracketBusters update coming tomorrow.

Last Night's GOI
--at BYU 73, TCU 61. Cougars move to 13-2 and stay tied with SDSU atop the MtWest.
--at Kansas 87, Kansas State 71. Jayhawks started this game on an 18-0 run only to see their lead closed to 3 at one point.
--Florida State 78, at NC State 65. It seems to be happening for FSU this year if the hold their home court reasonably well in the ACC.
--Northern Iowa 58, at Evansville 47. Beware the Panthers, winners of five straight including three of the toughest Valley road venues. They are in the driver's seat.
--Kentucky 90, at Tennessee 72. We have a new favorite to win the SEC East. And it's Jodie Meeks. He went for 54 (thanks for the correction, dear reader...I think he had 46 when I went to sleep on the couch) in this one.
--Memphis 55, at Tulsa 54. Buzzer-beating heartbreaker for the 'Canes.

Tonight's GOI
--Wake Forest at Boston College. Let's see if Wake avoids the UNC letdown.
--Syracuse at Georgetown. This one has the same level of importance as those Reggie Williams v. Stevie Thompson teams had.
--Michigan at Illinois. Both are outsiders to win the league.
--Drake at Illinois State. Could the Redbirds lose their 3rd straight? Drake needs it to stay tied atop the Valley.
--South Carolina at LSU. One or both of these teams feel like pretenders to me.
--Maryland at Miami-FL. Big Bubble impact.
--Arkansas at Mississippi. Hogs need this one to right the ship.
--Michigan State at Penn State. Careful, Sparty. Lions are looking for a signature win.
--Baylor at Texas A&M. TAMU needs it more.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

GOI 1/13

I must be short today. Updated Lockbox complete with breakdown coming tomorrow.

Last Night's GOI
--at Belmont 79, Lipscomb 74. Rivalry held up as superior Belmont had to scratch one out
--at Louisville 87, Notre Dame 73. Good one...until UL won 14-0 in overtime.
--at Oklahoma 78, Texas 63. If there was any doubt about who the Big XII fave was, there is not any now.

Tonight's GOI
--TCU at BYU. People are learning about BYU, but the Horned Frogs are 9-2 after a 1-3 start.
--Kansas State at Kansas. In-state rivalry alert!
--Florida State at NC State. Same ol' Noles, or will they really take care of the games they need to this year?
--Northern Iowa at Evansville. I cannot imagine many Valley teams will sweep their games at Creighton and SIU, but the Panthers have done just that and sit tied atop the Valley standings with Bradley and (don't look now!) Drake at 4-1. E-ville has cooled since their 2008 Drake-ish start, but are a tough out at home.
--Kentucky at Tennessee. The SEC has no titanic match ups. This is probably as big as it gets in January for the SEC this year.
--Memphis at Tulsa. Golden 'Canes are 6-1 in their last seven.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bracket Day!

The first bracket is up! This is mostly for kicks at this point, but the significant news is that UNC is NOT a 1-seed. Frankly, I never thought they would be less than a 1 in ANY bracket this season.

The Big East has nine teams in and I think that's likely this season when it's said and done. No extensive breakdown this week as that is more helpful when the RPI and conference records actually mean something.

At the bottom, I took Miami-FL, Kentucky, Washington, Boston College and Oklahoma State over Maryland, Utah, San Diego State, Stanford, Texas A&M, Arizona and South Carolina. I could have just as easily drawn those last 5 or so slots out of a hat at this point, though.

It's officially bracket season. Enjoy!

Tonight's GOI
--Lipscomb at Belmont. In-city rivarly alert (Nashville)!
--Notre Dame at Louisville. Cards come home after a nice road win at Villanova.
--Texas at Oklahoma. Always a fun rivalry and this one has big-time Big XII title race implications.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Weekend Forecast 1/9-11

Last Night' GOI

--at Butler 64, Wright State 48. The Bulldogs are tough. Raiders will need lots of help to catch Butler now.
--Minnesota 52, at Iowa 49. Good win for Gophers. These are the kind that keep you on the Bubble's good side.
--at Washington 84, Stanford 83. Huskies hold serve at home as the look to end their NCAA drought.



--Rider at Siena. Big one in the MAAC.
--UW-Green Bay at UW-Milwaukee. In-state rivalry alert!

--Miami-OH at Boston College. Feels like a meaningful Bubble game.
--UConn at Cincinnati. Bearcats need to score some big ones to stay in the picture. This is their first of five MAJOR home conference games.
--Duke at Florida State. Devils always seem to struggle in Tallahassee.
--Oklahoma at Kansas State. Interesting because the Pomeroy rankings really like K-State, but they are largely untested.
--Vanderbilt at Kentucky. Badly needed by both--big Bubble implications.
--West Virginia at Marquette. I guess most Big East games qualify as important for the Bubble, don't they?
--Kansas at Michigan State. One of the final big-time non-conference match ups.
--Texas A&M at Oklahoma State. Both are largely unproven with nice records.
--Rhode Island at Saint Joseph's. Rams need this type of game to stay in the picture this season.
--Utah at San Diego State. If Schizophrenic Utes win here, I'll stop picking on them.
--Louisville at Villanova. Cats look to avoid slipping to 1-2 in conference.
--Cal at Washington. The Pac-10 race is not a UCLA coronation this year, and these two could factor into who wins this league. Cal has won 8 straight and the Huskies have ripped off 9 in a row.
--Temple at LaSalle. Philly goodness. LaSalle is warming up, going 7-2 in their last nine, while Temple is 7-6 against one of the tougher schedules in the country.
--Penn State at Minnesota. Believe or not, if Penn State wins here, they will likely be in the bracket on Monday.
--Wisconsin at Purdue. Boilers badly need this to avoid an 0-3 start in Big Ten play.
--St. Mary's at San Francisco. Probably the Gaels most dangerous conference game outside of Gonzaga.
--UCLA at USC. UCLA looks to complete a 3-game road sweep of Pac-10 foes.
--North Carolina at Wake Forest. Wake is one of only three undefeated teams left (Pitt, Clemson), but they have not faced an opponent that lives in the same neighborhood at UNC (attested by their RPI of 32 despite no losses). Their win at BYU convinced me they are good. Let's see how they handle a 1-seed.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

BracketBusters 2 (01/08)

It was a fairly topsy-turvy night last evening. BC backed up their gigantic win over clear title favorite North Carolina in Chapel Hill with a home loss to Harvard. By 12. Michigan nearly lost at Indiana and needed OT to escape. And, Morgan State of the MEAC went into Maryland and cashed in a win. Check the Lockbox from yesterday and you will see Morgan State as the projected winner of the MEAC.

BracketBusters update is ready. Currently, the marquee games would look something like:

Butler at St. Mary's
Miami-OH at Evansville
Illinois State at Davidson
Bradley at Siena

Last Night's GOI
--Providence 87, at Cincinnati 79. Friars are now 7-1 in their last eight and 3-0 in Big East play. Big test at Georgetown on Saturday.
--at Duke 79, Davidson 67. No win, but Davidson showed their mettle in cutting a 25-point lead to 8 in the 2nd half.
--Gonzaga 89, at Tennessee 79 (OT). Zags right the ship and the SEC still has not shown it has a legit top 15 team.

Tonight's GOI
--Wright State at Butler. I've been touting the Raiders for a couple of weeks now. Let's see if that super defense is ready for the big time.
--Minnesota at Iowa. Nice match up of mid-pack Big 10 teams.
--Stanford at Washington. Both need some quality wins as neither has beaten a sure-fire NCAA team.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Lockbox 1/06

Bracket season is officially here as the Lockbox makes its first appearance. Take this with a 6-lb grain of salt, but it is an attempt to see where teams stand at this point. A few interesting notes:

1. The Big East might get shaken up a bit, but at this point, there is a clear line of demarcation after nine teams. Pitt, UConn, Georgetown, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Villanova and Marquette seem to be in good position. One can only assume Louisville will get it together with three likely NBA players on the roster. All nine of those can be found in the top 34 of the efficiency numbers (before last night's games). From there, it's a long tumble to Bubble hopefuls Cincinnati and Providence. The bottom five are likely done before they even really get started in Big East play. Cincy and Providence might upend enough contenders to sneak in, but the line seems pretty clear even at this early stage.

2. The SEC is terrible by power conference standards. Tennessee has been good, not great, and there is no team that can be considere a lock beyond them. Arkansas is the only team in the West that can feel good about their current profile.

3. Outside of the power conferences, Illinois State, Xavier, Gonzaga, and BYU look the cream of the crop at this stage. But, Illinois State lost at Bradley last night and have no marquee wins and none forthcoming in the Valley. It's going to be tough for them to find their way in if they lose more than three games.

4. There is still bias in this Lockbox. Some teams simply have not been tested enough to know how good they are, so some guesswork is still there. There will be less and less of this as we go along in the next few weeks.

Last Night's GOI
--at Arkansas 67, Texas 61. Hogs have staked claim to the best non-conference profile in the SEC West.
--at Bradley 56, Illinois State 52. Coupled with Creighton's loss to Northern Iowa, this could be an early sign that the Valley is a one-bid league this year. Braves have now won 6 of 7.
--at Dayton 45, Miami-OH 40. Flyers survive a meat-grinder from the Redhawks.
--at Georgia Tech 67, Georgia 62. Jackets rally after a slow start to hold off Dawgs.
--at Kansas 91, Siena 84. The Saints did not get that monster non-conference win, but they have established themselves as a very dangerous team.
--at Michigan State 67, Ohio State 58. This puts OSU in a 2-game hole behind MSU.
--UConn 61, at West Virginia 55. Huge road win for the Huskies in the first of three straight conference roadies.

Tonight's GOI
--Providence at Cincinnati. Neither can really afford to lose to the other. Not when there are nine other teams in the league better than these two.
--Davidson at Duke. ESPN ticker teaser: "Duke takes on leading scorer Curry." Well, if Davidson's other players are allowed to suit up, it should be interesting.
--Gonzaga at Tennessee. The Zags beat UT in the Old Spice Classic over Thanksgiving, but this game in Knoxville will be a tough test for struggling GU.

Lockbox Tomorrow

Short on time today, but TBB will unveil the season's first Lockbox tomorrow.

Last Night's GOI
--Texas Southern 81, at Alcorn State 64. Winless no more! At least for Texas Southern...
--at Notre Dame 73,Georgetown 67. Irish defend the home court against a fellow Big East contender.

Tonight's GOI
--Texas at Arkansas. Hogs have already beaten Oklahoma at home and the SEC West is soft. A win here puts them in pretty good shape.
--Illinois State at Bradley. Braves have won five of six, while Cardinals have ravaged Evansville and Creighton lately and are still undefeated.
--Miami-OH at Dayton. Redhawks continue their death march of a schedule...and they are holding their own.
--Georgia at Georgia Tech. In-state rivalry alert! Both looking for a spark, too.
--Siena at Kansas. The Saints scheduled like bloodthirsty hunters and here is another shot at a big pelt.
--Ohio State at Michigan State. Buckeyes certainly do not want to fall two games behind Sparty this early.
--UConn at West Virginia. Another titanic Big East match up.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Watch List 3

A few more teams to keep an eye on that are mostly flying under the national radar right now:

--VMI (8-2). The Keydets are not just a circus act anymore. They are the only Big South team without a conference loss and they have beaten Kentucky. If they can get by Charleston Southern in a roadie, they have three home games in a row and can take firm control of the conference race.
--UW-Milwaukee (7-5). After a 3-4 start, the Panthers are 4-1 since with road pelts from UIC and Loyola-Chi.
--Wright State (8-7). I mentioned this last week, but the Raiders started 0-6. They are 7-1 since with the only loss at surging Wake Forest. The defense has been off the charts crazy good. They are at Butler on Thursday in what should be a delight.
--Buffalo (8-4). Neutral wins over Colorado and Colorado State recently have help the Bulls go 5-1 after a 3-3 start.
--Illinois State (14-0). Redbirds are still mostly untested, but they completely razed a pretty good Evansville club by THIRTY.
--UNLV (13-2). Great record, no bad losses, and a win at Louisville without one of their top players. Most schools would gladly take that non-conf profile. Let's see how they handle BYU and Schizophrenic Utah (their official name until they prove otherwise).
--Morehead State (5-8). After an 0-6 start, they are 5-2 and are the only OVC team without a conference loss.
--Cal (13-2). It's really happening. Cal is going to compete for this league's crown and they get a special "Big 6 Conference Exemption" to be included on this week's list.
--Middle Tennessee (7-5). After a very disappointing 2-5 start, the Blue Pegasi have won 5 straight and are starting to look like the team that finished 11-4 last season and returned EVERY player. They are one of only two Belt teams without a conf loss (WKU).

Holdovers from last Watch List that still bear watching:
Cleveland State, Niagara, Miami-OH, BYU, College of Charleston. All have done pretty well since the last list.

Teams that have struggled:
Liberty. 2-3 since last WL.
Hofstra. 1-3 since last WL.

Tonight's GOI
--Texas Southern at Alcorn State. Combined 0-24. Someone gets off the schnide tonight.
--Georgetown at Notre Dame. Hoyas looked to bounce back after being ripped at home by Pitt.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Weekend Forecast 1/2-1/4

Weekend Forecast


--Arizona at Cal. This one feels like it matters in Bubbledom.

--Arizona State at Stanford. Combined 21-1, but neither have beaten a powerhouse.


--Wake Forest at BYU. Combined 23-1! Again, both lack quality wins.

--Pitt at Georgetown. Combined 22-1, and with the win at UConn in tow, G'town can take a very strong position by holding serve here.

--Tennesssee at Kansas. Jayhawks need a big win on their resume.

--Michigan State at Northwestern. Cats lost at Penn St, but maybe they can work magic at home.

--Middle Tennessee at South Alabama. 2/3 of the Sun Belt's best and they are divisional foes as well.


--Arizona State at Cal. Another Pac-10 match up that feels important.

--Kentucky at Louisville. One of the nation's top non-conference rivalries, and both really need a good win right now.

--Cincinnati at Marquette. Some teams from the Big East will get squeezed and these kinds of games are going to decide who gets to dance and who doesn't.

--Illinois at Michigan. Two of the better Big 10 teams.

--Arizona at Stanford. Cardinal need to be tested.

Happy New Year

The calendar turns to 2009 and by the end of next weekend, every conference will have games in the books, the guarantee money games will be all but over, and some of the pretenders will begin to be exposed.

This also brings some important dates for this site.

Wednesday, Jan 7: first Lockbox
Monday, Jan 12: first bracket

The Weekend forecast comes tomorrow and a new Watch List is coming on Monday.

Last Night' GOI
--at Illinois State 80, Evansville 50. Who is the Valley fave? Message received LOUD and clear.
--UNLV 56, at Louisville 55. Louisville currently has the resume of a Bubble team (best wins are UAB and Ole Miss).
--North Carolina 84, at Nevada 61. No jet lag for the Heels.
--Wisconsin 73, at Michigan 61. Badgers send a message regarding the Big Ten pecking order.
--Michigan State 70, at Minnesota 58. Gophers suffer their first loss and Sparty notches a nice road win.
--at Penn State 61, Northwestern 57. Not a good sign for NW'n's hopes.
--at Utah 66, Gonzaga 65. Zags shot just 35% in this one and Utah continues it's Jekyll/Hyde act.

Tonight's GOI
--Fairfield at Siena. 2/3 of the MAAC's best three teams.
--Villanova at Marquette. Important tussle between two Big East NCAA hopefuls.