Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lockbox Update 2/24

The Lockbox has been updated. Since Monday, the only big change was UConn IN, San Diego State OUT. A few other teams upgraded their status.

Remember, while bracket projections do not attempt to predict future results, the Lockbox does take future schedule into account. For example, Xavier is a virtual lock. Even if they lose to St. Louis and Richmond, they close with Fordham and UMass. So, unless a total meltodown occurs, they are going to get IN. Contrast that with Louisville, who lost last night and closes with a murderous stretch (starting with a home to loss to Georgetown last night). They stay on the Bubble right now.

There are a number of teams one win away from upgrading their status (looking at you, Villanova, West Virginia, Kansas State, Oklahoma State).

The Bubble by the Numbers

--31 Automatic Bids. That number will not change this season.
--34 At-Large Bids. That is also a static number.
--6 teams are LOCKS. There is no way they miss at this point.
--23 teams listed in black. The black teams could miss, but it would take a meltdown at this point.
--I have 5 other teams listed in blue, which means they are on their way, but have a bit more work to do. Of these 34 black and blue teams, 10 are conference leaders. That means 24 AL slots are taken, leaving the Bubble at 10. That's down one from last week and by Selection Sunday, it usually no more than four or five. Bubble-IN teams are in green, Bubble-OUT teams are in red.

Last Night's GOI
--at Florida 75, Tennessee 62. Convincing win for the Gators moves them off the Bubble. They could slide back onto it, but one more win plus one SEC Tourney win probably does the trick.
--Georgetown 70, at Louisville 60. Cards find themselves in a tough spot now. They close with roadies at UConn and Marquette (both desperate) and host a Syracuse team that will be highly motivated by Big East title/1-seed hopes and payback. Cards could easily close with four losses. They will need to win at least one and possibly two more games.
--Illinois 51, at Michigan 44. Illini get a roadie they had to have.

Tonight's GOI
--Texas A&M at Baylor. Both scratching for "protected seeds" in the NCAA Tourney.
--Virginia Tech at Boston College. Hokies can't afford a loss like this.
--San Diego State at BYU. Aztecs seem to live on the Bubble year to year. This would help loads.
--Saint Joseph's at Charlotte. Niners need this one badly. They close with two roadies and host Richmond and have already lost three straight.
--Clemson at Maryland. Tigers close with 3/4 on the road and this is the first.
--Purdue at Minnesota. DANGEROUS game for the Boilers. Gophers can get right in the mix with a win.
--Pitt at Notre Dame. Irish need a big, big finish.
--Xavier at St. Louis. Billikens have won 6 straight including three roadies and home wins over Dayton and Rhode Island.
--Marquette at St. John's. Eagles need to win a couple more, and a win here insures a .500 Big East record.
--Dayton at Temple. Flyers could do themselves a lot of good here with a big home win.
--Oklahoma State at Texas. Cowboys probably move off the Bubble with a win.
--South Florida at Villanova. Long shot, but the Bulls need a monster finish.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Project Mockingbird: Nesting Stage

Project Mockingbird aims to get more mock committees involved in creating a 65-team bracket by replicating the actual selection process. I have been leading a mock committee for many years running. This year is our 5th installment of the South Central Kentucky Selection Simulation Project (SCKySSiP, ridiculously long name used for effect). We have one sister committee in the works that originates from Omaha, NB. I would love to have more if you can wrangle up enough folks to make a committee. I have been on committees with as many as 10 ( in 2002) and as small as six, but the important thing is that your group does not get caught up in "guessing the bracket" and focuses on DOING the process. If you are game, here is what you need to do.

  1. Get X# of people to commit to many email votes and physical or virtual meetings/talks during the week of March 8-14 and especially on March 13/14.
  2. Assign members a conference or two to "represent." IE, they need to know which teams had major injuries that might have impacted W/L's and how that might bear on their resume.
  3. Read the Selection Criteria. And, if you are the chair, you need to be able to facilitate smooth List X (nomination) votes and cross-country (ranking) votes.
  4. Here is a link to some docs I use in for SCKySSiP: Ballots/S-Curve. Every member needs an S-Curve when the time for voting comes.
  5. Email me with specific questions about how to make this work. Our process is not perfect, but it works well for us. That said, what I'm most excited about is seeing how others adapt and give me fresh ideas on how to streamline the process and make it more efficient.

So, Mockingbirds, it's time to build the nest.

Last Night's GOI
-- at UConn 73, West Virginia 62. Huskies surge toward the good side of the Bubble.

--Morgan State 65, at UM-Eastern Shore 61. The Bears are your MEAC tourney 1-seed.

Tonight's GOI

--Tennessee at Florida. Gators can breathe a bit easier with a win here.

--Georgetown at Louisville. A Cards' win shifts their thinking from getting IN to seeding.

--Illinois at Michigan. Illini need to take care of roadies like this one.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bracket/Lockbox Updates (2/22)

First, we have our first LOCKS of the season in the Lockbox. They are:

Kansas, Syracuse, Purdue, Kentucky, Duke, Butler

True, one of these things is not like the others, but Butler has just one regular season game left. Even a loss there and a loss in their tourney is not going to boot them at this point. It's a matter of seeding now. Several other teams are primed for LOCK status. More on this on Wednesday.

Secondly, today's bracket is up and the bottom is not pretty. I don't know if teams like St. Mary's or San Diego State have the juice to stay in. That said, the Aztecs' bid may right on their game at BYU on Wednesday. Win there and finish well and they will stay right in the mix for a fourth MtWest bid. They took UAB's slot, who is likely going to need to take care of Memphis and UTEP to have a legit shot at an AL.

Marquette, Charlotte, and Illinois also got IN, while UAB, Mississippi, UConn and Seton Hall just missed among a few others.

Multi-Bid Conference Breakdown
Big East (7): Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia, Georgetown, Pitt, Louisville, Marquette
Big 12 (7): Kansas, Kansas State, Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Missouri, Oklahoma State
ACC (7): Duke, Maryland, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Clemson
Atlantic 10 (6): Temple, Richmond, Xavier, Rhode Island, Dayton, Charlotte
Big Ten (5): Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Illinois
SEC (4): Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida
Mountain West (4): New Mexico, BYU, UNLV, San Diego State
West Coast (2): Gonzaga, St. Mary's

Tonight's GOI
--West Virginia at UConn. Massive game for the Huskies. A loss here would force them to sweep games vs Louisville and roadies at Notre Dame and South Florida to get to .500 in league. Win, then get 2/3 to close and they would have to feel decent about their AL chances.
--Morgan State at UM-Eastern Shore. A Bears win seals the MEAC 1-seed.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Weekend Forecast

Mockingbird update will have to wait until next Tuesday.

Last Night's GOI
--Syracuse 75, at Georgetown 71. Cuse strengthens their 1-seed grip with a tasty road win.
--Pitt 58, Marquette 51. Oh, Eagles, thou art destined to perch thy talons on Bubble fair,
--at Minnesota 68, Wisconsin 52. Your "HELLO!" result of the evening.
--Vanderbilt 82, at Mississippi 78. Not shocked. Rebels are going to sweat without a big finish.
--at Troy 66, Middle Tennessee 62. Helped created a FIVE WAY tie for first with two other teams one back.

--Cornell at Harvard. For all of the attention the Big Red have had, a loss here likely drops them out of first.
--William & Mary at Iona. A win won't help the Tribe that much.
--Old Dominion at Northern Iowa. Both are very much in the hunt for an AL...and both are playing well.
--Xavier at Charlotte. Niners need to hold serve or else they will have dropped 3 straight.
--Virginia at Clemson. Tigers gotta have this one at home.
--Louisville at DePaul. Cards barely survived ND at home last time out. Definitely need to take care of this roadie.
--Georgia Tech at Maryland. Both in pretty good shape, but has ACC impact.
--Florida at Mississippi. Neither has a lot of margin for error, but Rebs need it more.
--Baylor at Oklahoma State. Cowboys could use a big win or two to seal the deal.
--Illinois at Purdue. Illini upset would draw them into a tie with Boilers.
--UConn at Rutgers. Huskies badly need this one.
--Tennessee at South Carolina. Cocks will need a monstrous finish.
--St. John's at South Florida. Bulls are right on the fence.
--Texas at Texas Tech. Both badly need it for different reasons.
--Kentucky at Vanderbilt. Cats best chance to lose another SEC game.
--Seton Hall at West Virginia. Pirates aren't dead yet and this would help loads.
--Siena at Butler. HUGE game for Siena. HUGE.
--Wichita State at Utah State. Fringe Bubblers, one of which will gain a bit here.
--Arizona State at Arizona. Devils are fringe and need a big finish.
--Marquette at Cincinnati. One of these two will feel it slipping away after this one.
--Ohio State at Michigan State. Your Sunday Clash of the Titans match up.
--Villanova at Pittsburgh. Nova tries to protect it's 1-seed status in a big road test.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

One Stop and A10 Attrition

One Stop Shop
It's a big day here at TBB. I have said many times that the best of the NCAA basketball experience comes during the week before games start in November (everyone is undefeated and full of hope) and then during conference tourneys through the first weekend of the NCAA tourney.

Thus, I give you the 2010 One Stop Shop. All 30 conference tourney brackets in one place that will be updated multiple times every day throughout the conference tourney season. Some teams have already secured 1-seeds in their tourneys (Siena, Butler, Murray State, UNI) and I have filled them into those slots. Teams will fall into seed lines in a trickle over the next week and then start to sort out quickly as February comes to a close. Exciting stuff!

A-10 Attrition

It had to happen at some point. Some of the super six in the A-10 eventually had to blink, and it happened to two teams last night. Charlotte dropped a home contest to Duquesne. That is not a resume-killer, but it certainly does not help especially coming off a complete pasting at the hands of Dayton. Also, Rhode Island did itself no favors by losing at St. Louis. Again, not a killer, but it moves both of those teams from "maintain and you are IN" to "Bubble." The Rams are still on the good side, but it reduces their margin for error. URI ends with four very winnable games (Fordham, @St. Bonnie, Charlotte, @UMass) while Charlotte has a tough row to hoe (Xavier, St. Joe's, @GW, @URI, Richmond). Also, St. Louis looks like a dangerous team now having won 5 straight including wins over Dayton and URI and they lead both clubs in the A10 standings.

Tomorrow, some information and updates on Project Mockingbird.

Last Night's GOI
--at Arkansas 82, South Carolina 79. Cocks are out of the Lockbox until further notice.
--Wofford 73, at Davidson 51. Fear the Terriers! 16-2 in their last 18 and the two losses were close ones vs Kent State and at Charleston.
--at Missouri 82, Texas 77. Tigers move closer to lock status.
--at Louisville 91, Notre Dame 89 (2OT). Irish nearly stole one without Harangody...and absolutely NO ANSWER for Samardo Samuels.
--Duke 81,at Miami-FL 74. Devils stay on the fringe of the 1-seed debate in case some powerhouse falters down the stretch.
--Maryland 67, at NC State 58. The kind of roadie that NCAA teams win.
--Purdue 60, at Ohio State 57. I will not be a bit surprised if the Boilers wind up with a 1-seed.
--at Utah State 67, LA Tech 61. USU wins their 11th straight and puts LA Tech two back.
--Florida State 69, at Virgnia 50. Pretty much ends the Cavs meager AL hopes.

Tonight's GOI
--Syracuse at Georgeown. Your Thursday Clash of the Titans match up.
--Pitt at Marquette. Eagles could put themselves in good position with a home win here.
--Wisconsin at Minnesota. Gophers need to start a big run right now.
--Vanderbilt at Mississippi. Rebels will need a strong finish.
--Middle Tennessee at Troy. Wrestling for the Sun Belt East division title, the 1-seed, and a bye.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lockbox 2/17

Let's merge yesterday's bracket and today's Lockbox into a sort of "State of the Bracket" post. First, after last night's results, I replaced Cincinnati with South Florida, and it's not just because USF topped Cincy. USF was close anyway and got a win over a fellow Bubbler. A few notes:

1. 1-seeds: Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, Villanova. Cuse has a slight edge over Nova because using the RPI as a tie-breaker, they are the "Big East Champ."
2. Mississippi. Pretty much all other bracketologists have them IN and even at 10-seed range. I don't get it. They have one Top 50 win (granted, a good one vs Kansas State). They trail Mississippi State and ARKANSAS (!) in the SEC West where they are .500 in league. They are #51 in the RPI. They have lost 3/4 including at home to the Hogs. I have not been sold on the Rebels at any point. Maybe I just see too much of them in SEC country.
3. That said, there are plenty of flawed teams IN that Ole Miss could make a case against. South Florida, UAB, Louisville, Marquette, Clemson, Virgnia Tech...there is some sorting to do down the stretch.

The Bubble by the Numbers
--31 Automatic Bids. That number will not change this season.
--34 At-Large Bids. That is also a static number.
--26 teams listed in black. The black teams could miss, but it would take a meltdown at this point.
--I have 7 other teams listed in blue, which means they are on their way, but have a bit more work to do (see a gaggle of A-10 teams!). Of these 33 black and blue teams, 10 are conference leaders. That means 23 AL slots are taken, leaving the Bubble at 11. That's up one from last week and by Selection Sunday, it usually no more than four or five. Bubble-IN teams are in green, Bubble-OUT teams are in red.

Tonight's GOI
--South Carolina at Arkansas. USC East is a long shot, but can help themselves...and Mississippi and Mississippi State.
--Wofford at Davidson. Big SoCon tilt.
--Texas at Missouri. Big 12 and NCAA seeding ramifications.
--Notre Dame at Louisville. Couple of Big East Bubblers and ND needs it much more.
--Duke at Miami-FL. Devils need to collect some roadies to secure a 2-seed or argue for a 1-seed.
--Maryland at NC State. Terps are in good shape, but need to take care of these types of roadies.
--Purdue at Ohio State. Your Wednesday Clash of the Titans special.
--LA Tech at Utah State. USU can put the Dogs two back with a win.
--Florida State at Virgnia. 'Noles try to stay above .500 in the ACC.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Weekend Forecast 2/12-14

BIG, BIG Weekend.

--West Virginia at Pitt. Backyard Brawl is always fun.
--Alabama at Arkansas. Hogs have won 5 straight since being obliterated at Kentucky. I'm not sure The Ark can run all the way into the AL convo, but if they win the West, they could significantly hurt the chances of Ole Miss and Miss State.
--Missouri at Baylor. Both of these teams are in pretty good shape, but are working to close the deal.
--Miami-FL at Clemson. Tigers have to hold serve in their home games.
--Cincinnati at UConn. Calhoun returns...will UConn's AL hopes?
--Maryland at Duke. This would push Maryland into near lock status.
--Xavier at Florida. An OOC special with high stakes right in the heat of the conference slog.
--South Carolina at Georgia. Road wins do wonders for Bubble teams.
--Tennessee at Kentucky. Good rivalry, and a good test for both.
--South Florida at Marquette. Doesn't get more BEAST Bubbly than this.
--Oklahoma at Oklahoma State. Sooners are trying to climb into the convo, OK State tracking toward "in" but needs their home games for sure.
--St. Mary's at Portland. Gaels can't afford any "non-Gonzaga" losses.
--Cornell at Princeton. Ivy undefeateds. If the Big Red is going to lose in league, this is the one of most likely games along with the game @Harvard next weekend.
--Coastal Carolina at Radford. Highlanders can pull into a tie for first with a win.
--UNLV at San Deigo State. Aztecs are looking to be a fourth team from the MtWest, and they probably need this one if they are going to pull it off.
--Rhode Island at Temple. Titanic A10 tilt.
--Texas A&M at Texas Tech. Raiders need it a lot more.
--Memphis at Tulsa. Nice CUSA match up of Fringe Bubblers.
--Georgia Tech at Wake. For ACC and NCAA seeding.
--Northeastern at William & Mary. Huskies try to hold on to #1 CAA position.
--Ohio State at Illinois. Illini look to firm up their ground a bit.
--Minnesota at Northwestern. Fringe Big 10-11-12-13-14 Bubblers.
--St. John's at Notre Dame. Johnnies are pretty far away, and ND has to win their home games at least.

Lockbox Update 2/11

Lockbox has been updated. The change from Monday as far as IN/OUT is Illinois IN, Mississippi OUT. I could have just as easily booted South Florida, St. Mary's, Old Dominion, UAB or VA Tech, but I've seen Ole Miss a few times and they just don't pass the smell test given their shaky profile. Plus, third place in the raggedy SEC West does not win any bonus points.

The Bubble by the Numbers
--31 Automatic Bids. That number will not change this season.
--34 At-Large Bids. That is also a static number.
--24 teams listed in black. The black teams could miss, but it would take a meltdown at this point.
--I have 10 other teams listed in blue, which means they are on their way, but have a bit more work to do (see FOUR A-10 teams!). Of these 34 black and blue teams, 10 are conference leaders. That means 24 AL slots are taken, leaving the Bubble at 10. That's down a whopping three from last week and by Selection Sunday, it usually no more than four or five. Bubble-IN teams are in green, Bubble-OUT teams are in red.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

First Clinches

Siena and Butler clinched shares of their league titles with wins last night. Siena has also locked up the #1 seed in the MAAC Tourney. That means that the One Stop Shop is not far away. It is about one-half ready and I hope to get up all 30 conference tourney brackets sometime next week.

Last Night's GOI

-- at New Mexico State 70, LA Tech 68. Aggies hold serve and are tied with only Utah State atop the WAC.
--Kansas 80, at Texas 68. 'Horns have lost 5/7. #1 in the Popularity Flavor of the Week Contest seems like a LONG time ago.
--Villanova 82, at West Virginia 75. This is what 1-seeds do. Beat excellent teams on their home courts.

Tonight's GOI
--VCU at George Mason. Rams are one back of GMU, but both need it to keep CAA title hopes alive.
--Purdue at Michigan State. Boilers have won 5 straight and Sparty is wounded.
--Texas Tech at Oklahoma. Raiders are near the fence while the Sooners are trying to play their way onto the Bubble.
--Georgetown at Providence. Hoyas look to consolidate that big win over Nova.
--Tennessee at Vanderbilt. In-state rivalry alert! Big SEC implications, too.
--Illinois at Wisconsin. Illini could do themselves a ton of good with this one, unlikely as it is.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Bracket Update 2/8

Today's bracket is up. It is less than 5 weeks until Selection Sunday.

At the bottom, it felt like there were six debatable slots and I opted for Virginia Tech, St. Mary's, Old Dominion, UAB, Marquette and South Florida over a group that included Louisville, Clemson, Cincinnati, Texas Tech, and Wichita State among others.

It's jarring to think that UConn, North Carolina and Memphis are all clearly out at this point. Those three have routinely competed for 1-2 seeds over the last several seasons.

Multi-Bid Conference Breakdown
Big East (7): Syracuse, Villanova, Georgetown, West Virginia, Pitt, Marquette, South Florida
Big 12 (7): Kansas, Kansas State, Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Missouri, Oklahoma State
ACC (6): Duke, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Florida State, Virginia Tech
Atlantic 10 (6): Temple, Rhode Island, Charlotte, Richmond, Xavier, Dayton
SEC (5): Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida, Mississippi
Big Ten (4): Michigan State, Purdue, Ohio State, Wisconsin
Colonial (2): Northeastern, Old Dominion
Mountain West (3): New Mexico, BYU, UNLV
West Coast (2): Gonzaga, St. Mary's

Tonight's GOI
--LA Tech at New Mexico State. 2/3 of the teams tied in the loss column atop the WAC.
--Kansas at Texas. 'Horns have lost 4/6 and are falling out of "protected seed" range.
--Villanova at West Virginia. Massive implications on BEAST and NCAA seeding. Simply a monster regular season game.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Weekend Forecast (2/5-2/7)

Last Night's GOI
--Florida 66, at Alabama 65. Gators narrowly avoid a setback.
--at Duke 86, Georgia Tech 67. Revenge: exacted.
--Maryland 71, at Florida State 67. Terps claim a big, furry road pelt.
--Purdue 78, at Indiana 75. In-state rivalry road test was passed by the Boilers.
--Troy 70, at Middle Tennessee 67. Trojans' big road win coupled with an FAU loss creates a three-way logjam in the Sun Belt East.
--at Notre Dame 83, Cincinnati 65. Bearcats look like a classic Bubble boy.
--at Virginia Tech 74, North Carolina 70. Heels fall to 2-5 and are in big trouble. Hokies are movin' on up.
--at Washington 81, Arizona 75. Huskies trending in the right direction (5-2 in last 7).

--Iona at Siena. Sweet MAAC showdown. If the Saints win, you can pretty much ink them as regular season champs. They will be +4 with 5 to play with a win.
--Wright State at Butler. If BU is going to stumble in conference, this is one of the better chances.
--Kent State at Central Michigan. Clash of MAC divisional leaders.
--Missouri at Colorado. Buffs have been pretty good at home, so keep an eye on this one.
--Xavier at Dayton. Any games among the top six in the A-10 are vital.
--Mississippi State at Florida. Both are quite Bubbly, though Dawgs need it more.
--Villanova at Georgetown. Hoyas look to atone for their South Florida home loss sins.
--Michigan State at Illinois. Illini need to cash in on their big win opportunities to have an AL shot.
--Gonzaga at Memphis. Tigers can get into the convo with a win after taking out UAB earlier in the week.
--San Diego State at New Mexico. Aztecs need some big wins to fill out their Bubbly resume.
--Seton Hall at Pitt. Panthers have wobbled a bit lately. SHU is trying to salvage one in a tough 3-game road swing.
--Marquette at Providence. Hard luck Eagles could help themselves with a road win.
--Temple at Richmond. That whole A-10 thing again.
--West Virginia at St. John's. Johnnies are going to have to finish big.
--Baylor at Texas A&M. Both have to feel pretty good at this stage.
--BYU at UNLV. Robust MtWest tilt.
--Nevada at Utah State. Two of four within a game at the top of the WAC.
--Tulsa at UTEP. Two fringe CUSA Bubble Boys.
--Old Dominion at VCU. ODU is very much in the AL hunt, VCU can fan their spark with a win.
--Wake at Virginia. Cavs need some juice on their resume to be a real factor.
--Clemson at Virginia Tech. Clemson is trying to stay off the Bubble, VT is trying to get on the good side.
--Arizona State at Washington. Pac-10 and Bubble implications.
--Arizona at Washington State. Cats need a strong finish.
--Syracuse at Cincinnati. Bearcats need to cash in at home.
--North Carolina at Maryland. Heels have to start piling up some wins.
--South Florida at Notre Dame. Bulls look to consolidate that big Hoya takedown.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Watch List 2

This is not comprehensive, and some of these teams have no chance at an AL bid, but they are making noise and heading in the right direction as the season's leaves begin to change.

South Florida (15-7, 5-5, 46 RPI)
. Bulls have won 5/6 in the Big East including two roadies which includes that whopper over G'town last night.

Northeastern (15-8, 10-2, 56 RPI).
The Huskies are 13-1 in their last 14 including a win over ODU and at VCU.

UTEP (16-5, 7-1, 68 RPI).
Miners are 12-3 in their last 15 including road wins at UAB and Memphis.

Morehead State (13-7, 9-2).
Most feel Murray State is far ahead of the pack in the OVC (and they are), but Morehead had rattled off 11 straight before a slip at Austin Peay.

Wofford (15-8, 8-3).
The Terriers are 12-2 in their last 14 and those losses were vs Kent State on a neutral court and at College of Charleston. They have won five true roadies in that stretch. WCU and Charleston are getting most of the SoCon love, but Wofford demands attention.

Florida Atlantic (10-10, 8-3).
A perennial Sun Belt doormat, Mike Jarvis has the Owls 7-1 in their last 8, including a win at Middle Tennessee, and tied for first in the Belt East.

New Mexico State (12-8, 6-2).
The Aggies are 10-2 in their last 12 including the road pelts of Utah State and LA Tech.

Portland (13-7, 5-2).
Remember the Pilots from November? Well, those wins over Minnesota and UCLA turned out to be a bit of fools gold and they suffered a December lull, but they are 6-2 in their last 8 and the losses were close ones to Gonzaga and at St. Mary's.

Last Night's GOI

--South Florida 72, at Georgetown 64. Hoyas get the horns, and USF gets into the AL picture in a big way.
--at Memphis 85, UAB 75. Tigers AL hopes are very remote, but this did not hurt.
--Texas A&M 77, at Missouri 74. Aggies get a gem of a roadie.
--at Northern Iowa 59, Wichita State 56. Start the parade. UNI is +3 games with 6 to play.
--at Old Dominion 61, William & Mary 42. ODU is looking more and more like an AL team.
--at Tulsa 73, Marshall 69. Herd's hopes are pretty much gone. Golden 'Canes are slim, but not dead.
--at Vanderbilt 75, Mississippi State 72. 'Dores hold serve at home in a big SEC game.
--at West Virginia 70, Pitt 51. Panthers have dropped 4/5, but have 3 home games coming up.

Tonight's GOI
--Florida at Alabama. Gators need these kind of road games.
--Georgia Tech at Duke. Devils looking for payback.
--Maryland at Florida State. Terps need it much more.
--Purdue at Indiana. In-state rivalry alert!
--Troy at Middle Tennessee. Trojans could pull into a tie with MT.
--Cincinnati at Notre Dame. Bearcats=Good Bubble. ND=Bad Bubble.
--North Carolina at Virginia Tech. Heels desperately need a win.
--Arizona at Washington. Most likely teams to be #2 in the Pac-10 behind Cal.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Lockbox 2/3

The Lockbox has been updated.

Tomorrow, we will build a new Watch List. There are lots of under-the-radar teams that are putting it together of late.

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.
--23 teams are listed in black. The black teams could miss, but it would be extremely surprising if they did. It would take a real meltdown to miss.
--I have 8 other teams listed in blue, which means they are on their way, but still have a work to do. Of these 31 black and blue teams, 10 are conference leaders. That means 21 at-large slots appear to be taken at this stage (it's still early).
--Hence, the Bubble stands at 13 slots right now. That up one from last week, but on Selection Sunday it is usually no more than four or five. Bubble-IN teams are in green, Bubble-OUT are in red.

Last Night's GOI
--at Kentucky 85, Mississippi 75. Rebels are now two back of Miss St in the SEC West.
--at Northwestern 67, Michigan 52. Cats get one they had to have.
--at Villanova 81, Seton Hall 71. 3-6 is not a good conference record when you are Bubbly.
--at Wisconsin 67, Michigan State 49. Badgers send a crystal-clear message about the Big 10-11-12-13-14 title race: "it ain't over 'til it's over."

Tonight's GOI
--South Florida at Georgetown. A chance for USF to stamp themselves as a legit AL candidate.
--UAB at Memphis. Tigers may not be AL quality this year, but they can certainly damage UAB's hopes and knock from league leader status.
--Texas A&M at Missouri. Aggies need it more.
--Wichita State at Northern Iowa. A Panther win means, I'll say it, the Valley race is over. A win by the Shockers fans the embers of their AL hopes and pulls them within a game of UNI.
--William & Mary at Old Dominion. Big CAA tilt with repercussions on many levels.
--Marshall at Tulsa. Two of the better CUSA teams on the far fringe of AL Land.
--Mississippi State at Vanderbilt. Bulldogs are right on the fence, so this would help in a big way. Memorial Gym is a tough venue, though.
--Pitt at West Virginia. Your Wednesday "Clash of the Titans" game.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

BracketBusters 3

The pairings are out, and they were mostly according to expectations. ESPN opted for Morgan State over Buffalo, but otherwise it's the same teams I posted last Thursday with the match ups juggled a bit here or there.

Last Night's GOI

--Lipscomb 60, at Campbell 59. This one did not disappoint as the Bisons clawed out a huge road win and stay one game back of ASUN-leading Jacksonville.
--at Louisville 82, UConn 69. Huskies still 0-for-the-season in true roadies while the Cards get a much-needed win.
--Texas 72, at Oklahoma State 60. 'Horns could not stop James Anderson early, but blasted the Cowboys over the last 35 mins or so.

Tonight's GOI
--Mississippi at Kentucky. Rebels are coming off a miserable home loss to Arkansas or else this would have been a match up of SEC division leaders. Rebs look like a Bubble boy to me.
--Michigan at Northwestern. The next five games will tell us if the Cats are an At-Large contender or not. They have 4/5 at home and the road game is at Iowa. They need to stack up some wins in this stretch.
--Seton Hall at Villanova. SHU is playing to stay on the good side of the Bubble while Nova is vying for a 1-seed.
--Michigan State at Wisconsin. Titanic Big 10-11-12-13-14 tilt.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Bracket Update 2/1

Bracket is up.

At the bottom, there were about six slots truly up for grabs and I took Old Dominion, Seton Hall, Richmond, St. Mary's, Maryland, and Mississippi State over a group that included Marquette, UConn, North Carolina, Wichita State, William & Mary, Northeastern, Louisville, Minnesota, South Carolina, VCU, and Arizona.

Multi-Bid Conference Breakdown
Big East (7): Villanova, Syracuse, Georgetown, West Virginia, Pitt, Cincinnati, Seton Hall
Big 12 (7): Kansas, Texas, Kansas State, Baylor, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M
ACC (6): Duke, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Florida State, Clemson, Maryland
SEC (6): Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Mississippi, Florida, Mississippi State
Atlantic 10 (6): Temple, Rhode Island, Xavier, Charlotte, Dayton, Richmond
Big Ten (4): Michigan State, Purdue, Ohio State, Wisconsin
Colonial (2): George Mason, Old Dominion
Mountain West (3): New Mexico, BYU, UNLV
West Coast (2): Gonzaga, St. Mary's

Tonight's GOI
--Lipscomb at Campbell. One of these two will fall two behind Jacksonville with a loss.
--UConn at Louisville. Huskies still 0-for-the-season in true roadies. Both of these teams just missed the bracket today.
--Texas at Oklahoma State. 'Horns need to stabilize themselves if they want to stay in the Big 12 title race and the 1/2 seed hunt.