Friday, December 31, 2010


This is not a full-on Lockbox, but rather a "pre-Lockbox." This has all the conference leaders (potential automatic bids) along with the at-large teams that seem (to me) nearly certain given their performance thus far. Now, it is still very early, but I would be utterly shocked if any of the 13 at-large teams I put in somehow miss the bracket in March.

The purpose of this pre-Lockbox is to give a sense of how many AL slots are actually out there. I have reasons for choosing these leaders and AL teams, but it's pretty easy to poke holes in my logic at this early stage. The picture will become clearer and clearer as we go along.

Remember, with the expansion to a 68 team bracket, there are now 37 slots for AL teams. So, if these 13 are pretty much certain, the rest of hoops nation is battling for about 24 invitations if they do not win their league's auto bid.

I will put together a full Lockbox soon and an initial bracket sometime before mid-January.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sunny Opportunities II

The Belt made good on 4/6 games Tuesday night, with Troy picking up its first win of the season on a neutral court vs Western Michigan.

More opportunities await on Wednesday.

--Oral Roberts vs UALR
--Idaho State vs Troy
--Northern Colorado at UL-Monroe
--Arkansas State at Missouri State

One big one:
--North Texas at LSU

One MASSIVE one:
--Louisville at WKU

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sunny Opportunities

The Sun Belt has a load of chances to finish the non-conference with a flurry over the next couple of days.

--UA-Pine Bluff at Denver. Pioneers need all the wins they can get, and UAPB hasn't broken through in the W column to date.
--Vanderbilt at Middle Tennessee. It doesn't get much bigger than this for Belt home games.
--Alcorn State at South Alabama. USA also faces a winless SWAC team.
--UL-Lafayette at New Mexico State. Cajuns have already fallen to the Aggies at home this season.
--UALR at Akron. Tough one, but a chance to score a good win here on a neutral court.
--Western Michigan at Troy. Trojans still seeking their first win.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Project Mockingbird 2011

This is pretty much a re-post of last year's call to create your own Mock Selection Committee. Only one other group apart from TBB gave this a shot, with some mixed results. The "Omaha Group" got pretty far into the process, but had to throw in the towel before totally completing the deal. I am hoping Team Omaha can give it a shot again this year.

So, do you want to go beyond the bracket? Want to demystify the selection process? Want to free yourself of parroting the IN/OUT claims of "bracketologists"? Do it yourself. No, do not put 65 teams together yourself. There are a great number of people who already do that pretty well.

Instead, become a recruiter and a facilitator. Don't be an army of one, but a oligarchy of ten (or seven or four...). Wrangle up some friends who 1) love college hoops, 2) have a high tolerance for reading tedious rules and regulations, 3) enjoy voting, 4) REALLY enjoy voting, 5) can devote a lot of time reviewing resumes in February and March, and 6) can block off March 12 and 13 on their calendars.

If you have a group that fits the criteria above, all you need is a meeting place be it physical or virtual (I've participated in "mock" committees that have done both).

TBB will keep you posted on where we are in our sixth version of our own committee (the South Central Kentucky Selection Simulation Project or SCKySSiP [SKISS-up]), but your home grown version can start by reviewing the NCAA Men's Selection Committee Principles and Procedures which is generally referred to as the "selection criteria."

Also, here is a page that has a bunch of List 8 ballots and an S-Curve. More stuff will be posted as the season goes along, but the selection criteria and these docs are the building blocks. I am here to help you answer logistical questions about how to vote, meet, how much time this will take, etc. I can only share my own experience, but I have done it six times, so I might be able to save you some headaches on the front end. More on Mockingbird as the season progresses.

This is the ultimate DIY Project for college hoops junkies. The way we do it is not perfect, but we have learned a lot over the years and there is great value in replicating the process versus guessing what the actual committee will do. Huge difference. This is active learning at its finest.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pre-Xmas Watch List

Pay attention to these below-the-radar clubs. No need to track the power conferences, as anyone winning will get plenty of watching.

Vermont (7-2). So, the Siena win looks less impressive, but they also won at Quinnipiac (no slouch), and their losses are to UConn and BYU. They currently have a top 50 RPI as well. At-large is a real long shot, but the Catamounts are playing well.

Belmont (6-2). No bad losses, and they have trounced everyone not name Vandy or Tennessee except MTSU, whom the Bruins beat in OT. The efficiency numbers like them, too.

Old Dominion (8-2). Won the Paradise Jam and toting wins over Clemson, Xavier, Richmond and Dayton. Lost at Delaware, but still, the Monarchs are in a strong position.

UCF (7-0). Win over Florida...and everyone they have played.

Cleveland State (10-0). Not the strongest of schedules, but still blemish-free and 2-0 in conference (both road wins).

The Ivy. 8/10 teams are .500 or better with three in the Top 100 RPI at this early stage (Harvard, Princeton, Yale).