Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Anatomy of the Bracket Part III Projected Bids by Conference

By Nate Noy

A number of significant events occurred yesterday in the conference tournaments.

I believe Va Tech’s win puts them in, and along with Michigan’s win, drops Marquette out of the tournament. Additionally, even though it was one of the ugliest games since my sister’s 8th grade basketball season, Penn State is now on the bubble by taking out Wisconsin.

Also, a number of games had a major impact on the projected seedings. Here are my thoughts by conference as we close in on the selections:

Big East (10)
Pitt: As mentioned earlier in the week, last year Syracuse went 15-3 in Big East play, wining the regular season title and losing in its first conference tournament game; the reward was a #1 seed. I believe Pitt will enjoy the same fate this year.
Notre Dame: For now, they drop back to the #2 line, with an outside chance at a #1 if Duke goes down.
Louisville: They have played their way into a solid #3 and a win tomorrow likely pushes them to the 2 line.
Syracuse: Had they won the tournament, I thought they would grab a #2 seed, with the loss to UConn I have to place them back on the 4 line.
UConn: Or is that the U of Kemba Walker? Four wins in four days, do I hear 5? Clearly, they have earned at a minimum a #4 seed even if they get crushed by Louisville, with a shot at a #3 right now thanks to such an impressive run; win the next one and the 3 line should be a lock. This looks like the team from Maui.
The next five are where I had them previously: St Johns (5), WVU (6), Georgetown (6), UC (8) and Nova (9).
Marquette: Very debatable, and most still have them in, but I believe it is more likely now that they are a #1 seed in the NIT -- thus making them one of my last four out.

Big Ten (6)
OSU: Survived OT thanks to Sullinger, no question now they WILL either be the first or second overall #1 seed.
Purdue: The hammering they took at the hands of MSU, coupled with last week’s loss to IA, drops them to the 3 line.
Wisconsin: Ugly is an understatement for what they looked like against PSU. I drop them to the 5 line after that.
Illinois: Tough loss against Michigan, but still safely in at the 9 or 10 line.
Michigan State: By dismantling Purdue, I move them from play-in status to at least the 11 line, with a chance to move up with another win against PSU.
Michigan: Back in after the big win over Illinois, looks like the 11 line with a chance to be in the play-in game if they get thumped by the Buckeyes.
Penn State: Should be a safe bet for a #1 seed in the NIT now. Moves into my last four out group, a win against MSU puts them right in the mix, but it likely would take that and a VERY close game against OSU for them to take an at large; however, they are not done yet, and could even still take the auto-bid.

SEC (6)
Florida: Not much has changed for them, win against Vandy and the 3 line should be a safe bet.
Kentucky: A #3 is not out of the question if they win the next two games, for now still on the 4 line.
Vanderbilt: A win against Florida puts them in strong contention for a top-16 seed, otherwise safely on the 5 line.
Tennessee: They have had 8/9 or 7/10 written all over them for a while now. I see them still on the 9 line.
Alabama: Most so-called “experts” still have them out. I think the Committee will reward them for the wins over UK, Tenn, and GA twice, coupled with the 12 regular-season SEC wins. Will I be “shocked” if they are left out? No. But I think the Committee will give them an 11 or 12 seed and perhaps make them “play-in."
Georgia: A tough OT loss to Bama, but after further review, I think they are still in (at the expense of Colorado who they beat head-to-head). They are pretty much in the same position as Bama when it comes to seeding, the high RPI “could” push them as high as the 10 line, but I think the 11 or 12 is more likely.

Big 12 (5)
Kansas: Even a loss to Texas will not keep this team off the 1 line; the only question now is if a big win against Texas could be enough for the #1 overall.
Texas: With Purdue fading like they did and Syracuse losing, I have Texas back on the 2 line.
Texas A&M: Should still be a good bet for the 5 line and will fall no lower than 6.
Kansas State: All the losses to Colorado hurt, but the wins over Texas and Kansas keep them on the 7 line.
Missouri: Looks like another classic 8/9 team with the way they faded at the end against quality opponents, could end up as high as 7.
Colorado: A wild card as I previously called them. Others have them in, and I have gone back and forth on this team, but the loss to Georgia and the low RPI and SOS should be just enough for them to be another #1 seed in the NIT and one of my last four teams out.

ACC (5)
Duke: I now have Duke back on the #1 line with the ND loss. Winning the next two days should lock it up.
UNC: Survived a serious scare against Miami, looks like a solid #3 still with a shot to land a #2.
FSU: The last second loss to Va Tech likely drops them to the 9 or 10 line.
Clemson: Destroyed BC and should be safe; I have them on the 10 line for now.
Va Tech: A big win over FSU; I now project them to be one of the play-in teams.
BC: Now looks to be a #1 or #2 seed, in the NIT, that is. One of my last four out.

Pac 10 (3)
Arizona v UW is a classic match-up and I believe a win by Arizona keeps them on the 4 line even though the conference has been weak this year. UW and UCLA are likely to land on the 9-11 lines with UW still in play for a 7 should they win. One thing is for sure, the NIT will be filled with Pac 10 teams this year.

MWC (3)
I now believe the winner of BYU/SDST gets a #2 and the loser gets a #3. I had BYU down at the 4 line, but they have been redeemed thanks to the Jimmer. UNLV should be a solid 7.

Atlantic 10 (3)
The Xavier loss opens things up for Temple even more, but they have to get by Richmond. I would not be shocked to see a Richmond v Dayton final on Sunday, and I still believe the A10 is in line for three bids, as long as Temple does not crush Richmond tomorrow and something crazy like Utah State losing does not happen.

CAA (2)
I have seen a few people add VCU to the safe pick of George Mason and the auto-bid ODU. But with an RPI of 50, I believe there are already 8 other more deserving candidates for the 8 at large spots I expect to come from the non-BCS schools.

WCC (2)
Saint Mary’s is still an at-large for me with the auto-big Gonzaga. They played Weber State and dismantled them in one last regular season game on Friday. The top-50 RPI, the solid non-conference schedule and the politics of giving at least 8 at large bids to the non-BCS schools should be enough to get SMC in.

MVC (2)
Missouri State should make it along with the auto-bid Indiana State for many of the same reasons as SMC, but they are still vulnerable to either a Utah State or Harvard loss.

Conference USA (2)
I still like UTEP to win at home against Memphis. A Memphis win and I believe UAB will be safe for the 2nd C-USA bid; a UTEP win and Memphis will get serious consideration. There is an outside chance all three make it, but this conference is more likely to only get the two bids (some “experts” still contend this is a 1-bid conference).

Ivy (1/2)
I firmly believe Harvard is in win or lose against Princeton. However, Princeton must win to get in, all bubble teams will be pulling for Harvard in this one, and a win should get them to the 12 line at worst, with a strong chance for the 11.

Note the other 18 conferences are safely single-bid conferences barring a Utah State loss.

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