Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Wednesday Updates


Well, the 5 bubble teams went 0-5 last night.  Every year I hear how soft the bubble is but I actually believe it this year.  Indiana and Nebraska are 5-11 and 4-11 in conference and are a 3 game winning streak from being solidly IN the bracket!

Tonight’s Bubble games:

Villanova (5) vs Georgetown (AC)
The Hoyas have no room for error until the conference tournament

Florida (12) vs LSU (4)
LSU could be ripe for a let down game and Florida needs this game.  Their computer numbers are great but they need a signature win.  This could be it

Boston College vs North Carolina State (11)
North Carolina State is flipping between 11 and 12 but this would be a bad loss and would drop them to right on the cut line

Xavier vs Seton Hall (11)
Seton Hall doesn’t have to win but a loss is not good at this point

Arkansas (NF) vs Auburn (8)
Auburn is got some funky numbers but safely in.  Arkansas could really use a Quad 1 road win

Northwestern vs Ohio State (10)
6-8 in the Big Ten and solidly in the bracket…welcome to 2019

Butler (FF) vs Marquette (3)
Butler needs this win more than any team tonight.  Marquette is almost unbeatable at home.  A win for the Bulldogs and they leap frog both of the next two listed below

Stanford vs Arizona State (12)
ASU is the last team in today’s bracket.  That might tell you what they need to do tonight.

New Mexico vs Utah State (12)
Utah State is one team in front of Arizona State.  This would be a worse loss than Stanford.

Tonight is important for a lot of 12 seed teams.  Oh, and Duke plays North Carolina.  It’s on!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Tuesday Bubble Games


Dayton at Davidson
Davidson is one of my First Four out and cannot afford any slip ups until the conference tournament.  Home court is big tonight

Purdue at Indiana
How sad is it that at 13-12 Indiana is still one Lunardi’s First Four out?  I have them also considered as I know they can get hot and win 3-4 in a row.  A win tonight over Purdue is going to move them into the Next Four out category.  Two losses and they are done

Nebraska at Penn State
Again, how sad is it that at 5-10 in conference Nebraska is one of my Next Four out.  A NET of 38 and KenPom of 33 will keep a team like this in consideration

Florida State at Clemson
Clemson is one of my last 4 in.  A win against Louisville on Saturday would have been huge but this would almost make up for it although it is at home

Alabama at Texas A&M
Alabama is in a weird situation.  I have them as an 11 but I’ve seen them anywhere in between a 9 and 12.  A road win would help their computer numbers but they are smack dab in the middle of the bubble right now

Monday, February 18, 2019

Monday Bracketology

1 seed vs 16 seed
Duke (ACC) vs St.Francis(NEC)/NorfolkSt(MEAC)
Gonzaga (WCC) vs P.View(SWAC)/Quinnipiac(MAAC)
Virginia vs S.Houston(Sland)
Tennessee(SEC) vs Bucknell (Patriot)
2 seed vs 15 seed
Michigan State vs Montana (Bsky)
Kentucky vs Drake (Mvalley)
North Carolina vs Radford (Bsouth)
Michigan (B1G) vs Texas State (Sbelt)
3 seed vs 14 seed
Houston (AAC) vs UC-Irvine (Bwest)
Marquette vs N.Kentucky(Horizon)
Nevada (Mwest) vs Old Dominion (Cusa)
Kansas vs S.Dakota St (Summit)
4 seed vs 13 seed
Purdue vs Yale (Ivy)
LSU vs Vermont (Aeast)
Texas Tech vs N.Mexico St (WAC)
Louisville vs Belmont (OVC)
5 seed vs 12 seed
Iowa vs Hofstra(Colonial)
Iowa St. vs Florida/Utah State
Wisconsin vs Oklahoma/Clemson
Florida St. vs UCF
6 seed vs 11 seed
Virginia Tech vs Temple
Villanova (Beast) vs Texas
Kansas St (B12) vs North Carolina St
Maryland vs Lipscomb (Asun)
7 seed vs 10 seed
Buffalo (MAC) vs Minnesota
Cincinnati vs Seton Hall
Mississippi St. vs Ohio St.
Washington (P12) vs TCU
8 seed vs 9 seed
Mississippi vs Wofford (SoCon)
St. John's vs Baylor
Auburn vs VCU (A10)
Syracuse vs Alabama
First Four Out
Arizona State
Butler
Furman
Davidson
Next Four Out
Nebraska
San Francisco
Liberty
St. Mary's
Also Considered
Arkansas
Creighton
Indiana
Toledo
Oregon
Georgetown
Murray State
Fresno St

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Weekly Top 10 Looks Ahead

10. Michigan - Weird week. Sloppy loss at Penn State, relatively easy win at home over Maryland. Five regular season games remain, including trips to Maryland and Michigan State and a home tilt with Sparty. Also have a trip to the Barn to take on Minnesota to take on a desperate and capable Gophers team. Projected Finish: KenPom 4-1, Eric 2-3

9. Marquette - Quiet week with an easy win at DePaul. Six games remain, split equally at home and road. Road trips include trips to Jersey and Philly. Projected Finish: KenPom 5-1, Eric 4-2

8. Nevada - Won easily at Wyoming yesterday. Six games remain with their toughest tilt at Utah State two Saturdays from now. Projected Finish: KenPom 6-0, Eric 5-1

7. Michigan State - Won a game at the Trohl Center and play Ohio State today. Six games remain with 4 at home and 2 on the road. Includes 2 games with Michigan and a trip to Indiana who beat Sparty in East Lansing a few weeks back. Indiana looks like a team that is mailed it in, though. Projected Finish: KenPom 5-1, Eric 5-1

6. North Carolina - Started the week with a loss at home to Virginia but followed it up with a throttling of Wake Forest. Schedule is daunting. Two games remain with Duke and have to go to Clemson. They also have home tilts with Florida State and Syracuse. Projected Finish: KenPom 4-2, Eric 3-3

5. Kentucky - Split home games with LSU and Tennessee this week, losing at the horn to the Tigers and walloping Tennessee last night. Six games remain including a return trip to Knoxville and Ole Miss. They also have Auburn at Rupp. Tough schedule remains. Projected Finish: KenPom 5-1, Eric 4-2

4. Tennessee - Last night was one of those nights as Kentucky outshot them. But that may prove to be their ondoing as the Vols defense is a concern moving forward. So is the schedule. Kentucky comes calling and road games remain at LSU, Auburn and Ole Miss. They also have Mississippi State at home. That’s daunting. Projected Finish: KenPom 5-1, Eric 3-3

3. Virginia - Great win at UNC Monday and a typical Cavalier grinder yesterday over Notre Dame. Six games remain including trips to Virginia Polytechnic and Louisville this week. They close the season with a trip to Syracuse and with a return home engagement against Louisville. Given the Cardinals inability to inbounds the ball, I have a hard time believing they will challenge Virginia. Projected Finish: KenPom 6-0, Eric 5-1

2. Gonzaga - I can’t find it but I saw a stat saying the Zags have the largest conference point differential ever, topping the mark they set in 2017. The WCC is much better this year, too. Four games remain including a trip to St. Mary’s. The Gaels will want that one badly. Not sure that matters. Projected Finish: KenPom 4-0, Eric 4-0

1. Duke - After the improbable win at Louisville, they followed it up with a win over NC State. Six games remain with trips to Blacksburg, the Carrier Dome and Dean Dome. They also have a home game against UNC. It’ll be a good 3-week test for the Blue Devils. Projected Finish: KenPom 6-0, Eric 5-1 

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Conference USA

Last year, when Brian and I did the quick conference tournament previews, I mentioned to him I thought the league should be better than it is. In 2018, they had 3 teams inside the KenPom top 100, 2 in the top 50. Marshall would win the league tournament and finished the year 105th in KenPom. The league finished 11th overall in KenPom’s league rankings.

Fast forward a year later and the league sits 17th overall in KenPom’s league rankings with not one team in the top 100. The league sits behind the WAC and Ivy among others. That shouldn’t be the case.

The league doesn’t have Cincinnati or Louisville or Memphis anymore. Those halcyon days are over but they have schools with resources and schools with basketball history. They include 3 schools that have made Final Fours in Western Kentucky, UTEP and Charlotte. Even UAB has made 3 Sweet 16’s. 

Western Kentucky has underachieved this year. They beat Wisconsin but lost to Indiana State and Troy. My hunch is they’re better than 113th in KenPom but the results speak for themselves. 

The disappointing programs reside in El Paso and Charlotte. UTEP isn’t likely to win another national championship. 1966 was a unique event. Still, they’ve been to 17 NCAA tournaments. Texas is loaded with talent. They currently are 260ty in KenPom. In their defense, they have one upperclassmen getting minutes but they’re bad.

Charlotte was a regular contender in the original days of the Conference USA. They have been to a Final 4. Following the 2005 season, they left for the A-10. They finished 2005 54th overall. That’s the best they have finished a season since then. Bobby Lutz last season was 2010 when they finished 96th in KenPom. Since then, they’ve never finished in the KenPom top 100. Coincidentally or not, the basketball slide began with the reintroduction of football.

As with a lot of leagues, football has hurt and driven Conference USA. The Big East raided it first, then the AAC. Many of the member schools have focused on football and that has probably hurt the basketball programs. Even with that, there is no reason for this league not to have 3-4 schools knocking on the door to the tournament. 

We’ll give credit to Old Dominion and Jeff Jones who has had the Monarchs as consistent contenders in the league since he got there. Let’s see if some others can step up in the league and match their consistency.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Friday Bracketology

1 seed vs 16 seed
Tennessee(SEC) vs BobMorris(NEC)/NorfolkSt(MEAC)
Duke (ACC) vs P.View(SWAC)/Monmouth(MAAC)
Gonzaga (WCC) vs S.Houston(Sland)
Virginia vs Bucknell (Patriot)
2 seed vs 15 seed
Michigan State vs Montana (Bsky)
Kentucky vs Loyola (Mvalley)
North Carolina vs Radford (Bsouth)
Michigan (B1G) vs Texas State (Sbelt)
3 seed vs 14 seed
Houston (AAC) vs UC-Irvine (Bwest)
Marquette vs N.Kentucky(Horizon)
Nevada (Mwest) vs Old Dominion (Cusa)
Kansas vs S.Dakota St (Summit)
4 seed vs 13 seed
Purdue vs Yale (Ivy)
Villanova (Beast) vs Vermont (Aeast)
LSU vs N.Mexico St (WAC)
Louisville vs Belmont (OVC)
5 seed vs 12 seed
Texas Tech vs Hofstra(Colonial)
Wisconsin vs Florida/Utah State
Florida St. vs Oklahoma/Clemson
Iowa St. vs Texas
6 seed vs 11 seed
Maryland vs Temple
Virginia Tech vs Seton Hall
Kansas St (B12) vs Minnesota
Iowa vs Lipscomb (Asun)
7 seed vs 10 seed
Buffalo (MAC) vs UCF
Cincinnati vs North Carolina St
Mississippi St. vs VCU (A10)
Washington (P12) vs Alabama
8 seed vs 9 seed
Ohio St. vs Wofford (SoCon)
Mississippi vs Auburn
Baylor vs Syracuse
TCU vs St. John's
First Four Out
Indiana
Toledo
Arizona State
Butler
Next Four Out
Arkansas
Creighton
Furman
Davidson
Also Considered
San Francisco
Oregon
Georgetown
Nebraska
Murray State
Fresno St
St. Mary's
UNCG
Liberty

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Blind Resume Game


Time to play the hidden resume game.  Four of these six teams are in my current bracket.  I hesitate to list the overall record because I think it gives away the teams but I will put it out there.  As I said, 4 of these teams are currently in my bracket while both Jerry Palm and Joe Lunardi had 3 of them in as of their last bracket (Monday/Tuesday).  Review and pick your top 4 and I will reveal the names tomorrow.

Indiana
Lipscomb
Texas
Utah St
Florida
Clemson
Record
13-11
20-5
14-11
19-6
13-11
15-9
Road Record
2-7
9-3
2-5
6-4
2-5
2-5
NET
49
30
34
38
42
39
NET Q1
4-8
2-3
4-6
1-2
1-9
2-6
NET Q2
2-3
2-2
4-4
2-2
3-1
2-3
RPI
74
58
43
51
75
53
KenPom
45
40
27
42
38
32
BPI (ESPN)
43
43
30
54
36
31
SoR
124
55
10
47
137
120
NCSOS
54
39
55
56
62
43

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Wednesday Recovery

Last night was one of those nights we get from time-to-time in college hoops where it feels like the opening weekend of the tournament. Let’s recap.

Blue Bloods Bonkers

Duke went into Louisville off a weekend win at Virginia. Realistically, splitting those games would have been great. Louisville has been far better than imagined. Coming off a loss to Florida State in overtime in a game they probably should have won, the Cards were motivated and jumped Duke. They lead by 9 at half and quickly stretched it to 23. They lead by 19 with 6:30 left and lost. They lead at that point 62-43 and lost 71-69. Classic Duke 28-7 run to win it. Once again, Zion Williamson was amazing, going 9-15 from the field with 12 boards. He was also a cool 8-9 from the line.

It was not much better for the other blue blood in the Commonwealth as LSU won a last second tip-in to win at Kentucky after trailing by 8 at half. Controversy surrounded the last play as it appeared LSU probably goaltended but it the refs also missed a goaltend by Kentucky as the original shot went up. LSU has a chance to win the SEC should Tennessee falter with the win last night. 

Big Ten

The top Big Ten contenders all were in action last night with Michigan State coming out the big winner after grinding out a win at the Hauser Center. The Badgers failed to reach 60 points for the 3rd consecutive game and that was after scoring 38 in the first half.

Maryland held serve at home and beat Purdue in relatively easy fashion. They trailed by 8 at half and out scored Purdue 40-18 in the second half. They did so by shooting 8-27 from 3, so they didn’t exactly shoot their way to a comeback. We should note that 18-point half. For a team 4th in offensive efficiency, that is an interesting half.

At the arena of sadness, Michigan lost at Penn State in a game they were effectively out of by halftime. John Beilein has enough of Big Ten officiating and was tossed at the half. More concerning for the Wolverines was giving up 75 to a mediocre Penn State team. If they don’t win the league, this game will haunt them.

Markus Howard 

Howard did Howard things again last night. He scored 36 points on 21 shots and only 4 3’s. Amazingly, he missed 2 free throws, going 8-10 from the stripe. In “rebounding margin” isn’t a thing, DePaul outrebounded the Golden Eagles by 11 and it didn’t matter at all. DePaul was also 7-13 from 3 and it didn’t matter. This is a fun Marquette team.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Monday Bracketology

1 seed vs 16 seed
Tennessee(SEC) vs BobMorris(NEC)/NorfolkSt(MEAC)
Duke (ACC) vs P.View(SWAC)/Monmouth(MAAC)
Gonzaga (WCC) vs S.Houston(Sland)
Virginia vs Bucknell (Patriot)
2 seed vs 15 seed
Kentucky vs Montana (Bsky)
North Carolina vs Loyola (Mvalley)
Michigan (B1G) vs Radford (Bsouth)
Michigan State vs Texas State (Sbelt)
3 seed vs 14 seed
Nevada (Mwest) vs UC-Irvine (Bwest)
Houston (AAC) vs N.Kentucky(Horizon)
Purdue vs Old Dominion (Cusa)
Marquette vs S.Dakota St (Summit)
4 seed vs 13 seed
Louisville vs Yale (Ivy)
Kansas vs Vermont (Aeast)
Villanova (Beast) vs N.Mexico St (WAC)
Wisconsin vs Belmont (OVC)
5 seed vs 12 seed
Texas Tech vs Hofstra(Colonial)
LSU vs Temple/Florida
Florida St. vs Clemson/Arizona State
Iowa St. vs Texas
6 seed vs 11 seed
Maryland vs UCF
Virginia Tech vs Lipscomb (Asun)
Kansas St (B12) vs Seton Hall
Iowa vs North Carolina St
7 seed vs 10 seed
Buffalo (MAC) vs VCU (A10)
Cincinnati vs St. John's
Mississippi St. vs Oklahoma
Ohio St. vs Wofford (SoCon)
8 seed vs 9 seed
Washington (P12) vs Baylor
Mississippi vs TCU
Syracuse vs Alabama
Minnesota vs Auburn
First Four Out
Arkansas
Utah State
Butler
Toledo
Next Four Out
Indiana
Creighton
Arizona
Furman
Also Considered
San Francisco
UNCG
Oregon
Georgetown
Nebraska
Murray State
Fresno St
Davidson
Liberty