Monday, January 10, 2022

Monday Morning Bracketology

1 seed vs 16 seed
Baylor (Big12) vs G.Webb (BigSouth)/Nicholls St (Sland)
Gonzaga (WCC) vs Southern (SWAC)/Howard (MEAC)
UCLA vs Louisiana (Sbelt)
Arizona vs Drexel (CAA)
2 seed vs 15 seed
Duke vs Princeton (Ivy)
Kansas vs Liberty (Asun)
Purdue vs Weber St (Bsky)
MichiganSt (B1G) vs Vermont (Aeast)
3 seed vs 14 seed
USC (Pac12) vs Grand Canyon (WAC)
Auburn (SEC) vs Navy (Pat)
LSU vs UC-Irvine (BigWest)
Villanova (Beast) vs Wagner (NEC)
4 seed vs 13 seed
Ohio St vs Ohio (MAC)
Houston (AAC) vs Chattanooga (SoCon)
Kentucky vs Oakland (Hor)
Iowa State vs S.Dakota St (Summit)
5 seed vs 12 seed
Wisconsin vs LaTech (Cusa)
Xavier vs Iona (MAAC)
Loyola (Mvalley) vs Louisville/Texas A&M
Illinois vs Minnesota/UAB
6 seed vs 11 seed
Alabama vs Belmont (OVC)
Tennessee vs Davidson (A10)
Texas vs San Diego St (Mwest)
Texas Tech vs St. Mary's
7 seed vs 10 seed
Miami (ACC) vs Marquette
Seton Hall vs Wake Forest
Providence vs Creighton
North Carolina vs San Francisco
8 seed vs 9 seed
Iowa vs Florida
BYU vs Connecticut
Oklahoma vs Colorado St
West Virginia vs Indiana
First Four Out
Murray St
Memphis
Virginia Tech
Miss St
Next Four Out
TCU
UCF
Cincinnati
VCU
Also Considered
Monmouth
St. Bonaventure
Utah State
DePaul
Vanderbilt
Virginia
Boise St
Northwestern
Clemson
St. John's
Wyoming
Michigan
Fresno St

Friday, January 7, 2022

Friday Bracketology

1 seed vs 16 seed
Baylor (Big12) vs G.Webb (BigSouth)/Nicholls St (Sland)
Duke (ACC) vs Southern (SWAC)/Howard (MEAC)
Gonzaga (WCC) vs Louisiana (Sbelt)
Kansas vs N.Colorado (Bsky)
2 seed vs 15 seed
UCLA vs Princeton (Ivy)
Arizona vs Liberty (Asun)
Purdue vs James Madison (CAA)
MichiganSt (B1G) vs Vermont (Aeast)
3 seed vs 14 seed
USC (Pac12) vs Grand Canyon (WAC)
Auburn (SEC) vs Navy (Pat)
LSU vs UC-Irvine (BigWest)
Villanova vs Wagner (NEC)
4 seed vs 13 seed
Iowa State vs Ohio (MAC)
Houston (AAC) vs Chattanooga (SoCon)
Alabama vs Oakland (Hor)
Ohio St vs S.Dakota St (Summit)
5 seed vs 12 seed
Kentucky vs UAB (C-USA)
Tennessee vs St. John's (Beast)
Texas vs Miss St/TCU
Xavier vs Belmont (OVC)
6 seed vs 11 seed
Illinois vs Iona (MAAC)
Loyola (Mvalley) vs Davidson (A10)
Wisconsin vs Louisville/Marquette
Colorado St(Mwest) vs San Diego St
7 seed vs 10 seed
Connecticut vs Wake Forest
Seton Hall vs San Francisco
Texas Tech vs Creighton
Providence vs St. Mary's
8 seed vs 9 seed
Iowa vs Florida
BYU vs Minnesota
North Carolina vs Indiana
Oklahoma vs West Virginia
First Four Out
Murray St
Fresno St
Virginia Tech
Miami
Next Four Out
Texas A&M
UCF
Cincinnati
Memphis
Also Considered
Monmouth
St. Bonaventure
Utah State
DePaul
Vanderbilt
Virginia
Louisiana Tech
Northwestern
Clemson
VCU
Wyoming
Michigan
Boise St
Arkansas

Monday, January 3, 2022

Monday Morning Bracketology

1 seed vs 16 seed

Baylor (Big12) vs Campbell (BigSouth)/Nicholls St (Sland)

Duke (ACC) vs T.Southern (SWAC)/Howard (MEAC)

Gonzaga (WCC) vs Louisiana (Sbelt)

Purdue vs Princeton (Ivy)

2 seed vs 15 seed

Arizona vs N.Colorado (Bsky)

MichiganSt (B1G) vs Liberty (Asun)

UCLA vs Navy (Pat)

Kansas vs UC-Irvine (BigWest)

3 seed vs 14 seed

USC (Pac12) vs New Mexico St (WAC)

Houston (AAC) vs Ohio (MAC)

Ohio St vs Vermont (Aeast)

Villanova vs Wagner (NEC)

4 seed vs 13 seed

Auburn (SEC) vs Towson (Col)

Kentucky vs Chatanooga (SoCon)

Alabama vs Oakland (Hor)

LSU vs S.Dakota St (Summit)

5 seed vs 12 seed

Iowa State vs UAB (C-USA)

Tennessee vs Iona (MAAC)

Texas vs Davidson (A10)

Xavier vs Belmont (OVC)

6 seed vs 11 seed

Illinois vs TCU/UCF

Texas Tech vs Creighton/S.Diego St

Providence (Beast) vs St. Mary's

Uconn vs Arkansas

7 seed vs 10 seed

Loyola (Mvalley) vs Creighton

Seton Hall vs Virginia Tech

Colorado St(Mwest) vs Indiana

Iowa vs Michigan

8 seed vs 9 seed

Wisconsin vs San Francisco

BYU vs West Virginia

UNC vs Florida

Oklahoma vs Minnesota

Sunday, January 2, 2022

As We Enter 2022

 Welcome to 2022. Let’s jump in and see where we are as enter the heart of conference play.


The Contenders

These are the teams that currently profile as legitimate national title contenders. For me to consider a team, they must have a top-20 KenPom offense or defense. As of January 2, these are the teams that fit that profile.


Baylor, 5th AdjO, 4th AdjD

Gonzaga, 2nd AdjO, 14th AdjD

Houston, 7th AdjO, 5th AdjD

Duke, 6th AdjO, 21th AdjD

Kentucky, 8th AdjD, 18th AdjD

Auburn, 21st O, 6th AdjD

UCLA, 14th AdjO, 19th AdjD

21 is good enough since Baylor was 21st on defense last year.


The Flawed

Purdue is the best offense in the land but 60th in defense

Kansas is 3rd in AdjustedO but 32nd in defense 


LSU is 1st in AdjustedD but 80th in offense 

Tennessee is 2nd but 43rd in offense



Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Bracketology - 1st of the Year

 And Bracketology is back!

1 seed vs 16 seed

Baylor (Big12) vs Campbell (BigSouth)/Nicholls St (Sland)

Duke (ACC) vs T.Southern (SWAC)/Howard (MEAC)

Gonzaga (WCC) vs Liberty (Asun)

Purdue vs Princeton (Ivy)

2 seed vs 15 seed

Arizona vs Weber St (BigSky)

Michigan St (Big10) vs Texas St (Sbelt)

UCLA vs Navy (Pat)

Kansas vs UC-Irvine (BigWest)

3 seed vs 14 seed

USC (Pac12) vs New Mexico St (WAC)

Houston (AAC) vs Toledo (MAC)

LSU (SEC) vs Vermont (Aeast)

Villanova vs Wagner (NEC)

4 seed vs 13 seed

Ohio St vs Towson (Col)

Iowa State vs Chatanooga (SoCon)

Tennessee vs Oakland (Hor)

Auburn vs S.Dakota St (Summit)

5 seed vs 12 seed

Kentucky vs UAB (C-USA)

Alabama vs Iona (MAAC)

Seton Hall vs Davidson (A10)

Xavier vs Belmont (OVC)

6 seed vs 11 seed

Texas vs S.Diego St/N'Western

Illinois vs Creighton/Miss St

Texas Tech vs St. Mary's

Uconn vs Arkansas

7 seed vs 10 seed

Loyola (Mvalley) vs Wake Forest

Providence (Beast) vs Virginia Tech

Colorado St(Mwest) vs San Francisco

Iowa vs Indiana

8 seed vs 9 seed

West Virginia vs Florida

Wisconsin vs UNC

BYU vs Oklahoma

Michigan vs Minnesota

First Four Out

Murray St

Fresno St

UCF

Utah State

Next Four Out

TCU

Cincinnati

DePaul

Clemson

Also Considered

Marquette

Monmouth

Memphis

St. Bonaventure

Louisville

Wyoming


Saturday, December 11, 2021

So, the ACC

The ACC is bad this year. It’s Duke and who knows. James Madison beat Virginia. DePaul went to Louisville and won last night. So, is the ACC historically bad or is this what the league is now? The results surprised me.

I looked at KenPom conference rankings for the last decade or so and this is what we found. I broke it down into 3 distinct periods.

Covid Years
2021-22 +12.17 5th in the nation 
2020-21 +13.22 5th in the nation
2019-20 +11.45 4th in the nation

Post-Expansion
2018-19 +15.33 3rd in the nation; National Champion Virginia
2017-18 +15.71 2nd in the nation
2016-17 +16.02 2nd in the nation; National Champion UNC
2015-16 +16.70 2nd in the nation; Runner-Up UNC, Syracuse Final 4
2014-15 +13.61 3rd in the nation; National Champion Duke
2013-14 +13.04 3rd in the nation 

Pre-Expansion (Limited to 3 years, post-Duke title)
2012-13 +11.09 6th in the nation 
2011-12 +10.02 5th in the nation
2010-11 +13.16 3rd in the nation

My thesis as I thought about this was expansion was a losing bet by the league. I think I’m wrong and it’s as simple as a covid-issue or the cyclical nature of sports. It’s simply possible the league is down. UNC is in a mini-reboot and Louisville is finally paying the price for its many transgressions. Syracuse is worth a closer case study and I doubt their long term prognosis post-Boeheim is good in the ACC.

Virginia is having its Maryland post-title hangover right now as well. It’s  possible and maybe likely they’ve peaked as a program under Tony Bennett. That’s not a shot at Bennett but it wouldn’t be the first time the mountain was climbed and there was no return.

The league has a lot of mediocrity right now and there’s an opportunity for someone to rise up and challenge Tobacco Road. Georgia Tech, Maryland and Wake Forest have done it in the past. I just don’t know who it is right now.

The 3 years prior to expansion weren’t great. The league was better post-expansion and for whatever reason has stagnated the last 3 years. It’s possible revenue is or becomes an issue that continues this stagnation. The ACC TV deal is dwarfed by what the Big 14 and SEC get. While that is seen as primarily a football dividing force, those leagues can afford better facilities and coaches. The league probably should be weary of being raided, despite contracts.

The ACC is in a weird spot. The basketball league, it’s bread and butter is having a bad year. Whatever the cause, it’s something that needs fixing sooner than later.

Friday, December 3, 2021

The Maryland Problem

Mark Turgeon stepped down as coach at Maryland today after a decade on the sideline. Turgeon replaced Gary Williams who had been at Maryland for 20 years.


The Terps were co-champs of the Big 14 in 2020, the highlight of the Turgeon era. Did you remember that? Don’t worry, most people didn’t. He also had one Sweet 16, back in 2016. That was the Terps only trip to the 2nd weekend since 2003.


Turgeon isn’t a bad coach. He was just a weird fit in Maryland. He took the the job before the move to the Big 14 and that had to change his approach to the job and it never seemed to have any momentum. He had success at Wichita State and Texas A&M and it seems plausible something along those lines will make sense in the future. It was reported he actually wanted the Marquette job this past summer.


The bigger issue in this story is what is Maryland basketball in 2021? Before the move to the Big 14, Maryland was what Virginia is now, the foil to the blue bloods of Tobacco Road. Though Virginia doesn’t play the “world (ACC offices) is against us” game, they’ve seemlessly replaced Maryland in the role of foil. 


In the Big 14, they’re just another faceless team. They have no natural rival. The pocketbooks are fatter but the program the school prided itself on is a nondescript entity playing against Penn State and Nebraska on a random weeknight. Maryland-Duke, Maryland-UNC was must see TV. Can you name one time Maryland was a must see game in the Big 14? The answer is no.


Maryland isn’t a blue blood but they broke through and won a title this century. Florida, UVA and Baylor have done the same. It’s a small fraternity to be part of. They seem further away from getting back there than ever. Maybe they shouldn’t compete for a title every year but they should matter. They haven’t in a long time and I’m not sure they will as long as they’re just another uniform in a league they don’t belong.