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Bracketology – February 28, 2014

Here’s a Friday morning update on bracketology following this week’s first four days of games. We’ll have another post up following this weekend’s games, which are terrific by the way. Syracuse at Virginia is probably the highlight of the weekend. But there are some other great games in both the Big 12 and the American as well.

Big 12 matchups include Kansas/Oklahoma State, Iowa State/Kansas State, and Texas/Oklahoma. And in the American, four of those top five teams in the league are facing off, with Louisville traveling to Memphis and UConn hosting Cincinnati. The premiere A-10 matchup is also Saturday, with Saint Louis making the trip to face VCU. And Creighton has a tough test at Xavier. Those are eight matchups that I can get behind on Saturday, as should you.

But before then, there’s a bracket projection to consider. The link to the bracket immediately follows this paragraph. The seed list from 1 to 68 is below, along with Last 4 IN, First 4 OUT, and Next 4 OUT. Bids by conference is further down the page as well.

Bracketology – February 28, 2014 (CLICK HERE)

  • 1 – Arizona, Syracuse, Florida, Wichita State
  • 2 – Kansas, Creighton, Villanova, Wisconsin
  • 3 – Duke, Michigan State, Iowa State, Michigan
  • 4 – Virginia, San Diego State, Cincinnati, Louisville
  • 5 – St. Louis, North Carolina, Ohio State, Texas
  • 6 – UConn, Kentucky, UCLA, Oklahoma
  • 7 – New Mexico, Iowa, UMass, VCU
  • 8 – SMU, Kansas State, Memphis, Arizona State
  • 9 – Stanford, George Washington, Pittsburgh, Xavier
  • 10 – Gonzaga, St. Joseph’s, Colorado, Baylor
  • 11 – California, Oklahoma State, BYU, Minnesota
  • 12 – Providence, Arkansas, Green Bay, Harvard, North Dakota State
  • 13 – Stephen F. Austin, Toledo, LA Tech, Iona
  • 14 – Delaware, Belmont, New Mexico State, Mercer
  • 15 – UC-Santa Barbara, Georgia State, North Carolina Central, Boston University
  • 16 – Vermont, Davidson, Weber State, Robert Morris, VMI, Alabama State

Stock Up/Stock Down Report: February 17, 2014

Here’s this week’s Stock Up/Stock Down report, which you’ll notice is no longer found in the Monday Bracketology post. There’s some people who come here for strictly the bracket, and there’s some who come for extra analysis. To satisfy both of those people, we’ll let the Bracket be the main focus of the Bracketology post.

Before we get to the Stock Up/Stock Down, I want to get into one thing that I’ve heard discussed frequently about the tournament selection process for this year. I’ve been hearing three consistent thoughts on the back-end of the bubble. First, like I said in today’s Bracketology post, we keep hearing how the bubble is as weak as it has ever been this year. Is this true? I’m not entirely sure it’s possible to compare bubbles from one year to the next. The fact that it is the “bubble” implies its inherent weakness. If it was strong, the teams listed on it probably wouldn’t be bubble teams. Second, we also keep hearing how the mid-major at-large options are just not there this year. The Valley is down. The Mountain West is down. Conference USA and the CAA are long gone from having a chance at multiple bids. And third, another opinion I’ve heard is that you can’t make the tournament if you’re under .500 in conference play.

Newsflash! If the bubble is as weak as it has ever been, thoughts 2 and 3 can’t both be true. We have to find 68 teams, the tournament can’t just take place with 61 or 62. If there are no strong mid-major options to be one of the final at-large selections, then there’s going to be teams from major conferences that have poor records in conference play that make it. That includes teams like Oregon, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Georgetown, and Florida State. Some of those teams are going to make it, and they very well could be below .500 in conference play. With a weak bubble, those types of things happen. I would not be surprised to see a team make the tourney this year with a conference record of 8-10 or 7-11. We have to find 68, and a team with a 7-11 conference record might just be in that group.

Alright, no more of my mini op-eds, let’s take a look at the Stock Up/Stock Down report for this past week.

Bracketology – February 3, 2014

Here’s the updated bracket for February 3rd after this weekend’s crazy slate of games. Five Top 10 teams went down over the last two days, including #1 Arizona suffering their first loss of the season. Let’s take a quick look at some stock up/stock down before the bracket reveal.

  • Stock Up:
    • Florida – The Gators are now on the 1-line. And I feel wildly ‘ehhh’ about it. But Florida has only lost two games all year, and they’re what you would call good losses, a 6-point loss at Wisconsin and a 1-point loss at UConn. The Gators also are undefeated in conference play, largely because the SEC is a small, but very potent dumpster fire. It’s not a good league. But, nonetheless, Florida keeps winning and often comfortably. We’ll see if they stay on the 1-line in a couple of weeks when they have back-to-back road trips to Tennessee and Florida. They won’t have as much room to spare as other schools because of the weakness of their league.
    • Virginia – The computers love the Cavaliers, and after their big road win at Pittsburgh on Sunday, my bracket projection does, too. Last week, I had Virginia as a 7-seed. This week, they climb all the way up to the 4-line. They’re sitting at 2nd place in the ACC at 8-1 in conference play with their lone loss coming at Cameron Indoor to Duke in a 4-point game. Their toughest road game remaining is at Clemson on February 15th, and they get Syracuse at home on March 1st in what should be an epic battle that will have a major impact on the ACC regular season title. Don’t be surprised if Virginia claims it.
    • Cincinnati – Look who’s still undefeated in conference play after an impressive win at Louisville last Thursday. The Bearcats are now 10-0 in the AAC and have won 14 straight games overall. I had them as a 4-seed last week and have them up only 1-seed line this week as a 3-seed. But, looking forward, if this team wins the American with a 16-2 or 15-3 conference record, it’d be hard to imagine them being anything lower than a 3-seed. Hell of a job by Mick Cronin this season.
  • Stock Down:
    • Florida State – I have the Seminoles out of my bracket. (more…)

Whirling Dervish – Power Rankings January 22nd

Here’s the Whirling Dervish, the Bill Raftery inspired nickname for this site’s Power Rankings. I’ll rank the Top 25 and go a little in-depth on the Top 10, with what I deem interesting information, statistics, and/or trends about each team in that group. Most, if not all of the data, will come from the great site, Kenpom.com. Get a subscription if you don’t have one. Seriously, it’s so worth it.

Without further adieu, let’s serve the Dervish.

1. Arizona – As of writing this, it’s interesting to note that Arizona is the only team in the nation with two players in the Top 10 of Kenpom Player of the Year Standings, with Nick Johnson at 3rd and Aaron Gordon at 9th. Now, this will likely change as Pomeroy has said that the back-end of the Top 10 will constantly be in flux. But, this is one of the many reasons as to why Arizona is #1 in the country and undefeated. Not only do they play absolutely ridiculous defense, have an outstanding coach in Sean Miller, and have great balance among their top seven guys, but two of those guys are really f’in good. Sometimes we forget how important raw talent is, especially when that talent is playing as effectively and efficiently as Johnson and Gordon.

2. Syracuse(more…)