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Tournament Selection Picks

Posted by jrswift on March 14, 2010

OK, as usual, I am down to the wire but I’m going to get these in before 5 and post just to prove how much (or little) I know.   So here we go.  I’m not doing any fancy who won what conference nonsense, I’m just giving you the teams.

Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, Syracuse, West Virginia, Kansas St., New Mexico, Baylor, Villanova, Pitt, Purdue, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Butler, Temple, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Maryland, Cal, Northern Iowa, Xavier, Vandy, BYU, Michigan St., Richmond, Texas, Clemson, Oklahoma St., Ohio St, Old Dominion, Utah St., Louisville, Wake Forest, Siena, Florida St., San Diego St., Gonzaga, UTEP, St. Mary’s, Missouri, Georgia Tech, Cornell, UNLV, Washington, Oakland, Notre Dame, Marquette, Murray St., New Mexico St., Mississippi St., Wofford, Minnesota, Sam Houston St., North Texas, UC-Santa Barbara, Morgan St., Montana, East Tennessee St., Lehigh, Winthrop, Robert Morris, Houston, Vermont, Ohio, Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

OK, I counted so that’s 65.

Top 4 seeds are Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse and Duke

Next 4 seeds are West Virginia, Ohio St, Kansas St and Purdue

Last couple of teams I had out:  Florida, Virginia Tech, Illinois and Seton Hall

Last couple of teams I put in:  Mississippi St, Minnesota, UTEP and Utah St.

OK, I’m posting this.  I have no confidence in these picks.  I think we might get some curve balls.

JR

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Gloating and the obligatory bracket

Posted by jrswift on March 18, 2009

Well, I guess even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.  As you can clearly see by viewing the post directly beneath this one, I successfully predicted/guessed the entire field of 65.  I’ve been trying to pull this off for 15 years and always miss like 2 teams.  But not this time.  Most people seemed to miss on the 65th team and I correctly tagged Arizona.  I don’t particularly like Arizona.  Back in 1997, they spoiled the nearly perfect season of the Kansas Jayhawks and went on to win the National Title that should have been KU’s.   A couple years later I lost money betting on them to beat Duke in the National Championship game.  And then there is whole matter of Arizona having the only current NCAA tourney streak longer than my Jayhawks.   And they beat us this year…rather badly I must say and, if they hadn’t won that game, they would never have made the field.  So it is a bittersweet victory but I’ll take it.

Now it is time to completely ruin my reputation as a first rate college basketball analyst and dive into my (oh so not carefully) selected tournament bracket.   I just looked at my brackets from the last two years and, while I didn’t do that well, I did pick the  National Champion correctly last year.  Of course it was Kansas and you could pretty much say I’m just a  “homer” and pick them every year since I also picked them the year before.  I will preface this by saying that I am most definitely NOT picking Kansas to go all the way this year.  I would be happy to be wrong.

OK…there are no actual brackets here.

I’m just going to list the 1st round winners:

Pitt, Duke, Villanova, Xavier, Wisconsin, UCLA, Texas, Tennessee, Louisville, MIchigan St, Kansas, Wake Forest, Arizona, West Virginia, USC, Ohio St, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Syracuse, Gonzaga, Illinois, Arizona St, Michigan, Butler, UConn, Memphis, Missouri, Washington, Purdue, Utah St, California, BYU

2nd Round winners:

Pitt, Texas, Villanova, Xavier, Louisville, Michigan St, West Virginia, Arizona, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Arizona St, Gonzaga, UConn, Memphis, Utah St, Purdue

3rd Round winners:

Pitt, Villanova, Lousiville, West Virginia, Gonzaga, Arizona St, UConn, Memphis

Final Four

Pitt, Louisville, Gonzaga, Memphis

And in the Final Four:

Memphis beats Louisville

Pitt beats Gonzaga

In the Championship Game:

Pitt beats Memphis  (75-68…I like that score)

Pitt Panthers 2009 National Champs

OK…plenty of chalk but not as bad as most analysts who seem afraid to go out on a limb at all.

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2009 NCAA Tournament Predictions

Posted by jrswift on March 15, 2009

OK, so I never blog anymore but I did want to post (for posterity’s sake) my projections for the field of 65 for this year’s NCAA Tournament.  I really didn’t spend as much time staring at the numbers this year and I think this is an easier job of picking than any recent year.  So here it goes.

The following teams have qualified by virtue of winning their conference postseason tournament (with the exception of the Ivy League which does not have a tournament and sends their regular season champion):

Binghampton, Temple, Duke, East Tennessee St, Missouri, Louisville, Portland St, Radford, Cal-St-Northridge, Virginia Commonwealth, Memphis, Cleveland St, Cornell, Siena, Akron, Morgan St, Northern Iowa, Utah, Robert Morris, Morehead St, USC, American, Mississippi St, Chattanooga, SF Austin, Alabama St, North Dakota St, Western Kentucky, Gonzaga, Utah St, Purdue/Ohio St winner

That leaves 34 at-large bids and I think about 27 of them are pretty easy.  Here’s that list by conference:

Atlantic 10 – Xavier

ACC – North Carolina, Wake Forest, Florida St, Clemson

Big 12 – Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma St, Texas A&M

Big East – Pitt, UConn, Villanova, Syracuse, West Virginia, Marquette

Big 10 – Michigan St, Illinois, Purdue/Ohio St loser

Horizon – Butler

Mountain West – BYU

Pac 10 – Washington, UCLA, Arizona St, California

SEC – LSU, Tennessee

So that leads to the “Bubble” which could have about two dozen teams if you want to stretch it but it really comes down to about a dozen or so.   I think Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota are all close calls but I think they all get in.  Same for Boston College and Maryland.   This leaves only two spots remaining in the field.  While I wouldn’t be surprised if they are a surprising omission, I give one of those spots to Dayton.  That leaves only one remaining bid and I came down to these three teams for that one spot:  Arizona, Creighton and St Mary’s.   I’m giving it to Arizona but I would be thrilled to be wrong.  If it was up to me, I’d probably throw out BC and Maryland and Arizona and give bigs to Creighton, St Mary’s and Auburn.  BUT I’m predicting what the committee will do, not my own picks.  To sum up, the final 7 teams are Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Boston College, Maryland, Dayton and Arizona.

Last Four In:  BC, Minnesota, Dayton, Arizona

Last Four Out: Creighton, St Mary’s, Auburn, San Diego St.

Next Four Out: Florida, South Carolina, New Mexico, Kansas St.

I will not attempt to seed the entire field but I think this is a reasonable guess at the top 16 seeds

1 – North Carolina, Pitt, Louisville, Duke

2- Memphis, UConn, MIchigan St, Oklahoma

3- Wake Forest, Missouri, Villanova, Kansas

4- Florida St, Syracuse, Washington, Gonzaga

So that’s it…if I did really well, I’ll come back here to post again and gloat.  Otherwise, you may never hear from me again.

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Amazing Kansas Tournament Coincidences

Posted by jrswift on April 12, 2008

Amazing KU 1988/2008 Parallels

Seasons:

Both teams were a preseason favorite to win it all. Both teams had a midseason “gut check” and both teams finished strong. Both had strong senior leadership but also key contributions from underclassmen. Both teams were beaten in the regular season by another league team that played far into the tournament. Both teams drew inspiration during the tournament from a fallen teammate. In 1988 Archie Marshall, a transfer, hurt his knee. In 2008, Rodrick Stewart, a transfer, hurt his knee.

Coaches:

1988 was Larry Brown’s 5th season and 2008 was Bil Self’s 5th season. Both coaches were widely expected to leave KU for another job. Self worked as a Graduate Assistant under Brown at Kansas. He took the place of John Caliperi who also worked as a Graduate Assistant under Ted Owens and Brown. Both Owens and Brown sat in the KU section during the 2008 finals. Danny Manning, the MOP of the 1988 tournament was one of Self’s assistants in 2008. In 1988, Manning’s father was an assistant coach and he won the MOP. In 2008, Mario Chalmers’ father was an assistant and he won the MOP.

Location:

In both 1988 and 2008, KU played the first two rounds of the tournament in the state of Nebraska and the the Regional finals in Detroit. In 1988, the Final Four was in a Big 8 city but not one with a team in the league, Kansas City. In 2008, it was held in a Big 12 city but not one with a team in the league, San Antonio.

Officiating:

Ed Hightower officiated in both the 1988 and 2008 game.

Path to the Championship:

In 1988 and 2008, Kansas did not face a team seeded higher than 4th in route to the Final Four. They faced an upset winner in the both the Sweet 16 and the Elite 8. Their closest game (in margin of victory) in the tournament was against a team seeded 10th or higher. In 1988, they defeated Murray St. by only 3 points and needed a miss in the final seconds to survive. In 2008, they defeated Davidson by 2 points and needed a miss in the final seconds to survive. In both years, Kansas St. and Vanderbilt were in the same regional. Kansas had to defeat a team coached by Lon Kruger, a native of Kansas, in both years (Kansas St. in 88, UNLV in 08.) In both years, they defeated a team starting with the letter “V” in the Sweet 16. In both years, they faced an ACC school in the National Semifinals and, after getting out to a large lead in the first half, had to survive a strong comeback in the second half. Both Duke in 1988 and Carolina in 2008 had shots seemingly go in and then pop out that would have gotten them within one possession. Both the 88 and 08 teams had to defeat the #1 ranked team in route to the championship. In both 1988 and 2008, key bench players made major contributions during the title run: Keith Harris, Scooter Barry and Clint Normore in 1988; Sasha Kaun, Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich in 2008.

Title game:

The 1988 game was tied at the end of the first half. The 2008 game was tied at the end of the second half. KU scored 33 points in the second half of the 1988 game and 33 points in the first half of the 2008 game. Their finals opponents were very similar teams. Memphis and Oklahoma were widely viewed as athletic teams who could run and gun with anyone but played great defense. They were both led by brash coaches who had never won a title. Both teams faced and defeated a Pac 10 school in the national semifinals. Both teams seemed to wear down late in the game, probably because neither coach substituted much in the game, electing to go with their starting 5 as much as possible. On the other hand, Kansas substituted freely and seemed fresh at the end. In 1988, Danny Manning made two key free throws late that made it a two possession game. In 2008, Mario Chalmers made two key free throws late that made it a two possession game.  As the lower seeded team, Kansas wore their blue uniforms in both games.

Miscellaneous:

The 2008 title was once again won by one of the elite programs in college basketball. This has been the case in all tournaments held in years ending in an eight. Kentucky won the title in 48, 58, 78 and 98. Kansas in 88 and 08. UCLA won in 68, the only team not starting with the letter “K” to win it in a year ending in an eight. These three programs, along with Indiana and North Carolina, are also the only ones in college basketball to win titles separated by 20 years or more. UCLA and Kentucky won their last two titles exactly 20 years apart and now Kansas has too. Kansas is the only school to perform that feat twice as their 1988 title was 36 years after their 1952 title. These three schools also also the only ones to have 5 or more Most Outstanding Players in the tournament. Kansas has won five, despite only winning three titles. In 1988, KU’s victory took place on the 20th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination. In 2008, KU defeated Memphis, the city in which Dr. King was assassinated. 2008 was also the first time since 1988 that Cornell and Baylor made the tournament.

OK…well that was all I could think of. Further contributions are welcome.

Note: I will edit this list from time to time if I receive further contributions. If you see your coincidence included, consider this a “thank you.”

JR

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Perspective or Why Do We Care

Posted by jrswift on April 7, 2008

Sitting here with my gut churning and nervous as hell and there is absolutely no rational reason for it, none at all.  My life will not change in any way, shape or form regardless of what happens tonight in San Antonio.  Oh, I guess that if I my alma mater, the University of Kansas, wins tonight and takes the National Championship, there will be a really big party here in Lawrence and everyone will be pretty happy for a few weeks but I don’t know that that is rational either.  I guess the desire to experience that unbelievable rush again is rational.  April 4, 1988 is one of those days I’ll never forget and, while I’ll never experience it quite the same way, I’d love to see how it feels 20 years later.  Mostly I’d like those who weren’t here 20 years ago to have a chance to feel just how good that feels once in their life.  I’m not sure I’ve ever felt the sense of community and connection that I felt that night and into the morning and on into the next week.  It doesn’t make any sense but it did feel good.  For a few days, everyone is your friend and it is fun just waking up and being alive.

I guess it is too bad that we can’t feel that way about life without a sporting event turning out a certain way.  Too bad that we can’t all feel truly connected and alive for some reason that really means something and not because a few college kids won a game somewhere, a game we did nothing to win.  In our strange world, we elevate our celebrities and sports stars to near royalty.  We imagine that we know them and care about them and we pour our heart and soul into the games they play.  I guess that is part of the fun of it.  I guess that in a world where we have no real drama in our lives, we live through their exploits.  They are our warriors in a world without true warriors.

Nonetheless, I am still nervous as hell.  It is almost like I have to go out there and play.  Or maybe it is worse than that.  Maybe it is more nerve-wracking when someone else is fighting your battle and all you can do is stand around and cheer and hope and even pray that something good happens.  Oddly enough, this is supposed to be fun.  Truthfully, the game itself never feels very fun anymore.  Most of the time I can’t even bring myself to watch it.  Well I’m going to watch the damned thing tonight and I’m going to have fun doing it.  And if the kids playing it have fun, then God bless ’em.  And if we win, that will be fun too.  And if we don’t, I’ll stand up and give Memphis a hand because they will have earned it.

So there…there’s my thoughts.  Probably no one will read it but that’s OK.  I write this stuff for me and if anyone else gets something out of it, that is just a bonus.  Have a great night.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk

JR

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Obligatory NCAA Bracket

Posted by jrswift on March 19, 2008

OK, this isn’t really a bracket.  I’m just going to list the teams that win each round all the way to the Finals.  Like most of you, I really have no idea who is going to win so I’ll just be a homer and pick Kansas to win it all.

East Regional

North Carolina, Tennessee, Louisville, Washington St., Notre Dame, St. Joseph’s, Butler and Arkansas (1st Round)

North Carolina, Butler, Louisville,  Washington St. (2nd Round)

Louisville over North Carolina in the Regional Finals

South Regional

Memphis, Texas, Stanford, Pitt, Michigan St., Marquette, St. Mary’s, Oregon (1st Round)

Memphis, Texas, Stanford, Pitt (2nd Round)

Texas over Memphis in the Regional Final

Midwest Regional

Kansas, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Siena, Clemson, USC, Davidson, UNLV (1st Round)

Kansas, Georgetown, USC, Clemson (2nd Round)

Kansas over Georgetown in the Regional Final

West Regional

UCLA, Duke, Xavier, UConn, Drake, Baylor, West Virginia, Texas A&M (1st Round)

UCLA, West Virginia, Baylor, Drake

UCLA over West Virginia in the Regional Final

Final Four

Kansas over Louisville

UCLA over Texas

Kansas over UCLA in the Final Game

OK, so there you go.  I’m on the record.  I gave this so damned much thought…OK, I didn’t.  I’m sure I’ll get about 20-24 right and lose like 3-4 teams from the next round and maybe 1-2 Elite Eight teams by Friday night so let’s just see what happens.

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Thought on the Final Selections

Posted by jrswift on March 16, 2008

Well, I did pretty well this year with 64 teams out of 65 correctly predicted. I missed on Kentucky as I had Illinois St. in the field instead. I’m not at all surprised that this happened. The consensus seemed to have Kentucky in but I thought the committee might do the hard thing and exclude them. Why? First off, the committee claims to place a great deal of weight on the nonconference schedule and Kentucky did nothing positive in the nonconference portion of theirs. They went 6-7 and all 6 wins were against teams with an RPI rated over 200. If we take the committee at its word that conference records are meaningless, then the fact the Kentucky went 12-4 should not have been a consideration. They did have several very nice victories in their league and no really bad losses but all of those good wins took place with star Freshman Patrick Patterson in the lineup. He will not play any more this year so they must be judged based on what they’ve done since he went out with injury. They had two pretty decent wins beating South Carolina on the road and Florida at home. They also played well but lost against Tennessee on the road but also lost to Georgia during its improbable run to the SEC tournament title. It is obviously tough to judge a team based on four games but is that the profile of a tournament team? It may but not by much. Kentucky also had the lowest RPI of any at-large selection at #59, one spot worse than Oregon. It appears both were placed in the field at the expense of Illinois St. which, at #32, is the highest ranked team that did not get in. Now I’m not going to argue that Illinois St. is or isn’t better than Kentucky. I have no idea how a game between the two would turn out. I am also not going to argue that Illinois St. has a significantly better profile than Kentucky as I think the two are very close. It would appear that two games played a huge role in Kentucky making it over Illinois St. One was Kentucky’s very close loss to a very good Tennessee team on the road and the other was Illinois St. being crushed by 30 in the Missouri Valley conference finals. Those two games make Kentucky appear to be a much better team and I think that is what the committee decided. Overall I thought they did a good job.

I will take some pleasure in having picked Georgia to win today and Illinois to lose. Those games went much as I would have expected. I am pleasantly surprised that Kansas received a #1 seed. I really didn’t think they had as strong an overall profile as Tennessee but I’ll take it as a Kansas fan. Clearly the selection committee felt that winning a conference tournament was a big plus. At first glance, I like Tennessee, Kansas, Texas and UCLA to make the final four but more on that later.

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Final Projections (without comment)

Posted by jrswift on March 16, 2008

NCAA Tournament Field of 65

 

Automatic Bids (31) – Projected [31]

 

(Italics indicates Team in the Field)

(Bold indicates Team believed to be a lock)

 

America East – UMBC

Atlantic 10 – Temple

ACC – North Carolina

Atlantic Sun – Belmont

Big 12 – Kansas

Big East – Pitt

Big Sky – Portland State

Big South – Winthrop

Big 10 – Wisconsin

Big West – Cal State-Fullerton

Colonial – George Mason

Conference USA – Memphis

Horizon – Butler

Ivy – Cornell

Metro Atlantic – Siena

Mid American – Kent St.

Mid-Eastern – Morgan St.

Missouri Valley – Drake

Mountain West – UNLV

Northeast – Mount St. Mary’s

Ohio Valley – Austin Peay

Pac-10 – UCLA

Patriot – American

SEC – Georgia

Southern – Davidson

Southland – Texas-Arlington

SWAC – Mississippi Valley St.

Summit – Oral Roberts

Sun Belt – Western Kentucky

West Coast – San Diego

WAC – Boise St.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At-Large Bids (34) – Projected [34]

 

(Bold indicates Team believed to be a lock)

 

Xavier

St. Joseph’s

Duke

Clemson

Miami (Fl)

Texas

Kansas St.

Oklahoma

Texas A&M

Baylor

Louisville

Connecticut

Marquette

Notre Dame

Georgetown

West Virginia

Villanova

Purdue

Indiana

Michigan St.

Illinois St.

BYU

Stanford

Washington St.

USC

Oregon

Arizona

Tennessee

Vanderbilt

Mississippi St.

Arkansas

South Alabama

Gonzaga

St. Mary’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last 4 out

 

Ohio St.

Virginia Commonwealth

Kentucky

Ole Miss

 

 

 

     

 

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Almost Final Thoughts — March 16

Posted by jrswift on March 16, 2008

This will be my second-to-last posting on here. In a few hours I’ll post my Final Tournament Predictions. Things have indeed “tightened up” a bit over the last couple of days and I am getting very close to filling out the field. There are two HUGE games today that could turn the lives of a couple of bubble teams upside down. Georgia has somehow made its way to the SEC final and a win there would “steal a bid” as would a win by Illinois over Wisconsin. While I don’t think Illinois will be able to handle Wisconsin, I would not be remotely surprised if Georgia found a way to win and completed one of the greatest and craziest conference tournament runs of all time. Here is what I’ve got so far:

NCAA Tournament Field of 65

 

Automatic Bids (31) – Projected [31]

 

(Italics indicates Team in the Field)

(Bold indicates Team believed to be a lock)

 

America East – UMBC

Atlantic 10 – Temple

ACC – North Carolina

Atlantic Sun – Belmont

Big 12 – Texas

Big East – Pitt

Big Sky – Portland State

Big South – Winthrop

Big 10 – Wisconsin (or Illinois)

Big West – Cal State-Fullerton

Colonial – George Mason

Conference USA – Memphis

Horizon – Butler

Ivy – Cornell

Metro Atlantic – Siena

Mid American – Kent St.

Mid-Eastern – Morgan St.

Missouri Valley – Drake

Mountain West – UNLV

Northeast – Mount St. Mary’s

Ohio Valley – Austin Peay

Pac-10 – UCLA

Patriot – American

SEC – Arkansas (or Georgia)

Southern – Davidson

Southland – Northwestern St. (or Texas-Arlington)

SWAC – Mississippi Valley St.

Summit – Oral Roberts

Sun Belt – Western Kentucky

West Coast – San Diego

WAC – Boise St.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At-Large Bids (34) – Projected [27]

 

(Bold indicates Team believed to be a lock)

 

Xavier

Duke

Clemson

Miami (Fl)

Kansas

Kansas St.

Oklahoma

Texas A&M

Louisville

Connecticut

Marquette

Notre Dame

Georgetown

West Virginia

Purdue

Indiana

Michigan St.

BYU

Stanford

Washington St.

USC

Tennessee

Vanderbilt

Mississippi St.

South Alabama

Gonzaga

St. Mary’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bubble Teams [17] for seven remaining bids. Bids would be reduced by one if Georgia wins the SEC and if Illinois wins the Big 10.

 

St. Joseph’s +

Baylor +

Villanova +

Arizona +

Ohio St. ?

Virginia Commonwealth ?

Illinois St. ?

Oregon ?

Kentucky ?

Arizona St. ?

New Mexico –

Mississippi –

Virginia Tech –

Maryland –

Umass –

Dayton –

Syracuse –

 

Teams tagged with a “+” means I am leaning towards including them

Teams tagged with a “-” means I am leaning towards them being left out

Teams tagged with a “?” means I am still clueless

If we throw in my “leaners” here, that gives us a field of 62 (or is it going to be 63 or 64) and then we have to choose 1-3 teams from the “clueless” list. I guess I’d say Kentucky, Illinois St. and Oregon right now with Ohio St, Virginia Commonwealth and Arizona St. sitting it out. It is fair to say that the fans of these schools should be rooting hard for Wisconsin and Arkansas later today.

I usually don’t spend a lot of time discussing seeding but I’ll give some impressions. Despite their loss, I think Tennessee gets a 1 and the consensus that UCLA, North Carolina and Memphis are the other three “1’s” is right. Win or lose, Carolina is fine. The two seeds are going to be Texas, Kansas, Duke and either Wisconsin or Georgetown. I’d say Wisconsin gets it if they win today. The “3’s” are Georgetown, Stanford, Louisville and probably Xavier. I’d go with Drake, Butler, UConn and Pitt off their Big East tournament championship for the 4th seeds but don’t quote me on that.

I’m going to go nitpick a few teams’ schedules and profiles to death for a few hours and then I’ll be back with the final projections.

 

JR

 

 

     

 

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Does anyone want to be in the tournament?

Posted by jrswift on March 13, 2008

Starting to look like no one really wants to make the field.  Plenty of blown opportunities today with a few more still possible.  Might be easier to talk about who did well today than who didn’t.  The Big East has definitely got 7 teams.  Whatever doubt existed about Pitt and West Virginia is gone.  Congratulations for earning it.  Still going in the Atlantic 10 is St. Joseph’s and Temple who won the games they needed to win.  Dayton couldn’t get it done against Xavier and things are not looking good for them.  UMass lost to Charlotte and may be in even worse shape.  Both teams need to hope for Xavier beating Charlotte in the finals.  Otherwise, someone else is going to get that second bid that I still think the Atlantic 10 is going to get.   UNLV barely escaped (at home) against TCU and may have hurt themselves more than they helped themselves.  They need to win tomorrow night against New Mexico or Utah or they may have to sweat a bit.  Also sweating a bit is Baylor.  The Bears did the unthinkable and lost to the worst team in the Big 12.  I actually dropped them to the bubble.  Texas A&M may now be in better shape as they have survived Iowa St and will have a shot against Kansas St. to lock up a bid.  UAB and Houston are done.  Stick a fork in them.  Neither one even managed to make the semi-finals so, what little hope they had is gone.  Oregon lost a chance to move up by losing to Washington St. and Arizona St. may be in trouble after losing to USC, which is now a lock.  We’ll see if Arizona can make its case against Stanford tonight.  Maryland just fell to BC and they are all but done.  Miami (F) is close to a lock now and can cripple Virginia Tech’s chances if they can win tomorrow.  Florida St. is a real long shot but, if they could beat North Carolina tomorrow. who knows?  As for the SEC, Florida is finished.  Losing to Alabama ends it as they had to have a deep tourney run to make a case.  No three-peat for Billy Donovan.  Ole Miss is still fighting it out with Georgia and they really need to win this one or it is hard to see them having much of a chance.  Villanova missed a golden opportunity by getting blown out by Georgetown.  It is tempting to throw them out but somebody has got to get in. Finally, things look pretty good for Kent St.  It wouldn’t hurt for them to win one more game and at least make the MAC final but, with all the other teams choking, they look pretty good.  BYU is now a sure thing.  They probably should have gotten that designation earlier but they have it now.

Looking at some of these bubble teams does not exactly fill one with confidence.  Teams that have a real chance to make the field like Virginia Tech, UMass and Illinois St. have practically no wins of any significance and it is hard to say that they “deserve” a bid.  Either the field is just too large or there are simply too many mediocre teams this year.  It might be a bit of both.  In any case, tomorrow is going to be very interesting.  Here’s the field again:

NCAA Tournament Field of 65

Automatic Bids (31) – Projected [31]

(Italics indicates Team in the Field)

(Bold indicates Team believed to be a lock)

America East – UMBC

Atlantic 10 – Xavier

ACC – North Carolina

Atlantic Sun – Belmont

Big 12 – Texas

Big East – Georgetown

Big Sky – Portland State

Big South – Winthrop

Big 10 – Wisconsin

Big West – Cal State-Northridge

Colonial – George Mason

Conference USA – Memphis

Horizon – Butler

Ivy – Cornell

Metro Atlantic – Siena

Mid American – Kent St.

Mid-Eastern – Morgan St.

Missouri Valley – Drake

Mountain West – BYU

Northeast – Mount St. Mary’s

Ohio Valley – Austin Peay

Pac-10 – UCLA

Patriot – American

SEC – Tennessee

Southern – Davidson

Southland – Stephen F. Austin

SWAC – Alabama St.

Summit – Oral Roberts

Sun Belt – Western Kentucky

West Coast – San Diego

WAC – Boise St.

At-Large Bids (34) – Projected [23]

(Bold indicates Team believed to be a lock)

Duke

Clemson

Miami (Fl)

Kansas

Kansas St.

Oklahoma

Louisville

Connecticut

Marquette

Notre Dame

Pitt

West Virginia

Purdue

Indiana

Michigan St.

Stanford

Washington St.

USC

Vanderbilt

Mississippi St.

South Alabama

Gonzaga

St. Mary’s

Bubble Teams [21]

Virginia Tech

Maryland

UMass

Dayton

St. Joseph’s

Temple

Baylor

Texas A&M

Syracuse

Villanova

Ohio St.

Virginia Commonwealth

Illinois St.

UNLV

New Mexico

Arizona

Arizona St.

Oregon

Arkansas

Kentucky

Mississippi

If you held a gun to my head on those last 11 teams, I’d let you go ahead and shoot.  OK…I wouldn’t.  At this point, I’m going to have to mostly go with teams that haven’t yet “screwed the pooch” lately and say Texas A&M, Baylor, Ohio St., UNLV, Arkansas,  Virginia Commonwealth, Illinois St., St. Joseph’s, Ole Miss, Arizona and Villanova.  I’m going with Temple, Arizona St., Dayton and Virginia Tech as next in line in case someone screws up and they will.  Stay tuned.

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