Wednesday, March 18, 2015

2015 Schmolik Bracket Analysis

Hello, college basketball fans!

One day before the real tournament begins! It's time for me to tell you what I think is going to happen in the NCAA Tournament.

I'm wondering if you had to bet Kentucky or the rest of the field who would you take?

Or if you're not brave enough to pick Kentucky, how about will a team named "Wildcats" win the NCAA Tournament? You can have two #1 seeds (UK and Villanova) and a #2 seed (Arizona).

Which is the toughest regional?

Using my Schmolik 64 seeds,
The Midwest top 4 according to me are really 1, 3, 3, and 3 seeds (Kansas is really a #3 while so is Maryland).

The East top 4 are really 1, 2, 3, and 4 seeds (all are perfectly seeded). But their #5 seed (Northern Iowa) is a #4 to me so I say they really have two #4 seeds.

The South top 4 are really 1, 2, 2, and 6. You do have 2 #2 seeds (Gonzaga and Iowa State) but their #4 is really a #6.

The West top 4 are really 1, 1, 3, and 4 (I had Arizona as my last #1).

If you add up the seeds, the West has a score of 9, the East and Midwest 10, and the West 11. So it is fairly balanced. You hardly can find a "Group of Death" like last year when they had an undefeated Wichita State, Kentucky, Louisville, and Michigan in the same regional.

Let's begin with the Midwest. At the top are two of the biggest stars in basketball, Kentucky and Kansas. In the top half of the draw, I would say look out for Buffalo. I do enjoy the 12-5 upsets and Mid American teams (or Big Mac's). I think West Virginia is vulnerable. But Buffalo is playing in their first ever tournament. Will they just be happy to be there? Remember Buffalo played both Kentucky and Wisconsin. Do you think playing West Virginia will intimidate them?

Now in the bottom half is an under seeded Wichita State at #7 (I had them as a #5). Two years ago, Wichita State started out as a #9 seed but wound up in the Final Four. But last year they went 35-0, came in as a #1 seed and lost to Kentucky (although UK did make the championship game). Which Wichita State team will show up? Fans of college basketball are looking forward to a potential Wichita State vs. Kansas game on Sunday. I feel Wichita State is the 2nd best team in Kansas and it's about time the two will play. This is a not so good Kansas team (lost eight times including six in the Big 12 and to a Temple team that should have made the tournament but didn't). If Wichita State beats Indiana and Kansas wins its first game, it could be the biggest game in Wichita State basketball history. I think Wichita State will want it more and be out to prove it can complete at a top level. Another problem for Kansas here is Notre Dame, who defeated Duke and North Carolina in back to back games to win the ACC Tournament (after beating both in the regular season as well). I remember Notre Dame beat Duke and fully expected the fans to storm the court as almost everyone who beats Duke does. I didn't see it. It might tell you Notre Dame expected to win.

Midwest Regional Final pick: Kentucky over Notre Dame

Out west, we have the same two top seeds as last year. But this time Wisconsin is the #1 seed, their first in school history. If the two get back to a regional final, they will play at the Staples Center in Los Angeles (last year, they played in Anaheim). VCU and Ohio State looks to be one of the best round of 64 games. Too bad it's in Portland. Ohio State is down but has a great star that if he's on his game can lead the Buckeyes to greatness. I think either VCU or Ohio State has a chance vs. Arizona. Don't forget Arizona also is playing Texas Southern in their first game. Texas Southern beat Michigan State on their home floor earlier in the season. I mentioned I love the 12-5 upset (Erin Andrews talked about 12-5 upsets this morning when she filled in for Kelly Ripa on Regis Philbin's old show). Let's put it this way. I've never been more sure of a 12-5 upset before. You heard it here first...


Honestly, it's kind of unfair. You've got the classic mid major vs. the not so good power conference team. Arkansas is from the overrated SEC. They lost at home to LSU and Mississippi (and probably the reason both made the field at all). And consider Arkansas last made the NCAA's in 2008. Meanwhile, Wofford is playing in their third consecutive tournament. Who has more tournament experience (assuming Wofford isn't led by a bunch of one and dones). Another theory I feel is the upset everyone feels is going to happen doesn't because the favorite usually hears too much about the upset and send a message. I'll bet Wofford isn't getting the love. They've never won an NCAA Tournament game. It's not like if Mercer made the NCAA's and everyone will be scared when they hear their name on the opposite side. To me, Wofford has so many things going for them, I think Wofford should be the favorite in that game.

I think Arizona and Wisconsin will have a rematch in Los Angeles and I have to go with the Big Ten. The Pac-12 (or as I like to call them, the Pathetic 12), hasn't had a Final Four team since UCLA in 2008. Meanwhile, four different Big Ten teams (including Wisconsin) made the Final Four in that span.

West Regional Final Pick: Wisconsin over Arizona

The West Regional had the same top two seeds as last year but in reverse order. The same holds true in the East. Being from Philly, I am excited Villanova made it to the East #1 seed as they gained once Duke and Virginia both lost in the ACC semifinals. Good things happen to Villanova in years that end in a 5. They last won the Big East Tournament in 1995 (of course that year they went one and done). And their national championship in 1985. Even in 2005, they made the Sweet 16.

Meanwhile, second seeded Virginia could meet Michigan State again. Virginia has lost two of their last three and Justin Anderson is just coming back from a hand injury. Michigan State seems to have caught fire, almost beating Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game. If you are looking for a big round of 32 upset (technically the third round although I heard they're returning to the first/second round names next year), go with Michigan State over Virginia. Again, I'm not sure it's an upset. Do you want to bet against Tom Izzo in March? I don't. I think Michigan State can make the regional final. Also remember MSU is the 7th seed in the East. Last year's East #7 seed was Connecticut, and they won it all. And the team that won the national championship the year before Michigan State won their last? Connecticut. I don't think it will happen, but I think you have to watch out for them. If it happens, I am looking forward to Northern Iowa vs. Louisville. I enjoy seeing the top mid majors against established programs.

East Regional Final pick: Villanova over Michigan State

Finally we move to the South. Duke is at the top. They've lost their first NCAA game two of the last three seasons (both in the state of North Carolina no less). If North Florida wins tonight, remember they beat Purdue earlier in the year. Then again, we're talking a 1 vs. 16 game, and a 16 has never beaten a 1 (plus North Florida or the other team will have to play an extra game). In the top half, we have our most overrated top 4 seed in Georgetown, Remember they lost their first game as a #2 seed to Florida Gulf Coast in their last NCAA appearance and have lost early several of the last few years. They also have to play in Portland, making a cross country trip, vs. Eastern Washington. Another potential 12-5 upset could be in this region with Stephen F. Austin (who won a game last year) over Utah, who last made the NCAA's in 2009 and went 0-4 vs. Arizona and Oregon, the two Pathetic 12 teams that deserved to make the NCAA Tournament. If you're looking for a double digit seed to make the Sweet 16, I say they're probably coming out of Portland.

Gonzaga is the #2 seed and Mark Few will try to lead them to the Final Four for the first time ever. Interestingly enough, Gonzaga hasn't made the Elite Eight under Few (they made the 1999 Regional Final the year before Few took over). Another head coach trying to get to his first Elite Eight is Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg, or the "Mayor" as he's called in Ames, Iowa. Remember they made the Sweet 16 last year, beating North Carolina, and lost to the eventual national champion in UConn. They also beat Kansas twice this year to win the Big 12 Tournament. I normally call the Big 12 Kansas and the Nine Dwarfs but Iowa State is starting to make me change my mind. In my Schmolik 64, I had Iowa State over Kansas as a #2 seed. But Kansas is in Kentucky's bracket and with Duke and Gonzaga vulnerable, Iowa State might have been done a favor. I don't normally pick all four #1 seeds (only once have all four #1 seeds made the Final Four in the same year, 2008). So if you want to roll the dice on a Final Four sleeper, I give you Iowa State!

South Regional Final pick: Iowa State over Duke

Final Four: If you're playing for money, you realize it's almost impossible to win by picking Kentucky as probably almost everyone will. But I think it's too obvious and I think Kentucky will finish 40-0, the first undefeated national champion since 1976. The Final Four game between Kentucky and Wisconsin (if it happens) might be the de facto national champion. Remember Wisconsin lost on a late basket. I certainly will want to see them play again but alas it won't be Championship Monday.

Championship: Kentucky over Villanova

Enjoy the tournament!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Comments on 2015 NCAA Field and 2015 Bracket Matrix

Hello, college basketball fans!

This is my chance to critique the NCAA Selection Committee, based upon not only my final bracket but those of many bracketologists around the country courtesy of the Bracket Matrix. As always, I would like to thank Brian for his hard work and dedication as well as the publicity.

In 2011, the NCAA expanded to a 68 team field and introduced the "First Four" where the last four teams to get at large bids now have to play another game to make the round of 64. Before then, it was one opening round game and it featured the two worst teams in the field, always automatic qualifiers.

Since then, it became crystal clear who the last teams to make the field were (in 2012, the NCAA went further and released to the public the full 1-68 ranking of NCAA teams). So usually if there is a difference of opinion between me and the NCAA's (or anyone else), it is these last four in. Last year, I picked three teams the NCAA did not. All three of the teams I picked that the NCAA did not were among the last four teams I picked and all three of the teams the NCAA picked that I did not were among the last four teams they picked. Every team we disagreed on was either in my First Four or there. It seemed to me like if we just picked 64 teams then there would be less disagreement. In 2013, the NCAA and I fully agreed on all 68 teams.

In 2015 there were three teams I picked the NCAA did not (Colorado State, Temple, and Tulsa). But only one of the three teams I had that the NCAA left out (Tulsa) were in my First Four and only one of the three teams the NCAA had that I had were in their First Four. My First Four were Indiana, Georgia, Texas, and Tulsa, who missed the NCAA's. The NCAA's First Four were BYU, Boise State, Dayton, and Mississippi, who I did not have. So if the NCAA still had just 64 teams the NCAA and I would have disagreed on FIVE teams. I cannot imagine that if Connecticut had won yesterday then Dayton, who played for the Atlantic 10 title just hours before Connecticut, would have been out (of course had UConn and Dayton both won, that would have been interesting).

I think in this year the NCAA has clearly showed more favoritism to the power conferences than in past years. The three teams the NCAA had that I didn't were Mississippi, LSU, and UCLA while the three the NCAA left out were not in power conferences. UCLA was to me a big joke even though I thought Mississippi was the least deserving team in the NCAA's. Gary Parrish of said that since 2005 the highest two RPI's left out were from non power conferences. This year, Colorado State (29) and Temple (34) were left out. Meanwhile, according to CBS Sports's RPI rankings, LSU (57), Mississippi (60), and Indiana (61) made the field. Some of you said Murray State but to be honest no at large team had a lower RPI than Murray State (63).

Usually the reason most often discussed to leave out a team with a high RPI is lack of quality wins. Colorado State beat two top 50 teams. So did Temple (and one of them was Kansas!) Meanwhile, UCLA also won two. And Georgia had ZERO! If a mid major with an RPI of 38 had no top 50 wins, they'd probably not even get consideration. But from the SEC? Not a problem. I'm glad Buffalo (28) and Stephen F. Austin (33) won their tournaments. With this committee, there's no chance either would've made it in as an at large had they lost in the final. Apparently, it's better to lose your first round game to Auburn than lose a final to a team with a top 100 RPI.

If I had my way, if you are in the top 40 RPI you should automatically get in and if you're outside the top 60 you cannot get an at large bid. I'm willing to go to 35 and 65 or even 30 and 70 as long as there's some criteria. The 30 cutoff would have gotten Colorado State in as well as 2006's Missouri State (21). What's the purpose of RPI when a team with an RPI of 29 is rejected in favor of teams with RPI's twice that (60 and 61)?

When the chair of the Selection Committee was asked about UCLA, he used the words "eye test" and failed to mention a specific criteria as to why they got in. I may disagree with the criteria or I can say "well the team that didn't make it also met the same criteria" but at least there is a reason. But to not even have a reason is an insult to all of us. "Eye test" is basically another way to say "we put in who we want and not need a reason." It's like a parent saying "Because I said so." I hope no one from UCLA or the Pathetic 12 was on the Selection Committee. I really feel the NCAA shouldn't have people from schools on the committee.

This year, there were a total of 136 brackets in the Bracket Matrix. If the Bracket Matrix were in charge, Colorado State (124 brackets) and Temple (122) would have made the field while Mississippi (80) and UCLA (14!) would not have. I did not have LSU in while 134 did. I took Georgia instead of LSU (despite the fact that LSU beat Georgia in their only regular season game) because of the higher RPI, extra win in the SEC Tournament, and fewer bad losses (LSU lost two games to teams outside the top 200 RPI to none for Georgia). But eight brackets left Georgia out (although Georgia's average seed was higher). Tulsa was my "long shot". Only four brackets total picked Tulsa. My logic was you couldn't leave Tulsa out and take Temple when Tulsa beat Temple twice (of course, the NCAA just left both of them out). I also felt that LSU's profile was close to Old Dominion who had a higher RPI and beat LSU head to head. What can I say, I feel strongly that if Team A and Team B are both on the bubble than you can't take Team B over Team A if Team A won the head to head. I think taking LSU over Old Dominion is a lesser case of power conference bias but nowhere near the bias by taking Mississippi or UCLA. If you go by the number of brackets where a team was chosen, the last four in would have been Indiana (107 of 134), BYU (118), Boise State (119), and Temple (122). Mississippi and Indiana should be glad that UCLA made it because it took the heat off them for making it, UCLA is clearly the worst choice but last year's NC State inclusion (3 of 121 brackets) was the worst choice ever according to the Bracket Matrix.

I had Arizona as the last #1 seed instead of Duke (but had Wisconsin lost to Duke, Duke would've replaced them as a #1 seed). In the Bracket Matrix, I counted just 2 that did not have Villanova as a #1 seed. Wisconsin had an average seed of 1.07 while Duke had an average seed of 1,21. Virginia's average seed was 1.82 while Arizona's was 1.84. I usually feel that the Big Ten teams in the final have a disadvantage because they play late (and yesterday's game went to overtime). It did not appear to hurt Wisconsin yesterday. The chairman even said Wisconsin still would have been a #1 seed had they lost. I understand Duke did beat Wisconsin but I still think a regular season championship and a tournament championship does count more than winning neither in Duke's case (it's the one time I didn't count head to head although I would had Wisconsin lost). I also had Arizona head of Duke (and Virginia) for the same reason.

The Bracket Matrix had the same four #1 and #2 as the NCAA Committee. They had Wisconsin ahead of Duke but otherwise had the same 1-8 ranking as the NCAA's did. I had Iowa State (2.88) as my last #2 instead of Kansas (2.15). To me, Iowa State had a 2-1 head to head edge and won the conference tournament. Kansas did win the regular season title but it was by just one game and if you count both regular season and tournament then the teams tied at 15-6 in the Big 12 with Iowa State having the tiebreaker.

Here's the Bracket Matrix List (average seed):
1: Kentucky (1.00), Villanova (1.01), Wisconsin (1.07), Duke (1.21)
2: Virginia (1.82), Arizona (1.84), Gonzaga (2.04), Kansas (2.15)
3: Iowa State (2.88), Notre Dame (2.97), Maryland (3.12), Baylor (3.38)
4: Oklahoma (3.72), North Carolina (3.90), Northern Iowa (4.15), Louisville (4.56)
5: West Virginia (5.03), Arkansas (5.07), SMU (5.21), Utah (5.43)
6: Wichita State (5.47), Georgetown (6.06), Providence (6.07), Michigan State (6.21)

I switched Duke and Arizona and Kansas and Iowa State but otherwise had the same Sweet 16 seeds. I had Wichita State and VCU on the #5 line instead of Arkansas and Utah. I had Utah as a 7 seed. My #6's were Arkansas, Georgetown, Providence, and Michigan State.

The odd ball on the list is Georgetown who made it in as a 4 seed.

Dayton was by far the team which was the most underrated by the Selection Committee. Had Connecticut won, Dayton would not have even gotten in. The Bracket Matrix gave Dayton an average ranking of 8.79. Dayton by the way was a UNANIMOUS choice to get in. If Connecticut had won, that would have been the worst decision in the history of the NCAA selection committee. I only saw two brackets that had Dayton as an #11 seed so at most 2 (if any) would've removed Dayton had UConn won.

Other than those already listed, I found no significant differences between Bracket Matrix seeds and NCAA seeds. I had Georgetown, Utah, Iowa and Purdue two places below their actual seed, VCU and Wichita State two places above their actual seed, and Dayton three places above their actual seed. I thought LSU didn't belong, the Selection Committee had them a #9 seed (the average Matrix seed was 10.48).

I am probably saying this because I am an alumnus of Temple and currently live in the Philadelphia area but this to me was the worst job by the Selection Committee since 2011. Last year, NC State was a worse pick than UCLA was this year but overall last year's group was better. The best IMHO was 2013, the only time I have ever picked all 68 teams in the Selection Committee (and the Bracket Matrix agreed unanimously with the NCAA as well, which rarely happens). The worst in the last 10 years to me was 2006, 2011, and 2015.

Coming soon, Schmolik Bracket Analysis!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

2015 Final Schmolik 64

Hello, college basketball fans!

Dear Wisconsin and Michigan State, thanks a lot for overtime!

Barring a bracket error, this is final! Here you go!

Midwest Regional
Thur/Sat March 26-28
Louisville 1 Kentucky * 34-0
Thur/Sat March 19-21 16
8 Dayton 25-8
9 Ohio State 23-10
Louisville 5 West Virginia 23-9
Thur/Sat March 19-21 12 Buffalo * 23-9
4 Northern Iowa * 30-3
13 Harvard * 20-7
Columbus 6 Georgetown 21-10
Fri/Sun March 20-22 11
3 Notre Dame * 29-5
14 UC Irvine * 19-12
Omaha 7 Utah 23-8
Fri/Sun March 20-22 10 St. John's 20-11
2 Iowa State * 25-8
15 Belmont * 22-10

East Regional
Fri/Sun March 27-29
Pittsburgh 1 Villanova * 32-2
Thur/Sat March 19-21 16 Lafayette * 19-12
8 NC State 20-13
9 Iowa 21-11
Portland 5 VCU* 26-9
Thur/Sat March 19-21 12 Valparaiso * 25-5
4 Oklahoma 22-10
13 Wyoming * 23-9
Pittsburgh 6 Providence 22-11
Thur/Sat March 19-21 11
3 Maryland 27-6
14 Northeastern * 23-11
Charlotte 7 Xavier 21-13
Fri/Sun March 20-22 10 Boise State 23-8
2 Duke 29-4
15 Albany * 24-8
South Regional
Fri/Sun March 27-29
Columbus 1 Wisconsin * 30-3
Fri/Sun March 20-22 16
8 Cincinnati 22-10
9 Davidson 23-7
Seattle 5 Wichita State 27-4
Fri/Sun March 20-22 12 Stephen F. Austin * 26-4
4 Louisville 24-8
13 Eastern Washington * 23-8
Omaha 6 Arkansas 26-8
Fri/Sun March 20-22 11 Purdue 21-12
3 Kansas 26-8
14 Texas Southern * 22-12
Charlotte 7 Butler 22-10
Fri/Sun March 20-22 10 Temple 23-10
2 Virginia 29-3
15 UAB * 18-15
West Regional
Los Angeles
Thur/Sat March 26-28
Portland 1 Arizona * 31-3
Thur/Sat March 19-21 16 North Florida * 20-11
8 San Diego St 25-8
9 Oklahoma State 17-13
Jacksonville 5 SMU * 25-6
Thur/Sat March 19-21 12 Wofford * 26-6
4 North Carolina 24-11
13 Georgia State  * 23-9
Jacksonville 6 Michigan State 23-11
Thur/Sat March 19-21 11 BYU 23-9
3 Baylor 23-9
14 North Dakota State * 21-9
Seattle 7 Oregon 24-8
Fri/Sun March 20-22 10 Colorado State 26-6
2 Gonzaga * 31-2
15 New Mexico State * 21-10
Play In Games
Dayton MW Robert Morris * 19-14
Tue March 17 16 Hampton * 16-17
Dayton S Coastal Carolina * 20-9
Wed March 18 16 Manhattan * 19-13
Dayton E Texas 20-13
Tue March 17 11 Georgia 21-11
Dayton MW Tulsa 22-9
Wed March 18 11 Indiana 20-13

Highest RPI (by CBS Sports RPILeft Out: Old Dominion (46), UCLA (48)

Bids By Conference: 

Big 12 (7): Kan, Bay, ISU, Okl, WV, OkSt, Tex
Big Ten (7): Wisc, Md, MSU, Iowa. OSU, Pur, Ind
ACC (6): Va, Duke, ND, UNC, Lville, NC St
Big East (6): Vill, Prov, GTown, Butl, Xav, St. J
AAC (4): SMU, Cin, Temp, Tulsa
MWC (4):  SDSt, BSU,CSU, Wyo
Pac 12 (3): Ariz, Ore, Utah
A-10 (3): VCU, Dav, Day
SEC (3): Ky, Ark , Ga
WCC (2): Gonz*, BYU
MVC (2):  N Iowa*, Wich St

One Bid: 21

Compare my bracket to others:

Schmolik 64 Seed Update (3/15/15 AM)

Hello, college basketball fans!

This seed list is for the Bracket Matrix. It assumes the favorite (Kentucky, Wisconsin, SMU, VCU, and Georgia State) win. With the exception of 11 seeds, they are roughly in 1-68 order. The bracket will come later today.

1. Kentucky, Villanova, Wisconsin, Arizona
2. Duke, Virginia, Gonzaga, Iowa State
3. Kansas, Notre Dame, Maryland, Baylor
4. Northern Iowa, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Louisville
5. SMU, VCU, West Virginia, Wichita State
6. Arkansas, Michigan State, Providence, Georgetown
7. Oregon, Utah, Xavier, Butler
8. Dayton, San Diego State, Cincinnati, NC State
9. Iowa, Davidson, Ohio State, Oklahoma State
10. St. John's, Colorado State, Temple, Boise State
11. (Alphabetical Order): BYU, Georgia, Indiana, Purdue, Texas, Tulsa (One of these will be removed if Connecticut wins and Connecticut will be an 11 seed).
12. Buffalo, Stephen F. Austin, Wofford, Valparaiso
13. Wyoming, Harvard, Georgia State, Eastern Washington
14. Northeastern, North Dakota State, UC Irvine, Texas Southern
15. Belmont, Albany, New Mexico State, UAB
16. Lafayette, North Florida
First Four: Coastal Carolina, Manhattan, Robert Morris, Hampton


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Schmolik 64 Update (3/14/15)

Hello, college basketball fans!

Welcome to the second to last Schmolik 64 Update for 2015. We are less than 48 hours to Selection Sunday.

To save time, I will skip records in this update but plan to do so in the final Schmolik 64 tomorrow.

Midwest Regional
Thur/Sat March 26-28
Louisville 1 Kentucky
Thur/Sat March 19-21 16
8 NC State
9 Davidson
Portland 5 Providence
Thur/Sat March 19-21 12 Valparaiso *
4 Oklahoma
13 Eastern Washington
Columbus 6 Xavier
Fri/Sun March 20-22 11
3 Notre Dame
14 UC Irvine
Seattle 7 San Diego St
Fri/Sun March 20-22 10 Dayton
2 Gonzaga *
15 New Mexico State

East Regional
Fri/Sun March 27-29
Pittsburgh 1 Villanova
Thur/Sat March 19-21 16 North Florida *
8 Cincinnati
9 Ohio State
Seattle 5 Wichita State
Fri/Sun March 20-22 12 Stephen F. Austin
4 Louisville
13 Georgia State
Omaha 6 Oregon
Fri/Sun March 20-22 11 Purdue
3 Iowa State
14 North Dakota State *
Charlotte 7 Georgetown
Fri/Sun March 20-22 10 Temple
2 Virginia
15 Albany
South Regional
Fri/Sun March 27-29
Charlotte 1 Duke
Fri/Sun March 20-22 16
8 Butler
9 Iowa
Jacksonville 5 West Virginia
Thur/Sat March 19-21 12
4 Northern Iowa *
13 Central Michigan
Pittsburgh 6 Utah
Thur/Sat March 19-21 11 Texas
3 Maryland
14 Northeastern *
Omaha 7 VCU
Fri/Sun March 20-22 10 Colorado State
2 Kansas
15 UAB
West Regional
Los Angeles
Thur/Sat March 26-28
Columbus 1 Wisconsin
Fri/Sun March 20-22 16 Lafayette *
8 St. John's
9 Oklahoma State
Jacksonville 5 SMU
Thur/Sat March 19-21 12 Wofford *
4 Baylor
13 Yale
Louisville 6 Arkansas
Thur/Sat March 19-21 11 BYU
3 North Carolina
14 Belmont *
Portland 7 Michigan State
Thur/Sat March 19-21 10 Boise State
2 Arizona
15 Texas Southern
Play In Games
Tue March 17 MW Robert Morris *
16 Delaware State
Wed March 18 MW Coastal Carolina *
16 Manhattan *
Dayton MW Tulsa
Wed March 18 11 Georgia
Dayton S Buffalo
Tue March 17 12 Indiana

Highest RPI (by CBS Sports RPILeft Out: Old Dominion (46), UCLA (49), Iona (50)

Bids By Conference: 

Big 12 (7): Kan, Bay, ISU, Okl, WV, OkSt, Tex
Big Ten (7): Wisc, Md, MSU, Iowa. OSU, Pur, Ind
ACC (6): Va, Duke, ND, UNC, Lville, NC St
Big East (6): Vill, Prov, GTown, Butl, Xav, St. J
AAC (4): SMU, Cin, Temp, Tulsa
Pac 12 (3): Ariz, Ore, Utah
A-10 (3): VCU, Dav, Day
SEC (3): Ky, Ark , Ga
WCC (2): Gonz*, BYU
MVC (2):  N Iowa*, Wich St
MAC (2): C Mich, Buff
One Bid: 20

Compare my bracket to others:

Friday, March 13, 2015

Schmolik Bubble Watch (3/13/15 AM)

Hello, college basketball fans!

Welcome to this season's second Bubble Watch.
I almost felt like yesterday was "play yourselves out of the NCAA field" day. Illinois got dumped by Michigan in a game they needed. Old Dominion struck out and killed any chance they had of getting an at large field. And two bubble teams in the SEC went one and done. Texas A&M now has zero chance to get in. Ole Miss still has some quality wins but all are in the category of not being a bubble team but not being an impressive enough win to help their cause. Georgia has an easier game now in the semifinals (South Carolina) but lost two top 50 wins (and a chance at a third) with Mississippi's loss. They probably need a win today. LSU and Georgia are the survivors in the SEC bubble mess. LSU won the head to head and also beat Arkansas and West Virginia (both on the road). But even though Old Dominion is out, that head to head loss could keep LSU out of the field if LSU also loses to Auburn.

The big winners yesterday are probably BYU, UCLA, and Texas, even though they lost on a buzzer beater to Iowa State. If teams continue to blow NCAA bids, someone has to make the field. And I still think Buffalo with a win improves its chances.

These are the teams I feel should be in the field at this time even if they lose their first game:

ACC: Duke, Va, ND, Lville, UNC, NCSt
A-10: VCU
Big 12: Kan, ISU, Okl, Bay, WV, OkSt
Big East: Vill, GTown, Butl, Prov, St. J, Xav
Big Ten: Wisc, Md, MSU, Iowa, OSU
MVC: Wich St
MWC: BSU, SDSt, ColoSt
Pac 12: Ariz, Utah, Ore
SEC: Ky, Ark

Friday Update:
Added to Locks: NC St, VCU, BSU, SDSt, ColoSt
Eliminated from Bubble Contention: Mia, Ill, ODU, Stan

Total: 32 (Since the ACC, Big 12, and Big East champions are guaranteed from the locks)
Automatic Bids: 24 (Including Gonz, N Iowa)

Remaining: 12

I only have 12 teams listed but keep in mind that doesn't account for party crashers.

RPI's courtesy of CBS Sports, accurate as of March 13.



Should be in if: Advances to SF
Should be on the bubble if: Loses to Memphis in QF


Should be in if: Advances to F
Should be on the bubble if: Loses in SF (assuming they don't lose to South Florida)
Should be out if: Loses to Houston in QF

Temple's resume is higher but Tulsa has the head to head sweep. Ironically Tulsa may want Temple to make the field to help their cause. If Temple doesn't make the field, Tulsa probably doesn't either.



Should be in if: Advances to SF
Should be on the bubble if: Loses to LaSalle in QF


Should be in if: Advances to SF
Should be on the bubble if: St. Bonaventure in QF

Both teams really deserve to be in but need to avoid the dreaded "bad loss".Davidson can claim a regular season title to help their cause and LaSalle is a top 100 team which might not damage Davidson's RPI that much. Dayton would be the most in danger with a loss, especially if they are the only one that loses.

Big 12:


Result: Lost to Iowa State in Big 12 QF

The buzzer beater must have been devastating, but if they look around they have to see other teams losing. Losing to Iowa State, a top 10 level team, on a buzzer beater is much better than losing to Auburn. I'm sure Texas really enjoyed seeing Texas A&M lose.

Big Ten:


Should be in if: Advances to SF
Should be on the bubble if: 
Should be out if: Loses to Penn State in QF


Should be in if: Advances to SF
Should be on the bubble if: Loses to Maryland in QF
Should be out if: Loses to Northwestern in 1st Round

Purdue is similar to Georgia and LSU. On one hand, a win probably gets them in and an easier opponent gives you a better chance to get you in. However, the loss will kill (or at least cripple) Purdue's at large chances. I believe Indiana should be rooting for Purdue to win. Indiana was swept by Purdue and if Purdue and Indiana both lose today, I think both are out. If Purdue wins, they are in and I think Indiana might still get in even if they lose. Now if Indiana wins, they should be in over Purdue (if they lose).

Mid American:


Should be in if: Wins tournament
Should be on the bubble if: Advances to F (or loses in the SF to a quality opponent)
Should be out if: Fails to advance to F

Buffalo had a good day as schools like Old Dominion, Mississippi, and Texas A&M hurt their causes. There are fewer teams Buffalo will have to fight for to get an at large bid. Buffalo got a bye to the semifinals (unusual) and they cannot afford to be one and done either.



Should be in if: Makes F
Should be on the bubble if: Loses to Arizona in SF

If UCLA upsets Arizona tonight, they will be the biggest bubble winner of the night. The bad news is Arizona at this moment is still in contention for a top seed and a loss could move Gonzaga ahead of them in the pecking order for 2 seeds.



Should be in if: Makes F
Should be on the bubble if: Makes SF 
Should be out if: Loses to South Carolina in QF


Should be in if: Makes SF
Should be on the bubble if: 
Should be out if: Loses to Auburn in QF

I think LSU should make the field with a win. They would clearly be the #3 team in the SEC pecking order. They do have a strong resume if they lose but the Old Dominion loss will still be hanging over their heads and, come on, Auburn? South Carolina wouldn't be as bad a loss for Georgia as Auburn would be to LSU but keep in mind they have ZERO top 50 wins and if neither win LSU is still ahead of them. I can see schools like UCLA and Buffalo moving ahead of the Bulldogs if Georgia loses.

I said at the beginning of the week only two SEC teams deserve to make the field. If LSU and Georgia both lose today and Kentucky and Arkansas make the final, I think two SEC bids is not out of the question.



Result: Lost to Gonzaga in WCC final

Their RPI is reasonable. They really have only one quality top 50 win but it's a huge one, at Gonzaga, the only team to win there all season. It should be interesting. If the NCAA wants to talk about quality wins, how can you top the Gonzaga win?