My Bubble Picks

I’ve been doing brackets for years and don’t ever remember a more up in the air bubble than this. But, choices must be made.  Here are my final picks for at-larges:

In:

Syracuse – It seems most have them out, but they have some GREAT wins at Duke and over Texas A&M on a neutral floor.  5 top 50 wins against this kind of bubble is very good, even though the bad losses and high RPI (70) are killers.

Michigan – I don’t like putting a team in with only four top 100 wins, but they did beat four very good teams (and two were on neutral floors over Indiana and Texas).  A huge plus? No bad losses, which every other bubble team has.

Temple – They swept UConn and Cincy during the regular season and they also have a win over SMU.  Most think they’re safe, but I have them in the First Four.  They could easily be snubbed.

Florida – They were swept by Vandy, but they had the fourth toughest non-conference schedule and that destruction of West Virginia left an impression.  By avoiding bad losses (for the most part), they’ve distinguished themselves just enough.  Like I’ve been saying this week, I think they are this year’s UCLA.

Wichita State – I entered the day planning on putting Vandy in, but my gut is telling me Wichita will get in and head to the First Four because the committee buys the Fred Van Vleet factor and the tough out of conference schedule. Here’s hoping my gut is better than my head.

Out: 

Vanderbilt – They’re my first team out because of the three bad losses and a gut that says the committee will want to recognize a great mid-major (Wichita State).  All they had to do was beat Tennessee on a neutral floor and they couldn’t do it.  They will be very close, though.  There’s a reason I had them in entering today, and it’s because my head likes all the wins against tournament teams.

St. Mary’s – It’s a decent profile, but challenge yourselves out of conference! You can do that, and they have nobody to blame but themselves.

Monmouth – Yes, they scheduled true road games against UCLA, Georgetown, and USC.  But only USC is a top 100 team.  For me, the losses are just too bad.  Their three losses aren’t to bad teams; they are to terrible teams.

South Carolina – One win at Texas A&M is all that pops out positively.  Most seem to have them in, but the bad losses and horrible out of conference schedule should spell doom.

 

 

Contingency Brackets

I have many contingency brackets floating around right now. Here are two, as examples.

Michigan State, UConn, VCU, Kentucky, and Little Rock win:

MIDWEST

1 Kansas
16 Southern / Fla Gulf Coast

8 Wisconsin
9 Butler

5 Cal
12 Northern Iowa

4 Indiana
13 Yale

6 Iowa St
11 Michigan / Florida

3 Miami
14 Stony Brook

7 Iowa
10 St Bonaventure

2 Villanova
15 Green Bay

WEST

1 Michigan State
16 Fairleigh Dickinson / Holy Cross

8 Colorado
9 VCU

5 Baylor
12 Fresno State

4 Seton Hall
13 Hawaii

6 Arizona
11 Syracuse

3 Kentucky
14 Middle Tennessee

7 Texas Tech
10 Gonzaga

2 Oregon
15 Weber State

EAST

1 North Carolina
16 Hampton

8 UConn
9 USC

5 Duke
12 South Dakota State

4 Purdue
13 Iona

6 Notre Dame
11 Little Rock

3 Utah
14 Buffalo

7 Providence
10 St. Joseph’s

2 West Virginia
15 UNC-Asheville

SOUTH

1 Virginia
16 Austin Peay

8 Dayton
9 Pitt

5 Maryland
12 Chattanooga

4 Texas A&M
13 UNC-Wilmington

6 Texas
11 Temple / Wichita State

3 Xavier
14 SF Austin

7 Oregon State
10 Cincinnati

2 Oklahoma
15 Cal-State Bakersfield

Purdue, St Joe’s, Texas A&M, Little Rock, and UConn win:

MIDWEST

1 Kansas
16 Southern / Florida Gulf Coast

8 Colorado
9 Butler

5 Cal
12 Northern Iowa

4 Kentucky
13 Yale

6 Iowa State
11 Little Rock

3 Michigan State
14 Stony Brook

7 Iowa
10 St Bonaventure

2 Xavier
15 Green Bay

WEST

1 Oregon
16 Fairleigh Dickinson / Holy Cross

8 Dayton
9 Pitt

5 Baylor
12 Fresno St

4 Seton Hall
13 Hawaii

6 Arizona
11 Michigan / Florida

3 Miami
14 Middle Tennessee

7 Oregon State
10 Gonzaga

2 Oklahoma
15 Weber St

EAST

1 North Carolina
16 Hampton

8 UConn
9 USC

5 Duke
12 S Dakota St

4 Purdue
13 Iona

6 Notre Dame
11 Temple / Wichita State

3 Utah
14 Buffalo

7 Texas Tech
10 VCU

2 Villanova
15 UNC Asheville

SOUTH

1 UVA
16 Austin Peay

8 Wisconsin
9 St Joe’s

5 Maryland
12 Chattanooga

4 Indiana
13 UNC Wilmington

6 Texas
11 Syracuse

3 Texas A&M
14 SF Austin

7 Providence
10 Cincinnati

2 West Virginia
15 Cal State Bakersfield

See how a couple changes affect matchups all the way down the bracket?  By the way…

First Four Out – Vanderbilt, St Mary’s, Monmouth, South Carolina

Selection Sunday is Here!

It is Christmas morning everyone! Can’t wait to open up those brackets and start playing!

I am making a lot of contingency brackets right now, but here are the most important predictions:

  1. Michigan State will be the one in the West and Oregon the two if Michigan State wins today. Otherwise, Oregon is the one in the West.
  2. I’m calling for a shockingly good day for power conference bubble teams. I am taking Syracuse, Michigan, and Florida. 🤔
  3. Virginia will be the third overall seed playing out of the South despite not winning the ACC tournament or regular season.
  4. Temple stays in the field despite a high RPI and a loss to Uconn.
  5. Neither St Mary’s or Monmouth make it. But the last team in the field is mid-major Wichita State who gets the benefit of the doubt despite a very underwhelming resume.  They better hope the committee really buys into that Fred Van Vleet injury because my head says, “no,” but my gut says, “yes.”

Stay tuned later for my final bracket!

Tournament Locks

These 57 teams are locks to play in the NCAA tournament:

A-10 (3) – Dayton, VCU, St Joe’s

ACC (6) – North Carolina, Miami, Duke, Virginia, Notre Dame

Big XII (7) – Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Texas, Iowa St, Baylor, Texas Tech

Big East (5) – Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall, Providence

Big Ten (6) – Michigan State, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Maryland, Purdue

Pac-12 (7) – Oregon, Utah, Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon State, USC

SEC (2) – Kentucky, Texas A&M

Others (21) – UNC-Asheville, Yale, Northern Iowa, Florida Gulf Coast, Austin Peay, UNC-Wilmington, Iona, Chattanooga, Fairleigh Dickinson, Green Bay, South Dakota State, Gonzaga, Holy Cross, Stony Brook, Fresno St, Buffalo, Southern, Hampton, Weber St, Middle Tennessee, Hampton

3/12 Bracket Projection

MIDWEST

1 Kansas
16 Southern / FGCU

8 Wisconsin
9 Butler

5 Texas
12 Northern Iowa

4 Texas A&M
13 S Dakota St

6 Iowa St
11 Gonzaga

3 Utah
14 Mid Tennessee

7 Oregon State
10 St Joe’s

2 Michigan St
15 Green Bay

WEST

1 UNC
16 Austin Peay

8 Colorado
9 Temple

5 Cal
12 Chattanooga

4 Purdue
13 Yale

6 Arizona
11 Michigan

3 Kentucky
14 Hawaii

7 Dayton
10 San Diego St

2 Oregon
15 N Mexico St

EAST

1 UVA
16 FDU / Holy Cross

8 USC
9 Pitt

5 Duke
12 Akron

4 Indiana
13 Iona

6 Notre Dame
11 VCU / Wichita St

3 Xavier
14 Stony Brook

7 Providence
10 Syracuse

2 WVU
15 UNC-Asheville

SOUTH

1 Villanova
16 Hampton

8 Texas Tech
9 UConn

5 Baylor
12 Little Rock

4 Maryland
13 UNCW

6 Seton Hall
11 St Bonaventure / Vanderbilt

3 Miami
14 SF Austin

7 Iowa
10 Cincinnati

2 Oklahoma
15 Weber St

 

First Four Out – Florida, St Mary’s, Monmouth, Tulsa

Bubble Picture

SHOULD BE IN

Butler – Despite the loss to Providence, they should be dancing. But it isn’t a 100 percent thing, so I won’t lock them.

Pitt – Beating Syracuse for the third time should do it, but only two top 50 wins keeps the Panthers from locking a bid.

Cincinnati – Losing the way they did to UConn shouldn’t do much damage. They’re looking at a ten seed at best, but they’ll likely get in (even if it is the First Four).

UConn – They had to beat Cincinnati, and they got it done in one of the games of the year. They then beat Temple to probably seal a bid. They wI’ll get in, but the only reason I’m not locking them is the highly unlikely event of a blowout loss to Memphis and a surprisingly tough judgment from the committee.

TRUE BUBBLE

Vanderbilt – The Commodores are in serious trouble. All they needed was a win over Tennessee to make the field. Instead, they are squarely on the bubble. This could go either way, but I have them just barely in right now.

South Carolina – With only one win against the RPI top 40, a horrid non-SEC schedule, three bad losses, and three losses to Georgia,  South Carolina is in serious trouble.  Never underestimate the committee’s desire to punish bad non-conference schedules.

St Bonaventure – Losing in the A-10 quarters will likely prevent a bid,  but they will have a chance. A lot of other bubble competitors her themselves, too.

Little Rock – Make the conference tournament finals and it might happen. Lose before that and I can’t see it.

St Mary’s – They lost to Gonzaga and they will be right on the cut line. That’s what happens when you play eighteen home games out of the WCC. Schedule tougher, St. Mary’s. You’ve known this for years. And it’s looking like they’ll just miss.

Wichita State – Losing before the MVC final really hurts. The resume simply doesn’t stack up. Their fate will be determined by how other bubble teams perform this week. They enter Friday as my first team to miss the field, but would at least temporarily make it if Florida loses to Texas A&M.

Syracuse – They would’ve been in with a win over Pitt, but they lost by one. They will be right on the edge of the bubble. This one could go either way. I am keeping them in for now because of four good wins holding more weight than three bad losses. But they have a lot of losses for a SOS that isn’t great.

Florida – The Gators were in my First Four before falling to Texas A&M. That romp over West Virginia isn’t likely enough to get it done.

Temple – They have a chance to lose on Saturday and still make it. It may take beating UConn. Win that, and they’ll be in.

Michigan – Beating Indiana was needed to be in the competition, but they still find themselves squarely on the bubble after losing to Purdue.

Monmouth – Those wins over Notre Dame, UCLA, USC, and Georgetown are looking worse, but the ambitious scheduling and non-conference performance help. Losing to Iona leaves them cheering against bubble teams. But despite many talking heads saying they will be in the tournament, I simply don’t see it. They are really leaning hard on wins over Notre Dame and USC, which are good but not great wins. And they have three horrible losses on the resume that aren’t going away (Canisius, Army and Manhattan). It’s close.

LONGSHOTS

Georgia Tech – The Jackets were on a roll until UVA cooled them off. They have three top 50 wins and a strong SOS. They are likely out, but they could be this year’s UCLA, shocking the world with a bid.

Valparaiso – The Crusaders couldn’t take a loss to Green Bay in the semis and expect to have a strong chance. They will certainly merit a lot of consideration, but a road win at Oregon State is the only really strong selling point. That’s just not quite enough.

San Diego State – Making the Mountain West final before losing to Fresno State likely won’t work but… maybe? They do have a fourteen-point win over Cal on a neutral court.

3/11 Bracket Projection

MIDWEST

1 Kansas
16 Austin Peay / Fla Gulf Coast

8 Dayton
9 Butler

5 Purdue
12 Northern Iowa

4 Maryland
13 S Dakota St

6 Iowa St
11 Gonzaga

3 Miami
14 Green Bay

7 Iowa
10 UConn

2 Xavier
15 Weber St

WEST

1 Oklahoma
16 TX Southern

8 Colorado
9 Cincinnati

5 Texas
12 Chattanooga

4 Texas A&M
13 Yale

6 Arizona
11 San Diego St

3 Indiana
14 Hawaii

7 Texas Tech
10 Tulsa

2 Oregon
15 New Mexico St

EAST

1 Virginia
16 FDU / Holy Cross

8 USC
9 Pitt

5 Duke
12 Akron

4 Cal
13 Iona

6 Seton Hall
11 Vanderbilt / Syracuse

3 W Virginia
14 Stony Brook

7 Providence
10 St Bonaventure

2 Michigan St
15 Asheville

SOUTH

1 Villanova
16 Hampton

8 Wisconsin
9 South Carolina

5 Baylor
12 Little Rock

4 Kentucky
13 UNC-Wilmington

6 Notre Dame
11 Florida / St Joe’s

3 Utah
14 SF Austin

7 Oregon State
10 Temple

2 UNC
15 Middle Tennessee

 
Last Four Out – Wichita State, St. Mary’s, Alabama, Monmouth

Kansas is the overall one

Following a destruction of Kansas State, Kansas clinches my overall number one seed of the tournament.

They could lose by 30 to Baylor and it wouldn’t matter. They have had by far the best season in college hoops.

Tournament Locks

These 46 teams are locks to play in the NCAA tournament:

A-10 (1) – Dayton

ACC (6) – North Carolina, Miami, Duke, Virginia, Notre Dame

Big XII (7) – Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Texas, Iowa St, Baylor, Texas Tech

Big East (4) – Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall, Providence

Big Ten (6) – Michigan State, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Maryland, Purdue

Pac-12 (7) – Oregon, Utah, Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon State, USC

SEC (2) – Kentucky, Texas A&M

Others (13) – UNC-Asheville, Yale, Northern Iowa, Florida Gulf Coast, Austin Peay, UNC-Wilmington, Iona, Chattanooga, Fairleigh Dickinson, Green Bay, South Dakota State, Gonzaga, Holy Cross

3/10 Bracket Projection

MIDWEST

1 Kansas – 16 Austin Peay / FCGU

8 Notre Dame – 9 Vanderbilt

5 Purdue – 12 No. Iowa

4 Texas A&M – 13 S Dakota St

6 Iowa – 11 San Diego St

3 Miami – 14 SF Austin

7 Colorado – 10 Cincinnati

2 Michigan St – 15 Green Bay

WEST

1 Oklahoma – 16 TX Southern

8 Providence – 9 St Bonaventure

5 Iowa St – 12 Akron

4 Duke – 13 Yale

6 Arizona – 11 UConn/Syracuse

3 Indiana – 14 Hawaii

7 Wisconsin – 10 Gonzaga

2 Oregon – 15 New Mex St

EAST

1 Virginia – 16 Holy Cross/F. Dickinson

8 USC – 9 Butler

5 Maryland – 12 Chattanooga

4 Cal – 13 Iona

6 Seton Hall – 11 Temple

3 W Virginia – 14 Stony Brook

7 Oregon State – 10 St Joe’s

2 Xavier – 15 UNC Asheville

SOUTH

1 Villanova – 16 Hampton

8 Texas Tech – 9 Pitt

5 Texas – 12 Little Rock

4 Kentucky – 13 UNC Wilmington

6 Baylor – 11 Tulsa / Florida

3 Utah – 14 UAB

7 Dayton – 10 South Carolina

2 UNC – 15 Weber State