Kansas vs Purdue

Ohio State won at absolutely thrilling game in West Lafayette last night to move to the top of the Big Ten, giving Purdue their first loss since the Battle for Atlantis . It seems like Purdue should be able to take that loss and stay comfortably on the one line. But I am not so sure.

The Boilermakers find themselves down at 12 in the RPI, which is very low for a team competing for a one seed. They also have five Group 1 wins, but only two of those are against teams that appear to be solidly in the field.

Kansas, on the other hand, is 6th in RPI with the top strength of schedule in all of college basketball. They have eight Group 1 wins and five Group 2 wins, and they’re first in college basketball’s toughest conference.

This one is a tough choice, but I think Kansas’s superior resume wins out slightly over Purdue’s superior efficiency and record.

I predict Kansas will be the one seed in the West and Purdue will be the two seed in the Midwest when the Selection Committee releases their current top four seeds on Saturday.

Also, check out the new podcast (see link on the right or search “BracketWAG” on Apple’s Podcasts app.

New Bracket

EAST

1 Virginia
16 Ark Pine Bluff / Nicholls St

8 Alabama
9 Butler

5 Seton Hall
12 MTSU

4 Arizona
13 S Dakota St

6 Texas
11 Houston / Louisville

3 Tennessee
14 Louisiana

7 Missouri
10 Michigan

2 Kansas
15 UCSB

WEST

1 Xavier
16 NC A&T / Penn

8 Texas A&M
9 Gonzaga

5 Kentucky
12 Loyola-Chicago

4 Oklahoma
13 Belmont

6 Creighton
11 Virginia Tech / Kansas St

3 Michigan St
14 Wright St

7 Providence
10 Arkansas

2 Duke
15 Wagner

SOUTH

1 Villanova
16 FGCU

8 Florida St
9 Arizona St

5 Ohio State
12 Buffalo

4 UNC
13 ETSU

6 URI
11 Syracuse

3 Texas Tech
14 Montana

7 Wichita St
10 TCU

2 Auburn
15 Bucknell

MIDWEST

1 Purdue
16 UNCA

8 Washington
9 Florida

5 Miami
12 New Mexico State

4 West VA
13 Vermont

6 St Mary’s
11 NC State

3 Cincinnati
14 Charleston

7 Nevada
10 USC

2 Clemson
15 Rider

Monday Bracket

No changes from yesterday except Seton Hall drops to a five and Kentucky rises to a four.

EAST

1 Virginia
16 NC A&T / Penn

8 St Mary’s
9 Florida

5 UNC
12 Buffalo

4 Kentucky
13 Vermont

6 Texas
11 NC State

3 Cincinnati
14 Wright St

7 Nevada
10 Gonzaga

2 Kansas
15 Bucknell

WEST

1 Auburn
16 Ark-Pine Bluff / Nicholls St

8 Florida St
9 Texas A&M

5 Rhode Island
12 MTSU

4 Arizona
13 S Dakota St

6 Ohio State
11 Arkansas

3 Oklahoma
14 Montana

7 Providence
10 Michigan

2 Duke
15 UC Davis

SOUTH

1 Villanova
16 Wagner

8 Missouri
9 Arizona St

5 West Virginia
12 Loyola-Chicago

4 Tennessee
13 Belmont

6 Creighton
11 Virginia Tech / Kansas St

3 Michigan St
14 Charleston

7 Butler
10 TCU

2 Clemson
15 FGCU

MIDWEST

1 Purdue
16 UNC Asheville

8 Washington
9 Louisville

5 Seton Hall
12 New Mexico State

4 Miami
13 ETSU

6 Alabama
11 Houston / St Bonaventure

3 Texas Tech
14 Louisiana

7 Wichita St
10 USC

2 Xavier
15 Rider

Super Bowl Sunday Bracket / Thoughts / Podcast

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and there is a new bracket below. Also, there is a new podcast recapping Saturday’s surprising action (https://bracketwag.podbean.com/).

The Fourth Overall One Seed:

It’s obvious that Virginia, Villanova, and Purdue are in position for one seeds. But that fourth one seed isn’t so obvious. For now, Auburn gets the slight advantage over Xavier due to one less loss, sole possession of first in a very strong SEC, and a better eye test (following Xavier’s near loss at home to Georgetown). That said, this thing is wide open and a reasonable argument could be made for different teams in this spot.

How High Can Cincinnati Go?

Cincinnati is having arguably their best season since Bob Huggins roamed the floor, reaching Super Bowl Sunday with only two losses. That said, can they get a one seed? Probably not. First off, they played an average OOC SOS. For a team outside of the Power Six, their OOC SOS would likely have to be better than that (like Gonzaga last year). In addition, the Bearcats’ two toughest OOC games were at Xavier and Florida on a neutral floor. There is no shame in losing either, but they lost both, which leaves them with zero wins against teams solidly in the field. Even if Cincinnati wins out from here, a two seed will likely be their plateau.

EAST

1 Virginia
16 NC A&T / Penn

8 St Mary’s
9 Florida

5 UNC
12 Buffalo

4 Seton Hall
13 Vermont

6 Texas
11 NC State

3 Cincinnati
14 Wright St

7 Nevada
10 Gonzaga

2 Kansas
15 Bucknell

WEST

1 Auburn
16 Ark-Pine Bluff / Nicholls St

8 Florida St
9 Texas A&M

5 Rhode Island
12 MTSU

4 Arizona
13 S Dakota St

6 Ohio State
11 Arkansas

3 Oklahoma
14 Montana

7 Providence
10 Michigan

2 Duke
15 UC Davis

SOUTH

1 Villanova
16 Wagner

8 Missouri
9 Arizona St

5 West Virginia
12 Loyola-Chicago

4 Tennessee
13 Belmont

6 Creighton
11 Virginia Tech / Kansas St

3 Michigan St
14 Charleston

7 Butler
10 TCU

2 Clemson
15 FGCU

MIDWEST

1 Purdue
16 UNC Asheville

8 Washington
9 Louisville

5 Kentucky
12 New Mexico State

4 Miami
13 ETSU

6 Alabama
11 Houston / St Bonaventure

3 Texas Tech
14 Louisiana

7 Wichita St
10 USC

2 Xavier
15 Rider

Tournament Picture Update

TOURNEY BOUND – These 6 teams are going to the NCAA Tournament:

Villanova, Duke, Kansas, Virginia, Xavier, and Purdue

LOOKING SOLID – These 17 teams will cement a spot with the following number of regular season wins:

Auburn – 2
UNC – 3
Clemson – 3
Oklahoma – 3
Tennessee – 3
Kentucky – 3
Arizona – 4
West Virginia – 4
Michigan State – 4
Ohio State – 4
Seton Hall – 4
Creighton – 5
TCU – 5
Louisville – 5
Cincinnati – 5
USC – 5
Miami – 6

GOOD SHAPE: These 8 teams should be dancing, but they’re a long ways away from locking up a bid:

Arkansas, Wichita State, Florida, Texas, Rhode Island, Nevada, Butler, Alabama

TRULY BUBBLY – These teams represent the “true bubble.” Some will play themselves in comfortably, some will play themselves out, and some will stay on the bubble all the way through the Selection Show:

Providence, Arizona State, Michigan, St Mary’s, Texas A&M, Syracuse, Boise St, Florida State, New Mexico State, Western Kentucky, Missouri, Marquette, Houston, South Carolina, Washington, SMU, Kansas State, Georgia, Gonzaga, UCLA, Colorado, Middle Tennessee, Notre Dame, NC State, Virginia Tech, Utah, Nebraska, Mississippi State, Temple, St Bonaventure, and LSU

LONGSHOTS – These teams aren’t totally out of it, but their bubble is on the verge of being popped:

Buffalo, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Maryland, Wyoming, Loyola-Chicago, UCF, Boston College, BYU, Ole Miss, Tulane, Iowa State, Baylor, Stanford, Memphis, Minnesota and Indiana

If you were keeping count, 29 teams from 7 conferences are Tourney Bound, Looking Solid, or in Good Shape. That means there are only fifteen bids available for teams that are Truly Bubbly or Longshots.

 

Friday Bracket

Shelby and I have a new podcast, available on iTunes.  And here is today’s bracket:

EAST

1 Virginia
16 Wagner

8 Butler
9 Michigan

5 Seton Hall
12 Buffalo

4 Kentucky
13 ETSU

6 Ohio State
11 Virginia Tech / Kansas St

3 Cincinnati
14 Wright St

7 Rhode Island
10 Florida State

2 Xavier
15 Rider

WEST

1 Kansas
16 Ark-Pine Bluff / New Orleans

8 Alabama
9 Arizona St

5 Creighton
12 Loyola-Chicago

4 Michigan State
13 S Dakota St

6 TCU
11 NC State / Georgia

3 Arizona
14 UCSB

7 St Mary’s
10 Washington

2 Clemson
15 UNC Asheville

SOUTH

1 Villanova
16 Harvard / NC A&T

8 Texas
9 Texas A&M

5 Miami
12 MTSU

4 Tennessee
13 Belmont

6 Florida
11 Houston

3 Texas Tech
14 Louisiana

7 Wichita State
10 Missouri

2 Duke
15 Bucknell

MIDWEST

1 Purdue
16 FGCU

8 USC
9 Arkansas

5 West Virginia
12 New Mexico State

4 UNC
13 Vermont

6 Louisville
11 Gonzaga

3 Oklahoma
14 Charleston

7 Nevada
10 Providence

2 Auburn
15 Montana

New Podcast

Just a heads up that USA Today bracketologist Shelby Mast and I are teaming up on a new podcast. Listen to our Bracket Talk pod by searching for “BracketWAG” in Apple’s podcast app or on iTunes.

Wednesday Bracket / Thoughts

St Mary’s in the 8-9 game:

The most recent AP poll has the St Mary’s Gaels at 13th in the country while riding a whopping 16-game winning streak, but that isn’t enough to keep St Mary’s from a current spot in the 8-9 game. St Mary’s finds themselves down at an eight seed because of this profile:


Look at that non-conference strength of schedule; 184th in the country. While they did get a home win over New Mexico State, they also lost on a neutral court to Georgia. More costly, they were beaten by a hapless Washington State squad on a neutral floor. Yes, 21-2 is a great record. But Randy Bennett didn’t do his team any favors by scheduling a weaker non-conference slate than a team like St Mary’s should be playing.

Nebraska isn’t in the field, and they aren’t that close:

Some Huskers fans are dumbfounded that their team is 8-4 in the Big Ten, but still out of the bracket. Frankly, they aren’t that close to being in right now. Let’s take a look at the resume:


From just a quick glance, there is a glaring lack of Tier 1 victories. The Huskers haven’t won a Group 1 game at any point this season. Obviously, the lack of bad losses is good. But on Selection Sunday, it comes down to beating quality teams. And the Huskers simply haven’t been able to do that at the rate of an NCAA at-large team. An even bigger issue may be the lack of quality win opportunities in the future. Even if Nebraska wins all of their remaining regular season games, they still project to have zero Group 1 wins entering the Big Ten tournament in Madison Square Garden. If the Huskers can go 13-5 in the Big Ten or better, they will get a strong look from the committee. Anything less (even 12-6), and it’s likely the NIT. As mentioned regarding St Mary’s, the Huskers weren’t done any favors by their OOC SOS (a horrid 268).

EAST

1 Virginia
16 Arkansas Pine Bluff / New Orleans

8 Arkansas
9 Providence

5 Seton Hall
12 Buffalo

4 Kentucky
13 ETSU

6 Miami
11 Marquette / S Carolina

3 Oklahoma
14 Louisiana

7 Florida
10 Syracuse

2 Xavier
15 Wagner

WEST

1 Kansas
16 NC A&T / Long Beach St

8 St Mary’s
9 Houston

5 Wichita State
12 Loyola-Chicago

4 Michigan State
13 Wright State

6 Louisville
11 Texas A&M / Kansas St

3 Arizona
14 Bucknell

7 TCU
10 Michigan

2 Clemson
15 Charleston

SOUTH

1 Villanova
16 Harvard

8 Texas
9 USC

5 N Carolina
12 Mid Tenn

4 Tennessee
13 Belmont

6 Arizona St
11 Butler

3 Texas Tech
14 Rider

7 Florida State
10 Washington

2 Duke
15 FGCU

MIDWEST

1 Purdue
16 UNC Asheville

8 Nevada
9 Gonzaga

5 Ohio State
12 New Mexico St

4 W Virginia
13 S Dakota St

6 Creighton
11 Georgia

3 Cincinnati
14 Vermont

7 Rhode Island
10 NC State

2 Auburn
15 Montana

Sunday Bracket / Thoughts

 

 

The One Line:

Everyone knew Saturday would be a big day for the one seed race, and it delivered. Virginia went on the road to Cameron Indoor and stifled Duke’s offense to pick up a huge road win. That moves the Cavaliers up to number one overall and puts UVA in commanding position to win the ACC regular season title. One-loss Villanova remains a strong candidate for one overall, but hasn’t played quite as tough of a schedule as Virginia. And Purdue is a solid one. The final one seed is a bit of a toss up, but Big XII leading Kansas gets a very slight nod over Duke. While the Blue Devils have one less loss, they only have seven Group 1/2 wins, compared to Kansas’s 11. And the Jayhawks have ten wins over RPI top 75 teams. Duke has only five. Of those top 75 wins, Kansas has four true road wins. Duke has one. It is close, but the Jayhawks deserve the nod.

West Virginia is in a Free-fall:

A couple of weeks ago, WVU was on the one line. Now, they’re down at a five seed following four losses in five games. While they have some great wins and excellent efficiency ratings, their OOC SOS numbers aren’t great. The potential to rise up the bracket is obviously still there, but a one seed is all but out of the question now.

EAST

1 Virginia
16 NC A&T / Harvard

8 Nevada
9 Providence

5 West Virginia
12 New Mexico St

4 Cincinnati
13 Wright State

6 Miami
11 Butler / Texas A&M

3 Texas Tech
14 Vermont

7 Louisville
10 Houston

2 Xavier
15 Montana

WEST

1 Kansas
16 Wagner

8 Arizona State
9 Michigan

5 Wichita State
12 Middle Tenn

4 Michigan State
13 Belmont

6 Florida
11 Syracuse

3 Arizona
14 Hawaii

7 Arkansas
10 Gonzaga

2 Clemson
15 Bucknell

SOUTH

1 Villanova
16 Ark Pine-Bluff / New Orleans

8 Alabama
9 St Mary’s

5 Ohio State
12 Loyola-Chicago

4 Tennessee
13 ETSU

6 Florida State
11 Marquette / S Carolina

3 Oklahoma
14 Louisiana

7 Rhode Island
10 Kansas State

2 Duke
15 Charleston

MIDWEST

1 Purdue
16 UNC-Asheville

8 Texas
9 USC

5 Seton Hall
12 Buffalo

4 UNC
13 S Dakota St

6 Creighton
11 NC State

3 Kentucky
14 Rider

7 TCU
10 Washington

2 Auburn
15 FGCU

Friday Bracket / Thoughts

 

Arizona is up to a three:

The Pac-12 leading Wildcats have gone from a three-game losing streak in the Bahamas to a three seed in the bracket.  Here is a look at the resume they got them there (available at Warren Nolan):

While there are only two Group One wins, they have zero bad losses, only four overall losses, five Group Two wins, and only four games against Group Four teams.

New Mexico State’s Spot in the Bracket:

Talking about an automatic qualifier 12 seed is a bit off the beaten path, but it’s worth it for a quick look at New Mexico State’s at-large chances.

On the one hand, they only have one win against Group One or Two teams.  That seems like a sure way to have no shot at an at-large bid.  But they are 8-1 against Group 3 and they have a win over Miami on a neutral floor.  While a home loss to San Diego definitely hurts, there is no shame in losing to St Mary’s or USC away from home.  In addition, Utah Valley is within striking range of a spot in the RPI top 75. That means there is a slim chance NMSU’s home win over Utah Valley becomes a Group Two win and their upcoming road game against Utah Valley could become a Group One win.  It’s an uphill battle, but if NMSU can go unbeaten in WAC play before losing in the conference tournament, then they’ll get a serious look.

EAST

1 Villanova
16 Bethune Cookman / Nicholls St

8 Florida St
9 Alabama

5 Ohio St
12 Buffalo

4 Texas Tech
13 ETSU

6 Kentucky
11 Houston

3 UNC
14 William and Mary

7 Creighton
10 Kansas St

2 Auburn
15 Canisius

WEST

1 Purdue
16 Arkansas Pine Bluff / FGCU

8 Arkansas
9 USC

5 TCU
12 New Mexico St

4 Cincinnati
13 Belmont

6 Florida
11 Syracuse

3 Clemson
14 Hawaii

7 Nevada
10 Washington

2 Oklahoma
15 Montana

MIDWEST

1 Duke
16 Radford

8 Texas
9 Providence

5 Seton Hall
12 Vermont

4 Tennessee
13 Louisiana

6 Louisville
11 Marquette / Missouri

3 Arizona
14 Wright St

7 Arizona St
10 Gonzaga

2 Kansas
15 Bucknell

SOUTH

1 Virginia
16 Wagner

8 Michigan
9 Texas A&M

5 Miami
12 Loyola-Chicago

4 Michigan St
13 Old Dominion

6 Wichita St
11 Butler / S Carolina

3 West VA
14 S Dakota

7 Rhode Island
10 St Mary’s

2 Xavier
15 Penn