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BRACKET EXPRESS PROJECTIONS FOR MONDAY, FEB 26

BRACKET EXPRESS PROJECTIONS FOR MONDAY, FEB 26
Feb 26, 2007, 01:14 am
-The bracket is not a prediction of the future, but rather a checkpoint of where teams currently stand. In other words, the bracket is done as if today was Selection Sunday.

-The criteria I use to select and seed the teams is the exact same criteria the actual selection committee uses.

-Bracket reflects games played through Sunday, February 25.




Here is a rundown of how the teams were placed on the S Curve. The projected conference champions are all teams that are either currently in first place, or tied for it via the loss column in one of the divisions. All projected conference champions are in ALL CAPS.


-1. NORTH CAROLINA. They’re coming off a road loss to Maryland, but that isn’t all that damaging. They are still in a tie for first place in the ACC, have an RPI of 2, and SOS of 8, and have five wins against the RPI top 25, and four more against the RPI top 50. They also have impressive road wins against Duke and Boston College, and appear to have the best overall body of work.

-2. OHIO STATE. The Buckeyes just took over sole possesssion of first place in the Big Ten, and got a huge quality win against Wisconsin. Their three losses were all on the road to Wisconsin, Florida and North Carolina, all of whom are potential #1 seeds themselves. They can solidify a #1 seed with a good showing in the Big Ten Tournament.

-3. UCLA. The Bruins are atop the RPI, and have an overall SOS of 5. They’re in first place in the Pac Ten, have six RPI top 25 wins, ten against the RPI top 50, and no real damaging losses. They have a very tough game coming up on the road against Washington State, but a win clinches first place outright, and may be enough to clinch them a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

-4. FLORIDA. The Gators have lost two tough road games, but still have a great overall body of work. Still, in order to end up with a #1 they’ll need a very strong showing in the SEC Tournament. They still have a shot at picking up two more quality wins with regular season games remaining against Tennessee and Kentucky. The opportunities are there for them to remain a solid #1 seed.

-5. Wisconsin. The Badgers have lost two games in a row, but one of which was a one point loss at Ohio State, which is hardly damaging. They have just one regular season game remaining, and that’s at home against Michigan State, who beat them early last week. After that they’ll get their chances to perhaps win back a #1 seed if they can win the Big Ten Tournament.

-6. TEXAS A&M. The Aggies have one of the most impressive road wins of the season with their win at Kansas. They are one of the best defensive teams in the country and will be very dangerous in the NCAAs. They still have a big regular season game remaining against Texas, and have the Big Twelve Tournament after that, so they will have some more chances at quality wins. It’s just that they only have four against the RPI top 50, and when compared to the other #1 seeds that probably isn’t enough to get them any higher than a #2.

-7. GEORGETOWN. They Hoyas are one of the hottest teams in college hoops right now. They’ve won 11 straight and have beaten Louisville, Marquette, Pittsburgh and Villanova during that stretch. They will face Syracuse and Connecticut before beginning play in the Big East Tournament, which will give them a chance to improve their status even more. A #1 seed isn’t out of the question, but they’d probably need to win out through the Big East Tourney to get it, and even then it’s not a sure thing.

-8. Kansas. The biggest win for the Jayhawks came in overtime against Florida earlier this year, but the Gators were not at full strength for that game. They have just two other wins against the RPI top 50, so it’s hard to see them being seeded any better than #2 even if they win out through the Big Twelve Tournament.

-9. Pittsburgh. The Panthers have two tough games remaining at rival West Virginia and another against Marquette prior to the Big East Tournament. They’ve lost two of four, but are still a solid team and will definitely have the chances they need to get back up to a #2 seed between now and the end.

-10. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS. The Salukis have an incredibly strong resume. Their RPI is 4, their SOS is 38, they’re 12-5 away from home, and many of those wins came on the road in a league where it is very difficult to win road games. They’re the regular season champions of the Missouri Valley and are 7-2 against the RPI top 50. If they win the Missouri Valley Tournament, I don’t see them being seeded any worse than a #3.

-11. Virginia Tech. The Hokies have road wins against North Carolina and Duke, plus another home win against North Carolina, which are three incredible wins. They also have other notable wins against Maryland and Virginia, and are in a three way tie for first place in the ACC. They own the tiebreaker because of their wins against Virginia and North Carolina. What’s puzzling is their two losses to North Carolina State, and some other inconsistent play. I have them as good as a #3 seed because I think the good on their resume far outweighs the bad.

-12. Washington State. The Cougars are 8-2 in their last 10 games, and considering they play in the Pac Ten, that’s pretty impressive. They have two impressive wins against Arizona, another against Stanford and another on the road against USC. Their losses aren’t bad either. They narrowly lost to Oregon twice, and UCLA on the road. All of their losses since beginning Pac Ten play have been by five points or less. They’re at home against UCLA and USC to close the season, so they have a chance to build up their profile even more.

-13. Duke. People were down on Duke a little too prematurely after their four game losing streak. They have an RPI of 9, and SOS of 3, three RPI top 25 wins and four more against the RPI top 50. None of their losses are bad either. They’ve won their last four games, and three of those were on the road, so I’d say they’ve rebounded.

-14. MEMPHIS. The only high quality win that Memphis has came against Kentucky, and that isn’t looking overly impressive. They are a very highly ranked team, and could get a very good seed if they get high NABC rankings, which they should. However, a lack of quality wins could hurt their seed.

-15. Maryland. The Terps had been struggling, but have really come to life lately. They’ve won five games in a row, and four of those were against the RPI top 50. With their most recent win against North Carolina, they are very much in contention for the pod system, and could be seeded even better than #4th if they keep it up.

-16. Virginia. This is the 5th ACC team that I have seeded #4 or better, which is unusual, but has happened before. Virginia’s RPI is just 38, but one can’t ignore that they’re tied for first place in the ACC, and have some pretty notable wins against the likes of Arizona, @ Maryland and Duke. They have another tough game coming up against Virginia Tech this week, and will have the opportunity at more quality wins in the ACC Tournament after that, so there is still a chance for them to slide either up or down.

-17. usc. The RPI for the Trojans is just 49, so this may seem like a very high seed when just looking at that, but they have proven they can win on the road. They have four wins against the RPI top 25, are 8-3 in their last 11 games in the Pac Ten, and just one game out of second in the conference standings. Some of the teams on their OOC schedule are dragging down the RPI, but they played some decent teams OOC as well, so I don’t think their RPI is anything to worry about. One thing that is damaging was their recent loss to Arizona State, but other than that they have no bad losses, and can really make a case for themselves with a strong showing in the Pac Ten Tourney.

-18. unlv. An RPI of 12, an SOS of 35, and five RPI top 50 wins are the highlights of UNLV’s resume. Going 9-2 in their last 11 in a pretty decent conference is also impressive. Their road win at Nevada is probably still their best, but they also have other quality home wins against Air Force and BYU. They Rebels are hosting the MWC Tournament and will be among the favorites to win it.

-19. Oregon. One of the bad things about the Ducks is that they’re just 4-6 in their last ten games, and because of that could be seeded a little lower, but their overall body of work is still impressive. They have six wins against the RPI top 50, including very high quality wins against UCLA and on the road against Georgetown earlier on. They also have another big time road win against Washington State. They’ve won their last two games and should be able to take care of Oregon State in their final regular season game. They need to avoid an early exit in the Pac Ten Tourney in order to secure a good seed.

-20. Louisville. Very few teams are hotter than the Cardinals right now. They’re 8-2 in their last ten games and have managed road wins against Marquette and Pittsburgh in that stretch. Their shooting has really improved, and in a very short time they’ve gone from being on the outside looking in to being solidly in. They only have two wins against the RPI top 50, and those were the two against Marquette and Pitt, but they will have the chance to get some more in the Big East Tournament and improve their resume even more.

-21. NEVADA. The Wolfpack have no RPI top 50 wins, but they also have no bad losses and are an impressive 25-2 on the season with an RPI of 19. Traditionally the committee has not seeded teams with resumes like this all that high, but judging by how a lot of teams seeded between 5-7 are struggling right now it’s almost as if they’ve moved up by default. That’s why they’re knocking on the door of a #5 seed.

-22. BUTLER. Butler has hit the skids somewhat lately, but still have a solid tournament resume. They have quality wins against Indiana, Notre Dame, Purdue, Tennessee and a full strength Gonzaga team, all of which they are seeded ahead of in this bracket. Recent losses to Wright State and Loyola, IL have taken them out of position to make the pod system, but they are still solid when it comes to getting a bid.

-23. Marquette. Marquette has some good wins against Pittsburgh, Villanova, Louisville and Duke, but has lost three of their last four, one of which was to De Paul who doesn’t appear to be a tournament team. They have one more regular season game remaining against Pittsburgh, and the Big East Tournament after that, so they’ll have their chances to really improve their seed, but losing three of four at the end will take anyone down a few notches.

-24. Tennessee. The Vols have won five of their last six, and now that they’re back at full strength, some of those losses that they suffered during a midseason slump they went into will be deemphasized by the committee. They’re only 2-7 in true road games, but are 3-2 in neutral site games, and have the chance to improve upon that in the SEC Tournament. They also have big wins against Memphis, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Texas.

-25. Indiana. The Hoosiers, like most Big Ten teams, have struggled on the road and are just 2-9 in true road games. That is the main reason they don’t have a better seed. They do have very impressive wins against Southern Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan State, but all came at home. They could still improve their seed by picking up some quality neutral wins in the Big Ten Tourney, though.

-26. Boston College. The Eagles have seven wins against the RPI top 50, a decent RPI of 26, and an SOS of 9. The’ve lost three of their last four. Those losses all came against top tier teams, so it may not hurt them that bad. They have one more regular season game against Georgia Tech, and can build on their resume in the ACC Tourney after that. Losing to their final game and then suffering an early exit from the ACC Tourney could hurt, though.

-27. Vanderbilt. The Commodores got off to a slow start, but have really been a force in the SEC. They have four RPI top 25 wins, including two against Kentucky and another against Florida, so they’ve really been coming on strong. They’re just 3-6 in true road games, which isn’t terrible, but it’s by no means good. A good showing on a neutral floor in the SEC Tourney would really improve their resume.

-28. Air Force. The Falcons have a good RPI of 18, and some decent wins against Stanford, Texas Tech and UNLV. They’ve lost their last two games, though, and really stubbed their toes with their loss to TCU, who is among the worst teams in the conference. They finish the season against conference leader BYU and have the conference tourney after that, so it’s still possible to put together a strong finish. They’re safe for a bid, but their seed could really take a hit if they lose their next two.

-29. Kentucky. The Wildcats have an RPI of 10 and an SOS of 2, but they have just three wins against the RPI top 50 and one of those was against Louisville at a time when they were struggling. They’ve also lost four of their last five, which has hurt their profile. Their final two regular season games are against Georgia and at Florida.

-30. Arizona. Zona has seven RPI top 50 wins and is a fairly decent 5-5 in their last ten. Most of their good wins came early on, though, and they’ve struggled against some teams you’d expect them to beat. Their final two games are on the road against Stanford and Cal. Winning those will put them at 11-7 in conference and a win in the conference tournament would really boost their resume. Losing all of those would really drop them, so there is still room for them to go either way.

-31. Stanford. Stanford has lost four of their last six. None of those losses were particularly bad, but it has dropped their stock somewhat. They’re upcoming game against Arizona is big, and with the Pac Ten tournament coming up they’ll get the chance to improve their status. They could be in trouble if they completely bottom out and lose their next three.

-32. Michigan State. The Spartans have won their last four games, including big wins against Wisconsin and Indiana, but all were at home. They have just one true road win and that was against Penn State, which is hardly impressive. Still, with an RPI of 20, and SOS of 14 and five RPI top 50 wins they have a strong case. Their final two games are on the road, and winning just one of them would really help them out.

-33. BYU. The Cougars are in first place in the MWC and had won eight straight before losing to San Diego State. Their best wins have come at home, though against San Diego State, Air Force and UNLV. They’ve yet to win a road game against an RPI top 100 team, which is why they aren’t seeded better.

-34. Texas. The Longhorns appear to be a good team, but they have just three RPI top 50 wins, and one was at home against Oklahoma State who isn’t projected into this bracket. They don’t have any bad losses, have won five in a row, and their last two games are against Texas A&M and Kansas, so they’ll have some chances to really improve their resume. They also have the Big Twelve Tournament after that.

-35. Villanova. The Wildcats have a strong RPI of 21 and an SOS of 7. They also have a big time road win at Georgetown and other good wins against Notre Dame, Texas and Louisville. They had been struggling in conference, but have won five of their last seven, and are closing out the season with two winnable games, so I believe they’re pretty secure for a bid.

-36. Georgia Tech. Like all young teams, Georgia Tech has been inconsistent this year, and at one point lost four in a row. They’ve won five of their last seven, though, and have six RPI top 50 wins. They also have two bad losses to Miami, FL and Wake Forest and are just 1-8 in true road games, so they can’t really put it on cruise control just yet. They have two big games against North Carolina and Boston College to close the season, and they probably need to win one of those.

-37. Creighton. The Bluejays didn’t really finish the season all that impressively by losing three of their last five. They still have a solid RPI of 30, an SOS of 29 and five RPI top 50 wins. Bad losses to Indiana State and Illinois State don’t look so good, but they did finish second in the MVC and if they can win a game or two in the confernece tournament it should solidify their spot.

-38. Notre Dame. The Irish have five RPI top 50 wins, are 22-6 on the year, and have good wins against Maryland, Villanova and Marquette. They’ve also won their last four games, but are just 2-6 on the road and have an SOS of 106. They need to avoid a bad loss in their final regular season game at Rutgers.

-39. Old Dominion. The Monarchs have an RPI of 33 and have a big road win against Georgetown. They also have two other decent wins against Drexel and have won 11 straight. One really bad loss on their profile came to James Madison, who has an RPI of 296. How this happened I have no idea. Despite that, they’re still looking pretty solid if they avoid an early exit in their conference tourney.

-40. Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have two big wins against Texas A&M and another against Kansas, but they still have some work to do in order to stay safe. They’re just 3-6 in their last nine games and have bad RPI losses against Baylor and Oklahoma. Their last two games are winnable against Baylor and Iowa State, but losing one or both of those would really be damaging.

-41. XAVIER. The Musketeers have won eight of their last nine, and have decent wins against Illinois, Kansas State and Villanova this season. They also have a pretty solid RPI of 32. Still, they have bad losses to Duquesne and Cincinnati, but should be okay for a bid if they win their final two regular season games and avoid a bad RPI loss in the conference tourney.

-42. WINTHROP. The Eagles have decent road wins against Missouri State and Old Dominion and have no bad losses. Their RPI is just 64, though, and a loss in the conference tournamnet would mean a really bad RPI loss on their resume, which would make it difficult for them to get an at-large. This is a case where I feel the team is much better than their resume indicates, but it’s hard to tell whether the committee will think that or not.

-43. Missouri State. They’re 7-2 in their last nine games and have a very impressive win against Wisconsin earlier in the year. Still, that is really the only high mark on their resume. Nothing else is really bad, but it’s not really anything to indicate that they’d get a good seed.

-44. Illinois. The Illini have gotten hot lately winning six of their last seven, but still have a little bit of work to do in order to feel safe. Winning their last game against Iowa would be big. They can pretty much lock up a bid by doing that and winning one Big Ten Tournament game.

-45. West Virginia. The Mountaineers are a great team at home, but struggle on the road. They only have two quality wins, but one was huge against UCLA. They also have an RPI of just 57 and an SOS of 108 due to playing a rather lax OOC schedule. A win at Pittsburgh in their next game would be a huge boost to their profile.

-46. Purdue. The Boilermakers have some good wins, but all have come at home. Winning their final two regular season games against Minnesota and Northwestern are pretty much a must. Since they only have two true road wins picking up another neutral win in the Big Ten Tournament would really help as well.

-47. San Diego State. This is the last team I took as an at-large, but they are really on fire right now. Their RPI is a modest 46, but they’ve won seven of eight, and beaten UNLV, Air Force and BYU pretty handily in that stretch. Their only blemish, and it is a bad one, is a loss to Wyoming. Still, they are playing really well and if they can win their final two regular season game and pick up another quality win against either BYU, Air Force or UNLV in the confernece tourney that should be enough to get them in.

-48. VCU. They finished first in the Colonial and will host the conference tournament. With an RPI of 59, a regular season title, and two quality wins against Old Dominion and Drexel they do have a small case for an at-large, but that probably won’t be enough.

-49. GONZAGA. Their tied for first place in the conference and have some big OOC wins, but they clearly aren’t the same team without Josh Heytvelt and will need to win the conference tournament.

-50. DAVIDSON. The fact that this team is 24-4 and has an RPI of 62 could get them a look for an at-large, but their SOS is just 210 and they have no RPI top 25 wins. Appalachian State will give them some trouble if they end up playing in the finals.

-51. VERMONT. The Catamounts have won 11 straight games and will host the America East Championship game if they advance that far. A road win against Boston College is the highlight of their resume.

-52. HOLY CROSS. The Crusaders finished in a tie with Bucknell for first in the Patriot League, but won the tiebreaker due to their better RPI and will have home court advantage throughout.

-53. AKRON. The Mid American is a very tight confernece and it’s really anyone’s league to win. Akron is 12-2 in their last 14 games, but two of those losses came recently. Their final three games are on the road and as competitive as the confernece tournament will be it’s hardly a sure thing that they’ll win it.

-54. LONG BEACH. One more win clinches the regular season Big West Title for Long Beach, which will give them a bye into the conference semifinals. They’ve won six of their last seven.

-55. ORAL ROBERTS. The Golden Eagles have already clinched the regular season title and will host the MidCon Tournament, but have lost two of their last three which will hurt their seed if they win the automatic bid. They do have a big time win on their resume and that came against Kansas early on.

-56. PENN. The Quakers have won seven straight and can clinch the conference championship and a bid to the NCAA Tournament with a win over Yale in their next game.

-57. MARIST. Marist has won eight straight, and clinched the regular season Metro Atlantic title, which gives them a bye into the semifinals of the tournament. Their best win came against Old Dominion earlier this season.

-58. TAMUCC. The Islanders are tied with Sam Houston at 12-2 for first place in the Southland Conference.

-59. EAST TENNESSEE STATE. The Buccaneers are 14-1 in their last fifteen games and have clinched the top seed in the Atlantic Sun Tournament.

-60. SOUTH ALABAMA. They clinched first place in the several weeks ago, and had a pretty good win on the road at Houston after that, but they lost their final three regular season games to really bad RPI teams, and that will hurt their seed if they win the Sun Belt Tournament.

-61. AUSTIN PEAY. They’ve lost three of their last four, but clinched first place in the Ohio Valley and will host a first round conference tournament game.

-62. DELAWARE STATE. They’ve won seven of their last eigth and have clinched first place in the MEAC.

-63. CENTRAL CONNECTICUT. They’ve clinched first place in the Northeast Conference and will have home court advantage throughout the conference tournament. They’re 13-1 in their last 14 games.

-64. WEBER STATE. They’ve won six of their last seven and can clinch first place in the Big Sky with a win over Sacramento State in their final game, which would allow them to host the tournament.

-65. JACKSON STATE. With an RPI of 181, an SOS of 312 and six losses to teams outside the RPI top 200, Jackson State has the worst credentials of any conference leader and is in all likelihood headed to the play-in game if they win their conference tournament.


-OTHERS CONSIDERED: Drexel, Syracuse, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Bradley, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, De Paul, Clemson, Florida State and Appalachian State.

Syracuse has two games remaining against Georgetown and Villanova, and the Big East Tournament after that, so the chances for them to get an at-large are there for the taking.

Drexel has some big road wins against Syracuse and Villanova and have a fairly strong case, but were just 11-5 in conference and had some bad losses as well. They’ll need a strong showing in the conference tournament in order to get a bid.

Clemson has lost nine of their last ten, but still has a chance to go on a run.

Alabama just doesn’t have the credentials when you put them up against anyone else I put in the field, but will have an opportunity to play their way in with a strong showing in the conference tournament.


HIGHLIGHTED GAMES FOR MONDAY, February 26, 2007

-KANSAS AT OKLAHOMA (Big Twelve). Kansas pretty much has a spot in the pod system locked up and should be able to get a #2 seed if they can win their last two games and avoid a poor loss in the conference tournament. They don’t want to lose to a sub 100 RPI team like Oklahoma, even if they are playing them on the road.

-GEORGETOWN AT SYRACUSE (Big East). Hugely important game for Syracuse because they are right on the bubble and this is the kind of major statement win that they need. Georgetown has taken over first place in the Big East and is on pace to get a #2 seed. This would be another nice win for them and clinch at leat a share of the Big East regular season title.

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