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BracketExpress Projections for 3/10
by: Drew Barnette - Staff Writer
March 10, 2006
Drew Barnette and BracketExpress continue to monitor the nitty gritty of the NCAA with the most comprehensive and accurate NCAA Tournament Bracket projections on the internet.

Barnette continues to monitor the scores, RPI and which 65 teams will end up in the NCAA tournament with his latest weekly projections. Also included are the notes on the bracket with a breakdown of the last 4 teams in the bracket, the last 6 teams out of the bracket, as well as some potential spoilers we might see steal bids from the last projected at-large teams.

You can read Drew's daily look at the happenings of the NCAA and follow his weekly bracket projections on the BracketExpress section of the site.

The Bracket:




NOTES ON THE BRACKET

-As has been the case all season, these projections are not a prediction of what it will look like on Selection Sunday, but rather what it would look like if today were Selection Sunday. I realize we still have three days of highly important conference tournament games.

The projections only reflect the games played through Thursday, March 9th.

All teams are selected and seeded using the exact same criteria the selection committee uses.

AUTOMATIC BIDS are given to all 31 conference champions regardless of how good or bad the league is. The teams projected into this field have either already won their conference tournaments or are the highest remaining seed in their conference tournaments. Those teams are Villanova, Duke, Ohio State, Memphis, Texas, Gonzaga, LSU, UCLA, Southern Illinois, Nevada, UNC Wilmington, Bucknell, San Diego State, Saint Josephís, Wisconsin Milwaukee, Kent State, South Alabama, Iona, Northwestern State, Murray State, Winthrop, Montana, Penn, Davidson, Pacific, Belmont, Oral Roberts, Albany, Delaware State, Monmouth and Southern.






BUBBLE TEAMS

-Iím reasonably sure about 61 of the teams in the field and am close to sure about 63 of them. Here is a rundown of who I think is on the fence and what I think their status is.

LAST FOUR IN are Creighton, George Mason, Cincinnati and Texas A&M.

CREIGHTON

GOOD:
-4-2 against RPI top 25
-6-6 against RPI top 50

FAIR:
-RPI = 40
-5-7 on the road
-SOS = 56
-6-4 in last ten games

BAD:
-2 losses outside RPI top 100
-lost 4 of their last six

STATUS: Josh Dotzler was injured in their final six games and that contributed to the 2-4 finish, but Creighton has announced that he will be healthy and playing in the postseason. Because of that, Iím not entirely sure, but Iím close to sure that Creighton will get in. They were significantly better with him than without him and now that heís back I believe the committee will deemphasize the poor finish somewhat. Before his injury Creighton had won 10 of 11 and had an RPI of 19.


GEORGE MASON

GOOD:
-RPI = 27
-tied for regular season conference title

FAIR:
-8-2 in last ten games
-2-4 against RPI top 50
-SOS = 89
-8-2 in last ten games
-8-5 on the road (3-1 on neutral floors)
-just one loss outside RPI top 100

BAD:
-will be without Tony Skinn in their first postseason game

STATUS: If Tony Skinn were not suspended, I believe George Mason would be solidly in, but now it is a delimma, especially considering how close to the bubble they are. If they were to be left out it would make them the highest RPI team to ever miss the tournament, but it is entirely possible. Tony Skinn was second on the team in scoring and assists. However, if the committee looks at this closely, I think they will see that George Mason is a very balanced team with balanced scoring and they can still compete at an NCAA Tournament level without Skinn. For that reason, I am close to sure that they are in the field.


CINCINNATI

GOOD:
-RPI = 39
-SOS = 5

FAIR:
-4-8 against RPI top 50
-8-8 in Big East play
-5-5 in last ten games
-just 1 loss outside RPI top 100

BAD:
-3-7 on the road (2-1 in neutral sites)
-Have struggled somewhat since losing Armein Kirkland

STATUS: I have Cincinnati in, but squarely on the bubble. This is a situation where one more win at any point in the season would have them breathing much easier. They have been terrible on the road, but are 2-1 at neutral sites with a win over a pretty good LSU team included in that. They really need to hope that there arenít too many more spoilers in order for their bid to be secure (SEE POTENTIAL SPOILERS BELOW)


TEXAS A&M

GOOD:
-high quality win against Texas
-have won 7 straight

FAIR:
-RPI = 48
-8-2 in last ten games
-4-5 on the road
-SOS = 82
-1-4 against RPI top 50
-just one loss outside RPI top 100

BAD:
-very poor OOC SOS

STATUS: There arenít too many bad things about TAMU, but the question is whether or not the good things are good enough. They really shot themselves in the foot by scheduling so weak out of conference because it dragged their numbers down a lot. Let this be a lesson to programs that like to load up on cupcakes. With that being said, TAMU is really hot right now and I think theyíll get the wins they need in the Big Twelve Tournament to get themselves a spot. If they lose to Colorado today theyíre in big trouble though.



-OTHERS CONSIDERED were California, Seton Hall, Maryland, Michigan, Florida State and Colorado. They will be competing with the last four teams in for the last spot in the dance. It is worth noting that Utah State is still alive in the WAC Tournament and if they win it, it means the last four spots that I believe are still open will suddenly shrink to three.

CALIFORNIA

GOOD:
-2-2 against RPI top 25
-finished 3rd in the Pac Ten

FAIR:
-RPI = 56
-SOS = 65
-7-3 in last ten games
-3-4 against RPI top 50

BAD:
-3 losses outside RPI top 100

STATUS: California is still alive in the Pac Ten Tournament and itís a good thing. A loss to Oregon today could do them in. A win is big, but it doesnít necessarily get them in because Oregon is not a quality opponent. Calís resume is all over the place. They have some poor losses, but most of those came early in the season and itís important to note that theyíve been good down the stretch. They also have some really good wins as well.



SETON HALL

GOOD:
-5-4 against RPI top 50
-SOS = 32
-Recently beat Cincinnati head to head, who is also a bubble team

FAIR:
-RPI = 57
-5-6 on the road
-5-5 in last ten games
-9-7 in Big East play

BAD:
-lost in Big East Opening Round to Rutgers
-2 losses outside RPI top 100

The Pirates are very inconsistent and when everything is put together I donít think there are enough good things about them when comparing them to the other teams in the field. They will get strong consideration and could get in, but right now Iíd say they are out.



MARYLAND

GOOD:
-SOS = 12
-have won three straight
-no losses outside RPI top 100

FAIR:
-RPI = 44
-5-5 in last ten games
-8-8 in ACC play

BAD:
-2-7 on the road

STATUS: Maryland is inching closer, but they still have some work to do. Itís true that theyíve won three in a row, but none of those wins came against teams who will make the tournament. If they donít win today against Boston College I believe they are out.



MICHIGAN

GOOD:
-SOS = 30
-3 wins against RPI top 25

FAIR:
-3-8 against RPI top 50
-5-6 on the road
-RPI = 46
-8-8 in Big Ten play
-5-7 away from home
-only one loss outside RPI top 100

BAD:
-3-7 in last ten games

STATUS: The bad is very bad and the good isnít good enough. It is very rare for a team to go 3-7 in their last ten and get a bid, and when it does happen the other numbers are typically stronger than Michiganís. I believe the Wolverines are out.



FLORIDA STATE

GOOD:
-high quality win against Duke

FAIR:
-2-5 against RPI top 50

BAD:
-RPI = 60
-SOS = 86
-4-6 on the road
-poor OOC SOS

STATUS: The win against Duke was good, but that was really the only thing they did all year to make a case for themselves. That alone will not get them in when you consider the rest of their profile. I believe the Seminoles are out.



COLORADO

GOOD:
-2-1 against RPI top 25

FAIR:
-RPI = 51
-9-7 in Big Twelve play
-5-5 in last ten games
-2-4 against RPI top 50

BAD:
-SOS = 100
-3 losses outside RPI top 100
-4-7 on the road

STATUS: Colorado is still alive in the Big Twelve Tournament, and it is a good thing because they have a lot of work to do. They face Texas A&M in a highly important game today. If they lose I believe they will be out. As of now they just havenít done enough when you compare them to the rest of the field.



POTENTIAL SPOILERS

-As I said I believe there are still four spots that are up for grabs, but before itís all said and done it could be fewer than that. Here is a rundown of some potential spoilers

-Someone other than Nevada winning the WAC
-Penn State or Minnesota winning the Big Ten
-Oregon winning the Pac Ten
-Texas Tech or Nebraska winning the Big Twelve
-Virginia, Wake Forest or Miami, FL winning the ACC
-South Carolina or Vanderbilt winning the SEC
-Houston or UTEP winning Conference USA

All of those scenarios are possible, but the only oneís Iíd say are likely would be someone other than Nevada winning the WAC and Houston or UTEP winning C-USA. Oregon looks very dangerous right now and could pull the upset, but they will be facing a desperate California team today who beat them twice during the regular season. However, Cal only won by two points in the last meeting.

Wake Forest sure could make things interesting if they upset NC State today, but the chances of them winning at all arenít that good.

That being said, at the time Iím writing this Penn State leads Ohio State and Miami leads Duke.



OTHER NOTES

-If Ohio State wins the Big Ten Tournament I donít see how they could not get the last #1 seed. If they lose I believe it will either go to Memphis or Texas. I know Texas won at Memphis this season, but I still think Memphis has the upper hand if they win the C-USA Tournament. Call it a hunch.

-Hofstra doesnít really have anything all that impressive about them other than their RPI, which is 30. They did have a great finish to the season winning 12 of their last 14, but only two of those wins came against the RPI top 50 and both were against the same team (George Mason). Still, the RPI is very good and the only really bad thing about them is their SOS (126), so I have them in and just inside the bubble.

-There are still games being played so this is still a work in progress. I will most likely update the bracket at least twice before Selection Sunday so be sure to continue to check back in for updates.

-Some teams to watch today are Florida and Michigan State because they are trying to secure a spot in the pod system and get a good geographic placement. Michigan State would love to be in Auburn Hills and Florida would love to be in Jacksonville. With some strong showings in their tournaments they should be able to lock those up.

 


Feedback for this article may be sent to drew.barnette@draftexpress.com .

 

Armein Kirkland
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 8"
Weight: 205 lbs.
Birthday: 02/20/1984
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Robert E. Lee HS
Previous Team: Cincinnati , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PG/SG/SF,
NBA: SG,
Possible: PG/SG/SF
Quick Stats:
9.7 Pts, 3.4 Rebs, 2.1 Asts


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