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BracketExpress Projections for 3/6
by: Drew Barnette - Staff Writer
March 6, 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 in March with his latest weekly projections. Also included are the notes on the bracket with a breakdown of the resumes of 15 bubble teams, either looking out or in.

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

-This is not a prediction of what the bracket will look like next week on Selection Sunday, but rather what it would look like if today was Selection Sunday. This is a checkpoint, not a prediction. A lot of things will happen this week that will impact the bracket.

-All the teams were selected and seeded using the exact same criteria that the selection committee uses. I know by our traffic that we have a lot of new people this week. If you’re wondering how legit the site is last year I predicted 63 of 65 into the field correctly and had 59 seeded either exactly correct or within one of the actual. As far as I know that’s more accurate than any other site when you factor in both of those things.

AUTOMATIC BIDS are given to all 31 conference champions regardless how good or bad the league is. All of the projected conference champions have either already won their conference tournaments or are the highest remaining seed left in their tournament. Those teams are Villanova, Duke, Ohio State, Memphis, Texas, Gonzaga, LSU, UCLA, George Washington, Southern Illinois, Nevada, UNC Wilmington, Bucknell, San Diego State, Western Kentucky, Kent State, Wisconsin Milwaukee, Northwestern State, Winthrop, Murray State, Iona, Penn, Pacific, Northern Arizona, Davidson, Oral Roberts, Delaware State, Belmont, Albany, Fairleigh Dickinson and Southern.



THE BUBBLE WATCH

-The last teams in were Creighton, Texas A&M, Michigan, UAB and Seton Hall.

-Others considered were Florida State, Syracuse, Air Force, California, Houston, Maryland and Colorado. A complete rundown of all the teams on the bubble can be seen below in the RESUME RUNDOWN.


#1 SEEDS

-I still have Ohio State as my 4th number one seed because of how many wins they have against the RPI top 25. Memphis is my top #2 seed and I think that they, along with Texas still could end up with #1s, but would be surprised if anyone else did. In other words, I think it is down to six teams when it comes to getting the four #1s.

Duke has lost two in a row, but seedings are based on the entire season, not just what a team does in the last weekend.

OTHER POD TEAMS

-North Carolina’s win over Duke was huge in the sense that it solidifies them as a pod team. I don’t know if they’ll be seeded as high as #2, but they won’t be any lower than #4 no matter what happens the rest of the way. That is big because it probably means they’ll get to play their first/second round games in Greensboro.

-Florida is right on the pod bubble so to speak and an impressive showing in the SEC Tournament could bump them up to a #4. That would be huge because it would most likely mean they’d be placed in Jacksonville, which would be a huge advantage for them.

-Washington is the last #4 seed. They have really played well down the stretch and if they are able to win the Pac Ten Tournament it should be enough to assure them a spot in the pod system.

MISSOURI VALLEY

-I spoke too soon yesterday when I said that I thought the Missouri Valley would get six teams in. Creighton is in some trouble. You can read more about them in the Resume Rundown below, but one of the problems they have is that they just didn’t finish the season that strong. I’ve learned that some of that was due to injuries and that might be factored in, but the bubble is very crowded this year and there just might not be enough room for them.

With that being said, I believe that they have five solid bids. I’ve been asked a lot about how this could be due to the fact that the MVC is supposedly a mid-major conference. It’s actually quite simple. There is no such thing as a mid-major. The term “mid-major” was something someone in the media came up with to basically categorize everyone who isn’t in a “major” conference. Other than that, it is a meaningless term that has no bearing on what the committee does. Two of the major criteria for being selected for the NCAA Tournament are having a good RPI and having wins over other teams with good RPIs. If a team does that, they’re going to get in. Playing in a conference that the media refers to as mid-major doesn’t change that. There are five teams in the MVC that have done that and I strongly believe that all five will get in. Creighton might get in as a 6th, but they will certainly be cutting it close. You’ll undoubtedly be hearing from the media a lot this week about how the selection committee doesn’t respect mid-majors. In reality, the opposite is true. The media doesn’t respect the mid-majors. It makes absolutely no difference to the committee at all.

OTHER NOTES

-Davidson pretty much had the Southern Conference Championship wrapped up by halftime. They blew out Chattanooga. Last year Davidson went 16-0 during the regular season in conference play, but failed to win the tournament. This year they struggled a little more and didn’t even win their division, but they wrapped up the automatic bid today.

-Florida State won a big road game against Miami, FL today, but it wasn’t as big as Hofstra’s win over George Mason. That is why they aren’t in the bracket this week and Hofstra is. That win bumped Hofstra’s RPI up to 24 and that should be enough to put them into the bracket. Hofstra will play for the automatic bid tomorrow night against UNC Wilmington in the CAA Championship game. I still think George Mason is safe as far as getting a bid. They have an RPI in the 20s and no one as ever been left out with an RPI that good, but they also have two wins against the RPI top fifty that came in their final ten games of the season. That’s pretty big.

-Manhattan swept their arch rivals Iona during the regular season and the two seemed poised to meet again in the finals, but Saint Peter’s upset the Jaspers. They will face Iona tonight for the MAAC Championship. Manhattan will get an invite to the NIT because they won the regular season title, but that isn’t what they wanted. Saint Peter’s will be playing their fourth game in four days while Iona had a bye into the semifinals. Still, the Peacocks have looked really good in this tournament. Not much was expected of Saint Peter’s this year and it’s been a long time since they’ve won a game as big as the one they’ll be playing tonight. It would really elevate the level of their program. Just four years ago it was among the worst in the entire nation. They’ve certainly come a long way.

-I also get asked about George Washington a lot. I know I said this before so I apologize for repeating myself, but if recent history is an indicator of what the present will be, the committee does not seed teams well who rack up big time records against weak schedules. Last year Louisville was 30-4, had some very good wins, was ranked very high, and had a better RPI than George Washington does this year and ended up with a #4 seed. If they did all that and got a #4 seed, there is no reason to think that this year’s George Washington team will be seeded any better than that.

-NC State has lost three straight and their seed has really taken a hit. They can inflate it somewhat if they play well in the ACC Tournament, but judging by how they played in their last game against Wake Forest I wouldn’t count on that happening.

-Indiana finished the season with four straight wins, two of which were on the road. For a time there it looked like they were going to play their way out, but they’ve righted the ship and should be okay for a bid. A win in the Big Ten Tournament pretty much ices it, but either way I think they’ll get in.

-If you missed Oklahoma vs. Texas, you didn’t miss much. Texas blew out the Sooners.

-Gonzaga once again had trouble against a conference foe. They needed overtime to get past a San Diego team who was playing their third game in three nights. It was Gonzaga’s first of the tournament since they bought into the semifinals. I know Gonzaga gets everyone’s best shot when they play in conference, but they’ll be getting everyone’s best shot in the NCAA Tournament as well, and those teams are a lot better than the ones they’ve been facing in conference. No disrespect to San Diego, but a full strength and fresh 6th or 7th seed is much better than a San Diego team who is playing their third game in three days.

-I will be updating the BRACKET EXPRESS bracket on a daily basis this week as the conference tournaments play out and will be analyzing all the games being played this week. Be sure to check it out daily to keep up to speed with what’s happening.

RESUME RUNDOWN

HOFSTRA

GOOD:
-RPI = 24
-3-1 against RPI top 50
-9-1 in last ten games

FAIR:
-8-5 road record

BAD:
-Did not win regular season conference title
-lost to a sub200 RPI team

STATUS
-Of all the bubble teams, Hofstra is probably the safest. They beat VCU in the quarterfinals of the CAA Tournament, which counted as a road win, and beat George Mason in the semifinals. Their RPI has skyrocketed and the fact that it is as high as 24 indicates that they are pretty safe as far as making the field.

UAB

GOOD:
-high quality win against Memphis
-no losses to sub 100 RPI teams

FAIR:
-RPI = 44
-8-2 in last ten games
-7-4 on the road
-1-1 against RPI top 50

BAD:
-SOS = 144

STATUS
-UAB is on the bubble, but in right now. They strike me as being much better than their profile and I think that the NABC Rankings might help them out a little bit. They aren’t ranked in the coach’s poll, but they are getting votes, and that’s a pretty good gauge that the coaches who vote in the NABC poll will also take notice.

SETON HALL

GOOD:
-5-4 against RPI top 50
-quality win @ Pittsburgh
-SOS = 29

FAIR:
-RPI = 48
-SOS = 30
-6-4 in last ten games
-9-7 in Big East Play

BAD:
-two losses outside RPI top 100

STATUS: Seton Hall’s resume is all over the place. They have a really bad loss to Richmond and another to Saint John’s, but they also have some good wins. I think the good outweighs the bad and they’ve played well recently, which is why I have them in.



TEXAS A&M

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

FAIR:
-RPI = 49
-8-2 in last ten games
-10-6 in conference play
-1-3 agains RPI top 50

BAD:
-SOS = 81
-very poor OOC SOS
-have a loss outside RPI top 100

STATUS: They’re on the bubble, but in. Momentum is a factor and this team certainly has a lot right now having won seven in a row. A win or two in the conference tournament should be enough to punch their ticket.

MICHIGAN

GOOD:
-RPI = 38
-SOS = 31
-3 wins against RPI top 25

FAIR:
-5-6 on the road
-3-8 against RPI top 50
-8-8 in Big Ten

BAD:
-4-6 in last ten games

STATUS: Michigan’s biggest problem is that they have not done well down the stretch. A lot of that is attributed to injuries and if they can get healthy again they’ll get somewhat of a break on that, but it’s rare that teams back into the tournament. They’re in for now, but an early loss in the conference tournament could knock them out.


BUCKNELL

GOOD:
-won regular season conference title
-11-3 on the road

FAIR:
-RPI = 51
-2-3 against RPI top 50
-9-1 in their last 10 games

BAD:
-SOS = 191
-lost to a team outside the RPI top 100

STATUS: Obviously if Bucknell beats Holy Cross in the conference championship this is a non issue. The problem is that if they don’t beat Holy Cross, they’ll have an additional poor RPI loss on their resume and their RPI will sink even further. Their win against Syracuse earlier in the year isn’t looking nearly as impressive as it originally did. Had they beaten Northern Iowa, I think they’d be safely in. They’ll get consideration if they don’t beat Holy Cross, but they might not get enough to be included in the field. All that being said, they’ve beaten Holy Cross twice this season and they can certainly do it again, especially at home.

CREIGHTON

GOOD:
-6-6 against RPI top 50
-RPI = 42

FAIR:
-5-7 on the road
-SOS = 62
-6-4 in last ten games
-12-6 in conference play

BAD:
-2 losses outside RPI top 100
-lost 4 of last 6

STATUS: The Bluejays are really going to be sweating on Selection Sunday. They’re probably sweating right now. With an RPI of 42 and six wins against the RPI top 50 it’s hard to imagine them being left out, but they didn’t have much momentum at the end of the season. One of the things worth noting is that evidently they were missing their point guard for the final five games or so and he is expected to be healthy for the NCAA Tournament. That could factor in.


FLORIDA STATE

GOOD:
-high quality win against Duke

FAIR:
-RPI = 56
-9-7 in ACC play
-7-3 in last 10 games
-2-5 against RPI top 50

BAD:
-SOS = 85
-4-6 on the road

STATUS: The Seminoles still have some work to do, but the good news is that they’ll have a chance to build up their resume in the ACC Tournament. An early loss could result in them not getting a bid. I know they beat Duke, but keep in mind that this is a season, not just one game. Other than that everything else they’ve done ranges between moderately decent and mediocre. What in the world were they thinking when they put together that OOC schedule??

SYRACUSE

GOOD:
-SOS = 9
-no losses outside RPI top 100

FAIR:
-RPI = 43
-2-9 against RPI top 50

BAD:
-3-5 on the road
-4-6 in last ten games
-7-9 in Big East Play

STATUS: Syracuse has lost three in a row and right now does not appear to have enough good things on their resume to offset all the bad. They have some work to do in the Big East Tournament if they want to make the field. They can’t afford to lose their first game and probably need to win at least two.

AIR FORCE

GOOD:
-RPI = 37

FAIR:
-8-2 in last ten games
-6-5 on the road

BAD:
-no wins against RPI top 50
-just 5 wins against RPI top 100
-2 losses outside RPI top 100
-SOS = 155
-did not win regular season conference championship

STATUS: Air Force has a good RPI, but they don’t have much else to go along with it. It looks to me like they’ll need to win the Mountain West Tournament to get a bid.


CALIFORNIA

GOOD:
-6-4 on the road
-3-3 against RPI top 25

FAIR:
-12-6 in Pac Ten play
-7-3 in last ten games
-SOS = 68

BAD:
-RPI = 59
-3 losses outside RPI top 100

STATUS: Cal has some good wins, but other than that they haven’t done much and are squarely on the bubble. If they advance to the finals of the Pac Ten Tournament that will probably be enough. That would help inflate their RPI some, which is probably the biggest problem they have right now along with some very poor losses.

HOUSTON

GOOD:
-2-2 against RPI top 25 with wins against LSU and Arizona

FAIR:
-8-2 in last ten games
-7-6 on the road

BAD:
-RPI = 57
-SOS = 100
-2 losses outside RPI top 100
-9-5 in Conference USA

STATUS: This team really finished strong down the stretch, but it looks as though it was too little too late. Unless they advance to the C-USA title game and beat Memphis along the way I don’t think they’ll any consideration.

MARYLAND

GOOD:
-SOS = 12
-no losses outside RPI top 100

FAIR:
-8-8 in ACC play
-RPI = 47
-2-7 against RPI top 50

BAD:
-2-7 on the road
-4-6 in the last ten games

STATUS: Maryland has not played well since losing Chris McCray for the season, and that will somewhat deemphasized what little they accomplished when they had him. They did manage to win their final two games, but the two teams they beat aren’t anywhere close to being in the tournament picture. They have a lot of work to do in the ACC Tournament if they want to get a bid.

SAN DIEGO STATE

GOOD:
-won regular season conference title

FAIR:
-6-5 on the road
-8-2 in last ten games
-1-1 against RPI top 50

BAD:
-RPI = 61
-SOS = 114
-5 losses outside RPI top 100

STATUS: The only reason this team would get consideration is because they won the MWC regular season and beat out Air Force. Other than that there is nothing on their resume to indicate they are tournament worthy. They’ll need to win the conference tournament to get a bid.

COLORADO:

FAIR:
-RPI = 52
-2-4 against RPI top 50
-9-7 in Big Twelve play

BAD:
-SOS = 91
-5-5 in last ten games
-4-7 on the road
-2 losses outside RPI top 100

STATUS: They need to win some big games in the conference tournament to get consideration, and by that I mean win one or two against the likes of Oklahoma, Kansas or Texas. They have not been good away from home, nor have they been good down the stretch.
 
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Feedback for this article may be sent to drew.barnette@draftexpress.com .

 

Chris McCray
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 187 lbs.
Birthday: 05/27/1984
30 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Fairmont Heights
Previous Team: Maryland , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: SG,
NBA: SG,
Possible:
Quick Stats:
6.1 Pts, 3.3 Rebs, 2.9 Asts


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