COLLEGE BASKETBALL BRACKET WATCH (3rd Edition); BUBBLEs Are Starting to POP

in sports •  7 months ago

Hello All and welcome to the BRACKET WATCH's 3rd Edition. Its been another busy week in college basketball, with a lot of moving going on, especially in the mid-seed range. I wrote about the impact of last night's PAC-12 games on the bracket yesterday, and they turned out to have some implications on the projected field. A few "bubbles" have effectively been "popped" and we are getting closer to sorting through all of the murkiness that is the "Bubble" this year. While the PAC-12 is reeling, a few other teams have seen their fortunes change dramatically as well.

In the last BRACKET WATCH, I wrote about the Broncos of Boise State, and while they were barely clinging to the field in the last edition, they have since dropped out. The Broncos didn't suffer a loss, but the problem is their schedule hasn't allowed them to pick up any significant wins. Boise is stilling sitting at just 1-2 against the RPI top 50 and 0-1 against the top 25. Despite the 22-6 overall record, those numbers just aren't strong enough to make a compelling case against the other "bubble" teams. Their best win is a non-conference win over Loyola-Chicago who looks like a strong 11-seed at the moment, but are a mid-major and need to win their Conference Tournament to get in. Other than that, a non-conference victory over Oregon is the only other note on the Broncos' resume and that's just not nearly enough. While the Broncos' Tournament chances aren't completely dead, for the time being, they have fallen off the BRACKET WATCH. Now let's get to it, here is the BRACKET WATCH (3rd Edition):

THE FIELD

# 1 - Seeds:
VIRGINIA (14-1, 25-2)*
VILLANOVA (12-3, 25-3)
XAVIER (13-3, 25-4)*
AUBURN (12-3, 24-4)*

# 2 - Seeds:
KANSAS (11-4, 22-6)*
DUKE (11-4, 23-5)
PURDUE (14-3, 25-5)
MICHIGAN ST. (15-2, 27-3)*

# 3 - Seeds:
NORTH CAROLINA (11-5, 22-7)
CINCINNATI (13-2, 24-4)*
ARIZONA (12-3, 22-6)*
TEXAS TECH (10-5, 22-6)

# 4 - Seeds:
CLEMSON (9-6, 20-7)
RHODE ISLAND (14-1, 22-4)*
GONZAGA (16-1, 26-4)*
WICHITA ST. (12-3, 22-5)

# 5 - Seeds:
OHIO ST. (14-3, 23-7)
TENNESSEE (10-5, 20-7)
NEVADA (13-2, 24-5)*
WEST VIRGINIA (9-6, 20-8)

# 6 - Seeds:
MICHIGAN (12-5, 23-7)
MIAMI (7-7, 18-8)
BUTLER (9-7, 19-10)
KENTUCKY (8-7, 19-9)

# 7 - Seeds:
ARIZONA ST. (7-8, 19-8)
SETON HALL (8-7, 19-9)
SAINT MARY'S (15-2, 26-4)
ALABAMA (8-7, 17-11)

# 8 - Seeds:
MISSOURI (8-7, 18-10)
CREIGHTON (8-7, 19-9)
FLORIDA ST. (8-7, 19-8)
FLORIDA (8-7, 17-11)

# 9 - Seeds:
VIRGINIA TECH (9-6, 20-8)
HOUSTON (11-4, 21-6)
TEXAS A&M (6-9, 17-11)
OKLAHOMA (6-9, 16-11)

# 10 - Seeds:
TCU (7-8, 19-9) #
MIDDLE TENNESSEE (13-1, 21-5)*
ARKANSAS (8-7, 19-9)
PROVIDENCE (8-7, 17-11)

# 11 - Seeds:
NC ST. (9-6, 19-9)
LOYOLA-CHICAGO (14-3, 24-5)*
ST. BONAVENTURE (11-4, 21-6)
LOUISVILLE (8-7, 18-10) / BAYLOR (7-8, 17-11)

# 12 - Seeds:
KANSAS ST. (9-6, 20-8)
NEW MEXICO ST. (9-2, 22-5)*
LOUISIANA (13-1, 23-4)*
TEXAS (6-9, 16-12) / UTAH (10-6, 18-9)

# 13 - Seeds:
BUFFALO (12-3, 20-8)*
VERMONT (12-1, 22-6)*
MURRAY ST. (15-2, 23-5)*
E. TENNESSEE ST. (14-2, 23-6)*

# 14 - Seeds:
MONTANA (13-2, 20-7)*
CHARLESTON (13-3, 22-6)*
NO. KENTUCKY (12-3, 19-8)*
RIDER (14-3, 21-8)*

# 15 - Seeds:
HARVARD (9-1, 14-11)*
FLORIDA GULF COAST (12-2, 21-10)*
BUCKNELL (15-2, 21-9)*
SOUTH DAKOTA ST. (12-1, 24-6)*

# 16 - Seeds:
WAGNER (14-3, 21-7)*
NICHOLS (13-2, 19-9)*
UNC-ASHEVILLE (11-3, 18-9)* / SAVANNAH ST. (10-3, 13-15)*
UC-IRVINE (10-4, 15-15)* # / GRAMBLING (11-3, 15-12)*

THE BUBBLE

FINAL 8 IN:

PROVIDENCE (8-7, 17-11) RPI 35/ 2-5, 5-7/ SOS 18/ 3-6 road
NC ST. (9-6, 19-9) RPI 58/ 4-4, 5-5/ SOS 66/ 4-4 road
ST. BONAVENTURE (11-4, 21-6) RPI 27/ 1-1, 4-2/ SOS 84/ 7-4 road
KANSAS ST. (9-6, 20-8) RPI 57/ 1-4, 3-7/ SOS 97/ 6-3 road

LOUISVILLE (8-7, 18-10) RPI 47/ 0-7, 1-10/ SOS 41/ 3-6 road
BAYLOR (7-8, 17-11) RPI 49/ 2-5, 3-8/ SOS 24/ 2-7 road #
TEXAS (6-9, 16-12) RPI 57/ 3-3, 6-7/ SOS 18/ 4-6 road
UTAH (10-6, 18-9) RPI 51/ 1-2, 5-6/ SOS 70/ 5-6 road #

FIRST 8 OUT:

UCLA (10-6, 19-9) RPI 46/ 2-1, 4-4/ SOS 69/ 2-6 road
USC (11-5, 20-9) RPI 43/ 0-2, 1-6/ SOS 58/ 5-5 road
Syracuse (7-8, 18-10) RPI 38/ 0-4, 3-6/ SOS 28/ 4-4 road
Nebraska (12-5, 21-9) RPI 53/ 0-5, 1-5/ SOS 117/ 4-7 road

WKU (13-2, 21-7) RPI 63/ 1-1, 1-2/ SOS 103/ 7-3 road
MISSISSIPPI ST. (8-7, 20-8) RPI 65/ 2-4, 4-6/ SOS 109/ 2-6 road
PENN ST. (9-8, 19-11) RPI 77/ 2-3, 2-4/ SOS 103/ 4-6 road
MARQUETTE (7-8, 16-11) RPI 66/ 2-6, 4-9/ SOS 19/ 4-4 road

ELIMINATED

BOISE ST.
WASHINGTON
TEMPLE

The "bubble" has burst for a few teams. Washington's blowout loss @ Stanford last night has eliminated the Huskies, that is 4 bad losses in conference play alone and a season sweep at the hands of both Utah and Stanford. With fellow PAC-12 bubble foes Utah, UCLA, and USC now ahead of the Huskies, they are going to have to do serious damage in the PAC-12 Tournament to get back in the mix.

It's just too many losses for Temple. There's nothing to gain for the Owls in their last 3 games, although all are tricky (vs UCF, @ UCONN, @ Tulsa). At just 15-12 overall and 7-8 in the American, its not going to be enough. They need another crack at Cincinnati or Wichita St., and even if they were to defeat one in the American Tournament, it still probably won't be enough to convince the Committee.

As previously mentioned with the Broncos, Boise State just doesn't have enough quality wins on their resume. Two tough games remain in the Mountain West (@ SDSU; vs Wyoming), but neither will give them a significant boost to their resume. A loss in either game would put the last nail in the coffin. A couple of wins to close out the season and a victory over Nevada in the Mountain West Conference Tournament, coupled with some other misfortune for fellow "bubble" foes and Boise could sneak back into the conversation.

Lastly, while both Texas A&M and Oklahoma currently sit on the 9-line, both are in danger. Both are 6-9 in their respective conferences with difficult games remaining. Oklahoma has a plethora of high-caliber wins, but have now lost 6 straight. If Oklahoma were to lose 2 of their remaining 3 and finish up just 7-11 in Conference play and 17-13 overall, the Committee would almost certainly have to leave the Sooners out of the field. Meanwhile, A&M cannot afford to lose to Vanderbilt on the road, and will have a stiff test @ Georgia before finishing up at home against Alabama. A 1-2 finish would put A&M at 7-11 in Conference play as well, and almost force the Committee into leaving them out.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section as we get ready for another huge weekend of college bball!

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Who's your top 10 in 2018 NBA Draft? (based on your knowledge of college players this yr)

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My top 3 are Trae Young, Deandre Ayeton, and Marvin Bagley III. I know Young and Oklahoma haven't as successful as of late and he's cooled off a bit, but his range and ability to score and distribute the ball are just too much. Over 28ppg and 9apg for a team that would be no where close to the Tournament without him. He's elevated that entire team, if he had one or two more play-makers around him, look out. After that, Ayeton has been a machine. He looks like a beast out there and he has great range too for a big man. His defense should be a little better, but I think its something he can improve on within his first couple of seasons in the NBA. Bagley is such a freakish talent and while Duke is a really good team even without him, I think they've looked much much better with him in the lineup. IMO it drops off a bit after these top 3. Michael Porter Jr. from Missouri had a ton of hype and still could go very high even though he missed the season. He did start practicing today, so maybe we will get a little glimpse at him, but there's no guarantee. I like Collin Sexton a lot out of Alabama, then I would go back to Duke and Wendall Carter Jr. Mikal Bridges out of Villanova can do it all and he's a bit more polished than a few of the other guys projected toward the top. Jaren Jackson out of Michigan State also can do a lot of things and has a lot of potential. Lonnie Walker IV out of Miami can really shoot it and he seems to be getting better as the season goes on. He just hung 5 3's on Notre Dame and is at just under 36% 3pt shooting for the season. I'd round out the Top 10 with Miles Bridges out of Michigan State. He's averaging 17pts and just under 7rebs per game for one of the best teams in the country.

  1. Trae Young OKL
  2. Deandre Ayeton ARI
  3. Marvin Bagley III DUKE
  4. Michael Porter Jr. MIZZ
  5. Collin Sexton ALA
  6. Wendall Carter Jr. DUKE
  7. Mikal Bridges NOVA
  8. Jaren Jackson MSU
  9. Lonnie Walker IV MIA
  10. Miles Bridges MSU
    (Sorry for the long response lol)
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I think you forgot about the second coming of Larry Legend in Luka Doncic!

All jokes aside, Doncic is definitely in the top ten for this year's class, but playing internationally definitely keeps him out of the conversation quite often. I like the list, but I don't think Young is getter than Ayton, Bagley, or Porter Jr.

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Haha right - how could I forget about Luka! You're right though, I agree he definitely has top 10 potential for this class for sure. I agree playing internationally hurts him.

Thanks - fair enough, I think those top 4 are another level talent-wise than the rest and Ayton and Bagley have been really impressive. I could see both of them going #1 and they have both been more dominant than Young down the stretch here actually.

Bro....this is one of the best put together “college hoops” posts on this platform. You deserve waaayy more views, love and comments. We’d actually make a good team. I tune a lot of my comments down for fear of being too in-depth. I’m going to start posting soon. Primarily coaching and team decisions, roster and lineup issues, problems and solutions to issues certain sports are dealing with and occasional matchups, team and player breakdowns. Just trying to be a bit different than what others are doing.
Anyway.....I haven’t had a chance to totally dissect everything. I’d like to make a case for Syracuse getting in over Louisville. I know Syracuse lacks that significant win but Louisville kinda has the same problem. Unless you want to give them a ton of credit for their road win at Florida State. Cuse will have a better chance of getting a markee win. Probably the home game against Clemson next Saturday.
Conference tourney will give them both a chance to add to the resume. But you gotta have that 2-3 zone in the big dance. Plus they actually won the head to head matchup back on the 5th. And that was at Louisville. SOS, RPI and road record all favor Syracuse. Plus the orange jerseys look cool. : )
Great job on the post buddy. I’m gonna resteem. Quality sports posts are hard to come by.

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Thank you so much for the positive feedback I really appreciate it! I really do love March Madness, love projecting the field and love debating who should be in, who deserves what seed, and so on. I think we would too. I don't mind an in-depth analysis, I enjoy reading your comments, you make a lot of good points and really do provide great analysis. I'll be looking forward to your posts, I like your ideas, like you said, different from what the others are doing. And you clearly know your stuff.
Fair enough lol there is a lot to dissect, the bubble is so crazy this year and the Tournament is so wide open compared to other years its hard to separate a lot of teams. And actually you make a very compelling case for Syracuse over Louisville. Even though I have Cuse just out, I do believe they are going to make the field in the end. But after reading your comments this morning, I went back into my notes and compared just those two resumes against each other and I agree with you - I actually think I need to bump Cuse up ahead of Louisville. The head-to-head win and better overall SOS are difference makers. You're right about the Orange having a better shot at a quality win as well. One of my best friends is a huge Cuse fan so needless to say he doesn't agree with me on them either lol. You made some excellent points, and I do have to say I secretly like the Orange jerseys too lol. Thank you again, I appreciate all the love and the resteem. I agree 100% - they are hard to come by - great job with your comments and analysis as well! Keep it coming!