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NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch: 1/29/08

by David Mihm | January 30th, 2008

First, an update on the teams featured in this space last week:

Big Ten – Purdue Boilermakers. Perhaps no team answered the bell last week as well as the Boilers. Purdue is now 6-1 in the Big Ten and 3-2 against the RPI top 50 after defeating Penn State and Wisconsin.  Avoiding a trap game at Illinois on Saturday will be important, but Matt Painter’s team looks like it’s on its way to the Dance.

Pac-10 – USC Trojans.  Having seen the Trojans in person at Oregon’s Mac Court on Saturday (more on this later in the week), there’s no doubt in my mind this is an NCAA team.  Taj Gibson finally seems to be rounding into form, Daniel Hackett is turning into a great floor leader for Tim Floyd.  Oh, and there’s a guy named O.J. who also plays in the USC backcourt.

SEC – Florida Gators.  Great week for the Baby Gators, with a road win at South Carolina that was just as important as a home blowout of Vanderbilt.  At 5-1 in the SEC, they’re looking good right now, but the fact remains their non-conference schedule allows no margin for error.

Big XII – Oklahoma Sooners.  One cannot underestimate the importance of beating Baylor in Waco.  Road wins are at a tremendous premium in the Big XII this year, and that one will have shelf life.  If OU gets another at College Station this week, it’d be awfully tough to deny them a bid on Selection Sunday.  Plus, Blake Griffin looks like he’ll make a comeback quicker than anyone expected.

Big East – Providence Friars.  Um, what happened against Seton Hall, guys?  The loss at the Carrier Dome hurts, but not as badly as the one at home to the Pirates, in which SHU put itself in a 15-point hole to start the game.  The BC and Arkansas non-conference gems are also losing some luster…

ACC – Boston College Eagles.  See above.  BC’s dropped four of six, and things don’t get any easier with trips to Chapel Hill and Clemson upcoming.

Atlantic-10 – Rhode Island Rams.  Rebounded nicely after losing to SLU.  Next week is HUGE with a home game against slumping Dayton and a trip to UMass looming.

Wild Card – MVC – Illinois State Redbirds.  The loss to Bradley hurts.  Bigtime.  The Valley is not necessarily a two-bid league, despite the objections of other bracket analysts (ahem. Joe Lunardi.).  Right now the best scenario for the conference is for Drake to go undefeated the rest of the way but lose to ISU in the Arch Madness final.

AND NOW ONTO THIS WEEK’S TEAMS:

Big Ten – Ohio State Buckeyes. No, the Buckeyes aren’t exactly on the Bubble, but with three near-locks (Wisconsin, Michigan State, Indiana) and the only other bubble team looking good, OSU is here by default.  N-Syracuse and H-Florida are looking better and better every day, and two road wins against Big Ten disappointments Penn State and Iowa this week would put Thad Matta’s club at 7-2 in conference and in terrific shape for an at-large bid.  The only worry is the closing stretch: H-Wisconsin, @Indiana, @Minnesota, H-Purdue, H-Michigan State.  Better get those wins in now, guys…

Pac-10 – Oregon Ducks.  The Ducks played one of their best games of the year against UCLA & came up empty, then laid an egg for 35 minutes against USC before mounting an unbelievable comeback to send the game to OT, where they fell short thanks to SC’s blistering outside shooting.  My eyes tell me this is a Tournament team, but a four-game losing streak and the loss to Oakland Michigan still bother me.  The Ducks have a breather with rival Oregon State coming to Eugene on Saturday, but would do well to sweep the Bay Area schools next week.  Closing at home against the Arizona schools will also help a ton.

SEC – Mississippi State Bulldogs.  Yes, this team is 5-0 in the SEC right now, and probably deserved a spot in this week’s bracket.  But there isn’t a single game on the non-conference slate that gets me the least bit excited.  Both marquee SEC wins, if one can call them that, were in Starkville against Mississippi and Kentucky.  A massive bubble-bursting showdown at Arkansas looms tonight.  Win that one & you’ll be in the field next week.  Lose it & my doubt will continue…

Big XII – Texas A&M Aggies.  Concerns over the Aggies’ post-season fate are a bit overblown right now, in my opinion.  Mark Turgeon’s team has played arguably one of the toughest early-season Big XII schedules, and the wins over Ohio State and Washington in New York City are looking better and better all the time.  It sure would have been nice to suppress the Arizona comeback in Tucson during the Big XII-Pac-10 challenge, but the Wildcats are a terrific team @ McKale.  It’d be great to see DeAndre Jordan step up his production to pre-conference levels, especially against the ‘Horns and Sooners this week.

Big East – Villanova Wildcats.  Joe Lunardi seems to have had it out for Jay Wright’s team this year, and I don’t quite understand why.  The ‘Cats may have been overrated early, but they’re not necessarily destined for the NIT yet.  A home win against Pittsburgh and an even better road win at Syracuse will keep them in the discussion with a .500 conference record.  The upcoming slate is brutal – @Pitt, H-Cuse, @St Joe’s, H-Seton Hall, @Georgetown – and we’ll know a lot more about the Wildcats’ postseason fate in two weeks.  I’ll reserve my final judgment until then, but as of now, they’re hanging in.

ACC – Miami Hurricanes.  The Hurricanes are looking like this year’s Clemson.  After losing to Wake last night, they’re now 2-4 in conference, with a trip to Cameron Indoor looming.  The tail end of the ACC schedule is favorable, but Frank Haith’s team can’t afford to dip too far below .500 where it’s impossible to return.

Atlantic-10 – St Joseph’s Hawks.  A sweep of UMass is the only thing impressive about Phil Martelli’s team right now, but for a team that wasn’t even in the picture in December, to be this close to an NCAA bid is somewhat impressive.  Saint Joe’s still has a ton of marquee games left in conference (two against Xavier, at Rhode Island, at Dayton) and a non-conference tilt with Villanova.  Translation: still plenty of opportunity for big-time scalps.

Wild Card – MAC – Kent State Golden Flashes. Kent’s been hanging around the bad side of the bubble for several weeks now, and my inkling is that they’ll end up there on Selection Sunday, too.  It’s safe to say that the Committee will probably ignore the season-opening loss to Detroit, but will wins over quality mid-majors Illinois State, George Mason, Cleveland State, and Akron be enough compared to power conference teams?  KSU fans should be PRAYING for a trip to Moraga, CA on BracketBuster weekend to get one more chance to prove their worthiness to the Committee.

That’s it for this week; I’d love to hear your thoughts on who to feature here next week! Please leave them in the comment section below:

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31 Responses to “NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch: 1/29/08”  

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  1. John Says:

    @ David Mihm. Not too much of an argument except for Miami. No team that finishes under .500 in their league gets into the NCAA Tournament if it were me making the decisions. But this team did beat a very good Marist team(i see that conference a lot.), Virginia Commonwealth, who could be in the NCAA mix again(despite the loss at George Mason last night.) and Providence, who despite slumping still is a good win on a neutral court(all of these games occurred in Puerto Rico.) People might not remember those games because they were so early, but let’s not forget them. Now on to what I think for this week:

    I think the conference tournaments in the Big East and ACC will have a lot more meaning this year then in past years. Normally, you get a pretty good idea of who’s in, who’s out and who needs to do what. But except for Georgetown and Pittsburgh in the Big East and North Carolina and Duke in the ACC, it is as cloudy a picture in the middle of those two conferences as I have ever seen.

    I think the aforementioned Big East gets way too much respect from the committee. Yes it is a quality league, but I almost sense the committee feels as though it is some sort of right to put at least 8 teams in the tournament, therefore squeezing out a couple of deserving mid-majors. The biggest problem I have is the expansion of the conference. Too many teams were allowed to join the Big East after Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech left. If i recall correctly Rosemont, Cincinnati, Louisville and Milwaukee are not in the east. Only South Florida(and that’s even pushing it) is located on the East Coast. I do not need to see the 8th place Big East team make the field of 65 over a quality mid-major that may have slipped up in its conference tournament(see Appalachian State and Drexel last year, Hofstra and Buffalo in 2006.) The commitee claims that they do not take conference affiliation into account, but i’m not sure if I believe that, and if I were to believe that, then something, somewhere has to change. The Big East is not the only major conference where this can occur(see ACC.), but it is not as glaring in other conferences. I am not saying the Big East should not get every deserving team in the field, but let’s not make it a right instead of a privilege. Tell me if you have ever thought this way.

    What a bummer for Western Kentucky to be stuck in the same division as South Alabama. They are both NCAA-worthy, but knowing these types of conferences, an upset(see Middle Tennessee over South Alabama in the quarterfinals last year.) will surely prevent the Jaguars and Hilltoppers from meeting in the final(being in the same division costs WKU the #2 seed in the conference tournament as that goes to the other division winner.) Any chance either team gets at-large consideration?

    After careful thought, my BracketBusters are as follows:
    George Mason at Saint Mary’s
    Kent State at Butler
    Illinois State at Cleveland State
    Creighton at Akron
    UC Santa Barbara at Utah State

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  2. Sam Says:

    You obviously don’t have to go with these, but these are who I’d feature next week, since you wanted suggestions:

    Big 10: ???
    Pac 10: Arizona State
    SEC: Arkansas
    Big XII: Baylor
    Big East: Seton Hall
    ACC: Clemson
    A-10: Duquesne
    Wild Card: Houston

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  3. John Says:

    @ Sam. I think Arizona State and Baylor are in. Arkansas has still some more work to do. I think Houston is right on the edge. I like your pick of Duquense. I would replace Baylor with Oklahoma. I would replace Arizona State with Oregon. Seton Hall is an interesting case as well. And I think Clemson should be replaced by Boston College. My wild card would be George Mason(wins over Kansas State, Dayton and VCU.)

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  4. Bryce Says:

    @ John:
    The Big East doesn’t get additional bids because they are more highly regarded. In fact, if we are to believe the Sportswriters’ Mock Bracket from last year, conference affiliation isn’t brought into the mix at all. The Big East gets more bids because the larger number of teams means more chances to have tournament quality teams.
    In previous years a Big East team HAS gotten snubbed – Syracuse last year, Cincinnati the year before. So before pointing your fingers at the deepest conference, look at what other teams may have stolen bids.

    On another note – CAA is getting one bid this year. George Mason has too many horrible losses, while VCU has no quality wins. End of Discussion.

    Finally – Marist is good for a MAAC team. This does not make them good.

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  5. Bryce Says:

    As for my suggestions for next week:
    Pac-10: Washington (I think that the Devil’s bubble has burst)
    Big 10: Purdue (still only true bubble team in the conference)
    SEC: Georgia?
    Big East: Seton Hall
    ACC: Clemson
    Big XII: Texas A&M (Baylor is off my bubble right now)
    A-10: Duquesne (Though continuing on St. Joe’s wouldn’t be bad either)
    Other: BYU/UNLV

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  6. John Says:

    @ Bryce. I said MAYBE they do take conference affiliation into account. I also said I had a problem with the Big East expanding and additionally said if they all are tournament worthy, they should get in. Before you talk about other teams stealing bids, I recall Drexel winning 13 true road games last year(at Creighton, see below), beating Syracuse a team YOU mentioned(at the Carrier Dome, no less.), and every major TV outlet was singing their praises. End of that discussion. As far as your other points go:

    Name the horrible losses that George Mason has. They will also get to pick up another quality win in their BracketBuster game to go along with Dayton(who beat 2 BIG EAST teams, Louisville and Pittsburgh.), Kansas State(who if I recall just beat undefeated 20-0 #2 Kansas last night.) and VCU(who is at the top of the conference.)

    Finally, go to previous articles where I ask David Mihm about a potential 13 seed or lower that could pull off an upset and he responded with Siena or Niagara, who if I remember correctly BOTH play in the MAAC.

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  7. John Says:

    @ David Mihm(hopefully you’ll respond to this one.) I heard from an unnamed source that said if South Alabama gets to the Sun Belt final and finishes at 26-5, their at-large chances are good.

    For anyone who wants to, these are my final BracketBusters projections that I came up with, so anyone who wants to respond to these matchups, feel
    free to do so:

    Drake at Butler
    Davidson at Saint Mary’s
    Kent State at Oral Roberts
    Virginia Commonwealth at Illinois State
    George Mason at Southern Illinois
    Creighton at Cleveland State

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  8. David Mihm Says:

    For what it’s worth, guys, I think that the Big East pretty much gets what it deserves. I had both Syracuse and Cincinnati in the field both of the last two years, but do not think either team should really be complaining. Both had the incredible advantage of playing in a power conference where opportunities for marquee wins come around every other game. Mid-majors have that opportunity 1 out of 5 times if they’re lucky, and the potential for a “bad loss” much more frequently as well.

    I do think the MAAC representative could pull off an upset this year, but I’m not sure that they’ll do it. I just think that the league has proven itself a bit more than usual this year, and a bit more than other leagues of similar status.

    @John, I’d LOVE to know who the unnamed source is :D Personally, I kinda doubt that a home win over Mississippi State is going to be enough, but 27-4 with an undefeated regular season would be VERY interesting…more importantly, why isn’t the Sun Belt participating in the BracketBuster this year?!

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  9. John Says:

    @ David Mihm. The unnamed source is SI.com writer Bill Trocchi, who exclusively covers mid-majors for the magazine. He was writing a piece on what 10 teams need to do to get an at-large invitation. He ranked South Alabama’s chances at good, behind Butler, Drake, Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s(all of whom are listed at excellent) and ahead of Virginia Commonwealth, George Mason(who are listed at fair), Creighton, Cleveland State and Kent State(all of whom are listed at poor.)
    His reasoning was an RPI of 27, Quality Wins over Mississippi State and Western Kentucky and then, in his own words, the following:

    Ticket to the Big Dance: The Jaguars, due to the overall weakness of the Sun Belt,
    cannot afford more than one regular-season slip-up and need to make it to the Sun Belt Conference tournament final if they want to secure an at-large bid. And even then, it’s not a given. Not playing a BracketBusters game hurts South Alabama’s ability to grab an additional quality win. A 17-1 league record and 26-5 overall mark should get the Jags in without winning the Sun Belt tourney.

    As for why the Sun Belt is not participating in the upcoming BracketBusters, i got very vague information, only with the following explanation: The Sun Belt believes the travel has damaged it’s belief that it is a worthwhile enterprise(give props to Kyle Whelliston for digging that up for me.)

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  10. Ryan Burrows Says:

    The Villanova vs SJU game will be played at the Palestra, which is a neutral site (not @St Joe’s. Also, SJU lost to Syracuse on a last minute three, and took Gonzaga to overtime. With Nova, @ Dusquesne and @ Xavier coming up they might just turn some heads.

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  11. Ryan Burrows Says:

    I forgot to add that out of SJU’s 5 losses, 2 have come in OT and the other three were by 3, 4 and 5 points.

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  12. Sam Says:

    Speaking of Bracket Busters, did Gonzaga decide themselves not to participate anymore, or did they stop inviting them since in most years, they’re a lock long before Bracket Buster Saturday? I don’t think they’re quite locked in if they lose 3 times to St. Mary’s, which could very well happen. They have one great win over Connecticut, but have lost to all the other top teams they played.

    Conference USA should start playing in Bracket Busters. When the idea started, C-USA was almost a power conference, and a Bracket Buster wouldn’t help them. After the conference changes, however, the league is much weaker, and is having trouble getting more than one team in.

    Why does the OVC have EVERY single one of their teams in every year, despite the fact that it’s always one of the worst conferences and never has a chance for multiple bids? It seems to mess up logical matchups as well, since they have a lot of teams and they can’t face each other. Conferences that would benefit such as C-USA, MWC and Sun Belt aren’t in at all, and the WCC has just one team participating. Also, why are all 4 America East teams on the road? That doesn’t seem very logical either.

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  13. John Says:

    @ Sam. I am a Florida Gators fan(lucky me!), so my season really doesn’t start till the SEC Tournament. That gives me plenty of time to study the mid-majors(plus I like to watch the little guys play.) As for what you said:

    Gonzaga should not be participating in the BracketBusters. Whether it is admitted or not, their past history in the NCAA Tournament will get them a bid. They also did beat an improving St. Joseph’s team, besides the win over Connecticut. They would simply be taking a spot away from someone. I think Saint Mary’s will win the WCC Tournament, but the Zags are safe simply on name recognition alone.

    You bring up a very valid point about Conference USA, and i’m not sure there is a reason for why they do not participate.

    The Ohio Valley represents one bid, mid-major longshots at their finest. The alternative would then be to include MEAC or SWAC teams, but they play men’s-women’s doubleheaders to take care of travel costs, etc.

    Speaking of travel, that is the reason why the Sun Belt has stopped partcipating(see my explanation in this column above.)

    There is no other WCC team that logically has an at-large candidate other than Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s. The only way this could come back to haunt the conference is if another team other than the top 2 wins the conference tournament.

    The Mountain West does not participate because they left ESPN to start their own network.

    It is unfair for all 4 America East teams to be on the road, but realistically no team has a chance to receive an at-large bid. Maryland-Baltimore County is the best team in the conference, but their chances are slim to none.

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  14. Andrew Force Says:

    @ John.

    I think South Alabama is grasping at straws if they are hanging their hat on wins over Mississippi State and Western Kentucky.

    I like Courtney Lee but their best win is Nebraska? Michigan?

    They should get in with the Sun Belt crown, but thats not a WOW win for South Alabama. It is a nice win.

    Mid-majors need lots of ammo for convincing.

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  15. John Says:

    @ Andrew Force. I agree with what you said, but South Alabama or Western Kentucky(or teams like them) cannot get that WOW win because the power conference teams will not schedule a home and home series with them in fear of losing to them. It is a problem that needs to be resolved, and how it is, I do not know. That brings me to my next point and tell me what you think of this:

    Because of what I said above, mid-majors often play other mid-majors that are on their level. Kent State is a perfect example of this. The Golden Flashes have defeated Illinois State, George Mason and Cleveland State. Those are mid-majors perceiveed to be on Kent State’s level. The Golden Flashes do have the advantage of playing in the BracketBusters(for why the Sun Belt does not participate, see my last comment here.) and that could be beneficial to them. Not every mid-major is fortunate enough to year in and year out play the power teams such as Butler and Southern Illinois, nor is every mid-major fortunate enough to play in a league that has another strong mid-major in it with the possibility of 2 regular season, marquee mid-major wins such as Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s. I suspect teams might try the Kent State route and hope to get a year where the power conferences are down and therefore have more at-large bids open up for them.

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  16. Andrew Force Says:

    @John.

    You are absolutely right. It is not fair.

    But the seeding committee can’t pick a team like Kent State without merit. The way many of the “smaller conferences” are trying to alleviate this problem is to get into the bigger early season tournaments. There is a good chance if you play well in say Maui Classic, then you can play a UCLA, Mississippi State, or Louisville.

    It is a problem the leagues face every year, and from my experiences with the Missouri Valley the administrators are VERY concerned with how to find a remedy.

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  17. John Says:

    @ Andrew Force. Yes you are right. But it is only a temporary solution because like we have been saying, right now there is no solution. Until someones resolves this, perhaps this is what will continue to happen. My issue is then the selection of the teams. What would make the people in Maui select PRINCETON? Take a Kent State or a Utah State, etc. Remember what Ball State did out of the MAC in 2001 in Maui(upset Kansas and UCLA.) As for the Missouri Valley, they have an outlet(the Old Spice Classic.), which I think is the Maui of the East(at least growing into it.)

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  18. Sam Says:

    Although it won’t solve the problem, I think one thing that would partially help would be if some of the mid-majors held series between two conferences. The ACC and Big 10 have been holding the ACC/Big 10 Challenge for quite a while, and this year the Pac-10 and Big 12 decided to do a full series between themselves. Perhaps we could have Missouri Valley/Atlantic 10 Challenge or MAC/CAA Challenge. Even though they’d be facing other mid-majors like they already do, I think this would help.

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  19. John Says:

    @ Sam. That is an idea that I would endorse, but also one that I brought up to David Mihm, and he suggested it would not work. And even though I slightly take your side, unlike the BracketBusters, those matchups would have to be created ahead of time. Drake would have gotten a losuy matchup and as it would turn out, that would be harmful rather than helpful(as would have Southern Illinois getting a favorable matchup.)

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  20. Dex Says:

    Here’s my thoughts on the bubble teams.

    On the good side of the bubble: Oklahoma (w’s vs. Arkansas, Gonzaga, at W. Virginia, and at Baylor), Arkansas (w’s at Baylor and vs. Miss. St and Florida), Oregon (w’s at Arizona and K St., tough schedule), USC (the win at UCLA and difficulty of conf. schedule will get the Trojans in for sure), BYU, and UNLV.

    Other teams that are on the bubble but not quite on the good side: Miami (2-5 in conf. play), Villanova (3-6), Ohio State (Florida and Syracuse only quality wins), Miss. St (no great wins), Arizona St. (lost 4 in a row), S. Alabama (solid but probably won’t get much respect), Illinois St. (MVC is a mediocre mid-major conf. at best and their record isn’t spectacular), St. Joe’s (6-1 and 2 wins vs. UMass), UMass (several solid wins but too many losses), Syracuse, West Virginia.

    Teams on the bad side of the bubble include BC, NC St, George Mason, VCU, Seton Hall, Providence, Houston, Kent St., Akron, Ohio, Kentucky, Cal, San Diego St, New Mexico, W. Kentucky, Creighton, Charlotte, and Duquesne.

    Of the teams on the bad side of the bubble I really only think that Kentucky has a chance because of their schedule and just simply because they are Kentucky and I think that that has an influence whether or not the committee says that it does.

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  21. Dex Says:

    Here’s my thoughts on the bubble teams.

    On the good side of the bubble: Oklahoma (w’s vs. Arkansas, Gonzaga, at W. Virginia, and at Baylor), Arkansas (w’s at Baylor and vs. Miss. St and Florida), Oregon (w’s at Arizona and K St., tough schedule), USC (the win at UCLA and difficulty of conf. schedule will get the Trojans in for sure), BYU, and UNLV.

    Other teams that are on the bubble but not quite on the good side: Miami (2-5 in conf. play), Villanova (3-6), Ohio State (Florida and Syracuse only quality wins), Miss. St (no great wins), Arizona St. (lost 4 in a row), S. Alabama (solid but probably won’t get much respect), Illinois St. (MVC is a mediocre mid-major conf. at best and their record isn’t spectacular), St. Joe’s (6-1 and 2 wins vs. UMass), UMass (several solid wins but too many losses), Syracuse, West Virginia.

    Teams on the bad side of the bubble include BC, NC St, George Mason, VCU, Seton Hall, Providence, Houston, Kent St., Akron, Ohio, Kentucky, Cal, San Diego St, New Mexico, W. Kentucky, Creighton, Charlotte, and Duquesne.

    Of the teams on the bad side of the bubble I really only think that Kentucky has a chance because of their schedule and just simply because they are Kentucky.I think that has an influence whether or not the committee says that it does.

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  22. Jameson Says:

    Good article, you do a better job with the bubble watch than ESPN, but Lunardi had ya on Villanova. Man can they be in a bigger free fall right now? As a fan of the Orange, it’s kind of enjoyable.

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  23. John Says:

    @ Dex. Nice job, but with George Mason at Ohio in a BracketBusters game, that might get the winner off the bad side of the bubble.

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  24. Dex Says:

    I think one option that could be helpful to mid-majors would be to set up a pre-season tournament(or more than one) for teams projected to finish at the top of their conferences. This obviously wouldn’t always be beneficial to every team since being projected to finish well doesn’t mean that they would. But I think that you could invite 16-32 teams in one or more tournaments and it would be very helpful to several of those teams. It may be too big of a hastle or it may not work out, but I think that it is worth giving it a shot.

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  25. Dex Says:

    To follow up on my previous comment, here’s what I would do:
    I would invite 2-4 teams from the A10, Missouri Valley, Conf. USA, and Mountain West. Invite 2-3 teams from the WAC, Sun Belt, Colonial, and MAC. Invite 1-2 teams from the American East, Atl. Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Horizon, Ivy, MAAC, MEAC, NEC, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Summit, Southland, SWAC, and WCC. I would probably divide this up into two tournaments. Doing this would give these teams the opportunity to play several opponents at or around their own talent levels and would help decide who really deserves a bid in March.

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  26. John Says:

    @ Dex. That’s the best idea i’ve heard so far. My only questions are:

    How do you determine matchups, considering projections based on preseason polls can sometimes be dangerous? (See the Missouri Valley, Drake picked near the bottom, now the runaway favorite?)

    What about a league like the Sun Belt, trying to convince them to play in this, when they won’t participate in the BracketBusters, because of travel?

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  27. Dex Says:

    @ John,

    There are obviously some problems with the idea and I definitely don’t think that it would solve every problem. My suggestions for the match-ups would probably be to do some kind of random seeding process since most of the teams are going to be on about the same level, and there will be no clear cut 1 or 16 seeds, for example. I think that by inviting multiple teams from most, if not every conference, would help to deal with situations such as with Drake or Xavier. Of course, there would be some surprises, since projections, especially with smaller conferences, are rarely right on. But I think that for the most part, the teams that would be invited would be the teams that will need a solid victory on their resume around selection sunday.

    My best suggestion for teams/conferences that wouldn’t want to participate because of travel would be to hold the tournaments at centralized locations, such as Kansas City, St. Louis, or Indianapolis. But if a team/conference does not want to participate, then they should not be required to. I think that if they did not though, it would only put them at a disadvantage.

    I also think that there would need to be a consolation bracket set up so that teams that lose in the first or second round would still have a chance to prove themselves.

    There are my suggestions. Tell me what you think.

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  28. Sam Says:

    If this were to work, I’d have to say the Horizon would have to be bumped up to the 2-3 category. They constantly have Sweet 16 teams, and are competing for multiple teams every other year, so they are a lot like the WAC, Colonial and MAC.

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  29. Scott Swanson Says:

    Any Love For the Richmond Spiders if we finsh 4th in the A-10? Lots of bad losses but we are starting to play strong. Now if we beat Xavier….

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  30. Dex Says:

    @ Scott Swanson,

    Richmond at 12-9 overall, their best wins being against either Dayton or Virginia Tech at home, and with losses to La Salle and Norfolk State. UMass, Dayton, St. Joe’s, Charlotte, and Duquesne are all more qualified. I don’t think they have a chance.

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  31. JAY BIRD - HOG FAN Says:

    The Hogs should get in because they beat Baylor in Texas, VCU on a nuetral court, Missouri before they had the player problems and they also beat Mississippi State by 20 and Florida by 19.
    They did loose to Kentucky at Lexington but the refs were really up for that one and so “they played” a great game.

    J

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