Monday, February 13, 2012

2/13/12 Bracket

Selection Sunday is four weeks away.
Here is the latest projection of what the field will be on March 11.

Our bracket features:
"Why They're In" analysis for the Last 4 teams in: Alabama, UConn, Xavier, Miami
"Why They're Out" analysis for the Last 4 teams out: Northwestern, South Florida, Arkansas, Colorado St
Also, we break down each team with a 1 through 4 seed.
(Let us know what you think of our blog via comments)

Be sure to check out all the brackets in the Bracket Matrix:

1 seeds: Syracuse, Kentucky, Missouri, Michigan St.

Syracuse had another very impressive week beating rival Georgetown in an overtime thriller, then handling UConn at home on Saturday before over 33,430 fans.  They now face a red-hot Louisville team on the road Monday night. Sunday the Orange visit Rutgers, a place they typically struggle.  Kentucky had a dominant win over Florida and a gut check road win at Vanderbilt Saturday.  They have only one game this week, home to Ole Miss - remember John Callipari has never lost at home during his time at Kentucky.  Missouri survived a road trap game at Oklahoma on Monday and buried Baylor over the weekend.  Their route of Baylor was suprising considering 3 of Missouri's last 4 wins have been by 3 points or less.  Michigan St. had one of the impressive wins of the season, holding Ohio St to 26% shooting in Columbus.  They ended the Buckeyes 39 games home win streak, but they must re-focus quickly with Wisconsin coming to town on Thursday. 

2 seeds: Ohio St,  Kansas, Duke, North Carolina

Ohio State lost their first home game since Feb 17, 2010 nearly two years ago.  They were only 2-15 (13%)  from 3pt range against Michigan St, and shoot a below average of 33% from 3pt range for the year.  While Jared Sullinger gets the headlines, their tournament fate will be determined by the outside shooting of William Buford & Deshaun Thomas.  Kansas rebounded nicely from last weeks tough loss at Missouri, and beat Baylor on the road, then dominated Ok. St.  Monday night they visit the Octagon of Doom (@ K-State) in what should be an all out battle. Duke overcame a 12 point deficeit with just under three minutes to go at North Carolina on Wednesday.  Austin Rivers' buzzer beater three-pointer moved Duke into a tie for the ACC lead, and a very manageable schedule the rest of the way has Duke back at the 2 seed line.  North Carolina leads the nation in points per game (83.5) and rebounding (46), but is only 56th in field goal percentage at 46%.  Their lack of quality shooting from the perimeter is cause for concern when they play perimeter teams such as Duke.

3 seeds: Marquette, Georgetown, Baylor, UNLV

Marquette has won 9 of 10 games, and stands at 10-3 in the Big East.  They travel to a very desperate UConn team on Saturday, a win their would set the Golden Eagles up for at least an impressive 13-5 conference record.  Georgetown suffered a hard fought loss in OT at Syracuse Wednesday, but definitely won't be penalized for their loss.  They face St. Johns and Providence this week, before embarking on a tough season closing stretch.  Baylor has a great record (21-4) and a great RPI (7), but they have missed out on signature wins losing both games to Kansas & Missouri.  They face two likely tournament teams in Iowa St & Kansas St - both at home this week.  UNLV picked up a crucial road win at San Diego St on Saturday.  They are a team that is very quietly 22-4 and has solid wins over North Carolina, Illinois, Cal, Nevada, New Mexico & SDSU.  A always difficult visit to The Pitt (@ New Mexico) awaits them on Saturday.

4 seeds: Louisville, Michigan, Wisconsin, Notre Dame

Louisville enters Monday's big matchup against #2 Syracuse winning 8 of their last 9 games.  The Cardinals have beat Syracuse their last four trips to Louisville.  The Orange must beware.  Michigan picked up a solid win over Illinois on Sunday, and now prepares for a huge Saturday night showdown with Ohio St.  Michigan has not lost at home all year and with a win would climb to second place in the Big 10.  Wisconsin outlasted Minnesota in OT on the road last week, and now prepares for a tough battle in against Michigan St. Thursday. At 8-4 in the Big 10, if Wisconsin has any hope to win the league, they must beat the Spartans.  Notre Dame continues to be one of the hottest teams in the country, and the fact that they weren't ranked last week shows how flawed the polls really are.  In the last four weeks they have beaten: Syracuse, Seton Hall, Marquette & West Virginia.  Early season struggles are forgiven after that stretch.

5 seeds: Florida St, Indiana, Vanderbilt, Florida

6 seeds: Temple, San Diego St, Iowa St, Wichita St.

7 seeds: Gonzaga, St. Marys, S. Miss, Memphis

8 seeds: Miss. St, Virginia, California, Murray St.

9 seeds: St. Louis, N.C. State, New Mexico, Kansas St

10 seeds: BYU, Harvard, Seton Hall, West Virginia

11 seeds: Purdue, Creighton, Washington, Illinois

12 seeds: Texas, Minnesota, Alabama/UConn, Xavier/Miami (FL)

13 seeds: Middle Tenn, VCU, Long Beach St, Oral Roberts

14 seeds: Cleveland St, Davidson, Loyola (MD), Nevada

15 seeds: Belmont, Bucknell, Weber St, Akron

16 seeds: Norfolk St, Vermont, Miss Valley St/UNC Asheville, Texas Arlington/Wagner

Last Four In: Alabama, UConn, Xavier, Miami (FL)

Why they are in:
Alabama sat three of its best players for disciplinary reasons in a loss @ LSU, but they should be back for their big matchup with Florida on Tuesday.  The Tide are in the bracket because of their solid wins agains Wichita St, Purdue, VCU & Arkansas, as well as a strong RPI of 32.  UConn is another team with a very strong RPI 21, which is something weighed heavily by the selection committee.  Their 5-7 Big East conference record has them squarely on the bubble, but their wins over Fla. St, Arkansas, Harvard, South Florida, Seton Hall, West Virginia & Notre Dame are too good to keep out of the bracket.  Xavier sits at 7-4 in the A-10, but has a manageable closing stretch.  They have a lot of work still left to do, but their resume does contain solid wins over Vanderbilt, Purdue & Cincinnati.  Miami (FL) will continue to hang its hat on their huge road win against Duke.  Their RPI of 37 positions them nicely, as long as they can finish 9-7 in the ACC.  They have a big opportunity to solidify their spot in the dance when UNC comes to town Wednesday.

First Four Out: Northwestern, South Florida, Arkansas, Colorado St

Why they are out:
Northwestern is 5-7 in the Big 10 and will need to scrap out at least 9-9 to have a shot.  They have a strong RPI of 37 and a win over Mich. St, but ultimately will need to get to .500 in the league to get in. South Florida is 1-6 against top 50 RPI teams, and with this lack of quality wins they will need to get to 11-7 in the Big East and hope that is good enough. Arkansas has solid home wins over Miss. St, Michigan, & Vanderbilt, but has been absolutely brutal on the road.  They currently don't have any road wins, including losses at LSU & Georgia.  Upcoming road trips to Tenn & Auburn are now must wins. Colorado St. has a very good RPI of 30, but only truly has one win over a tournament team - San Diego St.  They will be a tough call for the committee, because they will likely finish fourth in the eight team Mountain West.  With home games against Wyoming, New Mexico & UNLV remaining, the Rams control their own destiny.

Next Four Out: Cincinnati, St. Joseph's, Wyoming, Arizona

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