Saturday, February 18, 2012

2/18/12 Bracket

Selection Sunday is a little over three weeks away.
Here is the latest projection of what the field will be on March 11.

Our bracket features:
"Why They're In" analysis - Last 4 teams in: Alabama, UConn, Xavier, Miami
"Why They're Out" analysis - First 4 teams out: Illinois, S. Florida, Arizona, St. Joes
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 an impressive road win Monday night at Louisville, even though they made one field goal outside of the key.  An amazing statistic which shows how dominant they can be defensively. 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 got revenge on Oklahoma St this week, and travels to Texas A&M on Saturday. Michigan St. had one of the impressive wins of the season, holding Ohio St to 26% shooting in Columbus last week.  Wednesday night they dominated a solid Wisconsin team.  Tom Izzo is doing what he always does, preparing his team for a run in March.

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

Ohio State bounced back from their Michigan St. loss with a solid road win at Minnesota.  Saturday night they face rival Michigan. The Wolverines lack size inside, so Sullinger staying out of foul trouble could be the deciding factor.  Also, keep an eye on a great matchup of point guards - OSU's Aaron Craft (defensively) & Michigan's Trey Burke (offensively)  Kansas pulled out a hard fought win over state rival Kansas St. on Monday.  Saturday the Jayhawks have what amounts to a home scrimmage against a struggling Texas Tech team. Duke overcame a 20 point deficeit in the second half to beat N.C. State.  Duke has made a habit of great comebacks recently, including one at North Carolina, but one aspect lacking in Duke's overall play is their lack of interior defense. They rank only 81st in the country in total reboudning, and alarming stat for a possible Final Four threat.  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 has won 8 of their last 10 games and came up one point short vs. Syracuse on Monday.  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 was dominated by Michigan St. on Wednesday, but have a chance to get back on track against struggling Penn St. on Sunday.  A very favorable schedule the rest of the way will have Wisconsin no worse than a four seed come Selection Sunday. 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, New Mexico, Wichita St.

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

8 seeds: West Virgina, Virginia, St. Louis, Murray St.

9 seeds: Seton Hall, Miss. St, Iowa St, BYU

10 seeds: California, Harvard, Purdue, N.C. State

11 seeds: Texas, Creighton, Washington, Kansas St.

12 seeds: Northwestern, Cincinnati, 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 losses @ LSU and Florida but they should be back soon to provide much needed help.  The Tide are in the bracket because of their solid wins agains Wichita St, Purdue, VCU & Arkansas, as well as a strong RPI of 39.  UConn is another team with a very strong RPI 21, which is something weighed heavily by the selection committee.  Their 6-7 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 45 positions them nicely, as long as they can finish 9-7 in the ACC.  They missed on a big chance to solidify a spot when they lost to North Carolina at home Wednesday night.

First Four Out:  Illinois, South Florida, Arizona, St. Joseph's

Why they are out:
Illinois is 5-8 in the Big 10 and will need to scrap out at least 9-9 to have a shot.  They have a decent  RPI of 56 and a wins over Mich. St & Ohio 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. Arizona is playing their best basketball of the year, winning five in a row, including a big road win at conference leader Cal.  If they get to 12-6 or 13-5 in the Pac12, the committee will most likely vote them in.  This is a team that has a very good chance to be playing in Dayton at the First Four.  St. Joseph's is a team that is quietly putting together a solid year.  An RPI of 50 and wins over Creighton & Dayton will keep them on the bubble.  Their Feb. 25 home date with Temple will likely decide their tournament fate.

Next Four Out: Minnesota, Ole Miss, Dayton, Colorado St


  1. You said, "UNLV picked up a crucial road win at San Diego St on saturday." The game was in Las Vegas.

  2. P.S. UNLV also lost on Feb 14th to TCU. You might want to update your Feb 18th bracket

    1. Thanks for reading and for the comment. Good catch, the game was in Las Vegas, thanks for bringing that to my attention. I will be posting a new bracket for tomorrow which will reflect UNLV's rough week. They will drop down from the from the 3 seed line, but will still be in safe position for an at large bid especially with their impressive RPI ranking of 12. Thanks for reading.

  3. A comment about Cincinnati's RPI of 74 disappeared off our page, but I wanted to respond because it was a great question. Our bracket is always a projection of what we feel the bracket will look like on Selection Sunday. While Cincinnati does currently have a bad RPI of 74, they do have very solid wins over Georgetown (road), UConn (road), Seton Hall, & Notre Dame. Also, they have a favorable upcoming Big East schedule and could very well end up with 11 or 12 conference wins. In a year when there will be many 9-9 bubble teams in major conferences, I believe the committee will select a 11-7 or 12-6 Bearcats team. Thanks for reading and look forward to more great questions.