Scoreboard Watching: February 28, 2017

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

In The Books

Virginia 53, North Carolina 43: Last weekend it was the Cavaliers who couldn't get out of the low 40s on the road.  This time it was the ACC leading tar heels, who host Duke on Sunday.  A win gives UNC the outright title.
 
Baylor 71, West Virginia 62: The win keeps Baylor alive for a high as a second place finish still in the Big 12.
 
Kansas 73, Oklahoma 63: Oklahoma held a double-digit lead midway through the second half, then KU closed on a 31-9 run to hold onto their #1-overall seed.
Virginia 53, North Carolina 43: Last weekend it was the Cavaliers who couldn't get out of the low 40s on the road. This time it was the ACC leading tar heels, who host Duke on Sunday. A win gives UNC the outright title. Baylor 71, West Virginia 62: The win keeps Baylor alive for a high as a second place finish still in the Big 12. Kansas 73, Oklahoma 63: Oklahoma held a double-digit lead midway through the second half, then KU closed on a 31-9 run to hold onto their #1-overall seed. Virginia Tech 66, Miami 61: The win is Virginia Tech's 10th in ACC play, along with a pretty good non-conference schedule and the Hokies should be good to go. UNC Greensboro 72, East Tennessee St. 66: A big shakeup at the top of the SoCon standings on their final regular season date as Greensboro takes the #1-seed, Furman takes the second and ETSU falls to the third season.

Tipping Off Tonight

Oklahoma State at Iowa State: Both teams have been hot as of late, as Iowa State is playing for the #2-seed in the Big-12 Tourney.
 
Florida State at Duke: Grayson Allen is listed as questionable (as of this writing), which could be a big deal.  The Noles struggle on the road, but they're worlds deeper than the Blue Devils, which carried them to victory in Tallahassee in January.
 
Pitt at Georgia Tech: A must win for Georgia Tech, no other way to put it.
 
Vanderbilt at Kentucky: The Commodores likely need to at least split their final two games - this one at Rupp and a home game with second place Florida - to earn a bubble bid.
 

Scoreboard Watching: February 27, 2017

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

In The Books

Friday
Dayton 89, Davidson 82 (OT): The Flyers trailed for much of this game beore pushing it to overtime.  The win sets up a showdown with VCU on Monday that would clinch the regular season for Dayton with a win.
 
Saturday
Kentucky 76, Florida 66: Malik Monk dropped 33 as De'Aaron Fox missed the game with an ankle injury.  The result is 32-point swing from Florida's lopsided victory three weeks prior.  That loss was Kentucky's third in four games.  They haven't lost since and now sit alone in first in the SEC.
 
BYU 79, Gonzaga 71: KenPom had the Bulldogs as 99% favorites to win, but BYU was having none of it.  The Cougars pushed the pace, failing to allow Gonzaga to play a half court game and handing Mark Few's team their first loss of the season.  They likely stay as a 1-seed with the loss, but another from here on out and they'll probably fall to the 2-seed line.
 
UCLA 77, Arizona 72: A huge win for the Bruins on the road.  The fourth number one seed could be in play for Steve Alford's team if they win out (including the Pac-12 Tourney).
 
Iowa State 72, Baylor 69: The Cyclones now own wins over Baylor and Kansas (in Phog Allen).  That should get the in contention for a top-4 seed.
 
Michigan 82, Purdue 70: The Wolverines were able to disrupt Purdue's big men by constantly moving theirs on both ends of the floor, rattling them with quickness.  This was the signature win they badly needed.  A spit of their final two road games (Northwestern & Nebraska) should have them pretty comfortable going into the BTT.
 
Miami 55, Duke 50: The Hurricanes now own wins over UNC and Duke at home.  With 20 overall wins and 10 conference wins, they're now locked in the tournament.
 
Florida State 76, Clemson 74: A win is a win, but this is pretty emblematic of FSU's split of home/road struggles.  The Noles drummed Clemson by 58 on Super Bowl Sunday in Tallahassee.  Away from home?  A 2-point squeaker.  They''re at Duke on Tuesday.
 
West Virginia 61, TCU 60: Five straight losses for TCU drops the Horned Frogs to 6-10 in conference.  They likely need to win from here to the Big 12 Final to have a shot at a bubble bid now.
 
Providence 73, Marquette 69:  I was admittedly more bullish than most on the Friars, but this run of late has them back up to .500 in conference with only DePaul and St. John's remaining.  If they can get to 10 conference wins, they might be locked in before the Big East tournament even begins.  Meanwhile, Marquette falls back toward the bubble with a much more challenge finish - at Xavier and home against Creighton.
 
Indiana 63, Northwestern 62: The Wildcats aren't going to make it easy on themselves.  The loss is heir fifth in six games, dropping them to 9-7 in the Big Ten with Michigan and Purdue remaining.  If they drop those and have a quick exit in the BTT, it could be a nervous selection Sunday in Evanston.
 
Villanova 79, Creighton 63: The Wildcats clinch the outright Big East title, keeping them in sound position for a 1-seed.
 
Rhode Island 69, VCU 59: Not dead yet.  The consensus on URI was that they needed to win out after their loss to Fordham to have a chance.  Well, they've won three in a row and have cleared their biggest hurdle.  A road trip to St. Joe's and a home game with Dayton is all they have left.  Meanwhile, VCU now needs a win at Dayton just to force a tie in conference.
 
Oklahoma 81, Kansas State 51: Wow.  The Wildcats absolutely needed a win and instead fall by 30(!) to a struggling Oklahoma team.  Wins against TCU and Texas Tech could potentially keep them on life support, but they seems like a longshot after a result like this.
 
Oklahoma State 70, Texas Tech 63: Well, any hope the Red Raiders had is officially toast with their 11th conference loss.  Meanwhile, OK State has now won nine of 10 and is in very good position heading into the final week.
 
Sunday
Butler 88, Xavier 79: Great week for the Bulldogs, who could very well earn a two seed with a deep push in the Big east Tournament.
 
Michigan State 84, Wisconsin 74: That's four losses in five games for Wisconsin after the committee left them out of their Top 16 on February 11.  I have them as a six-seed now, but even that may be optimistic.  Meanwhile, Sparty improves to 10-6 in the Big Ten and would seem like only an 0-3 finish (BTT included) would put them back on the bubble.
 
UCF 53, Cincinnati 49:  Just like that and SMU has the upper-hand fro the American's regular season crown.
 
Houston 72, Memphis 71: If there American is to get three teams in, it would likely have to be one of these.  Houston could earn their way in with a road win at Cincinnati on Thursday night.
 
Louisville 88, Syracuse 68: The loss pushes the 'Cuse back toward the bubble, but they could still pick up their 10th ACC win on Saturday against Georgia Tech, which would set them up nicely going into the ACC Tournament.
 
Notre Dame 64, Georgia Tech 60: Speaking of Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets have lost three of four and are very much in trouble.  They'll need to sweep Pitt and Syracuse and then win at least one in Brooklyn to sure up a spot in the big dance.
 
Arizona State 83, USC 82: Devastating loss for USC.  The Trojans have seemed safe for awhile, but now are very much on the bubble as one of my last four in.  They need to sweep the Washington schools next weekend at home then win 1-2 in the Pac-12 Tournament to be safe.
 
Illinois 73, Nebraska 57: If the Illini can beat Michigan State on Wednesday, they're very much in the bubble conversation heading into Indianapolis.
 
Northern Kentucky 82, Valparaiso 78 & Oakland 86, Milwaukee 75: The Oakland Grizzlies steal away the regular season crown on the final day of the regular season.  Their tournament starts Friday at Joe Louis Arena in nearby Detroit. 

Tipping Off Tonight

 West Virginia at Baylor: A loss and Baylor could wind up finishing fourth in the Big 12 - a thought that was crazy just a few weeks ago.
 
North Carolina at Virginia: Can the Cavs manage more than 41 points at home against the ACC leaders?
 
Miami at Virginia Tech: A win would give Va Tech 10 conference wins and likely lock up their spot in the tournament.  Miami just closed out a nice week that included a road win over Virginia and Saturday's home win over Duke.

Bracketology 2017: February 27

True Seed List 

1: Kansas, Villanova, North Carolina, Gonzaga
2: Oregon, Louisville, UCLA, Baylor
3: Arizona, Kentucky, Butler, Florida St.
4: Florida, West Virginia, Duke, Purdue
5: SMU, Iowa St., Notre Dame, Minnesota
6: Cincinnati, Wisconsin, Saint Mary's, Virginia
7: Miami FL, Dayton, Maryland, Creighton
8: Oklahoma St., Virginia Tech, South Carolina, VCU
9: Michigan, Michigan St., Arkansas, Wichita St.
10: Northwestern, Xavier, Syracuse, Providence
11: California, Seton Hall, Middle Tennessee, Marquette, USC
12: Illinois St., Vanderbilt, UNC Wilmington, Vermont, Nevada
13: UT Arlington, Monmouth, Princeton, Akron
14: Belmont, Oakland, Winthrop, Bucknell
15: Florida Gulf Coast, Cal St. Bakersfield, East Tennessee St., North Dakota
16: South Dakota, North Carolina Central, New Orleans, Texas Southern, Mt. St. Mary's, UC Irvine

Out this bracket: Georgia Tech, Valparaiso, UNC Asheville, North Dakota St.

In this bracket: Vanderbilt, Oakland, Winthrop, South Dakota

Last 4 Byes Last 4 IN First 4 OUT
Syracuse Marquette Rhode Island
Providence USC Georgia Tech
California Illinois St Wake Forest
Seton Hall Vanderbilt Illinois

Notes

Gonzaga's home loss to BYU takes them out of the running for the #1-overall seed, but they still hold firm as the #3-overall seed. If they lose, they'll drop down to a 2-seed, otherwise, they should till stay a 1.

This past week was very bad for the Big Ten's top teams.  Purdue, Maryland and Wisconsin combined to go 1-5 last week, with the only win being Purdue's over Penn State in overtime.  The Boilermakers are my final 4-seed and the only one of these teams ranked above a 6-seed.

Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Northwestern and Illinois have crept toward the bubble.  That's good news for the Illini, not so much for the Wildcats who need at least one more win to sure up their status.

I still have Oregon above UCLA  on the S-Curve as they split the season series and the Ducks are now in position to get the top seed in the Pac-12 Tournament.  The higher of those seeds gets to open in Sacramento while the other goes to Salt Lake.  [EDIT: A math error had be think Gonzaga was closer to Sacramento than Salt Lake.  The Zags will open in Salt Lake, both Oregon and UCLA should open in Sacramento, barring something crazy.]

I by no means expected to see Vanderbilt in my field when I sat down to create the bracket.  But man, they have better wins than any of the teams out and not as bad of losses either.  They're my last team in.

Next Bracket: Thursday, March 2.  Daily brackets will start next weekend as Champ Week kicks into gear.


Scoreboard Watching: February 24, 2017

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching
The first conference tournament of the year is set:

In The Books

Ohio State 83, Wisconsin 73: The Buckeyes controlled the vast majority of this game, putting Wisconsin now a full game behind Purdue for first in the Big Ten with three to play.  Wisconsin is 1-3 since the committee omitted them from their Top 16 on February 11.  A top-4 seed - which would likely mean getting to open in Milwaukee - is likely a long shot at this point.
 
Georgia 60, Alabama 55: Just like that Georgia could again be flirting with the bubble conversation before too long.  The Bulldogs are 7-8 in conference with three winnable games remaining.  If they can finish the regular season at 10-8 in SEC play, they could get themselves into the conversation with a run to the Semis in the tournament.  They'd likely be in with a run to the Championship game.
 
Arizona 90, USC 77: No problem for the Wildcats at home  UCLA is next (more below)
 
Gardner Webb 71, UNC Asheville 76: The Bulldogs fall back into a tie for first with Winthrop in the Big South with just one game remaining before the tournament.
 
New Orleans 82, Stephen F. Austin 65: Easy win for the Privateers, who take a two game lead in the Southland with just three to play.

Tipping Off Tonight

Friday
Dayton at Davidson: The Flyers need to be careful not to look ahead to Wednesday's showdown with VCU.  Davidson is fully capable of stealing this one and giving VCU the inside track in the A10.
 
Saturday
Florida at Kentucky: The SEC is up for grabs as white-hot Florida travels to Rupp.  The Gators announced their comeback with a blowout over UK in Gainesville three weeks ago.  Now, they look to take the outright conference lead with just two games to play.
 
UCLA at Arizona: Arizona would take a stranglehold on the Pac-12 lead with a win, eliminating the Bruins and staying a game ahead of Oregon with only Arizona State remaining.  Meanwhile, UCLA is hoping a 2-seed is in play and needs this win to get them there.
 
Baylor at Iowa State: The first meeting in Waco was close, only a two point win for the Bears.  Can home court advantage open the door for a top-5 seed for the Cyclones?
 
Purdue at Michigan: Both teams needed late surges in their midweek games to stay ahead of Big Ten doormats Penn State and Rutgers, respectively.  A win by Michigan would pretty well put them on very, very good footing heading into the final week.  A loss and games at Northwestern and Nebraska begin to look more daunting.  This is senior night for Derrick Walton, the point guard who has powered Michigan's chances back.  It's hard to see him let the Wolverines drop this one.
 
Duke at Miami: The Blue Devils fell in thier last road contest at Syracuse.  Miami has played itself off the bubble and knows this win would likely lock them in the tournament.
 
Florida State at Clemson: The knock on the Seminoles has been a slew of poor showings on the road - most recently last Saturday at Pitt.  Clemson has never been an easy place for them to play.  This should be a good indicator on if they're ready to turn the corner.
 
West Virginia at TCU: This isn't absolute must win for the Horned Frogs, but it's damn close.
 
Marquette at Providence: Both teams are currently in the tournament after some recent wins, but they're far from finished.  A win in this game would go a long way for either team.
 
Northwestern at Indiana: The Wildcats likely need one more win to really feel good about their status heading into the BTT.
 
VCU a Rhode Island: Rhode Island is a long-shot, but they're not dead yet.  If they can deal VCU a loss here and win out heading into the A10 Tournament, they'll have a shot at an at-large bid.
 
Creighton at Villanova: 'Nova looks to bounce back from their loss to Butler on Wednesday and clinch the Big East regular season crown.
 
Sunday
Butler at Xavier: The Bulldogs jumped up to a 3-seed with their win over Villanova and a 2-seed is in sight if they can finish strong.  Xavier has lost four in a row and needs to stop the bleeding.
 
Wisconsin at Michigan State: The Spartans are still firmly in bubble territory as they look to extend their 19-year tournament streak.
 
Syracuse at Louisville: One knock left on the Orange is that they are yet to beat a tournament team on the road.  This would certainly put that one to rest if they can pull off the W.

Bracketology 2017: February 23

True Seed List 

1: Kansas, Villanova, Gonzaga, North Carolina
2: Baylor, Oregon, Louisville, Arizona
3: UCLA, Florida, Kentucky, Butler
4: Florida St., Duke, West Virginia, Purdue
5: Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, SMU
6: Minnesota, Iowa St., Saint Mary's, Maryland
7: Virginia, Dayton, Creighton, Virginia Tech
8: Oklahoma St., VCU, Northwestern, Miami FL
9: South Carolina, USC, Michigan, Arkansas
10: Xavier, Michigan St., Marquette, Syracuse
11: Providence, Wichita St., California, Seton Hall, Georgia Tech, Illinois St.
12: UNC Wilmington, Vermont, Middle Tennessee, Nevada
13: Akron, UT Arlington, Monmouth, Valparaiso
14: Princeton, Belmont, UNC Asheville, Bucknell
15: Florida Gulf Coast, Cal St. Bakersfield, East Tennessee St., North Dakota St.
16: North Dakota, North Carolina Central, New Orleans, Texas Southern, Mt. St. Mary's, UC Irvine

In this bracket: Syracuse, East Tennessee State

Out this bracket: Kansas State, Furman

The Bubble: To me, this was one of the clearest cut-offs for a bubble in quite a while.  Obviously that will change.  In the end, I took Syracuse, Providence, Cal, Seton Hall, Georgia Tech and Illinois St over TCU, Kansas St. and Wake Forest.

Kansas took over the #1-overall seed after Villanova's loss to Butler.  The Wildcats only slid to the #2-overall seed with the loss, still staying a spot above Gonzaga.  Meanwhile, Butler is up to a 3-seed with the sweep of 'Nova and could be playing for a 2-seed.

North Carolina is pretty solidly the fourth 1-seed now after their win over Louisville on Wednesday.  That slot was much of of a toss up on Monday than it was today.

Syracuse jumps from OUT to the last 10-seed by beating Duke, giving them another top-flight ACC win. 

Minnesota has moved a lot as of late as well, all the way up to a 6-seed.  They aren't too far from their ceiling, though.

Next bracket: Monday, February 27. 


Scoreboard Watching: February 23, 2017

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

In The Books

North Carolina 74, Louisville 63: Just like that, the Tar Heels have a two game lead in the ACC with three to play - and a road trip to Pitt next up.  They're definitely playing for a 1-seed from here on out.
 
Syracuse 78, Duke 75: That's exactly what the Orange needed after a three game losing skid dropped them out of the field.  They're right back in now - and a split in their final two games (at Louisville, vs GT) should do it.
 
Butler 74, Villanova 66: Two wins over the team the committee had as it's #1 overall seed in the preview rankings?  Yeah, that'll help your seeding.  The Bulldogs outscored the defending champs 32-17 in the final ten minutes to hand 'Nova their first loss in the Pavillion since 2003.  Nova will stay a 1-seed, while Butler is about to see their stock soar.
 
Kansas 87, TCU 68: TCU's second four-game losing streak in the last two months drops them to 6-9 with WVU visiting on Saturday.  
 
Oregon 68, California 65: Welp.  Cal badly needed this one and things were looking good when they were up 10 with 12 minutes to go.  Then Dillon Brooks powered the Ducks back, taking the lead in the final minute and picking up a quality road win.  Three straight losses has the Golden Bears at 9-6, with Oregon State visiting on Friday before ending the regular season on the Utah/Colorado road trip.
 
Providence 68, Creighton 66: Two weeks ago the Friars were 4-8 in conference with no shot.  Now, three straight wins against tournament teams has them up to 7-8 with a favorable home stretch coming.  
 
Wake Forest 63, Pittsburgh 59: That should put an end to Pitt's bubble hopes, while Wake still needs a win against a quality opponent.  They'll get a week off before getting just that opportunity when Louisville visits next Wednesday.
 
Minnesota 89, Maryland 75: That's six wins in a row for a Minnesota team that had lost five straight before that.  Meanwhile, that's four losses in six games for a Maryland team that was 20-2 entering February.
 
Vanderbilt 67, Tennessee 56: Huge blow for the Vols tournament chances as Vanderbilt continues to catch eyes with four wins in five games - though oddly that's with three wins against likely tournament teams and a loss to Mizzou(!).
 
East Tennessee State 93, Furman 81 (OT): The Bucanneers scored 19(!) in the extra period to wind up cruising to a win and taking control of the SoCon, up 1/2 game with two to play.
 
Seton Hall 71, Xavier 64: A gigantic win for Seton hall who has picked up three quality wins in their last five games.  If they can win their next two (at Depaul, vs Georgetown), they'll clinch a .500 conference with OOC wins over Cal and South Carolina.
 
Oklahoma State 80, Kansas State 68: That's seven losses in nine game for K-State, who falls to 6-9 in conference.  Meanwhile, the Cowboys have won 9 of 10 and are firmly back in the field with three to play.
 
Nevada 85, Boise State 77: Big win by the Wolfpack sets up a regular-season finale against Colorado State that should be for the MWC title if both teams win out until then.
 
 

Tipping Off Tonight

USC at Arizona: The Trojans went 0-2 against Oregon and UCLA in their last two.  Now, they have to go on the road to play the one team favored above both of them for the Pac-12 title.

Scoreboard Watching: February 22, 2017

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

In The Books

Virginia tech 71, Clemson 70: One-point or not, that's 11 ACC losses for the Tigers and should be the end of their bubble hopes barring a deep, deep run in the ACC Tournament.
 
Iowa 96, Indiana 90 (OT): Seven losses in eight games for the Hoosiers should eliminate them from the bubble conversation as well.
 
Illinois 66, Northwestern 50: Say it ain't so!  The Wildcats have dropped five of seven and have slipped into the bubble conversation themselves.  With a road trip to IU followed by home contests against Michigan and Purdue left, it could be a rough ride to the finish in their chase for their first ever conference bid.
 
Florida 81, South Carolina 66: That's nine in a row for the Gators, seven of which have come by double-digit margins, as they head to Lexington for a showdown on Saturday.  The winner of that one is your likely SEC regular-season champs.
 
Purdue 74, Penn State 70 (OT): Scarier than Matt Painter would have liked, as his first place Boilermakers escape State College with the overtime win.

Tipping Off Tonight

Louisville at North Carolina: The showdown we've been waiting for in the ACC.  UNC still holds a gone game advantage on Louisville and Duke in the ACC, but a loss here could throw everything up for grabs.  The winner likely becomes the fourth 1-seed in tomorrow's Bracketology 2017.
 
Oklahoma State at Kansas State: All the sudden it's the Cowboys who are comfortable while K-State is struggling and very much on the bubble.  Bruce Weber's team needs - at worst - a 2-2 finish in their remaining games, very doable given their schedule to have a shot going into the Big 12 tourney.
 
Duke at Syracuse: After looking like a sure thing two weeks ago, Syracuse has turned into the team of bubble debate as of late.  They're still 8-7 in ACC play, but just 16-12 overall.  They need to at least split this week's two tough games, first at home against red-hot Duke before going to Louisville on Sunday.
 
Oregon at California: Cal's status got a little more bubbly after losing at Stanford on Friday.  They would quickly right that wrong with a signature win at home in this one.  Meanwhile, Oregon looks to stay in the hunt for a 1-seed.
 
Minnesota at Maryland: The Gophers are coming off a big win over a hot Michigan team in overtime, while Maryland must regroup after their conference title chances slipped away in the second half in Maidson on Sunday.
 
Butler at Villanova: A 'Nova win would clinch the regular season title with two to play.  Butler, of course, won the first meeting at Hinkle back on January 4.
 
TCU at Kansas: The Horned Frogs are 6-8 in conference with games against KU and West Virginia.  Stealing one of those would go a long way, but winning in the Phog seems like a big reach.  At home against the Mountaineers on Saturday?  More likely.
 
Providence at Creighton: Providence has played themselves back from the dead with wins over Butler and Xavier in their last two.  They're best road win on the year is at Marquette - eh - which would make this one a big time resume booster and possibly get them onto the right side of the bubble with more Bracketologists.
 
Boise State at Nevada: Two of the tree teams tied for first in the Mountain West square off in a possible MWC Tournament Final preview.
 
Furman at East Tennessee State: First place in the SoCon is up for grabs.  Furman is coming off a loss to UNC Greensboro, while ETSU just dominated fellow-top-runner Chattanooga on the road to set up this showdown.

Scoreboard Watching: February 21, 2017

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

In The Books

 
Miami 54, Virginia 46 (OT): UVA only posted three points in the extra period - a quick way to make sure they dropped their fourth straight and sixth of eight.  Meanwhile, the win is Miami's fifth in six games and 9th in ACC play - a mark that will be hard to leave them out of the tourney with.
 
Iowa State 82, Texas Tech 80 (OT): Texas Tech hit the game winning three that could very well have saved their season - one second after the final buzzer blew.  They botched the final possession and fumbled away their chance.  That's their 10th Big 12 loss along with a terrible non-conference schedule, which likely means their bubble has burst.
 
UT Arlington 81, Georgia Southern 71: Big road win for the Mavericks who now stand one game clear of the field in the Sun Belt.

Tipping Off Tonight

Clemson at Virginia Tech: Some people are still convinced that Clemson (4-10 in ACC play) is still alive.  They'll need to win out to have any chance.  Va Tech looks to end that hope and sure up their changes.
 
Indiana at Iowa: The Hoosiers share a similiar story to Clemson.  They're all but out, but could at least get into the conversation if they can win at least 3-4 and get to a minimum of 8-10 in conference.
 
Northwestern at Illinois: A win for the Wildcats would be their 10th in Big Ten play and would basically lock them in for their first NCAA Tournament bid.  It may not come easy though, the Illini knocked them off in Evanston just two weeks ago.
 
South Carolina at Florida: Two teams headed in opposite directions.  USC has had some head-scratching losses, while Florida has been red-hot and are actually in position to win the SEC regular seaso
 

Bracketology 2017: February 20

True Seed List 

1: Villanova, Kansas, Gonzaga, North Carolina
2: Louisville, Baylor, Oregon, Arizona
3: UCLA, Duke, Florida, Kentucky
4: Florida St., West Virginia, Purdue, Wisconsin
5: Virginia, Butler, Notre Dame, Maryland
6: Cincinnati, SMU, Creighton, Northwestern
7: Iowa St., Saint Mary's, Minnesota, Dayton
8: VCU, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma St., South Carolina
9: Xavier, USC, Miami FL, Michigan
10: Arkansas, Michigan St., Georgia Tech, California
11: Marquette, Wichita St., Illinois St., Providence, Kansas St., Seton Hall
12: UNC Wilmington, Middle Tennessee, Akron, Nevada
13: UT Arlington, Vermont, Monmouth, Valparaiso
14: Belmont, Princeton, UNC Asheville, Bucknell.
15: Florida Gulf Coast, Furman, Cal St. Bakersfield, North Dakota St.
16: North Carolina Central, New Orleans, Texas Southern, Mount St. Mary's, North Dakota, UC Irvine

OUT THIS BRACKET: Syracuse, TCU, Weber State, UC Davis

IN THIS BRACKET: Marquette, Kansas State, North Dakota, UC Irvine

On the bubble: The bubble has begun to shrink as of late, with a smaller group of teams remaining in debate as teams either win to sure up their status or loss to eliminate themselves.  In the end, I took, Arkansas, Michigan State, Georgia Tech , Providence, Illinois St., Kansas State and Seton Hall over Syracuse, TCU, Wake Forest, Texas Tech and Tennessee.  I do not think anyone outside of that list should get consideration at this stage.

The battle for the fourth 1-seed is very much up for grabs with Baylor's two-loss week.  In the end I took the ACC leaders - North Carolina - over Louisville, Oregon, Baylor or Arizona.  This blind resume test shows just how close it is:

The current bracket would have Richard Patino's Minnesota team in the same Indianapolis pod as Rick Patino's Louisville.  Turner/CBS would have a field day with that, obviously. 

The ACC sits at 10 bids - which seems like a possible number for them to achieve at this point.  Marquette playing their way back in gives the Big Easy 7 bids, while the Big 12 and Big Ten each have 6.

Florida State falls to a 4-seed after losing back-to-back road games.  The big deal here is that a top-4 seed likely puts them in Orlando on opening weekend.  Anything below that and it's luck of the draw.

Next Bracket: Thursday, February 23

 


Scoreboard Watching: February 20, 2017

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching

In The Books

Friday
Stanford 73, California 68: Big upset in the Bay as Cal falls to 9-5 in Pac-12 play.  The Bears should still be okay, but can't afford to slip up too much more after Wednesday's home tilt with Oregon.
 
Princeton 71, Yale 52: The Tigers controlled the game throughout in what was billed as their toughest test in Ivy League play. They're two games clear of Harvard in the final four.
 
Oakland 82, Valparaiso 52: The Grizz sweep the Horizon League leaders and sit only one game back with a more favorable schedule than the Crusaders.
 
Kent State 70, Akron 67: The Zips first home loss in nearly two years basically guarantees that they won't be seeded above a 12-seed and will nee to win the MAC to make the cut.
 
Saturday
Kansas 67, Baylor 65: Just like that KU is up three games in the Big 12 with four to play.  If they can run away with the nation's strongest conference (per KenPom) and take the tournament, the door is open for the KU to take the #1-overall seed in the tournament.
 
North Carolina 65, Virginia 41: The Tar Heels gave Virginia taste of their on medicine, dominating the slow-paced match-up (the 61 possessions was UNC's 2nd lowest this season) and maintaining their one game lead in the ACC.
 
Miami 71, Clemson 65: The Hurricanes have won four of five games and are 8-6 in conference.  It's a tough home stretch though, as Virginia, Duke, Va Tech and Florida State make up their final four - with Duke being the only home game remaining.
 
Villanova 92, Seton Hall 70: Seton Hall falls to 6-8 in Big East play.  I find it hard to think they'll make the tournament if they're below .500 in conference, which would require wins against DePaul and Georgetown and a split of Xavier and Butler.
 
Duke 99, Wake Forest 94: An offensive shootout as the teams combine for 1.42 PPP.  That's bad news for a Wake team that falls to 6-9 in conference.  Wake is now 0-7 vs RPI Top 25 teams and will need to win out to reach .500 in conference.  They're alive, but it's a long shot.  Meanwhile, don't count the Blue Devils out of the 2-seed conversation.
 
Louisville 94, Virginia Tech 90: An iffy intentional foul call in the game's final moments did the Hokies in.  The statement of the afternoon though came on the sideline, when Buzz Williams switched to a VT T-shirt after sweating through his dress shirt in the first half.
 
West Virginia 83, Texas Tech 74 (2 OT): A thrilling rally by Tech pushed the game into OT, but the Red Raiders only managed 10 points the rest of the way, eventually faltering in the second extra period.  They'll likely need to finish 4-0 to be in the tournament discussion.
 
SMU 76, Houston 66: The Cougars stormed out to a 13 point lead early, but got into foul trouble and got beat up on the boards as SMU eventually took control.  They'll likely need to win out - which would include a win over Cincinnati - to be in serious contention.
 
Marquette 83, Xavier 61: The Eagles claw back to .500 in conference, only their second win since beating Villanova on January 24.  They'd be pretty save with a 3-1 finish the rest of the way.  The loss is Xaiver's third straight.
 
Kentucky 82, Georgia 77: That may who been Georgia's last chance at an at-large spot, especially after losing Yante Maten to what's being reported as a "serious knee injury" before the first media timeout.
 
Vanderbilt 71, South Carolina 62:  Three losses in four game for South Carolina, all against teams that are either out (Bama, Vandy) or on the bubble (Arkansas0.  Are they hitting the same skid they hit in December?
 
Iowa State 84, TCU 71:  The Horned Frogs fall to 6-8 in conference with Kansas and WVU coming up.  They'll need to at least split those to have any chance at an at-large bid.
 
Pitt 80, Florida State 66: The Seminoles road woes continue - especially at the free throw line where they shot 9-15 in the loss - a common thread in their road losses.  A lot of eyes will be on them in Brooklyn to see if they can figure out how to win outside of Tallahassee when it counts.
 
UCLA 102, USC 70: The Bruins easily avenge their earlier loss to their cross-town rivals.
 
Nebraska 58, Ohio State 57: The loss eliminates the Buckeyes from at-large conversation.
 
Purdue 80, Michigan State 63: A bad as the loss was, the loss of Eron Harris to a season-ended knee injury leaves Tom Izzo with an uphill battle to keep their 19-year tournament streak alive.
 
East Tennessee State 65, Chattanooga 51: The Buccaneers stay within a game of Furman, who they host on Wednesday.
 
Sunday
Wisconsin 71, Maryland 60: The Badgers put a stop to their two game skid to remain tied with Purdue atop the Big Ten standings.
 
Creighton 87, Georgetown 70: A quality win for the Jays that ends the slim hope the Hoyas had for a bubble bid.
 
Georgia Tech 71, Syracuse 65: Tech needed this to stay in good position to finish the regular season .500 in ACC play, a mark that I think will get them in the tournament.  Meanwhile, Syracuse has lost three in a row and would likely be out if the field was selected today - and they have red-hot Duke and Louisville in their next two.
 
Minnesota 83, Michigan 78 (OT): Not enough can be said for how Derrick Walton is willing this Wolverines' team to the tournament.  They came up short here, despite closing regulation on a 12-4 run to force the extra period.  Minnesota is in good shape to make the cut again with their fifth straight win.  Penn State and Nebraska remain, so 10 conference wins definitely seems doable.
 

Tipping Off Tonight

 
Iowa State at Texas Tech: It's desperation time in Lubbock.  After coming up short, the Raiders likely need to in out and reach. 500 in conference play to make the Tournament.
 
Miami at Virginia: The Cavaliers are coming off a lopsided loss at UNC and sit at 8-6 in the ACC, 1.5 games out of 4th place and the bye to the Quarters in the conference tournament.  Miami is comfortable for the moment at 8-6 as well, but have Duke and Florida State left on their schedule.
 
UT Arlington at Georgia Southern: Big game in the Sun Belt as both teams look to be the first to reach 11 wins in conference.