Sunday, March 12, 2017

Printable Bracket

Print your bracket here, courtesy of Deuce2Sports!


The field is set, well, in this bracketologist's mind. There will be some angst for a few teams, but due to the limited number of bid stealers (Rhode Island maybe being the only one), teams were able to play their way into the tournament with some big, neutral-site conference victories. 

Here's our final bracket for 2017 as we hope for 68/68 perfection!

LAST FOUR IN: South Carolina, Kansas State, USC, Wake Forest
FIRST FOUR OUT: Illinois State, Syracuse, California, Iowa
NEXT FOUR OUT: Georgia, TCU, Illinois, Indiana

Penultimate Bracketology - 3.12.17 (AM)

The NCAA Tournament has never had a No. 1 seed with 8+ losses. Duke has a great case to be the first. That is just one story from a super Saturday of basketball. Our count of automatic bids is now at 26 with just six more to go on Sunday (We're waiting on you, AAC, A-10, Big Ten, Ivy League, SEC, and Sun Belt).

NO. 1 SEEDS: It took one day for me to regret my "The No. 1 seeds aren't changing" comment. The more you compare resumes, the more you could make a case for UNC and Duke as No. 1 seeds. Gonzaga did everything you'd want a powerful mid-major team to do (besides going 33-0). It has great nonconference wins with three neutral site wins in three tries against Arizona, Florida and Iowa State. If Gonzaga doesn't get a top seed it'll be a travesty. So, that leaves the last No. 1 seed (South) up for grabs between Duke, UNC, and Arizona. My money's on the ACC Tournament Champion Blue Devils (which will evoke plenty of emotions from fans everywhere). 
LAST FOUR IN: USC, Wake Forest, Kansas State, Rhode Island
Illinois State, Syracuse, California, Iowa

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Bracketology - 3.11.17

What a Friday of hoops!

MICHIGAN: The hottest team in the Big Ten, despite a Wednesday plane crash and an opening round game being played in practice uniforms, dispatched of Purdue in OT to advance to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals. In the 74-70 OT win, Michigan never looked like the underdog and countered every Boilermaker punch. All the metrics, believe it or not, have the eighth-seeded Wolverines as the Big Ten Tournament favorites right now. 

VILLANOVA: The Wildcats didn't win convincingly, but they won nonetheless, likely securing the No. 1 overall seed. In the 55-53 win vs. Seton Hall, Villanova showed, in contrast to its 100+ point quarterfinal performance, that it can still win games in the 50s.

VANDERBILT: Welcome the 15-loss at-large team to the NCAA Tournament field. Vanderbilt won its third game against Florida this season to advance to the SEC semifinals Friday night. Vandy's schedule plus big wins means the Commodores will be dancing even with a loss on Saturday. Currently at 19-14, Vandy's notable losses this season have come against the following teams: Marquette (proj. 10 seed), Butler (proj. 4 seed), Minnesota (proj. 5 seed), Middle Tennessee State (proj. 11 seed), Dayton (proj. 8 seed), Kentucky x2 (proj. 2 seed), and Arkansas (proj. 10 seed). That leaves six non-tournament losses, but only a loss to dreadful Missouri is on the resume. All other losses are quality, meaning Vanderbilt is a quality team and an 11 seed that many potential No. 6 seeds will dread seeing.

LAST FOUR IN: USC, Wake Forest, Kansas State, Illinois State
Rhode Island, Syracuse, California, Iowa

Friday, March 10, 2017

Bracketology 3.10.17

It wasn't a wild Thursday, but eventful enough.

INDIANA: Indiana, the only team to likely beat two No. 1 seeds (Kansas and UNC) earlier this year, kept its at-large hopes alive by beating Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament second round. Indiana has to beat Wisconsin to keep those hopes alive. Even then, when some people will say it's a "lock" the Hoosiers would be dancing, that's far from true. Indiana had a putrid stretch and likely needs to beat both Wisconsin and the Maryland/Northwestern winner to have a legitimate shot. Indiana might need to win the Big Ten Tournament, too.

XAVIER: The one team that helped itself the most was Chris Mack's X-men. While Xavier was always in my field, it was sweat-inducing close to the cutline due to a rough closing month. A win against Butler was big as the team will be evaluated as a whole but also on how it can play right now. Xavier is in for sure, folks.

LAST FOUR BYES: Xavier, Providence, Marquette, Vanderbilt
LAST FOUR IN: USC, Illinois State, Wake Forest, Kansas State
FIRST FOUR OUT: Syracuse, Rhode Island, C
alifornia, Iowa
NEXT FOUR OUT: Indiana, TCU, Illinois, Georgia
TCU: As mentioned Wednesday night, the Horned Frogs snapped a seven-game losing streak by beating Oklahoma in the Big XII first round. The quarterfinal win over Kansas was huge for many reasons. No, it doesn't put TCU in the dance (they're our sixth team out right now), but it keeps hopes alive and gives TCU another shot at a marquee win vs. Iowa State. TCU still might need to win the Big XII Tournament due to a 19-14 record and some bad losses, but at least Jamie Dixon's club is trying to play its way in, unlike some teams (talking to you, Syracuse).

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Bracketology - 3.9.17

Welcome back to the dance, Bucknell. The Bison punched their ticket to the Field of 68 by beating Lehigh in the Patriot League title game Wednesday. Bucknell is dancing for the first time since 2013 and is now looking for its first NCAA Tournament victory since 2006. 

LAST FOUR BYES: Providence, Marquette, USC, Xavier
LAST FOUR IN: Illinois State, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Syracuse
FIRST FOUR OUT: Rhode Island, Iowa, C
alifornia, Kansas State
NEXT FOUR OUT: Illinois, Indiana, Georgia, TCU
CLEMSON: See ya, Clemson. Duke, despite getting zero points from Grayson Allen, put the proverbial nail in Clemson's NCAA Tournament coffin. A team can't go 6-12 in ACC play, lose in the ACC Tournament second round, finish the year 17-15, and even hope the selection committee calls its name. Period.

TCU: The Horned Frogs snapped a seven-game losing streak by beating Oklahoma in the Big XII first round. In improving to 18-14, TCU needs, at the very least, to beat Kansas in the quarterfinals to think about dancing. More than likely, a trip to the finals (which would require a win over Oklahoma State or Iowa State as well) is necessary to get on the right side of the bubble. TCU just has too many losses at this point.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Bracketology - 3.8.17

Clean off your dancing shoes, Mount Saint Mary's, Northern Kentucky and South Dakota State. Welcome back, Gonzaga.

Outside of yesterday's four automatic bids, the only game of note was really the ACC 1st Round game between Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech. Despite a RPI near 90, Georgia Tech's big wins were still keeping the Yellow Jackets in the bubble discussion. However, losing a nailbiter to Pitt sealed the deal and Georgia Tech has no hope of a NCAA Tournament bid. 

FINAL NO. 1 SEED: It's Gonzaga's. Plain and simple, Gonzaga will be a No. 1 seed out west. Don't let anyone tell you UCLA can steal it by winning the Pac-12 Tournament or that other Westerners like Oregon and Arizona have a shot. Gonzaga locked it up with its 32-1 record and pair of WCC titles this season. Oh, and Gonzaga beat Arizona, Florida, et. al outside of conference. 

LAST FOUR IN: Syracuse, Illinois State, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest
FIRST FOUR OUT: Iowa, Rhode Island, C
alifornia, Kansas State
NEXT FOUR OUT: Illinois, Indiana, Georgia, Houston

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Bracketology - 3.7.17

Welcome to the big stage, Iona, UNC-Wilmington, and East Tennessee State.

Not much bracket movement sans a few one-big leagues shuffling their AQ bids due to tournament upsets.

LAST FOUR IN: Syracuse, Illinois State, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest
FIRST FOUR OUT: Iowa, Rhode Island, C
alifornia, Kansas State
NEXT FOUR OUT: Illinois, Indiana, Georgia, Houston

Monday, March 6, 2017

Bracketology - 3.6.17

Not too much moving and shaking across the bubble on Sunday. At this point, there won't be any bid stealers from mid-major leagues, so it'll be up for bubblicious major conference teams (I'm talking about you, Illinois, Indiana, California, Georgia Tech, etc.) to win their conference tournaments to really move the bubble cutline.

LAST FOUR IN: USC, Syracuse, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt
FIRST FOUR OUT: Iowa, Rhode Island, C
alifornia, Kansas State
NEXT FOUR OUT: Illinois, Indiana, Georgia, Houston
INTRIGUE OF CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK: The most intriguing things about this week will be to see how conference tournament performance affects the seeding of the 2-5 seeds (and Gonzaga, of course). In reality, there are three clear-cut No. 1 seeds, then about no joke, eight teams that can make a claim for the last No. 1 and all No. 2 seeds. Leader-in-the-clubhouse Gonzaga has the final No. 1 seed if it wins out, but all three Pac-12 teams (Oregon, UCLA, Arizona), Kentucky, Louisville, Baylor, Florida and Duke, can move to the No. 2 line. Most, but all, could legitimately claim the final No. 1 seed as well.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Bracketology - 3.5.17

CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT THOUGHTS: Never thought I'd say this, but typical one-bid leagues need to reformat their conference tournaments, possibly eliminating the auto-bid attachment all together.

Case Study No. 1: The Horizon League.

Oakland, the No. 1 seed and co-conference champion, lost on a last-second layup to No. 9 seeded Youngstown State on Saturday. That, naturally, was followed up by No. 10 seed Milwaukee stunning No. 2 seeded Valpo.

A league that once had two teams that truly had the ability to take down a big boy in the NCAA Tournament is now looking at the likes of Green Bay and Northern Kentucky to carry the league's banner. It's a disaster.

In years past, Princeton, the Ivy league, would have wrapped up the league's auto-bid weeks ago. That's because prior to this season, the Ivy League did not hold a postseason tournament connected with the auto-bid. That has now changed, and it can really only hurt Princeton.

The Tigers went 14-0 in conference this year, but if Princeton doesn't win - which means beating No. 4 seeded Penn and the winner of Harvard/Yale - the best Ivy League team in a decade won't go dancing.

Anyway, here's the updated bracket (thru Saturday night's games):

LAST FOUR IN: Syracuse, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, USC
FIRST FOUR OUT: Iowa, California, Rhode Island, Illinois

NEXT FOUR OUT: Indiana, Georgia, Kansas State, Houston

Friday, March 3, 2017

Bracketology - 3.3.17

Off, Wisconsin?

The Badgers are in a mighty free fall. Losers of five of six, including last night's heartbreaker against Iowa, Wisconsin has descended down the seed list in the past few weeks from a solid 4/5 seed to a No. 7.

Yes, the Badgers could play their way back up to maybe a No 5 with a Big Ten Tournament title, but without many great wins and some questionable losses down the stretch, this is looking like a team that could, worst-case scenario, find itself in the 8/9 game on Selection Sunday.

LAST FOUR IN: Syracuse, Illinois, Wake Forest, USC
FIRST FOUR OUT: Vanderbilt, California, Kansas State, Rhode Island
NEXT FOUR OUT: Indiana, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Houston

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Bracketology - 3.2.17

Winning is really the perfect formula, folks. Wednesday saw plenty of bubble teams pick up huge victories. Northwestern used a last-second Hail Mary of sorts to beat Michigan; Wake Forest finally slayed a ranked opponent by beating Louisville; Illinois continued to stay red hot by beating Michigan State (and is a win at Rutgers away from getting to .500 in the Big Ten); Marquette, Rhode Island, and Kansas State also picked up big wins.

At this point, it'll come down to closing the regular season and some big-time conference tournament results to settle the bubble line, but at least teams are trying to play themselves in, right?

Here's our bracket through Wednesday night's games.

LAST FOUR IN: Seton Hall, Syracuse, Illinois, Wake Forest
FIRST FOUR OUT: Vanderbilt, Kansas State, USC, Rhode Island
NEXT FOUR OUT: TCU, Indiana, Georgia, Georgia Tech