BRACKETOLOGY: Thursday March 9, 2017 (Welcome Mount St Mary’s, Northern Kentucky, Gonzaga, South Dakota St, Bucknell)

Last Four In: Iowa, Vanderbilt, Marquette, Rhode Island

Last Four Out: Illinois St, USC, Illinois, Kansas St

This bracket is good for games through 3/8

EAST

1.Villanova16.North Carolina Central/Jacksonville St(OVC) Buffalo

8.Arkansas9.Northwestern

5.Purdue12.UNC-Wilmington(CAA) Greenville Milwaukee

4.Notre Dame13.Princeton

6.Dayton11.Wake Forest Salt Lake City

3.Arizona14.East Tennessee St(SoCon)

7.Maryland10.VCU Tulsa

2.Baylor15.Northern Kentucky(Horizon)

SOUTH

1.North Carolina16.North Dakota Greenville

8.Creighton9.Middle Tennessee St

5.Florida12.Nevada Milwaukee

4.Butler13.Akron

6.Minnesota11.Syracuse Buffalo

3.West Virginia14.Florida Gulf Coast(ASun)

7.Saint Mary’s10.Providence Sacramento

2.UCLA15.UC-Irvine

WEST

1.Gonzaga(WCC)16.South Dakota St(Summit)  Sacramento

8.Miami(Fl)9.Michigan

5.Cincinnati12.Marquette/Vanderbilt Orlando

4.Duke13.Winthrop(BSouth)

6.Iowa St11.Xavier Orlando

3.Florida St14.Bucknell(Patriot)

7.Virginia Tech10.Seton Hall Salt Lake City

2.Oregon15.Texas Southern

MIDWEST

1.Kansas16.Mount St Mary’(NEC)s/New Orleans Tulsa

8.Wisconsin9.South Carolina

5.Virginia12.UT-Arlington Greenville

4.SMU13.Vermont

6.Wichita St(MVC)11.Rhode Island /Iowa Indianapolis

3.Louisville14.Cal State Bakersfield

7.Oklahoma St10.Michigan St Indianapolis

2.Kentucky15.Iona(MAAC)

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BRACKETOLOGY: Monday March 6, 2017 (Welcome Winthrop, Florida Gulf Coast, Wichita St, UNC-Wilmington, East Tennessee St, Iona)

Last Four In: Iowa, Vanderbilt, Marquette, Rhode Island

Last Four Out: Illinois St, USC, Illinois, Kansas St

EAST

1.Villanova16.North Carolina Central/Jacksonville St(OVC) Buffalo

8.Arkansas9.Northwestern

5.Purdue12.UNC-Wilmington(CAA) Greenville Milwaukee

4.Notre Dame13.Princeton

6.Dayton11.Wake Forest Salt Lake City

3.Arizona14.East Tennessee St(SoCon)

7.Maryland10.VCU Tulsa

2.Baylor15.Northern Kentucky

SOUTH

1.North Carolina16.North Dakota Greenville

8.Creighton9.Middle Tennessee St

5.Florida12.Nevada Milwaukee

4.Butler13.Akron

6.St. Mary’s11.Syracuse Buffalo

3.West Virginia14.Florida Gulf Coast(ASun)

7.Minnesota10.Providence Sacramento

2.UCLA15.UC-Irvine

WEST

1.Oregon16.Nebraska-Omaha Sacramento

8.Miami(Fl)9.Michigan

5.Cincinnati12.Marquette/Vanderbilt Orlando

4.Duke13.Winthrop(BSouth)

6.Iowa St11.Xavier Orlando

3.Florida St14.Bucknell

7.Virginia Tech10.Seton Hall Salt Lake City

2.Gonzaga15.Texas Southern

MIDWEST

1.Kansas16.Mount St Mary’s/New Orleans Tulsa

8.Wisconsin9.South Carolina

5.Virginia12.UT-Arlington Greenville

4.SMU13.Vermont

6.Wichita St(MVC)11.Rhode Island /Iowa Indianapolis

3.Louisville14.Cal State Bakersfield

7.Oklahoma St10.Michigan St Indianapolis

2.Kentucky15.Iona(MAAC)

BRACKETOLOGY Sunday March 5, 2017 (Welcome Jacksonville St)

Last Four In: Vanderbilt, Marquette, Rhode Island, Xavier

Last Four Out: USC, Iowa, Kansas St, Illinois

This bracket is good for games through 3/4

EAST

1.Villanova16.Mount St Mary’s/New Orleans Buffalo

8.Arkansas9.Wisconsin

5.Purdue12.Rhode Island/Marquette Greenville

4.Duke13.Monmouth

6.St. Mary’s11.Syracuse Buffalo

3.West Virginia14.Winthrop

7.Wichita St10.Seton Hall Sacramento

2.UCLA15.CSU Bakersfield

SOUTH

1.North Carolina16.Wisconsn-Green Bay Greenville

8.Northwestern9.Middle Tennessee St

5.Florida12.UNC-Wilmington Orlando

4.SMU13.Akron

6.Dayton11.Wake Forest Salt Lake City

3.Arizona14.Bucknell

7.Virginia Tech10.Providence Tulsa

2.Baylor15.South Dakota

MIDWEST

1.Kansas16.North Carolina Central/Jacksonville St(OVC) Tulsa

8.Creighton9.South Carolina

5.Cincinnati12.Nevada Milwaukee

4.Notre Dame13.Princeton

6.Minnesota11.Illinois St Indianapolis

3.Louisville14.Florida Gulf Coast

7.Oklahoma St10.Michigan St Indianapolis

2.Kentucky15.UC-Irvine

WEST

1.Oregon16.North Dakota Sacramento

8.Miami(Fl)9.Michigan

5.Virginia12.UT-Arlington Milwaukee

4.Butler13.Vermont

6.Iowa St11.Xavier/Vanderbilt Orlando

3.Florida St14.UNC-Greensboro

7.Maryland10.VCU Salt Lake City

2.Gonzaga15.Texas Southern

BRACKETOLOGY: Saturday March 4, 2017

These will be coming daily.

Last Four In: Syracuse, Illinois, Wake Forest, Rhode Island

Last Four Out: Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Marquette

This bracket is good for games through 3/3

EAST

1.Villanova16.UC Davis/Mount St Mary’s Buffalo

8.South Carolina9.Wisconsin

5.Iowa St12.Wake Forest/Illinois Orlando

4.Florida13.Monmouth

6.St. Mary’s11.USC Buffalo

3.Duke14.Winthrop

7.Oklahoma St10.Providence Sacramento

2.UCLA15.CSU Bakersfield

SOUTH

1.North Carolina16.Tennessee-Martin Greenville

8.Maryland9.Middle Tennessee St

5.Florida St12.UNC-Wilmington Orlando

4.SMU13.Akron

6.Virginia Tech11.Iowa Salt Lake City

3.Arizona14.Bucknell

7.Creighton10.VCU Tulsa

2.Baylor15.Oakland

MIDWEST

1.Kansas16.North Carolina Central/New Orleans Tulsa

8.Northwestern9.Arkansas

5.Cincinnati12.Nevada Milwaukee

4.Notre Dame13.Princeton

6.Minnesota11.Texas-Arlington Milwaukee

3.Butler14.Florida Gulf Coast

7.Wichita St10.Michigan St Indianapolis

2.Kentucky15.South Dakota

WEST

1.Oregon16.North Dakota Sacramento

8.Dayton9.Michigan

5.Purdue12.Rhode Island/Syracuse Indianapolis

4.West Virginia13.Vermont

6.Virginia11.Illinois St Greenville

3.Louisville14.UNC-Greensboro

7.Miami(Fl)10.Seton Hall Salt Lake City

2.Gonzaga15.Texas Southern

Westwood Rising

 

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(Photo: Casey Sapio, USA TODAY)

 

 

All year long, Steve Alford has been brewing something in Los Angeles. The embattled coach has had a superb bounce back season for UCLA. That was no more evident then on Saturday night as the Bruins took down the Arizona Wildcats in Tucson.

UCLA’s resurgence can be attributed to freshman sensation Lonzo Ball. The sure-fire lottery pick has proven himself to be the best pure point guard in a draft class filled with talented point guards. He leads one of the most explosive teams in the country.

UCLA isn’t always dialed in defensively because they’re so adept on the other end. The Bruins will certainly need to defend better in March, but if they don’t it won’t stop them from being one of the toughest outs in the Big Dance.

Let’s do some conference tournament previews.

ATLANTIC SUN: Florida Gulf Coast, once again, proved to be the class of the Atlantic Sun as it won another regular season title. With many of its primary challengers defecting from the conference recently, the Eagles have enjoyed life at the top. Despite that, they’ll have a difficult time winning the automatic bid here. Lipscomb watched crosstown rival Belmont dominate this league before it left and is ready to step up to primetime. The Bisons have already beaten the Eagles on their home court and that’s why they’ll win the automatic bid.

BIG SOUTH: Winthrop and UNC-Asheville tied for the regular season title at 15-3 with Liberty right on their heels at 14-4. Those three have separated themselves from the pack and look primed to take the bid. UNC-Asheville has the most experience here and thus the Bulldogs are the team no one wants to see in this tournament. Too bad. The Bulldogs will be the team that wins it.

OHIO VALLEY: This one is simple. If Belmont doesn’t breeze through the conference tournament it will be one of the more shocking results in any conference tournament. The Bruins finished five games ahead of their next closest competition and look like a team that can pull off an upset in the Big Dance.

NORTHEAST: Mount St. Mary’s looked to be clear favorites in the NEC until last week when LIU beat the Mountaineers on their home court. It’s going to be a slugfest for the Mountaineers as 7 of the 8 teams that qualified for the conference tournament finished at .500 or above. This will be competitive, but the regency of the the loss to LIU will work in their favor and they’ll return to the dance for the first time since 2014.

AMERICA EAST: The Vermont Catamounts went 16-0 in conference play and are as heavy favorites as Belmont is in the OVC. This tournament will be played on the home court of the higher seeded team. That means teams will have to travel to Vermont to attempt to do something none of them have been able to do all season – beat the Catamounts. That won’t happen. Vermont goes dancing.

On to the bracket.

Last Four In: Syracuse, Illinois, Georgia Tech, Rhode Island

Last Four Out: Marquette, California, Wake Forest, Houston

This bracket is good for games through 2/26

EAST

1.Villanova16.UC Davis/Mount St Mary’s Buffalo

8.Michigan9.Dayton

5.Purdue12.Nevada Orlando

4.Florida St13.Monmouth

6.Oklahoma St11.USC Buffalo

3.West Virginia14.East Tennessee St

7.Virginia Tech10.Providence Sacramento

2.UCLA15.CSU Bakersfield

SOUTH

1.North Carolina16.South Dakota Greenville

8.South Carolina9.Michigan St

5.Florida12.Georgia Tech/Illinois Orlando

4.SMU13.Akron

6.St. Mary’s11.Vanderbilt Salt Lake City

3.Arizona14.Bucknell

7.Wisconsin10.Middle Tennessee St Indianapolis

2.Kentucky15.Oakland

MIDWEST

1.Kansas16.North Carolina Central/New Orleans Tulsa

8.VCU9.Arkansas

5.Cincinnati12.Texas-Arlington Milwaukee

4.Notre Dame13.Princeton

6.Minnesota11.Rhode Island/Syracuse Tulsa

3.Baylor14.Florida Gulf Coast

7.Wichita St10.Northwestern Indianapolis

2.Louisville15.Winthrop

WEST

1.Oregon16.North Dakota Sacramento

8.Creighton9.Maryland

5.Iowa St12.UNC-Wilmington Greenville

4.Duke13.Vermont

6.Miami(Fl)11.Illinois St Milwaukee

3.Butler14.Belmont

7.Virginia10.Seton Hall Salt Lake City

2.Gonzaga15.Texas Southern

Weekend Bracket for 2/25-26

Last Four In: Kansas St, Marquette, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech

Last Four Out: California, Illinois St, TCU, Alabama

This bracket is good for games through 2/24

EAST

1.Villanova16.UC Davis/Mount St Mary’s Buffalo

8.Virginia9.Michigan

5.Florida St12.Texas-Arlington Buffalo

4.West Virginia13.Monmouth

6.Minnesota11.Georgia Tech/Kansas St Orlando

3.Florida14.Winthrop

7.Saint Mary’s10.Northwestern Indianapolis

2.Louisville15.Florida Gulf Coast

MIDWEST

1.Kansas16.North Carolina Central/New Orleans Tulsa

8.South Carolina9.Michigan St

5.Notre Dame12.UNC-Wilmington Milwaukee

4.Purdue13.Akron

6.Miami(Fl)11.Xavier Orlando

3.Kentucky14.Princeton

7.Creighton10.Syracuse Salt Lake City

2.Arizona15.CSU Bakersfield

WEST

1.Gonzaga16.North Dakota St Sacramento

8.Wichita St9.Arkansas

5.SMU12.Vanderbilt/Marquette Greenville

4.Duke13.Bucknell

6.Wisconsin11.Middle Tennessee St Indianapolis

3.Butler14.Valparaiso

7.VCU10.Providence Sacramento

2.Oregon15.East Tennessee St

SOUTH

1.North Carolina16.North Dakota Greenville

8.Maryland9.Dayton

5.Iowa St12.Nevada Milwaukee

4.Cincinnati13.Vermont

6.Oklahoma St11.Seton Hall Salt Lake City

3.UCLA14.Belmont

7.Virginia Tech10.USC Tulsa

2.Baylor15.Texas Southern

Fear the North

 

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North Dakota’s Quinton Hooker (Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald)

In the first time since both universities have been Division I participants, both North Dakota and North Dakota St have legitimate shots to  go dancing.

At the publishing of this post, North Dakota is  in first place by a half-game in the Big Sky while North Dakota St is tied for first in the Summit with South Dakota.

This would be quite the feat for the two universities and would give the state bragging rights over the Dakota to the South. Both schools will most likely be 15/16 seeds, but that doesn’t take away of how historic this will be for the state. Besides, the world needs to see North Dakota’s Quinton Hooker in the Big Dance.

Stock Up: Wichita St. As you will see below the Shockers are an No. 8 seed without an at-large resume. That’s because I believe what my eyes tell me when I watch them play. This is a tournament team. They are destroying the Missouri Valley. In 13 of their 15 conference wins, the margin has been double digits. In fact they beat Illinois St, the team they’re tied with for first place, by 41 points earlier this month. You don’t want to see this team in March.

Stock Down: Virginia. I’m starting to wonder if the rest of the ACC has figured Tony Bennett out. It happens from time-to-time, but the Cavaliers are currently on a four-game losing streak and haven’t looked good in the process. There is now a scenario where Virginia is playing in a 7/10 or 8/9 game in the Big Dance.

Stock Up: Bucknell. On Sunday, Bucknell traveled to Boston University to play a game for first place in the Patriot League. When the game was over; there was no doubt. Bucknell throttled Boston 86-66 to take a two-game lead and are now the odds-on favorite to win the automatic bid.

Stock Down: Mountain West. Last week we spoke about the downturn of Conference USA and this week it’s the Mountain West, which appears to be a one-bid league again. Long-term this appears to be more of a blip than a trend as it has major state universities. However, more is expected of this league.

 

Last Four In: TCU, Seton Hall, Syracuse, California

Last Four Out: Alabama, Marquette, Providence, Illinois St

This bracket is good for games through 2/19.

EAST

1.Villanova16.UC Irvine/Mount St Mary’s Buffalo

8.Virginia Tech9.Saint Mary’s

5.Florida St12.Texas-Arlington Orlando

4.Cincinnati13.Monmouth

6.Maryland11.Dayton Orlando

3.Florida14.UNC-Asheville

7.Northwestern10.Kansas St Indianapolis

2.Louisville15.Florida Gulf Coast

SOUTH

1.North Carolina16.North Dakota Greenville

8.Oklahoma St9.Michigan

5.Wisconsin12.Nevada Buffalo

4.West Virginia13.Vermont

6.Creighton11.Tennessee Salt Lake City

3.UCLA14.Belmont

7.South Carolina10.USC Tulsa

2.Baylor15.Texas Southern

WEST

1.Gonzaga16.North Dakota St Sacramento

8.Wichita St9.Georgia Tech

5.SMU12.Syracuse/Seton Hall Milwaukee

4.Purdue13.Bucknell

6.Iowa St11.California/TCU Greenville

3.Duke14.Valparaiso

7.VCU10.Michigan St Sacramento

2.Oregon15.Furman

MIDWEST

1.Kansas16.North Carolina Central/New Orleans Tulsa

8.Miami(Fl)9.Xavier

5.Notre Dame12.UNC-Wilmington Milwaukee

4.Butler13.Akron

6.Virginia11.Middle Tennessee St Indianapolis

3.Kentucky14.Princeton

7.Minnesota10.Arkansas Salt Lake City

2.Arizona15.CSU Bakersfield