BRACKETOLOGY: Saturday February 2, 2019

LAST FOUR IN: UCF, Seton Hall, VCU, St. John’s

LAST FOUR OUT: Belmont, Temple, Utah St, UNC-Greensboro

NEXT FOUR OUT: Oregon, Indiana, Butler, San Francisco

This bracket is good for games through 2/1

1.Tennessee16.Robert Morris/Norfolk St Columbia, SC
5.Iowa St12.Davidson Jacksonville
6.Baylor11.Florida San Jose
7.Oklahoma10.Lipscomb Jacksonville
2.North Carolina15.Radford
1.Gonzaga16.Bucknell Salt Lake City
8.Florida St9.Mississippi St
5.Wisconsin12.Seton Hall/UCF San Jose
4.Louisville13.Northern Kentucky
6.Maryland11.St Johns/VCU Hartford
3.Virginia Tech14.South Dakota St
7.TCU10.Wofford Columbus
1.Virginia16.Rider Hartford
8.NC State9.Auburn
5.Texas Tech12.Hofstra Tulsa
4.LSU13.Bowling Green
6.Iowa11.Arizona St Tulsa
3.Houston14.Texas St
7.Washington10.Texas Columbus
1.Duke16.Sam Houston St/Prairie View Columbia, SC
5.Kansas12.New Mexico Salt Lake City
4.Purdue13.Old Dominion
6.Cincinnati11.Ohio St Des Moines
3.Marquette14.Jacksonville St
7.Kansas St10.Mississippi Des Moines
2.Michigan St15.UC-Irvine

BRACKETOLOGY: Monday January 28, 2019

LAST FOUR IN: Nebraska, Utah St, Arizona St, VCU

LAST FOUR OUT: UCF, Butler, Temple, Seton Hall

NEXT FOUR OUT: UNC-Greensboro, Memphis, Belmont, St. John’s

This bracket is good for games through 1/27

1.Tennessee16.Prairie View/Norfolk St Columbia, SC

8.Florida St9.Minnesota

5.Villanova12.Murray St Hartford


6.Buffalo11.Lipscomb San Jose

3.Nevada14.South Dakota St

7.Cincinnati10.Texas Jacksonville

2.North Carolina15.Radford

1.Gonzaga16.Rider Salt Lake City

8.NC State9.Auburn

5.Maryland12.VCU/Arizona St Hartford


6.Wisconsin11.Creighton Jacksonville

3.Virginia Tech14.Northern Kentucky

7.Washington10.Wofford Columbus



1.Virginia16.Bucknell Columbus

8.Mississippi St9.Syracuse

5.Iowa St12.Utah St/Nebraska San Jose


6.Oklahoma11.Indiana Tulsa

3.Marquette14.Texas St

7.Kansas St10.Ohio St Des Moines


1.Duke16.Sam Houston St/Robert Morris Columbia, SC


5.Texas Tech12.Hofstra Salt Lake City

4.Houston13.New Mexico St

6.Iowa11.Florida Tulsa

3.Kansas14.North Texas

7.TCU10.Alabama Des Moines

2.Michigan St15.Montana

UCF’s B.J. Taylor Playing with Sense of Urgency

bj taylor

UCF (14-3, 4-1) fifth-year senior guard B.J. Taylor is a hometown kid in his last year and that finality is not lost on him.

“This is me, Tacko (Fall), Chad’s (Brown) last season as we always say,” Taylor said. “So we’ve got to make the most of it because this is our last shot to make a deep run in conference and into post-season tournaments.”

This is UCF’s best chance at an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament in program history. Much of that depends on Taylor, who is averaging 17.1 points per game. He was named the preseason player of the year in the American Athletic Conference and was a dark horse all-American candidate.

So it was no surprise that down the stretch in Saturday’s 64-62 win over Tulsa , the ball found its way into Taylor’s hands.

“We put B.J. on the ball. He’s played on the ball his entire career,” UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins said. “I thought putting him back on it in this game and have him kind of get us organized – use that experience as a fifth-year senior and he delivered.”

Taylor finished the game with 15 points, including the last five.

Now Taylor’s leadership will be put to the test as he has to make sure his team is prepared to go on the road and not have a let-down performance against Tulane, one of the worse teams in the American, on Tuesday. He said that the team needs to be focused and not take the Green Wave lightly.

“We know we control our own destiny and we know it’s on us to make happen what we want to happen,” said Taylor.

BRACKETOLOGY: Monday January 21, 2019

LAST FOUR IN: Butler, Arizona St, Seton Hall, VCU

LAST FOUR OUT: Alabama, Arizona, Temple, San Francisco

NEXT FOUR OUT: Florida, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Fresno St

This bracket is good for games through 1/20.

1.Tennessee16.Prairie View/Robert Morris Columbia, SC

8.Texas9.Florida St

5.Houston12.Hofstra Hartford


6.Wisconsin11.UCF Jacksonville

3.North Carolina14.Marshall

7.Mississippi10.Minnesota Tulsa

2.Kansas15.Georgia St

1.Gonzaga16.Weber St Salt Lake City

8.NC State9.Indiana

5.Purdue12.Murray St Hartford


6.Auburn11.VCU/Seton Hall Jacksonville

3.Virginia Tech14.Radford

7.Kansas St10.Syracuse Columbus

2.Michigan St15.Rider

1.Virginia16.Bucknell Columbus

8.Mississippi St9.Washington

5.Buffalo12.Arizona St/Butler San Jose

4.LSU13.New Mexico St

6.Iowa11.Wofford Tulsa

3.Texas Tech14.Loyola-Chicago

7.Oklahoma10.St. Johns Des Moines

2.Michigan15.UC-Santa Barbara

1.Duke16.Sam Houston St/North Carolina A&T Columbia, SC


5.Louisville12.Lipscomb Salt Lake City

4.Iowa St13.Saint Louis

6.Villanova11.Ohio St San Jose

3.Nevada14.Northern Kentucky

7.Nebraska10.Baylor Des Moines

2.Kentucky15.South Dakota St

Weekend Bracket 1/19-1/20/2019

LAST FOUR IN: Temple, Arizona St, VCU, Alabama

LAST FOUR OUT: Butler, Baylor, Oregon, Pittsburgh

NEXT FOUR OUT: San Francisco, Arizona, Clemson, Oregon St

This bracket is good for games through 1/18

1.Virginia16.Wagner/North Carolina A&T Columbia, SC


5.Houston12.Hofstra Des Moines

4.Iowa St13.Saint Louis

6.Oklahoma11.UCF Des Moines

3.Kentucky14.Northern Kentucky

7.Mississippi10.Ohio St Tulsa

2.Texas Tech15.Marshall

1.Duke16.Rider Jacksonville


5.Louisville12.Arizona St/Temple San Jose

4.Marquette13.New Mexico St

6.Buffalo11.Wofford San Jose


7.Nebraska10.Syracuse Salt Lake City


1.Tennessee16.Weber St Columbia, SC

8.Kansas St9.St. Johns

5.Purdue12.Murray St Salt Lake City


6.Iowa11.Alabama/VCU Jacksonville

3.North Carolina14.Georgia St

7.Florida St10.Texas Columbus

2.Michigan St15.UC-Santa Barbara

1.Michigan16.Texas Southern/Sam Houston St Columbus

8.Mississippi St9.NC State

5.LSU12.Lipscomb Hartford


6.Villanova11.Minnesota Hartford

3.Virginia Tech14.Loyola-Chicago

7.Wisconsin10.Seton Hall Tulsa

2.Kansas15.South Dakota St

2018-2019 Preseason All-Americans

National Player of the Year:

R.J. Barrett, Duke

First-Team All-American:

R.J. Barret, Duke

Carsen Edwards, Purdue

Dedric Lawson, Kansas

Caleb Martin, Nevada

Tremont Waters, LSU

Second-Team All-American:

Mike Daum, South Dakota St

Ethan Happ, Wisconsin

Kellan Grady, Davidson

Luke Maye, North Carolina

Shamorie Ponds, St. Johns

Third-Team All American:

Tyus Battle, Syracuse

Markus Howard, Marquette

Juwan Morgan, Indiana

Eric Paschall, Villanova

Dean Wade, Kansas St

BRACKETOLOGY 2018-2019 Preseason

Last Four In: Minnesota, Alabama, Butler, George Mason

Last Four Out: Xavier, Arizona St, Saint Louis, Houston

Next Four Out: Penn St, UConn, Oregon St, NC State

1.Kansas16.Colgate/Bethune Cookman Des Moines


5.Oregon12.Minnesota/George Mason Tulsa


6.West Virginia11.Iowa Jacksonville

3.North Carolina14.Murray St

7.TCU10.Maryland Hartford


1.Duke16.Winthrop Columbia, SC

8.Davidson9.Iowa St

5.Syracuse12.Alabama/Butler Des Moines

4.Kansas St13.Northeastern

6.Clemson11.Western Kentucky Columbus

3.Michigan14.Grand Canyon

7.UCF10.Texas Columbia, SC

2.Tennessee15.Wright St

1.Nevada16.Lipscomb San Jose

8.Virginia Tech9.Indiana

5.Marquette12.Buffalo Salt Lake City


6.Michigan St11.Cincinnati Jacksonville


7.St John’s10.South Dakota St Salt Lake City


1.Kentucky16.Wagner/Grambling Columbus

8.USC9.Florida St

5.Mississippi St12.Illinois St Tulsa

4.Nebraska13.Stephen F Austin

6.Wisconsin11.Vanderbilt San Jose


7.Florida10.Purdue Hartford

2.Virginia15.Georgia St

2018-2019 Big East Preview

Preseason Player of the Year:

Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s

Preseason All-Conference Team:

Kamar Baldwin, Butler

Jessie Govan, Georgetown

Markus Howard, Marquette

Eric Paschall, Villanova

Shamorie Ponds, St John’s

Preseason Newcomer of the Year:

Mustapha Heron, St. John’s

Projected Order of Finish:

1. Villanova

The defending national champs lost quite a bit from the championship team, but it appears that head coach Jay Wright has reloaded. Senior forward Eric Paschall is an all-American candidate and he’ll be the leader of the squad along with senior guard Phil Booth. To bolster the two seniors is a top-15 recruiting class featuring Jahvon Quinerly, Cole Swider, Brandon Slater and Saddiq Bey as well as Albany grad transfer Joe Cremo. There is plenty here to continue the Wildcats’ dominance of the Big East.

2. Marquette

This will be one of the highest-scoring teams in America. Led by juniors Markus Howard, Sam Hauser and Sacar Anim, the Golden Eagles should make their return to the NCAA tournament this season. They do have to repair their issues on the defensive end, but if they’re at least competent there I don’t see many teams that’ll be able to keep up with them.

3. St. John’s

This has to be the year for the Red Storm. This is by far the most talented team head coach Chris Mullin has had at St. John’s and its quite possibly the best roster in the league. Junior guard Shamorie Ponds is the favorite for Big East Player of the Year, but there will be plenty of talent around him in senior forward Marvin Clark II and junior guards Justin Simon and Mustapha Heron. Chemistry could derail this train, but St. John’s has too much talent to miss the tournament.

4. Providence

Head coach Ed Cooley continues to recruit at a high level and is doing more reloading than rebuilding these days. The Friars will have quality experience in their backcourt with junior Alpha Diallo and senior Isaiah Jackson. Senior forward Emmitt Holt appears to be healthy after missing last season. Freshmen A.J. Reeves, David Duke and Jimmy Nichols along with sophomores Nate Watson and Makai Ashton-Langford will be key piece of Providence’s future.

5. Butler

When speaking about the Bulldogs the “Butler Way” is the phrase that is often used, but it’s a real thing. LaVall Jordan stepped right in and got Butler back to the tournament last season and it would be foolish to think they won’t do it again. Sophomore Big East Player of the Year candidate Kamar Baldwin leads a team that’ll expect Duke transfer Jordan Tucker to be an instant contributor. Senior guard Paul Jorgensen returns as well, but sophomore guard Aaron Thompson’s jumper will be important to how far Butler goes this season.

6. Xavier

The Musketeers lost quite a bit last season from Trevon Bluiett, J.P. Macura and Karem Kanter as players to Chris Mack as head coach. Travis Steele takes over for Mack and has junior guard Quentin Goodin and sophomore forward Naji Marshall to move the program forward. Transfers Ryan Welage, Kyle Castlin and Zach Hankins will have to contribute as well.

7. Georgetown

Patrick Ewing appears to have the program headed in the right direction in his second year, but that progress was slowed a little bit when Marcus Derrickson decided to leave school early. The Hoyas still have senior all-conference candidate Jessie Govan along with sophomores Jamorko Pickett and Jahvon Blair. The backcourt was upgraded with freshmen James Akinjo and Mac McClung. The future is bright, but not enough to compete for the tournament this season.

8. Seton Hall

Seton Hall’s famed class featuring Desi Rodriguez, Khadeen Carrington, Angel Delgado and Ismael Sanogo have all graduated and now junior guard Myles Powell is left to lead the program. Transfers Quincy McKnight and Taurean Thompson will have to be ready help Powell for the Pirates to see if they can continue this run.

9. Creighton

Injuries have dealt the Blue Jays a tough blow the past few seasons, but this year the struggles will be because they’ve lost talents like Marcus Foster, Khyri Thomas and Toby Hegner. Junior forward Martin Krampelj’s health is also a concern. There just isn’t the caliber of players here that coach Greg McDermott has been accustomed to since Creighton moved to the Big East.


The Blue Demons still are just trying to find their footing in the Big East. This year they’ll have a senior backcourt of Eli Cain and Max Strus to help try to usher them out of the cellar of the Big East. Transfers Jalen Coleman-Lands and Femi Olujobi enter the program to assist with that process. They’re playing in a new arena and have a promising recruiting class coming next season and it appears it’ll be then when we can expect a jump from this program.

2018-2019 Big Ten Preview

Preseason Player of the Year:

Carsen Edwards, Purdue

Preseason All-Conference Team:

Carsen Edwards, Purdue

Ethan Happ, Wisconsin

Juwan Morgan, Indiana

Jordan Murphy, Minnesota

James Palmer, Nebraska

Preseason Newcomer of the Year:

Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois

Projected Order of Finish:

1. Michigan

The national runners-up lost Mo Wagner and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahman, but this blog believes head coach John Beilein knows what to do with what returns. Those returnees are the trio of guards senior Charles Matthews, junior Zavier Simpson and sophomore Jordan Poole. The Wolverines also brings in a top-20 recruiting class featuring Ignas Brazdeikis. Plenty for Michigan to, at least, be one of the top teams in the league.

2. Nebraska

A better non-conference strength of schedule and this team probably would’ve been in the Big Dance last season. They weren’t, but the Cornhuskers have a lot returning from a team that won 13 conference games last season. They’ll be led by seniors James Palmer, a player of the year candidate, and Isaac Copeland as well as junior forward Isaiah Roby. Those three will lead the best Cornhusker team since the 1990’s – a team that will be a threat to win the program’s first ever NCAA tournament game.

3. Michigan St

Last season was one of the strangest in Tom Izzo’s tenure as head coach at Michigan St. From the team being overshadowed by the school’s mishandling of the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal to the team’s early exit from the tournament. Two first-round draft picks in Jaren Jackson and Miles Bridges are gone so it will be up to juniors Cassius Winston, Nick Ward and Joshua Langford to step up. This probably won’t be the best team Izzo has coach, but he’ll probably enjoy not having to answer questions that needed to be asked.

4. Wisconsin

Wisconsin fans are used to winning so last season was such a departure for them. This season should see a return to the tournament because so much of the roster returns including senior forward Ethan Happ, who will be an all-American candidate. Happ is the leader of a lineup that sees its top eight scorers from last season returning. The Badgers look to be back.

5. Indiana

Speaking of teams that could be back, Indiana had an up-and-down season last season, but look to be headed for greener pastures. Coach Archie Miller brought in one of the best recruiting classes in the country led by Indiana high school legend, guard Romeo Langford. He’ll be asked to be a key member of the supporting cast around senior forward Juwan Morgan, who will be one of the best players in America. This program is certainly on an upward trajectory.

6. Purdue

The Boilermakers are at the tail end of the second great run under Matt Painter. They have to find replacements for Isaac Haas, Vince Edwards and Dakota Mathias in a hurry. Fortunately, national player of the year candidate, junior guard Carsen Edwards doesn’t leave the cupboard completely bare. He’ll be plenty good enough to carry the load for Purdue this season.

7. Maryland

With everything going on at Maryland, the start of basketball season has to be a welcome respite. That being said, it better be a good season for head coach Mark Turgeon. He enters this season needing to usher his team to the tournament and the talent is there to do it. Junior guard Anthony Cowan has to be the leader of a team that returns sophomores Darryl Morsell and Bruno Fernando. Five-star freshman Jalen Smith leads an incoming class that also features Aaron Wiggins and Eric Ayala. There will be nowhere to hide if this doesn’t work.

8. Iowa

Head coach Fran McCaffery is going to have to get a better defensive performance out of this team to prevent a repeat of last season’s disappointment. I think he can and with the firepower returning in juniors Jordan Bohannon and Tyler Cook and sophomore Luka Garza. Those three in addition to freshman Joe Wieskamp should have the Hawkeyes in the mix for a NCAA tournament berth.

9. Minnesota

Injuries and other types of roster attrition plagued the Gophers last season. They’re healthy now and there is enough talent here to get back to the NCAA tournament. The story is whether there will be another scandal to derail, not only the season, but also coach Richard Pitino’s tenure at the school. Senior Jordan Murphy will be an awesome weapon for a Minnesota team that could finish much higher than this prediction if everything goes right.

10. Penn St

Tony Carr declaring for the draft is keeping the Nittany Lions from being a top-5 team in this league. He and Shep Garner are huge losses. The cupboard isn’t bare as juniors Lamar Stevens, Mike Watkins and sophomore Josh Reaves return. Freshmen Myles Dread and Rasir Bolton will provide depth and will be great pieces for the future.


Two years ago the Wildcats made the program’s first ever NCAA tournament and had people thinking the team would be even better last season. Then the season started and it was clear that people overrated their talent. This season Northwestern will be aided by returning to Welsh-Ryan Arena for home games after playing in Rosemont last season. Seniors Vic Law and Dererk Pardon should be steady hands for head coach Chris Collins.

12. Ohio St

Head coach Chris Holtman put together one of the more surprising seasons in all of college basketball last season. The Buckeyes had no expectations, but led by Keita Bates-Diop and Jae’Sean Tate they earned a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament. They’re both gone and leave a sizable hole to fill. Sophomore forward Kaleb Wesson and senior guard C.J. Jackson will attempt to fill that hole along with freshmen Luther Muhammad and Jaedon LeDee.

13. Illinois

Coach Brad Underwood’s first season was not a good one, but there’s reason to be optimistic here. Sophomore guard Trent Frazier and junior forward Kipper Nichols return to a team that’ll also feature one of the best freshmen in the country in Ayo Dosunmu. It’s a little too soon to expect a tournament run this year for the Illini, but it’s coming.

14. Rutgers

Rutgers gave its fans a glimmer of hope during its run in the Big Ten tournament last season, but the fact of the matter is this team still won’t be competitive in the league this year. Sophomore Geo Baker and Freshman Montez Mathis could be a solid backcourt in the future.

2018-2019 Atlantic-10 Preview

Preseason Player of the Year:

Kellan Grady, Davidson

Preseason All-Conference Team:

Josh Cunningham, Dayton

Grant Golden, Richmond

Kellan Grady, Davidson

Mike Lewis, Duquesne

Otis Livingston II, George Mason

Preseason Newcomer of the Year:

Carte’Are Gordon, Saint Louis

Projected Order of Finish:

1. Davidson

Led by the best player in the league, sophomore guard Kellan Grady, Davidson will remain one of the toughest teams to prepare for in the league. The Wildcats certainly have a big hole to fill with Peyton Aldridge. However, Grady, junior guard Jon Axel Gudmunsson and coach Bob McKillop’s offense will be enough to win the regular season title.

2. George Mason

Led by senior guard Otis Livingston II, not many teams in the A-10 will have the returning talent that coach Dave Paulsen has at his disposal. The Patriots return four players that averaged double figures last season. That kind of experience, depth and talent in this league separates teams. Given that this is a bit of a transitional year for the league, George Mason can do some major damage.

3. Saint Louis

Travis Ford is doing what most other programs in this league can’t do and that’s recruit with the big boys. Freshman forward Carte’Are Gordon is an absolute steal and leads a recruiting class that’s better than many power conference teams. He’ll be balanced by a backcourt of sophomore Jordan Goodwin and senior Javon Bess. Expect Maryland grad transfer Dion Wiley to provide depth in the backcourt as well. The Billikens have NCAA potential.

4. Saint Josephs

Coach Phil Martelli is the dean of this league and he has another team that’ll be able to challenge for a NCAA berth. The return of sophomore forward Charlie Brown Jr. from a broken wrist gives hope to a squad that is one of the elite programs in this league. Throw in senior guard Chris Clover as well as fellow sophomore forwards Anthony Longpre and Taylor Funk and the Hawks will be a threat all year.

5. Dayton

Head coach Anthony Grant has had success at every stop and you can see it coming at Dayton. The Flyers return senior forward Josh Cunningham, who is a all-conference candidate. He’ll lead a team that also features junior guard Trey Landers, sophomore guard Jalen Crutcher, and sophomore guard Jordan Davis. The latter three will be dynamite next season, but it’s probably one year too early for NCAA tournament glory.

6. Rhode Island

The Rams lost head coach Danny Hurley to UConn and Jared Terrell, E.C. Mathews, Stanford Robinson to graduation. They have some stability as new coach David Cox was an assistant under Hurley. He was able to lock down the best recruiting class in Rhode Island history, which will be led by forwards Jermaine Harris and Dana Tate. Sophomore Fatts Russell and junior Jeff Dowtin are expected to do an adequate job in the backcourt in this transitional season.

7. Duquesne

What Keith Dambrot has cooking at Duquesne is special. The talent on the floor is improving while the cosmetic things around the program are as well. The Dukes home court is getting a major renovation that will allow them to compete with the rest of the league. While that’s great for the future, this team will, at the very least, be competitive in the present. The backcourt of junior Mike Lewis II and sophomore Eric Williams Jr. will tough to deal with.

8. UMass

UMass struggled a great deal last season, but has one of the best scorers in the conference in junior guard Luwane Pipkins returning. He will be surrounded by transfers Jonathan Laurent and Curtis Cobb – both of whom are expected to contribute immediately. Sophomore guard Carl Pierre and senior center Rashaan Holloway should also provide a lift.

9. La Salle

New La Salle head coach Ashley Howard comes over from Villanova where he’ll have some talent at his disposal. A deep backcourt of senior Pookie Powell, junior Isiah Deas as well as sophomores Jamir Moultie and David Beatty gives him something to work with. Moving forward, assistant coach Kenny Johnson’s involvement with the FBI probe could become a distraction for this team.

10. Richmond

The Spiders had a catastrophic start to last season, but were able to rebound to be respectable in league play. Then Khwan Fore and De’Monte Buckingham transferred. Head coach Chris Mooney was believed to be on the hot seat last season and if that was the case it’s engulfed in flames right now. Sophomores Grant Golden and Jacob Gilyard while junior Nick Sherod gives him something to work with.

11. St. Bonaventure

The Bonnies are coming off a great season that saw them upset UCLA in the First Four. It’s a good thing that they made the most of that season because it’s going to be tough sledding without Jaylen Adams, Matt Mobley and Idris Taqqee. Senior forward Courtney Stockard and LaDarien Griffin are expected to provide a big lift while freshman Osun Osunniyi, a coup for the program, while be asked to produce right away.

12. VCU

Mike Rhoades rebuild at VCU is still ongoing as the Rams should struggle once again this season. Returning for the Rams will be juniors De’Riante Jenkins and Isaac Vann. Rice transfer Marcus Evans’ health is the x-factor for the Rams though. If he can return to his old form, it could propel them up the standings. If not, it’ll be another long winter in Richmond.

13. Fordham

Without question the toughest job in the league and it won’t be pretty this season. The difficulty in recruiting has coach Jeff Neubauer leaning on Europe to find players, which is why sophomore Ivan Raut from Montenegro and senior Prokop Slanina from the Czech Republic are the top returning players. Will be another season at the bottom of the standings for the Rams.

14. George Washington

Head coach Maurice Joseph is going to need some time to get this turned around. Four of the top five leading scorers in conference play are gone from this team while Chris Sodom, a player that was expected to add depth in the post, left before ever playing a game. Sophomore Terry Nolan is going to have a lot of responsibility and he may not be ready for it yet. Going to be a long year in Foggy Bottom.