Tag: Big Sky

BRACKETOLOGY: Tuesday March 11, 2014 (Welcome Delaware, Manhattan, Wofford)

The last of our conference tournament previews.  We’re going to start with the Summit League championship game.

SUMMIT LEAGUE: North Dakota St and IPFW will be meeting for the this league’s title and judging by the semifinal results, North Dakota St is ready to go dancing.  However, things don’t always go that way.  Expect a really competitive game and North Dakota St to go dancing.

SOUTHLAND: If you’re a regular of this blog, you know how I feel about the Southland conference champion.  Stephen F. Austin dominated the regular season going a perfect 18-0 in league play.  So far, that hasn’t proven to translate into conference tournament success, but there’s something to be said about a team that won every time it stepped on a court in league play.  I fully expect the Lumberjacks to go dancing.

BIG SKY: Weber St has the luxury of not only having a bye into he semifinals, but the Wildcats will also be hosting this tournament.  While, that didn’t work for Green Bay in the Horizon League, Weber St has recent history of navigating through this tournament.  In Ogden, at elevation and on short rest I don’t think there will be anyone who can beat the Wildcats this week.

BIG WEST: There have been years where the Big West has been much better, but with the loss of Pacific it may take a while for the remaining schools to get to that level.  UC-Irvine and UC-Santa Barbara spent much of the season jostling for the No. 1 spot in the league with UC-Irvine finishing a game ahead.  That puts the Gauchos on the other side of the bracket with third-place finisher Long Beach St.  The 49ers know this tournament all too well and I think they’ll be the squad going dancing.

WESTERN ATHLETIC: No matter what happens in Vegas this week, everyone will think about the ugly incident that took place at Utah Valley when they defeated New Mexico St.  It just so happens that those two teams finished 1-2.  I believe they’re on a collision course and there will be plenty of bad blood between the two teams.  New Mexico St is the more talented team and the Aggies will return to the dance.

SUN BELT: Here is another league that was hurt by defections to other leagues.  That has hurt he overall quality of the teams.  Georgia St entered the conference from the CAA and immediately staked its claim as the top dog.  At 17-1 the Panthers look to be on the fast track to the big dance.  Despite that, Western Kentucky sitting around as a team that’s won this tournament recently is a scary site.  Georgia St won’t have to play until the semifinals though and the five-game difference in the standings is enough to project the Panthers as winners of this tournament.

On to the bracket.

Last Four In: Minnesota, Arkansas, Tennessee, Saint Joseph’s

Last Four Out: California, Pitt, Georgetown, St. John’s

SOUTH

1.Florida16.Stony Brook Orlando

8.Oklahoma St9.Gonzaga

5.Creigton12.Harvard(IvyOrlando

4.Louisville13.Stephen F. Austin

6.New Mexico11.Iowa Buffalo

3.Syracuse14.Delaware(CAA)

7.VCU10.Stanford St. Louis

2.Kansas15.Eastern Kentucky(OVC)

EAST

1.Villanova16.Wofford(SoCon)/Alabama St Buffalo

8.Kansas St9.Arizona St

5.Saint Louis12.Tennessee/Minnesota San Antonio

4.Cincinnati13.Boston U

6.UCLA11.Saint Joseph’s/Arkansas Milwaukee

3.Iowa St14.NC-Central

7.Memphis10.Colorado Raleigh

2.Duke15.Georgia St

WEST

1.Arizona16.Weber St San Diego

8.UConn9.George Washington

5.Ohio St12.Louisiana Tech San Diego

4.North Carolina13.Manhattan(MAAC)

6.Kentucky11.Nebraska Spokane

3.San Diego St14.UC-Irvine

7.Baylor10.BYU Milwaukee

2.Wisconsin15.Utah Valley

MIDWEST

1.Wichita St(MVC)16.Coastal Carolina(BSouth)/Wright St St. Louis

8.UMass9.SMU

5.Michigan St12.Western Michigan Spokane

4.Oklahoma13.North Dakota St

6.Texas11.Xavier San Antonio

3.Michigan14.Mercer(ASun)

7.Oregon10.Dayton Raleigh

2.Virginia15.Robert Morris

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BRACKETOLOGY: Tuesday March 12, 2013 (Welcome Western Kentucky, Davidson, James Madison, Gonzaga, Iona)

Before we get to the bracket I’m going to preview tonight’s Summit League final as well as the conference tournament in the SWAC, Southland, Big Sky, WAC and Big West.

SUMMIT LEAGUE: This was a nice three-team race to watch between finalists South Dakota St and North Dakota St along with Western Illinois.  The two teams split the regular season match-up and I expect a barnburner in the third.  It’s on the Jackrabbits home court so you have to give SDSU the edge.

SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC: Three teams are missing from this conference tournament due to APR penalties leveled against them. Two of those teams, Texas Southern and Arkansas-Pine Bluff won the regular season championship and finished tied for second respectively.  That leaves the Southern Jaguars as the heavy favorites to win the SWAC.

SOUTHLAND: This is a tournament that protects its top teams from playing until the semifinals.  Stephen F. Austin and Northwestern St have been impressive all season.  They split the two regular season games including a one-point win by the Lumberjacks 10 days ago.  I think Northwestern St gained confidence from playing them so tough though and on a neutral floor I expect the Demons to go dancing.

BIG SKY: There’s no doubt that Montana and Weber St are on a collision course.  These have been the best programs in the Big Sky for a number of years and they are head and shoulders above the rest of the league.  They’ll meet one more time in the finals where Montana’s home court will give them the edge.

WESTERN ATHLETIC: Louisiana Tech was running away with the league title for much of the year, but their two toughest games were in the last week.  Road games at New Mexico St and Denver resulted in double digit losses for the Bulldogs – tarnishing a possible at-large resume.  It’s tough to think they’ve recovered from those defeats in time for the WAC tournament and I think Denver will make its first ever trip to the Big Dance.

BIG WEST: Long Beach St by far has the most talent of any team in the Big West, but the 49ers aren’t playing their best ball.  They’re coming off a 20-point beatdown at the hands of Pacific.  That game was the last scheduled home game Bob Thomason is going to coach and his Tigers gave an inspired performance.  I expect them to have the same inspiration as they try to get him to one last NCAA tournament.  Pacific is going dancing.

On to the Bracket

Last Four In: Virginia, Boise St, Saint Mary’s, Tennessee

Last Four Out: Kentucky, Mississippi, Iowa, Middle Tennessee St

MIDWEST

1.Indiana16.Western Kentucky(SBelt)/Long Island Dayton, OH

8.Wichita St9.San Diego St

5.Pittsburgh12.Saint Mary’s/Virginia Austin

4.Oklahoma St13.Louisiana Tech

6.VCU11.Minnesota Austin

3.Florida14.Valparaiso

7.Memphis10.Colorado St Philadelphia

2.Georgetown15.Florida Gulf Coast(ASun)

SOUTH

1.Louisville16.James Madison(CAA)/Liberty(BSouth) Lexington, KY

8.NC State9.Temple

5.UCLA12.Tennesse/Boise St   Salt Lake City

4.Kansas St13.Davidson(SoCon)

6.Creighton(MVC)11.Colorado Dayton, OH

3.Ohio St14.Stephen F. Austin

7.Butler10.Villanova Lexington, KY

2.Miami(FL)15.Iona(MAAC)

EAST

1.Duke16.Norfolk St Philadelphia

8.Iowa St9.Illinois

5.Saint Louis12.Cincinnati San Jose

4.Arizona13.Harvard(Ivy)

6.Syracuse11.Bucknell  Auburn Hills, MI

3.Michigan14.Vermont

7.UNLV10.California Kansas City

2.Kansas15.Long Beach St

WEST

1.Gonzaga(WCC)16.Southern San Jose

8.Oregon9.Missouri

5.Wisconsin12.La Salle Kansas City

4.Marquette13.Akron

6.Notre Dame11.Belmont(OVC)  Salt Lake City

3.New Mexico14.South Dakota St

7.North Carolina10.Oklahoma  Auburn Hills, MI

2.Michigan St15.Montana

Conference Tournament Predictions Continued

METRO ATLANTIC ATHLETIC: Iona has been on my radar since I watch it go blow-for-blow with Purdue in November.  This team can flatout score.  This is one of the most dangerous mid-majors in the country as it has three pros on the roster.  That being said, the Gaels don’t really care to much to play defense and that’s why a team like Loyola is a real threat.  Despite that, I don’t think Iona will be denied this year.

COLONIAL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION: Up until mid-February, people were talking about the down year in the CAA.  Then came Bracketbusters where the CAA once again flexed its mid-major muscle.  Drexel, Virginia Commonwealth, George Mason and Old Dominion all scored big wins leading many pundits to say this is a multi-bid league again.  I’m not so sure of that but I do know that Drexel and VCU will play a classic championship game.  That game will be won by Drexel.

SOUTHERN: Davidson served notice to the nation earlier this season when it beat Kansas.  It followed that impressive win up with a 16-2 league record.  The Wildcats have a solid RPI and is far and away the best team in this league, but I don’t have a good feeling about them winning the conference championship.  There’s one team though, which has been knocking on the door and that’s the College of Charleston.  The Cougars have won six of their last seven and they’ll carry that momentum into a SoCon championship.

SUN BELT: Middle Tennessee St put the nation on notice when it took UCLA apart in November.  With only five losses, the Blue Raiders have done that to most of their opponents this season.  This team is the class of the Sun Belt and, with the exception of Denver, has no peer.  The Blue Raiders are going dancing.

SUMMIT LEAGUE: You’re 17-1 in league play and one of the best mid-majors in the nation.  How are you rewarded – by playing the conference tournament on the homecourt of the second place team in the conference.  That’s what Oral Roberts’ dilemma is as it prepares for the conference tournament hosted by South Dakota St.  That South Dakota St team is responsible for Oral Roberts lone conference loss.  On March 6, it’ll be responsible for Oral Roberts’ second conference loss.

BIG SKY: Weber St and Montana went toe-to-toe all season long in a conference race that wasn’t decided until the last game of the regular season.  That game determined where the conference tournament would be played.  Unfortunately for Weber St, they’re going to have to go through the regular season champion Montana on its home court.  Not likely.  The Grizzlies are going to the NCAA tournament.

Even More Conference Tournament Previews

Greg Kampe's Oakland squad could be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament

SUMMIT LEAGUE: The Oakland Grizzlies are in complete control over this league – cruising through conference with only one loss. Greg Kampe’s squad is one of the best mid-majors in the country. They beat Tennessee and had near-misses against Illinois and Michigan St. A championship game against IUPUI or Oral Roberts may be difficult, but the winner of that game may be too tired to give Oakland a good run. Oakland will make a return trip to the dance.

SUN BELT: Unfortunately, it was another down year for the Sun Belt as it waits for Western Kentucky to get back on its feet. Florida Atlantic, almost by default, won the regular season with a 13-3 record, but this conference tournament will be wide open. Florida Atlantic is on the same side of the bracket as Western Kentucky and Louisiana-Lafayette, two teams that it lost too this season. For that reason, I’m going to give a team from the other side of the bracket, Arkansas St, the edge to get to the dance.

BIG SKY: Northern Colorado and Montana battled all year to see who would win the regular season title in the Big Sky. Northern Colorado eventually won out, but the one game difference shows how close the two teams are to each other. That one game also proved to be of paramount importance as Bears won the right to host the conference tournament on their home court. That will prove to be the difference as Northern Colorado will go dancing.

MID-EASTERN ATHLETIC: Just about everybody expected Morgan St to run away with its fourth consecutive regular season title in the MEAC, but it didn’t work out that way. The Bears garnered the No. 4 seed in the tournament with Bethune-Cookman, Hampton and cross-town rival, Coppin St finishing ahead of them. I think Morgan St will find itself in the finals again, but Hampton will be there to avenge a loss earlier this season.

Today’s Bracket Projections:

Last Four In: Nebraska, Virginia Tech, Butler, Washington St
Last Four Out: Baylor, Memphis, Virginia Commonwealth, Michigan

Good for Games through 3/3

SOUTHWEST
1.Kansas16.McNeese St/Bethune-Cookman Tulsa
8.UCLA9.Michigan St
5.Connecticut12.Missouri St Tampa
4.Kentucky13.Princeton
6.Texas A&M11.Florida St Washington, D.C.
3.Syracuse14.Bucknell
7.George Mason10.Marquette Washington, D.C.
2.Wisconsin15.Murray St
WEST
1.Duke16.Long Island Charlotte
8.Cincinnati9.Utah St
5.Kansas St12.Richmond Tampa
4.Florida13.Belmont
6.West Virginia11.St. Mary’s Denver
3.BYU14.Wisconsin-Milwaukee
7.Tennessee10.Washington Cleveland
2.Pittsburgh15.Vermont
SOUTHEAST
1.Purdue16.Coastal Carolina Chicago
8.Missouri9.Gonzaga
5.St. John’s12.Butler/Virginia Tech Tucson
4.San Diego St13.Oakland
6.Vanderbilt11.Illinois Tulsa
3.Texas14.Fairfield
7.Temple10.Boston College Charlotte
2.Louisville15.Long Beach St
EAST
1.Ohio St16.Northern Colorado/Texas Southern Cleveland
8.Villanova9.Old Dominion
5.Georgetown12.Washington St/Nebraska Tucson
4.Xavier13.Charleston
6.Arizona11.UAB Denver
3.North Carolina14.Kent St
7.UNLV10.Georgia Chicago
2.Notre Dame15.Florida Atlantic

In Graphical Form

Conference Tournament Previews (Addendum)

SUN BELT: Troy, North Texas and Middle Tennessee St all tied for the overall conference title with 13-5 records. Troy is the No. 1 seed by way of a 2-1 record against UNT AND MTSU. However, the Trojans has been done no favors by having Western Kentucky on its side of the bracket. There’s not team in this conference that strikes fear in the heart of its foes like the Hilltoppers. They have wins over Vanderbilt, Murray St and Mississippi St out-of-conference and are on a six-game winning streak. Their experience and confidence will carry the Hilltoppers to another Sun Belt title.

SUMMIT LEAGUE: I’ve never seen a team with one league loss in more trouble than Oakland. There’s no question that IUPUI and Oral Roberts are capable of winning this tournament. IUPUI has already proven it can beat Oakland and Oral Roberts has wins over Missouri and New Mexico. That being said, Oakland has been consistent all year. It has only lost once in the 2010 calendar year going 16-1. With IUPUI and Oral Roberts fighting it out on the other side of the bracket, Oakland will have smooth sailing to the NCAA tournament.

BIG SKY: Weber St finished just one game ahead of Northern Colorado in the league standings. The Wildcats are very fortunate that the tournament is played on the home court of the regular season champion because I don’t think they want to see the 23-win Bears on a neutral floor. However, the Bears will have to travel to Ogden shorthanded as junior guard Devon Beitzel is out with a broken foot. Weber St played a tough schedule to prepare itself for this moment and the fact that it’ll get home cooking will put it over the top.

MID-EASTERN ATHLETIC: It’s clear that Todd Bozeman has Morgan St in complete control of this conference. The Bears won their third consecutive regular season championship and are poised to win their second straight tournament title. The way the MEAC’s tournament is set up actually takes the advantage of the buy away so Morgan will have to deal with that. However, only one team was able to beat the Bears in conference this season and they bounced back with five consecutive league wins after the setback. They’re experienced, tournament tough and have Reggie Holmes. The Bears go dancing again.

Today’s Bracket Projection:

Last Four In: Mississippi, Virginia Tech, Connecticut, San Diego St
Last Four Out: Rhode Island, Memphis, UAB, Mississippi St

Click the link below
NCAA Projected Bracket

From now until Selection Sunday, the bracket will be updated daily (Twice on Selection Sunday)