Tag: Bracket

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

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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

 

 

BRACKETOLOGY: Sunday March 15, 2015 AM (Welcome Albany, UAB, Hampton, Harvard, Wyoming, Iowa St, Villanova, Buffalo, Notre Dame, Stephen F. Austin, Eastern Washington, Arizona, UC-Irvine, New Mexico St)

Last Four In: Mississippi, Indiana, Boise, Temple

Last Four Out: Miami(FL), Colorado St, Illinois, Tulsa

This bracket is good for games thru 3/14

MIDWEST

1.Kentucky16.Robert Morris(NEC)/Lafayette(Patriot) Louisville

8.Ohio St9.St. John’s

5.SMU12.Wyoming(MWest) Portland

4.Utah13.Valparaiso(Horizon)

6.Michigan St11.Davidson Columbus

3.Notre Dame(ACC)14.Belmont(OVC)

7.Xavier10.Purdue Omaha

2.Iowa St(B12)15.Georgia St

WEST

1.Wisconsin16.Coastal Carolina(BSouth) Omaha

8.Cincinnati9.VCU

5.Providence12.Boise St/Indiana Seattle

4.Oklahoma13.UC-Irvine(BWest)

6.Georgetown11.Temple/Mississippi Louisville

3.North Carolina14.UAB(CUSA)

7.West Virginia10.BYU Portland

2.Arizona(P12)15.Texas Southern(SWAC)

SOUTH

1.Duke16.North Florida(ASun)/Hampton(MEAC) Charlotte

8.Iowa9.Georgia

5.Arkansas12.Buffalo(MAC) Jacksonville

4.Baylor13.Northeastern(CAA)

6.Wichita St11.Stephen F. Austin(Southland) Pittsburgh

3.Maryland14.New Mexico St(WAC)

7.San Diego St10.Oklahoma St Seattle

2.Gonzaga(WCC)15.North Dakota St(Summit)

EAST

1.Villanova(Beast)16.Manhattan(MAAC) Pittsburgh

8.Dayton9.NC State

5.Louisville12.Wofford(SoCon) Jacksonville

4.Northern Iowa(MVC)13.Harvard(Ivy)

6.Oregon11.LSU Columbus

3.Kansas14.Eastern Washington(BSky)

7.Butler10.Texas Charlotte

2.Virginia15.Albany(AEast)

BRACKETOLOGY: Thursday March 12, 2015 (Welcome Lafayette)

Last Four In: Illinois, Miami (FL), Texas, Purdue

Last Four Out: Indiana, UCLA, Old Dominion, Texas A&M

This bracket is good for games thru 3/11

MIDWEST

1.Kentucky16.North Florida(ASun)/Robert Morris(NEC) Louisville

8.NC State9.Dayton

5.Wichita St12.Stephen F. Austin Seattle

4.Louisville13.Central Michigan

6.Providence11.LSU Seattle

3.Gonzaga(WCC)14.New Mexico St

7.Iowa10.VCU Omaha

2.Kansas15.Albany

WEST

1.Villanova16.Texas Southern Pittsburgh

8.Georgia9.Ohio St

5.SMU12.Texas/Illinois Jacksonville

4.Notre Dame13.UC Davis

6.Georgetown11.BYU Jacksonville

3.Baylor14.Northeastern(CAA)

7.Cincinnati10.Oklahoma St Portland

2.Arizona15.Coastal Carolina(BSouth)

SOUTH

1.Virginia16.Montana Charlotte

8.St. John’s9.Temple

5.North Carolina12.Wofford(SoCon) Portland

4.Utah13.Valparaiso(Horizon)

6.Arkansas11.Purdue/Miami(FL) Columbus

3.Oklahoma14.Georgia St

7.Oregon10.Boise St Omaha

2.Wisconsin15.North Dakota St(Summit)

EAST

1.Duke16.Manhattan(MAAC)/Lafayette(Patriot) Charlotte

8.Xavier9.Michigan St

5.West Virginia12.Louisiana Tech Louisville

4Northern Iowa(MVC)13.Yale

6.Butler11.Davidson Columbus

3.Iowa St14.Belmont(OVC)

7.San Diego St10.Mississippi Pittsburgh

2.Maryland15.North Carolina Central

BRACKETOLOGY: Wednesday March 11, 2015 (Welcome Robert Morris, Valparaiso, Gonzaga, North Dakota St)

Last Four In: Illinois, Miami (FL), Texas, Purdue

Last Four Out: Indiana, UCLA, Old Dominion, Texas A&M

This bracket is good for games thru 3/10

MIDWEST

1.Kentucky16.North Florida(ASun)/Robert Morris(NEC) Louisville

8.NC State9.Dayton

5.Wichita St12.Stephen F. Austin Seattle

4.Louisville13.Central Michigan

6.Providence11.LSU Seattle

3.Gonzaga(WCC)14.New Mexico St

7.Iowa10.VCU Omaha

2.Kansas15.Albany

WEST

1.Villanova16.Texas Southern Pittsburgh

8.Georgia9.Ohio St

5.SMU12.Texas/Illinois Jacksonville

4.Notre Dame13.UC Davis

6.Georgetown11.BYU Jacksonville

3.Baylor14.Northeastern(CAA)

7.Cincinnati10.Oklahoma St Portland

2.Arizona15.Coastal Carolina(BSouth)

SOUTH

1.Virginia16.Montana Charlotte

8.St. John’s9.Temple

5.North Carolina12.Wofford(SoCon) Portland

4.Utah13.Valparaiso(Horizon)

6.Arkansas11.Purdue/Miami(FL) Columbus

3.Oklahoma14.Georgia St

7.Oregon10.Boise St Omaha

2.Wisconsin15.North Dakota St(Summit)

EAST

1.Duke16.Manhattan(MAAC)/Lafayette Charlotte

8.Xavier9.Michigan St

5.West Virginia12.Louisiana Tech Louisville

4Northern Iowa(MVC)13.Yale

6.Butler11.Davidson Columbus

3.Iowa St14.Belmont(OVC)

7.San Diego St10.Mississippi Pittsburgh

2.Maryland15.North Carolina Central

BRACKETOLOGY: Tuesday March 10, 2015 (Welcome Northeastern, Wofford, Manhattan)

Last Four In: Illinois, Miami (FL), Texas, Purdue

Last Four Out: Indiana, UCLA, Old Dominion, Texas A&M

This bracket is good for games thru 3/9

MIDWEST

1.Kentucky16.St. Francis(NY)/North Florida(ASun) Louisville

8.NC State9.Dayton

5.Wichita St12.Stephen F. Austin Seattle

4.Louisville13.Central Michigan

6.Providence11.LSU Seattle

3.Gonzaga14.New Mexico St

7.Iowa10.VCU Omaha

2.Kansas15.Albany

WEST

1.Villanova16.Texas Southern Pittsburgh

8.Georgia9.Ohio St

5.SMU12.Texas/Illinois Jacksonville

4.Notre Dame13.UC Davis

6.Georgetown11.BYU Jacksonville

3.Baylor14.Northeastern(CAA)

7.Cincinnati10.Oklahoma St Portland

2.Arizona15.Coastal Carolina(BSouth)

SOUTH

1.Virginia16.Montana Charlotte

8.St. John’s9.Temple

5.North Carolina12.Wofford(SoCon) Portland

4.Utah13.Valparaiso

6.Arkansas11.Purdue/Miami(FL) Columbus

3.Oklahoma14.Georgia St

7.Oregon10.Boise St Omaha

2.Wisconsin15.South Dakota St

EAST

1.Duke16.Manhattan(MAAC)/Lafayette Charlotte

8.Xavier9.Michigan St

5.West Virginia12.Louisiana Tech Louisville

4Northern Iowa(MVC)13.Yale

6.Butler11.Davidson Columbus

3.Iowa St14.Belmont(OVC)

7.San Diego St10.Mississippi Pittsburgh

2.Maryland15.North Carolina Central

When Irish Eyes are Smiling (Welcome Coastal Carolina, Northern Iowa, North Florida)

Freshman Bonzie Colson (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Is this the year when coach Mike Brey gets his Notre Dame team to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament. Its something that hasn’t happened for Notre Dame in quite some time, but it looks like Brey finally has the squad to do.

Notre Dame has always been a great jump-shooting team, but now it looks like they have the total package. What’s separating the Irish this year is the late season emergence of freshman Bonzie Colson. Colson, with his long arms give the Irish a legitimate post presence.

Notre Dame looks right for a deep run this year. If they can show some toughness this March, they could be a sleeper in the tournament.

More Previews.

MID-EASTERN ATHLETIC: The MEAC is one of the few leagues that saw a team roll through the regular season undefeated. North Carolina Central looks like the class of a MEAC that is as good as its been in recent memory. Norfolk St and UMES will challenge the Eagles, but expect Central to repeat as champions and return to the NCAA tournament.

MID-AMERICAN: As usual, the MAC was competitive like always with three teams, Central Michigan, Kent St and Buffalo, finishing tied for the regular season crown at 12-6. Behind those three, Bowling Green and Toledo finished tied for fourth with identical 11-7 records. Suffice it to say, this thing is completely up in the air. In the end, Kent St’s history navigating this tournament makes them the pick here.

SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC: Texas Southern, a team that has wins at Michigan St and Kansas St, rolled nearly wire-to-wire here. They have only two conference losses and look primed to make another run to the NCAA tournament. The only teams close, Southern and Alabama St, are ineligible for the postseason but are somehow allowed to compete anyway. Look for the Texas Southern to go dancing.

Last Four In: Illinois, Miami (FL), Texas, Purdue

Last Four Out: Indiana, UCLA, Old Dominion, Texas A&M

This bracket is good for games thru 3/8

MIDWEST

1.Kentucky16.St. Francis(NY)/North Florida(ASun) Louisville

8.NC State9.Dayton

5.Wichita St12.Stephen F. Austin Seattle

4.Louisville13.Central Michigan

6.Providence11.LSU Seattle

3.Gonzaga14.UC Davis

7.Iowa10.VCU Omaha

2.Kansas15.Albany

WEST

1.Villanova16.Texas Southern Pittsburgh

8.Georgia9.Ohio St

5.SMU12.Texas/Illinois Jacksonville

4.Notre Dame13.Iona

6.Georgetown11.BYU Jacksonville

3.Baylor14.Georgia St

7.Cincinnati10.Oklahoma St Portland

2.Arizona15.South Dakota St

SOUTH

1.Virginia16.Coastal Carolina(BSouth) Charlotte

8.St. John’s9.Temple

5.North Carolina12.Wofford Portland

4.Utah13.Valparaiso

6.Arkansas11.Purdue/Miami(FL) Columbus

3.Oklahoma14.New Mexico St

7.Oregon10.Boise St Omaha

2.Wisconsin15.North Carolina Central

EAST

1.Duke16.Montana/Lafayette Charlotte

8.Xavier9.Michigan St

5.West Virginia12.Louisiana Tech Louisville

4Northern Iowa(MVC)13.Yale

6.Butler11.Davidson Columbus

3.Iowa St14.William&Mary

7.San Diego St10.Mississippi Pittsburgh

2.Maryland15.Belmont(OVC)