The Hoops HD Report (Leap Day Special): February 29th

On March Madness Eve with the conference tournaments starting tomorrow, Chad is joined by David, Joby, and John for the final Hoops HD Report of the season.  They will be beginning their nightly Championship Week Video Notebooks on March 1st.  They run through the nine multi-bid leagues and talk about whether or not Oklahoma will hold on to get a #1 seed, Seton Hall’s big win over Xavier and how well they’re playing, how Providence has slipped, how the American has four teams that are right on the bubble, how Stanford and Georgia Tech can still play their way into the field if they’re able to finish strong, how Dayton has slipped, and much more…

 

And for all you radio lovers, below is an mp3 version of the show….

Hoops HD Bracket Projections (David Griggs): February 29th

LINKS

-The bracket below makes no attempts to guess the actual committee.  It is simply what David thinks the field should look like if the season ended today.  To see Jon Teitel’s bracket and seed list, which does guess the committee – CLICK HERE

-For Chad Sherwood’s Under the Radar Game of the Day, as well as the other Highlighted Games – CLICK HERE

 

NOTES FROM DAVID

-This is the last staff bracket that we will post before conference tournaments begin.  The reason I am posting the last bracket is because I am right more than anyone else on the staff.  You’ll see comments below from some of the rest of the staff below, and anyone who makes comments disagree with what I’ve done is wrong!

-The First Four games actually needed to be flipped.  I had Cincinnati and Michigan ahead of Oregon State and Alabama, but if you look at the bracket you’ll notice something very unusual.  All of the 6 v 11 games are on Thursday/Saturday, and all but one of the 5 v 12 games are on Thursday/Saturday.  Oregon State cannot play Arizona, so Cincinnati v Michigan had to go to the one and only Friday/Sunday location.

-I like Texas a lot, and I don’t understand why they’re not getting more love.  I can only assume it’s because of their record, but the majority of their losses have been road losses to protected seeds, and they have some really big wins as well.  I think they’ll end up as a protected seed by the time it’s all over.

-California has made the biggest jump up my seed list over the last few weeks.  The reason for that is simple.  They went from being a team that had good wins at home, but hardly any wins at all on the road to being a team that had good wins at home and some notable road wins to go along with it.

-Seton Hall is another team that should be valued more than they are.  They just knocked off Xavier, and they’re 8-1 in their last nine games.

-The bubble is always weak.  I think we say every year that it is weaker than it was the previous year.  This year is no exception.  The bubble teams from the power conferences that will end up playing their way in will most likely boost their resumes as they go through the rest of the season and conference tournaments.  But, having said that, the exclusion of Louisville and SMU means that two teams will get in that otherwise wouldn’t have, so the bubble will be slightly weaker just for that reason alone.

-I also did something that I know Chad hates.  The projected conference champions are all current first placed teams.

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TEAMS THAT WERE NEXT IN LINE: Saint Bonaventure, George Washington, Gonzaga, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Tulsa, BYU, Florida

 

STAFF COMMENTS

CHAD

-I agree with David on the top 8 teams, and that despite their loss this week Oklahoma belongs as a 1 seed.   I would not, however, have Virginia as a 1 seed.  I know this may sound crazy to some given that they are two games out of first place in their conference, but I really like Michigan State’s overall profile better than anyone other that Kansas, Oklahoma and Villanova.  The Spartans would be on my 1 line right now, but it is admittedly a close call with almost all the 2 seeds in contention for that spot.

-I hate agreeing with David, but he is right about Texas and has them exactly where I think they belong.

-All season long I have had Cal way higher ranked than David.  I am shocked that he has them on the 5 line suddenly (I would argue they are a 6 at best and maybe still a 7).  The Golden Bears still don’t have a win away from home against a team that is in this field.

-VCU not only in but on the 10 line and inside the First Four makes no sense at all.  Yes, they won at G.W., but the Colonials are not an NCAA Tournament team.  The Rams simply have nothing tournament worthy on their profile and are not outright in first place in their conference.  Even if you have them in as an auto-bid winner, they don’t belong above the 12 line.

-Oregon State in the First Four.  I think David and I disagree “slightly” here as I would have them wearing white in the Round of 64.  Three top 20 wins, wins away from home against teams that are in the field or on the bubble (Tulsa and Stanford), 9 Top 100 wins and no bad losses.  There is noone anywhere close to the Bubble with a resume that solid.

-I would have had Michigan out and St. Bonaventure in, but that is a very close call and I fully understand going the other way there.  The other team I would have had in that David left out was Stanford.  I am amazed that David did not even consider them!  The Cardinal have a lot of losses, but they have three Top 20 wins, two more in the Top 50 one of which was on the road, and only one loss outside of the Top 50.  In fact, 10 of their 12 losses were to teams in this field above them, and a 11th was to an SMU team that would also outrank them if they were eligible.  Five wins over teams that are above you in the field and only one loss to a team below you gets you a serious look in my book.

JOHN

-Michigan State and Virginia makes for a fascinating debate – the way things stand right now, I’d personally have Sparty #4 overall and Virginia #5 overall. I just think the Hoos have too many iffy losses (within their conference) for a #1 seed. (I’m also waiting for the punchline from Griggs that losing to Tim Miles doesn’t hurt whatsoever)

-I would also argue that Miami deserves better than a 4 seed; I’d even argue that they could be the last 2-seed with 8 wins (could be 9 if Princeton wins the Ivy) against the NCAA Tournament field and 4 wins against teams that could be protected seeds. The Hurricanes are also a co-leader in the ACC thanks to wins against Virginia and Louisville last week; I think they’re being judged a little harshly after one bad outing at North Carolina.

-I’m also surprised that Arizona isn’t dropping further down the seed list; their only wins against teams that may end up making the field are USC and Oregon State, both of which took place in Tuscon. They have a lot of wins against teams that appear to be in the 51-100 RPI range. Contrast that to a team like California who’s blasting teams left and right in Berkeley regardless of quality. If Arizona can’t beat California or even Stanford at home this week, I’ll be submitting a first ballot that won’t include the Wildcats.

-After getting to see a few NCAA Tournament teams up close and personal yesterday, I’d submit that Seton Hall belongs at least a seed line higher and Monmouth a seed line lower. If Monmouth isn’t hitting their shots, they don’t have the confidence in their inside game that they’ll need to spring an upset in the NCAA Tournament. They’re certainly resilient – Niagara hit an ungodly 28 out of 29 free throws before missing a crucial pair in the final minute yesterday.

-Butler has a lot of work to do to end up as a 9 seed, but they get another shot at home against Seton Hall (and later Marquette) to bolster their profile. Matchups seem to dictate Butler’s level of play; if they face a team like Seton Hall in the Big East tournament, they should be able to get a win. If they match up against a team like Xavier, they’re in trouble.

-I don’t have any problem with the teams that David left out of the field, either. Gonzaga does have a share of the WCC title, but if they finally beat St. Mary’s, they’ll wind up with the auto bid. Lose a 3rd time and they’ll be NIT bound; beating BYU twice won’t be enough this year under such a scenario.

 

Under the Radar Game of the Day (and Other Highlighted Games) – Monday, February 29: Stephen F Austin at Incarnate Word

Under the Radar Game of the Day: Stephen F Austin at Incarnate Word, 7:00 PM Eastern, ASN/free streaming at southland.org

For all your Conference Tournament information and brackets, CLICK HERE.

For the HoopsHD NCAA Tournament Survival Board (324* left), CLICK HERE.

The Pursuit of Perfection.  It may be the tagline for a car manufacturer, but it also could be a reality in the Southland conference this year.  The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks enter play tonight as the only D1 team this is undefeated against its conference, a perfect 15-0 after taking care of Houston Baptist 82-54 over the weekend.  The ‘jacks have three games this week, all on the road, so they will certainly need to earn 18-0.  The road trip begins in San Antonio tonight as they take on the Incarnate Word Cardinals, and will continue Thursday night at Northwestern State and Saturday at their top rival Sam Houston State.  SFA has in fact only lost one conference game over the past three seasons (last year at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi), making them the nation’s most dominant team against their own league.  SFA is nowhere near at-large bid worthy, despite being 22-5 overall, as they are without a single top 100 victory.  However, that will not matter if they keep winning and take the SSLC tourney title for the third straight season.  The Lumberjacks are led by Thomas Walkup who had 17 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists in an earlier 84-46 home win over UIW.  Also keep an eye on Demetrious Floyd who has had 20 or more points in a game 18 times already this season.

Even though SFA cruised in their home win over Incarnate Word earlier this season, this is by no means a guaranteed win for the Lumberjacks tonight.  UIW is currently 15-11 overall and 10-5 in conference play, tied for third place in the standings.  UIW is only in its third of four seasons transitioning up to the Division I level, and therefore ineligible for the Southland, NCAA and NIT tournaments.  However, with a winning record they have a good chance to return to the CIT for the second straight season.  In fact, if not for the successes of the Grand Canyon program that we have highlighted here all season, UIW would be the top transitional program in the country right now as they seek their second straight postseason invite.  The Cardinals hold marquee wins over Nebraska last season and St. John’s this year, showing the head coach Ken Burmeister has done a great job getting this team ready for full D1 play two year from now.  Keep an eye on Kyle Hittle for UIW as he scored 30 points last time out in a win over Lamar.  If he and his teammates can find a way to slow down Walkup, Floyd and the rest of the Lumberjacks, they may just find a way to end SFA’s Pursuit of Perfection.

 

OTHER HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

-OKLAHOMA STATE AT IOWA STATE (Big Twelve).  Iowa State should end up as a protected seed so long as they hold serve and avoid losses to non-tournament teams the rest of the way.

-SYRACUSE AT NORTH CAROLINA.  UNC is pretty much on pace to get a protected seed, and Syracuse is pretty much locked in to the field, but could really give their resume and seed a boost if they’re able to pick up a big road win like this.

-CHATTANOOGA AT VMI (SoCon).  I don’t think Chattanooga will make the NCAAs without the automatic bid, but they’ll probably at least get a look if they win out and lose late in the SoCon Tournament.  This is also the final game of the SoCon season, though the matchups for the conference tournament have already been locked in.  The only thing this game will decide is whether VMI wears their home or road jerseys when they take on Samford in the 8 vs 9 game.

-KANSAS AT TEXAS (Big Twelve).  Kansas will likely be #1 when this game tips off, but this will not be a cakewalk.  Texas just beat Oklahoma at home over the weekend, and they’ve been playing fantastically well.  This was a competitive game the first time these two met, and it wouldn’t shock me if Texas pulled this one off.

-SURVIVAL BOARD GAMES: Lamar will be eliminated with a loss tonight at home to McNeese State.  Nicholls State will be eliminated with a loss tonight at home to New Orleans plus wins by McNeese State (at Lamar) and Northwestern State (at Southeastern Louisiana).

 

Bracketology 2016: March Madness Predictions (Version 9.0)

We are only 2 weeks away from Selection Sunday as we continue to make our NCAA tourney predictions. Last March HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel correctly picked 66 of the 68 teams that made the tourney, including 62 right on the money or within 1 spot of their actual seed. He will spend the next 2 weeks predicting which 68 teams will hear their names called on Selection Sunday, with new updates each week. See below for his list of who would make the cut if they picked the field today, and let us know if you agree or disagree in the comments section. To compare how we stack up with other websites, check out: www.bracketmatrix.com.

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SEED: TEAM (CONFERENCE)
1: Kansas (Big 12)
1: Villanova (Big East)
1: Xavier (Big East)
1: Virginia (ACC)

2: Oklahoma (Big 12)
2: North Carolina (ACC)
2: Michigan State (Big 10)
2: Miami Florida (ACC)

3: Oregon (Pac-12)
3: West Virginia (Big 12)
3: Maryland (Big 10)
3: Duke (ACC)

4: Iowa (Big 10)
4: Kentucky (SEC)
4: Utah (Pac-12)
4: Iowa State (Big 12)

5: Texas A&M (SEC)
5: Indiana (Big 10)
5: Baylor (Big 12)
5: Purdue (Big 10)

6: Texas (Big 12)
6: Arizona (Pac-12)
6: Notre Dame (ACC)
6: Dayton (A-10)

7: California (Pac-12)
7: Texas Tech (Big 12)
7: South Carolina (SEC)
7: Wisconsin (Big 10)

8: St. Joseph’s (A-10)
8: USC (Pac-12)
8: Colorado (Pac-12)
8: Connecticut (AAC)

9: Seton Hall (Big East)
9: Providence (Big East)
9: Wichita State (MVC)
9: Pitt (ACC)

10: Oregon State (Pac-12)
10: Syracuse (ACC)
10: Florida (SEC)
10: Cincinnati (AAC)

11: Michigan (Big 10)
11: Tulsa (AAC)
11: Vanderbilt (SEC)
11: Butler (Big East)
11: St. Mary’s (WCC)
11: Temple (AAC)

12: San Diego State (MWC)
12: Monmouth (MAAC)
12: Arkansas Little-Rock (Sun Belt)
12: Valparaiso (Horizon)

13: Stony Brook (America East)
13: Chattanooga (SoCon)
13: Yale (Ivy)
13: Akron (MAC)

14: Hawaii (Big West)
14: UNC-Wilmington (CAA)
14: UAB (CUSA)
14: IPFW (Summit)

15: Stephen F. Austin (Southland)
15: Belmont (OVC)
15: New Mexico State (WAC)
15: Winthrop (Big South)

16: Weber State (Big Sky)
16: North Florida (Atlantic Sun)
16: Bucknell (Patriot)
16: Wagner (NEC)
16: Texas Southern (SWAC)
16: Hampton (MEAC)

CONFERENCE: # OF TEAMS
AAC: 4
America East: 1
ACC: 7
Atlantic Sun: 1
A-10: 2
Big East: 5
Big Sky: 1
Big South: 1
Big 10: 7
Big 12: 7
Big West: 1
CAA: 1
CUSA: 1
Horizon: 1
Ivy: 1
MAAC: 1
MAC: 1
MEAC: 1
MVC: 1
MWC: 1
NEC: 1
OVC: 1
Pac-12: 7
Patriot: 1
SEC: 5
SoCon: 1
Southland: 1
SWAC: 1
Summit: 1
Sun Belt: 1
WCC: 1
WAC: 1

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News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Sunday, Feb 28th

NEWS AND NOTES

-Folks, the conference tournaments haven’t actually begun yet, but the win-and-advance stage of the season sort of has.  The Survival Board, which is the #1 most valued and relied upon resource that is available to the Selection Committee, is now in full force with a team or two coming off it each day.  You can check that out by CLICKING HERE

-In addition to that, several conferences have completed their seasons, and their tournaments are already set.  We have complete information in the match-ups, as well as the dates and times for each conference tournament.  All you need to do is CLICK HERE

-For Chad Sherwood’s Under the Radar Game of the Day, which has CENTENARY AWARD Implications – CLICK HERE 

-I’ve really liked Texas for weeks now, and yesterday they picked up a huge home win against Oklahoma.  Since I think they’re playing like a protected seed, the win wasn’t that shocking.  It definitely helps their profile, though.

-North Carolina still doesn’t have a true road win against a team that’s anywhere close to being a protected seed.  Although they played well at Virginia yesterday, they didn’t win it.  I think teams need at least one of those to be considered a slam dunk for a #1 seed.  UNC is good, and definitely talented, but they don’t have that massive road win yet.

-Utah picked up a huge win at home against Arizona, who has now dropped to straight.  I’m beginning to think Utah is probably going to end up as a protected seed when you look at how well they’ve played down the stretch.

-Maryland came into yesterday with their best win away from home being at Wisconsin, and that came at a time when Wiscy wasn’t playing too well.  Well, after yesterday’s loss at Purdue, that’s still their best win.  I don’t see them getting up on the #1 or #2 line without at least one big road win, and right now they don’t have it.  They look more like a #4 or #5 seed than a #1 or #2 seed based on how they’ve played on the road.

-Vanderbilt continues to get closer and closer to our bubble, and they picked up another big win against Kentucky yesterday.  Kentucky hasn’t exactly been a road warrior this year, but it’s still a nice win for a Vandy team that’s been fairly disappointing this year, but is now beginning to make a case for themselves.

-Notre Dame went down to Florida State yesterday, and must have gone to the beach instead of showing up at the game.  FSU, who has not looked good at all recently, absolutely ran them off the floor, which is the kind of result they needed considering they had been slipping out of the picture.

-Temple really does look good at times.  Yesterday was not one of those times.  They did win, against UCF, at home, by two, but I guess they won and that’s what’s important.

-Dayton has not looked good at all these past two weeks, and they got absolutely boat raced at home by a Rhode Island team that’s nowhere near the field.  Dayton is in free fall mode right now.

-VCU got a much needed road win against a George Washington team yesterday.  Both teams were on the bubble, both really needed it, and VCU came out with it.

-San Diego State missed seven straight freethrows down the stretch, and fell at home to Boise State 66-63.  San Diego State had clinched first place, but their profile is still really weak, so they’ll likely need to win the automatic bid in order to make the field.

-Florida desperately needed to win at LSU yesterday.  Florida did not win at LSU today.  I think Florida is now in serious trouble.

 

HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

-PENN STATE AT MICHIGAN STATE (Big Ten).  Michigan State could still end up as high as the #1 line depending on how strong they finish.

-XAVIER AT SETON HALL (Big East).  Xavier is coming off their big win against Villanova, but they better get their feet back on the ground because Seton Hall has been playing really well lately, and this is a showcase game for a team that will likely make the tournament, and perhaps definitely will if they pick up this win.

-HOUSTON AT UCONN (American).  UConn is inside the bubble for now and will stay that way so long as they hold serve, but they’re by no means a lock.  They don’t want to end the season by dropping multiple games to non-tournament teams.

-SAINT LOUIS AT SAINT JOSEPH’S (Atlantic Ten).  Saint Joe’s should be okay so long as they avoid bad losses, and a loss today would be a very bad loss.

-DUKE AT PITTSBURGH (ACC).  These two teams appear to be going in the wrong direction.  Duke is now looking like a protected seed, and another road win will help strengthen the case that they are.  Pitt has hit the skids somewhat and could use a notable win to pull them out of it.

-VALPARAISO AT GREEN BAY (Horizon League).  I don’t think Valpo has any shot at an at-large bid, but I suppose they’ll at least get a look if they win out.

-TULSA AT MEMPHIS (American).  Tulsa is a fringe bubble team that needs to finish strong.  A road win at Memphis isn’t the best win that a team can pick up, but any road win against a team with any sort of a pulse helps.

-IOWA AT OHIO STATE (Big Ten).  Iowa is a solid protected seed and this is the type of road win that protected seeds are expected to be able to get.  Ohio State is outside the bubble and is a long way from reaching it.  If they want any shot at all they pretty much need to win out.

-ARIZONA STATE AT COLORADO (Pac Twelve).  Colorado picked up a big win earlier this week against Arizona, which helped a ton, and they shouldn’t have too much trouble winning today.

-NIAGARA AT MONMOUTH (Metro Atlantic).  Monmouth is right on the bubble, and a loss today will almost assure that their only way in is the automatic bid.  Even a win today doesn’t guarantee them a spot.

-MICHIGAN AT WISCONSIN (Big Ten).  I love how Wisconsin has been playing and expect that they’ll pick up a few more big wins between now and then end.  Michigan is very close to the bubble, and although it’s a tall order a win in a game like this would make a world of difference.

-WASHINGTON STATE AT OREGON STATE (Pac Twelve).  Oregon State is still in contention for a bid, and we believe they’re right on the cut line so they don’t want to drop a home game like this one.

-USC AT CALIFORNIA (Pac Twelve).  Both teams are safely inside the field, and both are likely in on the initial ballot, but both have room to improve their resume and therefore improve upon their overall seed.

-WASHINGTON AT OREGON (Pac Twelve).  Washington is squarely on the bubble, and a win in a game like this will make a huge difference on whether or not they make it.  Oregon is looking like a solid protected seed and they’ll stay that way so long as they hold serve.

Under the Radar Game of the Day – Sunday, February 27: Texas-Rio Grande Valley at Chicago State

Under the Radar Game of the Day: Texas-Rio Grande Valley at Chicago State, 5:00 PM Eastern, ASN

The Centenary Award (click here for details on it) may be decided today in Chicago.  Although the UTR Game of the Day normally focuses in on the top teams from the Under the Radar conferences, this afternoon we are looking at a couple of the bottom ones.  Chicago State enters play today with a record of 4-25 overall and 0-12 in WAC play.  Three of their four victories came against non-D1 competition, making the Cougars the only teams in the nation with only 1 Division I win.  In fact, every team in the nation has at least three Division I victories this year, other than Chicago State.  The Cougars struggles have them in prime position to win this year’s Centenary Award, though to lock it up, they must find a way to avoid a victory at home today against UTRGV — and given that KenPom actually predicts the Cougars will win today, losing the game will not be easy.

UTRGV enters the game today with a record of 7-20 overall (4-20 versus Division I) and 3-9 in WAC play.  The Vaqueros won the first meeting between these two teams back on January 14 by an 82-72 score.  Antonio Green led the way in that victory, scoring 21 points, while Shaquille Hines added 10 points and 14 rebounds.  The Vaqueros are winless on the road so far this season, though today’s game is clearly their best chance for a win away from home on the season.  A win will also move UTRGV a game ahead of UMKC in the conference standings and into sole possession of 5th place as we head into the final week of the conference season.