News, Notes and Highlighted Games – Tuesday, January 31

For Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day between Boise State and Colorado State – CLICK HERE.

For the weekly Hoops HD podcast featuring Hoops HD Chairman Emeritus Kyle Lamb – CLICK HERE.

For Jon Teitel’s weekly Bracket Projection (as he guesses the Selection Committee) – CLICK HERE.

For Chad Sherwood’s weekly Bracket Projection (as he personally sees fit) – CLICK HERE.

Yesterday, there were a pair of significant developments in college hoops. The major development off the court was confirmation of Xavier’s Edmond Sumner being diagnosed with a torn ACL in his knee during Sunday’s game against St. John’s. Needless to say, all of the Hoops HD panel wishes him (and Creighton’s Mo Watson Jr.) the best during his rehab.

On the floor last night, the biggest game was in South Bend – Duke was able to get their 2nd straight road win after being exiled from their locker room by an ailing Coach K. The Blue Devils won 84-74 in a game they led most of the way. Notre Dame did mount a 2nd half comeback when Luke Kennard got into foul trouble and got as close as 1 point. They could neither tie nor take the lead, and now the Irish suddenly have 3 consecutive losses in the ACC.

In the Big 12, Oklahoma State has now won 4 in a row after their win in the first leg of the Bedlam Rivalry last night. It was their first win at Oklahoma since 2004 (also the same year the Cowboys last made it to the Final 4).

Most of the UTR conferences had their leaders win without too much difficulty – Belmont, NC Central, Monmouth, Texas Southern, and Florida Gulf Coast all won last night. The Sun Belt featured the top 3 teams (Georgia Southern, UT-Arlington and Arkansas State) all on the road last night, and only the Red Wolves of Arkansas State came out victorious last night – they won at Louisiana-Lafayette to claim a share of the conference lead. UT-Arlington came up short at Coastal Carolina, and Georgia Southern got bounced at Troy.

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHTED GAMES (all times Eastern)

MISSISSIPPI STATE at OLE MISS (SEC, 7 PM – SEC Network) – This is the first Egg Bowl matchup between Mississippi’s resident SEC schools tonight. The Rebels nearly knocked off Baylor over the weekend, but need to rack up wins in a hurry if they want to be even discussed as far as potential NCAA Tournament teams go. Ditto for Mississippi State, although they’re further down in the pecking order.

IOWA at RUTGERS (Big 10, 7 PM – BTN) – Iowa won the earlier matchup in Iowa City, but Rutgers has shown themselves to be a tough out at home. Will there be a letdown after their near miss at the Garden against Wisconsin?

MARYLAND at OHIO STATE (Big 10, 7 PM – ESPN) – The Terps are still undefeated away from home, but face a desperate Ohio State team still looking for wins of any sort in the conference. They’ve already lost at home to Purdue and Northwestern. Maryland is looking to play its way up into protected seed territory.

PITTSBURGH at NORTH CAROLINA (ACC, 7 PM – ESPN2) – Poor Pitt. We’ve already seen what Louisville can do to a wounded animal, and UNC is not going to be in a good mood at all after losing to Miami on the road over the weekend.

WAKE FOREST at BOSTON COLLEGE (ACC, 7 PM – ESPNU) – If Wake Forest has a hangover from their come-from-ahead loss at home against Duke, they will be on major upset alert at Chestnut Hill. The computers/metrics love the Demon Deacons, but their profile is not yet in line with those rankings in the eyes of the Hoops HD panel.

GEORGE WASHINGTON at RHODE ISLAND (A-10, 7 PM – CBS Sports Network) – The Telltale Heart of the Atlantic 10 comes in the form of the Rhode Island Rams – they have a pulse, but barely. They already have a home loss to La Salle in conference play and absolutely must hold serve at home against the Colonials.

CREIGHTON at BUTLER (Big East, 7 PM – FS1) – Speaking of teams in a bad mood, Butler is coming off their first loss at Hinkle Fieldhouse since last February. Creighton momentarily stopped the bleeding with a win at home against DePaul, but they will need to play on another level if they’re going to steal a win in Indy tonight. Butler is still playing for a shot at winning the Big East regular season crown.

TEMPLE at TULANE (American, 8 PM – ESPN News) – Not exactly sure why I highlighted this game, but it is also part of national TV viewing for tonight.

AKRON at NORTHERN ILLINOIS (MAC, 8 PM – ESPN3) – The Zips are halfway home to running through the table in the MAC, although the Huskies have been a very tough out at home this season. If they pass tonight’s test, their toughest remaining games will be at Eastern Michigan, Ohio and Kent State.

TENNESSEE at AUBURN (SEC, 9 PM – SEC Network) – The Vols have put themselves in the discussion after very pivotal wins at home against Kentucky and Kansas State last week. Now they need to prove they can win in hostile environments – their old friend Bruce Pearl awaits them at Toomer’s Corner tonight.

GEORGIA at KENTUCKY (SEC, 9 PM – ESPN) – For the last time, you are looking live at Brent Musburger calling a game on TV. Kentucky will not be in nearly as hospitable a mood after losing back-to-back games against Tennessee and Kansas.

VANDERBILT at TEXAS A&M (SEC, 9 PM – ESPNU) – A pair of hard-luck teams meet up in College Station tonight, but neither team is in any serious postseason mode right now.

WISCONSIN at ILLINOIS (Big 10, 9 PM – BTN) – The Badgers will be on upset alert tonight as they go to the State Farm Spaceship in Champaign tonight. The Illini are running out of chances to get quality B1G wins, and a loss will put them even further behind other bubble teams.

WEST VIRGINIA at IOWA STATE (Big 12, 9 PM – ESPN2) – Will Hilton Magic be on hand tonight for Iowa State? They’re 5-3 in the Big 12, but they face a critical week with both West Virginia and Kansas on the schedule. However, as Oklahoma State will attest, teams like the Mountaineers aren’t fazed in road environments for the most part.

DAYTON at FORDHAM (A-10, 9 PM – CBS Sports Network) – The Flyers will also be on upset alert tonight as they venture into the Bronx to play Fordham. The Rams already knocked off VCU at home, but historically have also struggled against Dayton, home or away. A Dayton loss would put them on the wrong side of the bubble for the foreseeable future.

GEORGETOWN at DEPAUL (Big East, 9 PM – FS1) – Joby’s Nitty Gritty rankings briefly had Georgetown as the last team in the field (before Oklahoma State’s win last night), so we highlight this game to see whether or not the league’s resident Rasputin is able to get Georgetown on a 3-game winning streak.

WYOMING at SAN DIEGO STATE (Mountain West, 11 PM – CBS Sports Network) – You are indeed a rabid hoops fan if you can make it awake through this game tonight.

Under the Radar Game of the Day: Boise State at Colorado State

Boise State at Colorado State, 9:00 PM Eastern, espn3

For our latest HoopsHD Report video, CLICK HERE.

With the Mountain West Conference heading towards its second consecutive single-bid season, we here at Hoops HD decided earlier this year to relegate the entire conference down to “Under the Radar” classification.  As such, it would be a mistake not to highlight a few of their games this season in our Under the Radar Game of the Day, and tonight is the perfect opportunity as the two teams currently tied for second place, one game behind Nevada, face off in Fort Collins, Colorado.  The host Colorado State Rams enter play tonight at 14-8 overall and 6-3 in MWC play, including a road win this past weekend at San Diego State.  The Rams, who only used 7 players in that game, were led by Gian Clavell (37 points and 8 rebounds) and Emmanuel Omogbo (24 points and 9 rebounds).  Clavell hit the game-winning shot with under 5 seconds left to give the Rams their first win at Viejas in 14 years.  If the Rams can continue to play as well as they did on Saturday for the rest of the season, they have a real chance to challenge for the conference regular season title.  However, depth may prove to be an issue, especially when it comes time to play three games in three days in the conference tournament.

The visiting Boise State Broncos are currently 13-7 overall and 6-3 in league play.  They picked up a 15 point win at Wyoming this past weekend.  Chandler Hutchison had 14 points in the win, which was actually one of his lower point totals so far this season.  He has topped the 20 point mark nine times this season including a 23 point effort last week in a loss to Nevada.  The Broncos picked up a home win over Colorado State back on December 31 by one point, 74-73.  Hutchison had a double-double in that win, with 20 points and 11 rebounds, including the game winning three pointer.  If tonight’s game is anywhere close to as good as they first matchup between these teams, it will definitely be worth the watch!

 

The Hoops HD Report: January 30th

Kyle Lamb joins the panel, and they begin by discussing the different types of college basketball power rankings metrics.  Each panelist discusses whether or not each member values them, how they go about implementing them, and how they feel the selection committee uses them.  From there, they review some of the big games from the weekend, including Kansas’s huge win at Rupp Arena, and Villanova’s thriller over a Virginia team that, despite the loss, is looking better and better.  From there they run through all of the multi-bid leagues and touch on Gonzaga’s #1 rankings, UCLA’s recent struggles, the big game coming up between Kansas and Baylor, Kentucky’s two straight losses, the strength of the ACC, Xavier’s and Creighton’s issues with injuries, and much more.

 

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

Bracket Projection – January 30, 2017

Below is Chad’s Bracket Projection through all games played on January 29, 2017 and notes regarding same.  Scroll down below the bracket for comments from other staff here at Hoops HD and replies.

NOTES

– Baylor was my #1 overall team, followed closely by Villanova, Kansas and Gonzaga.  In the end, it did not make too much of a difference as the Regions each would play in are clear, especially with Baylor being closer to Memphis and Kansas to Kansas City.

– Kentucky’s 0-2 week (and moreso the Tennessee loss than the Kansas one) dropped them down to the 3 line for now.  With a lot of wins likely ahead in the SEC, I can see them easily getting back to the 2 line, if not higher.

– Oregon has done nothing of note on the road, and added their worst loss of the season at Colorado this weekend.  I had them as my #17 team overall, but they are outside of the “Protected Seed” range for now.

– Creighton is the toughest team to seed as their resume would warrant a much higher spot than the 8 line.  However, until they prove to me that they can beat a quality opponent without Mo Watson, I just can’t move them higher than this.

– Everyone from the 9 line down had me holding my nose.  I can make a case for each of those teams that they do not deserve an at-large bid.  But I had to put teams in.

– Tennessee, on the strength of the Kentucky win, found their way into my field.  They and Oklahoma State are two of the fastest rising teams right now.  If they can keep winning the games they are supposed to win, they have a great chance to be in the Dance.

– I brought VCU back into my field off of their home win over Dayton.  I still do not like their profile much, but there they are.  They were my second to last team in, just ahead of Texas Tech.

– My top four teams out, in order, were Miami, Wichita State, California and Wake Forest.  My next four were Michigan, Georgia, Utah and Auburn.  I also very generously considered TCU, Rhode Island, Memphis, Georgetown, Pitt, Providence, Illinois, Ohio State, Alabama, Houston and Syracuse.

– My favorite matchup in this bracket is the first round game in the Midwest between Kansas State and South Carolina, Frank Martin’s current and former teams.  I also set up a potential Villanova-Virginia rematch in the East Region Final.  After watching Sunday’s thriller between the two teams, I don’t think anyone would mind seeing that rematch.  Marquette and Virginia fans might not like the idea of Clemson being a 10 seed and playing in Greenville, but the rules not only allow, but in this case would support that positioning.

 

COMMENTS FROM DAVID

-I really hate agreeing with Chad, but there isn’t too much here to disagree with.

-UNC Wilmington is on his #11 line, and I’m assuming they’re inside his bubble because he has a First Four game on the #12 line.  Like I said, I hate agreeing with Chad, but I do agree with this despite their loss at William & Mary on Saturday.  I don’t know how the real committee will analyze that, and I’m not sure how Chad analyzed it either, but my thinking is that one conference loss throughout an entire season still demonstrates dominance.  Whether they run the table or lose one game, they’ve still demonstrated an ability to dominate the league, and still deserve to be placed inside the bubble if you felt they should have been there before.

-I really like this Virginia team.  They didn’t get it done at Villanova, but they almost did.  They have two road wins against protected seeds already, which indicates that they are a #1 seed caliber team.  I think it’s also important to note that there are games during the regular season that are more difficult to win than any NCAA Tournament game a team will play.  If you think about it, it’s harder to beat a #1 seed on their floor than it is to beat them on a neutral floor.  So, when a team plays a game that’s harder to win than any NCAA Tournament game, I tend to not hold it against them at all if they lose.  It’s probably statistically more likely for a team to make the Final Four, or even win it all, than it is for them to win a single game at Villanova, or Kansas, or maybe one or two other places.  Villanova is unbeaten at home this year, I believe only had one home loss last year, and was unbeaten the year before.  In fact, Nova is 57-2 at home in their last 59 games, and it’s not like they’ve been playing cupcakes either.  So, when a team like Virginia goes and loses a game like that, I kind of just throw it off the profile and treat it as a net zero loss.  You can’t hold a loss against a team when the game they lost was harder to win than any NCAA Tournament game that they’ll play.  And…Virginia ALMOST won it!!  Look out for the Hoos down the stretch.  They’re not currently on Chad’s #1 line, but a case could be made that they belong up there, and I think by the end of the year they’ll be a #1 seed.

-Georgia Tech is scattershot depending on how one chooses to evaluate them.  Their team sheet actually looks pretty good (by bubble team standards).  They have eight losses, but four are two likely protected seeds, and three others were on the road to teams that aren’t great, but are at least decent at home.  And they have good wins, most notably against North Carolina, Florida State, and now Notre Dame.  They also have road wins against VCU and NC State.  If you were to tell someone that about just any team, they’d tell you they were in the field for sure.  But, the power ratings don’t like Georgia Tech.  There are various reasons why, but the biggest is their margin for victory, or to put it more accurately their margin of defeat.  In some of Georgia Tech’s losses, they certainly did not mess around when it came to losing the games.  I personally begin with wins and losses.  I’m not a Vegas oddsmaker.  I’m an assessor of merit, so I like Georgia Tech.  Others on the Hoops HD staff assess the overall strength and potential of a team, and they cannot stand Georgia Tech.  Conference standings aren’t determined by where a team is in the power rankings.  They’re determined on the merit of wins and losses.  Winning is what advances a team in the tournament, and losing is what knocks a team out of it.  When you look at Georgia Tech’s wins and losses, they look like they belong in.  Hence, I agree with his selection.  I do like the power rankings, including the Elo Chess rankings that are seldom used, but I like them almost as a secondary tool.  By that I mean I don’t look at a power ranking to determine a specific team’s merit, but rather to determine the merits of the teams that have played a specific team.  In other words, if a team is high in the power rankings, I’ll use that reference to give credit to the teams that have beaten them.  Perhaps this would be good dialogue for a podcast!!

-And, I really hate agreeing with Chad.  He’s wrong about a lot of things.  I just don’t have time to get into any more of it.

 

COMMENTS FROM JOHN

– I don’t have too much of a problem with Chad’s first 3 lines, but it looks like Chad is not going to agree with the Puppet as far as Big Ten teams like Maryland and Wisconsin having bloated records. Like Butler, Maryland has a couple of baffling losses (both of which were at home, unlike Butler). The Terps are a perfect 8-0 away from home, including wins against Kansas State, Georgetown, Michigan and Minnesota.

– It was easy to see why I was accused of making a recency pick with Cincinnati, but I’d still argue that they deserve a protected seed. They’re not necessarily blowing teams away in the American like Gonzaga is in the WCC, but only SMU has shown they can legitimately beat Cincinnati so far. Their best wins out-of-conference were at Iowa State (historically a very tough place to win) and against Xavier at home. There’s no shame in losing at Butler, and the only other loss was against Rhode Island at the Mohegan Sun. Their toughest remaining games are at Tulsa, at SMU, at UCF, at home against Memphis and at UConn. If they stay unbeaten and win at SMU, I’d say their ceiling is a 2 seed. (And note to UC students – you are allowed to go to other home games this year, not just the Shootout!)

– On the other hand, while Chad did give Oregon a brief penalty for losing to Colorado, he did show some mercy by sending them to Sacramento. However, giving them Akron and possibly next-door neighbor Nevada may be a little punitive. They did win at Utah, and Colorado was the first game they lost with most of their full lineup in game shape.

– I believe it was on their BTN telecast last night where someone said that Northwestern won six B1G games in a row for the first time in 8 decades. They’re about to enter their toughest 4-game stretch of the season with road games at Purdue and Wisconsin and home games against Illinois and Maryland. Even a 2-2 record would justify keeping Northwestern this high at the 6-line. If they can somehow steal a win at either Purdue or Wisconsin – let me ask Northwestern fans this: Would you prefer Milwaukee or Indianapolis?

– I know they’re in a tailspin without Watson, but I still get the feeling Chad is rushing to punish Creighton. Winning at Butler would be gravy, but the big game this week is at home against Xavier. Sadly, Watson AND Edmond Sumner both have torn ACLs (Sumner’s injury was confirmed by Xavier this afternoon), and Xavier is now going to have to prove that they can win without Edmond Summer thanks to his season-ending injury against the Johnnies. The silver lining for Xavier is that their freshman PG Quentin Goodin has been improving quite a bit from the beginning of the year, but he’s about to face a major test this week with pressure teams like Seton Hall (home) and Creighton (away).

– With his 10-line, Chad will be setting off a firestorm among our committee with teams like Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State and Clemson. Georgia Tech has some nice wins and some respectable losses, but the computers do NOT like this team at all. I would have waited a couple of weeks before putting Oklahoma State in the field, but they have recovered nicely after starting 0-6 in the Big 12. I don’t remember the last time a program started that awful in conference play (albeit with a frontloaded schedule) and got an at-large bid, if ever. We can ask our resident historian Kyle Lamb when he appears on tonight’s podcast.

– I’m also laughing that Chad is so impressed with Clemson’s win at Pitt to put them on the 10-line. Suddenly, Miami (who also won handily at Pitt) doesn’t look as bad after decisively beating North Carolina at home. The Canes don’t really have any bad losses – losing at Syracuse and at Wake Forest isn’t as bad as what other bubble teams have. (Next year, could you at least schedule some better buy games? A noncon SOS of 249 is not good, but still not as offensive as Chad’s Texas Tech pick).

– The other elephant in the room is Chad’s Tennessee pick for his field. Their overall record is hideous (and this is without Michigan Agricultural College on their unis), but having a noncon SOS of 10 is something valuable to have in your back pocket. I applaud them for scheduling tough in-state opponents like Chattanooga and East Tennessee State. However, their only opportunities the rest of the way to get signature wins will be at Kentucky and at South Carolina. If they can’t win either of those 2 games, they’d better run the table the rest of the way (especially when your other road games are at Auburn, Mississippi State and LSU). Don’t overlook Georgia, Vandy or Alabama at home, either.

– I don’t have any issues with his autobid placement this week.

Under the Radar Game of the Day: North Carolina Central at Delaware State (and Other Highlighted Games)

North Carolina Central at Delaware State, 7:30 PM Eastern, Delaware State YouTube Channel

The North Carolina Central Eagles went 9-5 in non-conference play including winning a game at Missouri.  They were the only team in the MEAC to enter conference play with a winning record overall and had power ratings well over 100 spots better than anyone else in the league.  With those results and numbers, we expected the Eagles to run through this conference on their way to the NCAA Tournament automatic bid.  That is why it was such a surprise when, back on January 10, they were upset at home by Delaware State, 69-68.  Tonight, in Dover, Delaware, the two teams will meet again in a rematch as the Eagles will attempt to avenge their lone conference loss while the Hornets try to shock the MEAC again.

North Carolina Central is currently 14-6 overall and 5-1 in MEAC play, half a game behind 6-1 Morgan State.  They remain the only MEAC team with a winning overall record and remain our favorite to capture the conference title.  The Eagles are led offensively by seniors Patrick Cole and Dajuan Graf.  Cole scored 27 points last time out in a win over North Carolina A&T, while Graf added a double-double, 11 points and 10 assists.

Delaware State enters play tonight at 5-17 overall and 2-5 in the MEAC.  Only three of their wins have been against D1 competition — and all three were on the road, including the win at NC Central and an earlier win at St. John’s!  Sophomore Devin Morgan was a key in both the St. John’s and North Carolina Central wins.  His 26 points against the Johnnies led the team.  Tonight, Morgan and his teammates will look to beat a Division I opponent at home for the first time, and secure the amazing season sweep of NC Central.  The MEAC has historically had some of the wildest conference tournaments, and this may just be a preview of the 2017 edition if the upset occurs again.

 

OTHER HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

-DUKE AT NOTRE DAME (ACC).  Duke just picked up a big road win against Wake that will help their paper, but perhaps more importantly will help their morale.  They’ve got a very tough road test tonight against a Notre Dame team that’s gunning for a protected seed.

-OKLAHOMA STATE AT OKLAHOMA (Big Twelve).  BEDLAM!!!!!!  This is always a great rivalry.  This edition features an Oklahoma team that’s playing better, but probably too far outside the bubble to reach it at this point, and an Oklahoma State team that is squarely on the bubble, which means every game they play has a pivotal feel to it.

Bracketology 2017: March Madness Predictions (Version 5.0)

We are only 6 weeks away from Selection Sunday as we continue to make our NCAA tourney predictions. Last March HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel correctly picked 65 of the 68 teams that made the tourney, each of which was within 1 spot of their actual seed, including 37 right on the money. He will spend the upcoming months predicting which 68 teams will hear their names called on Selection Sunday. 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 see how we stack up with other websites (ranked 3rd out of 88 entries over the past 3 years), check out: www.bracketmatrix.com

SEED: TEAM (CONFERENCE)
1: Villanova (Big East)
1: Baylor (Big 12)
1: Kansas (Big 12)
1: Gonzaga (WCC)

2: Kentucky (SEC)
2: North Carolina (ACC)
2: Arizona (Pac-12)
2: Florida State (ACC)

3: Louisville (ACC)
3: Butler (Big East)
3: Virginia (ACC)
3: Oregon (Pac-12)

4: UCLA (Pac-12)
4: West Virginia (Big 12)
4: Wisconsin (Big 10)
4: Creighton (Big East)

5: Cincinnati (AAC)
5: Notre Dame (ACC)
5: Purdue (Big 10)
5: Duke (ACC)

6: Florida (SEC)
6: Maryland (Big 10)
6: South Carolina (SEC)
6: St. Mary’s (WCC)

7: Xavier (Big East)
7: SMU (AAC)
7: Northwestern (Big 10)
7: Minnesota (Big 10)

8: USC (Pac-12)
8: Virginia Tech (ACC)
8: Dayton (A-10)
8: Indiana (Big 10)

9: Marquette (Big East)
9: Iowa State (Big 12)
9: Arkansas (SEC)
9: Kansas State (Big 12)

10: TCU (Big 12)
10: Michigan State (Big 10)
10: Clemson (ACC)
10: VCU (A-10)

11: Seton Hall (Big East)
11: Michigan (Big 10)
11: Wichita State (MVC)
11: Wake Forest (ACC)
11: Miami FL (ACC)
11: Middle Tennessee (CUSA)

12: UNC-Wilmington (CAA)
12: Illinois State (MVC)
12: Nevada (MWC)
12: Akron (MAC)

13: Valparaiso (Horizon)
13: New Mexico State (WAC)
13: Monmouth (MAAC)
13: Vermont (America East)

14: East Tennessee State (SoCon)
14: Belmont (OVC)
14: Winthrop (Big South)
14: Princeton (Ivy)

15: Florida Gulf Coast (Atlantic Sun)
15: Georgia Southern (Sun Belt)
15: North Dakota State (Summit)
15: Bucknell (Patriot)

16: Texas Southern (SWAC)
16: Weber State (Big Sky)
16: UC Irvine (Big West)
16: NC Central (MEAC)
16: New Orleans (Southland)
16: Mount St. Mary’s (NEC)