With the holiday break set to conclude for many NCAA schools today, it is now John Stalica’s turn this week to submit a staff bracket this week for Hoops HD. This is a checkpoint of games played through the Diamond Head Classic that concluded last night with USC knocking off New Mexico State in the closing seconds. It was an opportunity for USC, for example, to help fortify a profile that had fallen on hard times in recent weeks. For New Mexico State, it gave the Aggies a window to bring their profile close to at-large status. Beating Miami was huge, but they missed an opportunity to add a USC win to a profile that won’t have any more chances at quality wins in the WAC.
A team like North Carolina certainly stubbed its toe a little bit with the Wofford home loss, but they still have a lot of solid wins on their profile (including a win at Tennessee that is looking more and more significant by the day). Oklahoma has also shot up the seed list in recent weeks, and they will have opportunities every single game the rest of the way to look like a protected seed after a one-year hiatus from the NCAA Tournament.
St. Bonaventure got itself a much needed win at Syracuse to give the A-10 a much-needed 2nd team into the NCAA field. The Bonnies’ highlights are wins at Syracuse and against Maryland on a neutral court. While the computers love teams like St. John’s and Missouri so far, I’d love to see how their successes so far will translate in conference play.
And with that in mind, here is the bracket: