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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My guess at the current bracket (Part 2)

Yesterday I did the 1-4 seeds.  Those really weren't too difficult as most anyone can identify the top teams in the nation. Now we start to get into teams who are finishing in the middle of their respective conferences which can be a little more challenging to sort out.

5's
1. Louisville (20-7, 9-5) - Game on Sunday vs. Pitt will say a lot about this team.
2. Vanderbilt (20-6, 8-4) - SEC stinks but Vandy has wins over UNC, St. Mary's, Marquette, Belmont, and Nebraska in non-conference play.
3. St. John's (17-9, 9-5) - Do huge home wins (G'town, ND, Duke, UConn, Pitt) offset bad road loss to Fordham (RPI 246)?  I think so.
4. Syracuse (23-6, 10-6) - Last night's win inches them closer to Louisville. This is the most tightly bunched teams of any seed line in my opinion. A win over Georgetown this week clinches a 5 for them.

6's
1. Kentucky (19-7, 7-5) - Wildcats are 5-5 vs. RPI top 50 and 7-7 vs. RPI top 100. 
2. West Virginia (17-9, 8-6) - Have played nine games against RPI top 25 and are 4-5 in those games. Teams that hold their own this well are worthy of a mid-seed.
3. Xavier (21-6, 12-1) - Hitting their stride at the right time. Teams that finish well are rewarded by the committee.
4. Texas A&M (21-5, 8-4) - Their qualification isn't in doubt but their seeding definitely is. 0-2 against RPI top 25 but 4-1 against 26-50.

7's
1. George Mason (23-5, 14-2) - When you don't play a lot of good competition you need to make the best of your opportunities. 2-1 vs. RPI top 50.
2. Washington (18-8, 10-5) - Undefeated at home but some strange conference road losses (Oregon St., Stanford) probably knock them down a rung.
3. Temple (21-5, 11-2) - Beating Georgetown qualifies as a key win. Getting a win @ Duke this weekend would qualify them as a six seed. No pressure.
4. Missouri (21-6, 7-5) - Need to finish at least fourth in the Big 12 and win a conference tournament game. Thin line between here and a 9 seed.

8's
1. UNLV (20-7, 8-5) - 1-5 record vs. top 25 in the RPI hurts. Winning their conference tournament would give them at least one, maybe two, more of those wins. If that happens the committee will have to evaluate this team closely
2. Florida St. (19-7, 9-3) - Key wins: Duke. Bad losses: Auburn. Advantage: Push.
3. Cincinnati (21-6, 8-6) - Rough, rough remaining schedule. Go 2-2 and will stay at worst as an 8.
4. Utah St. (25-3, 12-1) - This is one tough team for me to gauge how the committee will be judging them. They've dominated their conference and whipped St. Mary's. Then again they've only played three games against potential tournament teams (1-2).

Separating 8's from 9's is nearly impossible. That's why each has won roughly 50% of the time in the NCAA Tournament. Tomorrow things start to wind down as I do 9 - 12's and let you know who the last four at-large teams will be.
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