BRACKETOLOGY: Friday March 6, 2015

This will be a daily occurrence through Selection Sunday.

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

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

This bracket is good for games through 3/5

MIDWEST

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

8.Ohio St9.NC State

5.Northern Iowa12.Stephen F. Austin Seattle

4.Notre Dame13.Murray St

6.Georgetown11.Illinois Seattle

3.Gonzaga14.New Mexico St

7.Butler10.VCU Omaha

2.Kansas15.William & Mary

WEST

1.Arizona16.Georgia Southern Portland

8.Georgia9.Oklahoma St

5.Providence12.LSU/Texas Jacksonville

4.North Carolina13.Central Michigan

6.SMU11.Purdue/Miami(FL)  Columbus

3.Iowa St14.UC Davis

7.San Diego St10.Michigan St Pittsburgh

2.Villanova15.North Carolina Central

SOUTH

1.Virginia16.Texas Southern Charlotte

8.Oregon9.Temple

5.Arkansas12.Wofford Louisville

4.Oklahoma13.Valparaiso

6.West Virginia11.Indiana Portland

3.Utah14.Eastern Washington

7.St. John’s10.Mississippi Omaha

2.Wisconsin15.Albany

EAST

1.Duke16.Charleston Southern/Bucknell Charlotte

8.Dayton9.Xavier

5.Louisville12.Louisiana Tech Columbus

4.Wichita St13.Harvard

6.Iowa11.BYU Jacksonville

3.Baylor14.Iona

7.Cincinnati10.Boise St Pittsburgh

2.Maryland15.South Dakota St

Published in: on March 6, 2015 at 9:33 am  Leave a Comment  

More Conference Tournament Previews

AMERICA EAST: Albany was by far the most dominant team in the league this season. The Great Danes didn’t lose their first conference game until Feb. 17. With all games being at campus sites its going to take a lot to keep Albany from repeating.

MISSOURI VALLEY: This certainly was a top heavy league this year as Wichita St and Northern Iowa ran away and hid from the rest of the conference. That’s why it is expected that those will be the two teams playing for the championship on Sunday. In the rubber match, expect Wichita St, the team with the superior experience and talent, to cut down the nets.

METRO ATLANTIC ATHLETIC: A loss on the last day of the regular season is the only thing that kept Iona from winning the league by three games. The Gaels’ misstep doesn’t scare me too much as they’ve been to the tournament recently and will be tough prep on short rest. The tournament will be competitive as always, but expect Iona to go dancing.

SOUTHERN: As good as Wofford has been over the course of the year, Chattanooga has been right there all along. The two squads were far and away the class of this conference and appear to be on a collision course for a Monday night showdown. The teams won on each other’s home floor so this creates a bit of intrigue. Wofford is the favorite here, but not by much.

COLONIAL: The regular season in the CAA finished in a four-way tie for first place. If there’s anyone out there who’ll tell you they have this league pegged than than call that person’s bluff. On a true neutral court in Baltimore anything can happen. Given the disappointment from last season and performing well against the other top teams in the league, I’m going with William & Mary.

WEST COAST: There may be many people wondering if there’s a major kink in the armor of Gonzaga after losing to BYU in it’s last regular season home game. I am not one of those people. BYU played fantastic and could very well be a tournament team itself, but Gonzaga is one of the best teams in the country and it’ll have motivation. The Zags will win in Vegas.

SUMMIT: South Dakota St and North Dakota St went back and forth this season vying for the Summit League’s No. 1 spot. At the end of the day, both teams finished with 12-4 records with South Dakota St winning the tiebreaker. Playing the tournament in the state of South Dakota gives the Jackrabbits a bit of a chance. Despite that, there’s a team on their side of bracket who’s beaten them and is even closer to the site where the tournament will be played. That’s the South Dakota Coyotes and they’re my upset pick to win the Summit League.

Tortoise is the Hare

Freshman Melo Trimble leads the Terrapins (Leon Halip/Getty Images)

In the Big Ten, the newest team is the fastest team and last week Wisconsin found out just how good it was. The Maryland Terrapins are blazing a trail along the midwest guns blazing.

Leading the Terps is their backcourt, specifically their freshman phenom Melo Trimble. He’s been outstanding for Maryland averaging over 16 points and 3 assists per game. Joining Trimble is senior Dez Wells who has been having an outstanding season himself scoring over 15 points per game himself.

Coach Mark Turgeon was on the hot seat before the season started, but he’s squelched any thoughts about his lack of job security. He has his backcourt to thank for that. It’s one that could take Maryland to the Final Four

Conference Tournaments start this week so here are some previews.

ATLANTIC SUN: The Atlantic Sun has gone in a different direction and is holding the entire tournament at campus sites. North Florida won the regular season title and the only team to beat the Ospreys on their homecourt is the South Carolina-Upstate Spartans. The good news for the Ospreys is the Spartans are on the other side of the bracket. I expect North Florida to ride homecourt to the NCAA tournament.

HORIZON LEAGUE: Last year, Milwaukee shocked everyone and made a run to the Big Dance. This year it doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Valparaiso, Green Bay and Detroit are all capable of winning this tournament. Given the fact that the tournament will be played on Valpo’s homecourt and the format protects the higher seeds and I think we’ll see Green Bay and Valpo in the final. In that scenario I expect the Green Bay Phoenix to go dancing.

PATRIOT LEAGUE: This has been a disappointing year overall for the Patriot League. In the past, this has been a league that provided upsets in the tournament. There’s little chance of that happen as the champion will most likely have to play in the First Four. Bucknell is the best program in the league and routinely navigates this tournament. That’ll happen again and the Bison will go dancing.

OHIO VALLEY: Murray St has been the class of the OVC for decades. This year the Racers have been special. They blew through the conference finishing 16-0 in league-play. The next closest teams, Belmont and Eastern Kentucky, have five losses. That means there was no one even close. I don’t expect there to be anyone close to Murray St this week in Nashville. The Racers are going dancing.

BIG SOUTH: This should be one of the better tournaments of the early part of championship week. Charleston Southern and High Point finished atop the league with 13-5 records while Coastal Carolina, Radford and Winthrop all had 12-6 records. In total, seven teams had winning conference records. The tournament will be played at the home of defending champion Coastal Carolina so expect the South Carolina teams to have a strong presence. It will be a Coastal vs. Charleston Southern final with CSU heading back to the tournament.

NORTHEAST: If there has been any truth here its that the homecourt in this tournament has never really mattered. Teams have gone on the road and won in this tournament on a consistent basis. St. Francis (NY) won the regular season title, but I’m willing to bet the Terriers don’t want to see Mount St. Mary’s. The Mountaineers beat the Terriers at home and took them to overtime on the road. I expect the Mountaineers go dancing.

On to the bracket.

Last Four In: UCLA, Texas A&M, Michigan St, Purdue

Last Four Out: BYU, Colorado St, Texas, Stanford

Good for games through 3/1.

MIDWEST

1.Kentucky16.North Florida/Bucknell Louisville

8.Ohio St9.Xavier

5.Northern Iowa12.Stephen F. Austin Columbus

4.Louisville13.Harvard

6.Georgetown11.Tulsa Seattle

3.Gonzaga14.New Mexico St

7.Iowa10.NC State Omaha

2.Kansas15.William & Mary

WEST

1.Arizona16.Sacramento St Portland

8.VCU9.Oklahoma St

5.Butler12.Michigan St/Texas A&M Jacksonville

4.North Carolina13.Bowling Green

6.SMU11.Purdue/UCLA Seattle

3.Oklahoma14.UC Davis

7.Georgia10.Indiana Pittsburgh

2.Villanova15.Georgia Southern

SOUTH

1.Virginia16.Charleston Southern Charlotte

8.St. John’s9.Temple

5.Arkansas12.Wofford Louisville

4.Iowa St13.Valparaiso

6.West Virginia11.Illinois Portland

3.Utah14.North Carolina Central

7.San Diego St10.Oregon Omaha

2.Wisconsin15.Albany

EAST

1.Duke16.St. Francis(NY)/Texas Southern Charlotte

8.LSU9.Dayton

5.Notre Dame12.Louisiana Tech Columbus

4.Wichita St13.Murray St

6.Providence11.Mississippi Jacksonville

3.Baylor14.Iona

7.Cincinnati10.Boise St Pittsburgh

2.Maryland15.South Dakota St

Weekend Bracket: Feb. 28 – Mar. 1

Last Four In: Stanford, Tulsa, UCLA, Illinois

Last Four Out: Pittsburgh, Texas, Boise St, Old Dominion

This bracket is good for games through 2/27

MIDWEST

1.Kentucky16.North Florida/Bucknell Louisville

8.Iowa9.Temple

5.Louisville12.Stephen F. Austin Columbus

4.Wichita St13.Harvard

6.West Virginia11.Texas A&M Portland

3.Utah14.Eastern Washington

7.Providence10.Purdue Omaha

2.Kansas15.William & Mary

WEST

1.Arizona16.New Mexico St Portland

8.NC State9.Georgia

5.SMU12.Wofford Jacksonville

4.Arkansas13.Central Michigan

6.San Diego St11.Illinois/Stanford Seattle

3.Iowa St14.UC Davis

7.Xavier10.Mississippi Seattle

2.Gonzaga15.Albany

SOUTH

1.Virginia16.Louisiana Monroe Charlotte

8.Ohio St9.LSU

5.North Carolina12.UCLA/Tulsa Louisville

4.Northern Iowa13.Valparaiso

6.Georgetown11.Dayton Columbus

3.Oklahoma14.North Carolina Central

7.Oklahoma St10.St. John’s Omaha

2.Wisconsin15.South Dakota St

EAST

1.Duke16.St. Francis(NY)/Texas Southern Charlotte

8.Cincinnati9.Indiana

5.Notre Dame12.Louisiana Tech Jacksonville

4.Baylor13.Murray St

6.Butler11.Oregon Pittsburgh

3.Maryland14.Iona

7.VCU10.Michigan St Pittsburgh

2.Villanova15.High Point

Published in: on February 28, 2015 at 10:19 am  Leave a Comment  
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Three’s Company

UC Davis senior Corey Hawkins

There’s a team in California that no one is talking about. This team not only plays after most of the country is asleep, it doesn’t even play on TV. The UC Davis Aggies are 21-4 and 11-1 in the Big West and it’s in large part because they’re the best in the nation in three-point shooting percentage.

Senior guard Corey Hawkins, son of Hersey, leads one of the most efficient offenses in the country. UC Davis is 25th nationally in points per possession. That’s a good stat to watch as people search for a team to pull off an upset in the Big Dance.

Hot shooting, low possessions and veteran leadership is the hallmark for this team.  The Aggies are certainly a team to watch approaching March.

Stock Up: Purdue. The Boilermakers are doing everything a bubble team is asked to do. Get top-50 wins, win on the road and do them both at the same time. Good turnaround for Matt Painter’s team.

Stock Down: Louisville. There are some weird things going on there right now. Rick Pitino kicked Chris Jones of the team and the Cardinals have been struggling.

Stock Up: North Carolina Central.  The Eagles are rolling through the MEAC at 13-0. No conference opponent has come within single digits this month.

Stock Down: Seton Hall. This is a team with player leaving the program near the end of the season and another takes a cheap shot at an opponent. The Pirates haven’t won a game since January 31.

On to the bracket.

Last Four In: Stanford, UCLA, Texas, St. John’s

Last Four Out: Pittsburgh, Colorado St, Tulsa, Boise St.

This bracket is good for games thru 2/22.

MIDWEST

1.Kentucky16.St. Francis(NY)/Bucknell Louisville

8.Iowa9.Cincinnati

5.Louisville12.Valparaiso Columbus

4.Wichita St13.Harvard

6.West Virginia11.Georgia Columbus

3.Notre Dame14.North Carolina Central

7.Georgetown10.Michigan St Omaha

2.Kansas15.Florida Gulf Coast

WEST

1.Virginia16.South Dakota St Charlotte

8.Indiana9.Dayton

5.SMU12.Texas/UCLA Jacksonville

4.Arkansas13.Kent State

6.San Diego St11.St. John’s/Stanford Seattle

3.Iowa St14.UC Davis

7.Xavier10.Illinois Portland

2.Arizona15.Albany

EAST

1.Duke16.New Mexico St Charlotte

8.Ohio St9.Temple

5.Northern Iowa12.Wofford Louisville

4.Oklahoma13.Iona

6.Providence11.Oregon Pittsburgh

3.Maryland14.Stephen F. Austin

7.Oklahoma St10.Texas A&M Pittsburgh

2.Villanova15.High Point

SOUTH

1.Wisconsin16.Georgia Southern/Texas Southern Omaha

8.Mississippi9.Purdue

5.Baylor12.Murray St Jacksonville

4.North Carolina13.Louisiana Tech

6.VCU11.LSU Portland

3.Utah14.Eastern Washington

7.Butler10.NC State Seattle

2.Gonzaga15.William & Mary

Razor Sharp

Arkansas guard Michael Qualls (24) scores two over Auburn guard KT Harrell (1) Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015, at Auburn Arena in Auburn, Ala. (Julie Bennett/ jbennett@al.com)

The college basketball world has its eyes focused on Kentucky in the SEC, but it’s another team in that league that has quietly been having an outstanding season. The Arkansas Razorbacks have begun to distance themselves from everyone in the league not named Kentucky.

With play reminiscent of the Nolan Richardson days, the Razorbacks play an exciting brand of trapping and pressing that is finally paying dividends. The “fastest 40 minutes in basketball” is forcing over 16 turnovers per game giving them 11th most possessions per game nationally.

Coach Mike Anderson is back home and it looks like he’s bringing the old days back. Mark Feb. 28 on your calendars folks. That’s the day the Hogs invade Rupp.

Stock Up: Valparaiso. This team is dangerous. While the country was expecting Green Bay to have a big season in the Horizon, it’s been 24-4 Valpo who’s running away with league title.

Stock Down: George Washington. The Colonials had a really bad week last week. Losing at Duquesne and home to Briante Weber-less VCU made GW’s RPI plummet to the 70’s. Going to be an uphill climb for the Colonials the rest of the way.

Stock Up: SMU. Last year on Selection Sunday, the committee took exception to the Mustangs strength and schedule and road record. That will not be an issue this year. SMU took care of business on paper and is now doing it on the court.

Stock Down: Old Dominion. A once promising at-large resume is faltering in the unfavorable light of being 7-5 in Conference USA.

On to the bracket.

Last Four In: Stanford, St. John’s, Colorado St, NC State

Last Four Out: Pittsburgh, Tulsa, Miami (FL), Oregon

This is good for games through 2/15

MIDWEST

1.Kentucky16.St. Francis(NY)/Bucknell Louisville

8.Dayton9.Texas

5.Northern Iowa12.Valparaiso Louisville

4.North Carolina13.Harvard

6.San Diego St11.Michigan St Seattle

3.Notre Dame14.North Carolina Central

7.VCU10.LSU Portland

2.Arizona15.Florida Gulf Coast

WEST

1.Virginia16.South Dakota St Charlotte

8.Ohio St9.Xavier

5.SMU12.Colorado St/St John’s Columbus

4.Oklahoma13.Eastern Washington

6.Oklahoma St11.NC State/Stanford Pittsburgh

3.Maryland14.Bowling Green

7.Temple10.Illinois Seattle

2.Gonzaga15.High Point

EAST

1.Duke16.Louisiana-Monroe Charlotte

8.West Virginia9.Cincinnati

5.Arkansas12.Wofford Jacksonville

4.Wichita St13.Iona

6.Butler11.Texas A&M Columbus

3.Iowa St14.UC Davis

7.Indiana10.Georgia Pittsburgh

2.Villanova15.Albany

SOUTH

1.Wisconsin16.New Mexico St/Alabama St Omaha

8.UCLA9.Mississippi

5.Baylor12.Murray St Jacksonville

4.Louisville13.Louisiana Tech

6.Providence11.Iowa Portland

3.Utah14.Stephen F. Austin

7.Georgetown10.Purdue Omaha

2.Kansas15.William & Mary

The Biggest Cats in the Valley

Northern Iowa’s Seth Tuttle. Photo: Jeffrey Becker, USA TODAY Sports

The country has been so enamored with Wichita St over the past three years that it overlooked a program that has been among the most successful in the Missouri Valley in the past decade. That is no longer an issue as Northern Iowa has staked its claim as the team to beat in the MVC.

As in most years, the Panthers are doing it with defense as they lead the league in points allowed, field goal percentage defense, and three-point field goal percentage defense. In fact, when Wichita St made the trip up to Cedar Falls it only shot 35.4 percent for the game.

Defense can carry a team a long way in March and the Panthers, who’ve only allowed one opponent to score 60 since December 13, have the tools to get to the second weekend.

Stock Up: Oklahoma and Oklahoma St. The arch rivals are having quite the run in recent weeks. Both are climbing the Big XII standings and posting impressive wins while they do it.

Stock Down: Georgetown. There’s a lot of talent on the team, but it’s just not coming together as of yet. The Hoyas have plenty of time to climb out of their current funk, but getting swept by Xavier and Providence won’t look good on Selection Sunday.

Stock Up: Harvard. Hasn’t been the prettiest start, but it looks like the Crimson has found its groove. Harvard is beginning to resemble the team everyone thought it would before the season started.

Stock Down: USC. The Trojans are 1-10 in conference play and this is a down year in the Pac-12. Andy Enfield has yet to get Dunk City to move to Los Angeles.

On to the Bracket.

Last Four In: Miami(FL), Stanford, Purdue, Texas A&M

Last Four Out: Colorado St, Michigan St, Boise St, Rhode Island

This bracket is good for games thru 2/8

Quick Note: Virginia is on the No. 2 line because of Justin Anderson’s injury. We’ll see how this week plays out.

MIDWEST

1.Kentucky16.North Florida/Alabama St Louisville

8.Iowa9.Xavier

5.Ohio St12.Stephen F. Austin Jacksonville

4.Oklahoma13.Harvard

6.Cincinnati11.Old Dominion Portland

3.Utah14.North Carolina Central

7.SMU10.Georgia Charlotte

2.Virginia15.Albany

WEST

1.Gonzaga16.Sacramento St Seattle

8.Georgetown9.Dayton

5.Northern Iowa12.Purdue/Stanford Columbus

4.Iowa St13.Valparaiso

6.Oklahoma St11.Texas A&M/Miami(FL) Louisville

3.North Carolina14.Bowling Green

7.VCU10.Illinois Portland

2.Arizona15.New Mexico St

EAST

1.Duke16.North Dakota St Charlotte

8.Indiana9.Tulsa

5.West Virginia12.Wofford Pittsburgh

4.Wichita St13.Iona

6.Maryland11.UCLA Seattle

3.Baylor14.UC Davis

7.Mississippi10.Texas Pittsburgh

2.Villanova15.Louisiana Monroe

SOUTH

1.Wisconsin16.St. Francis(NY)/Colgate Omaha

8.San Diego St9.LSU

5.Butler12.Murray St Jacksonville

4.Notre Dame13.Louisiana Tech

6.Arkansas11.Temple Columbus

3.Louisville14.William & Mary

7.Providence10.George Washington Omaha

2.Kansas15.High Point

Ute Nation

Utah’s Delon Wright (AP Photo)

It was apparent last season that Larry Krystkowiak was on to something. However, no one knew he was on to this. The Utah Utes have staked their claim as one of the premier teams out west and it’s because of the talent they can roll out there.

The Utes are led by do everything guard Delon Wright, who is tracking to be a first-team all-American. The senior guard is averaging nearly 15 points, over four rebounds and a little under six assists per game. He leads an attack that also features Jakob Poeltl, the Austrian import that has NBA scouts watching, and three-point marksman Brandon Taylor.

They are efficient. They can defend. They’re big. They’re good. This is a team that appears to be a legitimate contender to get to the Final Four.

Stock Up: Albany. The Great Danes are undefeated in the America East and seem very interested in making a return trip to the NCAA tournament.

Stock Down: Texas. The Longhorns have lost 5 out of their last 7. I understand that the Big XII is competitive, but they should probably put a few wins together.

Stock Up: UCLA. The Bruins aren’t in the bracket below, but a 2-0 week would be huge after beating Colorado and Utah last week.

Stock Down: VCU. Unfortunately for the Rams; Briante Weber went down with a season-ending knee injury in their loss to Richmond. He was the heart and soul and the key to VCU’s havoc defense.  It’ll be interesting to see if VCU can bounce back.

On to the bracket.

Last Four In: Michigan St, Miami(FL), NC State, Iowa

Last Four Out: Texas A&M, Colorado St, Temple, St. John’s

This bracket is good for games thru 2/1

MIDWEST

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

8.Xavier9.Dayton

5.Wichita St12.Stephen F. Austin Seattle

4.Baylor13.UC Davis

6.San Diego St11.Iowa/Miami(FL) Pittsburgh

3.Villanova14.North Carolina Central

7.SMU10.Tennessee Charlotte

2.Duke15.High Point

EAST

1.Virginia16.New Mexico St Charlotte

8.Cincinnati9.Oklahoma St

5.Georgetown12.NC State/Michigan St Columbus

4.Iowa St13.Yale

6.Northern Iowa11.Mississippi Louisville

3.North Carolina14.Iona

7.Providence10.Georgia Omaha

2.Wisconsin15.Texas Southern

SOUTH

1.Kansas16.North Dakota St/Colgate Omaha

8.Tulsa9.Stanford

5.Oklahoma12.Wofford Jacksonville

4.Maryland13.Valparaiso

6.Ohio St11.George Washington Pittsburgh

3.Louisville14.Akron

7.Indiana10.Old Dominion Portland

2.Utah15.Sacramento St

WEST

1.Arizona16.Georgia Southern Portland

8.LSU9.Texas

5.Butler12.Murray St Jacksonville

4.West Virginia13.Louisiana Tech

6.VCU11.Kansas St Columbus

3.Notre Dame14.William & Mary

7.Arkansas10.Seton Hall Seattle

2.Gonzaga15.Albany

American’s Team?

The Tulsa Golden Hurricane is rolling through the American

In the American Athletic Conference, more ballyhooed basketball programs like UConn, Temple, Memphis and Cincinnati were supposed to keep the league afloat in its second year of existence. However, it’s a program that was left behind that is making the most noise.

Tulsa is 7-0 in league play and has continued it’s great run after ending last season with a blitz through the Conference-USA tournament to the Big Dance.

The Golden Hurricane has managed to sneak its way to an undefeated start by excelling at the free-throw line.  No one is as adept at getting to the line as Tulsa as it gets almost a quarter of its points from the charity stripe.

When Frank Haith left Missouri to take this job at the end of last season, everyone wondered why.  Now it appears he was just ahead of the curve.

Stock Up: Murray St.  It’s been a couple years since the Racers have gone dancing, but they looked primed and ready to not only being the Ohio Valley representative in the NCAA tournament, but also a dangerous out once they get there.

Stock Down: Seton Hall.  At the beginning of January, the Pirates looked like a force to be reckoned with.  Now they just look like a wreck.  They need Isaiah Whitehead back badly.

Stock Up: D’Angelo Russell.  The Ohio State freshman is quietly having an All-American season.  He’s averaging 19.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game for a team that needs him to be as good as he’s been in all three of those areas.

Stock Down: Saint Mary’s. The Gaels will inevitably be on the bubble.  Their SOS and lack of strong wins will do them in.  They’ll have to win the West Coast Conference tournament to get in despite the predictable pontificating on their behalf, which is sure to come.

On to the Bracket

Last Four In: Washington, NC State, Old Dominion, Tennessee

Last Four Out: Michigan St, Seton Hall, Mississippi, Texas A&M

It’s good for games thru 1/25

MIDWEST

1.Kentucky16.North Florida/Alabama St Louisville

8.Miami(FL)9.Stanford

5.West Virginia12.Murray St Jacksonville

4.Louisville13.Yale

6.Arkansas11.Kansas St Portland

3.Utah14.Kent St

7.Indiana10.Oklahoma St Columbus, OH

2.Notre Dame15.Coastal Carolina

SOUTH

1.Duke16.New Mexico St Charlotte

8.Dayton9.Colorado St

5.Oklahoma12.Green Bay Jacksonville

4.Maryland13.Stephen F. Austin

6.Providence11.Old Dominion/NC State Columbus, OH

3.VCU14.Iona

7.San Diego St10.Xavier Omaha

2.Wisconsin15.Georgia Southern

WEST

1.Arizona16.North Dakota St Portland

8.Northern Iowa9.Georgia

5.Georgetown12.Tulsa Seattle

4.Iowa St13.UC Davis

6.Texas11.Western Kentucky Louisville

3.North Carolina14.William & Mary

7.Butler10.Ohio St Seattle

2.Gonzaga15.Sacramento St

EAST

1.Virginia16.St. Francis(NY)/Colgate Charlotte

8.LSU9.George Washington

5.Baylor12.Wofford Portland

4.Wichita St13.Wyoming

6.Cincinnati11.Tennessee/Washington Pittsburgh

3.Villanova14.North Carolina Central

7.SMU10.Iowa Omaha

2.Kansas15.Albany

Nothing Cavalier about the Cavaliers

Virginia guard Justin Anderson (Photo: Amber Searls, USA TODAY Sports)

In a conference boasting the likes of Duke, Louisville,North Carolina and Syracuse, there’s one team that’s standing out above all those. The Virginia Cavaliers are one of the best teams in the country and looks to be the class of the ACC.

With Virginia, it’s all about defense.  Virginia’s pack line defense has befuddled foes ever since head coach arrived on campus. This year has been no different as Virginia is fifth nationally in defensive efficiency, second in field-goal percentage and second in points per game.

That kind of defense keeps the Cavaliers competitive in every game and if they’re able to continue to do this all year, they might be on their way to the Final Four.

Stock Up: Kentucky. This is the only team with better defensive numbers than Virginia. Kentucky’s size, length, athleticism and skill makes it the heavy favorite to win the national championship.

Stock Down: Pac-12.  I thought the league was on the cusp of a basketball renaissance, but it looks like its going to take a step back this season.  If it weren’t for the surprisingly good season for Utah, the Pac-12 would really be in trouble.

Stock Up: Wichita St.  The Shockers clearly aren’t undefeated this year, but they’re still a real threat to go to the Final Four.  They have one of the best backcourts in the country and can play with anybody.

Stock Down: WAC. Quietly, the biggest loser in conference realignment.  The WAC went from having teams like Utah, New Mexico and BYU to Grand Canyon, Utah Valley and Cal State Bakersfield.  Even the MEAC has a better RPI as a conference.

On to the bracket

Last Four In: Mississippi, Kansas St, Tennessee, Washington

Last Four Out: Colorado St, Texas A&M, Ohio St, Alabama

It’s good for games through 1/19/2015.

MIDWEST

1.Kentucky16.Grand Canyon/North Florida Louisville

8.Old Dominion9.Oklahoma St

5.Texas12.Green Bay Jacksonville

4.Louisville13.Buffalo

6.Iowa11.Xavier Columbus, OH

3.Notre Dame14.Murray St

7.SMU10.NC State Pittsburgh

2.Maryland15.Coastal Carolina

SOUTH

1.Duke16.St. Francis(NY) Charlotte

8.Seton Hall9.Stanford

5.Oklahoma12.Western Kentucky Jacksonville

4.Wichita St13.Harvard

6.Indiana11.Tennessee/Kansas St Columbus, OH

3.Villanova14.Texas Southern

7.Arkansas10.George Washington

2.Wisconsin15.Louisiana-Monroe Omaha

WEST

1.Arizona16.Monmouth Portland

8.Northern Iowa9.Cincinnati

5.San Diego St12.Tulsa Seattle

4.Iowa St13.Northeastern

6.Georgetown11.Washington/Mississippi Louisville

3.North Carolina14.Stephen F. Austin

7.Dayton10.Miami(FL) Seattle

2.Gonzaga15.UC Davis

EAST

1.Virginia16.North Dakota St/Colgate Charlotte

8.Butler9.Georgia

5.West Virginia12.Wofford Pittsburgh

4.VCU13.Eastern Washington

6.Baylor11.Michigan St Portland

3.Utah14.North Carolina Central

7.Providence10.LSU Omaha

2.Kansas15.Albany

Published in: on January 20, 2015 at 9:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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