Rock-M-tology: February 23

An entertaining week of basketball, capped not only by BracketBuster Saturday, but also a fun Maryland win over UNC and a REALLY fun Texas win over Oklahoma.  What did that do to the brackets?  Let's see...but first...

Who's overrated?

As always, I'll compare my bracket to two main sources: Joe Lunardi* and Jerry Palm.  Lunardi because he's the most prominent, Palm because he's the best. 

* Lunardi is messing with me with his Bracketology schedule.  He puts out a new bracket Monday afternoon, but...by god, I'm not waiting for it to post my own!  Anyway, I'm comparing my bracket to Palm's from Monday mornings and Lunardi's from before the weekend.

Maryland - Come on, Palm.  They beat UNC, and they rocket straight to a #10 seed??  They're 6-6 in the ACC, their lone (yes, LONE, SINGLE, SOLO) road win was against last-place Georgia Tech, they sport a #52 RPI, they lost by 27 to Georgetown, 22 to Gonzaga, and of course, 41 to Duke.  Oh yeah, and they lost to Morgan State.  Come on, Palm.  Are they a bubble team now?  Sure.  But how's about we try not to overreact to one win?

Wisconsin - I really don't get this "8 teams in from the Big Ten" business.  The conference is clearly better this year than it has been in a while, but I see multiple B10 teams getting a hair too much credit.  Nevermind that Michigan is way too close to the bubble...Wiscy is quite baffling to me.  They're 16-10, 8-7 in conference, #27 RPI.  That's decent, and despite a 5-7 record in their last 12 games, I do think there's a case for getting them in.  But both Palm and Lunardi have them safely in as a #9 seed.  They're an 11-12 if anything.

Ohio State - Better overall record than the Badgers, same number of conference losses, more wins vs the Top 50 (3.0 vs 1.5...remember, I give wins versus #26-50 only half-credit), worse RPI (#43).  Choosing between the Badgers and Buckeyes would be pretty difficult, but there is no choice with Palm and Lunardi--tOSU is also safely in as an 8/9 seed.

Tennessee -  They're 16-10, 7-5 in a weak conference, and Lunardi still  has them as a #7 (though we'll see where he has them when his new bracket comes out later today).

Syracuse - Clearly an 18-8 record and #24 RPI are solid, but The Cuse is only 5-7 in its last 12 games, and I'm not sure a 7-7 conference record, even in the Big East, is enough for a Top 6 seed.  I'm wavering on them.

Penn State - They're the K-State of the Big Ten--all they've got going for them is a solid conference record.  Is 8-6 in the Big Ten enough to overcome a #62 RPI?  I'm leaning toward possibly not, but they're sporting a #11 seed with both Lunardi and Palm right now.

Virginia Tech - As of Friday, Lunardi still had them in.  At 16-10, #66 RPI, I don't even have them in my First 8 Out.

And no, Notre Dame is not yet back on the bubble.

Who's underrated?

As usual, my underrated list has mostly mid-majors on it, so I'll start with the two non mid-majors...

Villanova - 22-5, 10-4 in conference, #9 RPI...they really deserve to be part of the conversation for a 2-seed right now, but Lunardi and Palm both have them at #4.

Arizona State - This one is picking nits.  At 21-5, 10-4 in the Pac 10, I'm starting to think of them in the battle for a #3, but they're still #4-5 with Lunardi and Palm.

Temple - Yes, they're only 17-9.  Yes, they lost to Long Beach and UMass (both on the road, at least).  And Buffalo and Miami-OH.  I get it.  I'm not saying they should be in yet, but at 9-3 in the A10 with a #35 RPI, they're on the bubble.

Siena - They're 22-6, 15-1 in conference, #26 RPI, and they just took out Northern Iowa on BracketBuster Saturday.  They're a lock for the tourney right now.  I have them as a potential 8-9 seed, but Lunardi (11) and Palm (12) have them squarely on the bubble.  They really can't do much more with the schedule they've had.

Butler - They're 22-4, they've beaten Xavier and UAB, and they just thumped Davidson on the road.  Back-to-back losses to Loyola-IL and UW-Milwaukee will justifiably damage their seed, but let's not go overboard here.  I think they've still done enough to get a 6-seed, but they're in the 7-8 range with Lunardi/Palm (Palmardi?).

Utah - I can't tell if the Utes are overrated or underrated.  At 19-6 and 10-2 in conference, with a #11 RPI, they're looking very good.  But part of the reason they're #11 in RPI is because D2/NAIA games don't count...so they're not being punished for their loss to Southwest Baptist to start the season. They also lost to freaking Idaho State.  But they're on a major roll right now, having only lost at San Diego State and UNLV in conference, and having won 13 of 15 overall.

UAB - Every week, they're on the "First _ out" list, and all they do is keep winning.  They've won 9 of 10 (only loss: on the road to a surging Tulsa), they're killing teams--four of the nine wins have been by at least 20 points, three by at least 30, and after a rough stretch in late-December/early-January, they're up to 19-8, #39 RPI.  I think they're in.  Palmardi disagrees.

Creighton - At this point, they still probably need to win their conference tourney to be comfortable, but at 23-6 (12-4 in the MVC) with an easy BracketBuster win over George Mason in their back pocket, they're starting to look like a team that should be in no matter what.

Who's just right?

The #1's (UConn, OU, Pitt, UNC) are still pretty easy to figure out, as are a couple of the #2's (Michigan State, Memphis, Clemson).  Lots of teams--Marquette, Louisville, Texas, etc.--are in flux right now.

Last 8 In

Ohio State
San Diego State
South Carolina
Tennessee
UAB
Wisconsin
Penn State
Oklahoma State

First 8 Out

Miami-FL
Cincinnati
Temple
Georgetown
USC
Michigan
Kansas State
Providence

By Conference

Big East - 7 (Could get 6, could get 9)
Big Ten - 7 (Could get 5, could get 8)
ACC - 6 (Miami, VT, and BC all fading)
Big 12 - 5 (OSU in by the skin of its teeth after a nice week)
Pac 10 - 5 (USC fading, UCLA falling, Arizona State doing well)
SEC - 5 (Still not good enough to have 5 teams, but...who do you kick out?)
Mountain West - 4 (All four are holding on)
Conference USA - 2 (Go UAB!)
Atlantic 10 - 2 (Temple still a longshot, XU and Dayton safe)

The Bracket

East Regional (Boston)

1 Pittsburgh vs 16 Jacksonville
8 Minnesota vs 9 Florida
in Philadelphia

5 Washington vs 12 Davidson
4 Wake Forest vs 13 Oklahoma State
In Philadelphia

6 Utah vs 11 Ohio State
3 Missouri vs 14 North Dakota State
in Kansas City!!

7 Dayton vs 10 Syracuse
2 Duke vs 15 Stephen F. Austin
in Greensboro

West Regional (Glendale, AZ)

1 UConn vs 16 Play-In Winner (LBSU vs Alabama State)
8 Texas vs 9 UNLV
in Dayton

5 Gonzaga vs 12 Wisconsin
4 Arizona State vs 13 American
in Boise

6 Florida State vs 11 UAB
3 Marquette vs 14 Weber State
in Portland

7 LSU vs 10 Siena
2 Michigan State vs 15 Radford
in Minneapolis

South Regional (Memphis)

1 North Carolina vs 16 UT-Martin
8 BYU vs 9 Utah State
in Greensboro

5 Purdue vs 12 Tennessee
4 Villanova vs 13 VCU
in Portland

6 West Virginia vs 11 San Diego State
3 Kansas vs 14 Vermont
in Minneapolis

7 UCLA vs 10 Kentucky
2 Memphis vs 15 Robert Morris
in Dayton

Midwest Regional (Indianapolis)

1 Oklahoma vs 16 Morgan State
8 Arizona vs 9 Boston College
in Kansas City

5 Illinois vs 12 South Carolina
4 Xavier vs 13 Western Kentucky
in Boise

6 California vs 11 Penn State
3 Louisville vs 14 Buffalo
in Miami

7 Butler vs 10 Creighton
2 Clemson vs 15 Cornell
in Miami

  • Can Villanova be in Philadelphia?  I almost had that, but I wasn't sure if they were allowed or if they were the "host".
  • I think it's safe to say Missouri fans would be THRILLED with this draw.
  • Easiest draw for a #1 or #2 seed: Michigan State, Pittsburgh.
  • Hardest draw for a #1 or #2 seed: Oklahoma, Duke.
  • Yes, I take Palmardi's seedings/opinions into account when I'm doing my final seeding.  Sue me.

My At-First-Glance Final Four

Pittsburgh, Michigan State, Louisville, North Carolina

Second glance: Washington (surprise!), UConn, Oklahoma, Memphis

(No, I will never even think about putting Missouri here.  Ain't gonna happen.  I do not want to bear responsibility for that jinx.  And yes, I realize how ironic that is when I have a section called "Missouri's inevitable path to destiny" right below this.)

Missouri's inevitable path to destiny (ahem)

North Dakota State, Utah, Duke, Pittsburgh, Michigan State, North Carolina.

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