Saturday, March 10, 2007

2007 NCAA Tournament Projections, Late Saturday Night

After an active day, it's safe to post another batch of tournament projections. I will have one more projection posted tomorrow afternoon between 3 and 5 PM CDT. Click on the graphic for more details.

There are a couple of notable happenings at the top of the bracket. By making it to the Big Ten final, Wisconsin has the last #1 seed, according to my projection. The selection committee will have their decisions finalized before the end of Sunday's Big Ten championship game. UCLA's loss to Cal in the Pac-10 tournament cost them a #1 seed, unless Florida loses to Arkansas on Sunday. Also, Georgetown worked their way up to a #2 seed, by winning the Big East tournament in grand fashion.

At the bottom of the bracket, Florida A&M played their way into the Tuesday night opening round game by winning the MEAC tournament. I have them projected to play Central Connecticut State.

I love Drexel's team this year. They have 14 wins away from home. However, I'm afraid their bubble is about to burst. I want to be wrong on this. I have the final spot down to Old Dominion and conference mate Drexel. Old Dominion has two wins over Drexel, a higher conference finish, and a win at Georgetown. I think that will give them the tiniest of edges. If Arkansas and/or N.C. State win on Sunday, that makes two more bubble teams unhappy.

Last four in: Purdue, Illinois, Kansas State, Old Dominion
Last four out: Drexel, Missouri State, Air Force, Stanford

Cal Poly and Long Beach State are playing for the Big West title as I type. Auto-bids on the line Sunday include:

ACC: North Carolina vs. North Carolina State at Tampa
SEC: Florida vs. Arkansas at Atlanta
Southland: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi vs. Northwestern St. at Campbell Center, Houston
Big Ten: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin at Chicago
Big XII: Kansas vs. Texas at Oklahoma City


There will be another bracket projection before bedtime. I am waiting until after the finals of the Big East and WAC tournaments before finalizing tonight's projection. There will be one more tomorrow afternoon before the real selection committee makes theirs public at 5 PM CDT.

The bubble teams are still sweating. Oklahoma State lost to Texas today in the Big XII, making at least one at-large bid safe. Arkansas is still alive in the SEC, and is set to play Florida in the final. It seems like Arkansas just played Florida in the SEC football championship game at the Georgia Dome. Tomorrow, they're going to do the same thing in hoops. And, N.C. State is still alive in the ACC, having won three in a row in Tampa. They have a tall order tomorrow, as they face archrival North Carolina.

Among today's automatic qualifiers, so far: Albany, Memphis, Oregon, Florida A&M, Jackson State, George Washington, Miami (Ohio), and UNLV. Catch SportsCenter for the buzzer-beaters that sent FAMU and Miami to the Big Dance, as both were great plays.

More later...

Friday, March 09, 2007

2007 NCAA Tournament Projections, Saturday

It's been a crazy day, but I think it's safe to post another round of projections. Click on the graphic for more details. The Florida Gators move back into a #1 seed, for now. UCLA drops to the last #1 seed, with Wisconsin breathing down their backs.

Power conference schools such as Purdue, Illinois, and Kansas State did themselves huge favors by winning on Friday. This is especially true after the favorites lost in the Atlantic 10 and the WAC, giving two at-large berths to Xavier and Nevada, which would have gone to someone else, like maybe Old Dominion or Missouri State.

Last four in: Purdue, Kansas State, Illinois, Drexel
Last four out: Old Dominion, Missouri State, Air Force, Stanford
Next four out: West Virginia, Florida State, Ole Miss, Mississippi State

The SEC is looking crazy, as Florida does its best to get through a group of upstarts remaining in the conference tournament. Next for the Gators: Ole Miss. Mississippi State and Arkansas lurk on the other side of the bracket. All three remaining SEC West teams are playing for their lives.

Saturday brings a plethora of semifinals and finals. Automatic bids will be determined in the following conferences:

America East: Albany at Vermont
Atlantic 10: Rhode Island vs. George Washington at Atlantic City
Big East: Georgetown vs. Pittsburgh at New York
Big West: Long Beach State vs. Cal Poly at Anaheim
Conference USA: Houston at Memphis
MAC: Miami (Ohio) vs. Akron at Cleveland
MEAC: Delaware State vs. Florida A&M at Raleigh, N.C.
Mountain West: BYU at UNLV
Pac-10: Oregon vs. USC at Staples Center, Los Angeles
SWAC: Jackson State vs. Mississippi Valley State at Birmingham, Ala.
WAC: Utah State at New Mexico State


Theft is a good word to describe what is happening to the at-large hopes of some bubble teams in college basketball tonight. Upsets are happening in conference tournaments all over the country, taking bids away from teams that would otherwise be headed for the NCAA tournament.

The WAC will have an extra team in the tournament, as Nevada was upset tonight by Utah State, 79-77. There is a really good chance the Utah Aggies will have to play the New Mexico Aggies in the final, as the tournament is being held on New Mexico State's homecourt.

The Atlantic 10 tournament is always unpredictable. That is to be expected from a league which really has 14 teams, and extends to Ohio and Missouri. This year is no exception. Tonight, regular season champion Xavier was knocked off by Rhode Island, 79-71. Rhode Island will play the St. Louis-George Washington winner for a trip to the Big Dance.

Weird things are happening in the SEC, also. Mississippi State and Arkansas are set to play in one semifinal. Overwhelming favorite Florida will take on the winner of LSU-Ole Miss in the other. There are a lot of bubble teams out there rooting for Florida this weekend.

If I were connected with Drexel, Old Dominion, Stanford, West Virginia, Missouri State, or Air Force, I would be sweating bullets this weekend.

Stay tuned for more blogging on Championship Week. This is my favorite basketball week of the year!

Bizarro World

It's bizarro world today at the ACC Tournament. First, it's in the non-traditional location of Tampa. And, there are eight teams left. Among them are Boston College, Miami, Virginia Tech, and Florida State.

This isn't your daddy's Tobacco Road.

Speaking of bizarro, there is the chance that Notre Dame and Louisville could play Saturday night. In New York City. In the finals of the Big East tournament. Didn't that used to be an East Coast conference?

My, how the BCS and football money drive everything...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

2007 Bracket Projections, Friday

Some strange things happened on Thursday in Bracketville. Click on the graphic for more detail of the projected bracket.

UCLA inexplicably lost in overtime to the 8th place team in the Pac-10, Cal. I have not moved them from my projection, as I already had them as the 3rd #1 seed. I don't see them slipping past that spot, in spite of today's bad loss.

The team that hurt itself the most was Air Force. The Falcons lost to Wyoming today in Las Vegas, 77-72, knocking themselves out of the Mountain West tournament. Air Force has never won a post-season tournament game, either in the NCAA, the NIT, or a conference tournament. This is the third year in a row that the Zoomies have entered the MWC tournament with over 20 wins, only to lose in the first round. Air Force has lost four in a row. They will have a long next three days. I have them out of my projected bracket for now.

Say goodbye also to UMass. They lost an overtime game to the St. Louis Billikens, in the Atlantic 10 tournament in Atlantic City. The Minutemen were hoping to turn their 23 wins into at least an at-large bid. That looks doubtful, now. By the way, it's really unstable for St. Louis, the Gateway to the West, to be in a conference with Atlantic in the name. There's nothing Atlantic about St. Louis.

In Tampa, Duke and Maryland were both upset today in the ACC tournament. Both will make the Big Dance, but their seeding will suffer. By the way, it's weird to see the ACC tournament in Florida. But, it's good to spread it around every once in a while, and Tampa's a good place to have it.

One automatic bid will be decided on Friday. Bucknell plays at Holy Cross in the Patriot League final.

Last four in: Drexel, Missouri State, Syracuse, Illinois
Last four out: Air Force, Florida State, Purdue, Kansas State

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Thursday's Bracket... same as Wednesday's projected bracket. Well, almost. There were several games today, but none of them affected any projected seedings or at-large bids. The only changes affect the #16 seeds, as Weber State is playing themselves out of the play-in game. Actually, I believe the NCAA will keep them out West in the first round, rather than have them go to Dayton for a Tuesday night opening round game. Click on the graphic for more details.

Central Connecticut State, as projected, won the Northeast Conference tonight, and Weber State is pasting Northern Arizona as I write, to win the Big Sky championship. Both teams are competing with each other for a spot opposite the SWAC champion in next Tuesday's play-in game in Dayton, Ohio. Their computer profiles are practically alike. If CCSU and Cream o' Weber are lucky, a really sorry team will come out of nowhere and win their conference tournament, giving said sorry team the trip to Dayton.

Syracuse and West Virginia both won Big East tournament games in New York today, preserving their precarious spots in the field, for now. A lot can change in the next 72 hours.

Conference tournaments will be in full swing on Thursday, as the ACC, Big 10, SEC, Big XII, and Pac-10, among others, kick off their tournaments. No automatic bids are up for grabs on Thursday.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

2007 NCAA Tournament Projections, Wednesday Edition

Or, tomorrow's brackets today. Of course, if you're in the Eastern Time Zone, then it is tomorrow, because it is after 11 PM in Houston. Click on the image for more detail.

No major changes to the bracket, unless you're a fan of the Purdue Boilermakers. Purdue was knocked out of the bracket by Wright State's win in the Horizon League tournament tonight. No sweat for the Boilers, because 1) this is one man's bracket, and I'm not on the selection committee, and 2) they have the Big Ten tournament this week, to prove their worth. Also, Butler fell from a #6 to a #7 seed, which resulted in some shuffling among other teams.

The other two new automatic qualifiers, Oral Roberts and North Texas, were already in my projected bracket.

Wednesday brings a flood of first-round tournament action in various conferences, plus two more automatic bids:

Northeast: Central Connecticut State vs. Sacred Heart
Big Sky: Northern Arizona vs. Weber State

Both of those games are most likely for the right to play a team such as Ohio State in the first round. The Big Sky winner may be a candidate for the Tuesday night play-in game, as their computer rankings are really low in relation to the other qualifiers.


The early 80's were good to Tulsa. Oil prices were up (before the industry crashed), and a new coach named Nolan Richardson was coaching the local basketball team. Richardson was wearing loud pocadot shirts at the time, and was bringing his "40 Minutes of Hell" system to big-time basketball. It worked, and he built a big-time program at the University of Tulsa, before moving on to Arkansas.

The Golden Hurricane wore some flamboyant uniforms of their own during this time period. Shown are the home uniforms, as worn during a throwback night earlier this year. They were among schools of this era that wore a gold uniform, with some tiger stripes down the side. At the time, I thought they were cool. What was I thinking?

I'm glad these went out of style.

2007 NCAA Tournament Projections, Tuesday Edition

Here is today's installment of bracket projections. Click on the graphic for more detail.

Last four in: Drexel, Missouri State, West Virginia, Syracuse
Last four out: Kansas State, UMass, Clemson, Florida State

Congratulations to last night's winners of automatic bids: VCU, Gonzaga, and Niagara.

Tonight, three more bids are on the line:

Horizon League: Butler vs. Wright State. This game is on Wright State's homecourt. Wright State tied with Butler for the league title, and swept the regular season series. The Raiders are dangerous.
Mid-Continent: Oral Roberts vs. Oakland. This one is being played just down the street from ORU, at Union High School in Tulsa. The John Q. Hammons Arena is not your normal high school gym, but a modern, 5600 seat arena that a lot of colleges would die for. ORU is heavily favored, but OU of Michigan upset the Golden Eagles two years ago in the finals. Oakland has a better team this year.
Sun Belt: North Texas vs. Arkansas State. Do you believe in the Mean Green? The winner is one game away from a probable #16 seed in the NCAA tournament. Arkansas State is so low in the computers (#179 yesterday), they may be a candidate for next Tuesday's play-in game in Dayton.

Monday, March 05, 2007


And, the styles just keep getting worse and worse...

These are the latest to come down the pike from Nike. This is something called the System of Dress. This week, Arizona, Syracuse, Florida, and Ohio State will be the first to unveil Nike's latest contribution(?) to fashion.

The baggy pants have gotten baggier, and the shirts have become tighter. The color designs on the Syracuse and Florida versions aren't real great, either. These are definitely worthy of two eye gouges.

Pretty soon, basketball will no longer be played in shorts, but in these so-called pants. Ugh.

2007 NCAA Tournament Projections-Monday edition

Here is today's edition of bracket projections for the upcoming NCAA men's basketball tournament. The real brackets will be presented next Sunday at 5 PM CDT on CBS. Click on the image for more detail.

Last four in: Drexel, Old Dominion, Missouri State, Kansas State
Last four out: UMass, Illinois, Ole Miss, Florida State

Three more automatic bids will be determined tonight:

Colonial: George Mason vs. VCU. George Mason lost the bulk of last year's Final Four team, and struggled through a 15-14 regular season. The Patriots have rolled off three wins in the Colonial post-season tournament, and can make an improbable return to the NCAA tournament with a win over regular-season champion VCU.
MAAC: Niagara vs. Siena. Both teams finished in a tie for 2nd place in the regular season. Siena knocked off regular season champion Marist in yesterday's semifinals.
WCC: Gonzaga vs. Santa Clara. The 1st and 2nd place teams in the regular season meet for the automatic bid. The Zags need to go ahead and win here, as they may not merit an at-large bid, in spite of their brutal non-conference schedule.

The NIT got two more automatic qualifiers yesterday. Sun Belt regular season champion South Alabama was upset in the quarterfinals of their conference tournament by Middle Tennessee State. Also, the MAAC regular season champ Marist Red Foxes lost to Siena.

It's the most wonderful time of the year....

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Shout Out

It's tournament time. I'd like to give a shout out to a couple of high school teams of interest to this blog.

The girls basketball team from my alma mater, Tecumseh High School in Oklahoma, qualified for the Class 4A state tournament, beginning Thursday in Oklahoma City. It is the first trip to state for the Lady Savages since winning a state championship in 1993.

At home, the Kingwood Mustangs boys basketball team qualified for their third consecutive Class 5A state tournament, beginning Friday in Austin. The Mustangs are 38-2, with both losses coming to out-of-state teams during a holiday tournament. They are currently ranked 14th in the nation according to USA Today. Kingwood lost in overtime to Plano in last year's state championship game, and won the 2005 state championship. KHS is the alma mater of my wife.

Congratulations are in order to both teams. Good luck!

Ugly Uniform of the Day

Some refer to this school as Jack-O-Lantern U. Others call it Pumpkin State. I simply call them the Aggies. The Oklahoma Aggies, that is.

OSU wears this hideously electric shade of orange. For basketball, they normally wear black uniforms. Those do not look quite so bad. However, they sometimes wear orange on the road. Such was the case when they went down to Waco Saturday to take on Baylor.

These uniforms would glow in the dark if the lights went out. Not really, but almost. A few years ago, the OSU athletic marketing department rolled out this ugly new font, which is shown on these uniforms. There is also a matching OSU logo, on the black uniform. The slanted number is not good. Their football team got the hint this season and switched back to a normal-looking number. The basketball team needs to do the same.

Finally, there are some ugly-looking horizontal stripes going down the side of the uniform. The whole thing just screams: "Unstable!"

But, as long as their mega-donor T. Boone Pickens likes them, then they'll wear them. Pickens has given $165,000,000 to their athletic department thus far, and the school is in the process of seizing property adjacent to campus via eminent domain, to build new athletic facilities. That has nothing to do with uniforms, but T. Boone now owns a collegiate athletic franchise in Stillwater.

Who's In, Who's Not?

Here is my current guess at next week's field of 65 for the NCAA men's basketball tournament. I will have another bracket posted no later than Monday, and will be posting projected teams daily.

(bold=already qualified)

America East: Vermont
ACC: North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Maryland, Duke, Georgia Tech
Atlantic Sun: Belmont
Atlantic 10: Xavier
Big East: Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Notre Dame, Marquette, Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia
Big Sky: Weber State
Big South: Winthrop
Big Ten: Ohio State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois
Big XII: Kansas, Texas A&M, Texas, Kansas State, Texas Tech
Big West: Long Beach State
Colonial: VCU, Old Dominion, Drexel
Conference USA: Memphis
Horizon: Butler
Ivy: Penn
MAAC: Siena
MAC: Akron
Mid-Continent: Oral Roberts
Mid-Eastern: Delaware State
Missouri Valley: Creighton, Southern Illinois, Missouri State
Mountain West: BYU, UNLV, Air Force
Northeast: Central Connecticut State
Ohio Valley: Eastern Kentucky
Pac-10: UCLA, Washington State, Oregon, Arizona, USC, Stanford
Patriot: Holy Cross
SEC: Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Kentucky
Southern: Davidson
Southland: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
SWAC: Mississippi Valley State
Sun Belt: Western Kentucky
West Coast: Gonzaga
WAC: Nevada

Last four teams in: Drexel, Kansas State, Missouri State, Georgia Tech
Last four teams out: Michigan State, Ole Miss, Florida State, UMass

Tickets Punched

The following schools have their tickets punched for the 2007 NCAA men's basketball tournament:

Penn-Ivy League champion
Winthrop-Big South champion
Belmont-Atlantic Sun tournament champion
Davidson-Southern Conference champion
Eastern Kentucky-Ohio Valley tournament champion

More to come...