Rating the Final Four Teams, Obstructed Edition

So, the Final Four has been decided. One top seed made it, followed by a #2 seed, a #3 seed, and a #5 seed. Two teams make their first ever appearance in the Final Four, one team for the first time in 35 years, and another team who has been a relative mainstay in the Final Four in the past 20 years but only one national championship to show for it.

We saw Virginia solve their nightmares from UMBC last year as being the only #1 seed to be brought down by a #16 seed. Michigan State as well solved some of their demons after their last Final Four appearance where they failed to see a Sweet Sixteen and end up taking down one of their national rivals who has been their demon in Duke in a close battle to get in. Texas Tech had to out-physical Michigan and Gonzaga to make their first appearance in the Final Four. Auburn took down three blue-bloods of Kansas, North Carolina, and Kentucky to get in, and they did it probably with their best player missing in the Kentucky game. To say these teams don’t belong, well, is ridiculous. And if you want to know why the big boys of Kansas, Duke, and Kentucky (though not really THIS year), aren’t in, look at the rosters of the teams in there. Something does have to be said for the one-and-dones.

So let’s take a look at the teams remaining, and I’m ranking them by order of who has the best shot, and who may have to overcome everything to cut the nets in Minneapolis Monday night.

Sparty finally took down their Blue Devil Demon

#1 MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS

HOW THEY GOT THERE: The Spartans had some hiccups in beating pesky Bradley, and really until the Elite Eight match-up with powerhouse Duke, gave them the toughest challenge of the tournament. Michigan State pulled away late but given how the Spartans have been in the past few years of being bounced early (really something they haven’t been accustomed to in March), there were some questions. They answered it by taking down Minnesota with relative ease and then pretty much had the lone blowout in the Sweet Sixteen in thumping LSU. And then came the Duke game where they went back and forth like the two heavyweights often do. The experience of Michigan State won out over the electric freshmen group the Blue Devils had.

WHY THEY WILL CUT THE NETS: Tom Izzo is probably the best coach left in the tournament (and the only one who has cut the nets down on the final game), but Michigan State is a seasoned group. They have played through adversity and there is never any panic towards them being down (take a look at the last two Michigan games and the Duke game). They are also to play a fast-paced game against teams who can play fast paced. They can slow it down. They can play physical. They can do whatever. Adding on, Cassius Winston is probably the best point guard probably in the nation. And the last time Michigan State has had a point guard that is tops in the nation was 1979 and 2000 (Magic Johnson and Mateen Cleaves). Both years Michigan State won the national championship.

WHY THEY WON’T CUT THE NETS: Any time Michigan State has been beaten in March, including the last few years, you had three reasons: 1. Izzo gets out-coached (some of it is who he faces like Coach K, Self, or Roy Williams). 2. The opposing team shoots the daylights out of it (Middle Tennessee in 2016) 3. Teams pretty much have a flawless gameplan. Michigan State has never been one to often get the five star recruits like Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, or Kansas largely in part because they aren’t even dominating the scene in their home state of Michigan. But why they are still mentioned is how they play (because they can get those next rank of players who can stand toe to toe with the Williamsons, Barretts, and Reddishes as we saw against Duke). Talented teams can beat Michigan State, but talented teams who play near-perfect will always beat Michigan State. But talented teams who have off-games WON’T beat Michigan State. Ever.

OUTLOOK: Michigan State is presumably the favorite by many to win it all this year. If you look at it, they are probably the team that will have any sort of homecourt advantage as it is in Minnesota. If they play their game, play physical against Texas Tech and/or Virginia, they have it. If nobody stops Winston, then it will be hard-pressed to take down Sparty.

Virginia erased their 2018 nightmares by heading to the Final Four

#2 VIRGINIA CAVALIERS

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Virginia had deja vu of last year when Gardner-Webb built a big lead in the first half before the Cavaliers dominated the rest of the way. Oklahoma proved to be no match for the Cavaliers in the second round. The Cavaliers survived a scare from #12 seed Oregon in the Sweet 16 and needed a semi-miracle to take Purdue down in the Elite Eight and silence critics (me included) in the Final Four.

WHY THEY WILL CUT THE NETS: Virginia has been a little more sound on offense than the past few seasons where the mentality was, once the Cavaliers scored 60, game over. They can score (though probably not as much as their ACC foes of Duke, UNC, Louisville, etc. and the likes of Michigan State or Auburn who are both left) and still play defense. They have a seasoned group such as De’Andre Hunter, Kyle Guy, and Mamadi Diakite while bringing in Alabama transfer Braxton Key. If they can keep teams from running away with it or clamp down on the guards of opposing teams, Virginia is going to have a great shot.

WHY THEY WON’T CUT THE NETS: Two things that if you are the Cavaliers that you have to be scared about: 1. Michigan State. 2. Auburn. Auburn plays more of an up-tempo game and Bruce Pearl has really gotten a good program rolling down on the Plains. He’s gotten quality players and the teams Virginia struggles with the most are the ones who have those athletes all-around. They lost to Duke twice this past year because they just didn’t have the horses to run with them and Michigan State took down Duke. Also, if Bryce Brown shoots the lights out of the ball against Virginia Saturday, will they be able to fend off Auburn’s crew as a whole like they did against Purdue or will the game get away? Or will they survive and get Cassius Winston in the National Championship game, a guy who can take down physical minded teams like Duke and others? And can Virginia do anything against the likes of Michigan State’s monsters?

OUTLOOK: The hope for Virginia right now is to take down Auburn and have Texas Tech bring down Michigan State right after. And when Virginia got their program rolling starting in 2014, it was Michigan State that brought them down in the tourney and against in 2015. But they are more than capable of cutting the nets down.

Auburn is the Final Four sentimental favorite

#3 AUBURN TIGERS

HOW THEY GOT THERE: Auburn had a massive scare against New Mexico State in the opening round and nearly gave that game away late. However, similar to Michigan State, the Tigers rolled on through in the second round, destroying Kansas and then smacking North Carolina in the Sweet 16 (but lost Chima Okeke in the game) and then taking SEC foe Kentucky down in overtime in the Elite 8 to get to their first Final Four

WHY THEY WILL CUT THE NETS: A few reasons. 1. Bruce Pearl is a great coach. Say what you want to say about him, but the guy can coach and he has cleaned up his act in Auburn. That will play into a close game. 2. Auburn is deep and has plenty of experienced players. Yes, the Tigers haven’t seen a lot of tournaments since last year, but they are building up to show they can not only run with the big boys but beat the big boys. 3. They are pretty deep considering. And that will bode well against Virginia and also Michigan State, assuming they play the Spartans

WHY THEY WON’T CUT THE NETS: Losing Okeke hurts especially against a team like Virginia. If Auburn is to beat Virginia, they need to make sure they have some guys really taking it to the Cavaliers down low. We know the guard play will be huge as well for Auburn in the final games, but the one guy who needs to step up will have to be Austin Wiley. He’s going to have to be a monster the rest of the way. Danjel Purifoy and Horace Spencer has to step up as well. If Auburn loses, this is probably the reason why.

OUTLOOK: Losing Okeke is a problem. However, Auburn keeps fighting like a team and that really doesn’t bode well for the other three teams. However, can the Tigers get enough down low against the rest of their opponents assuming they can escape Virginia Saturday?

Red Raiders made it to their first Final Four in school history.

#4 TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS

HOW THEY GOT THERE: Texas Tech hadn’t been challenged until Gonzaga in the Elite Eight. They disposed of Northern Kentucky, obliterated Buffalo, and then embarrassed Michigan before edging out the Zags. They take a page out of Virginia’s book of being a stout defense which should throw a scare into everyone left, including Virginia.

WHY THEY WILL CUT THE NETS: Defense. To me, the Red Raiders probably have a stronger defense than that of Virginia. They are aggressive and pretty physical (pretty opposite of their football team, isn’t it?). Again, like Virginia, will they have enough offense assuming if Michigan State has a field day from shooting? They have a great offense. And they may have the “we are not supposed to be here, but show we will belong argument.” They turned it on at the right time which should be very scary.

WHY THEY WON’T CUT THE NETS: At times, they can have those little hiccups on defense, thus making problematic for them to put up points. Michigan State poses a major problem for them as they can beat the Red Raiders in so many ways. They can outrun them if they want or if that doesn’t work they can play a physically dominating game which could punch Texas Tech in the mouth. If they do end up seeing Virginia, they may also get a lesson in how to play defense and that could hurt.

OUTLOOK: Texas Tech deserves to be in the Final Four. And the more I think of it, the more they pose a serious threat to Michigan State. However, it will be a whole new world for the Red Raiders of having a national spotlight and I don’t know if there is anybody who can really stop Cassius Winston, whether on Texas Tech or anywhere else.

Will Izzo cut the nets once more?

OVERALL OBSTRUCTED TAKE: Disclaimer: I am a Michigan State fan and have been one all my life. I know I have absolutely jinxed them for this. The Spartans have been on a roll since they had an embarrassing road loss to Illinois (15-1 since that point). I think Texas Tech will keep it low scoring but I think Izzo, Michigan State, and Winston figure it all out and run away late in that game.

Virginia and Auburn have clashing styles. Virginia likes to keep a slow pace while Auburn is up-tempo. But what makes me come back is the Okeke injury. Auburn needs to find easy scores and attack the rim. That’s where they will miss him the most. I think the game will be coming down to the last seconds but Virginia, playing in big games where most people are watching them against Duke, UNC, Louisville, etc. will have that experience pay off.

For the Championship, I just think Michigan State has too many horses for Virginia to handle. It is a similar way to Duke and how the Cavaliers struggled to keep Duke’s stars from having a game. It will be close again, but I think for Michigan State seeing those defensive-minded dogs like Michigan and others (and Texas Tech) gives them more of an advantage. And Izzo cuts the nets for the second time in his coaching career.

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

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2019 NCAA Tournament Breakdown: Scouting Reports for Each Sweet 16 Team

It was a very fun-filled weekend of college basketball in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. A few upsets happened, big storylines emerged, and most of the favorites were actually able to conquer like they were expected to. Duke barely survived UCF in a down to the wire finish due to a possible controversial no-call. Oregon continued their cinderella story by beating UC Irvine. Tennessee almost blew a 20-point lead to Iowa. But in all seriousness, it was a chalky weekend, and that means we will see some extremely exciting matchups this week.

Now after the fun weekend, basketball fans will have to live without the NCAA tournament for a few days. Bummer. But if you’re missing basketball that much, at least try watching the NIT or something. But now we know the teams that will be in the Sweet 16 and I’m here to give you a scouting report for each team. The scouting report includes their best player, biggest x-factor, strengths, and weaknesses. If you feel like I missed anything drastic or messed up on something, feel free to let me know on my Twitter @TBeckmann24! I also will be releasing my Sweet 16 picks on twitter on Thursday morning, so be sure to check those out! Without further ado, let’s get into these scouting reports. I hope you enjoy!

Table of Contents:

Page 2: East Region Scouting Reports

Page 3: West Region Scouting Reports

Page 4: South Region Scouting Reports

Page 5: Midwest Region Scouting Reports

Complete 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Bracket Breakdown

So let me guess, since the NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket was just unveiled yesterday, you’re here because you want to make sure of each and every single one of your picks for your $5 bracket group. Or maybe you’re just here to look at some college basketball analysis for fun. No matter what you are looking for, my analysis can help you expand your knowledge about the sleepers, cinderellas, high seeds who are most vulnerable, players to know, and potential upsets in each and every region.

All of this is besides the point and I’m going to help you as best I can. I’ve watched college basketball a lot during the regular season and I know a lot of information that could put your bracket into the winner’s circle. I’m here to give you a full breakdown of the entire bracket. Out with the weekly Bracketology updates and in with the bracket preview, this is March and its the most exciting time of year! Let’s get into it!

Before you start reading, here is the official bracket.

Table of Contents:

Page 1: Introduction

Page 2: East Region

Page 3: West Region

Page 4: South Region

Page 5: Midwest Region

Page 6: Final Four Predictions

PSF’s College Basketball Bracketology (3/11/2019)

Welcome back to the seventh edition of my College Basketball Bracketology, where I project the NCAA Tournament field and matchups as we lead up to next week’s Selection Sunday. We are counting down the last week of games to the biggest day of the college basketball season. Teams are rising, conference tournaments are in full swing, and the bracket is shaping up as well! It’s time to run through the procedures and get into my seventh bracket of the season with help from MyTopSportsBooks and their value picks for march madness. 

In this edition, per usual, I’ve projected seeding and matchups for all tournament teams. College basketball fans and experts abroad have all gained a decent understanding of the contenders and pretenders in each college basketball conference, and I’m as big of a college hoops fan as you’ll find. Some teams are continuing to distance themselves from the bubble, some teams continue to remain clustered around it, and some teams are watching as their bubble hopes vanish by the minute.

During the weekend, the bubble became a lot less crowded as some teams won their way off of it, and some had their bubble pop. Temple sealed a huge resume-building win at home over a hot UCF team. Georgetown and Seton Hall both made vases as they knocked off the top two squads in the Big East, respectively. It was a really fun weekend of college hoops and it looks to be just a small taste of what’s to come this week and beyond in March this year!

My process of bracketing is pretty simple actually. Firstly, I’ve compiled a list of college basketball teams who realistically still have a chance at making the NCAA Tournament. Secondly, I’ve used the brand new NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) Rankings as a seeding criteria for all teams, which will also be heavily used by the actual selection committee. Lastly, I’ve looked at every team’s current record, strength of schedule, and used the NCAA’s Quadrant Wins System to analyze the quality of their respective wins and losses.

After I have made a judgment on all teams, I begin to seed the 68 chosen teams from 1 to 68. Ranking them this way allows me to separate them into seed lines (#1 to #16). Finally, I place the teams into regions based on their respective seeds, conferences, and game location (for the top 16 seeds). I tried my best to keep conference opponents from playing until at least the Sweet 16, but there may have been situations where this wasn’t realistically possible.

There are three rules that I assure are being followed. Firstly, I tried to make the top four seeds in each region add up to similar overall region numbers, to make the regions competitive and balanced. With this in mind, there was a two-number differential between all four regions. I also made sure I never put teams from the same conferences on the same top four seed line. And lastly, I assured that the number one overall seed Virginia would not have the best two seed in their bracket.

All in all, the process I go through definitely isn’t easy, but it’s fun to look at the possibilities. I’ve tried my best to simulate what the actual selection committee would be doing if the tournament had to be seeded today. So before we start a crazy conference tournament week in college hoops, let’s check into my seventh Bracketology projection!

East Region (Washington, D.C.):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Virginia vs. #16 Norfolk State/#16 St. Francis (PA)

#8 Ole Miss vs. #9 Washington

San Jose, California

#4 Kansas State vs. #13 New Mexico State

#5 Maryland vs. #12 Liberty

Des Moines, Iowa

#3 LSU vs. #14 Harvard

#6 Cincinnati vs. #11 TCU

Columbus, Ohio

#2 Michigan State vs. #15 Wright State

#7 Auburn vs. #10 Seton Hall

Midwest Region (Kansas City, MO):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 North Carolina vs. #16 Omaha

#8 Iowa vs. #9 Baylor

San Jose, California

#4 Kansas vs. #13 Hofstra

#5 Nevada vs. #12 NC State/#12 Ohio State

Hartford, Connecticut

#3 Purdue vs. #14 Old Dominion

#6 Buffalo vs. #11 St. John’s

Jacksonville, Florida

#2 Tennessee vs. #15 Colgate

#7 Wofford vs. #10 Temple

West Region (Anaheim, CA):

Salt Lake City, Utah

#1 Gonzaga vs. #16 Prairie-View/#16 Iona

#8 UCF vs. #9 Utah State

Hartford, Connecticut

#4 Florida State vs. #13 Vermont

#5 Marquette vs. #12 Murray State

Des Moines, Iowa

#3 Michigan vs. #14 Montana

#6 Mississippi State vs. #11 Clemson

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#2 Texas Tech vs. #15 Bradley

#7 Louisville vs. #10 Minnesota

South Region (Louisville, KY):

Columbus, Ohio

#1 Kentucky vs. #16 Gardner-Webb

#8 Iowa State vs. #9 Syracuse

Salt Lake City, Utah

#4 Wisconsin vs. #13 UC Irvine

#5 Virginia Tech vs. #12 Florida/#12 Indiana

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#3 Houston vs. #14 Georgia State

#6 Villanova vs. #11 Arizona State

Jacksonville, Florida

#2 Duke vs. #15 Sam Houston State

#7 VCU vs. #10 Oklahoma

The Bubble:

Last Four In:

Indiana (17-14, 8-12 Big Ten, 55th NET, 6-9 Quadrant 1, 2-5 Quadrant 2, 9-0 Quadrants 3/4, 47th SOS, 183rd Non-Conference SOS)

Ohio State (18-13, 8-12 Big Ten, 52nd NET, 4-9 Quadrant 1, 4-3 Quadrant 2, 10-1 Quadrants 3/4, 52nd SOS, 154th Non-Conference SOS)

NC State (21-10, 9-9 ACC, 32nd NET, 2-8 Quadrant 1, 6-0 Quadrant 2, 13-2 Quadrants 3/4, 147th SOS, 352nd Non-Conference SOS)

Florida (17-14, 9-9 SEC, 33rd NET, 3-11 Quadrant 1, 3-1 Quadrant 2, 11-2 Quadrants 3/4, 27th SOS, 93rd Non-Conference SOS)

First Four Out:

Creighton (18-13, 9-9 Big East, 54th NET, 3-10 Quadrant 1, 6-3 Quadrant 2, 9-0 Quadrants 3/4, 15th SOS, 25th Non-Conference SOS)

UNC-Greensboro (28-5, 15-3 Southern, 57th NET, 2-5 Quadrant 1, 2-0 Quadrant 2, 22 Quadrants 3/4, 123rd SOS, 137th Non-Conference SOS)

Alabama (17-14, 8-10 SEC, 58th NET, 2-9 Quadrant 1, 7-3 Quadrant 2, 8-2 Quadrants 3/4, 22nd SOS, 33rd Non-Conference SOS)

Belmont (26-5, 16-2 OVC, 45th NET, 2-2 Quadrant 1, 3-1 Quadrant 2, 20-2 Quadrants 3/4, 198th SOS, 72nd Non-Conference SOS)

Next Four Out:

Texas (16-15, 8-10 Big 12, 39th NET, 5-9 Quadrant 1, 4-5 Quadrant 2, 7-1 Quadrants 3/4, 61st SOS, 14th Non-Conference SOS)

Lipscomb (25-7, 14-2 Atlantic Sun, 42nd NET, 2-3 Quadrant 1, 1-3 Quadrant 2, 20-1 Quadrants 3/4, 205th SOS, 47th Non-Conference SOS)

Georgetown (19-12, 9-9 Big East, 76th NET, 5-6 Quadrant 1, 6-4 Quadrant 2, 8-2 Quadrants 3/4, 76th SOS, 248th Non-Conference SOS)

St. Mary’s (20-11, 11-5 West Coast, 37th NET, 1-6 Quadrant 1, 2-3 Quadrant 2, 17-2 Quadrants 3/4, 53rd SOS, 38th Non-Conference SOS)

Conference Count-Ups:

American Athletic Conference (4 Teams): #10 Houston, #24 Cincinnati, #31 UCF, #38 Temple.

Atlantic Coast Conference (9 Teams): #1 Virginia, #4 North Carolina, #5 Duke, #13 Florida State, #18 Virginia Tech, #26 Louisville, #35 Syracuse, #41 Clemson, #48 NC State.

Big 12 (7 Teams): #8 Texas Tech, #15 Kansas, #16 Kansas State, #30 Iowa State, #36 Baylor, #37 Oklahoma, #42 TCU.

Big East (4 Teams): #20 Marquette, #23 Villanova, #40 Seton Hall, #43 St. John’s.

Big Ten (9 Teams): #7 Michigan State, #9 Michigan, #12 Purdue, #14 Wisconsin, #17 Maryland, #29 Iowa, #39 Minnesota, #47 Indiana, #48 Ohio State.

Mountain West (2 Teams): #19 Nevada, #34 Utah State.

PAC-12 (2 Teams): #33 Washington, #44 Arizona State.

SEC (7 Teams): #3 Kentucky, #6 Tennessee, #11 LSU, #22 Mississippi State, #25 Auburn, #32 Ole Miss, #50 Florida.

Singular Bid League Teams (24 Teams): #2 Gonzaga, #21 Buffalo, #27 Wofford, #28 VCU, #45 Murray State, #46 Liberty, #51 New Mexico State, #52 Hofstra, #53 UC Irvine, #54 Vermont, #55 Old Dominion, #56 Georgia State, #57 Harvard, #58 Montana, #59 Bradley, #60 Colgate, #61 Wright State, #62 Sam Houston State, #63 Omaha, #64 Gardner-Webb, #65 Prairie-View, #66 Iona, #67 St. Francis (PA), #68 Norfolk State.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed. If you have any insight, opinions, or questions about my Bracketology projection, feel free to contact me on Twitter @TBeckmann24. Have a great rest of your day and peace!

 

Tristan Beckmann’s College Basketball Bracketology (3/4/2019)

Welcome back to the sixth edition of my College Basketball Bracketology, where I project the NCAA Tournament field and matchups as we lead up to Selection Sunday. We are counting down the last few days to the biggest week of the college basketball season. Teams are rising, conference tournament seeding is starting to become clear, and the bracket is as well! It’s time to run through the procedures and get into my sixth bracket of the season!

In this edition, per usual, I’ve projected seeding and matchups for all tournament teams. College basketball fans and experts abroad have all gained a decent understanding of the contenders and pretenders in each college basketball conference, and I’m as big of a college hoops fan as you’ll find. Some teams are continuing to distance themselves from the bubble, some teams continue to remain clustered around it, and some teams are watching as their bubble hopes vanish by the minute.

During the weekend, the bubble became a lot less crowded as some teams won their way off of it, and some had their bubble pop. UCF sealed a signature win on the road against Houston, while Georgetown outlasted Seton Hall in a Big East two overtime bubble battle. Indiana upset Michigan State to get itself back on the radar, for now, and Tennessee got its revenge on Kentucky by absolutely showing them up in Knoxville. It was a really fun weekend of college hoops and it looks to be just a small taste of what’s to come here in March this year!

My process of bracketing is pretty simple actually. Firstly, I’ve compiled a list of college basketball teams who realistically still have a chance at making the NCAA Tournament. Secondly, I’ve used the brand new NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) Rankings as a seeding criteria for all teams, which will also be heavily used by the actual selection committee. Lastly, I’ve looked at every team’s current record, strength of schedule, and used the NCAA’s Quadrant Wins System to analyze the quality of their respective wins and losses.

After I have made a judgment on all teams, I begin to seed the 68 chosen teams from 1 to 68. Ranking them this way allows me to separate them into seed lines (#1 to #16). Finally, I place the teams into regions based on their respective seeds, conferences, and game location (for the top 16 seeds). I tried my best to keep conference opponents from playing until at least the Sweet 16, but there may have been situations where this wasn’t realistically possible.

There are three rules that I assure are being followed. Firstly, I tried to make the top four seeds in each region add up to similar overall region numbers, to make the regions competitive and balanced. With this in mind, there was a two-number differential between all four regions. I also made sure I never put teams from the same conferences on the same top four seed line. And lastly, I assured that the number one overall seed Virginia would not have the best two seed in their bracket.

All in all, the process I went through definitely isn’t easy, but it’s fun to look at the possibilities already. I’ve tried my best to simulate what the actual selection committee would be doing if the tournament had to be seeded today. So before we start a crazy final week in regular season hoops, let’s check into my sixth and final regular season Bracketology projection!

East Region (Washington, D.C.:

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Virginia vs. #16 Prairie-View/#16 Norfolk State

#8 Auburn vs. #9 Oklahoma

Salt Lake City, Utah

#4 Wisconsin vs. #13 Old Dominion

#5 Nevada vs. #12 Belmont

Des Moines, Iowa

#3 Texas Tech vs. #14 South Dakota State

#6 Cincinnati vs. #11 NC State

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#2 LSU vs. #15 Georgia Southern

#7 Louisville vs. #10 Ohio State

Midwest Region (Kansas City, MO):

Jacksonville, Florida

#1 Tennessee vs. #16 Campbell

#8 Baylor vs. #9 UCF

Hartford, Connecticut

#4 Florida State vs. #13 Vermont

#5 Maryland vs. #12 Clemson/#12 Georgetown

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#3 Houston vs. #14 UC Irvine

#6 Villanova vs. #11 Texas

Columbus, Ohio

#2 Michigan vs. #15 Colgate

#7 Wofford vs. #10 Utah State

West Region (Anaheim, CA):

Salt Lake City, Utah

#1 Gonzaga vs. #16 Iona/#16 Fairleigh Dickinson

#8 Syracuse vs. #9 Washington

San Jose, California

#4 Kansas vs. #13 Hofstra

#5 Virginia Tech vs. #12 Lipscomb

Hartford, Connecticut

#3 Michigan State vs. #14 Yale

#6 Mississippi State vs. #11 TCU

Jacksonville, Florida

#2 North Carolina vs. #15 Loyola-Chicago

#7 Iowa vs. #10 St. John’s

South Region (Louisville, KY):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Duke vs. #16 Sam Houston State

#8 VCU vs. #9 Ole Miss

San Jose, California

#4 Marquette vs. #13 New Mexico State

#5 Kansas State vs. #12 Minnesota

Des Moines, Iowa

#3 Purdue vs. #14 Montana

#6 Buffalo vs. #11 Florida

Columbus, Ohio

#2 Kentucky vs. #15 Northern Kentucky

#7 Iowa State vs. #10 Temple

The Bubble:

Last Four In:

Arizona State (20-9, 11-6 Pac 12, 69th NET, 3-3 Quadrant 1, 74th SOS, 27th Non-Conference SOS)

Minnesota (18-11, 8-10 Big Ten, 56th NET, 2-8 Quadrant 1, 49th SOS, 147th Non-Conference SOS)

Clemson (17-12, 7-9 ACC, 40th NET, 1-9 Quadrant 1, 37th SOS, 125th Non-Conference SOS)

Georgetown (18-11, 8-8 Big East, 72nd NET, 3-6 Quadrant 1, 83rd SOS, 246th Non-Conference SOS)

First Four Out:

Furman (24-6, 13-5 Southern, 44th NET, 1-5 Quadrant 1, 192nd SOS, 271st Non-Conference SOS)

Alabama (17-13, 8-9 SEC, 53rd NET, 2-7 Quadrant 1, 24th SOS, 42nd Non-Conference SOS)

Indiana (15-14, 6-12 Big Ten, 54th NET, 6-9 Quadrant 1, 28th SOS, 188th Non-Conference SOS)

Seton Hall (16-12, 7-9 Big East, 63rd NET, 4-7 Quadrant 1, 46th SOS, 84th Non-Conference SOS)

Next Four Out:

Murray State (25-4, 16-2 OVC, 50th NET, 0-2 Quadrant 1, 273rd SOS, 191st Non-Conference SOS)

St. Mary’s (20-11, 11-5 West Coast, 38th NET, 1-6 Quadrant 1, 50th SOS, 39th Non-Conference SOS)

Butler (15-14, 6-10 Big East, 60th NET, 2-9 Quadrant 1, 19th SOS, 70th Non-Conference SOS)

UNC Greensboro (26-5, 15-3 Southern, 59th NET, 1-5 Quadrant 1, 141st SOS, 154th Non-Conference SOS)

Conference Count-Ups:

American Athletic Conference (4 Teams): #12 Houston, #24 Cincinnati, #33 UCF, #40 Temple.

Atlantic Coast Conference (9 Teams): #1 Virginia, #3 Duke, #6 North Carolina, #14 Florida State, #17 Virginia Tech, #27 Louisville, #32 Syracuse, #41 NC State, #49 Clemson.

Big 12 (8 Teams): #9 Texas Tech, #13 Kansas, #18 Kansas State, #25 Iowa State, #29 Baylor, #36 Oklahoma, #42 Texas, #44 TCU.

Big East (4 Teams): #16 Marquette, #21 Villanova, #38 St. John’s, #50 Georgetown.

Big Ten (8 Teams): #5 Michigan, #10 Purdue, #11 Michigan State, #15 Wisconsin, #19 Maryland, #26 Iowa, #39 Ohio State, #48 Minnesota.

Mountain West (2 Teams): #20 Nevada, #37 Utah State.

PAC-12 (2 Teams): #34 Washington, #47 Arizona State.

SEC (7 Teams): #4 Tennessee, #7 Kentucky, #8 LSU, #22 Mississippi State, #35 Ole Miss, #30 Auburn, #43 Florida.

Singular Bid League Teams (24 Teams): #2 Gonzaga, #23 Buffalo, #28 Wofford, #31 VCU, #45 Belmont, #46 Lipscomb, #51 New Mexico State, #52 Old Dominion, #53 Vermont, #54 Hofstra, #55 UC Irvine, #56 Yale, #57 Montana, #58 South Dakota State, #59 Georgia Southern, #60 Northern Kentucky, #61 Loyola Chicago, #62 Colgate, #63 Campbell, #64 Sam Houston State, #65 Iona, #66 Fairleigh Dickinson, #67 Prairie-View, #68 Norfolk State.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed. If you have any insight, opinions, or questions about my Bracketology projection, feel free to contact me on Twitter @TBeckmann24. Have a great rest of your day and peace!

Tristan Beckmann’s College Basketball Bracketology (2/25/2019)

Welcome back to the fifth edition of my College Basketball Bracketology, where I project the NCAA Tournament field and matchups as we lead up to Selection Sunday. We are counting down the last few days to the biggest month of the college basketball season. Teams are rising, conference tournament seeding is starting to become clear, and the bracket is as well! It’s time to run through the procedures and get into my fifth bracket of the season!

In this edition, per usual, I’ve projected seeding and matchups for all tournament teams. College basketball fans and experts abroad have started to gain a decent understanding of the contenders and pretenders in each college basketball conference, and I’m as big of a college hoops fan as you’ll find. Some teams are distancing themselves from the bubble, some teams continue to remain clustered around it, and some teams are watching as their bubble hopes vanish by the minute.

My process is pretty simple actually. Firstly, I’ve compiled a list of college basketball teams who realistically still have a chance at making the NCAA Tournament. Secondly, I’ve used the brand new NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) Rankings as a seeding criteria for all teams, which will also be heavily used by the actual selection committee. Lastly, I’ve looked at every team’s current record, strength of schedule, and used the NCAA’s Quadrant Wins System to analyze the quality of their respective wins and losses.

After I have made a judgment on all teams, I begin to seed the 68 chosen teams from 1 to 68. Ranking them this way allows me to separate them into seed lines (#1 to #16). Finally, I place the teams into regions based on their respective seeds, conferences, and game location (for the top 16 seeds). I tried my best to keep conference opponents from playing until at least the Sweet 16, but there may have been situations where this wasn’t realistically possible.

There are three rules that I assure are being followed. Firstly, I tried to make the top four seeds in each region add up to similar overall region numbers, to make the regions competitive and balanced. With this in mind, there was a two-number differential between all four regions. I also made sure I never put teams from the same conferences on the same top four seed line. And lastly, I assured that the number one overall seed Duke would not have the best two seed in their bracket.

All in all, the process I went through definitely isn’t easy, but it’s fun to look at the possibilities already. I’ve tried my best to simulate what the actual selection committee would be doing if the tournament had to be seeded today. So after a crazy start to the week in the college hoops world, let’s check into my fifth Bracketology projection!

East Region (Washington, D.C.):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Duke vs. #16 Norfolk State/#16 St. Francis (PA)

#8 Ole Miss vs. #9 Wofford

San Jose, California

#4 Kansas vs. #13 New Mexico State

#5 Maryland vs. #12 Belmont

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#3 Houston vs. #14 Montana

#6 Washington vs. #11 NC State

Des Moines, Iowa

#2 Michigan vs. #15 Radford

#7 Mississippi State vs. #10 Oklahoma

Midwest Region (Kansas City, MO):

Columbus, Ohio

#1 Kentucky vs. #16 Bucknell

#8 St. John’s vs. #9 VCU

Hartford, Connecticut

#4 Florida State vs. #13 Yale

#5 Iowa vs. #12 Alabama/#12 Clemson

Salt Lake City, Utah

#3 Texas Tech vs. #14 Vermont

#6 Virginia Tech vs. #11 Temple

Columbus, Ohio

#2 Michigan State vs. #15 Wright State

#7 Louisville vs. #10 Florida

South Region (Louisville, KY):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Virginia vs. #16 Rider/#16 Prairie-View

#8 Baylor vs. #9 Auburn

San Jose, California

#4 Wisconsin vs. #13 Old Dominion

#5 Nevada vs. #12 Lipscomb

Des Moines, Iowa

#3 Marquette vs. #14 UC Irvine

#6 Iowa State vs. #11 Arizona State

Jacksonville, Florida

#2 Tennessee vs. #15 Texas State

#7 Buffalo vs. #10 Ohio State

West Region (Anaheim, CA):

Salt Lake City, Utah

#1 Gonzaga vs. #16 Sam Houston State

#8 Syracuse vs. #9 TCU

Hartford, Connecticut

#4 Purdue vs. #13 Minnesota

#5 Kansas State vs. #12 Utah State/#12 Minnesota

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#3 LSU vs. #14 South Dakota State

#6 Villanova vs. #11 UCF

Jacksonville, Florida

#2 North Carolina vs. #15 Loyola-Chicago

#7 Cincinnati vs. #10 Texas

The Bubble:

Last Four In:

Utah State (22-6, 12-3 MWC, 36th NET, 1-2 Quadrant 1, 126th SOS, 27th Non-Conference SOS)

Alabama (16-11, 7-7 SEC, 55th NET, 2-7 Quadrant 1, 31st SOS, 52nd Non-Conference SOS)

Clemson (16-11, 6-8 ACC, 43rd NET, 1-8 Quadrant 1, 36th SOS, 117th Non-Conference SOS)

Minnesota (17-11, 7-10 BIG 10, 54th NET, 3-8 Quadrant 1, 38th SOS, 137th Non-Conference SOS)

First Four Out:

Seton Hall (16-11, 7-8 Big East, 63rd NET, 3-6 Quadrant 1, 41st SOS, 75th Non-Conference SOS)

Butler (15-12, 6-8 Big East, 49th NET, 2-7 Quadrant 1, 21st, 45th Non-Conference SOS)

Furman (22-6, 11-5 Southern, 48th NET, 1-5 Quadrant 1, 193rd SOS, 303rd Non-Conference SOS)

Davidson (19-6, 10-2 A10, 68th NET, 0-2 Quadrant 1, 108th SOS, 88th Non-Conference SOS)

Conference Count-Ups:

American Athletic Conference (4 Teams): #9 Houston, #28 Cincinnati, #42 UCF, #43 Temple.

Atlantic Coast Conference (9 Teams): #1 Duke, #2 Virginia, #6 North Carolina, #14 Florida State, #22 Virginia Tech, #27 Louisville, #29 Syracuse, #41 NC State, #49 Clemson.

Big 12 (8 Teams): #12 Texas Tech, #16 Kansas, #18 Kansas State, #21 Iowa State, #31 Baylor, #36 TCU, #38 Oklahoma, #39 Texas.

Big East (3 Teams): #11 Marquette, #24 Villanova, #30 St. John’s.

Big Ten (8 Teams): #5 Michigan State, #8 Michigan, #13 Purdue, #15 Wisconsin, #19 Maryland, #20 Iowa, #40 Ohio State, #50 Minnesota.

Mountain West (2 Teams): #17 Nevada, #47 Utah State.

PAC-12 (2 Teams): #23 Washington, #44 Arizona State.

SEC (8 Teams): #4 Kentucky, #7 Tennessee, #10 LSU, #25 Mississippi State, #32 Ole Miss, #35 Auburn, #37 Florida, #48 Alabama.

Singular Bid League Teams (24 Teams): #3 Gonzaga, #26 Buffalo, #33 Wofford, #34 VCU, #45 Lipscomb, #46 Belmont, #51 New Mexico State, #52 Old Dominion, #53 Yale, #54 Hofstra, #55 Vermont, #56 UC Irvine, #57 South Dakota State, #58 Montana, #59 Radford, #60 Texas State, #61 Loyola Chicago, #62 Wright State, #63 Bucknell, #64 Sam Houston State, #65 Rider, #66 Prairie-View A&M, #67 Norfolk State, #68 St. Francis (PA).

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed. If you have any insight, opinions, or questions about my Bracketology projection, feel free to contact me on Twitter @TBeckmann24. Have a great rest of your day and peace!

Tristan Beckmann’s College Basketball Bracketology (2/20/2019)

Welcome back to the fourth edition of my College Basketball Bracketology, where I project the NCAA Tournament field and matchups as we lead up to Selection Sunday. We are counting down the days to the biggest month of the college basketball season. Thus far this week, there has been a lot of chaos around the nation but it’ll have to wait, as it’s time to run through the procedures and get into my bracket!

In this edition, per usual, I’ve projected seeding and matchups for all tournament teams. College basketball fans and experts abroad have started to gain a decent understanding of the contenders and pretenders in each college basketball conference, and I’m as big of a college hoops fan as you’ll find. Some teams are distancing themselves from the bubble, but some teams continue to remain clustered around it.

My process is pretty simple actually. Firstly, I’ve compiled a list of college basketball teams who realistically still have a chance at making the NCAA Tournament. Secondly, I’ve used the brand new NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) Rankings as a seeding criteria for all teams, which will also be heavily used by the actual selection committee. Lastly, I’ve looked at every team’s current record, strength of schedule, and used the NCAA’s Quadrant Wins System to analyze the quality of their respective wins and losses.

After I have made a judgment on all teams, I begin to seed the 68 chosen teams from 1 to 68. Ranking them this way allows me to separate them into seed lines (#1 to #16). Finally, I place the teams into regions based on their respective seeds, conferences, and game location (for the top 16 seeds). I tried my best to keep conference opponents from playing until at least the Sweet 16, but there may have been situations where this wasn’t realistically possible.

There are three rules that I’ve started assuring that they are being followed. Firstly, I tried to make the top four seeds in each region add up to similar overall region numbers, to make the regions competitive and balanced. With this in mind, there was a two-number differential between all four regions. I also made sure I never put teams from the same conferences on the same top four seed line. And lastly, I assured that the number one overall seed Duke would not have the best two seed in their bracket.

All in all, the process I went through definitely isn’t easy, but it’s fun to look at the possibilities already. I’ve tried my best to simulate what the actual selection committee would be doing if the tournament had to be seeded today. So after a crazy start to the week in the college hoops world, let’s check into my fourth Bracketology projection!

East Region (Washington, D.C.):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Duke vs. #16 Norfolk State/St. Francis (PA)

#8 Baylor vs. #9 Auburn

San Jose, California

#4 Nevada vs. #13 Yale

#5 Iowa vs. #12 Liberty

Salt Lake City, Utah

#3 Kansas vs. #14 Montana

#6 Virginia Tech vs. #11 Alabama

Des Moines, Iowa

#2 Michigan State vs. #15 Radford

#7 Buffalo vs. #10 VCU

Midwest Region (Kansas City, MO):

Columbus, Ohio

#1 Kentucky vs. #16 Bucknell

#8 Syracuse vs. #9 TCU

Hartford, Connecticut

#4 Purdue vs. #13 Vermont

#5 Iowa State vs. #12 NC State/Temple

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#3 Houston vs. #14 UC Irvine

#6 Villanova vs. #11 Belmont

Jacksonville, Florida

#2 North Carolina vs. #15 Bowling Green

#7 Washington vs. #10 Seton Hall

South Region (Louisville, KY):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Virginia vs. #16 Prairie-View A&M/Quinnipiac

#8 Ole Miss vs. #9 Wofford

San Jose, California

#4 Texas Tech vs. #13 Hofstra

#5 Wisconsin vs. #12 New Mexico State

Hartford, Connecticut

#3 Marquette vs. #14 Northern Kentucky

#6 Maryland vs. #11 UCF

Columbus, Ohio

#2 Tennessee vs. #15 Loyola-Chicago

#7 Cincinnati vs. #10 Lipscomb

West Region (Anaheim, CA):

Salt Lake City, Utah

#1 Gonzaga vs. #16 Sam Houston State

#8 Mississippi State vs. #9 Ohio State

Jacksonville, Florida

#4 Louisville vs. #13 Old Dominion

#5 Kansas State vs. #12 Arizona State/Utah State

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#3 LSU vs. #14 South Dakota State

#6 Florida State vs. #11 Minnesota

Des Moines, Iowa

#2 Michigan vs. #15 Texas State

#7 St. John’s vs. #10 Texas

The Bubble:

Last Four In:

Temple (19-7, 9-4 AAC)

Arizona State (17-8, 8-5 PAC-12)

Utah State (20-6, 10-3 MWC)

NC State (18-8, 6-7 ACC)

First Four Out:

Clemson (15-11, 5-8 ACC)

Oklahoma (16-10, 4-9 BIG 12)

Butler (15-11, 6-7 BIG EAST)

Florida (14-11, 6-6 SEC)

Next Four Out:

Furman (22-5, 11-4 SOUTH)

Davidson (19-6, 10-2 A-10)

South Carolina (14-12, 9-4 SEC)

Oregon State (16-8, 8-4 PAC-12)

Next Four Out:

Arkansas (14-11, 5-7 SEC)

Nebraska (15-12, 5-11 BIG 10)

Georgetown (15-10, 5-7 BIG EAST)

Fresno State (19-6, 10-6 MWC)

Conference Count-Ups:

American Athletic Conference (4 Teams): #9 Houston, #28 Cincinnati, #43 UCF, #45 Temple.

Atlantic Coast Conference (8 Teams): #1 Duke, #2 Virginia, #7 North Carolina, #16 Louisville, #23 Florida State, #24 Virginia Tech, #30 Syracuse, #48 NC State.

Atlantic Sun (2 Teams): #40 Lipscomb, #50 Liberty.

Big 12 (7 Teams): #11 Kansas, #15 Texas Tech, #18 Iowa State, #19 Kansas State, #31 Baylor, #36 TCU, #38 Texas.

Big East (4 Teams): #12 Marquette, #21 Villanova, #25 St. John’s, #39 Seton Hall.

Big Ten (8 Teams): #6 Michigan, #8 Michigan State, #13 Purdue, #17 Wisconsin, #20 Iowa, #22 Maryland, #35 Ohio State, #42 Minnesota.

MAC (2 Teams): #27 Buffalo, #60 Bowling Green.

Mountain West (2 Teams): #14 Nevada, #47 Utah State.

PAC 12 (2 Teams): #26 Washington, #46 Arizona State.

SEC (7 Teams): #4 Kentucky, #5 Tennessee, #10 LSU, #29 Mississippi State, #32 Ole Miss, #33 Auburn, #41 Alabama.

Singular Bid League Teams (22 Teams): #3 Gonzaga, #34 Wofford, #37 VCU, #44 Belmont, #49 New Mexico State, #51 Old Dominion, #52 Hofstra, #53 Yale, #54 Vermont, #55 UC Irvine, #56 South Dakota State, #57 Montana, #58 Northern Kentucky, #59 Radford, #61 Texas State, #62 Loyola Chicago, #63 Bucknell, #64 Sam Houston State, #65 Norfolk State, #66 Prairie-View A&M, #67 Quinnipiac, #68 St. Francis (PA).

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed. If you have any insight, opinions, or questions about my Bracketology projection, feel free to contact me on Twitter @TBeckmann24. Have a great rest of your day and peace!

Tristan Beckmann’s College Basketball Bracketology (2/14/2019)

Welcome back to the third edition of my College Basketball Bracketology, where I project the NCAA Tournament field and matchups as we lead up to Selection Sunday. I should be back on schedule now after delaying this post until today. You should expect the next Bracketology to be released on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday. With that said, what a week of college hoops we’ve had so far and yet we still haven’t even reached the weekend, where we will witness three matchups between teams ranked inside the AP Top 25 poll.

Sadly, my Louisville Cardinals collapsed while holding a 23 point second half lead over #2 Duke on Tuesday night, en route to a 71-69 Blue Devils win. While it didn’t affect their seeding much, they’ve still moved way down from their position in last week’s Bracketology. Michigan got stunned by a struggling Penn State team on the road, Virginia rallied to beat North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and LSU stunned Kentucky on a buzzer beating tip in. There was so much more chaos around the nation but it’ll have to wait, as it’s time to run through the procedures and get into my bracket!

In this edition, per usual, I’ve projected seeding and matchups for all tournament teams. College basketball fans and experts abroad have started to gain a decent understanding of the contenders and pretenders in each college basketball conference, and I’m as big of a college hoops fan as you’ll find. Some teams are distancing themselves from the bubble, but some teams continue to remain clustered around it.

My process is pretty simple actually. Firstly, I’ve compiled a list of college basketball teams who realistically still have a chance at making the NCAA Tournament. Secondly, I’ve used the brand new NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) Rankings as a seeding criteria for all teams, which will also be heavily used by the actual selection committee. Lastly, I’ve looked at every team’s current record, strength of schedule, and used the NCAA’s Quadrant Wins System to analyze the quality of their respective wins and losses.

After I have made a judgment on all teams, I begin to seed the 68 chosen teams from 1 to 68. Ranking them this way allows me to separate them into seed lines (#1 to #16). Finally, I place the teams into regions based on their respective seeds, conferences, and game location (for the top 16 seeds). I tried my best to keep conference opponents from playing until at least the Sweet 16, but there may have been situations where this wasn’t realistically possible.

There are three rules that I’ve started assuring that they are being followed. Firstly, I tried to make the top four seeds in each region add up to similar overall region numbers, to make the regions competitive and balanced. With this in mind, there was a two-number differential between all four regions. I also made sure I never put teams from the same conferences on the same top four seed line. And lastly, I assured that the number one overall seed Duke would not have the best two seed in their bracket.

All in all, the process I went through definitely isn’t easy, but it’s fun to look at the possibilities already. I’ve tried my best to simulate what the actual selection committee would be doing if the tournament had to be seeded today. So after a crazy start to the week in the college hoops world, let’s check into my third Bracketology projection!

East Region (Washington, D.C.):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Duke vs. #16 Quinnipiac/Norfolk State

#8 St. John’s vs. #9 Minnesota

Jacksonville, Florida

#4 LSU vs. #13 Yale

#5 Texas Tech vs. #12 Liberty

Salt Lake City, Utah

#3 Houston vs. #14 Montana

#6 Florida State vs. #11 Seton Hall

Des Moines, Iowa

#2 Michigan State vs. #15 Bowling Green

#7 Mississippi State vs. #10 Lipscomb

West Region (Anaheim, CA):

Salt Lake City, Utah

#1 Gonzaga vs. #16 Bucknell

#8 Baylor vs. #9 Auburn

Hartford, Connecticut

#4 Louisville vs. #13 Old Dominion

#5 Iowa vs. #12 Hofstra

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#3 Kansas vs. #14 South Dakota State

#6 Virginia Tech vs. #11 UCF/Arizona State

Des Moines, Iowa

#2 Michigan vs. #15 Radford

#7 Washington vs. #10 Alabama

South Region (Louisville, KY):

Columbus, Ohio

#1 Tennessee vs. #16 Prairie-View/Robert Morris

#8 Syracuse vs. #9 TCU

San Jose, California

#4 Wisconsin vs. #13 Vermont

#5 Kansas State vs. #12 Belmont

Hartford, Connecticut

#3 Marquette vs. #14 UC Irvine

#6 Maryland vs. #11 Texas

Jacksonville, Florida

#2 North Carolina vs. #15 Texas State

#7 Cincinnati vs. #10 VCU

Midwest Region (Kansas City, MO):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Virginia vs. #16 Sam Houston State

#8 Ohio State vs. #9 Ole Miss

San Jose, California

#4 Nevada vs. #13 Davidson

#5 Villanova vs. #12 New Mexico State

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#3 Purdue vs. #14 Northern Kentucky

#6 Iowa State vs. #11 NC State/Temple

Columbus, Ohio

#2 Kentucky vs. #15 Loyola-Chicago

#7 Buffalo vs. #10 Wofford

Bubble:

Last Four In:

NC State (18-7, 6-6 AAC)

UCF (18-5, 8-3 AAC)

Temple (18-7, 8-4 AAC)

Arizona State (16-8, 7-5 PAC-12)

First Four Out:

Arkansas (14-10, 5-6 SEC)

Utah State (19-6, 9-3 MWC)

Clemson (15-9, 5-6 ACC)

Butler (14-11, 5-7 BIG EAST)

Conference Count-Ups:

American Athletic Conference (4 Teams): #12 Houston, #27 Cincinnati, #44 UCF, #45 Temple.

Atlantic Coast Conference (8 Teams): #1 Duke, #3 Virginia, #7 North Carolina, #14 Louisville, #21 Virginia Tech, #24 Florida State, #30 Syracuse, #43 NC State.

Atlantic Sun (2 Teams): #40 Lipscomb, #50 Liberty.

Atlantic 10 (2 Teams): #37 VCU, #53 Davidson.

Big 12 (7 Teams): #10 Kansas, #18 Kansas State, #19 Texas Tech, #22 Iowa State, #29 Baylor, #33 TCU, #41 Texas.

Big East (4 Teams): #9 Marquette, #17 Villanova, #32 St. John’s, #42 Seton Hall.

Big Ten (8 Teams): #6 Michigan, #8 Michigan State, #11 Purdue, #15 Wisconsin, #20 Iowa, #23 Maryland, #31 Ohio State, #36 Minnesota.

MAC (2 Teams): #28 Buffalo, #59 Bowling Green.

PAC 12 (2 Teams): #26 Washington, #46 Arizona State.

Southeastern Conference (7 Teams): #2 Tennessee, #5 Kentucky, #13 LSU, #25 Mississippi State, #34 Ole Miss, #35 Auburn, #38 Alabama.

Singular Bid League Squads (22 Teams): #4 Gonzaga, #16 Nevada, #39 Wofford, #47 Hofstra, #48 New Mexico State, #49 Belmont, #51 Yale, #52 Vermont, #54 Old Dominion, #55 South Dakota State, #56 Northern Kentucky, #57 UC Irvine, #58 Montana, #60 Texas State, #61 Loyola-Chicago, #62 Radford, #63 Bucknell, #64 Sam Houston State, #65 Prairie-View, #66 Quinnipiac, #67 Norfolk State, #68 Robert Morris.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed. If you have any insight, opinions, or questions about my Bracketology projection, feel free to contact me on Twitter @TBeckmann24. Have a great rest of your day and peace!

Duke Wins at Virginia 81-71; Concerns in Charlottesville?

Last night Duke took the rematch against Virginia in Charlottesville, sweeping the Cavaliers. The score 81-71. As I watched the game last night, it never felt like it was that close and it could have been worse. Duke probably stays at #2 in the rankings (or they may move up to #1 over Tennessee with the nice win). Virginia won’t move down too much in the rankings despite the loss. It is the Cavaliers second, both times to the Blue Devils.

But should there be cause of concern in Charlottesville?

We know Virginia has been ranked atop of the college basketball world for the last 4-5 years. However, the Cavaliers have seen more March heartbreak than anything else, failing to get to the Sweet 16 in three of the last five seasons despite having a high ranking. And of course, we know about last year where they became the first #1 seed to fall to a #16 seed in tournament history after many (myself included) penned them to at least get to the Final Four.

This year, Virginia will likely take a #1 or #2 spot in the tournament again. The defense is pretty aggressive and the offense is fairly solid when they want to be. However, a trend is really starting to take shape from their tournament losses to their losses this season against Duke: teams who have as much talent if not more talent than Virginia are the teams who get the Cavaliers at the end.

The ACC this year has about 6 strong teams. Good for most conferences, though it is somewhat “down” for them. Which benefits Virginia obviously. Don’t get me wrong, the Cavaliers have talent like D’Andre Hunter (who I love watching play), Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome, and Alabama transfer Braxton Key off the bench. Duke of course is probably a cut above the conference and putting out one if its best teams since the Christian Laettner/Bobby Hurley/Grant Hill era. North Carolina is North Carolina, Louisville has surprised, and Virginia Tech is a strong physical team. But teams like NC State, Clemson, Miami, and Notre Dame have all taken steps back from their play last year or previous years.

Virginia has beaten the latter teams with relative ease this season (plus a blowout win vs. rival Virginia Tech). The NC State game went to overtime in a nail-biter, but the Cavs showed that they are a great squad…when they see teams that aren’t as strong. So far, aside from Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, and Duke, they haven’t seen many strong teams to this point.

What concerns me with Virginia aside from their play in March are a few things. Duke somewhat exposed the Cavaliers a bit on it was that they do not like it when teams play as aggressive on both sides of the ball as Virginia can. Again, this is Duke we are talking about with Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett so I get that. But even the previous years in their losses in the tournament, they had the same issue: Michigan State got them twice, Florida got them, and of course UMBC who really punched them in the mouth.

Sometimes I also feel and this is also a trend for the past 5 years is that the Cavaliers sometimes when they see teams that are as talented as they are if not more talented slow down the game, notably on offense. And that’s how I feel like they get in trouble. Last night I think early on they tried and Duke capitalized on the turnovers and the shots. It just felt like both Williamson and Barrett dictated that game from beginning to end. And with the Cavaliers offense, while good, is not a team that has an offense that can shoot them back into a game. It happened last year with UMBC, in prior years against Michigan State, and has happened now with Duke.

Virginia’s schedule down the stretch isn’t much easier even after Duke. UNC is next at Chapel Hill. Also the Cavaliers have road trips to Virginia Tech and Louisville while the latter is a back-to-back road swing with Syracuse. Those teams have talent and can be as aggressive as the Hokies can. The question can be can Virginia withstand these teams and if they throw haymakers at them?

The next 9 games won’t decide Virginia’s fate in March (they’re in obviously and will probably win at least 6 of their games), but it will also tell what kind of team the Cavaliers have heading into the tournament. But until they silence the critics, there will always be wonder-and concern in Charlottesville about the Cavaliers being an actual legit power in college basketball.

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

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Tristan Beckmann’s College Basketball Bracketology (2/4/2019)

Welcome back to my second edition of College Basketball Bracketology, where I project the NCAA Tournament field and matchups as we head into the weeks up to Selection Sunday. We witnessed another fun-filled week in college basketball, as some big upsets occurred and we saw some ranked teams battle. In this edition, per usual, I’ve projected seeding and matchups for all tournament teams, and I plan on continuing to release one of these every Sunday or Monday for the rest of the college hoops season heading up to Selection Sunday.

College basketball fans and experts abroad have started to gain a decent understanding of the contenders and pretenders in each college basketball conference, and I’m as big of a college hoops fan as you’ll find. Some teams are distancing themselves from the bubble, but some teams continue to remain clustered around it.

My process is pretty simple actually. Firstly, I’ve compiled a list of college basketball teams who realistically still have a chance at making the NCAA Tournament. Secondly, I’ve used the brand new NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) Rankings as a seeding criteria for all teams, which will also be heavily used by the actual selection committee. Lastly, I’ve looked at every team’s current record and used the NCAA’s Quadrant Wins System to analyze the quality of their respective wins and losses.

After I have made a judgment on all teams, I begin to seed the 68 chosen teams from 1 to 68. Ranking them this way allows me to separate them into seed lines (#1 to #16). Finally, I place the teams into regions based on their respective seeds, conferences, and game location (for higher seeds). I tried my best to keep conference opponents from playing until at least the Sweet 16, but there may have been situations where this wasn’t realistically possible.

All in all, the process I went through definitely isn’t easy, but it’s fun to look at the possibilities already. I’ve tried my best to simulate what the actual selection committee would be doing if the tournament had to be seeded today. So after another crazy week in the college hoops world, let’s check into my second-ever Bracketology projection!

East Region (Washington, D.C.):

Columbus, Ohio

#1 Virginia vs. #16 Prairie-View/Robert Morris

#8 Minnesota vs. #9 Oklahoma

Hartford, Connecticut

#4 Villanova vs. #13 Murray State

#5 Wisconsin vs. #12 New Mexico State

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#3 Marquette vs. #14 Bowling Green

#6 Florida State vs. #11 Indiana

Des Moines, Iowa

#2 Michigan vs. #15 UC-Irvine

#7 Buffalo vs. #10 Arizona State

West Region (Anaheim, CA):

Salt Lake City, Utah

#1 Gonzaga vs. #16 Princeton

#8 Syracuse vs. #9 Ole Miss

Jacksonville, Florida

#4 Purdue vs. #13 New Mexico State

#5 LSU vs. #12 Lipscomb

Salt Lake City, Utah

#3 Kansas vs. #14 Montana

#6 Maryland vs. #11 VCU/Temple

Columbia, South Carolina

#2 North Carolina vs. #15 Lehigh

#7 Washington vs. #10 Wofford

South Region (Louisville, KY):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Duke vs. #16 Rider/Norfolk State

#8 Auburn vs. #9 TCU

San Jose, California

#4 Nevada vs. #13 Vermont

#5 Texas Tech vs. #12 Davidson

Hartford, Connecticut

#3 Michigan State vs. #14 Northern Kentucky

#6 Mississippi State vs. #11 UCF

Columbus, Ohio

#2 Kentucky vs. #15 Georgia State

#7 Cincinnati vs. #10 St. John’s

Midwest Region (Kansas City, MO):

Jacksonville, Florida

#1 Tennessee vs. #16 Sam Houston State

#8 Baylor vs. #9 NC State

San Jose, California

#4 Louisville vs. #13 Old Dominion

#5 Iowa vs. #12 Hofstra

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#3 Houston vs. #14 Radford

#6 Iowa State vs. #11 Alabama/San Francisco

Des Moines, Iowa

#2 Virginia Tech vs. #15 Loyola-Chicago

#7 Kansas State vs. #10 Ohio State

Bubble Breakdown:

The tournament bubble continues to simmer down as each day of conference basketball passes, but it’s still a very log-jammed one like it has been in recent years. Here’s a breakdown of the last few teams that made it and the last few that are just outside the cut line right now:

IN:

Last Team In: San Francisco Dons (17-5, 5-3 WCC)

San Francisco is still hunting hard for an at-large berth as Gonzaga continues to dominate the WCC. The Dons lost by six on the road against a decent Saint Mary’s team on Saturday, and they need to end their two game losing streak fast. They may just be watching as their at-large chances go up in smoke, barring a miracle where they win at Gonzaga on Thursday night. Pray for the Dons, because they’re on their last legs.

Second To Last Team In: Temple Owls (16-6, 6-3 AAC)

The bubble was intensely shaken up this week, so Temple stayed on the good end of things. Losing by seven on the road at Houston wasn’t terrible, but the Owls have a horrible schedule the rest of the way. A loss to any teams that they should beat will kill their at-large hopes, forcing them to go on a run in the AAC Tournament. Blowing the 14 point second half lead to Cincinnati two weeks ago really hurt the Owls resume and it will continue to do so.

Third To Last Team In: VCU Rams (15-6, 6-2 A10)

A big home win against a decent George Mason team certainly will help VCU, but it’s what happened to other teams on the bubble that allowed the Rams to jump onto the right side of things this week. If they want to stay on the right side, they’ll likely have to win out or win most of their remaining games. Losing to Davidson shook off a huge resume opportunity for them, but they still have a Quadrant 1 win from defeating Texas on the road in December. They may very well just have to win the Atlantic 10 to get a bid to the big dance.

Fourth To Last Team In: Alabama Crimson Tide (13-8, 4-4 SEC)

The Crimson Tide looked to be safely in the field on Tuesday after a huge home victory over Mississippi State. But on Saturday, they were rocked by Auburn in a 21 point road loss. They still have a good chance to get an at-large bid, especially with great opportunities at resume-building wins such as Arkansas and Mississippi State on the road, as well as Auburn and LSU at home. They definitely do need to continue winning games that they are supposed to, however, because they can’t afford too many more losses.

OUT:

First Team Out: Seton Hall Pirates (13-9, 4-6 Big East)

Seton Hall suffered a tough two point loss on the road to Butler on Saturday, but they’re still firmly alive in the race on the bubble. With St. John’s on the road in late February and home games against Marquette and Villanova to close out the season, the Pirates definitely will get their fair share of chances to boost themselves off the bubble. Wins over St. John’s at home, Kentucky on a neutral floor, and Maryland on the road have helped them to this point, but they cannot continue to slide in the Big East in the next month.

Second Team Out: Arkansas Razorbacks (13-8, 4-4 SEC)

After being out of the picture for a few weeks, Daniel Gafford’s Razorbacks are back in the mix on the bubble with a huge road victory over LSU in overtime. They added that to their resume along with a early season win over Indiana, but they might end up being hurt by extremely bad home losses to Georgia Tech and Western Kentucky. The Razorbacks are certainly talented enough to make the tournament, but it’s up to them to fight for their chance to shine.

Third Team Out: Nebraska Cornhuskers (13-9, 3-8 Big Ten)

Nebraska’s 3-8 record in the Big Ten isn’t as bad as it looks, considering how tough the conference is this season, but it still should and could be better. They have some good wins and some bad losses, but they’re skidding as of late, and honestly shouldn’t even be on the bubble come next week. They are fighting to keep their hopes alive this week, and a loss or two could kill them indefinitely. The opportunities are there, as the Huskers have Maryland at home on Wednesday and Purdue on the road on Saturday. Let’s see what the Huskers got!

Fourth Team Out: Florida Gators (12-9, 4-4 SEC)

I’m torn on Florida and the question of whether the Gators are a tournament team. They earned a gritty home win on Wednesday over a good Ole Miss squad, but then blew a chance to build some ground off the bubble in the home loss to Kentucky. They’ve got an extremely difficult schedule the rest of the way and I don’t know if they’re capable of winning enough games to secure an at-large bid to the big dance.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed my second ever Bracketology Breakdown. If you want to continue to see more content like this, let me know on my Twitter @TBeckmann24. Feel free to ask questions and share thoughts to me there as well. Have a great and blessed day! Peace!