Monday, January 24, 2011

Bracket Watch '11 - Let's go crazy

With all apologies to Prince(or the artist formerly known as thingy), this past week was the week every bracketologist(and those who just casually follow the sport) had to be clawing out their hair. Numerous teams that were in got hampered with bad losses. Cases in point:

Central Florida
To paraphrase Dennis Green, the Golden Knights are who we thought they were, a pretender to Conference USA's throne. Back-to-back HOME losses to East Carolina and Rice put UCF into the conference cellar and with a trip to Memphis looming this week, don't look for the Knights to resurface anytime soon.

Kansas State
Why, oh why did I have to put up a preseason bracket? Yes, if you recall, I had the Wildcats as a #1 seed, but now with a 1-4 record in Big 12 play, including rough road losses to Missouri and Texas A&M, they're really reeling. And of course it gets worse, they have to go to Lawrence to help Kansas start another homecourt winning streak.

I fear that the Bulldogs' bloom has finally worn off. Their weekend trip to the Bay Area to face San Francisco and Santa Clara ended with two losses. Now they must face St. Mary's at home in a must win game. If the Bulldogs lose, the hill they have to climb will become a very difficult mountain.

I could go on and on with the bad losses(Butler, Georgia, Colorado, etc.), but I can't, we must move on with the projections.

Projection done as if the season ended last night.

Final Four pairings
Southeast(1) vs. West(4)
East(2) vs. Southwest(3)

The First Four:
Tuesday Game A: Lamar(Southland) vs. Texas Southern(Southwestern)
Tuesday Game B: Colorado State vs. Butler
Wednesday Game A: Long Island(Northeast) vs. Tennessee State(Ohio Valley)
Wednesday Game B: George Mason vs. UCLA

Southeast Region

@ Cleveland
1-Ohio State(Big Ten) vs. 16-Maine(America East)
8-Missouri State(Missouri Valley) vs. 9-Miami(FL)
@ Tampa
4-Missouri vs. 13-Colorado State/Butler
5-Florida(Southeastern) vs. 12-Cincinnati
@ Denver
2-Brigham Young(Mountain West) vs. 15-Northern Colorado(Big Sky)
7-St. Mary's(West Coast) vs. 10-Boston College
@ Washington, DC
3-Syracuse vs. 14-Fairfield(Metro Atlantic)
6-Arizona vs. 11-Memphis

West region

@ Tucson
1-San Diego State vs. 16-Lamar/Texas Southern
8-Tennessee vs. 9-Utah State(Western Athletic)
@ Denver
4-Washington(Pacific-10) vs. 13-Hofstra(Colonial)
5-Minnesota vs. 12-Valparaiso(Horizon)
@ Tulsa
2-Kansas vs. 15-Hampton(Mid-Eastern)
7-North Carolina vs. 10-Marquette
@ Charlotte
3-Connecticut vs. 14-Ball State(Mid-American)
6-Illinois vs. 11-Marquette

East region

@ Cleveland
1-Pittsburgh(Big East) vs. 16-Long Island/Tennessee State
8-Nevada-Las Vegas vs. 9-Temple
@ Tampa
4-Kentucky vs. 13-Oakland(Summit)
5-Wisconsin vs. 12-Virginia Tech
@ Tulsa
2-Texas(Big 12) vs. 15-Bucknell(Patriot)
7-Louisville vs. 10-Wichita State
@ Chicago
3-Purdue vs. 14-College of Charleston(Southern)
6-Notre Dame vs. 11-Cleveland State

Southwest region

@ Charlotte
1-Duke vs. 16-Florida Atlantic(Sun Belt)
8-West Virginia vs. 9-Baylor
@ Chicago
4-Michigan State vs. 13-Harvard(Ivy)
5-Vanderbilt vs. 12-George Mason/UCLA
@ Washington, DC
2-Villanova vs. 15-Coastal Carolina(Big South)
7-Florida State(Atlantic Coast) vs. 10-Xavier(Atlantic 10)
@ Tucson
3-Texas A&M vs. 14-Long Beach State(Big West)
6-Georgetown vs. 11-Belmont(Atlantic Sun)

New to the field: Miami(FL), Richmond, Marquette, George Mason, Hofstra, Memphis, Cleveland State, Fairfield, Hampton, Colorado State, Tennessee State, UCLA, College of Charleston, Lamar
Leaving the field: St. John's, Colorado, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Virginia Commonwealth, Central Florida, Southern Mississippi, Iona, Morgan State, Austin Peay, Georgia, Chattanooga, McNeese State, Gonzaga

Last four in the field: George Mason, UCLA, Colorado State, Butler
First four left out: Oklahoma State, Old Dominion, Virginia Commonwealth, Gonzaga
Next four left out: St. John's, Alabama, Indiana State, Duquesne
The rest of the under-consideration board: Maryland, Providence, Penn State, Kansas State, Nebraska, Iowa State, Colorado, UTEP, Central Florida, Princeton, Southern California, Washington State, Georgia, South Carolina

After next week's projections, I'll have my annual State of the Bubble series, thouorghly examining all 31 AQ conferences and their chances for at-large bids.