11 March 2011

Before the madness

Weekend is sorting out some upsets, as usually happens. Some of the crazier developments:
1) Notre Dame is being talked about as a #1 seed. I have them #11. They're jumping over Duke and Pitt, as well as Texas and Purdue and BYU, plus a couple other teams who are in my opinion about as good as Notre Dame (ie, other 2 or 3 seed quality teams like Wisconsin, Kentucky, or San Diego St, of course they beat Wisconsin, but lost to Kentucky). They do have a very good top 100 record (17-5), but Pitt and BYU and Duke all have similarly good records. (16-5, 11-3, 14-4). Still, if Notre Dame gets a #1 seed, I expect me to pick them out early, and not to make the elite eight without an extremely favorable draw. They will clearly be the weakest #1 seed. Don't even get me started on North Carolina if they get one.
2) Colorado played their way in. At the moment they are #55 on my list. The real issue is that there are about a dozen teams ahead of them that probably wouldn't (and shouldn't) get in either. Colorado at least has some good wins (including 3 over Kansas St).
3) Alabama-Georgia is being talked about as a elimination/in game. Both of these teams are out on my list. Georgia at least has a respectable number of wins over top 100 teams (6), but so does Boston College, UAB, and even Memphis. None of these are teams I'd consider right now as anything more than decent. More strangely, the Illinois-Michigan game today could also be viewed as an elimination-in game, as is the Clemson-Boston College game. These two are more comfortably in (Illinois is still in my top 20, Michigan is listed as one of the last teams in), and Clemson looks safer, Boston College wouldn't be a travesty if they got in either. I think this reflects the disparity between efficiency ratings of the SEC and other weaker conferences and the Big Ten/ACC, and the RPI system which looks favorably on the SEC for reasons I cannot explain.

Here's the list right now
1) Ohio St
2) Kansas
3) Duke

4) Texas
5) Purdue
6) Pitt

7) BYU (dropping off the pace)
8) San Diego St
9) Wisconsin
10) Kentucky
11) Notre Dame (climbing, but with Pitt gone, can't climb enough)

12) Syracuse
12) North Carolina (I have no idea why they're getting #1 seed buzz either)
14) Louisville
15) Washington (glad they won last night, probably iced Wazzu's chances in the process)

16) Connecticut
17) Belmont
18) Utah St (needs to win their tournament to be entirely safe, but should knock out some crap team that doesn't need to be in if they don't. Their RPI is pretty damned high too)
19) Illinois (that they're still this high should say much about how weak it is out there. That said, they did beat Gonzaga, North Carolina, Oakland, and Maryland, and took Texas to OT, end run of losses in conference puts them on the bubble seems a little strange, considering Villanova has a similar profile).
20) West Virginia

21) UNLV
22) Florida
23) Arizona
24) Vanderbilt
25) Cincinnati

26) Villanova
27) George Mason
28) Georgetown

29) Gonzaga
30) Kansas St
31) Marquette. (brutal 10-14 top 100 record, looks very much like a Georgetown team that missed the cut a couple years ago, tells you just how bad it is this year).
31) Missouri
31) Virginia Tech (first real bubble team, and they were better last year when they didn't make it)

(big gap here)
34) St John's
34) Temple
36) Maryland (still on outside looking in)
37) Xavier
38) St Marys
39) Clemson (same record against top 100 as Texas A&M and still on the bubble?, I don't get the bubble this year)

40) Texas AM

Of the auto-bids so far, obviously Belmont is still interesting. Gonzaga's about where they have been for a couple years now (middle of the road). Butler's not nearly as good as last year. Neither is Old Dominion. Oakland is interesting where they will be, probably a 12-13 seed with a chance at an upset. Everybody else so far is a 14 seed or lower. That said, the 13s and 14s at least are a little better than usual. Wofford's basically the same team as last year rating wise and is a seed line lower. Maybe a couple more bigger tournament upsets and they sneak upward.
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