26 March 2013

SCOTUS and turning things red

I've written at some length about gay rights, gay marriage, and the various associated causes. I think these would place me rather firmly in the pro-gay marriage camp, for practical and ideological/moral reasons. I didn't change my status photos today though. And this is why.

The Supreme Court is hearing cases regarding state issues on laws of marriage. The Supreme Court isn't a court of public opinion. It often decides things that are rather unpopular. Flag burning is legal, prayer in public school (when led by school officials) is not. And it has unpredictable effects when it does so. Interracial marriage was deeply unpopular when it was decided (barely 40 years ago) but is mostly tolerated today, while abortion is still just as divisive as it was at Roe v Wade. It tends to decide things for very different reasons than the public understanding of "right-wrong" or what should or should not be legal. So. It doesn't have to say in a few weeks or months that any state anywhere has to allow homosexuals to have equal legal status in marriage contracts under the 14th Amendment's protections that people like me find relatively convincing (as I do also for abortion rights and a host of other things the government at various levels has at times seen fit to ban or restrict). It might not do that even if it upholds legal rights in California by overturning Prop 8, or if it upholds legal rights by overturning the Defence of Marriage Act and allowing federal benefits and legal status to be determined at the state level (as marriage and divorce laws have been determined for decades). It doesn't have to make a sweeping and decisive ruling for or against and it's not necessarily the most likely event even if lots of pundits and court watchers have speculated about what would happen if it does do that (pundits like making dramatic predictions rather than concerning themselves with whether or not their predictions are accurate). I think (from looking at prediction markets) it's probable that Justice Kennedy (as the deciding vote mostly likely for), may affirm some federal rights here, but whether that's the majority opinion including the 4 liberal justices and maybe Roberts, or whether that's a secondary ruling that isn't made while striking down the law only in California or only declining any federal definitions superseding the state laws, is not necessarily clear yet.

In any case, the Court isn't going to be swayed by your change of profile photo to do something convincing. This is more where I stand. That's a symbolic show of support. Grand that, to wear red, or to change a photo. It makes us feel better with a minimal effort, it does not cost us much of anything to do it. Given social media's dominance from younger people and younger people's strong support of this cause, it's not surprising to see so many of my friends taking up this message themselves as a result. Were the court set to overturn these rights more broadly, I might agree a demonstration of support would be more useful (I am aware the Court is very unlikely to do this). But I don't like mere symbolic actions very much. And don't like partaking of them myself (I wasn't fond of the Chik-Fil-A boycotts mostly because I didn't want to go there anyway, and most of the people who were protesting didn't either). I won't look down upon those that do them in this case, but it also doesn't seem like a very practical use of time.

I'd suggest an alternative show of support. People who live in a state that doesn't support legal equality should petition their representatives in state governments or in Congress and the Senate to do so, and explain why this matters to them when doing so (for example by pointing out the myriad of other laws that intersect with marriage to create the social institution as a civil one that should be governed by fairer and more accessible priors than traditional values, which can be imposed elsewhere than in legal strictures). People who live in a state that doesn't support legal equality should start or join petitions to place votes on ballots overturning bans, or establishing such rights. Since most of the people in my social circle do not live in Washington, or the North East, or Maryland or Iowa, and instead live in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, and elsewhere, we don't have states which recognize this as a problem and have resolved it accordingly. (Note to Illinois residents, your state has passed this partially via the State Senate and legal civil unions, go pester your state representatives and governor). We should not presume that this problem will be resolved, or even go away, because the Court will rule on it (indeed, it's still probable it won't go away at all for most of us). We who support this cause should instead seek to rally support further by taking action in the legislatures and ballot boxes of our local communities and states. HRC, who has come up with the photo of support on facebook, has a petition inclined to express this opinion. This too is less painful than it is useful, but it would be a bigger step forward in action.

Most challenging of all. We should also confront our friends and family members who don't share in this conception. Not angrily, if possible. But in search of understanding what it is they object to most strongly and why, or why they think that should be state policy rather than a neutral footing, and so on. Ask questions. Don't presume. Don't judge and dismiss them for being bigoted out of hand. There are practical or ideological reasons to oppose homosexual marriage rights out there, and their basis isn't always and obviously rooted in bias and prejudice. Discern if their motives are in fact bigotry, or ignorance, or some other preference. See if they have thought deeply and decisively on this issue or if they've merely adopted some cultural markers they think are significant without much thought and input as to the potential flaws of that approach. Many people approach the problem from the perspectives of the importance of "defining marriage", but lack the perspective to understand that marriage has already been broadly re-defined, both recently and in the distant past. To exclude polygamy, or to include multi-racial partnerships, or to include more expansive divorce protections, or greater autonomy and protections for women within these pairings, and so on. These re-definitions are often seen, by marriage equality opponents, as significant if not more pressing as problems with the existing institutions as they are now practiced, with or without gay rights. It is not established from these arguments that keeping such restrictions would improve or harm their cause but they do indeed still make them and find them persuasive.

Find common ground to acknowledge that we perhaps do have a society that no longer prizes life-long unions in the same (presumed) way as our ancestors or as these few objectors would prefer we prize them, but that the solution to that isn't to restrict who can aspire to these supposedly desirable unions in the first place. Find common ground with those that say the state should have no business by acknowledging this might be an ideal state (for libertarian-minded people), but it is not the one the polity we live in has chosen to construct and live within, where benefits and legal rights flow from these unions of mutual choice and respect and love. The enemy of the good is often the perfect here. Seeking out places where legal benefits and rights are unnecessary rather than seeking to abolish the entire civic institution at once in response to a change in its formal abilities establishes one's goals more properly as being anti-statist rather than anti-gay. Acknowledge that religious institutions have their own separated moral establishments and rituals, and that people may live under these rules or abandon them in a free and tolerant society. And so on. These are not painless gestures, but they are often the case that they need be made to allow our elders and others to accept changes and modifications to the society they must live in too.

Change is coming here. Demographics point to it even if the Supreme Court won't (and it might yet anyway). A society that prizes tolerance and basic legal equality will adapt to this, even as it will still have its holdouts and curmudgeons. Changing people's hearts and minds is ultimately more important to acceptance and the successful practice of these reforms than changing laws and it takes engaging them to understand where their hearts and minds have set themselves against you, your friends, or other people who you know and respect. Interracial marriage, as a comparison, is still only mildly accepted (and not so much in the South, where it was most recently illegal). Gay or lesbian couples are still going to have a long battle in many places to gain acceptance and avoid repression. Even if courts grant and try to ensure for them the legal rights they seek, many will not do so without grudges or will try to find ways to avoid doing so. One victory is not a war make. All fronts must be pushed.

Update: For the record, to extract the maximum practical value, in the short run these would be the states that petitioning and harassing with state and local governments would have value (in no particular order)
1) Illinois
2) Rhode Island
3) Delaware
4) Hawaii
5) Oregon
6) New Jersey
7) California (sort of)
8) Nevada
9) Minnesota
10) Pennsylvania
11) Colorado
12) Wisconsin

Most of those above listed already have legal civil unions, and it is possible this will account for most of the legal rights under changes in DoMA even as it requires stronger civil unions law in some cases or lacks the social value of being able to say one is "married". Several are in the midst of passing changes to the laws permitting same sex marriages or have had them held up in one or another branch of their government (or are being determined positively, potentially, by the Supreme Court soon).

These states one should do something else (like try to sway public opinion by talking to people).
1) Mississippi
2) Alabama
3) Louisiana
4) Georgia
5) Arkansas
6) South Carolina
7) Oklahoma
8) Texas
9) North Carolina
10) Tennessee
11) Wyoming
12) Kentucky
It will be a while before public opinion shifts there to where a vote will be useful, possibly over a decade or two in the top cases. Note that they're mostly in the South.....

There would be where a mix of both are required (they're right around but behind the national average).
1) New Mexico
2) Michigan
3) Arizona
4) Montana
5) Alaska
6) Virginia
7) Florida
8) Ohio
9) Iowa (sort of)
10) North Dakota
11) Nebraska
12) Indiana
13) Missouri
14) West Virginia
15) South Dakota
16) Kansas
17) Idaho
18) Utah
The top is more likely to see some action sooner. (Ohio is... right in the middle, which is not impressive). The variance out west is strange (see Montana, versus Idaho or Colorado versus Utah).

25 March 2013

Day 4 and moving on

1) Florida Gulf Coast is on a roll. That's never happened before (a 15 in the third round) and they took care of business twice to get there. NOBODY picked this (less than 1%), so one should not care in the pool terms. If anyone knows anyone who picked this, and didn't go there for school, they should probably make sure that person is in the nice part of the sanitarium they visited them at, or should console them because they were likely in a pool that gives out prizes for last place (which usually scores upsets by seed, and getting all those points from a 15 probably screwed their chances).

2) Temple-Indiana was way too close for my comfort, but worked out in the end. Wyatt made himself some money in those two games. Dunphry can be added to the list of coaches that don't do so well in tournaments, but he did have a tall order here in upsetting one of the top favorites to win the entire thing in his defence.

3) LaSalle also wasn't a very common pick this far. People really didn't like the play-in teams as picks (despite being a fairly reliable source of upsets). They're barely more popular a pick than FGCU was. No team had beaten Mississippi when they were tied or had a lead in the last few minutes (22-0), until they did last night.

4) It appears no coach from the UCLA - Minnesota first round game will survive. I'm less convinced Tubby Smith is a terrible coach than most (I think he has a pretty good idea what he's doing as a coach  given his record at Tulsa and Georgia pre-UK but did luck out with a Pitino recruited team early on to bolster his reputation), but I do think there's at least a case that he wasn't able to reach and coach the team they had this year and the past couple of years, given their inconsistency.

Overall round
I averaged 10.5 right, which is above average but not very good either.

Total whiffs
1) FGCU. Though I did identify Georgetown as weak, I wasn't about to pick the 15, much less twice.
2) LaSalle. Again, I did see KSU and Wisconsin as weak, but Mississippi was a more common upset pick here for me.
No surprise, nobody else got those two
3) Wichita St (nobody got that one either, about 3.5%).
4) Oregon. To me one of the bigger surprises as they handled two good teams very easily.
5) Marquette (I think I took them once somehow, in my defence here they've won two games by a combined total of 3 points). This one hurt somewhat as roughly half the public took them.

50/50 whiff
2) Miami. I had Illinois springing the upset there sometimes. Disappointing and terrible call near the end of the game shot that down. I feel pretty good about it as Illinois couldn't make shots in the last couple of minutes either but it's still annoying to have the refs involved in the outcome. People seem to think this was Miami not playing well, but I think the issue was Illinois is actually pretty good (just really, really inconsistent) and Miami isn't as good as people think they were (again, a weak 2 seed). Older good teams like them have done relatively poorly so far (Georgetown and Kansas).

Sometime value bets.
4) Syracuse. I had Cal winning essentially a home game a couple of times.
2) Ohio St. I had Iowa St springing the upset here a couple of times. Again a strange call near the end of the game, but OSU also played well in the last couple of minutes to pull this one out. I was surprised it was close.
4) Michigan. I figured on VCU playing far better than they did.

Moving forward.
Arizona is not a very common Elite Eight pick (about 5%). I took it a few times (Also a couple final four picks for them, which look a lot better today than with Gonzaga in the field, and really low on the pick order). I'd be surprised if Ohio St doesn't advance from here though. It's a totally broken bracket otherwise. It's also the only region where I'm out an elite eight pick. Which considering the heavy insanity of the first couple of rounds (it's by far the craziest bracket in the seeded era), surprises me.
Mostly chalky, and mostly not surprising. Duke winning here would be a big help. Louisville is really popular as a title contender and I never took them.
Florida and Michigan look pretty good to meet here. Kansas looked better in the second half against UNC, but Michigan's a lot better than UNC (who had no wins in the top 25 all year).
Chalk. Probably will stay that way too.

24 March 2013

Day 3

1) Wichita was only picked this far by about 3% of people, so where people took Gonzaga, don't feel too bad. Having said that, Gonzaga (and Kansas) were both vulnerable 1 seeds, and the West was, as previously mentioned, a screwy region. I was leaning toward knocking them out this early but talked myself down because I had them facing Pitt mostly, and Pitt didn't inspire enough confidence to pull the trigger. Wichita was certainly a good case for the upset by profile and defensive ability, they just had to get past a supposedly tougher Pitt team. The main case against Gonzaga was Mark Few isn't a very good tournament coach, and it seemed to show last night. A secondary case was made after their poor performance in round one against Southern, which is a good indicator that a 1 seed is below par and at risk of an early exit (again, ditto Kansas).

2) Oregon and to a lesser extent Arizona were not common picks this far. I've got no idea why Arizona wasn't. Harvard was pretty obviously not going to sneak up on a loaded Arizona team and New Mexico wasn't that good in the first place. Oregon beating St Louis handily was however a little surprising (but not terribly so, they're a big high scoring team, which is usually when 12s win over 4s).

3) I made some value pick calls on Cal (about 3.5% picked that far), but mostly took Cuse over them. I think I'd rather that Cuse had lost though.

4) Butler blew a lead against Marquette, causing much grumbling from me. I'm not sure how that works if you're Marquette, to have to consistently come back on other teams.

5) UCLA fired their coach after the loss in the first round to Minnesota. To some extent that's not surprising as UCLA hasn't been as good the last couple of years as this year (and certainly as the first few years Howland was there, where they were elite eight or final four worthy on talent grounds). But they partly lost because one of their best players was hurt coming into the game. Seemed an odd time to do it with a good recruiting class having just come in this year.

6) As with the other day, margins of victory were almost more surprising than the events. 3 close games out of 8, and then 5 blowouts (not even close at any point for most of them). For a tournament supposedly about parity, the better teams are smoking the competition. Both the VCU and Memphis losses were impressive displays. The Big 10 and Pac 12 are doing pretty well overall (over-under for Big 10 wins was 13, and they're at 8 already, with OSU and Indiana playing today). VCU-Michigan in particular should have been a much closer matchup (as the only 4-5 that held) and demonstrated a gap between top 2-3 tier teams and the rest of the field (in my mind at least).

7) A very good case can be made that poor tournament coaches are a significant hedge point to consider.
A list of a few serious offenders
Gonzaga- Few out in second round, routinely underachieves when given high seeds.
Missouri- Haith out in first round two years in a row (new coach, but not off to a good start).
Notre Dame- Brey out in first round two years in a row, and lost as a 2 seed the year before that in the second round
Pittsburgh - Dixon out in first round, lost as a 1 and 3 seed in second round last two appearances
New Mexico - Alford prior at Iowa wasn't too impressive either. Lost in first round (and lost in second round as a 3 seed previously, in one of the most obvious upsets in the last few years, even to an 11 seed).
Georgetown - Thompson out in first round, lost as a 6 and 3 seed in first round as well and last year as a 3 seed in the second round (and a few years ago as a 2 seed) Unlike the others on this list, they have at least made a Final Four appearance (Pitt's been to the Elite 8 once under Dixon).

Some of this is that some of these teams routinely are overseeded because of RPI factors. New Mexico hasn't deserved a 3 seed either time. Georgetown was a weak 2 this year and a very weak 3, weak 6, etc. Notre Dame is almost always seeded higher than they should be. Having already weaker teams than the seed expectations carry with them does not help. But if that's the case, it would suggest that these are coaches good enough to make their teams appear to be better all season, and then fail later.

23 March 2013

Day two thoughts

1) "Shock" of the day. Georgetown was a weak 2 seed, but nobody in their right mind picks 2 seeds to lose in the first round. It is starting to look like it's a more viable suggestion after the last couple of years, but prior to that, it was extremely rare. I generally had them losing to San Diego St or Florida, depending on the pool, so it, like New Mexico-Harvard, wasn't that big a deal to me.

2) Kansas looks really vulnerable to the VCU style attack, or (basically) to Michigan as well. If they couldn't take care of the ball against Western Kentucky, they've got serious problems moving forward in next weekend's matchups.

3) What's up with the A10? LaSalle wins in Kansas City? Temple wasn't a huge shock, but NC St has roughly top 10 talent on that team. Kansas St loss was probably the biggest shock of the day actually. Maybe a lot of Kansas fans there? St Louis, VCU, and Butler winning Thursday are hardly surprising, but that the bottom end still produced was fun for them.

4) Couple games surprised mostly for margin: Minnesota over UCLA especially. That's more what I expected the Oklahoma St-Oregon game to look like. Minnesota can really play when they get after it, but they're pretty rarely interested from watching them this season. Iowa St winning on a neutral/road game with that margin also impressed.

5) Mississippi wasn't that big a shock (I split my pools there). Wisconsin was in trouble against a high pace team if their shots weren't falling and they fell behind. Pretty much what happened to Georgetown, except against a much better team. Trouble is that where I took them, I'm now out a S16 team (I took Mississippi to beat KSU and KSU to beat Wisconsin, if there was a split there).

Update: Best pool performance was 24 first round, averaged only 22 (which is not encouraging). Only one entry out of 20 had any elite eight teams knocked out (I had foolishly picked Oklahoma St over Louisville once), and most had at least one or two sweet 16 slots out (averaged about 2.5). Usually the Mississippi-LaSalle game (where I usually had Kansas St), or the Oregon-St Louis game (usually Oklahoma St), occasionally Davidson or Bucknell, but I usually took Butler there (never Marquette), and then I usually had Georgetown that far, but where I picked SDSU to win in round one, I took them again in round two (much like Mississippi). I never had New Mexico that far at least.

The main way to win or rate highly on a tournament pool is to get the later rounds right, and losing final four or elite eight teams on days one or two is generally unadvised to do that. Identifying the weakest top seeds is therefore the crucial move. Occasionally something crazy still happens, but mostly that happens in rounds two or three, not round one. Round one is mostly about not picking too many upsets, and absorbing hits where they come.

First round misses
I never picked these teams to lose in round one.
2) Georgetown.
3) New Mexico.
4) Kansas St (missed by 2)
5) Oklahoma St
8) NC State (missed by 4, but was trailing by more)
11) St Marys (missed by 2)
Other than Oklahoma St, I tended not to trust any of these teams further. Kansas St was only trustworthy from the draw they got and playing in Kansas City.

I usually picked these two to win, but had them losing again (except once with Davidson), so didn't mind.
14) Davidson (missed by last second shot)
8) Pitt

50/50s where I may have weighted one way or the other. I ended up leaning toward Illinois, Iowa St, and North Carolina so those three were often, but not always correct, and mostly missed on the SDSU game and Wisconsin game.
10) Colorado (concerned about Brandon Paul not showing up)
7) Notre Dame (concerned about Iowa St's road record, otherwise it was a no-brainer).
10) Oklahoma (concerned about SDSU 3k miles of travel)
9) Villanova (value pick from UNC being heavily favored)
5) Wisconsin (wasn't sure the tempo factor would help or hurt Mississippi)

Random picks that sometimes cost a few points.
11) Bucknell. Muscala really didn't impress.
11) Belmont. 3 point shooting contest worried me.
6) UCLA. I was concerned about Minnesota's road record, but not that concerned with UCLA being hobbled.
5) UNLV. For some reason I picked them a couple times. Probably because Cal was really weak on metric value, but the home-road factor mattered a lot.

Best upset calls to have made (ESPN/Yahoo % picked)
FGCU 2.3%/1.9%
Harvard 5.6%/4.5%
LaSalle 6.1%/5.1%
Nobody picked those. If you missed, only feel bad if you thought those were very good teams that lost though.
Mississippi 20%/13.4% (not sure why there's such a gap, maybe Yahoo's groups skew toward fewer upsets)
Cal 25.3%/22.6%
Those two are the two I'd be pleased with myself over.
Temple 30.4%/33.1%
Wichita St 31.9%/32%
Colorado St 35%/32.6% (not an upset, but really low picked for an 8).
Apparently nobody liked the 9 seeds, as three of them had low picked value.
Iowa St 37.7%/37%
Oregon 41.7%/40.1%
Minnesota 48.4%/44.7%

Oh and I did warn that the West was a screwy bracket (3 upsets, plus the 9 and 10 seeds won).

22 March 2013

Day one thoughts

1) Only real surprise to me was Oklahoma St getting stomped on. I didn't think Oregon was that good to win that convincingly. I concede they had a good shot to win (as do most teams), but not the 43% they were getting from ESPN's public (log5 had them at 38% though, so it was close).

2) Pitt losing to Wichita was annoying, but I managed to talk myself out of a Zags upset because Pitt didn't average much in the way of scoring. Which is risky in the tournament. Missing a couple first round games isn't as important to trying to win any pools as picking up potential elite eight teams.

3) New Mexico, had they been playing Davidson, or even Northwestern St, I would have picked against them in a heartbeat for the first round (I did have Arizona beating them in the second). It's possible those wouldn't have worked out and Harvard had a better matchup to win, but nevertheless, I did identify New Mexico as very weak 3. Marquette also was losing most of the second half and managed by some device of error to pull out a win. I feel pretty good about going against these two, even if I missed both for the first round the way I ended up picking them. Davidson had an absurdly high chance by the log5 metric for a 14 seed, about 1 in 3 odds, but Harvard was pulling about 3-4 times what the public thought was the case, about 17%. Clearly the public thought New Mexico was supposed to be pretty good for some reason. Clearly they haven't watched many MWC games.

3a) The line for NM was also 12 in that game. Which seemed absurdly high. New Mexico only won 10 games by more than that all year (and only a home win against NMSU was against anyone of Harvard's caliber). Apparently the Vegas thinks the public thinks 3 seeds are supposed to be good, but don't observe that they're not always. They should probably have set their lines a little more in line with the quality and style of the two teams involved first.

4) No idea why Colorado St wasn't favored in that Mizzou game. Haidt's not a very good coach, they were undersized, playing on the road, and Colorado St was actually pretty good (almost as good as New Mexico, and better than UNLV or San Diego St). Whatever. Thanks for the pot odds value.

5) Memphis barely won. Had St Mary's not played a day and a half earlier (and had travel delays before that), I think they should have won that game. I'd still pick this one again as either MTSU/St Mary's winning when the public was picking Memphis at an 88% clip.

6) Cal upset was pretty obvious, thanks to the committee. UNLV was a poor road team and the game was less than 50 miles from Cal. That was just a poor bracket setup. Then again, only the top 4 are supposed to be "protected" seeds anyway, but it helps to make the first round upsets easy to call.

7) Wow VCU is crazy on defence. That and Akron could have used a couple of extra players.

8) I am mildly surprised that Arizona won so handily, but not surprised they advanced. They're pretty talented for a 6 seed when all the other 6s are overrated. And the focus on their 3pt defence overshadowed that Belmont's wasn't very good and Arizona's 3pt% offence was in fact pretty good.

9) I'm curious if the RPI will get another pass to re-evaluate it after this season, but I doubt it will. When (if) the MWC ends up 1-5 in the tournament (San Diego St can win today, and could beat Georgetown on Sunday, but will probably not), the idea that somehow it was the best conference in the country should be taken as an absurdity that no decent system should have produced and be seen as a need for reform.

18 March 2013

Second round of bracket thoughts, analysis mode

This will be by region

Top Seeds
1) Louisville
2) Duke
3) Michigan St
4) St Louis
Wild Card
7) Creighton

First round.
None of the top seeds look promising as upsets or are playing promising upset prospects. Valpo is a little underrated as a 14 is the best option.
5-12 I'm not sure what the ESPN population is doing with the shower of picks for Oregon as a probable upset over Oklahoma St. Oregon isn't very good, and not so much so that they're near equals to OKSU
6-11 I'm also not sure what they're doing taking Memphis so heavily (87%). I'd take either of the 11 seeds over them, especially St Marys. It's possible this will shift after the play-in game is determined, but I doubt by that much. There's a huge value pick in taking the upset here.
7-10 And again, I'm not sure what the UC over Creighton pick is about. UC has a good defence, and Creighton.. doesn't know what defence is. But they score in bunches and are in the top tier of teams. Pretty good value just sticking with Creighton here.
8-9. This is a funny one. I don't think it matters who wins, so take your pick. Missouri is higher in my ratings, but not by that much. I'd weight toward CSU because Missouri is so bad on the road and because the public seems to favor Missouri to a very high extent.
2nd Round
Louisville is playing in Lexington. While that could be a semi-hostile crowd, I don't think that's sufficient. They're a good road team. Neither of their probable opponents are.
Duke- Creighton would represent one of the best second round matchups (much like UNC-Creighton did last year, not because it was close, but because it was high-scoring). I'd take Duke, mostly because I don't think Creighton can guard Duke but Duke could guard Creighton.
Michigan St-St Marys/MTSU/Memphis, I might take the 11s again here, but betting against Izzo isn't usually very smart. The game is also in Auburn Hills...
St Louis- OKSU. I'd take OKSU here. Typically the 4-5 is decided by who can score more. Neither can, and both can defend, but OKSU plays a little faster.
3rd Round
Louisville is clearly better than either St Louis or OKSU. Oklahoma St does seem like a more promising upset if forced to choose.
Duke is more of a tossup with Michigan St, as it's the first really good interior team they'll play. Duke though looks more promising to advance this far.
Final Four
Duke. Partly this is because Louisville is the most common team picked to win it all. Partly it's because Duke is really pretty good this year. I don't think Louisville's defence is that much better than Michigan State's to match up here. I also don't think Louisville's offence is that good (it's worse than UConn's was when they won with the Kemba Walker year). I don't trust them to score enough to keep up with Duke and they're not an interior style team that could pose problems (Maryland's got size, if we insist on the Maryland template for beating Duke).

Top Seeds
1) Kansas
2) Georgetown
3) Florida
4) Michigan
Wild Card
5) VCU, if forced to pick anyone.

First round
Again, no promising upset potential in the top seeds. Northwestern St at 14 is fast paced and has beaten a 3 seed before several years ago, but they're playing Florida. Who is probably one of the best teams in the tournament. Whereas before they played Iowa, who was a high seeded Big 10 tournament winner and was pretty weak for a 3 (more like Marquette this year).
5-12 Akron is pretty good, but VCU is much better. The best advantage Akron has is the game is in Auburn Hills. The other is that it's a value pick as VCU is really popular for a 5 seed.
6-11 If Minnesota weren't so unpredictable and poor on the road, they'd make an excellent upset pick here. They're still very likely (not least because they'll crush UCLA on the boards). UCLA isn't that good, but is respectable on the road. The game is in Texas, which does put somewhat less stress on the travel involved for a west coast team. I lean toward UCLA here, but not by much.
7-10 San Diego State vs Oklahoma. I'd take Oklahoma, mostly because this game is in Philadelphia and all the way across the country for SDSU and because SDSU seems favored. Also MWC teams tend to under-perform, badly.
8-9. Take Villanova. North Carolina is heavily favored. I think UNC is better, but not 69% likely to win better.
Second Round
Kansas is much better than either UNC or Villanova and playing in Kansas City...
Georgetown is vulnerable as a 2 seed (they should have been a 4). But neither team is that promising as an upset candidate. This might be one of the ugliest games of the second round also. None of the 3 are good offensive teams, and two are top 15 defences.
Florida really got screwed on its location (four potential games in Texas), but there aren't many southern cities hosting. Neither team looks probable here to hurt them here.
Michigan-VCU, a very interesting game. It's in Auburn Hills, which helps Michigan, but VCU is very dangerous. I lean toward Michigan but not by much.
3rd Round
Kansas may have trouble with either team here, VCU causes more problems I suspect (highest TO margin in the country, and Kansas is the only top 10 team with a negative margin). Michigan certainly has the talent to beat them too.
Florida, no contest over Georgetown. Florida isn't getting very much love on the public picking them at all for later rounds. Just keep taking them.
Final Four
Florida. Kansas has potentially a harder path and Florida is better anyway.

Top Seeds
1) Gonzaga
2) Ohio St
3) New Mexico
4) Kansas St

This is the screwiest bracket by far, with some heavy over/under seeds from RPI effects.
First Round
New Mexico is the best 3 seed upset candidate in the field, but they're playing Harvard, which isn't that impressive or very good. The play-in game against Kansas St doesn't impress, and the game is in Kansas City. Iona is really good for a 15 and plays really fast but actually picking a 15 is usually dumb. So no upsets at the top end.
5-12 This is a curious one. Wisconsin seems to like playing the Mississippi style teams (they do well against Indiana for example). Both teams are underseeded. I'd say this is the second most likely 5-12 upset but I don't think I'd bite on it.
6-11 Could be the year Belmont actually plays up to their potential as a spoiler. They finally got the seeding to show for it, a year or two late (they're not as good as they were the last two years). Arizona has played poorly against the P-12 (mostly fast teams) and down the stretch. Probably one of the best first round games.
7-10 Iowa State is a gunner team, which could be a problem for Notre Dame, but they're also terrible on the road. Much like the Colorado St game, it probably doesn't matter. It's also a lot closer to ND (Dayton). Iowa St could be a decent value pick here, if they're not terrible on the road.
8-9 Pitt is a top 10 team. Wichita is not. The worst of these last year had two top 20 teams in one 8-9 game (Memphis and St Louis). I'll take Pitt here.

Second Round
Pitt is a heavy upset value pick here. Gonzaga is heavily favored. They are pretty good, but they're the weakest of the 1 seeds by a bit over Kansas and Pitt is way better than the other 8 seeds.
Kansas St playing basically at home against a slow moving team with a poor road record,  I'll take them.
I'd take either Arizona or Belmont over New Mexico. Especially Arizona.
Ohio State playing in Dayton against either of ND/Iowa St, I'll take them. Iowa St would be the more dangerous of the two (if they're hot, they're going to score a lot).

3rd Round
Pitt over Kansas St. Gonzaga over them too if hedging. Kansas St is more like a 7 seed here than a 4.
I might take Arizona over Ohio State. Games are in LA. But OSU is pretty good.

Final Four
Arizona, if not taking Belmont in the first round. Gonzaga if not taking Pitt in the second, Ohio State otherwise. As I said, it's a screwy region.

Top Seeds
1) Indiana
2) Miami
3) Marquette
4) Syracuse
Wild Card
None. This bracket is the weakest by far in the field. Even Marquette (4th best team) is not good enough to merit wild card potential.

First Round
Davidson is very likely over Marquette and worth looking at taking. None of the others are likely upsets.
5-12 Probably the most likely 5-12 upset. It's in San Jose so UNLV's road record is a factor. UNLV is probably the most overseeded team in the field. Take Cal. Could be the ugliest first round game (neither team can score).
6-11 Butler is probably the second most overseeded team. Bucknell isn't much worse than them and there's a heavy Butler push on ESPN. Probably take Bucknell on a value pick, but Butler is more likely.
7-10 Illinois is probably the 3rd most overseeded team. Having watched them at various points in the season, it can be painful for them to score unless Brandon Paul decides to have a national TV style game. I'd probably take Colorado here, largely because they're not well liked as a pick.
8-9 NC St is way better than Temple.

Second Round
Indiana. Next
Miami over Colorado/Illinois is okay here. Miami is a fairly weak 2 seed though (not quite as weak as Georgetown). They're also old. And old teams don't do well.
Davidson over Butler (or Butler over Marquette). Davidson, for a 14 seed, rates almost as well as Butler does as a 6.
Syracuse over Cal, but I'd consider Cal as an upset here. Cuse isn't that great outside of NY.

3rd Round
Indiana, Next.
Butler over Miami, or Miami over Davidson

Final Four
Indiana. Next.

Championship Rounds
Indiana vs Florida, Indiana, and this looks like the "title" game to me.
Duke vs Gonzaga/Ohio St/Pitt. Duke

Indiana vs Duke, Indiana. Taking Duke or Florida as the champ is a decent value pick, Duke is more likely in my view (the with and without Kelly stats are helpful) but Florida is less picked.

Arguments against Duke: they can't rebound and got blown out by Miami.
Argument against Florida, they struggle in close games (most of their games have been considerable blowouts).They also play slow, which can be a trouble spot (as when they get behind in a close game).
Louisville isn't a terrible pick, but if they're likely the most common to pick as winning, find someone else to pick is good advice to try to win (in case someone else nails the early rounds, it's best to beat them by having more available points later, where the rounds are more important anyway). I lean toward Indiana because I trust their offense more and they won't play anyone who slows it down (ala Wisconsin or Minnesota). Miami and Florida play slow, but Miami is suspect defensively.
I don't trust Gonzaga because the coach (Few) isn't very good. They haven't done as well with the often higher expectations since Monson left. They do have size this time however, which they didn't sometimes in years past. They're hard to evaluate as well with fewer meaningful games. One has to rely on the 3 peat over St Mary's a lot to presume they've got a lot of quality wins, when they've otherwise just got a close win at Oklahoma St, over Baylor, and pair of blow outs over Kansas St and Oklahoma.

Bracket thoughts and final season rankings

Generally the committee does okay at picking the "right" teams. I think LaSalle is the only strange pick, mostly because they've got an unreasonably high RPI (40), but they're not an indefensible pick either over Virginia, Iowa, Baylor, Kentucky, or Denver, and certainly defensible over Maryland or Alabama or Tennessee. MTSU deserves a shot here as far as the metrics were concerned and critics of such really don't pay much attention to minor conferences, or don't want us to do so in favor of the power conferences that already dominate the tournament. Giving one or two slots to these kinds of teams provides some variety in the early rounds, if not the risk or danger of playing an unfamiliar team. (I also think MTSU was greatly helped by Mississippi winning the SEC tournament).

The committee's real struggle is, and always has been, properly seeding the teams they've picked. I gather that's a really hard system, with certain rules involved, but it's not that hard that they should consistently underrate teams that are much better than the seed line they end up with. I've highlighted some of teams that don't conform to the rankings very well. Some are really, really bad.

A legend of sorts, for interpreting the data.
a) Breaks in the ranking list are to designate a tier of sorts, where teams in the slot above are clearly better than the teams below them. If the NCAA title isn't won by any of the teams in the top two tiers, I would consider that a huge upset. Final four teams emerging from anything past the top 4 tiers would likewise be odd.
b) Records are listed by top 100 records, plus losses to non top 100 teams.
c) Bold is teams that won automatic bids. The relevance of this is teams who win auto bids and receive 3-5 seeds tend to under-perform. New Mexico and St Louis are the only teams who might conform to this (last year Florida St lost in the second round. Louisville however advanced to the final 4).
d) Teams with poor to bad road records have their top 100 record in red. Bolded text there indicates a very poor (bad) road record. Poor road performance correlates really well with under-performing in the tournament, particularly with the top half of the bracket. (It also explains most of the bubble teams who didn't make the field, as all of them have poor road performance). Florida last year was the only team that advanced deeply that had a poor road record (partly because Missouri was upset in the first round). Marquette two years ago upset Syracuse and an overseeded Xavier team as a bad road team is the only example from the last two years.

Final rankings (all NCAA teams, seed after)
1) Florida      11-7-0 (3!)
2) Louisville 15-5-0 (1)
3) Indiana      14-6-0 (1)

4) Gonzaga 13-2-0 (1)
5) Kansas   15-4-1 (1)
6) Ohio St   12-7-0 (2)
7) Duke      14-5-0 (2)

8) Pittsburgh       9-7-1 (8!!)
9) Wisconsin   11-11-0 (5!)
10) Michigan     12-6-1 (4)
11) Michigan St 12-8-0 (3)

12) Miami         12-4-2 (2)
13) Georgetown 11-5-1 (2)
14) Syracuse      12-9-0 (4)
15) Creighton    13-6-1 (7!!)

16) New Mexico  15-4-1 (3)
17) Arizona         11-6-1 (6)
18) Missouri        10-9-1 (9!)
19) St Louis       13-5-1  (4)
20) Oklahoma St   9-7-1  (5)
21) VCU             13-8-0 (5)

22) St Marys        7-5-1  (11!!)
23) Minnesota      10-10-2 (11!!)

24) Colorado St        6-7-1 (8)
25) Kansas St           8-7-0 (4!)
26) Marquette           8-7-1 (3!!)
27) North Carolina     6-9-1 (8)
28) North Carolina St 6-8-2 (8)
29) San Diego St       6-8-2 (7)

30) MTSU         2-3-2 (11)
31) Iowa          6-10-2 (out)
32) Wichita St   10-7-1 (9)
33) Mississippi  10-6-2 (12!)
34) Iowa St        8-9-2  (10)
35) Notre Dame 10-8-1 (7)
36) Memphis     7-4-0 (6!)
37) Virginia        7-3-8 (out)
38) UNLV          9-6-3 (5!!)
39) Baylor         5-11-3 (out)

40) Belmont    6-2-4 (11)
41) Cincinnati  9-10-2 (10)
42) Kentucky   8-10-1 (out)
43) Denver       3-7-2 (out)

44) UCLA       13-6-3 (6!!)
45) Oklahoma   8-9-2 (10)
46) Illinois       8-11-1 (7!!)
47) Oregon    10-6-2 (12)

48) Stanford  6-12-2 (out)
49) Colorado  9-8-3  (10)
50) Villanova  8-11-2 (9!)
(51 is UConn, who is ineligible)
52) Butler       14-7-1 (6!!)
53) Akron        6-3-3 (12)
54) Boise St     4-7-3 (13)
55) Davidson   2-3-4 (14!)
56) Maryland    4-8-4 (out)

57) Southern Miss  1-7-2 (out)
58) LaSalle            7-7-2 (13)
59) Stony Brook (out)
60) California       7-10-1 (12)
61) Bucknell      4-3-2 (11!)
62) Alabama       8-8-4 (out)
63) Tennessee    10-10-2 (out)
64) Temple         9-6-3 (9!!)
65) Valparaiso    2-3-4 (14!)

78) New Mexico St (13)
89) Iona (15!)
90) South Dakota St (13)
100) Harvard (14)
110) Florida Gulf Coast (15)
117) Pacific (15)
120) Northwestern St (14)
133) Montana (13!)
134) Albany (15)
170) Southern (16)
175) Long Island (16)
177) James Madison (16)
178) Western Kentucky (16)
230) NC A&T (16)
251) Liberty (16)

17 March 2013

Last bubble watching post

Since none of the major games today have any real bubble implications (that is, none of the teams that could win would be taking a spot necessarily away, usually there's one or two of those). Some thoughts.
Here's the list of teams I'd have in that have no shot.
29) Iowa. 6-10-2. Will be the highest team I've rated to miss the field since Georgetown went 16-14 against a brutal schedule in 2009. They were 7-13 against the top 100. Iowa is only 6-10, but both have similar top 50 records (4-9 for G'Town and 3-9 for Iowa). My guess is the holdout factor for Iowa is non-conference play and a lack of big wins (1, Wisconsin at home). Georgetown by contrast had 4 top 25 wins that year. Really could have used that Michigan State game.

36) Virginia. 7-3-8. Played their way out by losing a ton of games against mediocre teams, the worst of which was Old Dominion. Injuries can be blamed on some of these, but that one is unforgivably bad. Loss to NC State is forgivable, but they lost by a lot when they needed to compete most.

38) Baylor. 5-11-3. Mysterious big win over Kansas wasn't enough. They needed that game against Oklahoma State in the conference tournament.

44) Denver 3-8-1. Loss to Texas State in WAC tournament? Good news for them, I guess, is Louisiana Tech won't make the field either.

48) Stanford. 6-12-2. Much like Iowa, has no big wins to point to in a tough schedule (1-9 against top 50).  They're slotted in my second to last at large spot anyway (Colorado is the last).

Teams that are rated low that should get in anyway (instead of the teams above).
50) Villanova 8-11-2 . Decent enough record and 3 top 25 wins helps here.
52) Boise State 6-7-3. Probably should be closer to on the bubble than appears to be the case.
53) Butler 14-7-1. The 14 top 100 wins is pretty much all that's needed here. That's a lot.
60) California 6-10-1. Their loss to Utah puts them in a very uncomfortable spot, but considering the other teams on this list, I think they're safe enough. Win over Arizona and splits with UCLA and Colorado is about it (Denver too). Sweep of Oregon now that Oregon won the automatic bid helps too.
65) Temple. 8-6-3. Wins over Syracuse, VCU, and St Louis are probably the fodder here (last two at home). Loss to Duquesne hurt a lot.

Of these, I'm comfortable with 3 of them (Villanova, Butler, and Temple) and Boise is acceptable with some good wins down the stretch in a tough (but overrated) conference. Cal is pretty ugly though.

Teams that are very fringe contenders for a spot.
55) Maryland 4-8-4. Two wins over Duke is very nice. Only two other wins is not.

58) Southern Miss. 1-7-2. Only win is over Denver. Win over Memphis in conference final would have been a big one too, but also wouldn't have mattered with the automatic qualifier that came with it. They do have an impressive looking RPI for such a mediocre resume is basically their only reason for inclusion.

63) Alabama 8-8-4. Win over Tennessee put a heartbeat back in their consistently fringe position from earlier in the year, but they didn't follow up in the game against Florida. It did weaken the case for Tennessee however.

Actual bubble (3 of these will get in, 2 won't).
31) Middle Tennessee State. 1-3-2. Lots of blowout wins over mediocre to terrible teams. Only win is over Mississippi. Which helps with Mississippi playing today. Assuming they are not blown out (which is possible, they're playing Florida). Right now they look to be in, but it's very close.

39) Mississippi. 8-6-2. Speaking of which. Basically two wins over Missouri is all they have to go on. The win over Vanderbilt didn't really help much. Probably needs to win anyway to get in. If they're stealing a bid, it would be from another SEC team most likely.

42) Kentucky 8-10-1. Loss to Vandy did not help at all after the big win over Florida. They seem to be prototypically like the other bubble teams that missed out (win one big one, lose a bad one). Probably out with the injury factors.

59) LaSalle 7-7-2. I've been waiting for this team to start falling out of favor but the rest of the bubble never really caught up to them. They've basically just beaten up on the lesser A-10 teams (the ones that look better on RPI, like Charlotte or UMass, beat them. Charlotte is probably the most overrated RPI team I've ever seen). They've got a road win over VCU, barely beat Butler at home, and beat Villanova in OT. Losing to Central Connecticut State may be what keeps them out if anything does.

64) Tennessee 10-10-2. Loss to Alabama didn't help, but didn't hurt that much either. Wins over Florida, Wichita State, Missouri, and 1 point loss to Georgetown help. But they piled up a lot of other losses. Memphis, Virginia, swept by Mississippi, split with Kentucky, lost twice to Alabama (won once), Arkansas, and the big hurt here, swept by Georgia. Other than a pair of wins over middling A-10 teams (Xavier and UMass), there's not much here. They didn't even have the toughest SEC schedule. If I had to guess, they miss out.

Minor conference watch
Conferences with decent teams that lost
Sun Belt: Middle Tennessee State might get in anyway, but Western Kentucky is going to be in a play-in game (rate around 180). MTSU would likely have been a 12 as an upset watch (at the time of their upset they looked like Memphis but does with fewer decent wins).

WAC: Denver. New Mexico State isn't bad (80), but Denver would have been a 12-13 seed with some higher potential. Both are rated better than Louisiana Tech was.

American East: 61) Stony Brook. Basically only major factor is being one of Maryland's decent wins. But they could have garnered a 13 or 14 seed while Albany is around 140 and will be a 15.

Summit. 74) North Dakota State lost on the road in the conference final. South Dakota State does have a win over New Mexico however and is still top 100 (90).

Southland: 75) Stephen F Austin really just had a win over Oklahoma to point to but could have been an upset spoiler for a 3 seed. As it is, Northwestern State makes a decent 15 seed, but they're not nearly as good (~120)

Big Sky: 85) Weber State has nothing on their resume to point to, basically played one of the weakest schedules in the country. But they also blew out most of those teams. Montana has a similar record, but just wasn't as impressive. It's probable this won't change seeding (probably a 14 either way), but Montana is more like a 15 (~130) and unlikely to consider much where Weber would have been an interesting team to look at.

11 March 2013

NCAA: One week to dancing edition

1) Florida 11-6
2) Indiana 13-5

3) Louisville 13-5
4) Gonzaga  11-2
5) Duke       14-4

6) Kansas         13-4-1
7) Ohio St          9-7
8) Pittsburgh     10-6-1
9) Michigan       12-5-1
10) Michigan St 11-7

11) Wisconsin   9-10
12) Syracuse    11-8
13) Creighton  13-6-1
14) Miami         10-4-2
15) Georgetown 12-4-1

16) Oklahoma St  8-6-1
17) VCU            11-7
18) Arizona        10-5-1
19) Missouri        9-9
20) St Mary's      6-3-2

21) Colorado St  10-6-1
22) Minnesota    10-9-2
23) St Louis       11-5-1
24) Marquette    10-6-1
25) Virginia         7-2-8

Ranked Teams
26) New Mexico 16-5
28) Kansas St       7-6
35) Notre Dame  10-8
37) Memphis        6-4
45) UCLA          11-5-3

Clinched Bids
13) Creighton
42) Belmont   11-6
100) Harvard  (Princeton is slightly higher but lost two in a row this weekend to lose the conference title)
110) Florida Gulf Coast. Mercer wasn't far behind (~125) but lost at home in the conference finals.
251) Liberty. The best team in this conference was probably Charleston Southern and they are only about 170.

Safely in (from early tournaments)
29) Wichita St 11-7-1. Lost in the conference title game, and is high ranked on everything but RPI (41).

Unsurprising minor conference upset:
Iona over Niagara. Iona's in the top 100 (89). Niagara is roughly 145. I don't think Iona will be recognized as any better than a 15 though without some other upsets.
George Mason losing (by 2) put a much lesser team in the driver's seat for the Colonial, but either way they were probably a 15 or 16 seed.

Bubble of doom (from early tournaments)
31) Middle Tennessee St 1-3-2. Lost in semifinals of Sun Belt, has a gaudy 28-5 record overall, mostly against its own conference (20-2 in conference), which is terrible. The next best team is ranked at 167 (Arkansas St, which was also eliminated in the semis). I think they've got a decent shot at making it in anyway as they also have a decent RPI at 28. The defective computer ranking system the committee mostly uses by chance happens to be not far off in this case. If not, Sun Belt will go from having a 12 seed (that's really an 8) to a 16, possibly in one of the play-in games. Assuming they don't get in in another play-in game (as a 12 or 13). They're right now the first team out, but it's very close to Tennessee in likelihood. They have a better argument to make it in than Louisiana Tech will, which was blown out in the last two games (both against the next best teams in their conference).

Note: MTSU lost last year in their conference tournament and the eventual bid went to Western Kentucky (with a losing record). They didn't make it in last year either at large, but they were much lower in rankings (around 50, rather than 30) and were only 24-6 rather than 28-5.

62) Stony Brook  0-2. American East went from having a dangerous 13 seed to a 15 (Vermont) or a 16 (Albany) as cannon fodder. They're clearly out, but they're very close on my list.

Teams that will need to avoid losing in conference tournaments this week:
38) Denver   3-8
57) Akron     5-3-3
59) Davidson 1-3-4 (update: clinched Monday)
61) Bucknell  4-3-2 (in finals Wednesday)

72) Stephen F Austin 2-2-1
83) Weber State 1-1-4
(I included the last two because they're far ahead of the rest of their conferences. Montana is about 60 ranks below Weber, and NW St is around 100, well behind SFA. Ohio is about 20 spots behind Akron, and then the MAC is terrible after that).

Teams "in" on my list that won't make the field right now.
25) Virginia   (4-2 top 50)
36) Iowa        6-9-2 (3-8)
40) Baylor     6-10-3 (3-10)
44) Mississippi 7-6-2 (1-4)
47) Stanford 6-11-2 (1-9)
Virginia is probably the only one that deserves a bid here, but they've got 8 non top 100 losses and a terrible road record to shoot themselves out of the field at the moment.

This leaves room (along with MTSU) for
53) Oregon    7-6-2 (3-3)
54) California 6-10  (4-5)
55) Butler      11-6-1 (4-3)
58) Tennessee  9-9-2 (4-7)
62) Temple      9-5-3 (3-2)
Right now I would be surprised if any of these teams misses, but any upsets and Tennessee is toast, and possibly Kentucky (not on this list, but safely in on mine) as well.

SWAC note: Texas Southern passed Southern into the top 150. Grambling managed to win 0 games, and plays again on Wednesday.

04 March 2013

NCAA March edition

1) Florida 11-5
2) Indiana 12-4

3) Louisville 11-5
4) Gonzaga  11-2
5) Duke       13-4
6) Kansas     13-3-1

7) Syracuse      11-7
8) Pittsburgh    10-6-1
9) Michigan      11-4-1
10) Wisconsin   10-9
11) Michigan St 10-7
12) Ohio St         7-7
13) Miami         10-4-1

14) Oklahoma St  7-5-1
15) Georgetown 11-3-1
16) Minnesota    10-8-1
17) Creighton     11-6-1
18) VCU            10-6

19) St Marys      6-3-2
20) Arizona        9-5-1
21) Missouri      8-8
22) Virginia        6-2-7
23) Marquette     9-6-1
24) St Louis      10-4-1
25) San Diego St 6-8

Ranked Teams
26) New Mexico 16-4
29) Kansas St       7-5
35) Memphis        6-4
44) Oregon          7-5-1
62) Louisiana Tech 3-2-1

Most of the action this week wasn't in the rankings, but in the bubble. Tennessee and Virginia both had big wins (Florida and Duke), and big losses (Georgia and BC), on balance this ought to be helpful to both however. Maryland had a big loss (Wake) that moved them out of contention entirely. Alabama could have moved back into discussion by beating Florida on the road but couldn't hold on. Boise St moved up into serious bubble contention finally. 

At the moment I have these teams in the field that won't (or can't) make it and/or are seriously weakened by the last week or so of games. 
37) Iowa      5-9-2
45) Connecticut 8-9 (ineligible) 
46) Baylor   5-10-2
47) Ole Miss 5-6-2
50) Denver   2-8 (will need to win WAC tournament)

And the bubble discussions have these two in that I don't
55) Villanova  7-10-2
71) Temple      8-5-3

Which likely leaves Boise or Tennessee as the other at-large, assuming nothing strange happens with conference tournaments. Neither is all that impressive. 
54) Boise         7-6-2
55) Tennessee  8-9-2

Last year Colorado came out of nowhere to win the Pac-12 tournament (but the Pac-12 was really, really weak last year for a supposed power conference) and St Bonaventure won the A10 where they shouldn't have also. Iona got an at-large from the MAAC as well.  I'd say an average of 2-3 bids are off every year from conference tournaments (plus the two-three teams that win a tournament unexpectedly but would have been at-large bids anyway). So it's quite possible that none of the bubble teams get in. And that none of them would have deserved to. Temple's the only one with a .500 record essentially.