Bracketology-February 14th, 2011

Another weekend of college hoops has come and gone, and my favorite time of the sports year is approaching. March Madness will be in full swing a month from now, but at this point we are still a long shot from figuring out who will be happy come Selection Sunday.

Alright, first of all, the RPI stinks. Its bad this year, real bad. Something is wrong because teams that should be in certain places are not. This is going to lead me to my evaluation of RPI numbers this week. I’m going to go through and pick out some numbers that just don’t make sense to me based on that team’s performance so far this year.

Overrated:

BYU/San Diego State- (2/5) These are the mountain west duo that doesn’t lose, problem is they haven’t played murderers row. While I believe they are talented, I’m far from being sold they are two of the five best teams in the nation. Out of conference didn’t include many marquee wins for either club, especially on the road. In reality their RPI’s in my opinion should be in the 10-15 range right now.

Kentucky (14)- Would America please for the love of god get off Kentucky’s ****! Explain to me how they are still ranked, explain to me how they are 14th in the nation! Yes Kentucky beat Notre Dame and Louisville, but are now 5-5 in the not so scary SEC. Sure no losses are terrible, but they are not a top 25 team this year. Fact. They’ve won a grand total of three road games this year (two of which were powerhouses Portland and South Carolina), and only have five top 100 wins (forget Portland, pleaseeee). The Wildcats are overrated in the polls, the RPI and in the minds of America because well, they are Kentucky. The fact is come tourney time, these Wildcats are not going to make a run.

St. John’s (17)- Well we’ve all heard about the big wins now. The problem is they are bad away from home. In fact if you separated their performances on the road compared to home, it’d be like a top ten team vs. a team from the Southwestern Conference. St. John’s has two BAD losses to Fordham and St. Bonaventure. Until Saturday their only triumph away from New York was at West Virginia, which is good, but seems like the outlier. St. John’s is dangerous, but incapable of making a run in the NCAA Tournament because they are so inconsistent. A ranking of 17 seems too good for this group that could get blown out or blown anybody out, any night of the week. By the way America a little secret, if you play zone defense against them (assuming your a decent team), then you’ll almost always win.

George Mason (23)- Yeah they have our hearts from a few years ago, but this is not the 23rd best team in America. Their marquee out of conference win is Harvard, and maybe Duquesne. Before conference play no one considered them a tournament team but after rattling off 11 in a row, they are now a big time mid major? No, this is a decent team, don’t get me wrong, but they belong in the 35-45 range of the rankings.

Utah State (26)- No. They have ZERO quality wins. ZERO. The only two teams they played with a pulse, they lost to. And yes they lost to Idaho. No more explanation needed.

Memphis (32)- What do you know, another household name that isn’t as good as their record. Memphis in non-conference did nothing. Nothing I tell you. In fact their performance at (now mediocre) Tennessee was downright embarrassing. That game wasn’t even nearly as close as the final indicates. They got blown out my Kansas and Georgetown too, and barely beat a struggling Miami team at home. Now, because for some reason the RPI loves UAB and Southern Miss too, the Tigers are amazing again, even after taking a loss to #204 Southern Methodist? No this is bullcrap. They are a very bubbly team right now for good reason, cause their 32 RPI ranking is deceiving.

Colorado State (38)- Yeah you too, Hampton and Sam Houston State had their way with you, but that’s ok cause you’re now in the 4th best conference, the Mountain West. Balony. According to the RPI the Mountain West is better than the ACC, SEC, and Pac Ten. No, sorry. Maybe comparable to the Pac Ten, even the SEC, but please son, not the ACC. Its down, but it ain’t that down. Colorado State has a nice win over UNLV on the road, but nothing else jumps out at ya. They are bubbly too for that reason.

Sorry I’ve hated on some mid-major teams, but the fact is they have some high numbers. Not saying they can’t win come tourney time, but they should be 10-15 spots lower in the RPI as a whole.

Alright enough with the overrated, how about some teams that are down in the RPI that deserve some more respect.

Northwestern (90)- The Wildcats have no bad losses, sport the 72nd hardest schedule, and their worst loss was on the road to Penn State. Why are they this low, well a lack of a big wins. Still the Wildcats would beat anyone and everyone around them in the rankings, (besides of course Maryland). Another victim of the RPI, but these Wildcats can’t complain because they are not going to be dancing. Though with a better number they could make it to the NIT.

Maryland (89)- What are they doing that low? Honestly I haven’t got a clue? The Terps are not a bad team. They are on the wrong side of the bubble right now, but hell if they should be 89th Best in the country. Maryland has almost beat some of the better teams in the Country this year like Pittsburgh, Illinois, Villanova and Duke. All games that came down to the final moments. While the mark of a good team is one that prevails, its hard to knock them for losing any of those games, especially when NONE of them were at home. They don’t have a bad loss, but they do lack the stand out victory. For example, Penn State ranks over 25 spots higher right now, but Maryland laid a whopping to them in State College. Explain that folks. Maryland is a team that should be rated somewhere around Penn State right now(high 50’s, low 60’s), instead they sit at 89.

Clemson (73)- The Tigers did not play a great non-conference schedule, but came out of it with an 11-3 record. They are 6-5 in the ACC. Right now the Tigers are right on the bubble in my opinion, but they do need to get atleast four more wins before the tournament, probably five. That can be done. Clemson has seven top 100 wins this year, but none of them are that highly ranked. Boston College and Florida State, both in right now, fell victim and the Tigers picked up an underrated road win at Charleston (only loss at home, and they blew out Tennessee on the road, by five at UNC and at the buzzer to the aforementioned Maryland. The Tigers “bad losses haven’t been as bad as the computers indicate, losing at a Virginia team by two that won at Minnesota, as well as to South Carolina early in the year on the road. The Tigers best calling card for March Madness is their improvement throughout the season, as they have played much better since the beginning of December.

Well, I could pick out more clubs but I don’t have enough time, so I’ll go on to the bracket. Alot could change between now and the end of the week, so check back for the latest.

1 Seeds-

Ohio State

Pittsburgh

Kansas

Texas

2 Seeds-

Duke

Notre Dame

BYU

San Diego State

3 Seeds-

Wisconsin

Georgetown

Purdue

Villanova

4 Seeds-

Connecticut

UNC

Florida

Louisville

5 Seeds-

Syracuse

Vanderbilt

Arizona

Kentucky

6 Seeds-

West Virginia

Xavier

Missouri

Texas A&M

7 Seeds-

Illinois

St. John’s

Temple

Florida State

8 Seeds-

Washington

Tennessee

St. Mary’s

UNLV

9 Seeds-

Minnesota

George Mason

Utah State

UCLA

10 Seeds-

Marquette

Georgia

Old Dominion

Boston College

11 Seeds-

Cincinnati

Virginia Tech

Kansas State

Michigan State

12 Seeds-

Memphis

Missouri State

Richmond

Clemson

UAB

Wichita State

13 Seeds-

Belmont

Coastal Carolina

Harvard

Butler

14 Seeds-

Bucknell

Vermont

Oakland

Charleston

15 Seeds-

Murray State

Florida Atlantic

Long Beach State

Fairfield

16 Seeds-

Texas Southern

Hampton

Stephen F Austin

Montana

Kent State

Long Island

Last Four In-

Richmond

Clemson

UAB

Wichita State

First Four Out-

Baylor

Colorado State

UTEP

Alabama

Next Four Out-

Oklahoma State

Washington State

Cleveland State

Michigan

Others Considered-

Maryland

Gonzaga

Valpariaso

VCU

Southern Miss

Princeton

Miami FL

Dayton

Ole Miss

New Mexico

Penn State

Southern Miss

Nebraska

Duquesne

Colorado

Bids By Conference-

Big East-11

Big Ten-6

ACC-6

SEC-5

Big 12-5

MWC-3

A10-3

MVC-2

CUSA-2

CAA-2

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