FINAL BRACKETOLOGY

Georgia just screwed somebody. And I think that somebody was probably Arizona State. Looking at everything, I just can’t imagine that the committee will leave them in with an RPI in the 80s, even though they’re probably a better team than any of my last four in. The final spot likely comes down to Ohio State or Villanova. Looking over the last few teams in and out, here are some of my thoughts:

Kentucky: Should be in. As much as I’d like to, I can’t dismiss the 12-4 record in the SEC, more than two games better than Vanderbilt and Arkansas, who are both locks. The loss to Georgia hurts but the wins over Vandy, Tennessee and Arkansas should be enough.

Baylor: Should be in.  They could have sealed it Thursday with a win over lowly Colorado, but that double overtime loss shouldn’t be enough to toss them. The preseason win over Notre Dame is huge and the RPI isn’t bad (43).

St. Joseph’s: Should be in. Two wins over Xavier and a trip to the conference final looks like enough for a trip to the tourney, as the RPI is still in the top 50. The win over Villanova is a bubble separator.


LAST FOUR IN:

South Alabama: Should be in. Of all the small conference at-large hopefuls who fell short in their conference tourney, the Jaguars have the best resume. They are 3-2 against the RPI top 50 and only have one “bad loss” to Miami, OH. RPI is in the top 40 and the win over Mississippi State is huge.

Illinois State: Another mid-major with a high RPI (33) and a lot of wins (23). The unfortunate thing is that they don’t have a win over an RPI top 40 opponent, but finishing two games ahead of the next contender in the Missouri Valley should be enough to hold on before the bid.

Arizona: The Wildcats did everything they could to give their bid away, but finishing with a .500 conference record, having the nation’s toughest schedule and injury considerations look to be enough to just hang on. The main cause for concern is their 0-4 record against Pac-10 bubble company Oregon and Arizona State.

Ohio State: The Buckeyes got two marquee victories down the stretch to finish with a conference record above .500, but their 2-10 record against the RPI top 50 is a bit of a concern. They’re one of my last teams in based on the fact that only two of their losses are “bad” losses and they’ve played well of late. The question is whether the committee will take a fifth Big Ten team over a sixth Pac-10 team or an eigth Big East team. I’m going with the Buckeyes.

LAST FIVE OUT:

Arizona State: The RPI of 83 is what will probably end up sinking the Sun Devils. They have 5 wins over the top 50 including big wins over Xavier, USC and Stanford, but rough early season losses to Illinois, Nebraska and California nearly negate those. They split with Oregon, seem to have the better profile on paper but don’t benefit from their computer numbers.

Villanova: There are certainly arguments to be made for this team, but they’re 3-7 against the RPI top 50 and their bad losses (NC State, DePaul, Rutgers and Cincinnati) outweigh their impressive wins. RPI of 49 puts them in the discussion, but I think they are going to be the last team or two out.

Oregon: After a lot of debate, I gave the Ducks third place in the Pac-10 bubble team pecking order. They don’t have as many wins over the RPI top 50 as either of the other two (4-9, the other two have five wins each) and have more “bad losses” than Arizona (Oakland, Nebraska). They’re right on the line RPI-wise but they’re missing a marquee win. Arizona has two wins over Washington State and ASU has wins over Stanford and Xavier, so they get the slight edge over the Ducks.

Virginia Tech: It’s amazing how close the Hokies came to locking up a bid in the last weekend of the season against Clemson, and also nearly beat North Carolina in the ACC semifinal which would have been huge. If the committee cares about close losses, then they have a chance, but otherwise they don’t have much to rest on. Their 1-6 record against the RPI top 50 is the worst among all of the bubble teams.

Massachussets: UMass was easily second in the Atlantic Ten pecking order before the conference tourney, but the fact that St. Joseph’s was the team to make a run hurt the most since UMass was swept by St. Joe’s in the regular season, and I can’t really imagine four Atlantic 10 teams in the dance. They also have no wins over tournament-projected teams.

MATTY’S SEEDINGS:

1    North Carolina    UCLA    Memphis    Kansas
2    Tennessee    Texas    Duke    Wisconsin
3    Xavier    Georgetown    Louisville    Stanford
4    Notre Dame    Connecticut    Drake    Butler
5    Vanderbilt    Michigan State    Pittsburgh    Purdue
6    Washington State    Indiana    Marquette    USC
7    Clemson    West Virginia    BYU    Gonzaga
8    Oklahoma    Mississippi State    Texas A & M    Miami, Fl
9    Kansas State    St. Mary’s    Kent State    Davidson
10    Baylor    UNLV    Kentucky    Arkansas
11    St. Joseph’s    South Alabama    Illinois State    Western Kentucky
12    Arizona    Georgia    Ohio State    Temple
13    Cornell    Oral Roberts    George Mason    San Diego
14    Siena    Boise State    Cal St. Fullerton    Texas-Arlington
15    Winthrop    Austin Peay    Portland State    Belmont
16    UMBC    Mississippi Valley State    American    Coppin State/ Mount St. Mary’s

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