Thursday, March 25, 2021

Breaking down the 2021 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Matchups

 What a 1st weekend it was with 4 teams(13 North Texas, 13 Ohio, 14 Abilene Christian, and 15 Oral Roberts) seeded 13 or worse making it to the 2nd round for the 1st time in tournament history.

Also, the first time in history 4 double-digit seeds have reached the Sweet 16(11 UCLA, 11 Syracuse, 12 Oregon State, and 15 Oral Roberts)

As wild as the 1st two rounds have been, heavy favorite Gonzaga is still alive as well as Baylor and Michigan. 

With the Sweet 16 ahead of us, they are plenty of questions that come to mind:

Who is Gonzaga's biggest threat?

Can Loyola Chicago get back to the final four?

Can a double-seed reach the final four?

Will all 3 1-seeds reach the final four?

Before we think about these questions, let's rank and analyze each Sweet 16 match-up from the most intriguing match-up.

1. 6 USC vs 7 Oregon

This is the most intriguing matchup in the Sweet 16 because of how well both teams looked this weekend. The Dunking Ducks could not be slowed down as they rolled past Oregon and The Trojans played the most complete game by any team in this tournament with their destruction of Kansas. These are also 2 of the most underrated teams going into the tournament. With that being said, the winner of this game could be Gonzaga's biggest challenger in the entire bracket. The Trojans are long and dominate the middle lead by the Mobley Brothers and an underrated backcourt ran by Taj Eaddy. Their length on the court and their ability to defend and rebound makes them a tough out. The Ducks have a trio of veteran guards led by Chris Duarte and versatile forward Eugene Omoruyi. Their efficient offense and defense will make this an excellent game. Can't wait for this battle.

2. 8 Loyola Chicago vs 12 Oregon State

Speaking of underrated teams going into the tournament, the Ramblers are also at the top with USC and Oregon. This team really defends well and is very efficient on offense led by Cameron Krutwig. Illinois could never find any rhythm on offense as they were held to just 58 points. The Ramblers have emerged as the possible favorite to reach the final 4 in their region. However, they will play against Oregon State who is riding a 5-game winning streak dating back to the Pac-12 tournament. This streak includes wins over UCLA, Oregon, Colorado, Tennessee, and Oklahoma State. They have also been very impressive on offense and defense. Their defense really shut down Tennessee and Oklahoma State. The Beavers also recorded a +20 on rebounds in their victory over Oklahoma State. Their balanced attack and depth has been great. This matchup includes two of the hottest teams right now both trying to keep their runs alive. Don't let the seeds fool you, these teams can play! A legitimate final four contender emerges out of this game.

3. 1 Baylor vs 5 Villanova

The Bears have been in Gonzaga's elite class all year dominating most of the season with their Covid pause being their only slowdown. They reach the Sweet 16 defeating Hartford and Wisconsin and are currently the favorite to reach the title game from this side of the bracket. What makes this game intriguing is the backcourt battle. Baylor's backcourt vs Jay Wright's 41 offense. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl has been excellent in this tournament so far. However, Butler, Mitchell, and Teague will be a challenge, especially without Collin Gillespie. This matchup also features two of the best coaches in today's game- Scott Drew and Jay Wright. If Scott Drew wants to get his first final four, it will take beating 2-time National Champion Jay Wright.

4. 3 Arkansas vs 15 Oral Roberts

Eric Musselman has done a tremendous job at Arkansas. In his 2nd season, they have a legitimate chance to reach the Final 4 for the 1st time since 1995. Justin Smith has been terrific so far in the tournament. The Razorbacks responded well to a slow start against Colgate and knocked off Texas Tech with a great defensive performance. Oral Roberts has been the best story so far in this tournament upsetting Ohio State and Florida to reach the Sweet 16. Led by Max Abmas and Kevin Obanor, Paul Mills' squad can score. This duo has been terrific in the NCAA tournament. This matchup is intriguing because they have played each other once this season. Oral Roberts actually led by 10 at the half before losing in the 2nd half. The familiarity makes this a great matchup as the Golden Eagles look to 

5. 2 Houston vs 11 Syracuse

The Cougars are the highest seed remaining in this bracket after a resilient comeback victory over Rutgers. They have been an outstanding defensive team all season. When they are scoring, they are hard to beat. However, Rutgers defense shut Marcus Sasser down. Great defense put them in position to win.  How will they respond against Boeheim's lethal 2-3 zone? If Sasser, Grimes, and Jarreau can make threes and find the holes in the zone, they can win this game.  The Orange led by hot shooting Buddy Boeheim have been a great story in this tournament. 3-pt shooting has been helped get them to the Sweet 16 bouncing out West Virginia and San Diego State. This game is an intriguing matchup because of how well both teams can defend and shoot the 3. Can the Houston backcourt shutdown Boeheim and Girard? Whoever can defend the perimeter better likely wins. 

6. 2 Alabama vs 11 UCLA

Layups, free throws, and 3-pointers, the offensive style for Crimson Tide has been deadly down the stretch this season as they torched Maryland in the 2nd round. They survived a scare from Iona in the 1st round but appear to have a good shot to get to the Final Four under 2nd year head coach Nate Oats. Herb Jones leads a deep scoring attack of great 3-point shooters and an entertaining offense to watch. UCLA won 3 games last week led by the 3 J's and Tyger. Juzang and Jacquez were excellent. Their defense also shut down BYU's shooters to only 3 made 3-pointers. If the Bruins want to win, it will take shutting down the Crimson Tide's offense and being efficient on offense. If they can play their style, they will have a chance to win this game. If Alabama can make 3's and play up tempo, it will favor them. 

7. 1 Michigan vs 4 Florida State

With the Big Ten's back against the wall, Michigan came through without Livers to advance to the Sweet 16. The Wolverines are the lone representative left from the Big Ten and Livers will be ready to go against the Seminoles. The Seminoles survived a scare in Round 1 by a UNC-Greensboro team that choked on the foul line down the stretch allowing FSU to stay in front. FSU's interior and length helped keep Colorado out of rhythm in Round 2. The Buffaloes may have been emotionally drained by the news of tragic shooting before the game as well. The Wolverines have a better interior than the Buffaloes. This game could go either way but will likely depend on how well the Michigan guards deal with the length of FSU's guards and how well the Seminoles shoot from the perimeter. 

8. 1 Gonzaga vs 5 Creighton

Gonzaga's perfect season in still in tact as they survived a decent challenge from Oklahoma though the Bulldogs never seemed to be in danger of losing. Creighton defeated UCSB as the potential winning basket from the Gauchos barely rimmed out. The Bluejays shot well in Round 2 against Ohio as their offense was very efficient. Since Creighton has been up and down all season, it is hard to see them winning this game. However, when Creighton catches fire from 3, they are hard to beat. The key for Creighton will be Zegorowski, Ballack, and Mahoney draining threes with Bishop controlling the paint. The keys for Gonzaga are the same as they have done every game. Shoot well from the perimeter, get Timme going early, and controlling the tempo by outscoring their opponent.




Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Top 10 Upset Predictions in the 2021 NCAA Tournament 1st Round

 After 2 years, the madness is back! The most exciting round of the tournament is approaching- the 1st Round. The round of 64! This round brings us 32 games of nail biters, occasional blowouts, and....UPSETS! Who is going to be this year's cinderella(s)? Below is 10 games with upset potential. 

The list includes games from 7/10 up to 1/16. 9 seeds beating 8 seeds are technically upsets too but don't feel as much like an upset as the double-digit seeds winning.

Top 10

1. 10 Virginia Tech over 7 Florida

The Hokies come in as a 10-seed and have recently returned from Covid pause. They played North Carolina tough in their first game back after Covid. The Gators played well in January but since losing at home to South Carolina seem to have struggled down the stretch and have now lost 3 out of 4 with their only win being a 6 point win over Vanderbilt. 

2. 10 Rutgers over 7 Clemson

The Scarlet Knights are back in the tournament for the 1st time in 30 years. They competed pretty well in a strong Big Ten this season. The Tigers were hot at the start of the season beating Alabama, Purdue, and Maryland but lately seem to be struggling especially away from home and recently upset in the ACC tournament by Miami. 

3. 12 Winthrop over 5 Villanova

Jay Wright has been one of the best basketball coaches in the last decade winning two National championships and has made Villanova a perennial power. However, losing Colin Gillespie and drawing a team with 1 loss on the season will be a tough match-up. The Eagles have been great all season and know how to win. This game could go either way and should be a great one.

4. 12 Georgetown over 5 Colorado

The Hoyas played very well in the Big East Tournament winning 4 games in 4 days beating two other 5 seeds(Villanova and Creighton) on their way to punch their ticket. Will they continue their success? They can pull off the upset if it continues but the Buffaloes will be a tough test led by senior guard McKinley Wright and big man Evan Battey, one of the best duos in college basketball this season. 

5. 12 Oregon State over 5 Tennessee

The Beavers beat 3 tournament teams(UCLA, Oregon, and Colorado) to punch their ticket to the Big Dance. They are 6-1 so far this March with all 6 wins coming away from home. They are hot right now but the question is will it continue? The Volunteers have been hot and cold all season. When they play their best, they can beat anyone. However, when they struggle to score, they can be vulnerable. 

6. 11 UCLA/Michigan State over 6 BYU

The Cougars also dominated a good WCC this season. The committee respected the WCC by also rewarding BYU with a 6 seed. The Bruins and Spartans have the talent to pull off the upset. Injuries have hurt the Bruins down the stretch as inconsistency has hurt the Spartans. If BYU shoots like they did in the WCC final, they will be tough to beat. 

7. 13 Ohio over 4 Virginia

The Bobcats almost won at Illinois early in the season and are lead by NBA prospect Jason Preston. Virginia has had their struggles this season when defending the 3, which was shown early on in their upset loss to San Francisco. The Cavaliers have also had to deal with COVID protocols which has delayed their travel to Indianapolis. However, Virginia is one of the best defensive teams in the nation, so it is hard to count them out. Of course, if Ohio can shoot a high percentage from 3, they will be hard to beat just like UMBC did that time.

8. 12 UC Santa Barbara over 5 Creighton

Creighton has been up and down all year. When they are playing well, they are one of the most efficient offensive teams and can scorch the nets like a Final Four contender as seen in the Big East tourney against Butler. After the Georgetown game, it is hard to tell which Creighton team we will get. UCSB has won 18 of 19 and are lead by Oregon State transfer JaQuori McLaughlin.The Gauchos are also a very efficient offensive team and shoot about 49% from the field. This game will likely depend on which Creighton team we see.

9. 14 Eastern Washington over 3 Kansas

This game is flying under the radar as an intriguing matchup. Eastern Washington is led by big man Tanner Groves. The Eagles have won 13 of their last 14 and played 3 Pac-12 teams(Arizona, Washington State, and Oregon) to narrow losses while leading for most of the games at Arizona and Washington State. Kansas has been battling COVID issues as three players are currently fighting it and have not joined the team in Indy yet. McCormack and Enaruna are expected to join later this week, but for those who have not had COVID, it takes time to build back up. With this given, this could be one to look at.

10. 13 North Texas over 4 Purdue

Purdue is the Big Ten that was in the middle of the top 4 and the bubble teams. The Boilermakers were challenged early by Liberty, Valparaiso, and Indiana State and picked up an early loss to Miami (FL). This results show that lesser opponents can hang with them. Purdue did pick it up though and finish 4th in the Big Ten, but primarily feasted on the middle and bottom of the Big Ten. North Texas comes in winning the C-USA in an Overtime thriller against Western Kentucky. The Mean Green played tight games at West Virginia and Loyola-Chicago, so they are somewhat battle tested. North Texas is not a great offensive team as they like to play slower and grind it out. Don't look for much scoring in this one as it could be a first to 50 situation. 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

2021 NCAA Tournament- Final Bracket Projection- March 14, 2021

 (1) 

 
Gonzaga 
16 Mt. St. Mary's/Texas Southern 

8 Clemson
Loyola-Chicago

5 Creighton
12 UCSB

4 Tennessee
13 North Texas

6 LSU
11 VCU

3 Texas
14 Eastern Washington

7 Oregon
10 Virginia Tech

2 Ohio State
15 Grand Canyon

 (4) 

 1 Michigan 
16 Drexel

8 San Diego State
9 Rutgers

5 Colorado
12 Georgetown

4 West Virginia
13 Colgate 

6 USC
11 Louisville/Utah State

Kansas
14 Abilene Christian

7 Oklahoma
10 Michigan State

2 Alabama 
15 Oral Roberts

(2) 

1 Baylor
16 App State/Norfolk State

8 Connecticut
9 North Carolina

5 Florida State
12 Winthrop

4 Purdue 
13 Ohio

 6 Missouri
11 UCLA

3 Houston 
14 Morehead State

7 Florida
10 Maryland

2 Iowa 
15 Cleveland State

(3) 

1 Illinois
16 Hartford

8 BYU
9 Georgia Tech

5 Villanova
12 Oregon State

4 Virginia
13 Liberty

6 Texas Tech
11 Syracuse/Drake

3 Arkansas
14 UNC-Greensboro

7 Wisconsin
10 St. Bonaventure

2 Oklahoma State
15 Iona


Danger Zone

Last 10 in: Rutgers, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Michigan State, VCU, UCLA, Utah State, Drake, Syracuse, Louisville

First 10 Out: Colorado State, Saint Louis, Wichita State, Boise State, Ole Miss, Xavier, Memphis, Duke, Seton Hall,  St. John's

Multiple Bid Conferences 
Big Ten- 9 
ACC-8
Big 12- 7 
SEC-6 
Pac-12- 5  
Big East- 4
MWC- 2
A-10-2 
WCC- 2 
MVC-2

Friday, March 12, 2021

2021 NCAA Tournament Bracket Projection- March 13th

 (1) 

 
Gonzaga 
16 Mt. St. Mary's/Texas Southern 

8 LSU
9 Loyola-Chicago

5 Virginia
12 Western Kentucky

4 Creighton
13 UCSB 

6 Missouri
11 UCLA

3 Kansas
14 Morehead State

7 Oklahoma
10 Georgia Tech

2 Ohio State
15 Grand Canyon

 (4) 

 1 Illinois 
16 Drexel

8 Clemson
9 St. Bonaventure

5 USC
12 Louisville/Colorado State

4 West Virginia
13 Colgate 

6 Colorado
11 Drake/Syracuse

3 Texas
14 UNC-Greensboro

7 BYU
10 Virginia Tech

2 Alabama 
15 Oral Roberts

(2) 

1 Baylor
16 App State/Norfolk State

San Diego State 
9 Rutgers

5 Villanova
12 Winthrop

4 Purdue 
13 Ohio

 6 Wisconsin
11 Utah State

3 Arkansas 
14 Eastern Washington

7 Oregon
10 VCU

2 Iowa 
15 Cleveland State

(3) 

1 Michigan
16 Hartford

8 Connecticut
9 North Carolina

5 Florida State
12 Georgetown

4 Tennessee
13 Liberty

6 Texas Tech
11 Michigan State

3 Houston
14 Abilene Christian

7 Florida
10 Maryland

2 Oklahoma State
15 Iona


Danger Zone

Last 10 in: Maryland, VCU, Georgia Tech, UCLA, Michigan State, Utah State, Drake, Syracuse, Colorado State, Louisville

First 13 Out: Wichita State, Saint Louis, Boise State, Ole Miss, Xavier, Memphis, Duke, Seton Hall,  St. John's, SMU, Stanford, NC State, Oregon State 

Multiple Bid Conferences 
Big Ten- 9 
ACC-8
Big 12- 7 
SEC-6 
Pac-12- 4  
Big East- 4
MWC- 3 
A-10-2 
WCC- 2 
MVC-2

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Bubble Watch: March 13th- 1 Day Until Selection Sunday

 With only 1 day until Selection Sunday, Championship Week continues today with several bubble teams and at-large locks in action. In the most unusual season of all time featuring limited schedules and a wide range of games played, it is hard to know exactly how the committee will view bubble teams this year. Therefore, it is hard to use past seasons as a precedent.

With the possible COVID outbreak, we will see if at-large locks will drop from their conference tourneys.


March Madness is here, and it should be a very dramatic day. Beware of bid thieves!

Possible Bid Thieves:

Big East- Georgetown 
Pac-12- Oregon State
American- Memphis, Cincinnati, or Wichita State

Update:

North Carolina, Florida, Rutgers, Connecticut, and San Diego State move into the Safety Zone after their wins. 

St. Bonaventure and LSU move into Neutral Zone since most of the teams behind them lost and cannot pass them.

Louisville and Xavier now must sweat it out until Sunday. 

NC State and Stanford are now more of a fringe candidates.  Providence and Marquette have been dropped from fringe status.

Oregon State and Georgetown are fringe candidates needing a win today but both would likely need the AQ to dance.

Today's Bubble Teams in Action:

Wichita State (vs. Cincinnati)
Memphis (vs. Houston)
Utah State (vs. San Diego State) 

Here is the current breakdown:


Safety Zone
A-10:
AAC: Houston
ACC: Virginia, Florida State, Clemson, North Carolina
Big 12: Baylor, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma 
Big East: Villanova, Creighton, Connecticut
Big Ten: Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin, Rutgers
MVC: Loyola-Chicago
MWC: San Diego State
Pac-12: USC, Colorado, Oregon
SEC: Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Florida, LSU
WCC: Gonzaga, BYU


Neutral Zone- Almost Locks

St. Bonaventure, Virginia Tech

Danger Zone- Current At-Large Contenders
Maryland, VCU, Georgia Tech, UCLA, Michigan State, Utah State, Drake, Wichita State, Colorado State, Syracuse, Louisville, Saint Louis, Boise State, Ole Miss, Seton Hall, Xavier, Memphis, St. John's, Stanford, NC State, Oregon State, SMU

Maryland (15-13 NET: 33 vs Q1 5-10, vs Q2 3-3)
- The Terrapins were almost a lock and then they lost at Northwestern and at home to Penn State putting them in the danger zone. The wins at Illinois and Wisconsin are great as well as their wins over Purdue and at Rutgers. However, a 8-13 mark against Q1/Q2 is not good. Their strong road Q1 wins will likely carry them into the field.

VCU (19-6  NET: 34 vs Q1 2-4, vs Q2 7-0)
- The Rams like the Tar Heels have a good quantity of Q1/Q2 wins, but they lack quality as a home win over St. Bona is their best so far. The Rams and the Bonnies square off for the A-10 auto bid. A loss and the Rams will sweat it out. As long as there are not many bid stealers or teams playing their way in, VCU should dance. The 2 Q3 losses could hurt them in the long run though.

Georgia Tech (16-8) NET: 38 Q1 2-6, Q2 6-0)
- The Yellow Jackets have fared well in ACC play at home, which makes up for their early home losses to Mercer and Georgia State. Their wins at Virginia Tech and against Florida State are their best wins with a collection of home wins over decent opponents. Avoiding a bad loss to Miami (FL) was huge for the Yellow Jackets. A win over Virginia would have been nice, but the Yellow Jackets have now advanced to the ACC final with Virginia withdrawing from the ACC tourney. One more win and GA Tech will have the auto bid. Odds are very likely they will dance regardless.

UCLA (17-9- NET: 47 vs Q1 1 2-6 vs Q2 3-3)
- The Bruins have struggled lately losing 4 in a row putting now them on the bubble. Their overall number of quality wins is not great with their best win being against Colorado. The sweep of Arizona is great too, but it is overlooked since the wildcats are unable to dance. A loss to Oregon State stings, and the Bruins must now wait and see.  

Michigan State (15-12 NET: 70 vs Q1 5-11, vs Q2 2 4-1)
- The Spartans have been a home court hero and have wins over Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio State. However, they own several blowout losses and a bad non-conference strength of schedule. Team this with a NET ranking of 70 and an overall record of 15-12, the Spartans are clearly not a lock. The loss against Maryland in their first Big Ten game puts them in icy waters. However, the committee has shown that Q1 wins have been their top credential when selecting teams.

Utah State (19-7) NET: 37 Q1 2-4, vs Q2 2-1
- The Aggies have two Q1 wins over San Diego State as well as two strong Q2 win over Colorado State. Their worst losses are at UNLV and South Dakota State(Neutral). They also have 5 losses against current tournament teams. The win last night over the Rams might be enough to get them in. However, beating San Diego State today will lead to a stress-free Selection Sunday.

Drake (23-4 NET: 43 Q1 1-2, Q2  5-0)
- The Bulldogs lost in the MVC final, so the waiting game has begun. Drake has only lost one game with their full team. Hemphill will be back for the tourney, but Penn would not. Their resume will be very difficult to judge as they have battled injuries and still been competitive picking up a win over Loyola and Missouri State while shorthanded. Drake seems deserving giving their obstacles they have overcome especially with Hemphill returning. Their non-conference strength of schedule could come back to haunt them though. 

Wichita State (14-4 NET: 64 Q1 2-3, vs Q2 2 2-1)
- The Shockers won the American regular season, but are squarely on the bubble due to a low NET ranking. No bad losses and a 4-4 record against Q1/Q2 including wins over Houston and at Ole Miss would make one think this team is safe. It is best for the Shockers to win the Auto Bid, but at worst need to make the final to feel great about their at-large chances. Avoiding a bad loss against USF saved their season. They must avoid a bad loss to Cincinnati today to keep their hopes alive.

Syracuse (16-9 NET: 40 vs Q1 1-7, vs Q2 6-1)
- The Orange have one Q1 win(at NC State). They have a decent collection of Q2 wins against North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Clemson, and NC State(home). Their worst loss is against Pittsburgh at home. The win over NC State in the ACC tourney kept them in the conversation, but a loss at the buzzer to Virginia stings as a missed opportunity. It will be a long wait for the Orange as they sit squarely on the bubble. Hopefully, they avoid the possible COVID exposure from Virginia.

Colorado State (17-7 NET: 51 vs Q1 2-4, vs Q2 1-2)
- The Rams have no bad losses and have a pair of great road wins at San Diego State and Utah State. The overall lack of Q1/Q2 wins is their main weakness. The Rams fell short yesterday against the Aggies. They will now wait to see if they hear their name tomorrow. 2 Q1 wins on the road over two likely tourney teams are stronger than other bubble teams- Syracuse, Louisville, and Drake. 

Louisville (13-7 NET: 56 vs Q1 1-6, vs Q2 6-0)
- Louisville lost to Duke in the ACC 2nd Round and now must sweat it out. The Cardinal have been given too much credit for a relatively weak overall profile. A lack of great wins especially against tourney teams have them on the bubble. Their only win over a likely tourney team was against Virginia Tech. Outside of that, their sweep of Duke might be their next most impressive thing on the resume. When you dissect this resume, it is not great as it almost feels their name is carrying weight on the bracket predictions now. 

Saint Louis (14-6)- NET: 45 vs Q1 2-3, vs Q2 2-1
- Covid has hurt Saint Louis' season as both bad losses came after their Covid pause. They lost in the semi-finals of the A-10 conference tournament and will now wait to see if their name will be called. They have two Q1 wins against tournament teams(LSU and St. Bonaventure). They also have a win against bubble team NC State. How will the committee value the Bilikens season?

Boise State (17-8) NET: 50 Q1 2-4, vs Q2 2-3
- The Broncos have went 5-7 in their last 12 games after winning 13 straight. Their Q1 wins include solid road wins at BYU and at Colorado State. They also swept bubble team Utah State at home. They have one bad loss at home against Fresno State. A loss to Nevada in the quarters stings, and now the Broncos must wait it out. They could fall either way.

Ole Miss (16-11)- NET: 53 vs Q1 3-5, vs Q2 4-4
- The Rebels have been hot and cold with wins over Missouri twice and Tennessee. They have a couple Q3 losses against Georgia and Mississippi State at home. The close loss to LSU stings as the Rebels will have to sweat it out tomorrow. 5 losses against non-tournament teams is their biggest flaw. 

Xavier  (13-8 NET: 59 vs Q2 1-3 vs Q2 5-4)
- Xavier has not played many Q1 games but own a win against Creighton and a good Q2 win over Oklahoma. The Musketeers picked up their first Q3/Q4 loss in the Big East tourney to Butler and now have lost 6 of 8. The long wait begins for Xavier, and it does not look great. Musketeer fans must root for Creighton and Oklahoma, so that these wins get better. In general, the committee has shown recently that they would prefer high achieving mid-majors with a similar resume.

Memphis (16-7)- NET: 52 vs Q1 0-3, vs Q2 4-3)
- It was a crushing loss on Sunday for Memphis after losing to Houston at the buzzer. A road win against the Cougars might have put them on the right side of the bubble. With no Q1 wins, they likely need to beat Houston today to have a chance. Winning the conference tournament is the best option. 

Seton Hall (14-13) NET: 57 Q1 3-8, vs Q2 4-4
- The Pirates ended their 4 game skid by outlasting St. John's in a Big East bubble battle.. Their two best wins are at UConn and at Xavier. A 7-11 mark against Q1/Q2 and being 2 games above .500 means the Pirates need to continue their run in the Big East Conference Tournament. Up next is upset minded Georgetown in the semifinals.

St. John's (16-11 NET: 69 vs Q1 2-6, vs Q2 4-3)
- The Red Storm at one point went 8-2 during a stretch this season before losing at home to DePaul. Their two best wins are against Villanova(home) and UConn(road). Their net ranking isn't great with two bad losses. The loss against Seton Hall in the quarters likely keeps them out, but their is still a slight possibility especially with possible COVID outbreaks.

SMU (11-5 NET: 65 vs Q1 0-3 vs Q2 4-0)
- Their best win of the season is against Memphis at home. Their loss yesterday against Cincinnati puts them out of consideration.

Stanford (14-13  NET: 78 vs Q1 4-6, vs Q2 1-5)
- The Cardinal have collapsed down the stretch and continue by losing in the  PAC-12 tourney opener to Cal. They boast a decent record against Q1 with wins over Alabama, Arizona(x2), and UCLA but a bad record against Q2 with 2 Q3 losses. It does not look good for the Cardinal, and they will likely be going to the NIT.

NC State (13-10 NET: 73 vs Q1 1-7 vs Q2 3-2)
- The Wolfpack lost to Syracuse in a must win game in the ACC tourney. Their overall profile just is not strong enough, so a trip to the NIT is probably in the bags.


Fringe Candidates: Georgetown, Oregon State

Monday, March 8, 2021

2021 NCAA Tournament Bracket Projection- March 11th

 (1) 

 
1 Gonzaga 
16 Mt. St. Mary's/Prairie View 

8 Virginia Tech
9 LSU

5 Tennessee
12 Winthrop

4 USC
13 UCSB 

6 Missouri
11 Michigan State

3 Kansas
14 Morehead State

7 Florida
10 North Carolina

2 Ohio State
15 Grand Canyon

 (4) 

 1 Illinois 
16 Drexel

8 San Diego State
9 St. Bonaventure

5 Virginia
12 Wichita State

4 Villanova
13 Colgate 

6 Florida State
11 Drake

3 Oklahoma State
14 Abilene Christian

7 Wisconsin
10 UCLA

2 Alabama 
15 Iona

(2) 

1 Baylor
16 App State/NC A&T 

8 Loyola-Chicago 
9 Rutgers

5 Texas Tech
12 Western Kentucky

4 Purdue 
13 Toledo

 6 Oklahoma
11 Maryland

3 Arkansas 
14 Southern Utah

7 Oregon
10 VCU

2 Iowa 
15 Cleveland State

(3) 

1 Michigan
16 Hartford

8 Clemson
9 Connecticut

5 Creighton
12 Boise State/Louisville

4 Texas
13 Liberty

6 Colorado
11 Colorado State/Syracuse

3 Houston
14 UNC-Greensboro

7 BYU
10 Georgia Tech

2 West Virginia
15 Oral Roberts


Danger Zone

Last 10 in: UCLA, VCU, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Maryland, Drake, Colorado State, Boise State, Syracuse, Louisville

First 12 Out: Saint Louis, Utah State, Xavier, Ole Miss, Seton Hall, Memphis, St. John's, Duke, SMU, Stanford, NC State, Minnesota

Multiple Bid Conferences 
Big Ten- 9 
ACC-8
Big 12- 7 
SEC-6 
Pac-12- 4  
Big East- 3
MWC- 3 
A-10-2 
WCC- 2 
MVC-2
American-2

Sunday, March 7, 2021

2021 NCAA Basketball Tournament Projection- March 7th

  (1) 

 
1 Gonzaga 
16 Hartford/Prairie View 

8 Loyola-Chicago
9 Connecticut

5 Creighton
12 UCSB

4 Texas Tech
13 Toledo 

6 Colorado
11 Louisville

3 Kansas
14 Georgia State

7 Florida
10 Georgia Tech

2 Ohio State
15 Morehead State 

 (4) 

 1 Illinois 
16 Siena

8 Virginia Tech
9 UCLA

5 Virginia
12 Wichita State

4 Villanova
13 Colgate 

6 Florida State
11 Colorado State/Xavier

3 Oklahoma State
14 Abilene Christian

7 Oregon
10 Maryland

2 Alabama 
15 Grand Canyon

(2) 

1 Baylor
16 Cleveland State/NC A&T 

8 BYU 
9 Rutgers

5 Tennessee
12 Boise State/Saint Louis

4 Purdue 
13 Winthrop

 6 Oklahoma
11 VCU

3 Arkansas 
14 South Dakota State

7 Clemson
10 St. Bonaventure

2 Iowa 
15 Southern Utah

(3) 

1 Michigan
16 James Madison 

8 San Diego State
9 LSU

5 USC
12 Western Kentucky

4 Texas
13 Liberty

6 Missouri
11 Drake

3 Houston
14 UNC-Greensboro

7 Wisconsin
10 North Carolina

2 West Virginia
15 Bryant


Danger Zone

Last 10 in: Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, VCU, Drake, Louisville, Colorado State, Xavier, Boise State, Saint Louis

First 10 Out: Utah State, Ole Miss, Michigan State, Seton Hall, Stanford, Syracuse, Memphis, SMU, St John's, NC State

Multiple Bid Conferences 
Big Ten- 8 
Big 12- 7 
ACC-7
SEC-6 
Big East- 4
Pac-12- 4  
MWC- 3 
A-10-3 
WCC- 2 
MVC-2
American-2