Is the Super Bowl over yet? If so, it's all college hoops for the next two months...
How close are Pittsburgh and Northwestern to the bubble?
Great question, John. Northwestern is slightly closer to the "cut line" at this moment (No. 77 overall, eight spots away), but Pitt (No. 86) is moving up faster than any team in the country. I actually expect the Panthers to make it and the Wildcats to miss.
I am trying to wrap my head around how Arizona or Washington are in ahead of Wyoming this week. I think Wyoming has a better resume all around than either team apart from the fact Arizona has a slightly higher RPI. Is it just BCS conference bias here?
It's actually not close. Wyoming is (and will be) hamstrung by a sub-300 non-conference schedule. Ten of their wins are sub-200 and two more are Non-DI. That makes the Cowboys just 6-5 against Top 200 teams. And that's a pretty meager threshold for consideration.
What is the difference between first four out and next four out
"First Four Out" are teams 69-72 (in other words, the four teams closest but not IN the projected field). "Next Four" are, well, teams 73-76.
Love Harvard as an 8! How would you feel about regular season champs getting auto bids?
Doesn't matter what I think, Eric. The conferences make their own decision on how to award AQs. As long as conference tournaments make money, we'll have to live with the status quo. However, if someday the field really balloons to 96+ teams, I'd like to see your idea given serious consideration.
Joe, I enjoy the work as always. Thoughts on the Wolverines' seed ceiling? I can't really see them getting a 2 seed considering the top 8-10 teams right now, but could you see them getting a 3 seed if they went 5-2 in their last 7 Big Ten games (conference record of 12-6) and got to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals?
I think Michigan is about at its ceiling right now. They've got plenty of quality wins, but, with four of the last seven Big Ten games on the road, my money is that the Wolverines are more likely to slide a bit than move up from their current No. 4 seed (which is on the good side to begin with).
Is there any team in the country that can beat Kentucky on a neutral site?
Sure....any of the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds are capable on a neutral court. Upsets are the name of the game in March, right??
What does Northwestern need to do down the stretch to make the big dance for the first time?
Let's get to .500 in the conference first. Then we can talk turney about the Wildcats. My sense is any push at this point will be the proverbial "too little, too late."
Joe, where do you see Ohio State and UNC in the field for the Ncaa tournamant?
Ohio State will be a No. 1 seed, Jim. Carolina needs to sweep Duke and pass whomever emerges from the Big 12 to reach the top line.
Why do you have Syracuse as the overall Number 1 seed and not UK?
Currently, Syracuse has played a much better schedule and has double the number of wins against teams under consideration. UK's schedule is about to improve dramatically, however, so these positions could easily flip-flop. In the meantime, the only reason Kentucky is No. 1 in the polls is the timing of its one loss vs. the timing of Cuse's loss, and seeds are rarely awarded that way.
How can Pitt overcome that terrible non conf schedule?
It wasn't a terrible schedule, it's the results that were surprising. But this is literally a different Pitt team now, and we'll see the Committee evaluate the Panthers exactly that way.
Any chance at-all of a CAA at-large? What does your gut tell you about the final number of A-10 teams - do you think they can get to 4?
At the risk of a second straight year of humble pie, the CAA is going nowhere fast in terms of an at-large team. The most important thing for the A-10 is for the top 2-3 teams to "separate" from the pack to ensure it gets at least three bids next month.
If UConn goes 9-9 in conference play again, but only wins 1 or 2 games in the conference tourney, will they be in the tournament?
Yes. A 9-9 league mark didn't exactly hurt the Huskies a year ago.
Who wins this week in Spokane?
Saint Mary's is the better team this year, but the rubber game with Gonzaga will likely be at the WCC tournament.
I see that the PAC-12 is the only conference that doesn't have a projected conference winner in the field? Also, how does Cal get a 10 seed and Washington an 11 when Washington is currently a game up in the standings?
Washington, the current leader, should be in ALL CAPS in today's bracket. My bad. Cal holds the current seed edge because of a stronger non-conference profile (and win on Washington's home floor).
Bearcats go 5-3 rest of the way with 2 of those 5 being against Louisville and Marquette...does that seal the deal?
I believe so, David, yes.
Joe, Do you think a school like Mizzou would rather be a 2 seed in St. Louis versus a 1 seed in Phoenix?
No idea what Mizzou would prefer, AJ, but I do know the Committee's fourth No. 1 seed will be in Phoenix this year. Having said that, I'm sure Missouri fans have a strong preference for St. Louis.
Hey Joe,Just wanted to drop by with a quick question...what seed do you see my St Mary's Gaels having if we run the table? How far do we get in the tourny?
The Gaels can be a No. 4 seed, maybe even a No. 3 seed if they win at Murray State and sweep Gonzaga. That is probably SMC's ceiling.
Why do the computers like Wisconsin so much? They can't score. I see WI as a 4/5 seed getting beat the first day.
The defensive numbers put up by the Badgers throw off their metrics a bit. I tend to agree with you, although that same style can often be confounding to unfamiliar opponents.
Who wins between Creighton and Long Beach State? Whats your prediction, Joe?
Creighton, Matt, with room to spare. The Blue Jays are extremely difficult to beat at home.
Hey Joe, how much of a chance do you think Texas has of making the tournament if they win 6 of their remaining 8 games, that would put them at 10-8 in the Big 12.
Let's see if they add an NCAA-bound "scalp" or two in that number. IF not, Texas is still living off beating Temple way-back-when (and that's not enough).
Gaels vs. Murray State, who wins?
I like the Gaels...
What is your guess as to Murray State's seed "ceiling"? I'm thinking a 4 seed if they win out.
Agreed, Chris, my thoughts exactly.
Your best guess, Joe: Is Arizona in the tournament come Selection Sunday?
Can the mountain west squeeze three or four teams into the tournament or will this be another year where a MWC team is passed over on selection Sunday?
The Mountain West has done just fine in terms of both selection and seeding. The top three should all make it (UNLV, SD State, New Mexico). The bubble teams have work to do. Wyoming's non-conf SOS is terrible and Colorado St is an RPI mirage. I'm not bullish on either.
How will the Committee handle Notre Dame's early season losses? Are they more likely to be forgiving, since it's a young team that you'd expect to improve?
It's not a question of "forgiving," Dan. It's an issue of "who you beat." The Irish have seriously good wins, and that's what will get them into the NCAA field.
Umass suffered a terrible road loss to rhode island. Do they have to win the A 10 tourny to make the big dance?
Or an outright regular-season title.
How is it that Syracuse has played a "much better" schedule than UK. Kentucky has two wins better wins than anything the Cuse has. I know they have beaten more of those 50-100 type teams, but Florida is their best win.
Current SOS rankings are as follows: Syracuse (No. 14) and Kentucky (No. 70). Don't shoot the messenger.
what does MSU need to do to possibly jump up to a 1 seed?
Have to win the Big Ten and sweep Ohio State. Easier said than done, I suspect.
How "safe" do you think Purdue is right now? Considering how tough the Big Ten is, can they get an at-large with a sub-.500 conference record?
Purdue is going to be a close call, Jay. At 9-9 or 8-10, the Boils will head to the Big Ten tournament with work to do (not quite as much as Penn State last year, but in that neighborhood).
Thoughts on SLU. Do they win the A-10?
Will see the Billikens in person this week. Can I withhold judgment until then? For now, I see Temple as the best team in the A-10 by a pretty decent margin.
Joe, your thoughts on Iona's tournament prospects if they win out the rest of the season, including wins over Loyola (MD) and Nevada, if they lose in their conference tournament?
I think Iona would just miss, David. Their non-league profile is good, but not quite good enough for an at-large. On the other hand, I could see them as this year's VCU.
Give the Mountain West some more love--they are FAR better than the Pac 12 which you give the same number of teams. They have ruled the Pac 12 this year and in recent years.
It's a non-issue. Teams are evaluated independent of their conference affiliation.
Joe - Could you explain how in last week's Bracketology you had Michigan State as a 3 seed yet after a close loss to Illinois and a win against Michigan they jump all the way to a high 2 seed? How did they jump ahead of Kansas, Duke and Baylor?
Who says, Dave? Michigan State is No. 8 on today's S-Curve and is bracketed accordingly (with the No. 1 overall seed).
Cleveland State wins out but loses conference championship - can they get an at-large?
At this point in the season, how much does the "eye test" play into selections and seeding? My eye tells me that you can throw the SOS out the window....Kentucky is far and away the best team in the country and deserves the #1 seed. (not that it really matters)
And they will get it if, six weeks from now, that is still the case. Remember this was was pick to win the NCAA title back in October, so it's not like I'm rooting against them...
Joe, how have VCU and Butler's recent tourney success effect the way the selection committee considers at large mid-majors over at-large power 6 teams? ie, lesser teams over number 2 and 3 from the pac 12?
Theoretically, not at all. Prior selections and performances are not supposed to come into play. Hard to ever know, however, if the "human element" of an individual voter takes something subconscious into consideration. Personally, my longstanding view of high-quality mid-majors over "middling majors" has never wavered.
Just wondering how hard I got to push my guys in order for them to get into the tourney...do we need to beat Gonzaga in Spokane or just a trip to the semis in the WCC tournament?
Better make the finals, coach...
Joe, is there any possible way Northern Iowa can get back into the mix in the at large discussion?
Add a win at Wichita State this week and then we'll talk, Jason.
Would an 18-13 Iowa squad, 10-8 in league play, get a look from the committee? I don't see a 5-2 finish as out of the question before big ten tourney.
A look, yes, if followed up with another win or two at the Big Ten tournament.
I have been here every week you hold a chat for a month, never have my question answered. What is Virginia's ceiling in seeding, considering the weak OOC SOS?
I'd say a No. 4 seed, Garrett, is about the best UVa can hope for. The OOC SOS is (and should be) an anchor for the Cavaliers.
Can we all stop sending bouquets to the Big 10? None of their teams can score. I foresee a bloodbath like the Big East had last year in the tournament because teams will just outscore those anemic offenses. And no, Ohio St doesn't have Kemba to win the National title.
Actually, the Big Ten has some tremendously efficient offensive teams: Indiana (No. 4), Northwestern (No. 12), Ohio State (No. 13), Michigan State (No. 16) and Michigan (No. 24). Don't let total points fool you. Winning halfcourt games counts just as much as winning faster-paced contests.
Did Memphis win over Xavier improve their resume significantly
About one seed line, Mickey. Hard to know what beaten Xavier means right now.
Ohio State & UNC can lose to anybody they want as much as they want and nobody seems to care yet as soon as Syracuse loses one game without Fab everybody writes them off.
Not me, JB. Syracuse has been No. 1 overall since our very first bracket of the season.
OK, gang, time for our "rapid fire" segment for the last 10 minutes or so.
Joe, what team outside the top 25 do you think has a shot at a final four run? I have vandy.
Vandy is a good one. I also like Wichita State and maybe Gonzaga. Other dark horses could be Temple, West Virginia and, if they ever get it together, UConn.
Kansas vs Baylor?
Baylor this time. Just a tough stretch for KU.
Why is Seton Hall still in?
Better wins than those right behind them on the S-Curve.
How far could Memphis go in the Madness? Sweet 16 run in the cards?
Not ready to say that, Matt.
Who loses at home first? UNC or Ohio State?
Ohio State (because their home opponents are better).
Joe:How do you see the A-10 faring with at large bids?I see that you have Stl, Temple and Xavier in the field.What are your thoughts on LaSalle and UMASS?
Neither La Salle nor UMass will make it as at-larges.
Please answer my question...5th time submitting it. Why do you have Mizzou's record listed at 20-2? Mizzou is 21-2. Please fix this mistake.
Not my department, Tom, but am sure it will be corrected.
Is the regular season best record from the Pac-12 virtually a lock regardless of conference tournament result?
What matters more, the "eye test" or SOS?
Depends on the voter...
Always answering Memphis ?s but not mine Joe. Give another C-USA team love! Can USM get a 6 seed?
Not inconceivable, but a line or two under is more likely.
I'm the best Freshman of all time right?
Michael Jordan respectfully disagrees.
Any chance for an at-large for the MAC? Akron is 55RPI now with 3 top 100 road games to go, plus the MAC tournament...
Not happening, Justin.
wichita v creighton saturday
Have to like Creighton at home, but I could easily see Wichita State winning at "Arch Madness."
Nevada have any at-large shot by winning out and losing in the tourney final?
Doubtful, although a win at Iona would at least keep them in ghe conversation.
What differences (if any) do you see in this year's Vandy team compared to the one that got bounced by a solid Richmond squad last year?
Experience and FAR better defensive commitment.
Are the Lobos the best team in the MWC right now?
No better than second...
South Florida needs to finish what to make the dance?
Not going to happen, Jason.
How is northwestern not being considered and teams like Wyoming Miami are. With there rpi sos and qaulity wins I think they have to be at least a 12 seed
Who says they are not??
Will 10-6 in the SEC and 2 SEC tourney wins be enough for Arkansas to get in the Big Dance?
Maybe, but would depend on the "who" in the conference tourney.
Does the Big 12 champion get the last #1 by default pretty much?
why are you consistently down on Mississippi State? Is there something more than basketball fueling your opinions?
What's "down" about a No. 6 seed? That's pretty consistent with just about every other ranking of MSU.
What are VCUs chances of returning to the big dance?
Decent, as always, with the CAA tournament being held in Richmond.
That's it for me, gang. Look for a second bracket update later in the week, as we go semi-weekly until Championship Week. Thanks...