Friday, March 9, 2018

2018 NCAA Tournament - Conference Tournament fluid post

Since a full update of the Field of 68 and/or bracket is difficult after each conference tournament session the next few days, I thought I would accumulate the relevant results and assess what they mean on this post.

Late on the Thursday night updates, well, because it was my birthday.  Lots on tap for Friday.

Friday, March 9 Results

Cincinnati 61, SMU 51
Cincinnati struggle to put SMU away for a while, but got the job done in typical Bearcat fashion.  Combined with the Auburn result below, Cincinnati is now squarely in the driver's seat for a #2 seed.

Rhode Island 76, VCU 67
The Rams had been struggling recently, but pulled away to escape another troubling defeat and now are likely safe come Sunday.  A semifinal win would tomorrow would still come in handy.

Alabama 81, Auburn 63
Alabama presses the lock button and should even escape the first four.  19-15 Vanderbilt was a #9 seed last year for some context.  That is 7 Q1 wins for Alabama.  Auburn will now be no higher than a #3 seed and there are some scenarios that could play out where they might drop to a 4. 

Kentucky 62, Georgia 49
Ho-hum, Kentucky wins and stays alive for a 5 seed, which coincidentally, will send them farther from home.

St. Bonaventure 83, Richmond 77
The Bonnies avoid a loss that would jeopardize their at-large chances.

Providence 75, Xavier 72
Finally, an upset in one of the power conference tournaments.  Xavier stays on the #1 line, but did they move behind Kansas where they will be shipped out West?  Providence has now defeated Villanova once and Xavier twice.  Their seed appears to be improving.

Kansas 83, Kansas State 67
The Jayhawks keep on rolling, all but locking up a #1 seed.  Kansas State appears destined for an 8/9 game.

Tennessee 62, Mississippi State 59
Any faint hope for Mississippi State is gone. Tennessee stays in contention for a 2 seed.

Virginia 64, Clemson 58
Virginia wins.  What is new.  Clemson misses out on a victory over the #1 team and looks like a 4/5.

Wichita State 89, Temple 81
The Shockers win a game they were supposed to.  Will Houston setup a nice matchup for Saturday?

Arizona, UCLA

Duke, North Carolina

Houston, UCF

Nevada, San Diego State

Texas Tech, West Virginia

Villanova, Butler

Florida, Arkansas

USC, Oregon

Thursday, March 8 Results

Xavier 88, St. John's 60
Xavier does nothing to hurt their position as a #1 seed.

Virginia 75, Louisville 58
Virginia has already locked up a #1 seed.  Louisville joins the teams right on the edge of the bubble and it will come down to what happens around them and maybe more importantly, what the committee values most.  My gut says they are out.

Kansas State 66, TCU 64
Both teams are now locked in the field.  Kansas State helps themselves in a seeding mix where most teams are losing.  TCU will still settle in as a 6 or 7, pending other results over the next few days.  The resume is more like a 7.

Alabama 71, Texas A&M 70
Did Collin Sexton just send Alabama to the tournament?  If nothing else, he gives Alabama a chance at Auburn where a victory would potentially seal a bid.   Texas A&M's resume is complete and should land them in the 7/8 seed range. 

Clemson 90, Boston College 82
Clemson stays on track for a 4/5 seed and gets a chance at Virginia tomorrow.

Providence 72, Creighton 68
I think this removes any doubt over the inclusion of Providence.  An overtime game that magnifies the lack of separation when comparing these two teams along with Butler and Seton Hall. 

Kansas 82, Oklahoma State 68
Kansas moves closer to wrapping up a #1 seed.  The Cowboys fail to capitalize on a golden opportunity and now need to hope the committee can ignore their RPI.

Arizona 83, Colorado 67
Arizona takes care of business.  Nothing that moves the needle here.

Nevada 79, UNLV 74
The Wolfpack come from behind and bubble teams rejoice!! 

Georgia 62, Missouri 60
Missouri gets Michael Porter Jr. back and bows out to the 12th seeded Bulldogs.  Missouri is in the dance, but nobody, I repeat nobody wants to nail down a 7 seed.

UCLA 88, Stanford 77
UCLA has moved into lock status for me.  They can still improve their seed with a victory over Arizona on Friday.

Duke 88, Notre Dame 70
Duke stays in contention for a #1 seed and I believe ends the at-large hopes of the Fighting Irish.

Southern Miss 71, Middle Tennessee 68
The shocker of the night provides the committee with another complicated resume.  How much will the committee value a dominant regular season champion in a mid-major conference?  Iona in 2012 is the example that Middle Tennessee fans will hang their hats on.  MTSU also played the 8th toughest non-conference schedule in the country and is 12-1 in true road games.  On the minus side, they dropped to 1-4 in neutral court games.

Texas Tech 73, Texas 69
The Red Raiders are solid on the #4 line.  Texas with 6 quadrant 1 wins and no bad losses would seem to be safe.  I don't think any team with 14 losses can feel entirely safe.  On the plus side, they have a neutral court victory over fellow bubble team Alabama.

Villanova 94, Marquette 70
Villanova stays down the path for a #1 seed.  Marquette loses a chance for a lock-button victory and now must wait out their fate.

North Carolina 82, Miami FL 65
North Carolina takes care of business and gets another shot at Duke Friday.  The loss does not really hurt the Hurricanes who have a solid resume, including a win at North Carolina.

USC 61, Oregon State 48
The Trojans win a game they needed.  I think USC is safe, but beating Oregon wouldn't hurt on Friday.  USC has 9 Q1/Q2 wins, but there is not a ton of meat in them.  The also own a 10-6 Road/Neutral record which will help them out as well.

West Virginia 78, Baylor 65
West Virginia still has upward mobility in my seed list and took care of business here.  Baylor is the classic bubble case this year.  Too many losses, some quality wins. 

Arkansas 69, South Carolina 64
Arkansas becomes one of the few teams in their seed range to post a victory.  They are the type of team I would not want to see in my bracket on Sunday.

Butler 75, Seton Hall 74
End of the night excitement started with Butler getting an overtime putback to erase any doubt about their status.  Seton Hall remains strong but loses further chance to improve their resume.

Oregon 68, Utah 66
End of the night excitement finished up with Oregon staying alive as the lone remaining bid stealer out of the PAC-12.  Utah's faint at-large chances were swatted away at the buzzer.

Wednesday, March 7 Results

North Carolina 78, Syracuse 59
The Tar Heels continue to March toward a 2 seed.  Syracuse is definitely in trouble, lacking quantity and quality of high end wins.  I will take a closer look, but the Orange will be lucky to make the Field.

Marquette 72, DePaul 69
Marquette dodges a huge bullet.  They get Villanova tomorrow in a game that could seal a bid.  Without that win, Marquette will be sweating out Selection Sunday.

Texas 68, Iowa State 64
Texas avoided the bad loss and would appear to be on the correct side of the bubble.  A win over Texas Tech tomorrow removes any doubt.

Oregon State 69, Washington 66
Washington is done.

Bucknell 83, Colgate 54
The automatic bid in the Patriot goes to the Bison.

Notre Dame 71, Virginia Tech 65
Virginia Tech's resume remains largely unchanged.  They still own wins at Virginia and over Duke, North Carolina and Clemson at home.  Loss probably drops them to a #8.  Notre Dame is now under heavy consideration due to their performance with Bonzie Colson vs without him.  I still think they need to beat Duke to get a marque win on the resume.

Oklahoma State 71, Oklahoma 60
Oklahoma is still safe, but like everyone else today,  their seed could take a hit (Not every team seeded 8 to 11 can take a hit though).  Oklahoma State is becoming a very interesting case.  The Cowboys have 2 wins over Kansas, 5 quadrant 1 wins, 10 combined Q1 and Q2 wins, no losses outside Q1 and Q2...and an RPI of 85.  Nice non-conference schedule Cowboys!  That math hardly even makes sense.  And guess what?  They get a 3rd shot at the Jayhawks tomorrow.  They probably still need that one, but I almost like their resume better than say, Arizona State.

Colorado 97, Arizona State 85
Is this how the next few days are going to go?  Arizona State did not help themselves here.  This will be a test if an extremely strong non-conference showing is enough.  They still have a neutral court win over Xavier and a road win at Kansas.  I still think they are in, but I will have to re-evaluate this one closer than NC State or Florida State.  They very well could be in Dayton come early next week.

Boston College 91, North Carolina State 87
North Carolina State joins Florida State as ACC teams that are in the Field of 68, but who might take a seed hit depending on what other teams do.  Despite an RPI of now 65, NC State has a road win at North Carolina, a neutral court win vs Arizona and home wins over Duke and Clemson. That is an impressive "quad" of wins that should keep them safe on Selection Sunday.
Louisville 82, Florida State 74
Louisville is the first bubble team to strike.  This win would probably put them in for now, but other teams are yet to come behind them.  It does put them in position to lock up a bid with a win against Virginia tomorrow.  Florida State is in the Field, they might take a seed hit.

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