Through Thursday's games, the latest Dance Chance:
Top seeds: Borrrrrrrinnnnnnnnggg
There's not much to report among the top seeds, which are locked into a very clear consensus holding pattern until further notice. Almost every single participant in the Bracket Matrix has the top two seeds the same (we've had them this way for several weeks).
3-5: Notre Dame up, Louisville down
The Irish beat Louisville 71-59 on the road Wednesday, propping Notre Dame back up to a 3 and sending the Cardinals down a rung to a 5. The ripple effect of Notre Dame's jump caught Wichita State, who should climb back up to a 3-seed if they win the MVC tournament. North Carolina replaced Louisville on the 4-line.
|12||3||Iowa St.||Big 12||21-8||11-6||14||14||16.0||99.9|
|20||5||West Virginia||Big 12||22-8||10-7||23||21||9.5||86.6|
6-7: Big East rules 6s, Big Ten dominates 7s
Providence, Butler, and Georgetown continue to jockey for position as the #2 Big East team. Providence and Butler play in their last conference game, while the Hoyas take on faltering Seton Hall.
|25||7||Ohio St.||Big Ten||22-8||11-6||31||10||0.5||78.9|
|27||7||Michigan St.||Big Ten||20-10||11-6||29||17||-0.5||72.4||+1|
Ohio State, Michigan State, and Iowa can all be found on the 7-line. The Spartans are the top team with a negative Wins Composite, courtesy of their home loss to Texas Southern. The Hawkeyes have won 5 in a row and are now safely above the bubble where they resided for most of the last month.
Oregon is the other 7-seed. The Ducks are another team presumably safe from the clutches of the bubble; their win at Oregon State on Wednesday was their 5th straight.
8-10 seeds: Mountain West, Atlantic 10, and SEC
San Diego State holds the top 8-seed, with conference-mates Colorado State and Boise State at 9-seeds. We have the latter two teams quite a bit safer than the consensus, but what's not to like about 27 and 36 RPIs? Neither team's résumé is that far removed from SDSU's, and the Bracket Matrix considers them a 7-seed.
But the real news over the last few days is the Atlantic 10, where Davidson beat VCU to hand the Rams their 3rd straight defeat. Though Dayton (23-6) slips to an 8 randomly, they're now the top team in the conference as VCU falls 2 seeds to the top 9-seed. But it's Davidson who now ranks the highest in Strength, so in addition to jumping 3 seeds—from the top 11 to the low 8—they are now our favorite to win the Atlantic 10 tournament. VCU has struggled without Briante Weber, falling from #17 to #38 in Pomeroy since his injury.
|29||8||San Diego St.||Mtn West||22-7||13-4||24||45||2.0||70.9|
|30||8||St. John's||Big East||20-9||10-7||35||42||7.0||70.4|
|34||9||Colorado St.||Mtn West||24-5||12-5||27||62||1.0||67.2|
|35||9||Boise St.||Mtn West||21-7||13-4||36||51||-0.5||60.5|
|36||9||Oklahoma St.||Big 12||17-11||8-9||41||28||7.0||59.9||+2|
On the 10-line we find three SEC teams, all with very similar résumés: decent overall records, good conference records, above-water RPIs and Strength values, but poor Wins Composites that drag them down. In Texas A&M's case it could be dire as the Aggies now have no RPI Top 50 wins since LSU's recent loss. But Georgia and Mississippi can't really brag about their wins vs. some of their poor losses.
The Bubble: American Athletic teams shake things up
Cincinnati's win over Tulsa put the Bearcats in pretty solidly at the low 10-seed, while the Golden Hurricane dropped out of the brackets. At the same time, Temple edged in as the last team in.
Three 11-seeds are just above the Play-in line: Texas, North Carolina State, and Xavier are all 18-12 and have questionable conference records, especially the Longhorns at 7-10. With similar RPIs, the main distinction here is that Texas and NC State have decent Wins Composites while Xavier is just +1.0. But the consensus is that the Musketeers are the safest team at a 9-seed; we shall see.
|42||11||North Carolina St.||ACC||18-12||9-8||48||30||4.5||56.2|
LSU's loss to Tennessee drops them from a relatively safe 9-seed to a Play-in 11-seed. Purdue's loss to Michigan State dropped them out entirely, but the Boilermakers are still only 4 places out, and they place First Team Out Illinois on Saturday. UCLA's regular season is over; they got the three easy wins they needed to stay alive, but it didn't get them in the brackets. They'll need a tournament win (or two).
The lower bubble
The ACC has three more teams here, but unfortunately for the conference Syracuse is the most viable of the three. If Pittsburgh had beaten Miami instead of losing at home 67-63, the Panthers would be in good position. Instead they're a longshot, and Miami has gone from a longshot to one of many teams needing a good conference tournament outcome.
Stanford was in the brackets for most of the year but slipped out lately, and losing to Arizona State last night didn't help. The Cardinal are in the same region as Stephen F. Austin and Old Dominion, teams from 1-bid leagues who might be able to move up to the main pack at this rate. Below them are a cluster of teams who probably need to win their conference tournaments, though reaching the final might be enough for Pitt, and perhaps Rhode Island, Richmond, and St. Mary's depending on who they have to beat to get there.
|53||12||Stephen F. Austin||Southland||23-4||16-1||52||55||-1.5||41.7|
|57||Rhode Island||Atlantic 10||19-8||12-5||68||63||-4.0||34.0|
|58||Saint Mary's||West Coast||20-8||13-5||59||58||-7.0||32.4|
|63||13||Murray St.||Ohio Valley||24-4||16-0||67||79||-4.0||29.6||-1|
The pack of conference favorites at the end is interesting mainly for pointing out that Buffalo is #33 in the RPI. The Bulls are probably the best team in the MAC, and this year that means something. But the high RPI is mainly due to playing Kentucky and Wisconsin in November/December; take away those losses and Buffalo's RPI is 48, basically the same as Wofford's.