Sunday, March 15, 2015

Grip's Bracket - Sunday, March 15 (Selection Sunday)

Automatic Bids

America East - Albany
An absolutely *impossible* comeback down 7 with 2:38 to go was capped by a second chance desperation heave from the top of the key by Peter Hooley - who missed 8 games in the middle of the season to attend to his dying mother in Australia - to lift the Great Danes over Stony Brook and in to the NCAA's.  The Seawolves have been regular season champs and/or in the conference title game each of the past six years.  They've still never danced.
Atlantic Sun - North Florida
In front of a surprisingly rowdy atmosphere that was among the most fun of Championship Week (and not just because of that dancing band guy), the Ospreys held off USC Upstate to punch their first ever tournament ticket.  With a sub 162 RPI they're headed for a 16 and very possibly to Dayton.
Big Sky - Eastern Washington
The Fighting Tyler Harveys closed out on a 19-4 run to steal the title away from Montana in the Grizz's own backyard despite an awful shooting night.  Harvey made plays on both ends down the stretch and pulling that game out on the road despite playing nowhere near their best was a sign of how good this team is.  They're gonna be extremely dangerous for some 3-5 seed.
Big South - Coastal Carolina
#MyrtleBeachMadness turned out to be an appropriate moniker as the Chanticleers held serve at home for three games in a wild tournament.  A shame it didn't end better for Saah Nimley and Charleston Southern or John Brown and High Point but they didn't even get to the damn semis.  As for Warren Gillis and Coastal, they could be looking at a 15.
Big West - UC Irvine
The Anteaters withstood a torrid Hawaii start to take control of the game in the second half and ensure us all the treat of watching 7 foot 6 inch Mamadou N'diaye in the NCAA's.  Like seemingly every other basketball player that tall, he's chronically battling foot problems but Russell Turner - one of the top young coaches on the west coast - has learned how to manage his minutes and push all the other right buttons to get the Orange County outfit to their first NCAA tournament ever.  As a Maryland fan, I want no part of them in a 3/14.
CAA - Northeastern
Semifinal Sunday was excellent as usual with William & Mary's improbable 2OT comeback win over Hofstra and Northeastern grinding down UNC Wilmington but Championship Monday was no contest.  The Tribe simply had nothing left for a team as good defensively as the Huskies (and it didn't help that they sank all their threes.)  Northeastern's in 14/15 range and they are dangerous.  They've been good and largely more consistent than anyone else in this league all year.
Conference USA - UAB
The Blazers were buttressed by a partisan crowd in Birmingham, taking out top seed Louisiana Tech by 10 in overtime after blowing a late regulation lead before cruising past surprise finalist Middle Tennessee today to win the bid.  They were in the hunt with Louisiana Tech and UTEP for much of the regular season so it's not like they came *completely* from nowhere but they should expect a lower seed than either would have gotten, maybe even a 16.
Horizon - Valparaiso
All three Valpo/Green Bay games were kind of duds.  Neither team played their best in any of them and while Keifer Sykes and company had a first half road lead last night, they simply couldn't score in the second half and the Crusaders rode it out at the end.  Regardless, Bryce Drew's bunch are an excellent basketball team who took Michigan State to the wire a couple of years ago and I wouldn't want to be their 4 (or 3, or 5?)
Ivy - Harvard
It somehow lived up to the hype and then some.  Steve Mondou-Missi knocked down a foul line jumper and then Yale's last ditch layup missed barely and for the second Saturday in a row the Bulldogs let the first NCAA tournament ticket since 1962 slip through their fingers.  The Crimson have had more offensive problems than the previous two tourney game winners but they've got all the same parts and are still a major threat to upset.
MAC - Buffalo
The Bulls have been knocking on the door for the better part of a decade now, winners of at least 18 games in 6 of the past 7 years.  The lone year they didn't was perhaps a blessing in disguise as it got the perennially underachieving in March Reggie Witherspoon out and arguably the hottest young name in coaching in Bobby Hurley in.  The star Duke point guard has built a balanced, talented, efficient team on both sides of the ball and they're one of the favorites among double digit seeds to get to the second weekend.
MAAC - Manhattan
A lot of low majors have great guards.  Not many have a truly great front line with a do-it-all guy like Emmy Andujar and a legit big like Ashton Pankey who was incredibly raw at Maryland but has flourished in the Bronx, in large part because of Steve Masiello and how he can get his teams to simply out-fight you like they out-fought Iona for the title on Monday (the Gaels also couldn't shoot.  Like, at all.)  Now here's where it gets interesting.  Their RPI is 164.  They're 19-13.  That's a 16 seed that led Rick Pitino and Louisville deeeep in to the second half last March.  I'm not saying, I'm just saying.
MEAC - Hampton
Delaware State beat the Soviets (NC Central) but lost the gold medal game to Finland as the 16-17 Pirates who were just .500 in the league in the regular season held them at bay throughout the second half before blowing them away to win by 20 and the inevitable trip to Dayton.
NEC - Robert Morris
Bob Morris was just like Manhattan in that they just know how to play their best in the conference tournament format.  St. Francis (NY) was denied an exit strategy from the Forgotten Five and now the Colonials could very well get their postseason rematch with Kentucky.  They might have to win in Dayton to get it.
OVC - Belmont
Two years ago it was brilliant.  This year it was just as good.  Both times Belmont prevailed at the end to break Murray State hearts and now the Bruins have made up for a sometimes disappointing regular season, truly peaking in the heart of Nashville in the conference tournament just across town from campus, to get back in to the NCAA's.  They're in their usual 14ish range.
Patriot - Lafayette
The Leopards join Northeastern as yet another autobid who'd been before but not in quite a long time.  First time since the year 2000 for Lafayette and they're in that group of teams that's in 15/16 territory that will be rooting for chaos at the weekend to get potentially weaker autobids in the field.  As the 4 seed in the Patriot though, it's hard to see these guys off the 16 line ultimately.
SoCon - Wofford
The Citadel nightmare almost - *almost* repeated itself.  The Terriers somehow almost blew the season to last placed Furman but Karl Cochran did just enough on the offensive end to spare their blushes.  As every pundit is saying now until the middle of next week, the way they slow things down and D you up will possibly allow them to control pace and/or frustrate the heck out of somebody not ready for that kind of ball.  They're like Dayton or some of the old Murray State teams in that their tallest player is 6'6 and it doesn't seem to matter.  They're in 12/13 range.
Southland - Stephen F. Austin
The Jacks did what they do and eased to victory for the third time over Sam Houston State after taking control early in the second half and they're back in the Dance after last year's four point play heroics to shock VCU in a 12/5.  They might very well be in one of those again and would have had an even better at large case than Murray State had they lost last night but Thomas Walkup, Jacob Parker and friends wisely didn't leave it up to chance.
Summit - North Dakota State
North and South Dakota State basically played to a draw all season long pretty much however you wanted to slice it and they basically played to a draw in the Summit title game last night.  In the end, the Bison controlled things down much of the stretch and held off the late home SDSU run to nick it by a point and they could be a potentially frisky 15 or 16.
Sun Belt - Georgia State/Georgia Southern
SWAC - Texas Southern
With both Alabama State and Grambling ineligible for the NCAA tournament it would take a miracle for them to not be dancing.  The RPI actually was in the top 100 for a while and I had them as a 15 seed in a lot of earlier brackets but they've since slipped in to 16 range and might be destined for Dayton.  Any other bid winner most certainly would be.
WAC - New Mexico State
Cameron Dollar's Seattle team gave it a right go but just like they and everyone else in this league has been all season, they were simply overmatched by the Aggies.  NMSU was just 5-7 after a one point OT home loss to (probable) fellow tournament team Colorado State two days after Christmas but their only loss since then was at Seattle by 6 on January 17.  They're coming in hot.

S Curve

Kentucky Villanova Virginia Wisconsin
Arizona Duke Gonzaga Kansas
Iowa State Notre Dame Maryland Baylor
North Carolina Oklahoma Northern Iowa Louisville
SMU VCU Michigan State Arkansas
Utah Wichita State West Virginia Providence
Xavier Butler Georgetown Oregon
San Diego State St. John's Iowa Cincinnati
NC State Dayton Oklahoma State Ohio State 
Davidson Colorado State Texas BYU
Georgia Temple Boise State/Purdue Indiana/LSU
Valparaiso Stephen F. Austin Wofford Buffalo
Harvard Georgia State Wyoming Eastern Washington
Northeastern UC Irvine North Dakota State Belmont
Albany New Mexico State Texas Southern UAB
Coastal Carolina Lafayette Manhattan/Robert Morris North Florida/Hampton


MIDWEST (Cleveland)

Louisville (1) Kentucky (SEC)
(16) North Florida (A-Sun)/Hampton (MEAC)

(8) Cincinnati
(9) NC State

(5) SMU (American)
(12) Buffalo (MAC)

(4) Oklahoma
(13) Harvard (Ivy)

Louisville (6) West Virginia
(11) Georgia

(3) Notre Dame (ACC)
(14) Belmont (OVC)

Seattle (7) Georgetown
(10) BYU

(2) Gonzaga (WCC)
(15) Albany (A-East)

WEST (Los Angeles)

(1) Wisconsin (Big Ten)
(16) Coastal Carolina (Big South)

(8) San Diego State
(9) Oklahoma State

Jacksonville (5) VCU (A-10)
(12) Valparaiso (Horizon)

(4) North Carolina
(13) Eastern Washington (Big Sky)

Jacksonville (6) Utah
(11) Indiana/LSU

(3) Baylor
(14) Northeastern (CAA)

Portland (7) Xavier
(10) Davidson

(2) Arizona (Pac-12)
(15) UAB (C-USA)

EAST (Syracuse)

Pittsburgh (1) Villanova (Big East)
(16) Robert Morris (NEC)/

(8) Iowa
(9) Dayton

Portland (5) Arkansas
(12) Wofford (SoCon)

(4) Northern Iowa (MVC)
(13) Georgia State (Sun Belt)

Omaha (6) Wichita State
(11) Temple

(3) Iowa State (Big 12)
(14) North Dakota State (Summit)

Charlotte (7) Butler
(10) Texas

(2) Duke
(15) Texas Southern (SWAC)

SOUTH (Houston)

Charlotte (1) Virginia
(16) Lafayette (Patriot)

(8) St. John's
(9) Ohio State

Columbus (5) Michigan State (Big Ten)
(12) Stephen F. Austin (Southland)

(4) Louisville
(13) Wyoming (MWC)

Pittsburgh (6) Providence
(11) Indiana/LSU

(3) Maryland
(14) UC Irvine (Big West)

Omaha (7) Oregon
(10) Colorado State

(2) Kansas
(15) New Mexico State (WAC)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

College Basketball Picks - Saturday, March 14

Albany -3 v. Stony Brook

Middle Tennessee +1.5 @ UAB

Purdue +10 v. Wisconsin

Michigan State -4.5 v. Maryland

Auburn +23.5 v. Kentucky

Georgia +2 v. Arkansas

Davidson -3 v. VCU

Dayton -1.5 v. Rhode Island

Georgia State -5.5 v. UL Lafayette

Georgia Southern -3 v. UL Monroe

Temple +3.5 v. SMU

Tulsa +3 @ Connecticut

Wyoming +6 v. San Diego State

Iowa State +2.5 v. Kansas

Central Michigan +3 v. Buffalo

Villanova -8 v. Xavier

North Carolina -2.5 v. Notre Dame

Oregon +12.5 v. Arizona

Hawaii +4 v. UC Irvine

Montana -1.5 v. Eastern Washington

Delaware State -1.5 v. Hampton

Southern +6 v. Texas Southern

Sam Houston State +5.5 v. Stephen F. Austin

Seattle +9 v. New Mexico State

Yale +2.5 v. Harvard

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

College Basketball Picks - Wednesday, March 11

Clemson -1.5 v. Florida State

North Carolina -12 v. Boston College

Pittsburgh +3 v. NC State

Miami (FL) -10 v. Virginia Tech

Florida International +4 v. Texas San Antonio

Charlotte -1.5 v. Middle Tennessee

Marshall +7.5 v. Western Kentucky

North Texas -2 v. Rice

TCU +1.5 v. Kansas State

Texas Tech +10.5 v. Texas

Washington State +3 v. California

USC +6.5 v. Arizona State

Colorado -3.5 v. Oregon State

Stanford -8 v. Washington

Air Force +3 v. New Mexico

Nevada +8.5 @ UNLV

Nebraska +2.5 v. Penn State

Rutgers +10 v. Minnesota

Eastern Michigan +2.5 v. Bowling Green

Akron -1.5 v. Western Michigan

George Mason -2.5 v. Fordham

Saint Louis +3 v. Duquesne

Seton Hall +1 v. Marquette

DePaul +3.5 v. Creighton

Mississippi State -2 v. Auburn

Missouri +8.5 v. South Carolina

Mississippi Valley State +13 v. Alabama State

Alcorn State +13 v. Texas Southern

Coppin State +14 v. NC Central

South Carolina State +13.5 @ Norfolk State

McNeese State -4 v. SE Louisiana

Nicholls State +2 v. New Orleans

American +4 @ Lafayette

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

College Basketball Picks - Tuesday, March 10

Boston College -2.5 v. Georgia Tech

Virginia Tech +4.5 v. Wake Forest

Pennsylvania +4 v. Princeton

BYU +8 v. Gonzaga

South Dakota State -4.5 v. North Dakota State

Green Bay +3.5 @ Valparaiso

Grambling +10.5 v. Alcorn State

Coppin State -2.5 v. Bethune Cookman

North Carolina A&T -1 v. South Carolina State

Robert Morris +5.5 @ St. Francis (NY)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

College Basketball Picks - Sunday, March 8

Nebraska +2 v. Maryland

Penn State +9.5 @ Minnesota

East Carolina +3.5 @ Houston

SMU -8.5 v. Tulsa

Wisconsin -2.5 @ Ohio State

Illinois State +6 v. Northern Iowa

Hofstra -2.5 v. William & Mary

UNC Wilmington +3 v. Northeastern

Wofford -8 v. Western Carolina

Furman +9.5 v. Mercer

Iona -5.5 v. Monmouth

Manhattan -3 v. St. Peter's

South Dakota +3 v. IPFW

IUPUI +4.5 v. Oral Roberts

USC Upstate +5 @ North Florida

Winthrop +4 @ Coastal Carolina

Bucknell -3 v. Lafayette

Colgate -4.5 v. American

Vermont -5 v. Stony Brook

Albany -8 v. New Hampshire

Friday, March 6, 2015

Grip's Bracket - Friday, March 6

Automatic Bids

America East - Albany
All chalk in the quarterfinals as the Great Danes will host the season's surprise package New Hampshire as Stony Brook (who avoided disaster against much improved Binghamton) goes to Vermont (who didn't even let UMBC get to 40) in the semifinals on Sunday afternoon.
Atlantic Sun - North Florida
Bernard Thompson got fouled shooting a 3 down 3 in the waning moments but missed the last free throw, leaving Dunk City a point short in last night's semifinal against USC Upstate, whom the Ospreys will have to figure out a way to beat for the first time this season to get to the NCAA's on Sunday afternoon.
Big Sky - Eastern Washington
Stupidly, I moved Sacramento State in to this spot in the first draft so of course they turn around and lose at Southern Utah last night, falling back in to a 3 way tie with the Eagles and Montana.  EWU's RPI is sinking - it's at 94 after previously being inside the top 50 - so they may be sliding back in to 14/15 seed range if they can win next week's conference tournament.  Anyone else is getting a 16.
Big South - Coastal Carolina
Make it back to back seasons that the # 1 seed has gone down in the conference quarterfinal as last year it was the Panthers who were victims to Winthrop and this year it was Charleston Southern who went down to Longwood.  Then High Point got upset in overtime by Gardner Webb so the host Chanticleers are also the top seed remaining.  The conference tournament is so far following the regular season's script and it is glorious.
Big West - UC Davis
It took a wild comeback but the Aggies beat UC Riverside by a deuce to clinch the outright regular season title and # 1 seed in the conference tournament.  Now they have Senior Night against 2nd placed UC Irvine but it's The Alan Williams Project who is red hot, having won four straight including a victory over Irvine last Saturday, and might be finally playing up to its capabilities at the right time.
CAA - William & Mary
The Tribe will get Elon in tomorrow afternoon's first quarterfinal and they shouldn't take them lightly after the Phoenix beat both them and 2 seed UNC Wilmington last week.  3 seed Northeastern as well as whoever wins the 4/5 quarter between James Madison and Hofstra are each capable of winning the tournament as well.
Horizon - Valparaiso
The Crusaders really locked down Cleveland State and then held on at the end before Green Bay swept away Oakland so it's those two who get the double byes in to the semifinals.  But Valpo took the regular season crown by a full game so it gets both the semi and a potential final with the Phoenix on their home floor.
Ivy - Yale
Harvard stubbed its toe back with an awful performance at Cornell and then they were offensively feeble tonight on their home floor as the Bulldogs went in to Lavietes and left with one foot in the NCAA tournament, needing only a win at Dartmouth tomorrow night to wrap it up.
MAC - Kent State
A(nother) wild night in the MAC ended with the Golden Flashes beating rival Akron at the buzzer on a coast to coast layup, Central Michigan losing at Western Michigan to cede the 1 seed to Kent and Buffalo beating Bowling Green in a thrilling back-and-forth game to secure the 3 seed.  Got all that?  It's only gonna get crazier in Cleveland next week.
MAAC - Iona
The Gaels have the dreaded road quarterfinal at Siena tomorrow afternoon after the Saints marched through Niagara last night.  Monmouth or Canisius would await in the semifinal - Iona lost at Monmouth by 3 and Canisius by 4 while beating the Hawks in New Rochelle by just a point and the Golden Griffins by 3.  It won't be easy.
MEAC - North Carolina Central
The perfect conference season has been completed and now the Eagles will await the winner of the Bethune Cookman/Coppin State quarterfinal from next Tuesday.  Coppin, by the way, scored 63 in the second half and 92 in the game last night but it still wasn't enough to beat Delaware State and Kendall Gray's 33 points and 30 rebounds (or Amere May's 40 points) as the Hornets won 101-92.
NEC - St. Francis (NY)
It was never going to be an easy Brooklyn derby in a conference quarterfinal setting, particularly with the underdog 8 seed Long Island Blackbirds making the 1.3 mile trip west to The Pope in hopes of shocking the runaway regular season champions, but the hosts won by 9 and now face their St. Francis doppelganger in the semis after PA won at the Mount in their quarterfinal.
OVC - Murray State
The Racers survived 5 seed Morehead State in a wild semifinal thanks to a late Cameron Payne 3.  They were up double digits at halftime and had to come back from down double digits in the second half.  Usual suspects Eastern Kentucky and Belmont will duke it out in the other semifinal after the Bruins completed Eastern Illinois' collapse by flattening them 97-64 last night.
Patriot - Bucknell
It took overtime but the Bison survived popular preseason pick Holy Cross in their quarterfinal last night and will now face Lafayette, who demolished Boston University in theirs, on Sunday afternoon.  Defending champion American won at Lehigh and now will go to Colgate, who dusted off Navy, in the other semifinal.
SoCon - Wofford
The Terriers will face UNC Greensboro winner in tomorrow afternoon's first quarterfinal.  They're on the far less imposing side of the bracket as the two teams who beat them in the regular season - 2nd seed Chattanooga and 7th seeded The Citadel - are on the other side as are defending Atlantic Sun champ Mercer and always dangerously offensively potent VMI.
Southland - Stephen F. Austin
The Jacks pasted Northwestern State last night and now a Senior Night victory over 2nd placed Sam Houston State (who survived by 6 at Lamar last night) tomorrow night is all that stands between them and the outright regular season title.
Summit - South Dakota State
NDSU and SDSU both ended the regular season at 12-4 but the Jackrabbits get the top seed and to the victor go the spoils of 8-19 Western Illinois in the quarterfinals.  Then again, the Bison aren't exactly getting a bad draw themselves with 12-17 Denver - who was only the preseason favorite.  Joe Scott strikes again.
Sun Belt - Georgia Southern
It's all to play for tomorrow afternoon.  The Eagles and Georgia State are tied atop the standings at 14-5 and the winner in Atlanta will be the outright regular season champion and # 1 seed.  Perhaps the 2 seed is preferable, however, if fading UL Monroe remains the 3 seed and the red hot defending tournament champion UL Lafayette Rajun Cajuns is the 4.
SWAC - Texas Southern
The Tigers rolled over Alcorn State last night to wrap up an outright regular season title.  They could finish two clear of Alabama State (and the rest of the field) after trailing the Hornets for much of the regular season and with ASU not participating in the conference tournament, Mike Davis' men will be heavy favorites.
WAC - New Mexico State
Texas Pan American was blown away on Wednesday just like Chicago State probably will be too tomorrow night and the Aggies will win this league by four (or more) games and should win the conference tournament with ease as well.  They're truly the Kentucky of the WAC.

S Curve

Kentucky Virginia Duke Villanova
Wisconsin Arizona Gonzaga Kansas
Maryland Utah Iowa State Notre Dame
Baylor Oklahoma Wichita State Northern Iowa
North Carolina Arkansas West Virginia Louisville
SMU Providence Georgetown Butler
Iowa St. John's Ohio State Georgia
San Diego State Oregon Colorado State VCU
Oklahoma State Xavier Michigan State Cincinnati 
NC State Dayton Ole Miss Boise State Temple 
Texas Davidson Temple Texas A&M/UCLA
Indiana/BYU Wofford Iona Stephen F. Austin
Louisiana Tech Yale Valparaiso Murray State
UC Davis Kent State South Dakota State Eastern Washington
William & Mary North Carolina Central New Mexico State Albany
Georgia Southern Texas Southern Coastal Carolina/St. Francis (NY) Bucknell/North Florida

Last 4 In - Texas A&M, UCLA, Indiana, BYU
First 4 Out - Illinois, Purdue, LSU, Tulsa
Next 4 Out - Miami (FL), Old Dominion, Stanford, Richmond


MIDWEST (Cleveland)

(1) Kentucky (SEC)
(16) Bucknell (Patriot)/North Florida (A-Sun)

(8) VCU
(9) Xavier

(5) North Carolina
(12) Stephen F. Austin (Southland)

(4) Baylor
(13) Louisiana Tech (C-USA)

(6) Butler
(11) Texas

(3) Notre Dame
(14) Eastern Washington (Big Sky)

(7) Iowa
(10) Temple

(2) Gonzaga (WCC)
(15) William & Mary (CAA)

WEST (Los Angeles)

(1) Villanova (Big East)
(16) Georgia Southern (Sun Belt)

(8) San Diego State
(9) Michigan State

(5) Louisville
(12) Iona (MAAC)

(4) Northern Iowa
(13) Murray State (OVC)

(6) SMU (American)
(11) Texas A&M/UCLA

(3) Iowa State
(14) UC Davis (Big West)

(7) Ohio State
(10) NC State

(2) Arizona (Pac-12)
(15) Albany (AE)

EAST (Syracuse)

(1) Virginia (ACC)
(16) Coastal Carolina (Big South)/St. Francis (NY) (NEC)

(8) Colorado State
(9) Oklahoma State

(5) West Virginia
(12) Indiana/BYU

(4) Wichita State (MVC)
(13) Yale (Ivy)

(6) Georgetown
(11) Davidson

(3) Maryland
(14) South Dakota State (Summit)

(7) St. John's
(10) Boise State (MWC)

(2) Kansas (Big 12)
(15) North Carolina Central (MEAC)

SOUTH (Houston)

(1) Duke
(16) Texas Southern (SWAC)

(8) Oregon
(9) Cincinnati

(5) Arkansas
(12) Wofford (SoCon)

(4) Oklahoma
(13) Valparaiso (Horizon)

(6) Providence
(11) Temple

(3) Utah
(14) Kent State (MAC)

(7) Georgia
(10) Dayton

(2) Wisconsin (Big Ten)
(15) New Mexico State (WAC)