Friday, January 30, 2015

Grip's Bracket - Friday, January 30

We're weekly from here on out.  It's officially Bubble Season (tm) and the Bubble Watch is beneath this post.

Automatic Bids

America East - Albany
The Great Danes failed to get to 50 at Vermont on Wednesday but they got closer than the Catamounts did to open up a two game lead on both them and Stony Brook.
Atlantic Sun - North Florida
Dunk City remains hot on their heels but the Ospreys are still unbeaten in the league.
Big Sky - Sacramento State
The Hornets are finally starting to live up to preseason expectations.  They waxed league leader Eastern Washington a couple Saturdays ago but they remain tied atop the conference with the Eagles and Montana, whom they visit tomorrow night.
Big South - High Point
Coastal Carolina has dropped 3 of 4 to cede control of the conference to the Panthers, who are a game ahead of them, Radford, Charleston Southern, UNC Asheville and Winthrop.  And yet, this ISN'T the most wide open one bid league.  We'll get to *that* league.
Big West - UC Davis
The Aggies handled The Alan Williams Project last night to remain in a three way tie with UC Irvine, who held serve at home against Cal Poly and Long Beach State, who survived in OT at Cal State Fullerton.  They own wins over both but the rematch in Irvine is Thursday.
CAA - William & Mary
If UNC Wilmington had held on to that 22 point lead they had in Williamsburg a few weeks ago, they'd be alone on top of this conference.  Instead, they're tied for first with the Tribe, who have blown away the other two contenders in this league Northeastern and Hofstra in their last two games.
Horizon - Green Bay
Survived the ugly top of the table clash with Valparaiso last Friday to keep this bid.  Cleveland State and Oakland are also a game back in the loss column and the Phoenix have to go play the former tomorrow.
Ivy - Yale
Harvard finally paid the piper for subpar play for most of this season by shockingly losing by 9 at home to Dartmouth last Saturday and it's the Bulldogs who benefit.  Yale finally plays a non-Brown conference opponent tonight when they go to Columbia.
MAC - Kent State
The Golden Flashes have emerged from this mess a game ahead of Bowling Green and Akron and two games in front of Central and Western Michigan, Buffalo and Toledo.  Needless to say, that is subject to change - especially with road games at Buffalo and Western coming up this week.
MAAC - Iona
They lost at Monmouth by a triple back on December 7.  They've lost once in conference since but surprise packages Rider and Monmouth remain in the rear view.  Still, this appears to be clearly the league's best team.
MEAC - North Carolina Central
January 11 is the last time anyone in the conference beat them....January 11 of last year.  Ironically, that was Florida A&M.  Florida A&M is winless this year.
NEC - Robert Morris
It's now just a two way tie atop this conference with Bryant losing at previous co-leader St. Francis (PA) last night.  The Kentucky NIT Conquerors won at fellow co-leader St. Francis (NY) on Saturday and are now a cool 9 spots ahead of them in RPI.
OVC - Murray State
It took overtime but the Racers remained unbeaten in league play by beating Eastern Kentucky.  Previous leader Eastern Illinois was busy losing by 30 at Tennessee-Martin, its third straight loss.
Patriot - Bucknell
THIS is the most wide open league.  The Bison are 12-10 (including a win over Case Western Reserve, who are a Division 3 school based in Cleveland) and 7-2 in league play.  9-13 Colgate - the previous leaders the last time we did this - are a game back at 6-3.  14 win Army, the most wins of anyone in the league, is 5-4.  Lafayette, American, Lehigh, Boston University, Loyola (MD) AND Navy are all 4-5.  And one of the preseason favorites and arguably the most prestigious basketball program in the conference, Holy Cross, brings up the rear at 3-6.  Pretty much anyone can #GoGetThatPatriot
SoCon - Wofford
Still 50th in RPI, the Terriers are in play for a coveted 12 seed.  3rd placed Mercer beat 2nd placed Chattanooga by 3 in overtime so now both are a game back.
Southland - Stephen F. Austin
It wasn't even close from the beginning.  The Jacks got out 22-3 at Sam Houston State on Saturday to emphatically remain unbeaten atop the conference.  The Bearkats are now tied with.....Texas A&M Corpus Christi?!?  In the loss column, anyway - SHSU has one more league win.
Summit - South Dakota State
They remain a half game better than North Dakota State in the conference and two games better overall.  They won on Wednesday by 22 over Nebraska Omaha, who scored 97 and won at Marquette back in November, but is now dead last in this league.
Sun Belt - Georgia Southern
One of the most surprising good teams in a one bid league, the typically football powerhouse Eagles are 14-4 and alone atop the league at 7-2.  They're up from 263 to 122 in KenPom but still 22 spots behind preseason favorite Georgia State, who is a half game back along with UL Monroe.
SWAC - Texas Southern
Alabama State is the last unbeaten.  Alabama State is also the last APR ineligible tourney team.  Mike Davis' team is the lone one loss school ahead of lone two loss Southern.
WAC - New Mexico State
They're 4-1.  Grand Canyon, Seattle, Utah Valley and UMKC are all 3-2 with Texas Pan American and Cal State Bakersfield at 2-3 (and poor Chicago State is 0-5 and 4-18 overall.)  What a wild, wide open race between an eclectic group of teams.  This really IS the Great West's spirit animal.

S Curve

Kentucky Virginia Arizona Wisconsin
Kansas Villanova Gonzaga Duke
North Carolina VCU Notre Dame Wichita State
Louisville Utah Iowa State West Virginia
Maryland Butler Georgetown Ohio State
San Diego State Arkansas SMU Providence
Stanford Baylor Georgia Oklahoma
Northern Iowa Oklahoma State Texas Indiana
Dayton Texas A&M LSU Cincinnati
Iowa Xavier Miami FL Colorado State
Tulsa Old Dominion Michigan State Seton Hall/Ole Miss
George Washington/NC State Wofford Green Bay Yale
Iona Murray State Stephen F. Austin Kent State
North Carolina Central Louisiana Tech High Point William & Mary
Georgia Southern Texas Southern South Dakota State UC Davis
Sacramento State Albany New Mexico State/North Florida Robert Morris/Bucknell

Last 4 In - Seton Hall, Ole Miss, George Washington, NC State
First 4 Out - Alabama, Tennessee, St. John's Illinois
Next 4 Out - Syracuse, Temple, Boise State, Kansas State

MIDWEST (Cleveland)

(1) Kentucky (SEC)
(16) Robert Morris (NEC)/Bucknell (Patriot)

(8) Northern Iowa
(9) Dayton

(5) Maryland
(12) Yale (Ivy)

(4) West Virginia
(13) Iona (MAAC)

(6) Providence
(11) Tulsa (AAC)

(3) North Carolina
(14) High Point (Big South)

(7) Oklahoma
(10) Colorado State

(2) Gonzaga (WCC)
(15) Georgia Southern (Sun Belt)

SOUTH (Houston)

(1) Wisconsin (Big Ten)
(16) Sacramento State (Big Sky)

(8) Oklahoma State
(9) Cincinnati

(5) Georgetown
(12) George Washington/NC State

(4) Louisville
(13) Kent State (MAC)

(6) Providence
(11) Old Dominion

(3) Wichita State (MVC)
(14) North Carolina Central (MEAC)

(7) Georgia
(10) Iowa

(2) Kansas (Big 12)
(15) UC Davis (Big West)

EAST (Syracuse)

(1) Virginia (ACC)
(16) New Mexico State (WAC)/North Florida (A-Sun)

(8) Texas
(9) Texas A&M

(5) Ohio State
(12) Green Bay (Horizon)

(4) Utah
(13) Murray State (OVC)

(6) SMU
(11) Michigan State

(3) VCU (A-10)
(14) William & Mary (CAA)

(7) Baylor
(10) Miami (FL)

(2) Villanova (Big East)
(15) Texas Southern (SWAC)

WEST (Los Angeles)

(1) Arizona (Pac-12)
(16) Albany (AE)

(8) Indiana
(9) LSU

(5) Butler
(12) Wofford (SoCon)

(4) Notre Dame
(13) Stephen F. Austin (Southland)

(6) San Diego State (MWC)
(11) Seton Hall/Ole Miss

(3) Iowa State
(14) Louisiana Tech (C-USA)

(7) Stanford
(10) Xavier

(2) Duke
(15) South Dakota State (Summit)

Grip's Bubble Watch - Friday, January 30

Lock - Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Louisville
These five are about to start playing each other a bunch, starting with the Irish coming back to beat Duke on Wednesday night.  The Blue Devils begin life without Rasheed Sulaimon tomorrow night at Virginia and the undercard bout is the Heels and Cards hooking up in Louisville.  This is probably the strongest, most secure group of locks out of any conference.
In - Miami (FL), NC State
Who wins by 16 at Cameron and loses by 20 at home to previously winless in the ACC Georgia Tech?  Somehow that's not a sub 100 RPI loss for the Canes but it's certainly a head scratcher.  At the same time, the Wolfpack - who are the last team in the field and blew an 18 point home lead to Notre Dame last Sunday - suffered a head-scratching home loss of their own to Clemson, which also is somehow not a sub 100 loss.  In fact, the Tigers are closer to the field than you might think and would be on the bubble right now if not for those four sub 100 RPI losses; still, they're just 9 RPI spots behind...
Out - Syracuse
...the Orange, who have fallen out of the field thanks to losing 3 of their last 4, including at Clemson and at home to Miami.  Their Cal loss in NYC continues to worsen and should be a sub 150 RPI loss sooner rather than later.  Worse yet, the 12 point home loss to St. John's looks like it could be a dagger for bubble comparison purposes now that the Johnnies are no longer comfortably in the field.  Jim Boeheim's guys need to regroup in their next three because after that, the stretch run of death begins.

Lock - Tulsa, SMU
The Golden Hurricane - who are only a "lock" because they're still the autobid - scraped by East Carolina and Tulane on the road this past week while the Mustangs got a bit of a fight at South Florida on Wednesday.  These two are on a collison course a week from Saturday but before that SMU welcomes in...
In - Cincinnati
...the Bearcats, who beat Larry Brown's boys back on January 3.  Cincinnati's won four straight since the last bracket, including a 31 point win over Temple and a 12 point victory over UConn last night to slide comfortably in to the field.
Out - Temple
The Owls were Next 4 Out when we did this two weeks ago and they're Next 4 Out today.  They continue to have the Kansas win, some decent computer numbers and not a whole lot else.  They've got five top 100 RPI games left and need to win a few of them to build some support around their centerpiece victory.

Atlantic 10
Lock - VCU
The Rams survived by a bucket last Friday at Saint Louis thanks to more Treveon Graham heroics and then came back home and reaffirmed that it's them and everyone else in this league by blasting GW by 24.  The rematch in D.C. on Valentine's Day should be closer.
In - Dayton, George Washington
The Flyers have been exposed a bit in the past week and a half, getting ripped from bell to bell at Davidson before losing at UMass last night.  Their RPI has fallen from the 20's to the 30's (35) and with only two top 50 games left - both on the road - they could continue to slide closer to the cutline.  One of those two games is a week from tonight at play-in participant GW, who also goes to RPI 65 Rhode Island tomorrow so a big week for the Colonials coming up.
Out - Davidson
If only the Wildcats hadn't been pulverized at Richmond three days before the Dayton win.  They're still in the top 40 of RPI (38) and still have two with GW and a massive home shot with VCU on March 5.  The next five are all against sub 100 RPI teams so Bob McKillop's kids need to avoid stepping on any landmines in the interim.

Big East
Lock - Villanova, Georgetown, Butler, Providence
All four are inside the top 20 of RPI, which is especially impressive for league leading Providence, who has the sub 100 loss at Boston College and the sub 200 loss to Brown on the ledger.  That's enough to keep them a seed line beneath the Hoyas and Bulldogs, who are literally right next to each other on the S-Curve.  The Wildcats lost by 20 in D.C. on January 19 but it basically didn't affect them; they remain on track for a 2 seed with an outside shot at a 1.
In - Xavier, Seton Hall
The Musketeers completed a sweep of Georgetown on Tuesday with a suffocating win in D.C.  That's enough to get them in the field and they even pass the Pirates, who ate a home loss to DePaul and then lost by 20 at Butler before stopping the skid at Marquette on Wednesday.  These two play tomorrow afternoon and if the Pirates lose, they'll have dropped 5 of 7, having been swept by X with the risk of also being swept by the Blue Demons if they don't win on Tuesday in Rosemount.  They need a win more.
Out - St. John's
The Johnnies proceeded to follow their second half collapse to give Coach K win # 1000 by giving Creighton its first Big East win on Wednesday and have now dropped 6 of their last 8 to fall out of the field.  They host Providence tomorrow afternoon and a win would give them a sweep of the Friars, which would help take some of the attention away from their putrid performance in 2015 thus far.

Big Ten
Lock - Wisconsin, Maryland, Ohio State
The Badgers beat the daylights out of Iowa and survived in OT at Michigan in front of College GameDay last Saturday.  They move in to the final 1 seed that Kansas vacated after its loss at Iowa State.  The Buckeyes destroyed the Terps last night and both are now 5 seeds but Maryland remains ahead on the S-Curve thanks to its far superior nonconference work.
In - Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State
The Hoosiers beat Maryland by 19 then go on the road to lose at Ohio State by 12 (acceptable) and Purdue by 16 (not so much.)  Maybe they turn in to a pumpkin when they leave the state?  They stay ahead of the Hawkeyes though, who also lost at Purdue last Saturday after their aforementioned pasting at Wisconsin.  The rematch with the Badgers is tomorrow afternoon, however.  MSU is the last at large outside of the play ins after losing at Nebraska and looking awful until a furious comeback in the final few minutes.
Out - Illinois, Michigan
Despite being 5 places ahead in the league and 6 spots ahead in RPI, the Illini remain closer to the field than the Wolverines.  That's what losing at home to NJIT and Eastern Michigan will do to you.  Illinois has two of the easier league home games with Penn State and Rutgers this week while Michigan's schedule turns brutal starting with the Sunday rivalry date at MSU.  They don't play another sub 100 RPI game until March so it's time to see what they're really made of.

Big 12
Lock - Kansas, Iowa State, West Virginia
The Jayhawks rebounded from losing the war in Ames by winning in Austin and barely surviving in Fort Worth.  They're still # 1 in RPI and thus still firmly in the discussion for a 1 seed.  The Cyclones gave back their gains from that win with an abominable performance at Texas Tech last Saturday and are now neck and neck with the Mountaineers.  The two are literally one spot apart in both RPI and on the S-Curve.
In - Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas
And these four are separated by literally 5 spots on the S-Curve.  Baylor's ahead of Oklahoma because it just beat the Sooners to earn a season split last Saturday and it doesn't have a sub 100 nonconference loss.  Oklahoma's ahead of its in-state rival thanks to the 17 point beating in Norman a couple weeks ago but the rematch is tomorrow in Stillwater.  The Pokes are ahead of Texas because the Horns have lost their last two and have generally been awful since conference play began.
Out - Kansas State
They're still 90th in RPI.  That's not even close to an NCAA tournament RPI.  But they continue to beat teams ahead of them in the pecking order and they'll continue to have chances to improve that RPI, such as tomorrow afternoon when they go to the Phog for round 1 of the Sunflower Showdown.

Lock - Louisiana Tech
The Bulldogs copped the auto bid by handing Western Kentucky its first league loss last night.  That got their RPI inside the top 100 but that doesn't change the fact that they'll need to win the conference tournament to make the NCAA tournament.
In - Old Dominion
The Monarchs dropped back to back games at Middle Tennessee and UAB and have backslid dangerously close to the cutline.  Their RPI, once top 15, is now 43 and they can't afford too many more losses if they want to keep their at large hopes alive.
Out - Western Kentucky
The win at Ole Miss has matured nicely as the Rebels look to be firmly in the bubble mix in the SEC and the Hilltoppers also beat ODU.  There's not much else of value on the resume however and they'll likely end up with multiple sub 100 RPI losses.  Only Belmont is one now but Stony Brook, Minnesota and Louisiana Tech all have RPI's in the 90's.  They almost assuredly will need the autobid.

Missouri Valley
Lock - Wichita State
It's finally here.  The first of two meetings between the Shockers and the Panthers is tomorrow in Cedar Falls.  Wichita needs it to stay on the 3 line, which is where they now find themselves after Utah's loss at UCLA late last night.
In - Northern Iowa
Meanwhile UNI needs it to avoid bringing their resume in to questionability.  They own just one RPI top 50 win - over # 49 Iowa - and four top 100 wins (the best of which is # 83 Richmond.)  Their ceiling is likely the 8/9 game they're currently in without at least a split against the Shockers.
Out - None

Mountain West
Lock - San Diego State
The Show lost at Colorado State on Saturday night but remains in a tie for first with off-the-bubble Wyoming and keeps the autobid thanks to their head to head victory in Laramie.  I don't expect much fluctuation with them the rest of the way; they'll likely end up with a 4-6 seed and hope to land in Seattle or Portland the first weekend and then Los Angeles the second.
In - Colorado State
The Rams gave themselves some at large breathing space with the SDSU win on Saturday night and then promptly gave it back on Tuesday night with a loss at...
Out - Boise State
...Boise State, who has now won 5 straight after dropping four in a row to surge on to the bubble.  Their home shot with SDSU is a week from Sunday but before that, they need to avoid falling in to the Utah State trap that Wyoming did on Tuesday to knock the Cowboys off the bubble.

Lock - Arizona, Utah
Boy, have the Wildcats rebounded from that loss at Oregon State.  They've ripped off 5 straight since to firmly re-establish themselves as the 1 seed out West.  Four of those wins were by double digits, including a comprehensive victory over the Utes, who also lost last night at UCLA to knock them down to the 4 line.
In - Stanford
DePaul's not a sub 150 RPI loss anymore!  The other good news is that the Cardinal completed a sweep of now Robert Upshaw-less Washington on Wednesday to lock themselves in as the league's # 3.  Winners of 5 of 6 since the heartbreaker at UCLA, they've seen their seed continuously rise and are all the way up to the 7 line after being in and around the play ins in earlier editions of the bracket.
Out - Washington, UCLA
If Wednesday night was any indication, the Huskies are completely screwed without Robert Upshaw.  There might not be a way back in to the tournament now with all of their good work with the 7 footer diminished, although they've got home shots with both Arizona and Utah left.  The Bruins get back on to the bubble with the Utah win but they're still just 12-9 overall and with an RPI of 66 there's plenty of work still left to do.

Lock - Kentucky, Arkansas
Four of their last five wins are by double digits after the back to back OT games to start SEC play.  Alabama visits Rupp tomorrow, hoping to come within 22 this time before Georgia comes in on Tuesday.  The Hogs have been failing the eye test the past few weeks, losing at Tennessee, getting bombed on at home by Ole Miss and then winning three straight by a combined 8 points but actually see their seed improve by a couple of lines because computers don't have eyes.
In - Georgia, Texas A&M, LSU, Ole Miss
Georgia has now won 5 straight to get out of the 8/9 game.  Also winners of 5 straight are the Aggies and one of those was a win at LSU to pass the Tigers in the league pecking order.  Ole Miss remains just outside the top 50 in RPI (52) but winners of 3 of 4 with the really impressive 14 point win at Arkansas is enough to get them in to a play-in.  If Western Kentucky can stay inside the top 100 of RPI, all the better.  That Charleston Southern loss from opening night won't get any prettier, though.
Out - Tennessee, Alabama, Florida
Tennessee has lost its last two to keep themselves on the outside looking in.  Meanwhile Alabama has dropped four of five to emphatically remove themselves from the field.  The latest of those losses was at home by a deuce to the Gators, who stopped a three game skid of their own with that win.  They remain 9 spots behind the Tide and 19 back of the Vols in RPI but those gaps will be made up if they keep winning.

Lock - Gonzaga
The Zags slogged through the first half at Portland last night before blowing the Pilots away in the second.  Unfortunately, it's difficult to see them passing Arizona, Wisconsin or Kansas for a 1 seed at this point with only two top 50 RPI wins and just 6 inside the top 100 so they'll have to hope they land as the 2 out West.
In - None
Out - Saint Mary's, BYU
The Gaels were competitive for a while at the Kennel before fading in the second half but got the crucial win over BYU before that to remain the league # 2.  The Cougars added a loss at the Slim Gym after the SMC defeat to fall even further behind the Gaels and then barely survived San Francisco last night.  They haven't looked good in weeks.

College Basketball Picks - Saturday, January 31 (and Friday, January 30)

Great day of hoops tomorrow.  I always love it when March 1 is on a weekend and we get a baller set of games to ring in the best month of the year.  Most people think February's the worst sports month of the year but that's because they don't follow college basketball as closely as they should.  Anyway, there are interesting games all across the country to kick us off in to Bubble Season (tm)

There's actually more than a handful of games tonight (tripleheader on the U!) and some even involve non Ivy/MAAC schools!  So let's pick those first before we get to Saturday.

Harvard -4.5 @ Princeton

Dartmouth -2 @ Pennsylvania

Brown +4.5 @ Cornell

Yale -2 @ Columbia

Oregon +6.5 @ Arizona State

Oregon State +18.5 @ Arizona

Monmouth -3.5 @ Fairfield

Canisius -5 v. Quinnipiac

Siena +7.5 @ Manhattan

Marist +3.5 @ Niagara

IUPUI -1.5 @ Western Illinois

Kent State +6 @ Buffalo

And now for Saturday.  The last time I did Saturday comments I was so bad I self boycotted picking for a week so let's not do that this time.

Seton Hall +2 v. Xavier

Duke +6 @ Virginia

NC State PK @ Georgia Tech

Iowa +5 v. Wisconsin

Notre Dame -5 @ Pittsburgh

West Virginia -16.5 v. Texas Tech

Clemson -4 v. Boston College

St. John's -3 v. Providence

Tulane +9.5 @ Temple

Western Michigan +5.5 @ Eastern Michigan

Auburn +8.5 @ Tennessee

Davidson -4 @ Saint Joseph's

Florida -7 v. Arkansas

Indiana State -11 v. Bradley

Tulsa -15.5 v. South Florida

Georgetown -3 @ Creighton

Wake Forest -7.5 v. Virginia Tech

Villanova -12 @ DePaul

Kansas -12 v. Kansas State

VCU -9 v. Richmond

Iowa State -9.5 v. TCU

Butler -2.5 @ Marquette

Cleveland State +2 v. Green Bay

Loyola Chicago +4 v. Illinois State

LSU -5 @ Mississippi State

Delaware -2 v. Charleston

Georgia State -15 v. Arkansas State

Valparaiso -10.5 @ Illinois Chicago

Texas San Antonio -1 v. UAB

Indiana -13.5 v. Rutgers

Ball State +2 @ Miami (Ohio)

Evansville -6 @ Drake

Wichita State -2 @ Northern Iowa

South Carolina -2.5 v. Georgia

James Madison +3 v. William & Mary

UNC Wilmington PK @ Drexel

Saint Louis +3 v. UMass

George Washington +2.5 @ Rhode Island

Mississippi -3 @ Missouri

Louisville -4.5 v. North Carolina

Pacific -2.5 v. Loyola Marymount

Central Michigan -9 v. Ohio

Vanderbilt +5 @ Texas A&M

Wisconsin-Milwaukee +1.5 v. Detroit

UL Monroe -7 v. South Alabama

Louisiana Tech -17 v. Marshall

Northwestern -1.5 v. Purdue

Nebraska +8 @ Minnesota

Saint Mary's -8.5 v. Pepperdine

Colorado State -11 v. Fresno State

Wyoming -13 v. Nevada

Baylor -3 v. Texas

Northeastern -11 v. Elon

La Salle +2.5 @ St. Bonaventure

Old Dominion -13.5 v. Florida Atlantic

Akron +4.5 @ Bowling Green

George Mason -1 @ Duquesne

Florida International +11 @ Charlotte

Long Beach State -7.5 v. Hawaii

Kentucky -18.5 v. Alabama

Arkansas Little Rock +9.5 @ Georgia Southern

New Mexico -23.5 v. San Jose State

Missouri State -3 v. Southern Illinois

Western Kentucky -10 @ Southern Mississippi

Stanford -8.5 @ Washington State

UC Riverside -4 v. CS Northridge

San Diego State -11 v. Utah State

Hofstra -11 v. Towson

Toledo -4 @ Northern Illinois

Oklahoma State -1.5 v. Oklahoma

North Texas -4.5 v. Rice

San Diego -3 v. San Francisco

UT Arlington -10 v. Troy

Middle Tennessee +10 @ UTEP

BYU -13 v. Santa Clara

Air Force +10 @ UNLV

Gonzaga -17 v. Memphis

UC Irvine -7 v. UC Santa Barbara

UC Davis -3 v. Cal Poly

UCLA -6 v. Colorado

Nebraska Omaha -3.5 v. IPFW

North Dakota -4 v. Idaho State

Tennessee Tech +8.5 @ Belmont

Eastern Kentucky -1 @ Morehead State

Eastern Illinois -3.5 v. SIU Edwardsville

Western Carolina -3 @ UNC Greensboro

Eastern Washington -11.5 v. Idaho

Oral Roberts +1 @ South Dakota

South Dakota State -9 v. Denver

Chattanooga -13 v. The Citadel

Furman +4 @ Samford

Iona -9.5 v. St. Peter's

Mercer +7 @ Wofford

Tennessee Martin +11 @ Murray State

Austin Peay -1 v. SE Missouri State

Jacksonville State -1 @ Tennessee State

Weber State +3.5 @ Northern Colorado

Northern Arizona -2.5 @ Southern Utah

Portland State -7 v. Montana State

Montana +3 @ Sacramento State

Thursday, January 29, 2015

College Basketball Picks - Thursday, January 29

Florida Atlantic +8.5 @ Charlotte

Ohio State -8 v. Maryland

Dayton -1.5 @ Massachusetts

Western Kentucky +8.5 @ Louisiana Tech

Towson -2.5 v. College of Charleston

Old Dominion -13.5 v. Florida International

Saint Louis +4.5 @ George Mason

Detroit -8.5 v. Youngstown State

Appalachian State +9 @ Georgia Southern

Illinois-Chicago +8 @ Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Southern Mississippi -3.5 v. Marshall

Texas-San Antonio +1 v. Middle Tennesse State

UL Lafayette -6.5 @ South Alabama

Connecticut +5 @ Cincinnati

Georgia State -5 @ UT Arlington

Arkansas Little Rock +3.5 @ Arkansas State

UL Monroe -1.5 @ Troy

Missouri +18 v. Kentucky

UTEP -11 v. UAB

Gonzaga -21 v. Portland

Colorado -3 @ USC

Cal Poly +6.5 @ UC Irvine

UC Santa Barbara +1.5 @ UC Davis

UCLA +6 v. Utah

Santa Clara +7.5 @ San Diego

Pepperdine -2 @ Pacific

Hawaii PK @ CS Northridge

Saint Mary's -13 v. Loyola Marymount

Long Beach State -7 @ CS Fullerton

Washington State -2 v. California

BYU -13.5 v. San Francisco

Mercer -4.5 v. Chattanooga

Western Carolina +2.5 @ VMI

East Tennessee State -4 @ Furman

Wofford -7.5 @ UNC Greensboro

Eastern Illinois +6 @ UT Martin

Tennessee Tech -7 @ Tennessee State

Weber State -1.5 @ North Dakota

Belmont -12 v. Jacksonville State

North Dakota State -6.5 v. Denver

South Dakota -4 v. IPFW

SIU Edwardsville +6 @ SE Missouri State

Rider +2.5 @ St. Peter's

Murray State -8 v. Eastern Kentucky

Northern Colorado -10 v. Idaho State

Sacramento State -10.5 v. Montana State

Montana +1.5 @ Portland State

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

College Basketball Picks - Wednesday, January 28

UCF +7 v. Temple
Temple was up 37-18 at the half then dropped another 49 in the second 20 minutes.  I hope they make the tournament so I can stupidly fall in love with them and take them to win when they won't.  0-1.

Fordham +9 v. Rhode Island
Rhody continues to be unimpressive since blowing the VCU game but at least they won.  By a point.  1-1.

Richmond -11.5 v. Duquesne
Meanwhile, it's the Spiders who are playing much better basketball lately; they're 4-2 in their last 6 with high scoring blowouts of Davidson and Duquesne and the losses are at GW in double OT and at Dayton by 3.  Wonder what they can do in the trip across town to Havoc on Saturday....2-1.

Seton Hall +3.5 @ Marquette
I get why this line was what it was - the Pirates have cooled considerably - but it still wasn't indicative of who's clearly the better team.  3-1.

Wake Forest +4.5 @ Florida State
This went to double OT in front of dozens in Leon County.  FSU covered by a bucket.  Another brutal loss for Danny Manning's kids.  3-2.

Northeastern -6 @ Drexel
Oh Northeastern.  What did you do.  3-3.

Penn State +1 v. Minnesota
Gophers are easily the B1G's most disappointing team, which is impressive considering the years the Michigan schools are having.  4-3.

UNC Wilmington -5 v. Elon
How about the Seahawks?!  Now SEVEN and two in the CAA after a 17 point win here.  If they hadn't blown that 22 point lead at William & Mary they'd be alone atop the conference.  Maybe the biggest surprise package in any of the one bid leagues.  5-3.

LSU -5 v. South Carolina
Covered by a point.  Also I learned last night that the Gamecocks have camouflage shorts.  Not a good look.  That Iowa State win's gonna go to waste.  6-3.

Delaware +6.5 @ James Madison
Half point cover.  Worth noting how much better they've been since they became full strength.  I would go so far as to call them a sleeper to make some noise in the CAA tourney.  Not win it.  Make some noise.  7-3.

William & Mary -2.5 v. Hofstra
Well, then.  The Tribe made a dramatic statement of intent by dropping 54 in the first half and leading by 20.  They've made a few CAA tourney finals in recent memory but they've never been the pre-tournament favorite.  They might be this year.  8-3.

Oakland -4 v. Wright State
Another multi possession spread covered in OT.  Feel like there's been a lot of those this year.  A lot of lopsided OT's.  9-3.

SMU -11.5 @ South Florida
Half point miss.  9-4.

Oklahoma -16 v. Texas Tech
81-36 sounds like an Oklahoma FOOTBALL blowout of Texas Tech.  Back when Oklahoma football was dominant.  10-4.

Duke -1 @ Notre Dame
Young kids can't win on the road #narrative.  Blue Devils blew a 10 point second half lead and scored 8 points in the final 11 minutes.  Jerian Grant did EVERYTHING.  We've seen this kind of ND team before though - I still have them flaming out early in the NCAA's for now.  10-5.

Loyola Chicago +19 @ Wichita State
Insane line.  One of the reasons it's hard for Wichita to cover these big Valley spreads is because teams slow them down and the Ramblers defend really well to boot.  11-5.

Oregon State +7 @ Arizona State
This too was an insane line.  So of course Oregon State drops a total dud.  No one in the Pac-12 should be outscored by 17 points by Arizona State in a half.  11-6.

Southern Illinois +7 v. Northern Iowa

Illinois State -11.5 v. Missouri State
Point and a half miss.  11-7.

Drake +8 @ Bradley
Drake's been better lately and that continues with a 12 point win here.  12-7.

Houston -5 v. Rice

Kansas -4 @ TCU
Sluggish Jayhawk performance to miss a cover by a point.  Maybe TCU wins this if it's playing in its own gym.  13-8.

Indiana +4.5 @ Purdue
Oh goodness.  Hoosiers might be the highest variance home/road team in the power 5.  13-9.

Georgia Tech +9.5 @ Miami (FL)
A 29 and a half point cover!  Really though losing by 20 at home to previously winless in the ACC Georgia Tech might be worse than losing by 28 at home to Eastern Kentucky.  14-9.

NC State -8 v. Clemson
The kind of loss that could keep the Wuffies out of the tournament.  Here's hoping.  14-10.

Mississippi State +13 @ Mississippi
Home team has won the last 8 basketball Egg Bowls.  Rebels got out really slowly and trailed by 4 at the half but dropped a 51 point second half.  If they can get in the tournament, they can be as dangerous as the Marshall Henderson team was.  15-10.

Memphis -14.5 v. East Carolina
Two and a half point miss.  15-11.

Louisville -9.5 @ Boston College
Half point miss.  15-12.

St. John's -1 @ Creighton
Oh St. John's......15-13.

Air Force -8.5 @ San Jose State
2011-12 Utah might be the last team I recall being as overmatched in a top 8 conference as San Jose State is in the Mountain West.  16-13.

Oregon +15 @ Arizona
Good lord the Wildcats have turned it on.  16-14.

Washington +2 v. Stanford
Whoops Robert Upshaw doesn't qualify for Ewing Theory.  16-15.

Morehead State -3 @ Austin Peay
I miss when this used to really matter in the OVC.  17-15.

Nebraska Omaha +10.5 @ South Dakota State
Damn, it really looked like Omaha was gonna be better than this when they almost hit 100 at Marquette.  17-16.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

College Basketball Picks - Tuesday, January 27

What looked like was going to be a bad day early turned around late and Texas' late cover secured an above .500 finish.  On we go with some renewed confidence.

Pittsburgh -4.5 @ Virginia Tech

Kansas State -1.5 v. West Virginia

Michigan -4 v. Nebraska

Saint Joseph's +5 @ La Salle

Xavier +5 @ Georgetown

VCU -7.5 v. George Washington

Eastern Michigan -4.5 v. Ohio

Kent State -3 v. Central Michigan

Miami (Ohio) +13.5 @ Toledo

Western Michigan +8 @ Buffalo

Ball State +9.5 @ Akron

Bowling Green -9.5 v. Northern Illinois

Georgia -5.5 v. Vanderbilt

Tulane +5.5 v. Tulsa

Indiana State +7 @ Evansville

Wyoming -1.5 @ Utah State

Arkansas -9.5 v. Tennessee

Florida -1 @ Alabama

Monday, January 26, 2015

College Basketball Picks - Monday, January 26

Damn Belmont.  Fought my way back to .500 with just their game to go and as usual I got it wrong.  They've just been utter poison as double digit favorites this year.  Good thing I'm not wagering actual money!

Syracuse +10.5 @ North Carolina

Cleveland State -3 @ Oakland

Detroit -6 v. Wright State

Valparaiso -13 v. Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Texas +4.5 @ Iowa State

Army +5.5 @ American

NC Central -12.5 v. Delaware State

Arkansas Pine Bluff -2.5 v. Prairie View A&M

Sunday, January 25, 2015

College Basketball Picks - Sunday, January 25

Took the week off in shame after going 15 under .500 last Saturday.  Maybe actually picking Sunday games for a change can get me on the right track.

Connecticut -15.5 v. South Florida

Virginia -18.5 @ Virginia Tech

Boston College +4.5 @ Georgia Tech

Indiana +8.5 @ Ohio State

St. John's +7 v. Duke

St. Bonaventure +7 @ Rhode Island

Cincinnati -10 @ UCF

Northern Iowa PK @ Illinois State

Wichita State -24.5 v. Drake

Seton Hall +6.5 @ Butler

Pittsburgh +7.5 v. Louisville

NC State +1 v. Notre Dame

Villanova -15 v. Creighton

Maryland -11.5 v. Northwestern

Utah -12 v. Washington

Monmouth +3 @ Manhattan

St. Peter's PK @ Siena

Marist +1 v. Fairfield

Iona -14 v. Niagara

Belmont -11.5 @ Tennessee State

Friday, January 16, 2015

Grip's Bracket - Friday, January 16 (Automatic Bids)

Welcome to the first bracket and bubble watch of 2015!  Conference play is up and running and things are beginning to shake out across the land.  We'll begin with the automatic bids in this post then beneath that will be the bubble watch and then finally the bracket.

Automatic Bids

These are all the one bid leagues that do not have a second team on the Watch.  For now, autobids are determined by a combination of highest RPI, highest KenPom ranking, best record and preseason polls with defending champions getting the benefit of the doubt.  Once we get deeper in to conference season, things will shake themselves out more and the criteria will be simpler.

America East - Albany.  The Great Danes are the only 4-0 team in the league and Vermont is the only other unbeaten.  Stony Brook remains the top ranked team in both RPI and KenPom and they're the only team with double digit wins but they lost at Vermont.  This likely remains a three horse race.  The Seawolves are actually the only ones in the league with a top 100 RPI and with Albany second best at 200), the Long Islanders are the only ones with even a remote chance of avoiding a 16 seed.
Atlantic Sun - North Florida.  This conference is only through two rounds of games but only the Ospreys and Lipscomb are 2-0.  The bid goes to the North Floridians because they're actually above .500 overall and superior by every metric.  The league's best overall record belongs to South Carolina Upstate and they're one spot ahead of Dunk City for the best RPI.  Unfortunately the two teams are 176 and 177 in RPI respectively so this league is almost assuredly getting a 16 seed no matter who wins it.
Big Sky - Eastern Washington.  Nothing has changed here.  They're the lone unbeaten, though all four of their conference wins are by single digits so there's hope for the rest of the league that the Eagles aren't streets ahead of them.  Senior laden Sacramento State is a game back at 4-1 and the only other double digit win team in the conference.  This has become the most offensive league in the country: EWU as well as 4 of the 5 one loss schools are in the top 115 of adjusted offensive efficiency.  On the flip side, no one is in the top 200 of adjusted defensive efficiency and exactly half the league is sub 300.
Big South - Coastal Carolina.  Again, no change here with the favorite being the lone unbeaten.  High Point is hot on their heels of the 14-3, 5-0 Chanticleers however at 13-4, 4-1.  The Panthers are exactly 30 spots ahead in RPI (80 vs 110) and Coastal is 26 spots higher in KenPom (104 vs 140.)  UNC Asheville is 3-1 but just 7-8 overall while 11 win Gardner Webb and Radford are caught in the conference's midsection of 5 teams with 2 or 3 league losses.
Big West - UC Davis.  Third straight league where we're down to only one unbeaten thanks to the Alan Williams Project shockingly losing at home to 5-13 Cal State Northridge last night.  That's a microcosm of how disappointing their season has been thus far.  UC Irvine and Long Beach State both won last night to get to 2-1 and Hawaii didn't play but the Rainbow Warriors, who join Davis in having 13 wins, will still be a factor and welcome in the Mustangs next Thursday.
CAA - Northeastern.  The three horse race between them, William & Mary and Hofstra has materialized as those three are each 4-1 after the Huskies beat Hofstra on Wednesday while the Tribe were busy coming back from down 22 at home to beat UNC Wilmington.  Northeastern gets the bid because they have by far the best RPI of the three at 65 while W&M's is 105 and Hofstra - the highest ranked and only top 100 KenPom team - is 147.
Horizon - Green Bay.  They lost at Oakland last night to drop them in to a one loss tie with the resurgent Cleveland State, 16-3 Valparaiso and darkhorse Detroit.  It's still likely going to be the Phoenix and the Crusaders in the end - and either would likely get a juicy 12/13 seed - but the Vikings only lost at Valpo by a deuce and the Titans get their home shot at Green Bay tomorrow so we'll see.
Ivy - Harvard.  They finally lost to BC on Wednesday, breaking their six game winning streak over their local, bigger rivals.  Their win at Dartmouth and Princeton's comeback against Penn on Saturday are the only two conference games to be played.  Nothing else has changed here with Yale appearing to be the Crimson's only serious challenger.  Both are top 100 in RPI and look like they'd land in the 12/13 seed range.
MAAC - Iona.  Monmouth lost by a point in OT to Saint Peter's on Wednesday, dropping them from a first place tie with the 5-1 Gaels, who lead the nation in 3 point percentage.  The Hawks beat them by 3 back in December but Iona's won 8 of 10 since including their last 4.  One of those was over previous auto bid holder Canisius, who is just 3-3 in conference play after their 2-0 start.  Rider and Manhattan are also a game back of the Gaels, who are likely the league's only hope at avoiding a 16 seed.
MAC - Buffalo.  Somehow, this conference is even messier than I thought it would be.  The Bulls are 2-1.  So are *SEVEN* other teams.  How is that possible?!  It goes without saying that this is arguably the most wide open league in the country but the Bulls continue to be the pace setters in both RPI (48) and KenPom (72.)  Perhaps most surprisingly?  Eastern Michigan is NOT one of the eight 2-1 teams.  In fact, they and Ohio are the only two winless schools.
MEAC - North Carolina Central.  The Eagles, Norfolk State and Hampton are all 4-0 with Central making their Virginia road trip this weekend, going to Norfolk State on Saturday before facing the Pirates on Martin Luther King Day.  5-13 South Carolina State is somehow right behind the trio at 3-1 and fellow surprise package Maryland Eastern Shore is 2-1.  Central's RPI is right outside the top 100 (literally, it's 101) but they're gonna need another dominant conference title to match their 14 seed from last year.  Anyone else is getting a typical MEAC 15/16 seed.
NEC - St. Francis (NY).  That's right.  The Forgotten Five member has found its way in to the bracket.  Both St. Francises, Bryant and Robert Morris each have one loss in league play but the New Yorkers get in because (a) they haven't lost to another member of the foursome (b) they're the highest ranked in KenPom and (c) did I mention they're a Forgotten Five member?  Sure St. Francis (PA) has an RPI 75 spots ahead of everyone else and won at Rutgers.  They also have a tournament appearance in their history.  The Flashes don't.
Ohio Valley - Eastern Illinois.  How about the job JAY SPOONHOUR is doing in Charleston? (yes there's a Charleston, Illinois.  News to me as well.)  The Panthers are 5-0 in OVC play and have won EIGHT straight and 10 of 11 after a 1-5 start.  The latest two of those wins was an 11 point home win over Belmont, the preseason favorite and previous bid holder and then last night a 7 point win at previously unbeaten Eastern Kentucky.  Murray State is also 4-0 after pasting Belmont last night and might still be the favorite to win the league.
Patriot - Colgate.  Forget about LE-HIGH LE-HIGH.  It's now all about COL-GATE COL-GATE.  The Raiders have decided that they want to #GoGetThatPatriot and are alone on top at 4-1 in conference play, despite being just 7-11 overall.  Everyone else except Lehigh and Holy Cross (thought to be a preseason contender) has 2 or 3 league losses.  Basically, it's MAC level messy except everyone is pretty bad instead of quite solid.
SoCon - Wofford.  They had been begging to be tagged and it finally happened last night with an embarrassing second half collapse against (an admittedly improved) The Citadel.  That drops them in with the other one loss clubs Chattanooga and Mercer, although the Terrers already went to Chattanooga and won by 4.  Despite that sub THREE hundred RPI loss, Wofford still has a top 50 RPI, which is incredible.
Southland - Sam Houston State.  Albilene Christian was 346th out of 351 teams in KenPom the Monday before Christmas.  Since then they've won 5 of 6 to join the Bearkats and Stephen F. Austin as the only unbeatens in Southland play.  They host the Jacks tomorrow in what would be their biggest upset yet if they can pull that off.  Meanwhile, SHSU is 14 spots ahead of SFA in RPI (and about 150 spots ahead of AC) so they get the bid for now.
Summit - North Dakota State.  This was easily the hardest autobid to award.  The Bison are 3-1 along with Oral Roberts and South Dakota.  NDSU beat ORU but SD beat NDSU.  South Dakota State is right beneath them at 3-2, having won 3 in a row after starting 0-2 and the Jackrabbits have the best RPI in the league at 147.  Then it's ORU at 154 and then NDSU at 164.  SDSU also is the league's best KenPom team at 136 and only two spots separate NDSU and ORU at 172 and 174 respectively.  NDSU and SDSU are the only two in the league with double digit overall wins.  Basically if you compare the resumes of everyone, which is basically what you have to do since they're all so close, NDSU's is the best.  But not by much.
Sun Belt - Louisiana Lafayette.  The Rajun Cajuns are the defending tournament champions and they're in a 3 way tie for first with rival Louisiana Monroe and pet favorite of mine Georgia Southern.  Meanwhile, preseason favorite Georgia State is 4-2 along with defensively minded Texas State.  This is a much more wide open league than it looked when conference play started and the chances of it producing yet another shock conference tournament winner are good.
SWAC - Texas Southern.  Alabama State is the only other unbeaten but they're ineligible for the auto bid.  Southern is 3-1 with their lone loss to Mike Davis' boys in a thrilling finish last Monday.  Alabama A&M is the SWAC's answer to South Carolina State at 3-1 in the league and 4-10 overall.  The Tigers are actually inside the top 100 of RPI now at 92, which betters their chances of doing the impossible for a SWAC school and avoiding a 16.  Everyone else is sub 200 so they won't be doing the impossible if they win the league tourney.
WAC - New Mexico State.  Only one round of play here so half the league is 1-0 and the other half is 0-1.  Of the 1-0 teams, NMSU's RPI is 152 and none of the other three is inside the top 240.  And Grand Canyon's ineligible for the tournament until 2017-2018 anyway.  Whoever wins this league will be very, very lucky to avoid a play in game unless the Aggies dominate it like they have in recent years.  That seems unlikely considering this year's team is a shell of recent years.

Bubble Watch - Friday, January 16

Locks - Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, Notre Dame
Since we did this last, Virginia has solidified itself as the consensus # 2 team in the country (and # 1 on KenPom!)  Duke was cruising along as well until this past week.  The second half against Miami was particularly shocking but their resume remains one of the most stacked in the country.  North Carolina is a shade ahead of Louisville because they beat them by a shade in Chapel Hill and played a considerably tougher nonconference schedule.  Notre Dame has an RPI that's still low for a 16-2 ACC team (43) but they've come a long way from when it was sub 200.  Right now "lock" is still defined as "top 6 seed" but it wouldn't be at all surprising if all of these teams are 6 seeds or better.
In - Miami, Syracuse, NC State
It's almost impossible to envision Miami missing the Dance after a 16 point win in Cameron but they do still have the 28 point Eastern Kentucky loss I'm so fond of mentioning as well as a loss Green Bay, whose RPI is slipping and slipping.  But as that home loss to the Phoenix gets worse, the win at Florida will continue to improve.
Syracuse hasn't lost since the collapse at Villanova but they've been living dangerously against their soft ACC slate so far and need to up their play before things get thorny in the next couple of weeks.  The Cal loss in MSG is now a sub 100 loss and the loss at Michigan in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge is in danger of becoming one too.
NC State is one spot beneath the Orange in RPI (44 and 45) but is one of the last four in thanks to three losses since Christmas, although two of them were in a good performance at Virginia and a bad performance that they almost pulled out of the fire on Wednesday against UNC.  The Duke win was the signature victory their profile sorely needed though and they might very well be out of the field without it.
Out - Pittsburgh
They're not particularly close to the field right now - especially not after that ugly home loss to Clemson last Saturday - but they'll have their chances to play their way in to it.  The first one is at reeling Duke on Martin Luther King Day.

Locks - SMU
The Ponies have a top 15 RPI (but it's 15) but after that, their resume is surprisingly thin.  That win at Temple on Wednesday is probably the best win.  The losses are all to quality competition - @Indiana is the worst one by RPI - but all but one of them (@Cincinnati) came in November.  This team is heating up as the season goes on just like last year.
In - Tulsa
The Golden Hurricane get the autobid as they're the lone unbeaten in the conference after Tuesday night's impressive home win over UConn.  They'd be somewhere around the next four out (not last four out) without it and it's worth noting that their loss to Division 2 SE Oklahoma State won't even show up on the committee's nitty gritty sheets.  That's how you game the system - play Division 2 teams instead of sub 200 and especially 300 RPI teams.
Out - Cincinnati, Connecticut, Temple
Cincinnati lost at Memphis last night and it knocked them out of the field.  Like I just said they beat SMU on January 3 and that's a great add to their two pack of quality nonconference wins against San Diego State and at NC State.  Coach Mick Cronin continues to be sidelined and it remains to be seen if he'll be back at all and if he's not how the committee will treat his absence.
UConn had won 3 straight, including a useful win at Florida that should only improve, before Tuesday's loss but the 76 RPI is still way too high and 2-2 in this league isn't nearly good enough.  They won't be able to improve on it tomorrow night as they've got a bizarre cross country trip to Stanford but a win there would be more valuable than most possible league wins.
Temple has an RPI is just inside the top 50 (46) and they might be in the field if they had been able to beat Tulsa on Saturday and/or SMU on Wednesday.  They go to the Queen City tomorrow and could pass Cincy in the pecking order with a win.

Atlantic 10
Locks - VCU
Kansas is # 1 in RPI.  Kentucky is # 2.  Virginia is # 3.  And at # 4 are the Rams of Virginia Commonwealth University.  Shaka's kids haven't lost since the Wahoos beat them on December 6 and the way they won at Rhode Island on Tuesday was true heart-of-a-champion stuff, particularly from Treveon Graham.
In - Dayton, George Washington
Dayton also hasn't lost since the first half of December when they lost at Arkansas and have a top 20 RPI (but it's 20.)  GW needed double overtime to ward off Richmond last night but they're just inside the top 40 of RPI (39) and the Wichita win in the Diamond Head final will hold up.  They'll be fine if they finish in the league's top 4.
Out - Davidson, Rhode Island
Rhode Island blew its best and very possibly only shot at a marquee win when they let a second half lead slip away in Kingston against VCU.  They would have likely been in the field had they held on but now it might be tough to find a way in unless Nebraska - their only nonconference win of any remote relevance - completely turns it around in Big Ten play.
Davidson is closer to the field at this point with a top 50 RPI (41) their 3 losses each coming to RPI top 10 teams and none of them were at home (and only UNC in Charlotte was a blowout - they played Virginia and VCU hard on the road.)  The problem is that their midweek win at UMass was their best and only top 100 RPI win but they'll get home shots at each of the top 3, starting with Dayton on Tuesday.

Big East
Locks - Villanova, Butler, Seton Hall
We knew Villanova was ahead of the rest of the field...but by this much?  All four of their league wins are by double digits and the lone loss was in OT at the Rock against the Pirates.  That should be the golden ticket for Seton Hall, not that they needed it with a resume that's easily tournament quality even without it.  Both they and Butler join the Wildcats with top 20 RPI's and the Bulldogs have a big bag of quality wins with almost all of them coming away from Hinkle Fieldhouse for good measure.
In - Providence, Georgetown, St. John's
The win sharing (not the baseball kind) going on in this league after the Cats is a good thing for everyone.  Each of these three has an RPI inside the top 35 and are well removed from the cutline at this point.  St. John's are probably the closest to it thanks to their 1-3 start to league play but winning at Providence on Wednesday should have stopped the bleeding with a trip to fallen-back-to-earth DePaul on Sunday before Marquette comes calling on Tuesday.
Georgetown is just 1-5 against the RPI top 50 but the Hoyas have two big chances to change that with Butler coming in tomorrow before Nova does on Monday.  They're another team with a Florida win (theirs came in the Battle 4 Atlantis) that will continue to improve.  That lone top 50 win was over Indiana in OT in an excellent game.
Providence has an ugly loss at Boston College and an even uglier 10 point home loss against RPI 222 Brown that's among the worst losses any at large has but winning at Butler and beating Notre Dame on a neutral floor in Mohegan Sun along with a nice bag of other top 100 wins more than cancel those out.
Out - Xavier
The Musketeers are one of the first teams out of the field because two of their 6 losses are sub 100 RPI and both should get worse as Auburn and DePaul sink to the bottom of their leagues (the Blue Demons should be a sub 200 loss soon.)  The split with Long Beach could be a problem as well with the win - as well as all of X's other good wins - was at home and the loss was at the Anaheim Classic.  They'll have plenty of chances to find their way in to the field starting with at Providence on Thursday after they should hold serve at home tomorrow against Marquette.

Big Ten
Locks - Wisconsin, Maryland, Michigan State
Wisconsin were without Frank Kaminsky and Traevon Jackson got hurt during the loss at Rutgers so that will limit the damage of that loss for high seeding purposes in March.  Maryland continues to be relatively unimpressive in their new league but have won all their league games except for an acceptable loss at Illinois.  Michigan State hasn't lost since that double OT slog against Maryland, including a home blowout of Indiana that puts them ahead of the Hoosiers in the pecking order as well as a quality road win at Iowa.
In - Indiana, Ohio State, Iowa, Illinois
As stated, Indiana is behind MSU because of head to head but they're ahead of the Buckeyes thanks to last Saturday's grind-it-out home win when neither team played especially well.  The Butler win at the Crossroads Classic in Indy is a fantastic win and the home win over SMU is great as well.  The Eastern Washington home loss shouldn't become a sub 100 loss either, which is an added bonus.
Ohio State has a profile that is still shockingly thin and if they slip and fall anywhere near the bubble, their nonconference schedule is bad enough to keep them out Greenberg-style.  Exactly half their wins are against sub 200 RPI competition.  That's not good.
Iowa continues to be road warriors as the Hawkeyes have won in Columbus and also at Minnesota since we last did this to go along with the marquee win at UNC.  All five of their losses are top 50 losses, which is an underrated resume bullet point.
Illinois handled Maryland which makes for a nice backup marquee win after the Vegas triumph over Baylor that has matured exponentially since the time they got it.  They fall to the play in game however because SMU and Old Dominion are both eating at larges at present.  The Oregon loss in a semi home game in Chicago is a sub 100 loss at present and so is the loss at Nebraska.
Out - None
It's a pretty clear divide between the tournament teams and everyone else right now.  Of the rest, only Michigan and Penn State are inside the top 100 in RPI and they're 87th and 82nd.  The Wolverines have the small issues of home losses to NJIT and winless-in-the-MAC Eastern Michigan whereas the Nittany Lions haven't won a conference game yet.

Big 12
Locks - Kansas, West Virginia, Iowa State, Baylor
The sky isn't falling in Lawrence as Kansas hasn't lost since that embarrassment at Temple and sit atop the RPI like it seems like they always do because Bill Self is always down to play whoever.  West Virginia slightly ahead of the Cyclones despite the 2 point Iowa State win in Morgantown on Saturday thanks to slightly better nonconference work and no remotely questionable loss like ISU's defeat to South Carolina in Brooklyn.  And the Cyclones are slightly ahead of Baylor despite the Bears' 1 point home win on Wednesday (AND despite winning at South Carolina) because of no top 50 nonconference wins for Scott Drew's kids.  Does head to head mean nothing anymore?!
In - Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State has improved markedly since conference play began with close losses at Kansas and Iowa State and a win over Texas to surge in to a play in game.  The South Carolina loss by 26 is still a problem and the best nonconference wins are Tulsa (but they weren't even the only Oklahoma State to beat Tulsa!) and at Memphis (by 18) so their resume remains a work in progress.
Oklahoma has suffered two straight ugly defeats since their dominating blowout in Austin to knock them down a few seed lines but they still have nothing to worry about - for now.  The Washington loss has become less acceptable but it was still by a basket on a neutral court in Vegas.  The Creighton collapse - they led by 18 in the second half - is the bigger problem as it's about to become a sub 150 loss.
Texas has fallen from the 2/3 line to a somewhat precarious position, having lost two straight and seeing Cal completely falling off the map as a quality win.  That leaves only Iowa in MSG and a one point win over UConn, which should keep improving at least in terms of quality nonconference work.  They're still in comfortably though and will be more so if they can figure out how to win at home and beat West Virginia tomorrow.
Out - None
Like the Big Ten, all of the teams in are safely in and nobody who's out is remotely close.  TCU hasn't won a league game yet and has fallen all the way to 151 in RPI so yeah, their time here is up.  Kansas State has passed the Frogs with a 3-1 league start and a 124 RPI and it's not inconceivable the Wildcats can make a push towards the bubble.  Beating Baylor tomorrow and/or winning in Hilton on Tuesday would be a great start.

Missouri Valley
Locks - Wichita State
The Shockers aren't blowing everyone away but they're winning without too much trouble.  They've survived one of their biggest beartraps with a 14 point win at Loyola Chicago and another one comes tomorrow when they go to Evansville, who has already upset...
In - Northern Iowa
...these guys.  UNI had a 16 point lead but let it slip in a 52-49 defeat.  That's their only loss since the overtime war at VCU however and it's one of the better losses they could eat in league play.  They'd do well to avoid many others since they don't have the nonconference schedule strength the Shockers do but with an RPI of 21 they're still very safe.
Out - Evansville
Evansville has its home shot at Wichita tomorrow but with an 81 RPI they'll need to keep winning even beyond that if they want to make the field.  Loyola Chicago still has a superior RPI (59) but they've already lost at Northern Iowa and squandered their home shot at Wichita so they won't be dancing without the auto bid.

Mountain West
Locks - San Diego State
The Show suffered a shock loss at RPI 227 Fresno State but they rebounded to win impressively at Wyoming, leading the entire second half to restore their status as conference favorites.  They continue to struggle to score but they defend as well as they always do under Steve Fisher and the Utah win during the Tip Off Marathon has blossomed about as much as possible.
In - Colorado State
The Rams lost the Border War at home to Wyoming last week, survived a shootout at Air Force over the weekend and then pounded Nevada in to the ground, leading 55-12 at the half and winning by 58 (!!)  They're exactly one spot behind the Aztecs in RPI (25 and 26) but they still lack a top 50 RPI win.  Colorado continues to disappoint in Pac-12 play and yet the 2 point win in Boulder is probably still the Rams' best win.  They're dangerously close to the cutline despite the gaudy record and strong RPI.
Out - Wyoming, New Mexico, Boise State
Wyoming is 13-3 and have looked the part of a tournament team all season but the RPI is barely inside the top 100 (95) and that's because of a strength of schedule that ranks 248th in the country.  They too have been hurt by Colorado's struggles as the 56-33 home win over the Buffs was their best win until they won in Fort Collins last week and they will rue this week's missed home shot against SDSU as well as the 3 point loss at Cal, which has unfairly become a sub 100 loss.
New Mexico is slightly better in RPI (85) and also beat Colorado State although it was at The Pit WisePies and furthermore they lost at Grand Canyon (RPI 241) and have two other sub 100 losses.
Boise State actually has a higher RPI than both (64) but they're just 9-6 overall.  Oh and UNLV has fallen outside the top 100 of RPI (103) having dropped four of their last 5.  Predictably, they're wasting that Arizona win.  A real shame that that's not Wyoming's win.

Locks - Utah, Arizona
Utah has usurped Arizona atop the league even before their showdown in Tucson tomorrow.  That'll happen when U of A loses at Oregon State, although the Beavers - like most of the rest of the bottom of the league - have improved considerably in recent weeks.  Utah still hasn't lost since that wild game against Kansas in KC but the nonconference wins are nowhere near good enough for 1 seed consideration.  Still, a 2 is an incredible ceiling considering where this program was at the start of 2012.
In - Stanford
The Cardinal were cheering hard at DePaul's 3-0 Big East start but that was predictably a mirage and that loss will continue to be an albatross.  The only loss since Christmas was that double overtime game at UCLA where Chasson Randle was excellent everywhere except for the foul line.  Big next two games for them though with an odd nonconference tilt with UConn coming to town tomorrow night before Arizona comes calling on Thursday.
Out - Washington, UCLA
From a 3 seed in the last bracket the day after Christmas to out of the field now.  It's been an inexplicable, stunning collapse for Washington, who dropped four straight including two sub 100 losses and that's not including the loss to Stony Brook.  They handled Oregon State last night but that's not enough to get them their spot back.  Beating Oregon tomorrow then winning at Colorado next Thursday might be.
UCLA had a four game losing streak of its own on either side of the new year but none of the losses were sub 100 and they've won three straight including the aforementioned Stanford win.  There still aren't very many wins to get excited about and while none of the losses are sub 100, there are 7 of them.  That's a lot.

Locks - Kentucky
They're still unbeaten but barely, needing one overtime to get by Ole Miss and two to survive at Texas A&M last Saturday.  Three of the next four are on the road and the toughest of those could be tomorrow at Alabama but after pulverizing Missouri in midweek, confidence should be as high as ever.  
In - LSU, Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama
Since when did the SEC get so deep?!?  Not much has changed with the first three with LSU and Arkansas both beating Georgia to stay ahead of the Dawgs, who at least beat K-State at the Octagon on New Year's Eve and the blowout of Seton Hall continues to look great.  Alabama hadn't lost since the collapse at Wichita back on December 16 until Tuesday by a deuce at South Carolina.  In between, they added wins over UCLA, Texas A&M and a dominant second half defensive performance at Tennessee in which they held the Vols scoreless for virtually the final 13 minutes.  They're the last team in the field at present.
Out - Tennessee, Florida, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, South Carolina
That loss to the Tide is the only loss for Tennesse since the December 17 loss at NC State and Tuesday's win over Arkansas was big but the Vols are just on the outside.  They get squeezed by Old Dominion and SMU taking up at larges and while the Butler win is nice, the only other top 100 RPI win is Texas Southern.  The Arkansas win is nice as well but at some point, they're gonna have to do something away from Knoxville.  Simply adding road wins would help and they've got back to back trips to Missouri and South Carolina coming up.
Florida has won its first three SEC games since the own goal loss to Florida State (which may end up keeping them out of the tournament as FSU flounders in ACC play) and the four point home loss to UConn.  They're rounding in to form with back to back home blowouts of overmatched Mississippi State and Auburn and their next two are huge: tomorrow at Georgia before LSU comes in Tuesday.
The Kentucky game wasn't Ole Miss' only top 20 RPI road miss since we last did this as a furious second half comeback came up short at Dayton back on December 30.  Western Kentucky is playing well but Charleston Southern isn't and will likely be a sub 200 RPI loss sooner than later.
Texas A&M has the best RPI of this group (57) but still no top 50 wins.  Their resume is shockingly similar to UCLA's and both even have losses to Alabama and Kentucky.  At least the Aggies were a lot (I mean A LOT) more competitive with # 1?
South Carolina has an RPI barely inside the top 100 (93) and is only here because of its Brooklyn win over Iowa State and its 26 point blowout of Oklahoma State that has improved greatly since they got it.  It did beat Alabama on Tuesday but still has a lot of work to do.

Locks - Gonzaga
The Zags got their toughest battle in conference play last night, winning by a bucket at surprise package Pepperdine.  Saint Mary's comes in next Thursday and if the Zags win that, it'll be a shock if they lose again before the rematch on Senior Day in Moraga on February 21.  They're the overwhelming favorite for the 1 seed out West.
In - None
Out - BYU, Saint Mary's
BYU is much closer to the field thanks to a 23 spot edge in RPI and three of their 5 losses being to top 25 RPI teams.  Unfortunately the other two are sub 100 losses to Purdue in Maui and at home to Pepperdine.
Saint Mary's has exactly one top 100 win and a sub 200 loss to Northern Arizona.  These two play in Provo tomorrow and if SMC doesn't win that, they won't be here next time we do this unless they pull a shocker at the Kennel next Thursday.

Grip's Bracket - Friday, January 16

S Curve

Kentucky Virginia Kansas Gonzaga
Villanova Wisconsin Duke Utah
North Carolina Arizona Louisville VCU
West Virginia Maryland Wichita State San Diego State
Butler Notre Dame Iowa State SMU
Seton Hall Baylor Michigan State Old Dominion
Northern Iowa Oklahoma Indiana Texas
Arkansas Miami (FL) Georgetown LSU
Syracuse Iowa Ohio State George Washington
Providence Georgia St. John's Dayton
Stanford Colorado State Buffalo Illinois/NC State
Harvard Tulsa Wofford Alabama/Oklahoma State
Eastern Washington Northeastern Green Bay Iona
Sam Houston State Louisiana Tech NC Central UC Davis
Texas Southern Coastal Carolina Eastern Illinois North Dakota State
New Mexico State UL Lafayette Albany/North Florida St. Francis (NY)/Colgate 

MIDWEST (Cleveland)

1) Kentucky (SEC)
16) St. Francis (NY) (NEC)/Colgate (Patriot)

8) Miami (FL)
9) Iowa

5) Butler
12) Alabama/Oklahoma State

4) San Diego State (MWC)
13) Northeastern (CAA)

6) Old Dominion
11) Colorado State

3) North Carolina
14) UC Davis (Big West)

7) Northern Iowa
10) St. John's

2) Utah (Pac-12)
15) Texas Southern (SWAC)

WEST (Los Angeles)

1) Gonzaga (WCC)
16) New Mexico State (WAC)

8) LSU
9) Syracuse

5) SMU
12) Harvard (Ivy)

4) West Virginia
13) Iona (MAAC)

6) Michigan State
11) Stanford

3) Louisville
14) Louisiana Tech (C-USA)

7) Oklahoma
10) Dayton

2) Villanova (Big East)
15) North Dakota State (Summit)

EAST (Syracuse)

1) Virginia (ACC)
16) Albany (AE)/North Florida (A-Sun)

8) Georgetown
9) Ohio State

5) Iowa State
12) Tulsa (American)

4) Wichita State (MVC)
13) Green Bay (Horizon)

6) Seton Hall
11) Illinois/NC State

3) VCU (A-10)
14) NC Central (MEAC)

7) Texas
10) Georgia

2) Wisconsin (Big Ten)
15) Coastal Carolina (Big South)

SOUTH (Houston)

1) Kansas (Big 12)
16) UL Lafayette (Sun Belt)

8) Arkansas
9) George Washington

5) Notre Dame
12) Wofford (SoCon)

4) Maryland
13) Eastern Washington (Big Sky)

6) Baylor
11) Buffalo (MAC)

3) Arizona
14) Sam Houston State (Southland)

7) Indiana
10) Providence

2) Duke
15) Eastern Illinois (OVC)

Last 4 In - Illinois, NC State, Alabama, Oklahoma State
First 4 Out - Cincinnati, Tennessee, Washington, Xavier
Next 4 Out - BYU, Temple, Wyoming, Connecticut

College Basketball Picks - Saturday, January 17

Saturday picks will be beneath the Friday brackets and bubble watches because I'd rather bury my literally average picks rather than the hardest work I do all week.  So there.

Tulsa -6.5 @ South Florida.  This could be a bit of a beartrap coming off the high of the win over UConn but it's still South Florida.

Minnesota -12.5 v. Rutgers.  SERIOUSLY.  They are so due for a nice comfortable home win.  And Rutgers can't keep playing this well.

LSU -6 v. Texas A&M.  The John Chavis Bowl!

Central Michigan +4.5 @ Akron.  I like both these teams but I like the Chippewas (and the points) more.

Houston -1 v. Tulane.  Green Wave gotta be reeling from the triple OT loss at UCF.

Marquette +10 @ Xavier.  Yeah, I'm picking a Big East game to be close.  Imagine that.

William & Mary -6 @ Towson.  Tribe won't fall down 20 in the first half in this one.

Eastern Michigan -8 v. Northern Illinois.  I'm gonna be just as stubborn with these guys as I am with Minnesota.

Duke +4 @ Louisville.  Gonna predict Okafor to outplay Montrezl Harrell and the rest of the group to get it together as well.  They'll certainly be tighter on defense and probably force Louisville's guards in to yet another awful shooting day.

Western Michigan +9 @ Toledo.   Might just take the points in any of the MAC games between the double digit win teams.

Dayton -16 v. Saint Louis.  Dayton at home against an overmatched opponent.

Penn State -1.5 v. Purdue.  Home team.

NC State -2 @ Florida State.  This is the worst Florida State team in a few years.

Kansas +4 @ Iowa State.  For the rest of my life when these two hook up in Hilton, I'll think about the OT Big Monday game two years ago after which I left the bar and drove home before I should have and almost got busted for a DUI.  Maybe the dumbest thing I've ever done.  Other than that, I'm looking forward to this!

Miami (FL) +6.5 @ Notre Dame.  They just went to Cameron and crushed souls in the second half.  Sure, let's give them 6 and a half points.

Virginia -13 @ Boston College.  Literally all they have to do is make sure Olivier Hanlan doesn't get hot from 3.

La Salle -12.5 v. Fordham.  Fordham's bad.

Memphis -13 v. Central Florida.  Going to FedEx is hard enough even after regular games, never mind triple OT wars.

Ohio State +1.5 @ Iowa.  Payback time.

Hofstra -11.5 v. UNC Wilmington.  Seahawks should lay down after the crushing collapse at Bill & Mary.

VCU -13.5 @ Duquesne.  This wouldn't be a bad time for the Dukes to bring back their fast paced system with tons of subs.  They were doing platoons before Calipari made it cool!

Yale -5 @ Brown.  Ivy League play's finally starting?!

Wichita State -5.5 @ Evansville.  Toughest road test left for the Shocks - other than the trip to UNI of course.

Florida PK @ Georgia.  Gators are just warming up.

Massachusetts -1 v. Rhode Island.  Rams might let VCU beat them twice.

Indiana State -4 @ Drake.  This is really generous.

Green Bay -5 @ Detroit.  Bounceback for the Phoenix.

Buffalo -15 v. Miami (Ohio.)  I don't know where my love for Buffalo comes from.  Maybe because it's a fun word to say/type.

Kansas State -1 v. Baylor.  Surprising line and shows you that the bookies have noticed K-State's improvement.  And that Baylor tends to mess up road games like this.

UTEP -7 @ Texas San Antonio.  Miners can defend.  Roadrunners can't.

Georgia State -10.5 @ Appalachian State.  This is REALLY generous.

Pittsburgh -5.5 v. Georgia Tech.  Beating Pitt at the Zoo without 3 pointers is hard.

Syracuse -1 @ Clemson.  This is really generous.

Delaware -3 v. Drexel.  Drexel was favored the other night and scored 35 points.

Maryland -3 v. Michigan State.  Please, PLEASE be more watchable than the last one.

Texas Tech +2.5 v. TCU.  The streak continues!

SMU -19 v. East Carolina.  Will Jeff Lebo be able to do whatever he wants and not get fired for practically forever at ECU like at Auburn?

Ball State +9.5 @ Bowling Green.  This is a little puzzling given the Cardinals strong MAC start.

Vanderbilt -4 @ Mississippi State.  Yeah I think I'm back to assuming Mississippi State's as bad as ever.

Kentucky -8.5 @ Alabama.  Alabama can't shoot 3's and they struggle at rebounding.  That's called a "bad matchup."

Middle Tennessee State +12 @ Louisiana Tech.  Probably a mistake pick but I respect the Blue Raiders too much.

Gonzaga -19.5 @ Loyola Marymount.  This became even more of a lock when they struggled at Pepperdine.

George Mason +11.5 @ George Washington.  Beltway Derby!

Columbia -2.5 @ Cornell.  Has Columbia even played a game in 2015?  Doesn't feel like it.

Colorado +4 @ Arizona State.  This is TOTALLY a game Colorado blows but ASU's too bad for me to take.

Butler +4 @ Georgetown.  Butler on the road, Georgetown playing close games at home, etc.

Illinois State -12 v. Bradley.  Hey remember when Bradley played Pitt in the tournament and the scoreboard said BRAD PITT?  That was fun.

Arkansas Little Rock +2 @ UL Monroe.  Reviving my UALR (that's hard to type) love.

Georgia Southern -5 @ Troy.  MARK BYINGTON.

Marshall +7 @ Florida Atlantic.  Stubbornly picking Marshall again.  At least I know FAU's bad so I'm in with a shout!

Davidson +1 @ Richmond.  Spiders won't be ready for the running after the sloggiest of double OT slogs (actually that's probably still Maryland/MSU) vs GW.

Western Kentucky -5.5 @ Florida International.  You gotta love Western Kentucky.  Every time you forget about them they just pop back up on the scene.

Tennessee +1 @ Missouri.  A tournament team needs to win this.  Then again LSU's a tournament team and lost at Mizzou in OT so maybe I'm just babbling nonsense.

San Diego State -8 v. UNLV.  I really can't wait until Dave Rice is fired.

Air Force +6.5 @ Utah State.  Might be time for Stew Morrill to hang 'em up.

Texas -2 v. West Virginia.  Time to stop the bleeding.

San Francisco -2 @ Santa Clara.  Can we just pretend this is a WCC tourney play in and not even let the loser fly out to Vegas?

Villanova -18 @ Penn.  This would probably be like 25 if this weren't a Big 5 game.

Oklahoma State +7 @ Oklahoma.  I'm finally on the Pokes bandwagon which means they're probably getting trashed here.

Utah +4 @ Arizona.  The three big showdowns tomorrow each have the road teams getting 4.  And I'm taking all 3 of them!

Wyoming -2 @ Fresno State.  The NCAA hopes are dashed if they lose this.

Northeastern -10 v. Charleston.  I was a little worried about the Huskies earlier in the season but not now.

Valparaiso +1 @ Wright State.  What is this?

Ohio +7 @ Kent State.  I truly have no idea with the MAC so I'm just taking the points everywhere (except with Northern Illinois.)

Cleveland State -6 @ Youngstown State.  The Viking resurgence continues!

Charlotte -13.5 v. Rice.  Charlotte's been quiet lately.

Old Dominion -15.5 v. North Texas.  Monarchs are due for a blowout.

Creighton -1 v. Providence.  Bluejays have played well at home for the most part, they've just been unlucky.  Luck changes.

Cincinnati -5 v. Temple.  Bearcats continue to be money at Shoemaker.

James Madison -6 v. Elon.  Ahhhh back to picking against Elon all the time.

UAB -4.5 @ Southern Mississippi.  Picking Saturdays is such a PITA.  Watching and following the games is much more fun.

Texas State +2 @ Arkansas State.  C-USA sleeper baby!

Pepperdine -5 v. Portland.  Obvious letdown spot but I like the Waves too much and I've completely faded Portland.

Hawaii +1 @ UC Riverside.  I really hope Hawaii shows the form they did in the Diamond Head and mounts a Big West challenge.

UL Lafayette -13 v. South Alabama.  The new Sun Belt favorite!

Northwestern +8 @ Michigan.  Refusing to take Michigan after how embarrassing Tuesday was.

Auburn +2.5 v. South Carolina.  Seems like a great spot for a Bruce Pearl home win.

Connecticut +4 @ Stanford.  Why is this game happening?  It's gotta be related to the women's teams somehow, right?  At least it's not Penn/Niagara.

Washington State -1 v. Oregon State.  ERNIE KENT REVENGE TOUR.

CS Fullerton +1.5 v. UC Davis.  Makes too much sense in this year's Big West.

Arkansas -8 v. Mississippi.  Hogs at Bud Walton.

Colorado State -18 @ San Jose State.  They might win this by 70.  Seriously.  They just won by 58 over a team a lot better than San Jose State!

Cal Poly -2 @ CS Northridge.  Cal Poly's gonna find a way to be in the Big West mix, you watch.

Pacific +3.5 v. San Diego.  Inspired effort by the Tigers last night against BYU and I've kinda faded the Toreros too.

Saint Mary's -1.5 v. BYU.  These two need to develop a rivalry to be second banana to Gonzaga.  Not to root for a fight....but we may need a fight.

Long Beach State -3.5 v. UC Santa Barbara.  The Alan Williams Project was derailed by its titular member having the flu.  He may still have it and even if he doesn't, the Beach and its fans will be up for this.

The Citadel -4 v. Furman.  LOVE seeing Chuck Driesell slowly turning them around.  Don't be a jinx.

East Tennessee State -1 @ VMI.  Seems generous.

Eastern Illinois +5 @ Morehead State.  WHERE'S THE RESPECT?  Some serious Rodney Dangerfielding of the Panthers going down right now.

Northern Colorado -2 @ North Dakota.  I flat refuse to think North Dakota's any good.  I refuse.

Mercer -12.5 v. Samford.  Samford.

South Dakota +9 @ South Dakota State.  Gotta take the points given how evenly matched all the Dakotas are this year.

Northern Arizona -10 v. Idaho State.  Back to picking against Idaho State all the time.

Tennessee Martin -9.5 v. Jacksonville State.  Skyhawks is a great name, if a little redundant.

SE Missouri State -4 v. Tennessee Tech.  DICKEY NUTT.

Wofford -8 v. Western Carolina.  Why can't I stop doing this?

Eastern Kentucky -11 v. SIU Edwardsville.  May never take SIU Edwardsville again after that Morehead game.

IPFW +8.5 @ Oral Roberts.  MASTODONS.

Murray State -24 v. Tennessee State.  Can't make this line high enough.

Belmont -6.5 @ Austin Peay.  Seems generous.

Montana -11 v. Montana State.  Brawl of the Wild!

Weber State -5 @ Southern Utah.  Seems generous.

Eastern Washington -2 @ Sacramento State.  Love the Big Sky games.  They're always listed at or near the end.

Idaho -1 @ Portland State.  We made it.