Friday, February 27, 2015

Grip's Bracket - Friday, February 27

Automatic Bids

America East - Albany
Straightforward week for the Great Danes, who beat Hartford last Friday and then steamrolled hapless UMBC on Wednesday.  They host Vermont in their regular season finale on Saturday in what might be an America East title game preview.
Atlantic Sun - North Florida
The Ospreys completed a shocking sweep of Florida Gulf Coast on Wednesday, strolling in to Dunk City and winning by 14.  Now all they have to do is beat lowly Stetson on Senior Day and they'll get the # 1 seed in the conference tournament.  Most importantly, that would mean they avoid USC Upstate - who dealt them their only two league losses - until the final.
Big Sky - Eastern Washington
Montana went down in double OT at Idaho late last night, leaving the Eagles and Sacramento State tied for first.  EWU's 60 spot edge or so in RPI allows them to keep the bid and they welcome in the potentially weary Grizzlies tomorrow afternoon.
Big South - High Point
A wild night last night saw almost every contender lose except for the Panthers.  Charleston Southern - tied for first with High Point going in to last night - lost at Gardner Webb, Coastal Carolina lost at Presbyterian, Winthrop got dumped by 15 at 4-13 Campbell and Radford got shocked at 2-15 (8-22 overall) Liberty.  Those latter three are now two back of HPU, who won at UNC Asheville and CSU is a game back.  
Big West - UC Davis
The Aggies ate their first double digit loss of the season, falling by 14 at The Alan Williams Project last night.  That trims their lead over UC Irvine to just a game but the Anteaters have to go play that same UCSB team - who has won 5 of 6 to surge in to third since getting their star back from the flu - tomorrow night.
CAA - William & Mary
It's back to just the Tribe and UNC Wilmington atop the conference after the Seahawks stomped out James Madison on Wednesday and Northeastern got surprised at Elon last night.  If those Phoenix can upset UNCW in the regular season finale, it would mean an outright regular season title assuming W&M doesn't lose on Senior Day to Damion Lee-less Drexel.
Horizon - Valparaiso
What a final weekend for this league.  The Crusaders currently have a one game lead over Cleveland State, Green Bay and Oakland despite losing at Detroit on Wednesday but they have to go to Cleveland tonight for just the latest top of the table Horizon Friday showdown while the Phoenix host the Golden Grizzlies tomorrow afternoon.
Ivy - Harvard
Yale stubbed its toe.  Columbia's been a dangerous team for a couple of seasons now and the Bulldogs learned that last Saturday when the Lions came to New Haven and won, giving the Crimson a one game lead as they head to New York to face those same Lions and Cornell this weekend.
MAC - Central Michigan
Welcome to the bracket, Chippewas!  One of my favorite low major teams this year, CMU sits alone atop the MAC at 11-4 and has won 6 straight since an overtime loss against Bowling Green.  The Falcons lost on Saturday to Buffalo while Kent State and Toledo both ate surprising losses this week to Miami (Ohio) and Northern Illinois respectively and now all three are a game back.
MAAC - Iona
Add two more close calls to the ledger - and two more wins.  Beating Marist by four and Monmouth by one wrapped up the regular season title and now the Gaels have two emotional games left vs rival Manhattan and then at St. Peter's whom they got in to a postgame confrontation with in the first meeting before the MAAC tournament.
MEAC - North Carolina Central
The Eagles had the week off after dispatching Morgan State last Saturday.  Bethune Cookman, @Savannah State and then Senior Day against rival North Carolina A&T is all that stands between them and a perfect regular season.
NEC - St. Francis (NY)
The Terriers had to come from behind to dispatch Long Island in overtime last night and now close the regular season with a tricky road game at Bryant.  Luckily it is irrelevant as the regular season title and # 1 seed were wrapped up last week.
OVC - Murray State
Eastern Illinois - who is now 9-7 in the league after a 6-0 start - put up a fair fight last night but it's 15-0 now for the Racers and now only tomorrow night's trip to Tennessee Martin stands in the way of them and a perfect conference season.  This team was once 2-4 after a 93-58 loss to Valparaiso.  Amazing.
Patriot - Bucknell
Yet another twist in the title race came on Wednesday as the Bison got THUMPED at Lehigh.  Now they have to win at American tomorrow or hope that those same Mountain Hawks can knock off Colgate to hang on to the # 1 seed, which is vitally important since even the Patriot League title game is played at the home of the higher seed.
SoCon - Wofford
The Terriers survived a battle at Mercer last night and now only need to win at last placed Furman to win the outright regular season championship.  Second placed Chattanooga won in double overtime at VMI - the second straight 2OT game for the Keydets - but they will likely have to settle for the # 2 seed.
Southland - Stephen F. Austin
The bid goes back to the Jacks now that they've won their game in hand and forced an official tie atop the conference standings.  Tomorrow at Houston Baptist is their last road game of the season, with three straight at home including Senior Day against Sam Houston State that will likely decide the regular season champion.
Summit - South Dakota State
North Dakota State could've jumped back in front of the Jackrabbits but instead they were down 20 at the half at Oral Roberts and lost by 16.  The Bison are now in the clubhouse at 12-4 and have to hope South Dakota can upset SDSU tomorrow afternoon to win them a share of the conference crown.
Sun Belt - UL Monroe
I thought we were done with the inexplicable losses, Georgia State?  The Panthers lost at Arkansas Little Rock last night to leave the Indians Warhawks and Georgia Southern tied for first.  ULM's 8 spot edge in RPI (119 vs 127) gives them the bid back though both still have to play GA State again.
SWAC - Texas Southern
Southern lost at home to Alabama State on Monday to fall two games back of TSU.  But now the Tigers have to go play that same Hornet squad tomorrow that has led the SWAC most of the season, though they did win the first meeting by 15.
WAC - New Mexico State
The Aggies dusted off second place Grand Canyon by 17 on Saturday and now their final two regular season games are against 2nd to last place Texas Pan American and then last place Chicago State.

S Curve

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

Last 4 In - Pittsburgh, LSU, Texas, Davidson
First 4 Out - Illinois, Purdue, Stanford, Boise State
Next 4 Out - Miami (FL), Tulsa, Old Dominion, Rhode Island


MIDWEST (Cleveland)

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

8) Colorado State
9) St. John's

5) West Virginia
12) Louisiana Tech (C-USA)

4) Louisville
13) Harvard (Ivy)

6) Butler
11) Pittsburgh/LSU

3) Baylor
14) Eastern Washington (Big Sky)

7) San Diego State
10) Temple

2) Wisconsin (Big Ten)
15) High Point (Big South)

WEST (Los Angeles)

1) Gonzaga (WCC)
16) UL Monroe (Sun Belt)

8) Ohio State
9) NC State

5) Notre Dame
12) Texas/Davidson

4) Northern Iowa (MVC)
13) Valparaiso (Horizon)

6) Providence
11) Iowa

3) Oklahoma
14) Central Michigan (MAC)

7) VCU
10) Texas A&M

2) Arizona (Pac-12)
15) New Mexico State (WAC)

EAST (Syracuse)

1) Virginia (ACC)
16) Texas Southern (SWAC)/St. Francis (NY) (NEC)

8) Xavier
9) Michigan State

5) SMU (American)
12) Iona (MAAC)

4) Iowa State
13) Stephen F. Austin (Southland)

6) North Carolina
11) UCLA

3) Maryland
14) South Dakota State (Summit)

7) Oklahoma State
10) Dayton

2) Villanova (Big East)
15) William & Mary (CAA)

SOUTH (Houston)

1) Duke
16) Albany (AE)

8) Indiana
9) Ole Miss

5) Arkansas
12) Wofford (SoCon)

4) Wichita State
13) Murray State (OVC)

6) Georgetown
11) Cincinnati

3) Utah
14) UC Davis (Big West)

7) Georgia
10) Oregon

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

Grip's Bubble Watch - Friday, February 27

Locks - Virginia, Duke, Louisville, Notre Dame, North Carolina
Virginia came up with its most convincing performance since Justin Anderson's injury by throttling Wake Forest on Wednesday.  Duke meanwhile beat down Clemson over the weekend without Jahlil Okafor but needed overtime to win at Virginia Tech with him.  Louisville kicked Chris Jones off the team for good for alleged sexual assault but vaults back ahead of Notre Dame and North Carolina, who both ate home losses on Tuesday night.  The Heels fall to the 6 line because the other four are all in the top half of their respective regions.
In - NC State, Pittsburgh
Suddenly, the Wolfpack find themselves on the 9 line and I almost put them a rung higher.  They now have 5 top 50 wins, three of those are elite wins and two of those came on the road.  Add in their # 3 strength of schedule and only one bad loss at Wake Forest and they're in great shape to make the tournament.  As long as they don't lose at Boston College tomorrow and/or at Clemson on Tuesday, it's hard to see them missing out.  As for Pitt, they're still in a play in game because of a paltry 2-7 record against the top 50 as well as losses to Hawaii (who is an extremely disappointing 6th place in the Big West) and Virginia Tech.  On Sunday they go to a Wake Forest team who can't play any worse than they did in their last game and then on Wednesday they have a huge bubble battle with...
Out - Miami (FL)
...the Hurricanes, who missed a golden chance to win at Louisville on Saturday and then survived Xavier Rathan-Mays scoring 30 points in the final 4 minutes to hang on against Florida State.  They have one last chance at a marquee win in the regular season and it's tomorrow afternoon when UNC comes to Coral Gables.  If they don't get at least a split of that and the aforementioned trip to Pitt, they'll likely need an ACC tourney semifinal appearance (or further) to get in.

Locks - SMU
Imagine how good this team would be if Emmanuel Mudiay hadn't gone to China?  They're now 22-5, 14-2 in the league after winning at Memphis last night and they're up on the 5 line, although that's thanks to having to bump UNC down a line as noted above.  They have a Sunday afternoon date at the defending national champs and then Tulsa visits a week from Sunday in what will likely decide the regular season title.
In - Temple, Cincinnati
Well that was an embarrassing effort from the Owls on Sunday at Tulsa, failing to even get to 40.  At least they rebounded to beat last place Houston last night.  That 1-6 mark against the top 50 continues to be glaring and keeps them in touching distance of the cutline, though at least that 1 is Kansas and they're 5-1 against 51-100.  They're off this weekend and absolutely CANNOT suffer a horrible loss at East Carolina on Thursday.  Cincy already has one of those along with two sub 100 losses but the Bearcats five top 50 wins including wins over San Diego State, at NC State and a sweep of SMU keep them just out of the play in games.  They have to go to Tulane tomorrow afternoon and the Green Wave already won in the Queen City on a 28 footer at the buzzer and then Wednesday they have a monster bubble battle at...
Out - Tulsa
...the Golden Hurricane, who pounded that Tulane team on Wednesday for their third straight victory since that embarrassing effort at UConn.  They go to Memphis tomorrow night, then that Cincy game and then they close out the regular season at SMU.  If they can go 2-1 or better, they might be in decent shape going in to the conference tournament.  Anything less and they're gonna need to at least get to the title game, if not win it.

Atlantic 10
Locks - VCU
Treveon Graham put on his Superman cape, hitting a monster 3 to complete a wild VCU comeback to force overtime in the Richmond derby but then the Rams couldn't defend underneath the basket at the end of the OT and lost in 2OT.  That re-created a four way atop the conference between the four teams listed here and VCU's next two are against...
In - Dayton, Davidson
....these two.  First, Dayton has to go to Richmond tomorrow afternoon and then Davidson welcomes in Shaka Smart's kids on Thursday night.  The Flyers ate a horrific loss at RPI # 234 Duquesne last Saturday, which is especially damaging when you're just 5-5 against the top 100 like they are.  They handled George Mason on Wednesday but their margin for error has been slashed considerably.  As for the Wildcats, they came back from down four in the final minute to steal one at Rhode Island, keeping themselves in this category and the Rams in the next one.
Out - Rhode Island
Rhody is basically only here because it still has a share of the conference lead.  The RPI is 71, the SOS is 132 and they're 0-4 against the top 50.  They go to La Salle tomorrow and then Dayton on Tuesday.  If they don't get both of those, they're gonna need the autobid - and they might anyway even if they win both.

Big East
Locks - Villanova, Georgetown, Butler, Providence
Make it 9 in a row for the Wildcats after dismantling Providence just like they've dismantled the rest of this league.  They haven't lost since that Georgetown rout in mid January.  Unbelievable.  Once again despite having a far superior resume to Gonzaga for the last 1 seed, the geography works out much better if the Zags get that 1 out West and Nova can be the 2 in the East.  As for the rest of these three, they're all extremely close together now that Butler has sunk back to the pack after getting ripped at Xavier over the weekend.  The Bulldogs end the season with the other two after going to DePaul tomorrow while Providence hosts Marquette on Sunday and Georgetown goes to St. John's tomorrow before its Tuesday night trip to Hinkle.
In - Xavier, St. John's
It feels like X belongs in the above group but it still has enough damaging things in its profile - namely 11 losses with four of them of the sub 100 variety - holding its seed back.  They get their home crack at Nova tomorrow afternoon and winning that would all but guarantee they're wearing white jerseys in round 1.  St. John's beat X on Monday after handling the decrepit remains of Seton Hall on Saturday to finally get themselves above .500 in conference play after starting 3-6.  That's a great sign for a team whose biggest resume weakness was always its lagging conference mark.
Out - None

Big 12
Locks - Kansas, Baylor, Oklahoma, Iowa State, West Virginia
The Jayhawks are all but out of the 1 seed conversation now and they've even ceded their # 1 RPI spot to Kentucky (long overdue.)  At least the next two are at home against reeling Texas and then a revenge game against West Virginia.  The Mountaineers are one of three teams along with Iowa State and Oklahoma who are just a game back of KU but it's Baylor who is 2nd off the board this week thanks to completing the sweep of the Cyclones on Wednesday, it's 4th ranked SOS and no sub 100 losses.  OU and ISU are still right there though and there's kind of a Georgetown/Butler/Providence dynamic here - except a few seed lines higher.  WVU won at Oklahoma State on Saturday, firmly establishing themselves ahead of the Cowboys, and then took care of Texas on Tuesday.  They've gotta go to Waco tomorrow before the trip to the Phog on Tuesday, though.
In - Oklahoma State, Texas
The Pokes have dropped three straight since their Kansas/@Baylor back to back but the next two are at Texas Tech and then a revenge game against TCU on Wednesday so they should be able to stabilize this week.  As for the Horns, they've finally fallen in to one of the play in games and are now 6-9 in the Big 12 after dropping 3 straight.  A win at Kansas would be just what the doctor ordered but at least the final two are at home against Baylor and Kansas State.  It's anyone's guess how the committee will treat them as they're one of the most unique cases not just this year but in any year.  They have 11 losses but 10 of them are against top 50 competition.  Is that a good thing, bad thing or both?
Out - None

Big Ten
Locks - Wisconsin, Maryland
The Terps held off the Badgers before a controversial court storming on Tuesday and that puts a serious dent in to Bucky's 1 seed hopes.  Even winning out might not be enough at this point, especially since the committee (supposedly) doesn't factor in the Big Ten title game due to it being immediately before the selection show.  As for Maryland, they're now in range for a 2 seed if they can win out against Michigan, @Rutgers and @Nebraska before a deep Big Ten tourney run but they would likely need multiple losses from Arizona, Kansas and/or the Badgers.
In - Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan State, Iowa
The Spartans were the high risers here and I was even considering them for the 7 line but then they had to go and lose at home to Minnesota in overtime last night and now they're a seed line behind the Hoosiers and Buckeyes.  Both of those teams had embarrassing losses of their own this week, with OSU losing at Michigan on Sunday and Indiana's wretched second half effort dooming them at Northwestern on Wednesday.  It goes to show how strong IU's profile is - 5 top 50 wins including over SMU, Pitt and Butler, 8 top 100 wins and the Northwestern loss was their first sub 100 of the season - that they basically weren't affected by Wednesday's loss.  The Buckeyes would be a seed line or two lower if they didn't have a National Player of the Year candidate but they do and that helps them in the committee's eyes in terms of who can win games in March.  MSU is still relatively safe and can probably lock itself up if it beats Wisconsin on Sunday.  That leaves the Hawkeyes, who demolished Nebraska on Sunday (and got the Huskers locked out of their locker room) before beating Illinois in a crucial bubble battle on Wednesday to get themselves out of the play in game.  They basically have a poor man's Indiana profile.
Out - Illinois, Purdue
These two are literally the first two out of the field.  In fact, I had Purdue in until I forgot about Illinois and then I had Illinois in until I forgot about Texas.  The Illini gave back their win at Michigan State by letting the Spartans win in Champaign before losing the aforementioned Iowa game.  They host Northwestern and Nebraska next and can't screw up either.  The Boilers almost blew a big first half lead against Rutgers last night but held on after being idle over the weekend.  They go to Columbus on Sunday and then East Lansing on Wednesday in what are both crucial games given how much of Purdue's profile is built on its home conference wins.  And then the regular season finale?  Illinois @ Purdue next Saturday.  Get hype.

Conference USA
Locks - Louisiana Tech
After losing by 19 at desperate Old Dominion on Saturday, the Bulldogs bounced back to whip UTEP by 17 in a top of the table clash last night and go alone in first ahead of the Miners and UAB.  Their final two are at home against middling Texas San Antonio and bottom feeding Southern Miss so a regular season title and # 1 seed in the conference tournament look to be in the cards.
In - None
Out - Old Dominion
The Monarchs beat Louisiana Tech convincingly at the weekend and then won at improved Rice last night.  They continue their Texas two step tomorrow night at North Texas and then host Marshall and fading Western Kentucky to close out the regular season.  The RPI is back inside the top 50 but they probably still need to win out until at least the conference semis, if not the title game.

Missouri Valley
Locks - Northern Iowa, Wichita State
Well, it's finally here.  College GameDay is in Wichita (and then it's going to Lawrence but whatever) for the rematch that UNI won convincingly in Cedar Falls.   These two have extremely similar resumes and while I have them both as 4 seeds, it's hard to gauge where they are compared to power conference teams around them.  Wichita is obviously more at risk of its seed sinking if it gets swept and while one would think a third meeting is to come in the conference title game, Arch Madness is notorious for its upsets.
In - None
Out - None

Mountain West
Locks - San Diego State
Four straight for The Show since the loss at Boise State and they've had a full week to prepare for tomorrow night's rematch.  Then they have to go to UNLV on Wednesday, which is always interesting when the league's two power programs get together.  It's also hard to gauge where these guys will be seeded because this league is so down but beating Boise would get them two clear of the field, which would obviously be helpful.
In - Colorado State
The advantage that SDSU has over these guys, apart from being in first place, is that The Show went to Maui and played BYU, Pittsburgh and Arizona and also went to play Washington and Cincinnati.  Colorado State didn't even leave the state for its toughest noncon game and it doesn't help that Colorado's been terrible in Pac-12 play.  Even if they win out including a tournament title, I have a hard time seeing them doing better than a 7 seed - which is unfortunate given the strength of this year's 1 and 2 seeds.
Out - Boise State
No, it doesn't all come down to tomorrow night but it's obviously huge.  Without a win tomorrow night, it would probably take a run to the Mountain West title game, if not needing the autobid outright.  A sweep of SDSU would likely mean a title game appearance would be enough and that a semifinal loss to SDSU or Colorado State might not be a death knell.  The lack of nonconference help is really hurting them and might keep a really fun team with one of the best scorers in the country in Derrick Marks out of the tournament.

Locks - Arizona, Utah
In short, if tomorrow night's winner also wins the Pac-12 tournament, they're getting a 2 seed.  The Cats might be able to get one even with a loss tomorrow night if they win the conference tournament but the Utes and their 2-5 record against the top 50 would have a ceiling of a 3 seed if Arizona sweeps them.
In - Oregon, UCLA
The Ducks got the marquee win their profile was missing when they upset Utah on Sunday and then they consolidated it by winning at Cal late Wednesday night.  Now they have to go to Stanford tomorrow night in a game that means much more for the Cardinal, which was unthinkable even a month ago, before the Civil War on Wednesday night in Corvallis.  The Bruins got out to a great start in the first 6-7 minutes of both halves last Saturday at Arizona but were wretched offensively otherwise to miss their shot at an elite win but they rebounded to blow out Washington on Wednesday.  They've got what should be a pair of home layups against Washington State and USC to close the regular season.
Out - Stanford
As said above, Sunday's bubble battle in Palo Alto is much more crucial for the Cardinal, who are coming in to it red hot after utterly destroying Oregon State in the second half late last night, outscoring them by 29.  They close the season at the Arizona schools and while Senior Night for the most successful Arizona class since the late 90's isn't an ideal time to play the Wildcats, it might be a must win for the Cardinal if they can't beat the Ducks.

Locks - Kentucky, Arkansas
Yet another showdown that's happening tomorrow as these two hook up in Rupp.  Maybe the Hogs were looking ahead to it after building a big halftime lead against Texas A&M as they only ended up winning by 6.  Kentucky had some problems of its own in snow covered Starkville on Wednesday but pulled away from Mississippi State in the second half.
In - Georgia, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, LSU
Look who's back at the front of the line here.  The Dawgs went to snow covered Oxford on Wednesday and won after winning in overtime at Alabama over the weekend to get their RPI back inside the top 30.  The Rebels are still in decent shape but that may change after road trips to LSU tomorrow and then Alabama on Tuesday.  A&M fought hard to come from down 20+ in the first half at Arkansas but came up short and still doesn't have a single top 50 victory.  LSU blew away Auburn after beating Florida over the weekend but its computer numbers continue to lag (RPI 55, SOS 89) and with three sub 100 losses, they remain in the play in game.  A major homestand against Ole Miss and Tennessee before the season finale at Arkansas beckons.
Out - None

Locks - Gonzaga
This is getting old.  Sluggish first half, dominant stretch run of the second half and the Zags are on to Senior Night against BYU tomorrow night.  There's just not much new ground to cover here.  They're probably getting the 1 out West if they win out and they might even be able to eat a loss in the WCC final and get it too.
In - None
Out - BYU
It's hard to imagine that a team that's lost 5 times in the WCC could get an at large bid but if the Cougars can win at the Kennel tomorrow night, that could be an elite enough to vault them in to the field.  If not, they're probably going to need to win the WCC tournament to get in.

College Basketball Picks - Friday, February 27 & Saturday, February 28

Cornell +8 v. Harvard

Brown -4.5 v. Penn

Yale -7 v. Princeton

Dartmouth +5 @ Columbia

Cleveland State -3.5 v. Valparaiso

Marist +1 v. St. Peter's

Manhattan +6.5 @ Iona

Quinnipiac -6.5 v. Siena

Canisius -8.5 v. Fairfield

Ohio +10.5 @ Akron


NC State -5 @ Boston College

Dayton +7 @ VCU

Clemson -4 v. Georgia Tech

Missouri +12.5 @ Georgia

Duke -12.5 v. Syracuse

St. John's +1.5 v. Georgetown

Michigan +8.5 @ Maryland

East Carolina +2.5 @ UCF

Florida State +4 v. Louisville

Florida -7 v. Tennessee

Rhode Island -1 @ La Salle

Kansas -7.5 v. Texas

Miami (FL) +1 v. North Carolina

Xavier +2.5 v. Villanova

LSU -5 v. Mississippi

Northern Iowa +6 @ Wichita State

Loyola Chicago -7 v. Missouri State

Illinois State PK @ Evansville

Tulane +6.5 v. Cincinnati

TCU +10.5 @ Oklahoma

Wright State PK @ Illinois Chicago

DePaul +6.5 v. Butler

Drexel +16 @ William & Mary

Towson -3.5 v. Delaware

Utah State PK @ Air Force

Bradley -1 v. Indiana State

Southern Illinois -5 v. Drake

Eastern Michigan +4.5 @ Western Michigan

Oakland +8 @ Green Bay

Middle Tennessee +4 @ UAB

Appalachian State +5 v. UL Monroe

Miami (OH) +3 v. Bowling Green

Texas Tech +5 v. Oklahoma State

Creighton +2 @ Seton Hall

Hofstra -3.5 @ James Madison

Arkansas +14.5 @ Kentucky

San Diego +3 @ Portland

Alabama +6 @ Vanderbilt

West Virginia +5 @ Baylor

Kansas State +3.5 v. Iowa State

Fordham +9 @ Massachusetts

Duquesne +7 @ St. Bonaventure

Virginia Tech +20 @ Virginia

Georgia State -10.5 @ Troy

Arkansas State +5 @ Texas State

North Texas +5 v. Old Dominion

San Jose State +13.5 @ Nevada

South Carolina -9 v. Mississippi State

Iowa -4 @ Penn State

Northwestern +6.5 @ Illinois

Buffalo -1 @ Kent State

Florida Atlantic +6 @ Marshall

George Washington +7.5 @ Davidson

Richmond -2 @ Saint Joseph's

Texas San Antonio +12.5 @ Louisiana Tech

Ball State +14 @ Toledo

George Mason +3 @ Saint Louis

Elon +3 v. UNC Wilmington

UC Irvine +3 @ UC Santa Barbara

CS Fullerton +11 @ Long Beach State

Youngstown State +1 v. Milwaukee

Florida International +10.5 @ Western Kentucky

Charlotte -3 @ Rice

Northern Illinois +4 v. Central Michigan

Wyoming +3.5 @ UNLV

Southern Mississippi +11 v. UTEP

Memphis -2.5 v. Tulsa

Charleston +4 v. Northeastern

Santa Clara +8 v. Saint Mary's

Arkansas Little Rock +4 @ UT Arlington

UL Lafayette -3.5 v. Georgia Southern

Auburn +11.5 @ Texas A&M

Boise State +6.5 @ San Diego State

New Mexico +2.5 @ Fresno State

CS Northridge -1 v. UC Riverside

San Francisco -7 v. Pacific

Cal Poly -2.5 v. UC Davis

Arizona +1.5 @ Utah

BYU +12 @ Gonzaga

The Citadel +3.5 v. Western Carolina

VMI -4 v. Samford

Nebraska Omaha +3 @ IUPUI

Jacksonville State +10 @ Morehead State

Southern Utah +3.5 @ North Dakota

Mercer -5.5 v. East Tennessee State

Furman +10.5 v. Wofford

Idaho -8.5 v. Montana State

Montana +6 @ Eastern Washington

UNC Greensboro +3 v. Chattanooga

South Dakota +5 v. South Dakota State

Tennessee State +16.5 @ Belmont

Austin Peay +8.5 @ SE Missouri State

Western Illinois +13 @ IPFW

Tennessee Tech +11 @ Eastern Kentucky

Tennessee Martin +5 v. Murray State

Denver +5 @ Oral Roberts

Idaho State +7 @ Weber State

Northern Arizona +1.5 @ Northern Colorado

Portland State -2.5 v. Sacramento State

Thursday, February 26, 2015

College Basketball Picks - Thursday, February 26

Elon +5 v. Northeastern

Michigan State -8 v. Minnesota

Nebraska +13 @ Ohio State

Vanderbilt +1.5 @ Tennessee

Milwaukee +3.5 @ Wright State

Delaware -1.5 @ Drexel

Houston +14.5 @ Temple

Appalachian State +5 v. Georgia Southern

Southern Mississippi +5 v. Texas San Antonio

Old Dominion -6.5 @ Rice

Florida Atlantic +11.5 @ Western Kentucky

Marshall -5 v. Florida International

South Alabama +2.5 v. UL Monroe

UTEP +5.5 @ Louisiana Tech

Illinois Chicago +9 v. Green Bay

Charlotte -3 @ North Texas

Arkansas State +1 v. UT Arlington

Arkansas Little Rock +7.5 v. Georgia State

Texas State -6 v. Troy

Rutgers +14 @ Purdue

Memphis +2 v. SMU

Arizona -9.5 @ Colorado

Portland +2.5 v. BYU

CS Northridge -4.5 v. CS Fullerton

Cal Poly +1.5 v. UC Irvine

Pacific +4.5 @ Santa Clara

UC Santa Barbara -6.5 v. UC Davis

Arizona State +11.5 @ Utah

Oregon State +8.5 @ Stanford

San Diego +17.5 @ Gonzaga

San Francisco +2 v. Saint Mary's

Long Beach State +2 @ Hawaii

The Citadel +7 v. East Tennessee State

VMI +4 v. Chattanooga

Mercer +1.5 v. Wofford

Western Carolina -4 @ Furman

Western Illinois +7.5 @ IUPUI

UNC Greensboro -3 v. Samford

Jacksonville State +14.5 @ Eastern Kentucky

Nebraska Omaha +9.5 @ IPFW

Austin Peay +1 v. SIU Edwardsville

North Dakota State +1.5 @ Oral Roberts

North Dakota +2.5 v. Northern Arizona

Monmouth -3 v. Rider

Eastern Illinois +13 @ Murray State

Tennessee State +7.5 v. Tennessee Martin

Tennessee Tech +7.5 @ Morehead State

Southern Utah +8 @ Northern Colorado

Montana State +14.5 @ Eastern Washington

Idaho +1.5 v. Montana

High Point -1.5 @ UNC Asheville

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

College Basketball Picks - Wednesday, February 25

Saint Joseph's +6 @ Massachusetts

Fordham +5 v. La Salle

Wake Forest +7.5 v. Virginia

East Carolina +5 v. Connecticut

Northwestern +3 v. Indiana

St. Bonaventure +5.5 @ George Washington

Detroit +4.5 v. Valparaiso

Wichita State -9.5 @ Indiana State

Duquesne -4.5 v. Saint Louis

Youngstown State +10.5 @ Oakland

Towson +9.5 @ William & Mary

Richmond +2 v. VCU

James Madison +3 @ UNC Wilmington

George Mason +12.5 @ Dayton

Mississippi State +18 v. Kentucky

Hofstra -10.5 v. Charleston

Rhode Island -3.5 v. Davidson

Cincinnati -16 v. UCF

TCU -10 v. Texas Tech

Tulane +11 @ Tulsa

Drake -1 v. Loyola Chicago

Butler -9 v. Marquette

Bradley +3 @ Missouri State

Southern Illinois +9.5 @ Illinois State

Evansville +12 @ Northern Iowa

San Jose State +26.5 @ Colorado State

Nevada +7 @ Air Force

Ole Miss -5 v. Georgia

Baylor +6.5 @ Iowa State

Miami (FL) -8.5 v. Florida State

Virginia Tech +15.5 v. Duke

Iowa -8 v. Illinois

Fresno State +6.5 @ Wyoming

Washington State +3.5 @ USC

Washington +10.5 @ UCLA

Oregon +1 @ California

South Dakota -3.5 v. Denver

Northern Illinois +11.5 @ Toledo

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

College Basketball Picks - Tuesday, February 24

West Virginia -3.5 v. Texas

Providence +10 @ Villanova

Wisconsin -6.5 @ Maryland

Ohio +3.5 v. Bowling Green

Eastern Michigan -1 v. Central Michigan

Ball State +3 v. Western Michigan

Miami (Ohio) +3 v. Kent State

Buffalo -6.5 v. Akron

South Carolina +4 @ Alabama

LSU -5 @ Auburn

Notre Dame -8 v. Syracuse

North Carolina -9.5 v. NC State

Texas A&M +7.5 @ Arkansas

Boston College +8.5 @ Pittsburgh

Florida -6.5 @ Missouri

DePaul -1 v. Creighton

UNLV +3.5 @ Utah State

New Mexico +8.5 @ Boise State

Niagara +10.5 @ Canisius

Monday, February 23, 2015

College Basketball Picks - Monday, February 23

Remember, these are the opposite of what I actually think is going to happen.  It keeps working so why mess with it?

Georgia Tech +5.5 v. Louisville

Xavier +1 @ St. John's

Kansas State +5 v. Kansas

Marist +4 v. Manhattan

Austin Peay +15 @ Eastern Kentucky

Tennessee State +8.5 v. Morehead State

Delaware State +6.5 @ Norfolk State

Southern -4 v. Alabama State

Sunday, February 22, 2015

College Basketball Picks - Sunday, February 22

A north of .500 Saturday!  But barely.

Rutgers +7 v. Indiana

Ohio State -8 @ Michigan

Western Kentucky +4 @ Middle Tennessee

Memphis -7 @ Central Florida

Evansville +15.5 @ Wichita State

Saint Louis +5 v. La Salle

Milwaukee +4 v. Cleveland State

Illinois-Chicago +10.5 @ Oakland

Oregon +6 v. Utah

Tulane +11.5 @ Connecticut

Hofstra -4 v. William & Mary

Tulsa -1 v. Temple

Florida State +15 @ Virginia

Illinois +1 v. Michigan State

Missouri State +2.5 @ Drake

Washington State -1 v. Washington

Arizona State -11.5 v. USC

Nebraska +1.5 v. Iowa

UNC Greensboro -6.5 v. Furman

Monmouth +9.5 @ Iona

Eastern Illinois -2.5 v. SE Missouri State

Friday, February 20, 2015

Grip's Bracket - Friday, February 20

Automatic Bids

America East - Albany
All Vermont had to do was beat 4 win Binghamton on Wednesday to close to within a game of Albany after the Great Danes lost their first conference game to Stony Brook on Tuesday.  Instead, the Catamounts lost by 2 and remain 2 back.
Atlantic Sun - Florida Gulf Coast
Make it 9 in a row for Dunk City after that 16 point loss at second place North Florida in mid January.  FGCU's won their last two by a combined 3 points against bottom feeders Lipscomb and Kennesaw State but they all count and they remain a game up on the Ospreys.  However, dangerous USC Upstate comes to town tomorrow night.
Big Sky - Eastern Washington
It wasn't their greatest week, shockingly losing at home to RPI 227 Portland State last Saturday and then trailing at the half and only winning by 3 at # 316 Southern Utah (who is admittedly much improved from last season's 2-27 campaign) but Sacramento State also lost on Valentine's Day at Idaho and now the Hornets are in a second place tie with streaking Montana, winners of four straight, a half game back of the Eagles.
Big South - High Point
Only two teams tied for first?  What is this?  The tie at the top is down to the Panthers and Charleston Southern with Coastal Carolina, Radford and Winthrop all a game back.  High Point gets the auto thanks to their 72-61 win over the Buccaneers but the rematch is at CharSo in the season finale on February 28.
Big West - UC Davis
What a season.  The Aggies are now 18-4 and 10-1 in the league after winning at the Pyramid last night against fading Long Beach State.  Their closest challenger is UC Irvine who is two games back and doesn't get to play Davis again until the season finale when the regular season title may already be wrapped up.
CAA - Northeastern
The Huskies dragged William & Mary down in to a second place tie with them and James Madison after beating the Tribe by 11 on Wednesday and then UNC Wilmington lost at Delaware last night, creating a four way first place tie.  The Huskies RPI of 101 is the best of the foursome; 5 spots better than W&M's.
Horizon - Valparaiso
The Crusaders were up double digits much of the second half in the battle for first place with Green Bay last Friday but had to hang on at the end for the 4 point win.  Later that night, Cleveland State lost at Detroit so now Valpo is a game clear of both them and the Phoenix.
Ivy - Harvard
Siyani Chambers knocked down the game winner last Friday as the Crimson escaped on their home floor against Columbia before handling Cornell easily the next night.  Yale kept pace, winning at Penn and Princeton but the rematch at Harvard isn't until March 6 so it's about not stubbing your toe until then for both.
MAC - Toledo
Bowling Green was all alone on top of the conference going in to Wednesday night and I guess they felt lonely because they inexplicably lost at home by 11 to Miami (Ohio.)  Now the Falcons are tied with Kent State, Central Michigan and Toledo.  The Rockets have the best RPI of the group (70) so they keep their spot even though the Golden Flashes completed the sweep of them in OT last Friday.
MAAC - Iona
8 in a row now for the Gaels and they can complete a perfect four game road trip with a win at 5 win Marist tonight.  The last two haven't been easy though, winning by 3 in a war at rival Manhattan on Friday and then again at Quinnipiac on Sunday.
MEAC - North Carolina Central
Norfolk State lost again last Saturday at Morgan State so now the Eagles are three clear, not that they needed the added breathing room.  KenPom gives them an 81% chance of running the table and even that feels low with the only remaining road game at 6 win Savannah State.
NEC - St. Francis (NY)
Look who's suddenly pulled away from the pack!  The Terriers have ripped off 7 straight after flattening Fairleigh Dickinson last night and are now 3 games ahead of second placed Bryant.  If they'd hit one more 3 against Robert Morris back on January 24, it'd be an 11 game streak and they can clinch the outright regular season title by beating the other St. Francis on Sunday.
OVC - Murray State
It took overtime last Saturday but the Racers squeezed out a 2 point victory over Dickey Nutt's SE Missouri State.  Compared to NC Central, they only have a 52.1% chance of closing out league play 16-0 despite playing one less game.  The main reason for that is the season finale at 16-9 Tennessee-Martin.
Patriot - Bucknell
Colgate's one point home loss to Navy last Saturday gives the Bison sole possession of first place.  They've won four straight since a two game skid stopped a five game win streak.  Just 5-8 entering league play, they've completely turned their season around.  So has Army, except the Black Knights were 9-2 coming in and now sit alone in dead last at 14-12 (5-10) having dropped 6 straight.  Woof.
SoCon - Wofford
2nd placed Chattanooga handled 3rd placed Mercer by 13 last night to go two games ahead and stay just a game back of the Terriers, who beat perpetually dreadful UNC Greensboro by 15.  Wofford hosts The Citadel tomorrow but the final two are on the road.
Southland - Sam Houston State
Stephen F. Austin got their hearts broken on Valentine's Day as Texas A&M-Corpus Christi handed them their first league loss (and first loss of 2015.)  That means the Bearkats, winners of 7 straight since losing to the Jacks, go a half game ahead and cop the bid for now.  The rematch is at SFA in the season finale on March 7.
Summit - South Dakota State
After winning the Dakota State battle for first on Valentine's Day, SDSU almost undid that great work at Western Illinois on Wednesday but won by a deuce.  NDSU handled IPFW last night and it's actually a first place tie between the Bison and Jackrabbits but the latter's RPI is about 30 spots better, to say nothing of the recent head to head win.
Sun Belt - UL Monroe
Georgia Southern's shocking home loss to Troy last night drops them in to a second place tie with suddenly resurgent Georgia State.  Both Georgia outfits are a game back of the Indians Warhawks who had the week off after handling Appalachian State last Saturday and kick off a three game road trip tomorrow at basement dwelling Arkansas State.
SWAC - Texas Southern
Like they have been seemingly all year, the Tigers remain slightly ahead of Southern - this week it's a half game - after surviving by a point in overtime at Jackson State on Monday.  Make that three extra session victories since January 26 for Mike Davis' kids - and the win at Michigan State came in OT as well.
WAC - New Mexico State
8 in a row now for the Aggies, who are the only top 250 RPI team in the league and held Utah Valley under 40 in their own building last night to kick off a three game road trip.  The next stop is at second place Grand Canyon, who is tournament ineligible.

S Curve

Kentucky Virginia Duke Villanova
Wisconsin Gonzaga Kansas Arizona
Utah Maryland Iowa State Notre Dame
Oklahoma North Carolina Louisville Butler
Northern Iowa Wichita State Baylor Arkansas
VCU Providence Georgetown SMU
Oklahoma State West Virginia San Diego State Indiana
Ohio State Dayton Xavier Illinois
Michigan State Ole Miss Texas Colorado State
St. John's Temple Georgia Texas A&M
NC State LSU Cincinnati UCLA/Iowa
Miami (FL)/Davidson Iona Wofford Harvard
Valparaiso Louisiana Tech Murray State Toledo
Eastern Washington UC Davis Sam Houston State High Point
South Dakota State Northeastern Florida Gulf Coast UL Monroe
North Carolina Central Albany St. Francis (NY)/New Mexico State Texas Southern/Bucknell

Despite this S-curve, Gonzaga gets bumped up to a 1 seed for geographical purposes (more important than the S-curve in regards to the top seeds) and Louisville gets bumped down to a 5 with Northern Iowa inheriting their 4 because there's no region the Cards can go in to as a top 4 seed.

Last 4 In - UCLA, Iowa, Miami (FL), Davidson
First 4 Out - Pittsburgh, Purdue, Stanford, Oregon
Next 4 Out - Boise State, Rhode Island, Alabama, Tulsa


MIDWEST (Cleveland)

(1) Kentucky (SEC)
(16) Texas Southern (SWAC)/Bucknell (Patriot)

(8) Xavier
(9) Michigan State

(5) Louisville
(12) Harvard (Ivy)

(4) Northern Iowa (MVC)
(13) Valparaiso (Horizon)

(6) Georgetown
(11) UCLA/Iowa

(3) Notre Dame
(14) High Point (Big South)

(7) Oklahoma State
(10) Temple

(2) Wisconsin (Big Ten)
(15) South Dakota State (Summit)

WEST (Los Angeles)

(1) Gonzaga (WCC)
(16) North Carolina Central (MEAC)

(8) Ohio State
(9) Texas

(5) Arkansas
(12) Wofford (SoCon)

(4) North Carolina
(13) Toledo (MAC)

(6) VCU (A-10)
(11) LSU

(3) Iowa State
(14) Eastern Washington (Big Sky)

(7) Indiana
(10) St. John's

(2) Arizona (Pac-12)
(15) UL Monroe (Sun Belt)

EAST (Syracuse)

(1) Virginia (ACC)
(16) St. Francis (NY) (NEC)/New Mexico State (WAC)

(8) Illinois
(9) Ole Miss

(5) Wichita State
(12) Miami (FL)/Davidson

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

(6) SMU (American)
(11) NC State

(3) Maryland
(14) Sam Houston State (Southland)

(7) West Virginia
(10) Georgia

(2) Villanova (Big East)
(15) Northeastern (CAA)

SOUTH (Houston)

(1) Duke
(16) Albany (AE)

(8) Dayton
(9) Colorado State

(5) Baylor
(12) Iona (MAAC)

(4) Butler
(13) Murray State (OVC)

(6) Providence
(11) Cincinnati

(3) Utah
(14) UC Davis (Big West)

(7) San Diego State
(10) Texas A&M

(2) Kansas (Big 12)
(15) Florida Gulf Coast (A-Sun)