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)

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