Sunday, March 15, 2015

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

Automatic Bids

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

S Curve

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


MIDWEST (Cleveland)

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

(8) Cincinnati
(9) NC State

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

(4) Oklahoma
(13) Harvard (Ivy)

Louisville (6) West Virginia
(11) Georgia

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

Seattle (7) Georgetown
(10) BYU

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

WEST (Los Angeles)

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

(8) San Diego State
(9) Oklahoma State

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

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

Jacksonville (6) Utah
(11) Indiana/LSU

(3) Baylor
(14) Northeastern (CAA)

Portland (7) Xavier
(10) Davidson

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

EAST (Syracuse)

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

(8) Iowa
(9) Dayton

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

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

Omaha (6) Wichita State
(11) Temple

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

Charlotte (7) Butler
(10) Texas

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

SOUTH (Houston)

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

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

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

(4) Louisville
(13) Wyoming (MWC)

Pittsburgh (6) Providence
(11) Indiana/LSU

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

Omaha (7) Oregon
(10) Colorado State

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

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