Thursday, December 1, 2022

NCAA tournament bracketology: West is strong at the top

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And Southern California is chugging alongside at 23-4 after sweeping a four-game homestand.

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That’s arguably three of the top 20 groups in the nation, a part of a stellar season of strong basketball in the Pacific and Mountain time zones. The West Coast Conference, headlined by Gonzaga, has 4 credible at-large contenders. So does the Mountain West.

The Pac-12 does, too, however everybody past its top three is teetering. Only three Pac-12 groups in addition to Arizona, Southern Cal and UCLA are even in the top 100 of the NCAA’s NET rankings — Washington State (No. 48), Oregon (No. 63) and Colorado (No. 81).

Now, the NET is extra of a sorting software than an end-all, be-all set of rankings. But the sorting appears to be like even worse for the league’s second tier. Washington State (14-12, 7-8) doesn’t personal a Quadrant 1 victory. Colorado (18-9, 10-7) is simply 1-6 in Quad 1 video games, the victory coming at Oregon.

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And that brings issues to the Ducks (17-10, 10-6), who absorbed a desert sweep from Arizona and Arizona State over the weekend and have executed little of be aware since successful at UCLA and Southern California final month.

Now these two are due a return journey to Oregon on Thursday and Saturday, and it’s the greatest likelihood the Ducks have (in addition to a Pac-12 tournament run) to differentiate themselves.

A late February/early March surge wouldn’t be unprecedented for Oregon. The Ducks did precisely that to go from 15-12 to the Sweet 16 in 2019. Yet stabilizing a wobbly season is perhaps required if the Pac-12 is going to discover a fourth workforce to earn a spot in the area of 68.

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Last 4 included: BYU, San Francisco, VCU, Rutgers

First 4 on the outdoors: Belmont, Oregon, Florida, North Carolina

Next 4 on the outdoors: St. Bonaventure, Indiana, Michigan, Dayton

Moving in: Cleveland State, Princeton, Rutgers, SMU, Towson, VCU

Moving out: Florida, North Carolina, Oakland, Oregon, UNC Wilmington, Yale

Conference name: Big East (7), Big Ten (7), Big 12 (6), Southeastern (6), Atlantic Coast (4), Mountain West (4), West Coast (4), American Athletic (3), Pac-12 (3), Atlantic 10 (2)

West vs. East; South vs. Midwest

(1) WEST COAST/Gonzaga vs. (16) BIG SOUTH/Longwood

(8) MOUNTAIN WEST/Boise State vs. (9) Creighton

(5) Arkansas vs. (12) CONFERENCE USA/North Texas

(4) Texas vs. (13) METRO ATLANTIC/Iona

(3) Illinois vs. (14) IVY/Princeton

(6) LSU vs. (11) Rutgers/San Francisco winner

(2) ATLANTIC COAST/Duke vs. (15) PATRIOT/Colgate

Creighton is via its stretch of video games towards the backside of the Big East, and it started its rigorous closing sequence in the common season Sunday by finishing a sweep of Marquette. The Bluejays can’t afford to lose out simply but, however they’re trying more and more secure. … Only two groups in the nation are undefeated in true highway video games: Gonzaga and North Texas. The Mean Green landed their greatest victory but on Saturday, edging UAB in Birmingham. The defending Conference USA champs have received 12 in a row and 18 of 19. … Arkansas is answering the bell with its tough end to SEC common season play. Since Feb. 8, it has defeated Auburn, Missouri, Tennessee and Florida and misplaced by one at Alabama. Still to come back: Kentucky, LSU and Tennessee once more. The Razorbacks’ inventory is rising. …

Illinois landed on the No. 3 line of the committee’s top-16 reveal, and a victory at Michigan State on Saturday solely cemented the place. … Rutgers doesn’t personal a flawless resume, however its 6-3 report in Quadrant 1 video games stands out amongst groups at the fringe of the area. Its Feb. 12 victory at Wisconsin is immensely precious as proof the Scarlet Knights can beat anybody of be aware away from Piscataway. … Iowa was lacking a very noteworthy victory … till it picked off Ohio State by 13 in Columbus. That’s a greater top-of-the-resume end result than beating Indiana at dwelling or successful at Virginia (this yr, anyway). …

(1) SOUTHEASTERN/Auburn vs. (16) HORIZON/Cleveland State-BIG WEST/Long Beach State winner

(8) Xavier vs. (9) Wyoming

(5) AMERICAN ATHLETIC/Houston vs. (12) SUMMIT/South Dakota State

(4) UCLA vs. (13) AMERICA EAST/Vermont

(3) Villanova vs. (14) MID-AMERICAN/Toledo

(6) Michigan State vs. (11) San Diego State

(7) Saint Mary’s vs. (10) Notre Dame

(2) Baylor vs. (15) SUN BELT/Texas State

Auburn was the second No. 1 seed in the NCAA basketball committee’s top 16 reveal on Saturday. Then the Tigers misplaced to Florida, which on this projection drops them right down to No. 4 general. … The in-season top-16 announcement offered extra steering on Houston than simply about any workforce. The Cougars’ absence doesn’t imply their ceiling is a No. 5 seed, however it’s clear the committee is considerably skeptical of the lofty metrics that Kelvin Sampson’s shorthanded workforce has produced. …

Michigan State tumbled to the No. 6 line with its loss at Iowa on Tuesday. That’s 5 losses out of six for the Spartans (18-9), who get Purdue at dwelling subsequent and nonetheless have journeys to Michigan and Ohio State looming subsequent week. Tom Izzo’s workforce hasn’t hit its flooring but. … Baylor has two probabilities to push its technique to the top seed line. The first is a three-day stretch beginning Saturday, when the Bears play Kansas after which flip round two days later to go to Texas. The second is the three days they’ll play in the Big 12 tournament.

(1) PAC-12/Arizona vs. (16) MID-EASTERN ATHLETIC/Norfolk State

(8) Iowa State vs. (9) Wake Forest

(5) Ohio State vs. (12) BYU/VCU winner

(4) BIG EAST/Providence vs. (13) SOUTHERN/Chattanooga

(3) Texas Tech vs. (14) WESTERN ATHLETIC/New Mexico State

(7) OHIO VALLEY/Murray State vs. (10) Seton Hall

(2) BIG TEN/Purdue vs. (15) NORTHEAST/Wagner

Something spectacular about Arizona is how effectively it handles its enterprise, which will get underscored in the uncommon occasions the Wildcats don’t breeze to a victory. Saturday’s 84-81 victory over Oregon was simply the third of Arizona’s 24 victories to be determined by lower than 9 factors. The others had been Wichita State and at Illinois, each four-point selections. … VCU has quietly stacked 5 victories in a row since absorbing a 30-point pounding at dwelling towards Dayton. The Rams can run that streak to seven with defeats of George Mason and Massachusetts this week. …

Murray State is working out of potential losses. The Racers (26-2, 16-0 Ohio Valley) have a troublesome dwelling matchup Thursday towards Belmont, then go to Southeast Missouri State two days later earlier than heading to the convention tournament. Murray State shouldn’t threat issues with an unlikely three-game skid, however it is perhaps okay for an at-large even when that occurs. … Seton Hall can dictate how precarious a scenario it faces heading into the Big East tournament. The Pirates are 5-6 in Quadrant 1 video games, 4-5 on the highway and haven’t any really galling losses. Beating Butler and Georgetown at dwelling and splitting with Creighton and Xavier on the highway would most likely get rid of any Selection Sunday fear.

(1) BIG 12/Kansas vs. (16) SOUTHLAND/New Orleans-SWAC/Southern winner

(8) Colorado State vs. (9) ATLANTIC 10/Davidson

(5) Connecticut vs. (12) MISSOURI VALLEY/Loyola Chicago

(4) Tennessee vs. (13) COLONIAL/Towson

(3) Wisconsin vs. (14) ATLANTIC SUN/Liberty

(6) Southern California vs. (11) Memphis

(7) Marquette vs. (10) Miami

(2) Kentucky vs. (15) BIG SKY/Montana State

The Mountain West’s at-large contenders are tough to completely consider, and Colorado State is no exception. The Rams noticed their five-game successful streak finish Saturday at UNLV, a workforce they simply haven’t matched up nicely towards this season. Colorado State closes with dwelling video games towards Wyoming and Boise State sandwiched round a visit to Utah State. … Towson final performed in the NCAA tournament in 1991, however the Tigers drew even in the loss column with UNC Wilmington with a victory over the Seahawks on Thursday. Towson is previous, deep, rugged and harmful. …

Just name Southern CalMemphis the Boogie Ellis Bowl. The guard averaged 10.2 factors for the Tigers’ NIT title workforce final yr, however the San Diego native transferred nearer to dwelling after final season. He’s averaging 12.4 factors for Southern Cal. … Miami’s 4-1 mark in Quadrant 1 video games is precious, however the Hurricanes aren’t going to have the ability to improve that determine in the subsequent two weeks. A closing stretch of Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Boston College and Syracuse — all however Virginia Tech on the highway — means Miami has extra to lose than acquire and simply must deal with its enterprise till it will get to the ACC tournament. The Canes began that sequence impressively Tuesday, ripping Pitt 85-64.

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