Robby D’s BRACKETOLOGY – January 16, 2012

For those who aren’t familiar with the word ‘Bracketology’, Webster’s dictionary defines Bracketology as: the study of college basketball, particularly the study of March Madness and all of its components including but not limited to seeds, regional sites, RPI, SOS, etc.

And for those who didn’t know, yours truly has been a resident bracketologist for over 3 years. I even predicted every team in the 2010 NCAA Tournament, which is not easy to do with the ever-crowded bubble list of teams.

This will become a weekly tradition on the ‘Back Home Again Blog’. We will analyze and gaze into the college basketball crystal ball to predict and foresee the future of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

With all of that being said, let’s get to breaking down the early BRACKETS!

EAST REGION (Boston, MA)

Pittsburgh, PA
#1 SYRACUSE
#16 TEXAS SOUTHERN vs. UNC-ASHEVILLE

#8 Alabama
#9 Saint Louis

Portland, OR
#5 MURRAY STATE
#12 Minnesota

#4 Kansas State
#13 NEVADA

Columbus, OH
#6 Mississippi State
#11 New Mexico

#3 Georgetown
#14 CLEVELAND STATE

Columbus, OH
#7 Virginia
#10 Cal

#2 Michigan State
#15 ORAL ROBERTS

SOUTH REGION (Atlanta, GA)

Pittsburgh, PA
#1 OHIO STATE
#16 WAGNER

#8 Temple
#9 Memphis

Nashville, TN
#5 Vanderbilt
#12 Middle Tennessee

#4 UConn
#13 IONA

Omaha, NE
#6 SAN DIEGO STATE
#11 Wichita State

#3 Kansas
#14 AKRON

Greensboro, NC
#7 West Virginia
#10 STANFORD

#2 DUKE
#15 DAVIDSON

MIDWEST REGION (St. Louis, MO)

Louisville, KY
#1 KENTUCKY
#16 ALBANY vs. BUCKNELL

#8 Wisconsin
#9 Dayton

Nashville, TN
#5 Marquette
#12 Colorado State vs. Northern Iowa

#4 Florida
#13 HARVARD

Louisville, KY
#6 Seton Hall
#11 SOUTHERN MISS

#3 Indiana
#14 GEORGE MASON

Omaha, NE
#7 Illinois
#10 Florida State

#2 Missouri
#15 WEBER STATE

WEST REGION (Phoenix, AZ)

Albuquerque, NM
#1 BAYLOR
#16 TEXAS ARLINGTON

#8 GONZAGA
#9 Purdue

Portland, OR
#5 Louisville
#12 Marshall

#4 Michigan
#13 BELMONT

Albuquerque, NM
#6 CREIGHTON
#11 BYU vs. Northwestern

#3 UNLV
#14 LONG BEACH STATE

Greensboro, NC
#7 Xavier
#10 St. Mary’s

#2 North Carolina
#15 NORFOLK STATE

LAST FOUR IN:
Northern Iowa
Marshall
Cal
Minnesota

FIRST FOUR OUT:
Texas
NC State
Oregon
Oklahoma

NEXT FOUR OUT:
Cincinnati
UMass
Iowa State
Ohio

BID BREAKDOWN BY CONFERENCE:

Big Ten: 9
Big East: 8
SEC: 5
ACC: 4
Atlantic 10: 4
Big 12: 4
Mountain West: 4
Conference USA: 3
Missouri Valley: 3
West Coast: 3
Pac-12: 2
MAC: 1
WAC: 1

5 Teams on the Rise:

*VANDERBILT: Commodores are going to be a force to be reckoned with come March, now that Festus Ezeli is back wearing the black and gold. They’ve won their last 7 after losing 3 of 4 and even won at Marquette by 17. John Jenkins is one of the best pure shooters in the country, and Jeffery Taylor is a poster dunker waiting to happen. Yes, Kevin Stallings’ team always seems to choke come Tourney Time but this year is going to be different. I promise you that.

*MINNESOTA: No better way to end a 4-game losing streak in conference than to go out and win in arguably one of the most difficult places to win in all of college basketball this year. Minnesota had done what Ohio State or Kentucky couldn’t do: win at Assembly Hall. Their resume doesn’t jump off the page, but they have 5 RPI Top 100 wins which is a plus since their non conference schedule has been a joke in the past.

*FLORIDA STATE: You want to talk about a team taking advantage of an opportunity…WOW. You don’t just beat North Carolina by 33 points at home unless you know what you’re doing. Sure, Devidas Dulkys had 24 3-pointers and UNC couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, but this Seminole team was OUT of my 68 at the start of Friday. Now, they are squarely in the tournament. Non conference wins against UCF and UMass also help their cause, but they may rue the losses to Princeton and Clemson down the road.

*OREGON: No, they aren’t in the field of 68 right now, but the Ducks are beginning to fight their way back on the bubble. Their non conference schedule is going to thur them down the road, and the fact that they just got blown out by Cal at home really hurts their chances of a marquee victory. But a weekend sweep at Arizona State and Arizona, something that no Pac-12 team has been able to do (win two games in a row on the road over a weekend trip) has gotten my attention. Their next 3 at home need to be convincing victories, then they just may see themselves back in the mix.

*NORTHWESTERN: This could FINALLY be the year Northwestern breaks in the NCAA Tournament field as an at-large team, as the Wildcats are putting together a sharp tournament resume. With a top 10 strength of schedule, non conference neutral site wins over LSU and Seton Hall, plus their HUGE win at home over Michigan State this week, Northwestern is in the Field of 68…FOR NOW. Their next 3 at Wisconsin, at Minnesota, and at home versus Purdue will tell us a lot whether or not John Shurna can lead this team to the Big Dance for the first time in school history.

5 Teams on the Decline:

*LOUISVILLE: My word, have you ever seen a bigger fall from grace than the Cardinals? After starting the season 12-0 and making a push for a 1-seed, the Cardinals have fallen off the face of this earth losing 4 of their last 6 including a 31 point loss at Providence and a loss to Notre Dame at home (who is currently RPI #106). I didn’t have any confidence after watching this team against Western Kentucky at home back in December, and you better heed this advice for down the road: DON’T PICK LOUISVILLE TO GO FAR IN YOUR BRACKET. They’ll be an upset team waiting to happen. But still, you can’t ignore wins over Long Beach State, Vanderbilt, and Memphis. That’s why they are still a 5-seed.

*PURDUE: For a moment, I thought Purdue had finally gotten their act together. An impressive 13 point win on the road at Minnesota obviously wasn’t getting their act together in the right way. This is easily one of the more inconsistent teams in all of college basketball right now, yet they have 4 RPI Top 40 wins over Iona, Temple, Illinois, and Minnesota. How do they have only a 9-seed? A bad loss to Wisconsin with at home with the Badgers struggling mightly and a road defeat to Penn State by 20. And the schedule won’t get any easier, 8 of their next 9 games are against Big Ten Teams that are in the top 30 of the RPI.

*KANSAS STATE: We all thought Frank Martin’s team was putting together something special after that woodshed beating they put on Missouri at the beginning of January…my how that seems like a long-lost memory. There’s no way they should have lost to Baylor at home and there’s no way you can follow that up with a loss on the road at Oklahoma. So now after all of that the Wildcats sit at 1-3 in the Big 12 with the next 8 against teams outside the RPI top 50. They really missed out on some marquee wins over Kansas and Baylor but they still have Bama and Mizzou victories to hang their hat on. Nevertheless, this team is dropping fast.

*OHIO: You don’t typically see 2 teams from the MAC make it into the Tournament, but heading into January that was definitely the case. Ohio at one point had 4 straight road games…FOUR STRAIGHT ROAD GAMES IN DECEMBER. And they won all 4 (at Oakland, at Portland, at Wright State, at Northern Iowa). You may be saying well those aren’t any good teams, but that doesn’t matter to a bracketologist. Victories on the road are crucial to a resume in the Big Dance and Ohio had 5 including a BIG win at Marshall, a team that’s currently in the NCAA Tournament. But the start of January has not been kind to the Bobcats. Losing 3 of their last 4 to Robert Morris, Bowling Green, and Akron has put them out of an at-large birth and it doesn’t appear they’ll have a chance at making it back into the discussion unless they win out. They will still have those 4 road game wins to rest on, but it won’t be easy to make it back into the Field of 68 as an at-large unless they win out in conference.

*NORTHERN IOWA: You can’t ignore their resume that they have right now: a top 10 SOS, and RPI of 30, and their 5 RPI Top 100 victories. But their bad losses could keep them out of the Tournament. Illinois State, Evansville, and the head-scratcher Sunday night at Bradley are beginning to pile up against the Panthers. They are in the Tournament right now, but 2 big ones against Wichita State and Drake will help us learn more about UNI this season.

And that’s it! Hope you enjoy this newest blog series up until Selection Sunday which is 2 months away!

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About Robby Donoho

I'm a 2011 graduate of Purdue University, majoring in Mass Communication. I currently reside in the beautiful Columbus, Mississippi as a sports anchor and reporter for WCBI-TV covering the SEC and all its glory. My sports allegiance lies with the: Colts, Cubs, Pacers, Boilermakers, Blackhawks, anyone that plays IU or Notre Dame, and USA (anything). I love watching The Office and enjoying a quiet evening in front of the fireplace with a nice, leather-bound book.
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6 Responses to Robby D’s BRACKETOLOGY – January 16, 2012

  1. Pearson says:

    Dont have a Horizon League team. Make sure you get one from each conference.

  2. Pearson says:

    In the breakdown that is.

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