Robby D’s BRACKETOLOGY – January 23, 2012

Welcome back! Week #2 of Robby D’s Bracketology is back!

For those who haven’t been here, here’s a summary of what you missed from the previous post…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 VERMONT

#8 Wichita State
#9 Memphis

Nashville, TN
#5 Florida State
#12 Oregon

#4 Michigan
#13 IONA

Columbus, OH
#6 Mississippi State
#11 SOUTHERN MISS

#3 Indiana
#14 Davidson

Greensboro, NC
#7 DAYTON
#10 Alabama

#2 Duke
#15 AKRON

WEST REGION (Phoenix, AZ)

Omaha, NE
#1 MISSOURI
#16 BUCKNELL

#8 Temple
#9 CALIFORNIA

Portland, OR
#5 Wisconsin
#12 Ole Miss vs. Marshall

#4 UNLV
#13 LONG BEACH STATE

Pittsburgh, PA
#6 SAN DIEGO STATE
#11 Colorado State vs. Minnesota

#3 UConn
#14 BELMONT

Greensboro, NC
#7 Louisville
#10 Purdue

#2 NORTH CAROLINA
#15 WEBER STATE

MIDWEST REGION (St. Louis, MO)

Louisville, KY
#1 KENTUCKY
#16 LIU BROOKLYN vs. UNC-ASHEVILLE

#8 West Virginia
#9 Xavier

Portland, OR
#5 Kansas State
#12 New Mexico

#4 MURRAY STATE
#13 NEVADA

Columbus, OH
#6 CREIGHTON
#11 Cincinnati

#3 Michigan State
#14 CLEVELAND STATE

Albuquerque, NM
#7 Gonzaga
#10 NC State

#2 Baylor
#15 NORFOLK STATE

SOUTH REGION (Atlanta, GA)

Pittsburgh, PA
#1 OHIO STATE
#16 TEXAS-ARLINGTON vs. MISSISSIPPI VALLEY ST

#8 Virginia
#9 Seton Hall

Albuquerque, NM
#5 Marquette
#12 BYU

#4 Florida
#13 MIDDLE TENNESSEE

Omaha, NE
#6 Vanderbilt
#11 HARVARD

#3 Georgetown
#14 GEORGE MASON

Omaha, NE
#7 Illinois
#10 ST. MARY’S

#2 Kansas
#15 Oral Roberts

LAST FOUR IN:
Ole Miss
Marshall
Oregon
Minnesota

FIRST FOUR OUT:
Northwestern
Northern Iowa
Texas
Arkansas

NEXT FOUR OUT:
Iowa State
Wyoming
UMass
Notre Dame

BID BREAKDOWN BY CONFERENCE:
Big Ten: 8 (DOWN from 9, Northwestern is out)
Big East: 8
SEC: 6 (UP from 5, Ole Miss now in)
ACC: 5 (UP from 4, NC State now in)
Big 12: 4
Mountain West: 4
Atlantic 10: 3 (DOWN from 4, Saint Louis lost auto-bid)
Conference USA: 3
West Coast: 3
Missouri Valley: 2 (DOWN from 3, Northern Iowa is out)
Pac-12: 2 (Oregon is in, Stanford lost auto-bid)
MAC: 1
WAC: 1

5 Teams on the Rise:

*FLORIDA STATE: Seminoles are on the top line of teams on the rise this week and with good reason.  They’ve now won 4 in a row, including a HUGE road win at Duke. They’ve risen from being on the bubble 2 weeks ago to being a 5-seed this week. What a difference 2 weeks can make.

*OLE MISS: A team I didn’t even have on my radar until this week, the Rebels landed a big win at home against Mississippi State and got a road win in the SEC at Georgia, which is darn near impossible (winning a road game in conference). They have the look of a Tourney team too. Terrance Henry had 24 against the Bulldogs and is a 6’9 combo guard. 6’9, you heard me right. Andy Kennedy’s team is getting hot, and will have another shot at a marquee win Thursday at home against Florida.

*MISSOURI: The Tigers are on the 1-seed line this week thanks to a very impressive victory at Baylor. The Bears are falling and the Tigers are taking advantage of it, and still have the lone loss (at K-State) on their resume. Their starting 5 could be the quickest and most potent starting 5 you will find in the nation. They run, they play D, they hit shots. Mizzou is for real folks. 

*OREGON: I told you the Ducks would be in this week if they happened to sweep USC and UCLA convincingly…okay, forget the convincingly part, but Oregon has now won their last 4 and their road win at Nebraska is looking much better than it did 2 weeks ago. They’re in the field right now and should stay there if they can beat lowly Oregon State at home. But after that, it will get much more difficult.

*CINCINNATI: Forget about their SOS figure (165) and focus on the fact that up until their 3-point loss at West Virginia this Saturday (which by the way isn’t a bad loss at all) the Bearcats had their last 3 at Georgetown, at home against Villanova, and at UConn. Quite possibly the two most impressive road wins of the year right there. Their numbers will still hinder them of a better seed come tournament time, but a victory over Syracuse Monday night could surge them even higher with a much nicer schedule looming in conference.

5 Teams on the Decline:

*NORTHERN IOWA: The Panthers are on the top line for biggest dissappointment of the week. I know, their numbers are great (RPI: 47, SOS: 16) but there’s no excuse for losing at Bradley or Illinois State. Plus, they DESPERATELY needed that win at home against Wichita State and they whiffed. They were able to get back on the W track against Drake Sunday night, but their losses outweigh their big wins. For that, they’re on the top of the decline list and out of the Tourney right now.

*PURDUE: Ahhh welcome back Purdue, we didn’t miss you. A 25-point woodshed beating the Boilermakers took on Saturday at Michigan State is only making their profile look worse. Thanks to Illinois’ fall from grace, the Boilermakers are currently the only team in the Big Ten (as of January 23rd) that doesn’t have a win against a Top 25 team. Sure, Iona and Temple look great on a resume, but those aren’t top 25 wins (pertaining to rankings). Boilermakers are gonna have to get their act together quickly, cause they are falling faster than you think in the Brackets.

*NORTHWESTERN: Here I was thinking Northwestern was FINALLY back, and now they are back…to failing in big moments. A loss at Minnesota pretty much summed up their week after getting pounded at Wisconsin. Their style of play is much more conducive in their home environment at Welsh-Ryan Arena and hasn’t look good at all when going on the road. Their numbers are still good, but they’ve got to get back to .500 in the Big Ten to feel better about their at-large chances. Throw in the fact that Seton Hall is starting to fall off, and that win against the Pirates doesn’t look too good now.

*ILLINOIS: Yikes, 3 teams from the Big Ten in the declining teams list? You bet. After three successive wins at Northwestern, and versus Nebraska and Ohio State, Illinois followed that up with losses at Penn State and at home to Wisconsin. Their big wins speak for themselves, but two losses in conference especially after the Illini were close to one of the hottest teams in college basketball makes you sit back and question whether this team has the right make-up to be a contender for the Sweet 16 and beyond.

*UCONN: Lastly, we come to the UConn Huskies. A team that has now lost two in a row to 2 teams outside the top 90 in the RPI. Yucky. Before that, they had beaten Notre Dame and West Virginia (that ND win looks a lot better now) but take two more games before that and you see a horrible loss at Rutgers. The bad losses look really bad right now for Jim Calhoun and it all boiled over when UConn looked sluggish and lackadaisical in Knoxville playing a Tennessee team that granted is looking better, but still has a losing record. Jeremy Lamb isn’t the scorer that we anticipated this year, and Andre Drummond has yet to truly mature as a freshman. Long way to go for the Huskies but they stayed on the 3-line this week just because the teams behind them aren’t really much better than them on paper.

And that’s it! Hope you enjoy this newest blog series up until Selection Sunday which is less than 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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