Saturday, February 27, 2010

Matrix Update

In an effort to provide the casual fan more of a quick glance at the matrix's bracket, I've re-organized the main matrix page in bracket form. The main information is there including average seed and number of brackets.

I hope it's easier to read and less intimidating. Not many people like seeing 70 columns of data in front of you. But if that is more to your liking, the matrix is still there but at a new address.

Please post any feedback in the comments section.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Bracket - February 26

I don't wanna keep picking on Joe Lunardi, but it's just so much fun. Today, he proposed a Duke-Maryland second round matchup which he hastily fixed. However, one problem leads to another. This is probably in his advanced course, but the NCAA also likes to avoid rematches of previous years' tournament matchups in the first and second rounds. By moving Maryland and making a Maryland-California first-round matchup, he'll repeat the same first round matchup from last year.

As for my bracket, Connecticut moves into the bracket at the expense of Dayton. The Flyers, with its ugly loss to Temple, moves down to 7th place in the Atlantic 10. St. Mary's and San Diego State stay put but with their lack of defining games down the stretch, both are subject to being passed by bubble teams behind them.

Also, this weekend, I'm planning on re-organizing the matrix. Lemme know what you think when you see it. A reminder to wanna-be contributors that the deadline to notify me is Monday.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Site Update

March 1 is rapidly approaching. That's the last day for new contributors to join the Bracket Matrix this year. If you're already listed on the rankings page (, the March 1 deadline does not apply to you but if you haven't started publishing mock brackets, lemme know when you do.

If you're interested in joining this madness, please read this page. For those really interested, also read the NCAA Principles and Procedures for constructing a NCAA bracket and a NIT bracket.

Just today I saw a couple of things that are noteworthy when building your bracket:

-Try not to confuse Temple and Tennessee. I saw it on three different sites.

-If you're making a true bracket and not just a seed list, keep in mind that the NCAA tries to avoid first and second round rematches. Case in point, our good friend Joe Lunardi currently sets up a Kentucky-Louisville second round rematch. In his defense, at first glance, it's not an easy fix, but it should be done.

Bracket - February 22

As I write this, I see my bracket is already outdated. After toiling away in the NIT as low as a 4 seed in my projections after losing 5 of 6, Connecticut has won 3 straight including wins over Villanova and West Virginia. Before tonite's win, my bracket had them as the first team out, staying out mostly because of its 6-8 record in the Big East. Come Friday, the Huskies could be as high as a 10 seed.

There was a bit of shuffling in the top seeds. Purdue had already become a 1 seed in last Friday's bracket. Pittsburgh moved up to a 3 seed by virtue of its win over Villanova on Sunday. Michigan State moved down to a 5 after its home loss to Ohio State.

The first teams out are the aforementioned Connecticut Huskies along with Arizona State, Minnesota, and Mississippi State. They can be found on the top line of the NIT projections.

By email, I got questions about long shots for the NCAA tourney including Cincinnati and Michigan. The interesting thing about these teams is that they both have difficult schedules remaining which means chances to build up their resumes quickly. Obviously, Cincinnati has the better shot right now. After what should be an easy game against DePaul, the Bearcats finish up the season against West Virginia, Villanova, and Georgetown. If they win two out of three and get a quality win in the Big East tournament (beating DePaul again wouldn't help much), they should be right at the cut line.

Michigan's road got a lot tougher after their home loss to Penn State. Even though they finish the season against Illinois, Ohio State, Minnesota, and Michigan State, a sweep will likely only get them to the top half of the NIT. A run to the title game is a requirement. They don't necessarily have to win it; just get there. Losing one more time in the regular season means they will have to win the Big Ten tournament.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bracket - February 15

Two changes to the bracket today: San Diego State and Mississippi State replaced UAB and Florida.

The Aztecs moved into a tie for 3rd in the Mountain West with their win over UNLV. They were the first team out last year, in my opinion, and it's shaping up to be a nail-biter this year as well. They have decent computer numbers including an RPI of 40, but the defining road win is not there (Utah, I guess?). What helps them are wins over New Mexico and Arizona, especially if the Wildcats can make a run in the vulnerable Pac-10.

Mississippi State got two nice wins last week over Mississippi and Auburn but they'll need to show some fight against conference leader Kentucky to stay in the bracket Friday.

UAB has lost 3 of their last 4 and dropped to 4th in the CUSA. Florida has lost their last two including a loss at home to Xavier. Florida's next two opponents are the exact same ones Mississippi State beat last week so beat both of them and they'll definitely be back in.

Near the top, Ohio State looked extremely impressive in a win over Illinois and moved into the 3 seed. Like I said though, they face an extremely tough test this week as they face Purdue and Michigan State.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bracket - February 12

No changes in or out in today's bracket. Up top, Villanova and West Virginia switched spots after Villanova beat West Virginia on Monday. In addition, though Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Tennessee all lost, all stayed as 3 seeds as I didn't think Gonzaga and Ohio State should pass them quite yet. Gonzaga, after beating St. Mary's last night, might have reached its peak as its toughest remaining opponent has an RPI of 202. Ohio State, meanwhile, has its toughest games of the year in the next week and a half and I want to see how it does, starting with Illinois this weekend (followed up by Purdue and Michigan State).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday Update

The matrix will be updated a little earlier than usual (in the next couple of hours) to accomodate the earlier start time for Cal vs. Washington. There will also be two matrix updates tomorrow as Lunardi posts his first Friday bracket of the year (probably in the morning) and I'll be around after work posting mine.

Speaking of Joe, I just wanted to point out that he published an email on his ESPN Insider blog from a 15-year-old kid that made his own bracket while he was waiting for the snow to melt. Yes, the kid omitted BYU and included Northwestern, but it's a decent bracket and Joe marvels at his level of detail and passion. If only Joe and "his team of bracketologists" could match this level of detail and passion...(5 Big East teams on the bubble this week? UConn and Pitt in the first round last week?)

Ok, off to Berkeley for a Top Dog and hopefully a competitive game.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Bracket - February 8

Minnesota and Charlotte both scored road wins last weekend. However, both left my bracket tonight. What???

The Golden Gophers have been struggling for the past few weeks, losing 5 of their last 7, including a 22 -point loss to Ohio State. They went to last place Penn State and escaped with a 2 point victory. Then Illinois upset Michigan State. The knock on Illinois was that while it had a great conference record, they had feasted on the likes of Penn State, Indiana, and Iowa. But with the victory over the Spartans, that 8-3 conference record means something now (would've meant more if Lucas was in the lineup), and so they passed Minnesota to get a spot in the bracket, albeit the last one.

Charlotte also struggled on the road against last place Fordham. I woke up Saturday and happened to catch this game because I just put them in the bracket the day before. Yet, here I was watching them trail by 10 with 7 minutes to go then take the lead with only about 3 minutes to go. On Friday, it was a toss-up between Charlotte and Richmond for the last spot and Charlotte got it. While they still have the A-10 lead, Richmond had the better weekend, upsetting Temple, and the Spiders replace the 49ers.

Don't fret...Minnesota and Charlotte top the NIT projection along with Washington, who scored a sweep over the Arizona schools, and Virginia Commonwealth, on a 4-game winning streak with Old Dominion as its latest victim.

For those in the Bay Area, I'll be up in Berkeley this Thursday to watch Cal vs. Washington, just so that I can see first-hand how bad inconsistent the top two teams in the Pac-10 are.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Bracket - February 5

The last two teams in the last bracket, Cincinnati and Mississippi State, both lost and as a result, both were kicked into the NIT for the time being. Both have a good chance to come back in with wins this weekend over Syracuse at home and at Florida, respectively.

To replace them, UTEP is on a 6-game winning streak and will battle Tulsa today for sole possession of first place in CUSA. Charlotte becomes the fifth team from the Atlantic 10 to make the bracket. The 49ers' non-conference schedule was pretty average with its best win being against Louisville, but they have no bad losses and like UTEP, are on a 6-game winning streak and could be atop the A-10 standings by the end of the day.

The only bracket matrix update this weekend will be around noon Pacific time on Sunday so that we can all focus on the Super Bowl. (I'm going high scoring and saying 38-31 Colts.)

The next bracket will be released on Monday night.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bracket - February 1

I guess my last post about 96 teams was timely as Sports Business Journal reports CBS and Turner are planning a joint bid for the NCAA basketball tournament and other championships to counter potential bids by ESPN, FOX, and others. The key date is August 31, the last day the NCAA can opt out of its current TV deal with CBS for basketball. Also interesting is that the NCAA's deal with the NIT also ends after this season.

The bracket this week stayed relatively stable as no teams made a really big move upward. Notable items include New Mexico's win over BYU, which brought the Cougars back closer to the pack of Lobos, Rebels, and Aztecs chasing them, and Cornell's crushing win over Harvard, solidifying its hold over the Ivy League.

UConn became the first team out after two losses to Providence and Marquette. It wasn't included in my bracket, but losing to Louisville tonite didn't help matters. Being the first team out means they also became the top team in the new NIT projection I released. Other teams on the top line include UTEP, San Diego State, and Seton Hall.

Please note that the NIT guarantees bids to regular season champions which do not win their conference tournament. So, teams seeded on the 7 and 8 lines should be worried about being dropped. Also remember that NIT seeding is a lot more volatile than NCAA seeding. A team could be up in the NCAAs or not participating in either tournament depending on the outcome in even their next game.