Getty Images

Bracketology: Wichita State pushing toward No. 1 seed

Leave a comment

source: Getty Images

Alongside Syracuse, Wichita State is one of two unbeaten teams in NCAA Division I men’s basketball.  The Shockers’ resume speaks for itself – a Top 10 RPI, Top 50 non-conference strength of schedule, and an 11-0 record away from home.  Given WSU’s remaining Missouri Valley Conference schedule, it’s likely the Shockers will enter the MVC tournament with a perfect record.  Regardless of the league, that’s impressive.

So what’s keeping Wichita State off the top line?

Not much at this point.  When it comes to separating teams at the very top (or at the cut-line) the margins are often small.  And there are only four No. 1 seed slots available, which means someone has to be No. 5 on the s-curve.  As of today, that’s Wichita State.  By comparison, here are the records of the current No. 1 seeds vs. Top 100 RPI opponents:  Syracuse (12-0), Arizona (12-1), Kansas (15-5), Florida (8-2).  Wichita State is 5-0.  Again, these are small differences sometimes – particularly with respect to Florida – but something the Selection Committee has to evaluate.

(MORE: Take a loot at NBCSports.com’s latest Top 25)

The other two-seeds today stack up like this against the Top 100: Michigan State (10-4), Villanova (10-2), San Diego State (6-1).  If there’s a reason why Wichita State and San Diego State remain two-seeds on Selection Sunday (even if they keep winning), it won’t be because they are not worthy.  It’ll be because the other teams, in the opinion of the Selection Committee, are more worthy.  And keep in mind, only one No. 1 seed (Louisville) made the Final Four last April, so while earning at No. 1 seed is noteworthy, it doesn’t necessarily equate to March success.  It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Shockers or Aztecs in an Elite 8 or Final Four showdown.

Enjoy another week of college hoops.

UPDATED: February 10, 2014

Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid based on current standings with RPI as a tiebreaker for teams with the same number of losses. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (UCLA, BYU, etc).

Several new bracketing principles were introduced after last year’s tournament.  You can read them for yourself at http://www.ncaa.com.   For example: teams from the same conference may now meet before a Regional final, even if fewer than eight teams are selected.  The goal is to keep as many teams as possible on their actual seed line.

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • BYU vs. MissouriWest Region
  • LSU vs. Georgetown South Region
  • SOUTHERN vs. HIGH POINT East Region
  • ROBERT MORRIS vs. DAVIDSON Midwest Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EAST – New York WEST – Anaheim                        
Buffalo San Diego
1) SYRACUSE 1) ARIZONA
16) SOUTHERN / HIGH POINT 16) UTAH VALLEY
8) Memphis 8) Oklahoma State
9) Geo Washington 9) Xavier
Spokane Spokane
5) Oklahoma 5) Wisconsin
12) GREEN BAY 12) BYU / Missouri
4) Kentucky 4) Creighton
13) IONA 13) MERCER
Milwaukee San Antonio
6) Louisville 6) Connecticut
11) Tennessee 11) Arizona State
3) MICHIGAN 3) Iowa State
14) NORTH DAKOTA ST 14) UC-SANTA BARBARA
Buffalo San Antonio
7) New Mexico 7) North Carolina
10) California 10) Minnesota
2) VILLANOVA 2) SAN DIEGO STATE
15) VERMONT 15) NC-CENTRAL
SOUTH – Memphis MIDWEST – Indianapolis
Orlando St. Louis
1) FLORIDA 1) KANSAS
16) WEBER STATE 16) DAVIDSON / ROB MORRIS
8) Kansas State 8) GONZAGA
9) Stanford 9) VCU
San Diego Orlando
5) Iowa 5) Ohio State
12) Georgetown / LSU 12) TOLEDO
4) SAINT LOUIS 4) Virginia
13) DELAWARE 13) BELMONT
Raleigh Raleigh
6) Texas 6) Massachusetts
11) Providence 11) SOUTHERN MISS
3) Duke 3) CINCINNATI
14) S.F. AUSTIN 14) GEORGIA STATE
St. Louis Milwaukee
7) UCLA 7) Pittsburgh
10) SMU 10) Colorado
2) WICHITA STATE 2) Michigan State
15) AMERICAN 15) YALE

NOTES on the BRACKET: Syracuse is the overall No. 1 seed followed by Arizona, Kansas, and Florida.

Last Five teams in (at large): Providence, Georgetown, BYU, Missouri, LSU

First Five teams out (at large): Florida State, Ole Miss, St. Joseph’s, St. John’s, Dayton

Next five teams out (at large): Richmond, Indiana, Clemson, Arkansas, Louisiana Tech

Breakdown by Conference …

Big 12 (6): Kansas, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas

Pac 12 (6): Arizona, Colorado, UCLA, California, Stanford, Arizona State

Big Ten (6): Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota

ACC (5): Duke, Syracuse, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia

American (5): Louisville, Memphis, Connecticut, Cincinnati, SMU

Big East (5): Creighton, Villanova, Xavier, Providence, Georgetown

SEC (5): Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee, Missouri, LSU

Atlantic 10 (4): Massachusetts, VCU, Saint Louis, Geo Washington

Mountain West (2): New Mexico, San Diego State

West Coast (2): Gonzaga, BYU

Missouri Valley (1): Wichita State

Conference Automatic Qualifiers … Southern Miss (C-USA), Belmont (Ohio Valley), Georgia State (Sun Belt), American (Patriot), North Dakota State (Summit), Green Bay (Horizon), Davidson (Southern), Utah Valley (WAC), Iona (MAAC), Stephen F. Austin (Southland), Toledo (MAC), Mercer (A-Sun), Yale (IVY), UC-Santa Barbara (Big West), Delaware (Colonial), Vermont (American East), Weber State (Big Sky), NC-Central (MEAC), High Point (Big South), Robert Morris (NEC), Southern (SWAC)

Indiana lands four-star Class of 2017 wing Justin Smith

Leave a comment

Indiana landed an athletic wing commitment on Monday night as four-star small forward Justin Smith pledged to the Hoosiers on Twitter.

The 6-foot-6 Smith is a native of Lincolnshire, Illinois and comes from Stevenson High School as he’s regarded as the No. 105 overall prospect in the Rivals national Class of 2017 rankings.

A high-flying wing who is great in the open floor, Smith should fit the Hoosiers’ uptempo system perfectly and if he’s able to get a more consistent perimeter jumper then he has a chance to be a really nice piece for Indiana.

Smith joins three-star guard Al Durham in Indiana’s recruiting Class of 2017.

Michigan State addingTom Izzo Hall of History wing in remodeled Breslin Center

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 22:  Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans reacts against the Virginia Cavaliers during the third round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 22, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has already been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this fall and the longtime Spartans head coach is receiving another unique honor in the remodeled Breslin Center.

The school announced over the weekend that the Tom Izzo Hall of History will be added to the Breslin Center renovations as the building is supposed to be completed by the fall of 2017.

“The Tom Izzo Hall of History will become a great gathering place on our campus where together we can celebrate the excellence of Spartan Basketball and MSU Athletics,” athletic director Mark Hollis said in a release. “When this facility project is complete it will be the finest college basketball facility in the country, so it’s only fitting that Tom’s name will be a permanent part of it.”

Overall, this is a nice addition to the Breslin Center, especially since Izzo and Michigan State basketball will forever be associated with one another. It should be cool for fans to go through it and re-live great moments in Michigan State history and the wing is another nice recruiting tool that can help point out all of Izzo’s biggest accomplishments.

 

Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament moving to Orlando amid Zika concerns

Lon Kruger
(AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Leave a comment

Amid concerns over the Zika virus, the annual Puerto Rico Tip-Off announced a change in venue on Monday. Rather than staying on the island, the tournament will move to Orlando and all games will be played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney.

The dates and teams will remain the same for the event as it will be played Thursday, Nov. 17, Friday, Nov. 18 and Sunday, Nov. 20. The field for the event includes Arizona State, Clemson, Davidson, Missouri, Northern Iowa, Oklahoma, Tulane and Xavier.

“We enjoy the beauty and accommodations that are afforded in Puerto Rico and wanted to make every effort in playing the event in San Juan, but the concern for student-athlete and spectator welfare became the primary driver in the decision,” Pete Derzis, senior vice president of ESPN Events said in the official release.  “We intend to return to Puerto Rico in the future.”

Puerto Rico is currently under a Level 2 alert for Zika according to the CDC. Since there have been cases of Zika on the island with native mosquitoes, it’s probably a smart move to eliminate all concerns over the virus if they can easily move the tournament elsewhere. It probably isn’t ideal for fans who purchased travel packages to Puerto Rico to watch the event, but it’s a small price to pay for the safety of everyone involved.

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company is also upset with the decision as Executive Director Ingrid Rivera Rocafort released a statement on Monday night.

“We are disappointed about this decision that we believe has been based on fear not the facts about Puerto Rico,” the statement read.

“There is no public health reason to cancel the Puerto Rico Tip Off or any sporting event in Puerto Rico. There is no doubt that our strong fan base and local spectators would have turned out to support their teams. Less than one percent of Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million population has contracted Zika, a far cry from projections. The hype and misinformation is fostering irrational decisions.”

PHOTO: Purdue unveils statue of John Wooden outside Mackey Arena

John Wooden (Purdue Athletics)
Purdue Athletics
Leave a comment

John Wooden will forever be associated with the UCLA program for what he did while coaching there.

10 national titles in 12 years, including seven in a row. Not bad, right?

What some people may forget is that before he got into coaching, Wooden was one of the best basketball players in the world. He played his collegiate ball at Purdue, where he was a three-time all-american and the 1932 National Player of the Year.

To honor Wooden’s legacy as one of the greatest Boilermakers ever, Purdue built a statue of Wooden and unveiled it in front of Mackey Arena this weekend:

“Not many people think of Johnny Wooden as a Boilermaker, but when I got here in 1957, some of the old-timers still remembered him as a player,” Jim Hicks, the alumnus that donated the statue, said. “I’m so delighted that people will see this statue and read his Pyramid of Success because I think the pyramid was his most important contribution.”

One of the neat touches of the statue: Wooden’s Pyramid of Success is right there for all to see.

North Carolina lands third commitment in 2017 class

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 23: Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels looks on during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament against the Iowa State Cyclones at the AT&T Center on March 23, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Leave a comment

North Carolina picked up their third commitment in the Class of 2017 on Monday in big man Brandon Huffman.

A four-star prospect who will play his final season of high school ball at Word of God Academy in North Carolina, Huffman’s strength at this point in his development is as a defensive presence around the basket. He stands 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan and should be able to help replace Kennedy Meeks, who graduates this spring.

Huffman’s development on the offensive end of the floor isn’t quite there yet. A native of Anchorage, Alaska, Huffman is still learning how to be more influential on that end.

Huffman joins Jalek Felton and Andrew Platek in UNC’s 2017 class.