Bracket Projections and Notes for 12/18

Bracket Projections and Notes for 12/18
Dec 18, 2006, 12:35 pm
-Bracket reflects games played through December 17th. This is not a prediction of the future, but rather a checkpoint for where teams currently stand. That is why some of the teams people may think are better are either seeded lower or not in the field at all.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE BRACKET!!! I will do my best to add an image later. Unfortunately, I'm not working at my own computer and don't have the software to do it at this time.



-Wisconsin got a big win against Pittsburgh, but it shouldn’t hurt the Panthers too much since it was a loss on the road against a very good team. Both teams shot the ball very well. ESPN pointed out an interesting bit of trivia in that this was the first time Wisconsin had been in a regular season game where both teams were ranked in the Top Ten. As good as they’ve been, and as good as their conference is, that’s a little hard to believe.

-Butler has done it again. They got a big 68-65 win against a very good Purdue team. It is the third time that Butler has played a game in their home city against an out of town opponent where they’ve technically been the visiting team. The other two were against Notre Dame and Indiana in the Preseason NIT. As for the game, it was close all the way and the lead seesawed back and fourth, but Butler again pulled it out in the clutch. They don’t have any high quality opponents the rest of the way, but conference play is always competitive. They’re now in a situation to where every road game they play will most likely be the biggest home date for their opponents, so it won’t be easy for them to maintain their profile.

-Louisville could very easily be the worst shooting team in the country. They went 17-63 in their loss against Kentucky. There are teams that struggle to get good shots. There are other teams that get good shots, but miss. Louisville is a team that struggles to get good shots, and misses the few good ones they do get. It’s really incredible that a team with that much talent in terms of both coaching and athletes could have that poor of a shooting team. Billy Packer said something interesting during the game in that “Neither team has really gotten into an offensive flow yet.” I don’t know if he meant that they hadn’t gotten into an offensive flow for that particular game, or had not yet done it this entire season, but either one would have been accurate in the case of Louisville. As for Kentucky, it is their second good win in a row. They defeated Indiana the previous week.

-The Hoosiers had no trouble rebounding from their loss. They defeated a very good Southern Illinois team at home in a defensive battle. Southern Illinois led early, but the Hoosiers got control in the second half.

-Western Kentucky’s win over Georgia is looking a little better now than it did originally. It’s Georgia’s only loss, but up until this weekend they hadn’t played anyone that was any good. However, they knocked off a very good Gonzaga team 96-83. If you like offense, you would have loved this game, especially in the first half because both teams were on fire. Santiata Gaines had a huge day for Georgia scoring 21 points and generating an amazing 6 steals. He also had 5 assists and 8 rebounds. Levi Stukes also had 25 pts for UGA.

Unfortunately for Western Kentucky, they fell to Tennessee this weekend, which is their third loss of the season. They stayed right with the Vols in the first half and every time it looked like Tennessee was going to put them away, WKU went on a run to cut into the lead. In the end it wasn’t enough as Tennessee pulled ahead and won 93-79. Western Kentucky does not have a challenging schedule from here on out, but if they can hold their total losses to just one or two the rest of the way, they should be fine in terms of a bid. Still, when a team’s schedule is weak, their margin for error is small, and that is certainly the case for WKU right now.

-Texas Tech jumped out to a huge lead early against Arkansas, and never looked back. Arkansas tried to cut into it late, but it was too little too late. It was the best the Red Raiders have looked all season, and it got Bobby Knight one step closer to setting the record. It also gave them their best win on the year so far, and that will be important when it comes to their NCAA Tournament resume.

-Utah State was 8-1, but they had some close calls against rather weak teams. This weekend, they showed that they aren’t as good as their record. BYU absolutely dominated them. The final score was 75-62, but the game really wasn’t that close.

-The halftime score of the Ohio State vs Cincinnati game was 42-14. That’s all you really need to know because although they did close the gap a little bit, it really didn’t matter.

-Fresno State continues to play outstanding basketball at home. This Saturday they beat a very good Creighton team 69-54. That is surprising because it looked like Creighton was finally playing like a top 25 caliber team after their win against Xavier. It is Fresno’s best win of the year. Although they only have one loss, they haven’t played a tough schedule and have struggled in their road games, so it’s good that they finally beat a decent team. Creighton is not looking good right now. They are just 4-3, but I can’t help but think that they are going to turn it up eventually.

-Baylor appeared to be playing some halfway decent basketball, so Syracuse’s blowout win against them is notable. Syracuse had struggled, but they definitely passed the style points test this weekend in their 94-71 win.

-Xavier pulled away from Arizona State to win 76-58. If you were watching the game on ESPNU, you know that Xavier coach Sean Miller’s father was at the game, and that his brother is an assistant at Arizona State. The reason you know that is because they kept mentioning it every five minutes. I think we saw more of Miller Sr. watching the game than we saw of the game itself. Winning this game was about all that went right for Xavier. Their losses to Cincinnati and Creighton are looking a little worse, and their win over Villanova isn’t looking as good seeing as how the Wildcats fell to Drexel in their last game. Xavier is not in my bracket this week.


-Texas, Texas A&M and Florida all have poor RPIs, but that is a reflection of their schedule and not of them. Common sense would dictate that they should be seeded about where I have them now, and even that will likely improve as the season goes on. None of those teams really have a big time statement win yet, but they definitely pass the style points test with flying colors. In the case of Florida and TAMU, they look like big time teams.

-SMU is 6-1 on the year against div1 and they even have a nice win against Dayton. Their only loss was on the road against Florida State, and they even hung tough in that game. It will be interesting to see what they do in C-USA, but with the exception of Memphis they appear to be as good as anyone else in that league. They are in the bracket this week as a #12 seed.

-Southern Illinois was the first team out, and Indiana was the last team in. Obviously that result reflected last night’s game, but we have a long season to go and that is hardly final. If Southern Illinois can step up big in conference they should be fine.

-Tulsa is another C-USA team that has built up a big record. They’ve done it against very weak competition, but they do have games against Oklahoma and Arkansas remaining on their non conference slate. If they can win one or both of those it will be a nice statement win as far as their resume goes. They aren’t in the projection this week due to a weak schedule, but they are worth keeping an eye on.

-Other teams with big records, but no big wins include Michigan, Villanova and West Virginia. They can all prove themselves during conference play given the types of opponents they’ll be facing then, but as of now they’ve made no case for themselves.

-New Mexico State is very hot right now. They’ve won six in a row, including a win and another against New Mexico. They got off to a late start, but they are playing excellent basketball now. Due to their schedule though, it will take a long string of wins to get them into the dance, but they are certainly good enough to do it.

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