Friday, January 27, 2017

January 27, 2017

The Big Ten might as well be called the Bubble Ten right now.  After five teams are solidly in at this point between Maryland at a 4-seed and Minnesota at a 7-seed, there are five more between a 10-seed and the Next Four Out - Michigan, Ohio State, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan State.  Most of these teams have ample talent to earn a selection, but their resumes have moderate issues - from Illinois' lack of quality wins to Indiana's RPI of 79, to Michigan State's nine losses.  It's still possible for all ten to make it, but they'll all need to gang up on the four Big10 bottom feeders - Penn State, Nebraska, Iowa & Rutgers.  

As for my Golden Gophers, 4 of their last 10 games are against those bottom feeders - and they really need to win all four.  They'll also need to win 2 of 3 against the bubble group (Indiana, @Illinois & Michigan).  Finally, it would be a big resume boost if they could steal a win of 3 games left against the top tier pack - 2 vs Maryland and @ Wisconsin.  That'd mean 6 or 7 wins in their last 10 games for a 9-9 or 10-8 conference record and season record of 21-10 or 22-9.  If they can get at least one win in the conference tournament, that should secure at least a 7-seed.

Finally, I'm excited that the Selection Committee has decided to provide a mid-season top-16 on February 11th.  It will be fun to have some real standings to anchor to.  My only concern is that it may help level the field of bracketologists if the committee provides too much insight into their late-season methodology.  

This bracket is created as if today were Selection Sunday, not a forward looking projection.

1's: Baylor, Villanova, Florida State, Gonzaga
2's: Kansas, North Carolina, Kentucky, Arizona
3's: Louisville, Oregon, Creighton, Butler
4's: Cincinnati, Virginia, Maryland, Notre Dame
5's: Wisconsin, Florida, South Carolina, West Virginia
6's: UCLA, Purdue, Saint Mary's, Northwestern
7's: Duke, Minnesota, Marquette, Xavier
8's: Virginia Tech, SMU, USC, Arkansas
9's: TCU, Dayton, Iowa State, Kansas State
10's: Michigan, UNC Wilmington, Seton Hall, Clemson
11's: Texas Tech, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, Wake Forest
12's: Middle Tennessee, Akron, Nevada, New Mexico State
13's: Illinois State, UTA, Vermont, Valparaiso
14's: Belmont, Florida Gulf Coast, Monmouth, Winthrop
15's: East Tennessee State, Bucknell, North Dakota State, Princeton
16's: Sam Houston State, North Carolina Central, Eastern Washington, Texas Southern, UC Irvine, Mount Saint Mary's

FFO: Indiana, Illinois, Miami (FL), VCU
NFO: Michigan State, Oklahoma State, California, Ole Miss

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