April 17, 2014

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Bracketology: Who's In, Out and On the Bubble?

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | McLaughlin Archive

Syracuse and Johns Hopkins helped their NCAA tournament causes with key wins last week. (John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com)

This weekend marks the last full regular-season slate of the year, as conference post-season tournaments will start up two weekends from now, with most notably the expanded six-team Patriot League post-season. It's getting down to crunch time for a lot teams, and their NCAA tournament hopes. Here's an updated Bracketology look, setting the field as if the season ended today.

A couple reminders from version one: 1) the selection committee will weigh a number of criteria, some of which can be found in this nitty-gritty page from last year, and 2) the committee will try to limit flights and potential flights when it comes to arranging the bracket after determining the top eight seeds.

What counts

-- RPI, of which a official variety can be found at NCAA.com.

-- Top 10 opponents average RPI, or RPI Strength of Schedule that is found on LaxPower.com. It is based on a team's 10 highest-ranking opponents in RPI from the season.

-- Record vs. the top 5 RPI, top 10, top 15 and top 20, as well as record versus teams 21 and below. Good wins and bad losses.

-- Average opponents' RPI in wins and average opponents' RPI in losses, which speaks to the quality of wins and the quality of losses.

-- Overall win-loss record

-- Head-to-head results

-- An important note: A team must have a .500 or better record against Division I opponents to be considered for at-large selection, which could come into play this year with the ACC, like it did with Virginia last season.

What doesn't count

-- When a game is played. A February result will have the same impact as an April one. "When a game is played is irrelevant," NCAA tournament selection chair Jim Siedliski said.

-- Unavailable players at the time of a game. If a key player is suspended for a game or multiple games, his absence will not factor into weighing a particular result.

-- Margin of victory

FIRST ROUND AQ QUALIFIERS (6)

Conference Team Record RPI RPI Strength of Schedule Record vs. RPI 1-5 vs. 6-10 vs. 11-15 vs. 16-20 Top 20 Wins Outside Top 20 Losses
ACC Duke
11-2 2 2 3-0 1-2 2-0 0-0 Syracuse, Virginia, Penn, Denver, North Carolina, Notre Dame
 
Patriot Loyola 11-1 7 15 1-0 0-0 0-1 1-0 Duke, Towson  
Big East
Denver
10-2
5
28
0-2
0-0
1-0
1-0
Notre Dame, Villanova
 
CAA
Hofstra
9-3
10
17
0-0
1-0
1-1
2-0
Cornell, Drexel, Fairfield, Towson
St. John's, Marquette
Ivy Harvard 7-5 22 12 0-2 1-1 0-0 0-2 Cornell  
America East Albany 6-5
19
23
0-2
0-0
0-1
1-0
UMass
Bryant, Canisius

The skinny: The most important note here is that Harvard is still being considered the Ivy League champion despite falling over the weekend in overtime to Penn. Harvard is currently tied for first place in the Ivy League with Cornell. Both have 3-1 league records and the Crimson beat the Big Red head-to-head. Penn and Yale have 3-2 records in Ivy play. Had Harvard not been considered the Ivy League champ, the make-up of this projected would look a bit different ... What's also become clear is that the Big East competition this year isn't doing Denver any favors. The Pioneers' RPI is high, but top-10 opponents' strength of schedule is lower than that of even Albany, which in our last projection was one of the 'first four' automatic qualifiers and benefits here from Air Force taking over the ECAC race. ... Loyola's numbers have also dropped over the last two weeks, the result of weak Patriot competition in the eyes of the computers. ... Hofstra improved its stock recently, but still has blemishes against St. John's and Marquette on the resume. ... Duke is the class of the entire field right now, with six wins against the RPI Top 20.


PLAY-IN GAMES 'FIRST FOUR' AQ QUALIFIERS (4)

ECAC
Air Force
8-3
24
50
0-1
0-0
0-0
1-0
Fairfield
VMI, Canisius
MAAC Siena 7-4 30 53 0-1 0-1 0-0 0-0   St. John's, Robert Morris
Atlantic Sun High Point 8-4 37 47 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-1   Delaware, Mercer, Bellarmine
NEC
St. Joseph's
8-4
34
58
0-1
0-0
0-1
0-0

High Point

The skinny: The big move here is Air Force currently in the ECAC lead, at 3-0 in the league, ahead of a big game with Ohio State (2-0) this weekend. The winner could get the top seed for the ECAC tournament... There could a decent battle between the America East and ECAC winner, or NEC winner if Bryant takes it, for the final first-round AQ spot and a 'first four' bid. ... In any event, whomever the MAAC and Atlantic Sun champs turn out to be are destined for the play-in round the Wednesday after Selection Sunday.


AT-LARGE TEAMS (8)

ACC
Syracuse
8-3
1
3
2-1
1-1
1-1
1-0
North Carolina, Cornell, Notre Dame, Johns Hopkins, Albany
 
ACC
North Carolina
9-3
8
4
1-2
1-0
2-1
0-0
Maryland, Virginia, Johns Hopkins, Princeton
 
ACC Maryland
9-2 6 16 2-1
0-1
1-0
1-0
Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, Villanova
 
ACC
Virginia
8-5
12
1
2-1
1-3
1-1
0-0
Syracuse, Loyola, Johns Hopkins, Drexel
 
Independent
Johns Hopkins
8-3
4
5
0-1
1-0
1-1
2-0
Maryland, Albany, Princeton, Towson

Ivy Penn 6-3 3 8 1-1 0-1 1-1 1-0 Denver, Yale, Villanova  
Ivy
Cornell
9-3
9
9
1-1
0-1
2-0
0-0
Penn, Virginia, Yale
Harvard
ACC
Notre Dame
6-4 13 7 0-3
1-0
1-0
0-0
Virginia, North Carolina
Penn St.

The skinny: Syracuse had a huge week with wins over North Carolina and Cornell that vaulted them right to the top of the at-large field. Johns Hopkins also benefited tremendously from its win over Maryland. The big difference between this year and last year for the Blue Jays? The Loyola game down the road doesn't appear to be a must-win, although it would behoove Johns Hopkins to emerge victorious considering there could be surprise conference champion — a Big East winner other than Denver would throw things off the most — that squeezes out one or more teams in this group.

The other question is Notre Dame. The Super ACC was going to reach up and grab some team, and the Irish are it. If Notre Dame falls to Maryland on Saturday and then can't beat them in a rematch in the ACC tournament first-round (a matchup that is already set), they would have a 6-6 record after the events at PPL Park. That would lead to a must-win game against Army to close the season May 3 in order to stay NCAA tournament at-large berth eligible with a record above .500.



FIRST FOUR OUT

Ivy
Princeton
7-4
14
6
1-1
1-1
0-1
1-0
Penn, Hofstra, Villanova
Brown
CAA
Drexel
8-4
15
24
0-0
0-2
0-0
2-1
UMass, Albany
Bryant
Ivy
Yale
7-3
11
19
0-1
0-1
1-0
1-0
Princeton

ECAC
Fairfield
10-3
16
35
0-0
0-1
1-0
1-0
Yale, UMass
Air Force, Providence

The skinny: Princeton or Yale would have cases for getting in the field had Harvard not been considered the Ivy League champ at this time. Drexel has the next strongest resume. Fairfield will almost surely have to win its conference to make the NCAA tournament. The ECAC is a one-bid league. The good news: there's still plenty of games left to be played and everyone here has a chance to win an AQ berth.


PROJECTED BRACKET 

Long Island quarterfinal

1) Duke vs. Air Force/High Point winner
8) Penn vs. Cornell

Delaware quarterfinal

5) Loyola vs. Denver
4) Maryland vs. Harvard

Delaware quarterfinal

3) North Carolina vs. Albany
6) Virginia vs. Notre Dame

Long Island quarterfinal

7) Johns Hopkins vs. Hofstra
2) Syracuse vs. Siena/St. Joseph's winner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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