"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Updated S-Curve

First, let's get to the bottom line, here's our updated S-Curve:

Last Four Byes: Georgia Tech, UCLA, Maryland, Louisville

Last Four In: Drake, Colorado State, Mississippi, Xavier

NIT 1-Seeds: St. Louis, Boise State, Syracuse, SMU

NIT 2-Seeds: Memphis, Utah State, St. John's, Seton Hall

Now for a few thoughts on the parts that might lead to discussion:

12-Oklahoma State over 13-Villanova:

I've got the Cowboys higher than most, primarily due to their 8-5 Q1 record. They also only have 2 losses outside the first Quadrant, both to TCU. 'Nova has relatively similar losses, but only a 3-3 Q1 record. It also doesn't help that the Wildcats lost two starter to injury in the past week.

22-Connecticut, 23-Creighton, and 24-Loyola Chicago on the 6-Line:

I know I'm high on UConn but the James Bouknight injury was probably the most notable player to go out and return this season in terms of impact on his team's play. With Bouknight, the Huskes are 10-2 with both losses in Q1. As far as Creighton, while their Q1+2 record is great, their 3 Q3 losses are glaring. Evaluating those two teams side-by-side at full strength, I just can't put Creighton ahead of UConn. Loyola Chicago joins them on the 6 line, which is also higher than most. That said, they have no bad losses, sparkling computer numbers, and a winning (6-4) Q1+2 record. I think the Committee will reward them for that.

9 Teams for 6 spots; 42-Maryland, 43-Louisville, 45-Drake, 46-Colorado State, 47-Mississippi, 48-Xavier, St. Louis, Boise State, & Syracuse:

In my opinion, this is the bubble. I suspect Maryland and Louisville are safe, but the Terps poor overall record and Louisville's lack of Q1 wins could see them on the outside. Drake is the last team I feel at all good about, especially as 3 of 4 losses came without Shanquan Hemphill, who should be back, but it wouldn't be shocking to see a mid-major with a single Q1 win get left out. As far as the others, Colorado State got in because of a decent (3-5) Q1+2 record and their ability to avoid any bad losses. Mississippi does have a pair of Q3 losses, but their .500 record in Q1+2 and 3 Q1 wins was unparalleled. Xavier is the last team in for the moment, but that is tenuous at best. The Musketeers have two solid wins over Creighton and Oklahoma, but while they are a decent 6-7 in Q1+2, 4 of those wins come against Q2B opponents. As far as the rest, SLU, Boise, and Syracuse all come up just short largely because they have too few Q1 wins to overcome their Q3+4 losses. Of the three, St. Louis is the most likely inclusion if the Selection Committee is willing to overlook their two Q3 losses that occurred immediately after a month-long COVID layoff.

Bid Thief Potential: Big East, American, Mountain West

While the other high-majors always have this potential, and Duke & Kentucky fans will probably feel snubbed, I think the three most realistic bid thieves would come from the three leagues here. With Villanova's injuries, it's possible that a team like Seton Hall, St. John's, or even Marquette could sneak into a final. From there, it just takes 40 good minutes to replace Xavier on the bubble with another Big East team. In the American, anyone other than Houston or Wichita would be a bid thief. I think Wichita has enough good on the resume coupled with no bad losses to stay in the field (though they would create 10 teams for 6 spots with no absolute certainty) so if a team like Memphis or SMU manage to snag the bid, it would likely mean a 3-bid American. The Mountain West, with San Diego State the only lock, might be the most likely bid thief candidate. Boise State and Colorado State would certainly rest easier with the auto-bid, but Utah State might be the real bid thief candidate as the Aggies have won this tournament twice in a row and will be favored in every game at least until the final.

Multi-bid Leagues

Big 10: 9

Big 12: 7

SEC: 7

ACC: 7

Big East: 4

Pac-12: 4

AAC: 2

Atlantic-10: 2

MVC: 2

MWC: 2

WCC: 2

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