VandyRadio Bracketology: Can the ‘Dores enter the conversation?

The Black & Gold Standard is an all-new VandyRadio Blog featuring general commentary and advanced statistical breakdowns following every Vanderbilt Men’s Basketball game. Robbie Weinstein of The Homefield Advantage (along with, on occasion, Max Herz and Dan Helinek) will be bringing you the best analysis of Commodore basketball throughout the season as the team chases a postseason berth for the first time since 2012. Check out the Black & Gold Standard for all kinds of new content as the young ‘Dores fight through the 2014-15 schedule.

Less than a week from Selection Sunday, conference tournaments around the country are under way. The SEC Tournament starts Wednesday at Bridgestone Arena, and Vandy faces in-state rival Tennessee on Thursday night. The Commodores have caught fire in winning 8 of 10, but can VU fight their way into NCAA contention? First, here are my seedings.

Conference Champions (projected or otherwise) in all caps. Seedings include all games through Sunday, March 8.

-1-

1 KENTUCKY

2 Duke

3 VIRGINIA

4 VILLANOVA

-2-

5 WISCONSIN

6 ARIZONA

7 KANSAS

8 GONZAGA

-3-

9 Maryland

10 Baylor

11 Iowa St

12 Notre Dame

-4-

13 Oklahoma

14 NORTHERN IOWA

15 Butler

16 West Virginia

-5-

17 Wichita St

18 North Carolina

19 Louisville

20 Arkansas

-6-

21 Georgetown

22 SMU

23 Providence

24 Iowa

-7-

25 St John’s

26 Utah

27 Oklahoma St

28 San Diego St

-8-

29 Nc State

30 Cincinnati

31 Lsu

32 Michigan St

-9-

33 Xavier

34 DAVIDSON

35 Vcu

36 Ole Miss

-10-

37 Georgia

38 Oregon

39 Dayton

40 Colorado St

-11-

41 Indiana

42 Temple

43 Texas

44 Ohio St

45 Purdue

46 BOISE ST

-12-

47 Byu

48 WOFFORD

49 STEPHEN F AUSTIN

50 YALE

-13-

51 VALPARAISO

52 CENTRAL MICHIGAN

53 LOUISIANA TECH

54 IONA

-14-

55 GEORGIA ST

56 UC DAVIS

57 WILLIAM & MARY

58 BELMONT

-15-

59 ALBANY

60 COASTAL CAROLINA

61 SOUTH DAKOTA ST

62 NC CENTRAL

-16-

63 NORTH FLORIDA

64 LAFAYETTE

65 TEXAS SOUTHERN

66 MONTANA

67 NEW MEXICO ST

68 ST FRANCIS (NY)

Out (in order of consideration): Illinois, Tulsa, Texas A&M, Miami Fl, Richmond, Old Dominion, UCLA

In short, there’s no question that Vanderbilt can ascend into the first few teams out with a strong showing at the SEC Tournament this week. Here’s how the ‘Dores currently compare with my last team in, BYU. While a team’s RPI rarely rules them out in a head-to-head comparison, VU’s weak nonconference strength of schedule rating hurts them, along with the road loss to Mississippi State in January. BYU’s biggest advantage, of course, is their road win over Gonzaga. A Vanderbilt run to the SEC title game could make things interesting, as VU’s RPI would likely rise into the low 60s. The Commodores likely would add top-50 neutral site wins over Arkansas and Georgia, along with a neutral site win over fringe top-100 team Tennessee. I’m not confident that Vanderbilt can overcome their poor nonconference schedule, but there is still time for other teams ahead of them to stumble. If Vandy were to lose in the SEC final to Kentucky, I’d give them about a 20-25% chance, at best, to get into the big dance. Of course, the Commodores still need a win over Tennessee on Thursday to be confident that the team will make the NIT. There’s no doubt the Bridgestone Arena will be the home of a lot of fun over the next few days.

Check out VandyRadio’s comprehensive Vanderbilt sports blog series. Building the Masonic Tradition covers Commodore football, The Black & Gold Standard covers VU hoops, and Eyes of the Hawk covers Vandy baseball. VandyRadio.com is your home for year-round coverage of your favorite Vanderbilt teams.

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