VandyRadio Bracketology, March 2 edition

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.

The calendar has officially turned to March, and it’s beginning to feel a lot like March Madness. Viewers across the country saw numerous upsets this past weekend with NCAA Tournament ramifications, and the tournament picture is starting to clear up. The top teams in the country are all fighting to run the table the rest of the way and secure a 1 seed, while teams on the bubble look for a quality road win that might put them over the top. Some conference tournaments even start this week, as we’re less than two weeks away from Selection Sunday. Here’s how the bracket is looking at this juncture. As always, teams currently in first place in their respective conferences are given automatic bids and are listed in all-caps.

 

Midwest (Cleveland)

 

Louisville

1 KENTUCKY

16 SACRAMENTO ST/BUCKNELL

8 Michigan St

9 Cincinnati

 

Seattle

4 North Carolina

13 HARVARD

5 West Virginia

12 STEPHEN F AUSTIN

 

Louisville

3 Northern Iowa

14 CHARLESTON SOUTHERN

6 Georgetown

11 NC State/Purdue

 

Omaha

7 Oklahoma St

10 Texas A&M

2 WISCONSIN

15 ALBANY

 

West (Los Angeles)

 

Pittsburgh

1 VILLANOVA

16 ST FRANCIS (NY)/NEW MEXICO ST

8 Georgia

9 Dayton

 

Columbus

4 Oklahoma

13 MURRAY ST

5 Arkansas

12 Illinois/Temple

 

Columbus

3 WICHITA ST

14 SOUTH DAKOTA ST

6 Smu

11 BOISE ST

 

Portland

7 Iowa

10 Colorado St

2 ARIZONA

15 UC DAVIS

 

East (Syracuse, NY)

 

Charlotte

1 VIRGINIA

16 NORTH FLORIDA

8 Indiana

9 Ole Miss

 

Portland

4 Butler

13 VALPARAISO

5 Utah

12 LOUISIANA TECH

 

Pittsburgh

3 Maryland

14 BOWLING GREEN

6 Providence

11 DAVIDSON

 

Omaha

7 St John’s

10 Oregon

2 KANSAS

15 TEXAS SOUTHERN

 

South (Houston)

 

Charlotte

1 Duke

16 GEORGIA SOUTHERN

8 Lsu

9 Ohio St

 

Jacksonville

4 Iowa St

13 IONA

5 Notre Dame

12 WOFFORD

 

Jacksonville

3 Baylor

14 WILLIAM & MARY

6 San Diego St

11 TULSA

 

Seattle

7 Louisville

10 Xavier

2 GONZAGA

15 NC CENTRAL

 

Last 4 in: NC State, Purdue, Temple, Illinois

First 6 out, in order of consideration: Texas, BYU, Miami (FL), Pitt, Kansas St, Stanford

Some notes on the bracket:

– After putting together the S-curve for the tournament, three of the last four at-large teams ranked as 11 seeds, while Only Illinois ranked as a 12. Davidson, the current holder of the Atlantic 10’s tiebreak for first place, stood right in between UI and Temple, so I had to bump Davidson up to the 11 line and Temple down to the 12 line. If Davidson stays in this position on the S-curve without winning the Atlantic 10 tournament, this procedural bump likely will not be necessary.

– Louisville, Notre Dame, and VCU took big hits to their seeds based on a number of factors besides their actual performance. Louisville starting guard Chris Jones, one of the Cardinals’ key players, was kicked off the team recently and UL promptly struggled against ACC bottom-dweller Georgia Tech. I’m probably being a bit harsh here with how far I dropped the Cardinals, but the tournament committee does take into account injuries and other roster changes that have changed a team for good. Similarly, VCU has struggled since star guard Briante Weber went down with a torn ACL in a home loss to Richmond. VCU has the résumé of a 5 or 6 seed, but they simply aren’t the same without Weber, one of the two best defensive players in the country. Notre Dame fell due to a horrendous nonconference strength of schedule rating of 318.

– Davidson, Tulsa, and Boise State are all on the bubble, but all qualified for automatic bids as they all currently stand in first place in their respective leagues. Even without the auto-bids, all three would still be in right now with at-large bids.

– The SEC comfortably has 6 teams in right now, with Texas A&M being the least secure as a 10 seed and #39 on the S-curve. It’s possible that the SEC could end up with a number of bids other than 6, but I’d say it’s pretty unlikely. The Big Ten leads everyone with a whopping 8 bids.

– Seth Davis of CBSSports and Sports Illustrated made waves this weekend by suggesting it will be tough to keep 15-15 Kansas State out of the tournament due to the Wildcats’ impressive portfolio of quality wins. I’d be pretty surprised if K-State finds a way to sneak in because they’ve got too many bad losses for the committee to ignore, especially considering the team is only .500 and is 1-9 on the road. Bruce Weber’s team has its work cut out for it.

– An issue with a potential Xavier-St. John’s Big East first round matchup forced Xavier out west to Portland to play Louisville while Oregon got shipped to Omaha. Overall, however, there were relatively few travel concerns here despite the inconvenience produced by having both Portland and Seattle as early round sites.

– Kentucky and Wisconsin are the highest 1 and 2 seeds, respectively, yet nearly all bracketologists across the land have them in the same region due to geographical preferences. UW vs. UK would be about as good of an Elite Eight matchup as there can be.

– Finally, how is this relevant to Vanderbilt? Well, the Commodores’ résumé is comparable enough to that of a team like Stanford that VU should have a solid shot at the NIT with a 1-1 finish to the regular season and one or two wins in the SEC tournament. This scenario is very doable for the ‘Dores, and with an effective record of 16-12 (the win over Trevecca Nazarene doesn’t count) Vandy could make it interesting if they were to find their way to the SEC tournament final at Bridgestone Arena. VU’s weak nonconference schedule (218th nationally), along with a 0-7 record against RPI top-50 opponents, makes it difficult for the Commodores to sneak into the First Four in Dayton. An effective 21-13 record, however, with a road win over Ole Miss and neutral wins over Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas A&M could make things interesting. Ultimately, I see a 4 or 5 seed in the NIT as the most likely scenario for Vandy.

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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