VandyRadio mid-conference season Bracketology: 6 SEC teams in

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.

As conferences across the nation are roughly halfway through their respective schedules, it’s time for VandyRadio’s latest edition of Bracketology. Here are my seedings if the NCAA Tournament started today.

Through games played on Saturday, January 31st

Automatic bids via conference championship in all caps

– 1

1 KENTUCKY

2 UVA

3 Duke

4 GONZAGA

– 2

5 KANSAS

6 WISCONSIN

7 ARIZONA

8 VILLANOVA

– 3

9 Notre Dame

10 Louisville

11 Iowa St

12 Unc

– 4

13 VCU

14 Butler

15 Maryland

16 UNI

– 5

17 Utah

18 Georgetown

19 Wichita St

20 West Virginia

– 6

21 Oklahoma

22 Baylor

23 Arkansas

24 Providence

– 7

25 Indiana

26 Cincinnati

27 Ohio St

28 Texas

– 8

29 Smu

30 Sdsu

31 Seton Hall

32 Dayton

– 9

33 Oklahoma St

34 Iowa

35 Texas A&M

36 Uga

– 10

37 Xavier

38 Lsu

39 St John’s

40 Stanford

– 11

41 Colorado St

42 Miami

43 George Washington

44 Old Dominion

45 Michigan St

46 Ole Miss

-12

47 TULSA

48 WOFFORD

49 AKRON

50 MURRAY ST

– 13

51 LOUISIANA TECH

52 YALE

53 IONA

54 STEPHEN F AUSTIN

– 14

55 VALPARAISO

56 WILLIAM & MARY

57 LBSU

58 HIGH POINT

– 15

59 GEORGIA SOUTHERN

60 NC CENTRAL

61 SOUTH DAKOTA ST

62 FGCU

– 16

63 SACRAMENTO ST

64 ALBANY

65 BUCKNELL

66 NEW MEXICO ST

67 ST FRANCIS (NY)

68 ALABAMA ST

Analysis:

–       With the slow but steady expansion of the NCAA Tournament to the current size of 68, some have said that the quality of the field has decreased and that the last few at-large teams are not of true NCAA quality. This year I would have to agree, as an inordinate number of teams hold multiple bad losses (losses to teams outside the RPI top 100). Most teams from the 6 seeds down have at least one bad loss, leading to lots of relatively weak resumes compared to what we have seen in past years. This opens the door for teams with uninspiring resumes that have simply been able to avoid bad losses (e.g. Baylor, Texas A&M, and Dayton) to climb higher than they would most years. This could lead to less 6-11, 5-12, and 4-13 upsets, as the current scene features a particularly strong batch of 4 and 5 seeds.

–       There are nine teams vying for a spot on the 1 line, suggesting that the top of college basketball is surprisingly deep. This is a year where we could see more 1 vs. 2 Elite Eight matchups than usual, and this phenomenon leaves Kentucky with a very difficult path to the NCAA Tournament championship.

–       The SEC has frequently trumpeted the league’s overall improvement this season, and with six teams on pace to receive at-large bids it certainly appears that inroads have been made. I tend to doubt that Texas A&M can hang on, however, and I suspect that at least one of Georgia, LSU, and Ole Miss will end up in the NIT. This would give the SEC four bids, which is still an improvement over last year’s debacle. With numerous young, talented teams as well as multiple highly-rated recruiting classes, next year is when the conference has a chance to make some real noise nationally.

–      As far as Vanderbilt goes, 10 losses on the season means they are essentially done. VU would need to go on a nearly unprecedented streak and should be eliminated from possible contention after a thirteenth loss. The Commodores would do well to make the NIT, and probably need to go 7-3 in their last 10 regular season games to do so. The second half of the conference schedule is very weak compared to the first half, so this is a possibility despite the team’s disappointing play in January.

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