Final "Field of 68 Projection" (March 16, 1:38 a.m.) UPDATED: 100% Correct
I will put it out there right away. I have the Gophers missing the tournament as one of the "first 4 out", but make no mistake they're right there in the mix. An at-large bid is not out of the question (my recent history is I misfire on 1 or 2 at-larges), but I have the Gophers coming up a little bit short. Despite strong overall (#8) and nonconference (#49) schedule rankings (at the time of this projection), in my opinion what did the Gophers in was a poor road/neutral record (4-10) and their 2-8 record vs. the RPI top 50, both ranking among the worst of my final 8 bubble teams.
Here's my final projection of the 2014 NCAA Tournament field. RPI rank (through March 15) is noted in parentheses and is courtesy of the web site warrennolan.com.
FIELD OF 68
America East (1): Albany (185)
American (4): Louisville (18), Cincinnati (20), UConn (23), Memphis (35)
ACC (6): Duke (7), Virginia (11), Syracuse (16), North Carolina (25), Pitt (39), NC State (55)
Atlantic Sun (1): Mercer (83)
Atlantic 10 (6): VCU (12), UMass (22), Saint Louis (26), George Washington (29), Saint Joseph's (37), Dayton (43)
Big East (4): Villanova (5), Creighton (10), Providence (41), Xavier (47)
Big Sky (1): Weber State (146)
Big South (1): Coastal Carolina (191)
Big Ten (6): Wisconsin (6), Michigan (9), Michigan State (21), Ohio State (24), Nebraska (48), Iowa (57)
Big XII (7): Kansas (3), Iowa State (8), Oklahoma (27), Baylor (30), Texas (36), Oklahoma State (45), Kansas State (51)
Big West (1): Cal Poly (207)
Colonial (1): Delaware (66)
Conference USA (1): Tulsa (74)
Horizon (1): Milwaukee (131)
Ivy (1): Harvard (46)
MAAC (1): Manhattan (60)
MAC (1): Western Michigan (67)
MEAC (1): North Carolina Central (99)
Missouri Valley (1): Wichita State (4)
Mountain West (2): New Mexico (13), San Diego State (15)
Northeast (1): Mount Saint Mary's (189)
Ohio Valley (1): Eastern Kentucky (96)
Pac 12 (6): Arizona (1), UCLA (14), Oregon (28), Colorado (33), Stanford (40), Arizona State (44)
Patriot (1): American (118)
SEC (3): Florida (2), Kentucky (17), Tennessee (42)
Southern (1): Wofford (153)
Southland (1): Stephen F. Austin (52)
SWAC (1): Texas Southern (239)
Summit (1): North Dakota State (34)
Sun Belt (1): Georgia State (70)/Louisiana (98) winner on Sunday afternoon
West Coast (2): Gonzaga (19), BYU (31)
WAC (1): New Mexico State (73)
Last 4 In: BYU (31), Arizona State (44), NC State (55), Iowa (57)
First 4 Out: Missouri (49), GOPHERS (50), Florida State (54), Green Bay (58)
Others Considered: Southern Miss (32), Toledo (38), SMU (53), Illinois (71)
1. With a late charge (if you can call it that), NC State is my last team in. Getting down to the nitty gritty of it, I took the Wolfpack because of its above .500 road/neutral record (8-7), but most importantly the fact that all 3 of State's RPI top-50 wins occurred away from Raleigh. The Wolfpack won at Tennessee, at Pitt, and vs. Syracuse in the ACC Tournament, all projected tournament teams. A win over fellow bubbler Florida State didn't hurt, either.
2. I feel pretty comfortable with 34 of my 36 at-large selections. In addition to NC State, I hem and haw'd about Iowa. It was awfully difficult to take a team that finished on a 3-7 slide, but in the end I looked at the total body of work, which included 5 RPI top-50 wins, more than the Gophers even if we stripped the Hawkeyes of their top-50 win over the Gophers. I'm gambling on the Hawkeyes with their #57 RPI, worst among my at-large selections. However, I won't be surprised at all if the Selection Committee -- figuratively speaking -- decides to draw the line at Nebraska (5th in my pecking order) in the Big Ten. Trust me, I hope I'm very much wrong on the whole Hawkeye/Gopher thing.
3. Oklahoma State is the only at-large I selected with an under .500 conference record (8-10 in Big XII regular season).
4. BYU, Dayton, and Nebraska are three teams I appear to be valuing more than Joe Lunardi and Jerry Palm. I'm real interested to see how many of those 3 make it.
5. It's been mentioned on the board previously, but if SMU and/or Southern Miss receive at-large bid(s) it's nothing short of a complete joke. I would much rather see a mid-major regular-season champion like Green Bay (win over Virginia, 11-3 road/neutral record, also a win over C-USA tourney champ Tulsa) receive a bid than those two jokers.
6. My numbers. ... For the record, since discovering this strange hobby beginning in the 1991-92 season, I'm 678 of 720 (94.2%) projecting at-larges. Over the last 5 years I'm 140 of 145 (96.6%), and I'm 107 of 111 (96.4%) since the tournament expanded to 68 teams in 2011. Last season I missed 1 at-large, selecting Kentucky over La Salle, which went on to advance to the Sweet 16 from the First Four in Dayton. In those 22 seasons, I've only been perfect twice, the 2000-01 and 2008-09 seasons.
7. I thought it was a lot more difficult to select the final 4 or 5 at-larges this year. I always strive for perfection, but I'll be more than happy if I get 34 of the 36 at-larges correct this season.
8. Here's hoping we don't hear the Gophers mentioned as the very first team "out" of the field. Why? Because there is one less at-large bid (36) than there was last year because of the new American Athletic Conference.
**** I've enjoyed doing this for another season, but would much prefer the Gophers not make it a nearly annual exercise to inhabit the bubble. How about something in the neighborhood of a #6 seed next season, eh Gophers?
Last edited by SelectionSunday; 03-16-2014 at 12:51 AM.
Hype shouldn't buy NC State into the tournament.
Hate this team living on the bubble. If we don't make it I'm still blaming Bo Ryan and Sam Dekker. Neither Dre's ankle or head have recovered.
It was Gasser, but I understand the sentiment.
Originally Posted by diehard
SS, I have a thought. You know way more than I do about this, but I will thow this out. The revenue a school brings to a bowl game in football is taken into consideration for selections. Do you think, with how close we are, that a potential father vs son matchup could help us get in?
Originally Posted by Tommy Flanagan
Bowl committees represent and are concerned about their own bowl only.
Thanks for the correction. I hate them all.
Originally Posted by Gold Vision
This team just left too many games on the table. Mo walker not dunking against NW, or choking at home against Illinois. And if you could have just beaten Michigan at home and Nebraska on the road this team would be dancing. Not to forget the A10 is really strong this year which does not help. I will be sweating come 5:00 PM
I agree with you SS, they're not going to make it this year. You could have made the case that the loss of Andre Hollins when we lost to Nebraska, Northwestern, and Purdue (our 2 bad losses) could be explained, but the way that we finished, even though they say that is not taken into consideration, in that last loss to Wisconsin left a bad memory in their minds.
I respect SS's ability so much, that this takes away all of the suspense of selection sunday. SS says we're not going to make it, so I don't have to be going to my phone in church. It's probably a good thing.
Not at all.
Originally Posted by Tommy Flanagan
I appreciate that jmag, but the Gophers do have a puncher's chance. If the committee values strength of schedule more than some other things. ...
Originally Posted by jmag21
Originally Posted by SelectionSunday
I'm going to ignore this, SS. It's the hope that kills ya.
You took the words out of my mouth. I'm now at peace with the Gophs not getting in, and I won't be sweating it this afternoon. I'll just enjoy the show and it's excitement, and if they happen to sneak in, it's all gravy.
Originally Posted by jmag21
I agree this team could have helped themselves on several occasions but simply did not. I hate to say this about my team, but they did not seem to play well or make crucial plays under pressure, when it counted, and they did not handle in-game success very well, choking away leads at home in what turned out to be the two deciding games of the year. Of course, credit to Pitino and the players for greatly overachieving this season; in the end I'm pleased, and these will be good memories. But they are still in the process of learning how to win.
Thanks for the tremendous amount of work, Selection, it's great stuff (the Gophers miss not withstanding). They controlled their ability to get into the dance on several occasions (Michigan, @Michigan State in OT, Northwestern, @Purdue in 3OT, Wisconsin in the BTT) and fell down every time. As much as it hurts to say, that is not the makings of a tournament team, and I expect Selection's predictions, and the reality of the selection committee's choices, will confirm that later this afternoon.