Tagged with "Picks & Predictions"
NCAA Spec Sheet 3-16
Category: NCAA
Tags: NCAA Basketball Picks & Predictions

The next to last Spec Sheet of the year sees the day dawn with 12 auto bids being handed out over the course of the day. The sheet continues to be very fluid, and tomorrow there will be a spec sheet before the final games and just before the bids are announced.

NCAA Spec Sheet 3-13
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NCAA College Basketball Picks & Predictions

Tuesday saw three more bids handed out as LIU-Brooklyn and South Dakota State repeated as Northeast and Summit Champs and return to the NCAA tourney. The Blackbirds are making their third straight trip. Valparaiso held off Wright State to earn its first tourney bid since 2004. Little has changed on the sheet aside from some minor corrections and updating the teams that have secured a NCAA tourney bid. There is only one championship being played on Wednesday as the Patriot League title is on the line in Lewisburg, PA with host Bucknell and Lafayette facing off at 7:30. The Big East, Big 12, Southeast, Pac-12 and Mountain West are some of the major conferences starting play with the Big East, Mountain West and Pac-12 playing an all day slate of games most of which start around Noon. Today and tomorrow will be the busiest college basketball days of the year. With apologies to the festive holiday season, for a basketball junkie this is the most wonderful time of the year.

 

 

Atlantic Coast
Conference Class-Power
Safe: Miami Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State

Playing Their Way In: Virginia
Hoping for the Best:Maryland
Skinny on the ACC: Miami clinched its first ever ACC title regular season or postseason and have the #1 seed headed to Greensboro, but the Dukies are the team to beat after punishing Carolina in front of a sullen Chapel Hill crowd. Could we see a Miami-Duke ACC title game next Sunday with a #1 seed on the line? Virginia secured a 1st round bye with a taut win over Maryland and may be just about safe. The Terrapins on the other hand are in real trouble after a late season slide they may need to get to Saturday at least to get back on the right side of the tourney equation.

Atlantic Coast Conference Championship: Mar 14-Mar 17 Greensboro Coliseum; Greensboro, NC

Key Games: Wake Forest vs Maryland Thursday 7p (ESPNU) The fading Terrapins had better not rely on the fact that they have beaten the Demon Deacons twice, if they slip up they have no shot at a tourney bid.

Projected Bids: 5

Atlantic Ten
Conference Class-Major
Safe: Va. Commonwealth,Saint Louis, Butler

Playing Their Way In: Temple

Hoping For The Best: LaSalle, Xavier

The A-10 Spec is: St. Louis will head to the Barclays center in Brooklyn and the A-10 tourney as the top seed after steadily pulling away from a fading LaSalle squad. While VCU and Butler are way safe. Temple just went safe after routing the Rams in front of a rabidly happy home crowd and a national TV audience who is getting a glimpse of how dangerously good this team is.

 

Atlantic 10 Conference Championship: Mar 14-17 Barclays Center, Brooklyn

Key Games: St. Joseph’s vs Xavier Thursday 6:30p (NBCS) The Muskies need to string together wins in Brooklyn to play bid stealer.

Projected Bids: 4

Big East
Conference Class-Power
Safe: Syracuse, Georgetown, Marquette, Louisville, Notre Dame, Pitt ,Cincinnati

Playing Their Way In:Villanova,

Hoping For The Best: Providence
Big East Skinny: The Hoyas blasted the Orange in front of happy home crowd in DC and will head to MSG as the #1 seed. There are plenty of safe teams here, Cincy isn’t totally rock Safe safe, but beating Providence will further that end. The Friars took a tough loss against UConn and have more or less faded into a win it to get in it Also the badly fading Johnnies who lost a heartbreaker to Marquette are in need to get to no less than the Semis on Friday to stay in the conversation.

 

Big East Championship: Mar 12-16 Madison Square Garden, New York

Key Game: Cincinnati vs Providence Wednesday Noon (ESPN) The Bearcats are a lot safer than the Friars who are needing to make a lot happen to get tourney consideration.

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Projected bids: 8

Big Ten
Conference Class-Power
Safe: Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Illinois, Wisconsin

Hoping For The Best: Minnesota, Iowa
The word on the Big Ten is: Indiana won a thriller against Michigan in Ann Arbor and head to Chicago as the #1 seed. Where the Gophers looked like they were home free, they take yet another hit on their resume, losing to Purdue. That combined with the steady improvement of Iowa means the Gophers are now looking up at not only the Hawkeyes but the Illini and Boilers have passed them in the standings. The Gophers may need a couple wins in Chicago to get back safe. If any bids get stolen, that may snatch the bid that just ten days ago looked to be in the bag.

 

Big Ten Conference Championship: Mar 14-17: United Center, Chicago

Key Game:Minnesota vs Illinois Thursday Noon (BTN) The Gophers might feel a lot safer if they beat the Iliini

Projected Bids: 7

Big 12
Conference Class-Power
Safe: Kansas, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Kansas State

Playing Their Way In: Oklahoma
Hoping For The Best:Baylor
Skinny from the heartland: Just when you are about to write Baylor off they not only knock off Kansas and prevent them from winning the Big 12 title outright, they laid a frightening woodshed job on them that makes you wonder what this team can do if they put it all together. They still need to put in work to get in. Oklahoma took an abject inexcusable loss to TCU and really needs to get a win over Iowa State to be totally safe.

 

Big 12 Conference Championships: Mar 13-16 Sprint Center, Kansas City

Key Games: Baylor vs Oklahoma State Thursday 9:30 (FSN) The Bears need to get at least to semifinal Saturday to push their way in, beating the Pokes is crucial to that end

Projected Bids:5

Conference USA
Conference Class-Major
Safe: Memphis
Hoping For The Best:Central Florida, Southern Miss
Oh Say Can You C-USA Spec: The Tigers ran the table in the C-USA and are safe, though I still think that this a one-bid conference unless Southern Miss or UCF plays bid stealer.

Conference USA Championships: March 13-16 BOK Center, Tulsa

Key Game: TBD vs USM Thursday (CBSS) The Eagles will face the winner of the UAB/SMU and had better not even think of losing if they want to retain what slim tourney hopes that they have.

Projected Bids: 1

Missouri Valley
Conference Class-Mid Major
IN: Creighton

Safe:Wichita State
Missouri Valley Skinny: Bravo to the Bluejays! They edged the Shockers in a thrilling finale and clinch the auto bid, Im pretty sure that Shockers will garner an at large bid. Northern Iowa is off the sheet and will not get a bid after losing in their first game.

Missouri Valley Conference Champions: Creighton

Projected Bids: 2


Mountain West
Conference Class-Major
Safe: UNLV, San Diego State, Colorado State, New Mexico
Playing Their Way In: Boise State
Spec from the Mountains: The Lobos are safe, as are the Rams, Rebels and Aztecs. Im thinking that the Broncos could use another win to pad the win column. But im seeing 5 coming out here. All deserving.

Key Games:San Diego State vs Boise State Thursday Midnight (CBSS) The Broncos could Solidify their status with another win.

Mountain West Conference Championship: Mar 13-16 Thomas & Mack Arena, Las Vegas

Projected Bids: 5


Pacific 12
Conference Class-Power
Safe: Oregon, UCLA, Cal, Arizona

Hoping For The Best: Colorado, Arizona State
Spec from the left coast: Arizona and UCLA finished tied for the regular season title, Oregon took a shocking rout from the lowly Utes but did nothing to jeopardize their tourney status. Cal has been watching the other teams shuffle around them but Im thinking that they are pretty safe barring a bad loss in the Pac-12 quarters to the USC/Utah winner. Colorado didn’t get one of the four coveted byes and needs only to avoid a 1st round loss to secure their dance ticket.

Pacific 12 Conference Championship: MGM Grand Arena, Las Vegas Mar 13-16

Key Game: Colorado vs Oregon State Wednesday5:30 (PAC-12Net) The Buffs need only to not take an embarrassing pratfall against the Pac-12 cellar dwellers to be good to go. Keep in mind that the Buffs lost their season finale…to these same Beavers.

Projected Bids: 5



Southeastern
Conference Class-Power
Safe: Mizzou, Florida

Playing Their Way In: UK
Work to do: Ole Miss, Alabama
Spec is Down South:Just when you are about to send the Wildcats to NIT oblivion they up and drop a stunna on Florida. Big Blue Nation sits back with a smug look on its face as even those that most ardently despise the Wildcats (your humble scribe as an example) can not deny that they earned a huge boost to a very shaky resume. In a weak SEC they have but to avoid a first round embarrassment and they are good to go. Get past them and the chaff is pretty easy to weed out. Ole Miss and Bama are ahead of Mizzou I know but lack real weight to their respective resumes. I have 3 teams but knowing the committees tendency to kowtow to the noisy SEC patrons will likely give a 4thbid. But they both don’t get one.

Southeastern Conference Championship: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville Mar 13-17

Key Game: TBD vs UK Thursday It would behoove the Wildcats to follow up their mammoth win against Florida with a win in their conference tourney game. They go right back to the wrong side of the cut line if they lose.

Projected Bids: 4


Western Athletic

Conference Class- Major
Safe: Louisiana Tech
Work to do: New Mexico State, Denver
Spec on the WAC: Are the Bulldogs in trouble??? After cruising through a majority of the WAC schedule they take a pair of damaging routs the latter to a Denver squad that is peaking at the absolute right time. This crew has one loss in the calendar year and are riding a 10 game win streak into Vegas. Now the Bulldogs hang on to the #1 seed for the upcoming WAC tourney with a better RPI (WAC tiebreaker) but the Pioneers look bound and determined to have some say so in who gets the auto bid. Do not sleep on Denver…they are the wild card that the big boy conference are now deadly afraid of. If they play bid stealer, and especially if they beat La. Tech in a winner take all WAC final this week it could make for a few sleepless nights for the big boys ahead of selection Sunday. Stay tuned.

 

Western Athletic Conference Championship: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas Mar. 13-16

Key Game:TBD vs Denver Thursday TBA (ROOT/FSN) The Pioneers need to get to the finale to stay in the conversation. They will play the winner of Texas St./Seattle first round game.

Projected Bids:1

West Coast
Conference Class- Mid Major
In: Gonzaga

Safe: St. Marys

West Coast Spec: The Bulldogs are simply waiting to see where they go and there better be an uproar if the 31-2 WCC champs are not only a #1 seed but waiting to see who they play via a Dayton First Four. Ignore the noisy wonks that say St. Mary's is a bubble team, I think that they are good to go.

West Coast Conference Champions: Gonzaga

Projected Bids: 2

There are others in the mix to be sure. the champions from the following conferences get an automatic bid: (Projected winners in parentheses/bids earned in bold) Amer. East (Vermont), Atlantic Sun (Florida Gulf Coast), Big Sky (Weber St.), Big South (Liberty), Big West (Long Beach St.), Colonial (James Madison), Horizon (Valpo), Ivy (Harvard), MAC (Akron), MAAC (Loyola-MD), MEAC (Norfolk St), Northeast(LIU-Brooklyn), Ohio Valley (Belmont), Patriot (Bucknell), Southern (Davidson) , Southland (S.F. Austin), Sun Belt (Western Kentucky), Summit (South Dakota St.), and SWAC (Southern)


Since this is still spec, everything here isn't in stone yet and we haven't even brought up the possibility of upsets. But those never happen, right?

Next Spec Sheet: Thursday (All 6 power conferences in action!)

 

Spec Sheet 3-8
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NCAA College Basketball Picks & Predictions

We are nine days from Selection Sunday and tournament bids start to go out this weekend. There are four automatic bids to be handed out as the Ohio Valley and Atlantic Sun Championship games are being played Saturday while the Big South and Spec Sheet favorite Missouri Valley have their title games on Sunday. All but the latter are one-bid conferences and you can bet that the competition for these championship titles will be as fierce as you will see in any of the so-called power conferences. Yeah the finales are played in gyms as opposed to arenas, yes there are players that you will never have heard of and school you have no idea where they are. But the quality of basketball being played is top notch and worth watching. You could do a lot worse this weekend than to check these title games out and watch the pure joy of the winners who secure their ticket to “the big dance.”

 

 

Atlantic Coast
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Miami Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State
Work to do: Virginia, Maryland
Skinny on the ACC: Miami though uber safe got zapped against Georgia Tech and now needs to win against Clemson to right  what looks to be a fading chance at a #1 seed and win the ACC regular season title outright. Most of the play now is for conference tourney seeding as UNC and NC State are trying to keep their hands on one of the four coveted first round byes. Miami and Duke have theirs only Virginia has an outside chance but needs to win out to do so. Virginia took about as an ill-timed late loss to Florida State and their status is getting awfully shaky. I am not now really convinced that Maryland deserves to be on the sheet, given another lackluster performance. They may need to make a deep run at the ACC tourney to really get back into serious consideration.

Key Games:  Duke at North Carolina Saturday 9p (ESPN) Season ender at Chapel Hill, classic rivalry. Maryland at Virginia Sunday 6p (ESPNU) Could this be a play-in game for another berth? No, but Maryland needs this win going into the ACC tourney in Greensboro.

Projected Bids: 6

Atlantic Ten
Conference Class-Major
Solid: Va. Commonwealth, Saint Louis, Butler

Work to do: LaSalle, Temple, Xavier

The A-10 Spec is: St. Louis was cruising along enjoying its best ranking in years and proceeded to get zapped by Xavier who went from going nowhere to fast closing but they will need to be playing deep into the A-10 tourney in Brooklyn if not win it all to be considered.  There aren’t any real changes here, though I think that Temple is getting safer and safer by the minute. LaSalle has a nice profile but few big wins to show off.  But look who they face in regular season finale…

Key Games: LaSalle at Saint Louis Saturday 1:30p (NBCS) LaSalle could put heft on their resume and keep the Billikens from possibly winning at least a share of the conference crown. VCU at Temple Sunday Noon (CBS) VCU could be playing for the A-10’s top seed and the conference crown outright, but the Owls could use the resume boost.

Projected Bids: 5

Big East
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Syracuse, Georgetown, Marquette, Louisville, Notre Dame, Pitt , Cincinnati, Villanova,

Work to do: Providence
Big East Skinny:  Nothing but shuffling at the top of the conference where the Orange, Hoyas, Cards, Golden Eagles, Irish and Panthers are more or less marking time until the last grand Big East tourney and selection Sunday beyond that. Whatever minute chance St. Johns had of getting in, were destroyed in a woodshedding by Notre Dame in which a senseless brawl occurred late. The Johnnies are off the list and will need to make magic in NYC to get back on (read: get to Saturday Night and probably win) As much as I really don’t trust the Wildcats, another beating of a top 5 team makes them a little too undeniable.  Cincy will stay on the solid list…for now. But they are testing the patience of a lot of prognosticators (your humble alum scribe included) especially after taking an awful beating at Louisville but as long as they don’t take what would be a resume damning loss at home against USF, they should be good to go. Providence has made a nice run late to get into the conversation but they still could use some wins, beating UConn and a win or two in MSG would boost their chances considerably.

Key Game: Syracuse at Georgetown Saturday Noon (ESPN) These two legendary rivals meet for the last time as conference foes. Nothing on the line but pride, expect nothing less than some great hoops.

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Projected bids: 8

Big Ten
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin

Work to do: Iowa
The word on the Big Ten is: The Gophers keep playing with fire, taking yet another bad loss this time at Nebraska.  It would behoove the Gophers not to lose at Purdue (and that’s no given) if they want to say safe. Iowa needs to not get totally housed in Columbus and get at least to semifinal Sunday to stay in the conversation, beating Illinois did help but their fate will be determined in Chicago.  Meanwhile Indiana still hasn’t clinched the conference outright and Michigan is still lurking needing the win to clinch a tie…gee it’s funny how these sort of things work out

Key Game: Indiana at Michigan Sunday 4p (CBS) Final weekend showdown could be repeated next week in Chicago for a possible #1 seed

Projected Bids: 7

Big 12
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Kansas, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Kansas State
Work to do: Oklahoma
Skinny from the heartland:  I think the Cyclones are safe, their gutty win over Oklahoma State gets them 20 and aside from getting hosed against Kansas were unbeaten at home. I want to tell Oklahoma that they are safe as well cause they have killer numbers but other than beating Kansas when they were skylarking and splitting with their instate rival

Key Games: Kansas State at Oklahoma State Saturday 1:30 (FSN) The Wildcats have a tall task to clinch at least a share of the Big 12 title, beat the Pokes in Gallagher-Iba…on their senior day…good luck. Kansas at Baylor Saturday 6p (ESPN) The Jayhawks had better be careful, facing a near desperate Bear squad who needs a signature win.

Projected Bids: 4

Conference USA
Conference Class-Major
Solid: Memphis
Work to do: Central Florida, Southern Miss
Oh Say Can You C-USA Spec: The Tigers are still way, way safe but there continues to be noise out of Hattiesburg from the Golden Eagles. I still think that they need to get at the very least to the Saturday morning finale in Tulsa to be seriously considered. Though they could be a bid stealer to the larger conferences…keep an eye on them.

Key Game: UAB at Memphis Saturday Noon (CBSS) The Tigers can finish the C-USA’s first (non-vacated) perfect season since Cincinnati in 2000 with a win (Their 2008 season was vacated)

Projected Bids: 1

Missouri Valley
Conference Class-Mid Major
Solid: Wichita State, Creighton
Work to do: Northern Iowa
Missouri Valley Skinny:  As it stands I think that both the Shockers and Jays are safe unless they take a pratfall in the MVC quarters. I think they will be facing each other this Sunday in the MVC title game.  Unless Northern Iowa plays bid stealer, only two go here.

Missouri Valley Conference Championships March 7-10 Scottrade Center, St. Louis

Championship 2pm Sunday (CBS)

Key Game: Illinois State vs. Northern Iowa Friday 9:35p (ESPN3) If the Panthers want to entertain any hopes of dancing they had better get past an upset capable Redbird squad that they struggled to beat last Saturday.

Projected Bids: 2


Mountain West
Conference Class-Major
Solid: UNLV, San Diego State, Colorado State, New Mexico
Work to do: Boise State
Spec from the Mountains:  The Lobos are locked into the #1 seed here and are marking time to Selection Sunday. There is a messy morass of teams at 9-5 or 8-6 behind them and are jostling to stay on the other side of the MWC bracket to avoid these same Lobos till a Vegas finale on the 16th. The Broncos missed a golden opportunity to quiet talk of their inclusion worthiness, but shy of running the table in Vegas next week they just need to avoid a bad first round loss. Winning their season finale wouldn’t hurt either.

Key Games: San Diego State at Boise State Saturday 3:30 (NBCS) The Aztecs are safe and the Broncos could get safer with a win.

Projected Bids: 5


Pacific 12
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Oregon, UCLA, Cal, Arizona

Work to do: Colorado, Arizona State
Spec from the left coast:  5 teams are still the number here, though Cal shamed themselves with a nasty brawl with their NoCal rival Stanford. I can’t punish the Bears by moving them to the working line. They will have almost a week though, to stew on getting housed by their despised Bay Area rivals. The Buffs I think have played their way safe. Housing the conference leaders The Sun Devils are flaming out badly and after taking a resume cratering loss to USC need to beat in-state rival Arizona in Tucson no less to get back into the conversation.

Key Games:  UCLA at Washington Saturday 2p (CBS) Oregon at Utah Saturday 2:30 (Pac-12 Net) There will be a lot scoreboard watching out west Saturday. The Ducks win the Pac-12 outright with a win over the weak Utes.  The Bruins have a tough roadie in Seattle but can clinch with a win and a Ducks loss.  

Projected Bids: 5



Southeastern
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Mizzou, Florida
Work to do:  Ole Miss, Alabama, UK
Spec is Down South: The SEC is getting messier and messier by the second. Florida is the only team I could deem unquestionably safe. Here’s where it gets dicey. Mizzou has impressed at times but also has some head scratching losses. Woodshedding the Hogs makes them a pretty safe bet though. UK? Their resume stinks, their numbers are mediocre…at best and I think that they are living on rep right now. But dang it they are still tied for 2nd in the SEC for what it’s worth. And after taking another shameful road loss (this time at Georgia)  I can’t even think of moving them back to solid, Ole Miss is just as bad but with no, ummm blue blood rep to hide behind. Bama is the same way, mediocre numbers, no big wins (their win against Villanova was neutral site) nothing to get fired up about. I’m tired of making excuses for Arkansas and after getting housed by Mizzou they are off the sheet. Scream bloody murder all you want, the SEC is only sending 3 teams because that’s all that they deserve to send and I’m thinking that a generous number now.

Key Game: Florida at Kentucky Noon Saturday (CBS) The Wildcats are in serious danger of being the first defending champ to miss the tourney since Kansas in 1989. Beating the Gators wouldn’t get them out of the woods but it would get them a breadcrumb trail to follow out.

Projected Bids: 3


Western Athletic
Conference Class- Major
Solid: Louisiana Tech
Work to do: New Mexico State, Denver
Spec on the WAC: The Bulldogs were romping toward an unbeaten conference sked without a care in the world when UH-OH! They take an untimely woodshedding against New Mexico State…at home in Ruston! The Bulldogs took their first loss of the Calendar year and have lost the sheen of invincibility in the conference. Meanwhile you have the spunky Pioneers coming on strong and are still harboring the dream of winning the conference regular season title.  Now the Aggies have played their way into the conference talk. What looked like a yawner one bid conference got a touch of March Madness and has gotten really interesting.

Key Game: Louisiana Tech at Denver Saturday 7p (ROOT/FSN) The Pioneers can make a royal mess of the WAC if they beat the Bulldogs in Denver and take the WAC #1 seed

Projected Bids: 1

West Coast
Conference Class- Mid Major
Solid: St. Marys, Gonzaga
Work to do: BYU
West Coast Spec: The Bulldogs are the nation’s top team and with the now ranked Gaels are basically waiting until the 9th to face whatever worn out victim in the WCC semis. Whoever they face will have played at least two games in the staggered WCC tourney. The thought here is that the Bulldogs and Gaels will be facing off on Monday for the Conference title but are in no danger of not getting a dance ticket. BYU needs not to look past San Diego to a semifinal showdown with St. Mary’s cause if they get zapped in either game…what slim chances they have for a golden dance ticket will get zapped right along with it

Key Game: San Diego vs. BYU Friday 11:30 (ESPNU)This is far from a gimme for the Cougars, the Toreros hung a loss on them Feb.7th, the consequences are dire for the Cougars if they lose.

West Coast Conference Championships: March 6-9, 11 Orleans Arena Las Vegas

Projected Bids: 2

There are others in the mix to be sure. the champions from the following conferences get an automatic bid:  (Projected winners in parentheses) Amer. East (Stony Brook), Atlantic Sun (Florida Gulf Coast), Big Sky (Weber St.), Big South (Charleston Southern), Big West (Long Beach St.), Colonial (Northeastern),  Horizon (Valpo), Ivy  (Princeton), MAC (Akron), MAAC (Loyola-MD), MEAC (Norfolk St), Northeast(Robert Morris), Ohio Valley (Belmont), Patriot (Bucknell), Southern (Davidson) , Southland (S.F. Austin), Sun Belt (Middle Tennessee), Summit (Western Illinois), and SWAC (Southern)


Since this is still spec, nothing here is solid and we haven't even brought up the possibility of upsets. But those never happen, right?

Next Spec Sheet:  Mar 11

 

NCAA Spec Sheet 3-1
Category: NCAA
Tags: College Basketball Picks & Predictions

It is…the 1st of March!

How crazy has this past week been? Three of the top five ranked teams took stunning road losses as Indiana, Michigan and Duke all got ambushed on the road and did the walk of stunned shame as happy home crowds stormed the courts in Minneapolis, State College and Charlottesville. And in the cases of the former and latter teams have given serious weight to otherwise questionable tourney resumes. This is the start of the best sports time of the year!

 

 

Atlantic Coast
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Miami Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State
Work to do: Virginia, Maryland
Skinny on the ACC: Miles Simon of ESPN made a valid point, the Canes are 2 games up in the ACC and clinch the ACC regular season title with a win Saturday. Why are they ranked behind the Blue Devils? No real change in the solid teams, though Virginia is getting awfully close to moving up and knocking off the Blue Devils at home helps that cause immensely. Maryland despite 19 wins have some bad losses on their docket, including a string of awful road losses (they only have 1 win on the road in conference) they have to win out and not get housed in the ACC 1st round to be safe.

Key Game:   Miami at Duke Saturday 6p (ESPN) Duke took a vicious beating in Coral Gables and look for not only payback to keep faint hopes running down the Canes for another ACC regular season crown.

Projected Bids: 5

Atlantic Ten
Conference Class-Mid Major
Solid: Va. Commonwealth, Saint Louis, Butler

Work to do: LaSalle, Temple

The Billikens and Bulldogs are ranked and safe, so are the Rams who aren’t ranked but

Key Games: Butler at VCU Tonight 7p (ESPNU) Both teams are way safe but can always use the win to make a case for a better seed and though Billiken fans might not like it may be a preview of the A-10 final

Projected Bids: 4

Big East
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Syracuse, Georgetown, Marquette, Louisville, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Pitt

Work to do: St. Johns, Villanova
Big East Skinny: I still have 8 teams, and the Bearcats have the Huskies bad grades to thank. The Huskies being on academic probation and barred from postseason keep the number of teams that I think go at 8 and keep the Bearcats from being in real trouble. They still stay on the Solid list but they are the shakiest team. Villanova missed a chance to move to the solid neighborhood taking an inexcusable loss to Seton Hall.

Key Games: Villanova at Pitt Saturday Noon (ESPN3) Villanova is running out of chances to make a statement after losing to Seton Hall and have their hands full heading into the notoriously rowdy Oakland Zoo. Connecticut at Cincinnati Saturday 2p (ESPN3/FSN)  The Bearcats and Huskies played an overtime thriller  last month and the home squad needs a skid stopping win in the worst way.

Projected bids: 8

Big Ten
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin
Work to do: Iowa
The word on the Big Ten is: Guess who’s golden now??? The much maligned Gophers have taken a few head scratching losses but handing the top ranked Hoosiers a stunning defeat make them just about undeniable. The teams above them in the standings are all unquestioningly safe. The Hawkeyes are on the wrong side of the cut line and barring a deep run in Chicago aren’t going to be dancing.

Key Game: Indiana at Minnesota Tonight 7p (ESPN) The Gophers could get a mammoth resume boost if they ambush the top ranked Hoosiers at the Barn

Projected Bids: 7

Big 12
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Kansas, Oklahoma State, Kansas State
Work to do: Iowa State, Oklahoma
Skinny from the heartland:  No change in the solid teams, but the Sooners took an inexcusable fall from double digits ahead loss to the their despised rival Longhorns. They will stay right where they are and need to win out and may need help. Baylor sits on the fringe and for arguments sake return to sheet on the working list but they have an uphill climb to get anywhere near the solid list

Key Game: Kansas State at Baylor Wednesday 9p (ESPN2) The Bears could get some real notice if they ambush the conference co-leaders in Waco.

Projected Bids: 4

Conference USA
Conference Class-Major
Solid: Memphis
Work to do: Central Florida, Tulsa, Southern Miss
Oh Say Can You C-USA Spec: The Tigers are bulletproof but cost themselves a better seeding with a puzzling loss to Xavier in Cincinnati. They are right now the only team I have going, but are listed because they are ranked.

Key Game: Memphis at Xavier 7p Tonight (ESPN2) An intriguing late season non-con matchup could give more weight to the Tigers as look for a higher seed.

Projected Bids: 1

Missouri Valley
Conference Class-Mid Major
Solid: Wichita State, Creighton
Work to do: Northern Iowa
Missouri Valley Skinny:  I would love to know who has the crystal ball and could forecast  that the Shockers and Jays would be tied for the MVC regular season title? They are good to go regardless of what happens now or in Arch Madness next week.

Key Game: Wichita State at Creighton Saturday 2p (ESPN2) Expect a rocking rowdy crowd in Omaha for the MVC regular season finale, these two teams could likely meet for higher stakes in St. Louis next Sunday

Projected Bids: 2


Mountain West
Conference Class-Major
Solid: UNLV, San Diego State, Colorado State, New Mexico
Work to do: Boise State  
Spec from the Mountains:  The Lobos are howling toward the conference tourney and are only trying to protect their NCAA tourney seeding. Im still thinking the Rams Aztecs, and Rebels are safe as long as they get to the MWC semis I think that they are good to go. Now Boise State is another matter as I think that they will need to get to the MWC finale in Vegas

Key Games: Colorado State at Boise State 8p The Broncos keep trying to force their way into conversation, beating the Rams goes a long way to that objective

Projected Bids: 4


Pacific 12
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Oregon, UCLA, Cal, Arizona

Work to do: Colorado, Arizona State
Spec from the left coast:  I changed my mind, slightly. Cal I think has the chops to go. Im still holding out against both Colorado AND Arizona State both going. Though both are getting pretty hard to ignore, and with the dearth of strong teams in others conference (See SEC) 5 teams is likely but I have to hold the line for the moment.

Key Games: Arizona at UCLA Saturday 9p (ESPN). The Wildcats and Bruins are jostling fiercely to stay at the top of the standings with Oregon. The winner stays on the opposite side of the bracket from the Ducks for a possible finale showdown.

Projected Bids: 5



Southeastern
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Mizzou, Florida, Alabama, UK
Work to do:  Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee, LSU
Spec is Down South: Florida’s loss moves the Vols into the working class but they have a long long way to go to get anywhere near the conversation. As much as I despise Kentucky they are in 2nd in the conference and with an outside chance of winning  a share of the regular season title. You really cant keep the regular season winner of a power conference out. So as it stands now they stay solid. While Bama is solid Ole Miss is still shaky and I don’t trust Arkansas at all. They have taken some puzzling losses. Now charging into the mix along with the aforementioned Vols are the LSU Tigers, their 17 wins are offset with a host of bad losses but they are still in the mix. Five projected for now, but that could change especially if Mizzou or Ole Miss go into the tank.

Key Game: Kentucky at Arkansas 4p Saturday (CBS) The Wildcats still have a shot at winning the regular season SEC title and are in line for a coveted bye, the Hogs need every win that they can get.

Projected Bids: 5


Western Athletic
Conference Class- Major
Solid: Louisiana Tech
Work to do: New Mexico State, Denver
Spec on the WAC: The Bulldogs are on cruise control and looked good with their first ranking since the Karl Malone era. The Pioneers and Aggies are still angling to be on the opposite side of the bracket heading to Vegas but need to keep winning

Key Game: New Mexico State at Denver Saturday 6p(ESPN3) With the Bulldogs almost home free, the Pioneers would love to make their rematch on the 9th meaningful but beating the Aggies is a tall order.

Projected Bids: 2

West Coast
Conference Class- Mid Major
Solid: St. Marys, Gonzaga
Work to do: BYU
West Coast Spec: The Bulldogs are now the hunted, the Hoosier loss means that the Bulldogs will likely be the #1 team in the country , how will they handle being the um, top dog?

Key Game: Gonzaga at BYU Thursday11p (ESPN2) Forget the games over the weekend this would be a real bracketbuster, the Cougars could make a party crashing statement win if they upset the Bulldogs.

Projected Bids: 2

There are others in the mix to be sure. (Projected winners in parentheses) Teams from the always dangerous Colonial (Northeastern) and Big South( Charleston Southern)  always are in the mix and can send multiple teams. Of course the champions from the following conferences get an automatic bid: Amer. East (Stony Brook), Atlantic Sun (Florida Gulf Coast), Big Sky (Weber St.), Big West (Long Beach St.), Horizon (Valpo), Ivy (Harvard), MAC (Akron), MAAC (Loyola-MD), MEAC(Norfolk St), Northeast(Robert Morris), Ohio Valley (Belmont), Patriot (Bucknell), Southern (Elon) , Southland (S.F. Austin), Sun Belt (Middle Tennessee), Summit (South Dakota St.), and SWAC (Southern)


Since this is still spec, nothing here is solid and we haven't even brought up the possibility of upsets. But those never happen, right?

Next Spec Sheet:  Mar 5

 

Spec Sheet 2/15
Category: FEATURED
Tags: College Basketball Picks & Predictions

Spec Sheet Feburary 15th

“Your subject love is minimal, its sex for profit” Chuck D of Public Enemy.

Its no secret that im no fan of Valentines Day, I return to my true love basketball at this time of the year. As it stands now there is little movement though there are some teams that have pushed their way onto the working list. The list remain speculative and very fluid.

 

Atlantic Coast
(Conference Class-Power)
Solid: Miami Duke, North Carolina State,
Work to do: North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland
Skinny on the ACC: Miami and Duke are just about a safe as you could expect better than a month from selection Sunday. Now North Carolina is ahead of NC State and Virginia in the standing has the pedigree (and numbers to back) but they other than struggling to beat UNLV back in December have no signature wins (No they don’t go look at their schedule they have gotten beat by every ranked and name team that they have faced.) North Carolina State keep teetering toward the working ranks but have an ace that their in-state rivals don’t a signature win over Duke but that is starting to look small on the ledger and with few chances to garner more name wins, the Wolfpack need to keep winning. Maryland and Virginia are a pair of puzzling teams with high numbers but weird caveats. Virginia has a win a Wisconsin and are unbeaten so far against top 100 teams yet they have lost to three (count ‘em three!) Colonial teams including 3-22 Old Dominion (Ack!) but they are better off than Maryland who is even more on the fence with a nastier profile but 17 wins. This conference will get messier before things thresh out

Key Game: Duke at Maryland Saturday 9p  If the Terrapins want to turn heads they couldn’t pick a better team to come calling. Beating the #2 ranked Blue Devils would gain them some traction on the so-called bubble.

Projected Bids: 5

Atlantic Ten
Conference Class-Mid Major
Solid: Va. Commonwealth, Butler

Work to do: Saint Louis, LaSalle, Xavier

The Bulldogs took another puzzling loss and their bulletproof status is in jeopardy, though they are still ranked. The Rams are still on and the safer of the two solid squads, though there is a morass of teams (6 to be exact) within 2 games of the top slot. This scenario is far from settled.

Key Games: Charlotte at Saint Louis Saturday 7p  The Billikens had best be wary of the Niners who have coming off a win in Hinkle have no fear of road venues.

Projected Bids: 3

Big East
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Syracuse, Georgetown, Marquette, Louisville, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Pitt

Work to do: St. Johns, Villanova
Big East Skinny: Not much movement here, The Bearcats stopped their skid and really haven’t ost their solid spot so the only jockeying is for the best position ahead of the Big East tourney and trying to garner one of the four coveted double bye in New York.  The Johnnies got housed in Louisville and their tourney chances are dwindling. Nova is in the same sinking boat.

Key Game: Pitt at Marquette Saturday 1p (CBS)  The Golden Eagles celebrate the 10th anniversary of their beloved 2003 Final Four team and host a hard charging Panther squad looking to solidify their top 4 conference standing.

Projected bids: 7

Big Ten
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Illinois, Wisconsin
Work to do: Minnesota, Iowa
The word on the Big Ten is: The Illini are probably the one team that many people cant figure why they are solid and its not because they beat Indiana, they have the numbers and I cant find a bad loss but dang it if I solidfy Illinois I have to solidify Minnesota and I’d be more likely to do so for the Golden Gophers because of their monster SOS number (currently 3) and winning an ugly slugfest against Wisconsin but Ill leave them on the working line for now and joining them is Iowa who in spite of their ugly conference record still is in the conversaton

Key Game: Minnesota at Iowa  Sunday 2p (BTN) Coming off an emotional OT win, the Gophers face another archrival as both team need a win here.

Projected Bids: 6

Big 12
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Kansas, Oklahoma State, Kansas State
Work to do: Baylor, Iowa State, Oklahoma
Skinny from the heartland:  Kansas made all right in the Big 12 world by pounding K-State. The Wildcats and Pokes are in and safe.

Key Game: Oklahoma at Oklahoma State Saturday 1:30p  The Sooners could really force their way into the conversation with a win at Gallegher-Iba

Projected Bids: 5

Conference USA
Conference Class-Major
Solid: Memphis
Work to do: Central Florida, Tulsa, Southern Miss
Oh Say Can You C-USA Spec: Memphis is turning C-USA into the Tiger invitational…again. They hold a 2 game lead and now are the only solid team here. If Southern Miss doesn’t get it collective minds right, C-USA will be a one bid conference

Key Game: Southern Miss at East Carolina Saturday 5p The Golden Eagles need to start banking wins but Greenville is not the easiest of venues to win in.

Projected Bids: 1

Missouri Valley
Conference Class-Mid Major
Solid: Wichita State, Creighton
Work to do: Indiana State
Missouri Valley Skinny: The MVC gets more and more messy with each post. The Sycamores got zapped in Springfield and as it stands now the BlueJays and Shockers are co-leaders. This race will get tighter and tighter.

Key Game: Creighton at Evansville Saturday 3p(ESPNU) The Jays are just a game off the MVC lead but must be wary of the road upset.

Projected Bids: 2


Mountain West
Conference Class-Major
Solid: UNLV, San Diego State, Colorado State, New Mexico
Work to do: Air Force
Spec from the Mountains: The Lobos are still on top here, I still say the Aztecs are safe despite their loss to Colorado State but the Falcons profile is super shaky and they have no quality wins, that could change however…

Key Game: Colorado State at Air Force Saturday 4p This is a chance for Air Force to give their tourney resume some needed heft. The ranked Rams come calling on a five game win streak.

Projected Bids: 4


Pacific 12
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Oregon, UCLA,  Arizona
Work to do: Stanford, Arizona State, Colorado, Cal
Spec from the left coast: The Buffs avenged their much questioned buzzer beater loss against Arizona by taking the Wildcats back of the woodshed in front of a deliriously happy home crowd. They are now on the list but still with work to do. Also moving on to the list are the Golden Bears who thrashed their despised downstate namesake.  The Bruins are tottering toward the working side of the ledger but will stay solid for now, but if they stumble against Stanford they make have to move down.

Key Games: Arizona State at Colorado Saturday 9p (ESPNU). The Buffs best be careful after their emotional win that they don’t let down against a Sun Devils squad looking to bank solid wins of their own.

Projected Bids: 3



Southeastern
Conference Class-Power
Solid: Mizzou, Florida, UK
Work to do:  Ole Miss, Alabama
Spec is Down South: UK will make the tourney, they got too much juice (and rowdy fans) to miss it but their chances of a decent seed or a deep run took a damaging hit with the season ending knee injury to shot blocking rebounding beast of a fab frosh Nerlens Noel. The next time you that cat will be striding across the podium to get a dap and a hug from David Stern. Meanwhile Florida is in solid control of the SEC now with their win, Mizzou should have enough to hang on to a seed.  Neither Bama or Ole Miss have enough cred to be able to move up and need to continue to win out. Any loss would be damaging.

Key Game: Missouri at Arkansas 4p Saturday (ESPNU) The Tigers had best take care playing a Hogs squad that is still got designs of getting back to tourney considerations.

Projected Bids: 4


Western Athletic
Conference Class- Major
Solid: Louisiana Tech
Work to do: New Mexico State, Denver
Spec on the WAC: The Bulldogs are rolling off wins with an almost boring regularity and the Aggies need to keep winning themselves to keep Tech in shouting distance. The Pioneers are a good team no one talks about but they may need to win out and get deep in the WAC tourney to get any notice.

Key Game: New Mexico State at Utah State Saturday 11p (ESPNU) The Aggies need to keep winning to keep the Bulldogs in sight and keep Denver from passing them. Not an easy roadie in Logan to do so.

Projected Bids: 2

West Coast
Conference Class- Mid Major
Solid: St. Marys, Gonzaga
Work to do: BYU
West Coast Spec: The Bulldogs are making a case not for tourney entry but a number 1 seed. This is probably the best team that you’ve never heard of. Im still good on the Gaels despite taking a loss at home.  The Cougars are fading badly after getting housed by a middling San Francisco and may need to win out to have any real chance.

Key Game: St. Mary’s at Loyola Marymount Saturday 4p The Gaels need to bounce back strong to keep in shouting distance of the Bulldogs and the #2 seed in the WCC

Projected Bids: 2

There are others in the mix to be sure. Teams from the always dangerous Colonial and Big South always are in the mix and can send multiple teams. Of course the champions from the following conferences get an automatic bid: Amer. East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big West, Horizon, Ivy, MAC, MAAC, MEAC, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Sun Belt, Summit, and SWAC projected bids from these conferences will be posted here starting February 21st

Since this is still early spec, nothing here is solid and we haven't even brought up the possibility of upsets. But those never happen, right?

Next Spec Sheet:  Feb 19

 

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