Tagged with "Picks & Predictions"
Week 5 NFL Thursday Pick
Category: NFL
Tags: NFL Picks & Predictions

Before I get started, 17 years ago, my life was changed irrevocably when I was introduced to a beautiful girl. Happy Birthday to the first Princess of Hoodwood.

Thursday, October 3

 

Bills (2-2) @ Browns (2-2)

Browns Stadium, Cleveland 8:20 (NFLN)

Favorite Browns by 4

Last Week Bills defeated Ravens 23-20, Browns beat Bengals 17-6

Fast Fact With a win Brwons would be over .500 after five games for the first time since 2001

Brian Hoyer is looking like the hometown kid that made good. His solid play has picked the Browns out of the dumps after the Trent Richardson trade. The Bills have looked better each week in spite of some spotty play by the offense and the off again on again status of CJ Spiller who is a go tonight. To be honest this game is a tossup, I would like to say I have confidence in either one of the squads but you are never quite sure which team shows up on either side. Ill go with the resurgent home squad to grind out a tough win and continue to confound the so-called experts that thought that they were cashing their season out early with the Richardson trade.

Pick-Cleveland

Final 2013 Spec Sheet
Category: NCAA
Tags: NCAA Picks & Predictions

 

The auto bids have just about been all handed out and now the final anticipation begins. The 31 teams that have won their respective conference championship are just waiting to see where their travel plans are and for who to prepare for. There are 37 teams that are going to be selected to join these 31 auto bids as at-large selection. Who will they be? Here is who is in and who I think is going to be in the big Dance. I have the #1 seeds Indiana, Gonzaga, Louisville and Kansas. All but Indiana won their conference tourneys and Indiana won their first regular season title in 20 years.

 

 

Atlantic Coast
Conference Class-Power

In: Miami
Going: Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Maryland, Virginia
Skinny on the ACC: The Canes win their first ACC title since joining the league 20 years ago and the 2nd consecutive Florida based team to win the ACC conference championship. The Dukies quarterfinal loss prevents them from garnering a #1 seed. The Terrapins and Cavs got deep enough in the ACC tourney to not be left behind.

Atlantic Coast Conference Champions: Miami

Projected Bids: 6

Atlantic Ten
Conference Class-Major
In: Saint Louis

Going: Va. Commonwealth, Temple, Butler

Hoping For the Best, but will get left out : LaSalle, UMass

The A-10 Spec is: Saint Louis grinded out a tough win to earn their first automatic bid since 2000, VCU, Butler and Temple are good to go as well. I cant put LaSalle in. I cant see the selection committee giving the Explorers the benefit of the doubt.

Atlantic 10 Conference Champions: Saint Louis

Projected Bids: 4

Big East

Conference Class-Power
In: Louisville

Going: Syracuse, Georgetown, Marquette, Louisville, Notre Dame, Pitt ,Cincinnati, Villanova,

Hoping For The Best, but will get left out: Providence,
Big East Skinny:  The Cardinals used a frightening 2nd half blitz to rally to a win over Syracuse and win the final Big East tournament (at least with the configuration that we know and love) The cut line will stop at Villanova. Providence flunked its chance to crash in with its first round loss

 

Big East Champions: Louisville

Projected bids: 8

Big Ten
Conference Class-Power
IN: Ohio State

Going: Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin

Hoping For The Best, but will get left out: Iowa
The word on the Big Ten is: Can the Hoosiers get a #1 seed without winning the Big Ten? I think that they do. Ohio State grinded out a tough win over Wisconsin and gets the auto bid. The teams that are going have not changed but the only question is where is the cut line here? I think Minnesota in spite of their disastrous last six weeks should make it in, barely. Iowa gets caught on the wrong side of the cut line this year

 

Big Ten Conference Champions: Ohio State

Projected Bids: 7

Big 12
Conference Class-Power
IN: Kansas

Going: Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Kansas State

Hoping For The Best, but will get left out: Baylor, Oklahoma
Skinny from the heartland:  The Jayhawks may have very well locked down a #1 seed here. The Wildcats, Cyclones and Pokes are tourney bound. But Baylor and Oklahoma are another pair of teams that are sitting on the sidelines sweating out the possible bid stealing scenarios from other conferences. But as it stands now I still only have four teams coming out.

Big 12 Conference Championship: Kansas

Projected Bids: 4

Conference USA
Conference Class-Major
IN: Memphis
Hoping For The Best, but will get left out: Southern Miss
Oh Say Can You C-USA Spec: The Tigers are Golden Eagles played a double overtime thriller, but the Tigers snag the  win and will ultimately be the only team coming out here

Conference USA Champions: Memphis

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
IN: New Mexico

Going: UNLV, San Diego State, Colorado State, Boise State
Spec from the Mountains:  The Lobos howled their way to a championship in front of a rollicking crowd in Vegas. The Rebels, Aztecs and Rams are good to go? The Broncos? They may sweat all the way to the last region but I think that they will get in.

Mountain West Conference Champions: New Mexico

Projected Bids: 5


Pacific 12
Conference Class-Power
In: Oregon

Safe: UCLA, Cal, Colorado, Arizona

Hoping For the Best, but will get left out: Arizona State,
Spec from the left coast:  The Ducks are quacking all the way to the dance, leaving no doubt that they are the Pac-12’s best. The Bruins proved their worth all season and are in no danger as are Wildcats. Heres where its gets tricky Cal should have enough weight to offset their horrid first round stumble. Colorado avoided a bad 1st round loss and played fairly honorable against Arizona so I think that they are good but the cut line hit Arizona State whose poor numbers and weak resume cant offset their tight win over Stanford and tough loss to top seed UCLA. They get left behind

Pacific 12 Conference Champions: Oregon

Projected Bids: 5



Southeastern
Conference Class-Power
In: Ole Miss

Safe: Mizzou, Florida, Alabama
Hoping For the Best, but will get left out:  UK, Tennessee
Spec is Down South: Wellllp! Ole Miss smashed any doubt of their tourney validity by upending top seed Florida to lock up the auto bid. I have the Gators along with Mizzou and Bama. Tennessee really needed to get to the semis to have a realistic chance and Kentucky isn’t really in the conversation other than being the first defending tourney champ since UNC in 2010 to not return to the tourney to defend its title.

Southeastern Conference Champions: Ole Miss

Projected Bids: 4


Western Athletic

Conference Class- Major
In: New Mexico State

Hoping For The Best, But won’t get in: Louisiana Tech, Denver
Spec on the WAC: The Aggies took advantage of upsets to cruise to the title and make this a one bid conference.

 

Western Athletic Conference Champions: New Mexico State

Projected Bids: 1

West Coast
Conference Class- Mid Major

In: Gonzaga
Going: St. Marys
West Coast Spec: The Bulldogs are in and are likely a #1 seed, I think the Gaels are good to go as well.

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:  (bids earned in bold) Amer. East (Albany), Atlantic Sun (Florida Gulf Coast), Big Sky (Montana), Big South (Liberty), Big West (Pacific), Colonial (James Madison),  Horizon (Valpo), Ivy  (Harvard), MAC (Akron), MAAC (Iona), MEAC (North Carolina A&T), Northeast(LIU-Brooklyn), Ohio Valley (Belmont), Patriot (Bucknell), Southern (Davidson) , Southland (Northwestern St.), Sun Belt (Western Kentucky), Summit (South Dakota St.), and SWAC (Southern)

Final Spec Review on Monday
 

 

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

 

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