go to MSN.com
Originally written on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 11/20/14

Via Midwest Sports Fans:

There seems to be a lot of hand-wringing about this being a down year for college hoops.

If you define the season by whether or not there is a truly dominant team, I guess that’s a fair statement. If you define the season by sheer entertainment value, however, this one has been pretty darn good.

The same kinds of upsets that are celebrated during the NCAA tournament are somehow being used as an indictment of the 2012-13 season, but I have no complaints about such an unpredictable year.

Well, maybe one.

It makes putting together these bracket projections increasingly difficult, because it feels like virtually everyone lost last week. Throw in oddball profiles such as the one Virginia is building, and this becomes a tall order each Monday night.

Maybe now that we are less than five weeks from Selection Sunday, things will start to sort themselves out. But with the way this season has gone, I doubt it.

The projections below take into account all games played through Monday, Feb. 11.

Last Four In

Saint Mary’s

The Gaels just need to keep winning, and unlike many of their bubble brethren, they are doing just that.

Thursday begins a critical 10-day stretch that features home dates with Gonzaga, BYU and Creighton, with a road trip to Loyola Marymount squeezed in the middle. Going 3-1 in that stretch would give Saint Mary’s a little breathing room. Anything less and things start to get dicey.

Indiana State

Last week’s win against Creighton gave the Sycamores their fourth win against an RPI top 50 team, and they avoided another brutal loss with a one-point victory over Southern Illinois on Saturday.

The neutral court win over a Reggie Johnson-less Miami squad looks better with each passing week, but three losses against sub-150 RPI teams still have ISU in a tenuous position.

For this week, the Sycamores need to avoid road slip-ups against Missouri State and Bradley.

Baylor

At this point, the Bears have just one win against the RPI top 45, have lost three of four, and have beaten one tournament-caliber team since early December. Their November win over St. John’s is useful for bubble purposes, but that won’t be enough if they can’t start getting wins.

Baylor needs to take care of business at home against West Virginia before a tough road test at Kansas State.

Boise State

The fact that Jeff Elorriaga missed three of their conference losses helps, but he also hasn’t been particularly productive since returning. As it stands, the Broncos are below .500 in the Mountain West with road games left at New Mexico and UNLV as well as home dates with Colorado State and San Diego State.

If they can win their three other conference games and split those four, their profile would look pretty good. Anything less and they are in serious trouble.

First Five Out

Virginia

The Cavaliers have the most confounding profile I can remember in recent years (or maybe ever).

On one hand, they are 6-0 against the RPI top 100 with home wins against North Carolina and North Carolina State and road victories over Wisconsin and Maryland. On the other hand, all six losses have come to teams ranked 120th or lower in the RPI, including to sub-300 Old Dominion.

You can’t overlook the good wins or the bad losses, which lands the Cavs directly on the fence without much historical precedent for how the committee may treat them. The next few weeks will be telling with road trips to UNC and Miami as well as a home game against Duke.

Arizona State

Saturday’s home loss to Stanford pushed the Sun Devils out of the field. They have four top-100 wins at this point and just one sub-100 loss — a 17-point home defeat to DePaul. The biggest issue is that nine of their 18 Division I wins have come against sub-200 squads.

With five of ASU’s final seven games on the road, it will be an uphill battle for Herb Sendek’s club. The Sun Devils certainly can’t afford to lose at Utah this week and would be well-served to steal one at Colorado over the weekend.

St. John’s

The Red Storm have won six of their past eight games, including wins over Notre Dame and UConn. However, nonconference losses to San Francisco and UNC-Asheville loom large, as does a disappointing home loss to Rutgers. Similar to ASU, St. John’s has racked up seven of its 15 wins over sub-190 teams.

The remaining Big East schedule will tell the tale, with four games against teams in the RPI top 50 (at Louisville, Pittsburgh, at Notre Dame, Marquette) and a road trip to Providence sprinkled in.

Villanova

After a home loss to Providence, the Wildcats held serve last week by beating DePaul and South Florida, but neither win really moves the needle for their NCAA hopes.

Victories over Louisville and Syracuse obviously hold a lot of weight, but their next best wins are against St. John’s and St. Joseph’s. Unfortunately, those are somewhat offset by an 18-point loss to Columbia and the fact they were swept by Providence.

This is a huge week for ’Nova with road trips to Cincinnati and UConn on tap.

Massachusetts

The Minutemen are quietly 6-3 in the A-10, with two of those losses coming by a combined four points. They are also 6-2 in true road games, but the wins at Northeastern and La Salle are the only ones that hold much weight. UMass is 5-5 against the RPI top 100, but losses against Tennessee in Puerto Rico and at home vs. George Washington certainly don’t help the cause.

Much like Villanova, the Minutemen have a pair of important games this week as they travel to VCU before hosting Temple on Saturday.

Here is how the bids broke out by conference:

Big East (7): Cincinnati, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse

Big Ten (7): Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Wisconsin

Big 12 (6): Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State

Atlantic 10 (5): Butler, La Salle, Saint Louis, Temple, VCU

Mountain West (5): Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV

Pac-12 (4): Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, UCLA

ACC (4): Duke, Miami (FL), North Carolina, North Carolina State

SEC (4): Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Ole Miss

Missouri Valley (3): Creighton, Indiana State, Wichita State

West Coast (2): Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s

America East: Vermont

Atlantic Sun: Florida Gulf Coast

Big Sky: Montana

Big South: UNC-Asheville

Big West: Long Beach State

Colonial: Northeastern

Conference USA: Memphis

Horizon: Valparaiso

Ivy: Princeton

MAAC: Niagara

MAC: Akron

MEAC: North Carolina Central

Northeast: Bryant

Ohio Valley: Belmont

Patriot: Bucknell

Southern: Davidson

Southland: Stephen F. Austin

Summit: Western Illinois

Sun Belt: Middle Tennessee

SWAC: Southern

WAC: Louisiana Tech

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Colin Kaepernick: Jim Harbaugh will be back in 2015

Jeremy Maclin not happy with Riley Cooper’s contract remark

Broncos reportedly waive kicker McManus, sign Connor Barth

Report: Browns not committed to Brian Hoyer long-term

Pablo Sandoval, Red Sox officially agree to contract

Ex-NFLer passed out in Wendy's drive-thru, arrested for DUI

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Ex-NFL DB Fred Smoot arrested on domestic assault charges

Jets’ Sheldon Richardson: ‘I didn’t get drafted to lose games’

Jose Canseco's fiancée Leila Knight breaks it off with slugger

Rex Ryan reportedly wants to start Michael Vick in Week 13

Tom Thibodeau: Derrick Rose must ‘get out there and play’

Reports: Jon Lester, Red Sox still engaged in contract talks

Sherman mocks NFL media policies in press conference

Why Packers' offense continues to evolve despite success

'Fire Idzik' billboard updated with suggestion for Jets owner

Watt buys pizza, shows gratitude to Houston firefighters, cops

College football's post-Week 13 Playoff projection

Which teams have the best shot at an undefeated season?

Infographic: Terrell Suggs' sack victims after notching 100th

Dude Perfect video features Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll

Rick Pitino 'played four white guys and an Egyptian' in blowout

NFL Power Rankings after Week 12

WATCH: James Harden had another lapse on defense

One thing every NFL team should be thankful for

Broncos News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
RUMORS & GOSSIP

Colin Kaepernick: Jim Harbaugh will be back in 2015

There has been a lot of talk about Jim Harbaugh’s future with the San Francisco 49ers. Earlier this year, multiple reports indicated that he would not be back with the team no matter what they did moving forward this season. Other reports told a story of Harbaugh not being well-liked in the locker room. Ever since these reports were made public, mutliple 49ers players have come...
Via Sportsnaut
35 minutes ago

Jeremy Maclin not happy with Riley Cooper’s contract remark

If you looked at the contracts for Philadelphia Eagles wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper, you might think the numbers are backwards. Back in February, Cooper signed a five-year, $25 million extension with the Eagles. Maclin signed a one-year deal that could be worth up to $6 million just a few days later. This...Read More
Via Larry Brown Sports
1 hour ago

Broncos reportedly waive kicker McManus, sign Connor Barth

The Denver Broncos finally had enough of inept kicker Brandon McManus and are making a change. #Broncos have waived Brandon McManus and after working out Jay Feely and Connor Barth Tuesday morning, have signed Barth. — Jeff Legwold (@Jeff_Legwold) November 25, 2014   Barth last kicked in 2012, missing all of 2013 after suffering a torn achilles in a charity basketball...
Via cover32 - Broncos
1 hour ago

Report: Browns not committed to Brian Hoyer long-term

According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, the Browns remain committed to Brian Hoyer being their starting quarterback for the remainder of the 2014 season. The Browns reportedly believe making a quarterback change and going with Johnny Manziel would undermine the work they have already put into this season. However, Cole adds that Cleveland is not married to Hoyer long-term...
Via NFL Trade Rumors
3 hours ago

Pablo Sandoval, Red Sox officially agree to contract

  It’s official: The Panda is in Boston.   The Red Sox announced Tuesday that third baseman Pablo Sandoval officially agreed to a five-year contract with the team. The deal also includes a club option for 2020. The Red Sox designated catcher/first baseman Ryan Lavarnway for assignment to make roster room. Sandoval, 28, spent his first seven seasons with the San Francisco...
Via NESN.com
4 hours ago

Ex-NFLer passed out in Wendy's drive-thru, arrested for DUI

Former NFL quarterback Tyler Thigpen was arrested early Sunday morning in Myrtle Beach, S.C. for driving while under the influence. Well, he wasn’t exactly driving at the time of his arrest, but he was behind the wheel of a running vehicle. According to WMBF, police found Thigpen passed out in his car at a Wendy’s...Read More
Via Larry Brown Sports
5 hours ago

Ex-NFL DB Fred Smoot arrested on domestic assault charges

Former Washington Redskins second-round pick Fred Smoot, who played nine years in the NFL (seven with Washington), was arrested Sunday morning and charged with domestic assault (via CBS). Police indicated that authorities were called to a residence in Ashburn, Va. at 11 a.m on Sunday morning after a female claimed Smoot grabbed her during an altercation. Smoot, who is currently...
Via Sportsnaut
4 hours ago

Jets’ Sheldon Richardson: ‘I didn’t get drafted to lose games’

That thud you heard on Monday night was the New York Jets hitting rock bottom. Despite a neutral field advantage and 15 days of rest, the Jets were blown out by the Bills, 38-3, at Ford Field in Detroit. Yes, those same Bills who were rocked by last week’s historic snowstorm thoroughly and effortlessly embarrassed their lifeless division rivals, completing the sweep of Gang Green...
Via Helmet2Helmet
5 hours ago

Jose Canseco's fiancée Leila Knight breaks it off with slugger

  Jose Canseco might be spending Thanksgiving with a broken heart.   The former slugger’s fiancée Leila Knight told TMZ Sports that she’s walking out on Canseco and breaking off their engagement. Canseco also confirmed the breakup via Twitter early Monday morning. Leila and I have gone our separate ways.check back later and find out what happened — Jose Canseco...
Via NESN.com
21 hours ago

Rex Ryan reportedly wants to start Michael Vick in Week 13

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports that assuming Rex Ryan is still the head coach and QB Michael Vick‘s calf injury isn’t any thing major, the Jets are expected to go with Vick for Monday’s game against the Dolphins. Mehta adds that Ryan had to discuss and clear his decision to make a change at quarterback few weeks ago with GM John Idzik and owner Woody...
Via NFL Trade Rumors
7 hours ago
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.