San Diego State vs Boise State : Free online [NCAAM] college basketball season 2020 Tv Channel to this point, the month of March is fast approaching and with that comes an abundance of projections for what is shaping up to be a chaotic free-for-all NCAA Tournament.
As mentioned last weekend, the Men’s Basketball Committee revealed its Top 16 seeds during their bracket preview show on CBS which aims to open the door into the criteria and selection process for seeding teams ahead of Selection Sunday on March 15.
Following the course of the season, the projected 1 seeds (Baylor, Kansas, Gonzaga and San Diego State) came as no surprise with each team holding a firm grip at the top with their respective profiles. The fifth team and overall top 2 seed revealed were the Duke Blue Devils, seemingly in prime position to leap up to the 1 line if the aforementioned four were to falter.
From a Bracketology standpoint, my latest bracket projections at One Man Committee have been updated (as of Thursday, Feb. 13) to reflect Duke’s current standing. No movement up-or-down has been made in line with the selection committee’s bracket preview as the Blue Devils remain the No. 2 seed slotted in the East region. There is also the aspect of the teams that will be placed in the East region as well, which is where you will find No.1 seed San Diego State. Along with the Aztecs, they will be joined by the likes of No. 3 seed Seton Hall (another team with NYC aspirations) and No. 4 seed Kentucky. The situation will remain fluid as we are still in the midst of the regular season with conference tournament play still to come, but the bracket projections will be a representation of how I would predict what the selection committee will come to in their final selections on March 15.
A brief deep-dive into Duke’s resume will further detail its current placement in the selection process and what opportunities present themselves that may adjust its seeding prior to Selection Sunday.
Duke’s overall profile is relatively strong showcasing among the nation’s best in results-based metrics (KPI – #3, SOR – #7) and prediction-based metrics (BPI – #1, Pomeroy – #3, Sagarin – #3). The Blue Devils are currently No. 6 in the NET rankings and hold a 4-1 against Quadrant 1 teams–with two of those victories being a neutral court win over Kansas and a pivotal road win over Michigan State–and have a combined nine victories between the top two quadrants. Outside of conference play, the Blue Devils are also 10-1 (1-o road) against the No. 7 non-conference strength of schedule. They have also amassed a stellar 7-1 road record against the No. 12 strength of schedule, which is the proverbial beating heart of their resume and one of the key takeaways as to why they were their No. 5 overall seed.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are a couple of blemishes with Duke’s profile which has been discussed as a whole into what plays into the separation between the four 1 seeds and then the next group of 2 seeds. For the Blue Devils, they were the lone school within the Top 16 with a Quadrant 3 defeat (vs. Stephen F. Austin, 83-85). While on paper it may seem damaging, in reality though the Lumberjacks are a really good basketball team with a 22-3 overall record, the clear favorite in the Southland Conference and are a projected NCAA Tournament team by way of an automatic bid. Additionally, the Blue Devils only road defeat of the season came at the hands to Clemson back on Jan. 14. Notable for that game, however, was the absence of freshman forward Wendell Moore and sophomore forward Joey Baker. During the course of the evaluating process, the selection committee has and will take injuries into account and can view that loss in lesser value as Duke did not have its full complement of players available.
Looking ahead, of Duke’s remaining seven games it will have two more Quadrant 1 opportunities, both coming away from Cameron Indoor Stadium with road visits to Virginia (#55 NET) and NC State (#56 NET) later this month. Of the other five, three of those games will be played against Quadrant 2 opponents with the other two coming against Quadrant 3 foes. For the Blue Devils, they must remain clear of any upsets going forward as they will be projected to win out in each game to close out the regular season.
The light at the end of the tunnel in projecting Duke in this year’s tournament is its regional placement. As it stands, first and second round games in Greensboro are becoming a near lock. The shorter distance of travel, the better in the opening weekend of the tournament. From there, the target will be the East region played in famed Madison Square Garden in New York City for the Sweet 16/Elite Eight. With a mass of alumni in and around New York, it has been viewed as a home away from home for Duke over a number of years. The Blue Devils are 38-18 all time in Madison Square Garden, while also holding a 72-27 all-time record when playing in the greater NYC area.
The 2020 NCAA Tournament will conclude from this year’s Final Four host site in Atlanta (GA) from Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Apr. 3-6.
Kansas may trail Baylor in the Big 12 Conference race. But the Jayhawks’ NCAA tournament résumé keeps getting prettier to the point where one loss for the Bears would position them for the top overall No. 1 seed.
Kansas (21-3, 10-1) won their ninth in a row and added yet another Quadrant 1 win to their tourney portfolio by defeating West Virginia on the road in Morgantown. WVU (18-6) is a projected No. 3 seed and the win gives Kansas a nation-leading 11 Quad 1 victories.
Kansas, in addition to two defeats of the Mountaineers, has victories against Dayton, Colorado and Texas Tech. Its only three losses — Duke, Villanova, Baylor — all came against top-30 opponents.
Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji shoots a three pointer over West Virginia guard Jordan McCabe during the first half at WVU Coliseum.
A Feb. 22 rematch against Baylor will give coach Bill Self’s team an opportunity to show the committee its merit to be the top team on the bracket come Selection Sunday in a month.
► No. 1 seeds: Baylor, Kansas, Gonzaga, San Diego State.
► Last four in: Wichita State, Florida, Stanford, Cincinnati.
► First Four out: Georgetown, North Carolina State, Memphis, Richmond.
NCAA tourney explainer:
Quadrant 1 wins: Home games vs. 1-30 NET teams; Neutral-site games vs. 1-50 NET; Away games vs. 1-75 NET
Quadrant 2 wins: Home games vs. 31-75 NET; Neutral-site games vs. 51-100 NET; Away games vs. 76-135 NET
Quadrant 3 wins, losses: Home games vs. 76-160 NET; Neutral-site games vs. 101-200 NET; Away games vs. 136-240 NET
Quadrant 4 wins, losses: Home games vs. 161-plus NET; Neutral-site games vs. 201-plus NET; Away games vs. 241-plus NET
Others considered for at-large bid (in no particular order): Virginia Commonwealth, Mississippi State, Syracuse, St. Johns, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Tulsa, SMU, TCU, Alabama, South Carolina, Oregon State, Saint Louis, Clemson, UNC-Greensboro, Utah, Furman, Texas, Utah State, Providence.
On life support (in no particular order): Mississippi, Washington State, Connecticut, Washington, Georgia, Duquesne, Miami (Fla.), DePaul, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech.
Multi-bid conferences: Big Ten (11), Big East (6), Pac-12 (6), SEC (5), Big 12 (5), ACC (4), American (3), West Coast (3), Atlantic 10 (2).
Leaders or highest RPI from projected one-bid conferences — (23 total): America East – Vermont; Atlantic Sun – Liberty; Big Sky – Montana; Big South – Winthrop; Big West – UC Irvine; Colonial – Hofstra; Conference USA – North Texas; Horizon – Wright State; Ivy – Yale; MAAC – Monmouth; MAC – Bowling Green; MEAC – North Carolina Central; MVC – Northern Iowa; Mountain West – San Diego State; Northeast – Robert Morris; Ohio Valley – Murray State; Patriot – Colgate; Southern – East Tennessee State; Southland – Stephen F. Austin; SWAC – Prairie View A&M; Summit – South Dakota State; Sun Belt – Little Rock; WAC – New Mexico State.
Transition schools ineligible to participate: Cal Baptist, North Alabama, Merrimack.
Banned from participating: Georgia Tech, Detroit.
Note: Mostly all statistical data is used from WarrenNolan.com. The NCAA’s NET rankings are also a reference point.
About our bracketologist: Shelby Mast has been projecting the field since 2005 on his website, Bracket W.A.G. He joined USA TODAY in 2014. In his seventh season as our national bracketologist, Mast has finished as one of the top three bracketologists in the past six March Madnesses. He’s also predicted for The Indianapolis Star, collegeinsider.com and is an inaugural member of the Super 10 Selection Committee. Follow him on Twitter @BracketWag.
Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGl