In last week's Bracketology, we said "Tennessee would have to do something significantly more startling than lose to the Blue Devils" to lose its No. 1 seed.
Well, guess what? The Lady Vols did just that. And so it's no surprise Tennessee was among the hot topics. In fact, one issue filled the e-mail box more than LSU vs. UConn/Tennessee, so here we go:
It's amazing. You now have LSU as a No. 2 seed. The Lady Tigers play arguably one of the toughest schedules of the year and play their worst game of the season on the road at one of the toughest places to play and still almost win the game, losing by three for their only loss -- and this puts them as a No. 2 seed. Yet Tennessee, in its only loss of the season, gets waxed by Duke but remains a No. 1 seed and ahead of LSU. Just because Connecticut beat LSU in a home game that the Huskies were desperate to win to retain national respect, should they be ahead of LSU since UConn has two losses -- including an absolute massacre at the hands of North Carolina? There is no way you can logically justify this -- except for Tennessee and Connecticut bias.
Tony, it's interesting you throw up LSU's tough schedule yet conveniently leave out the fact no one plays a more challenging slate than Tennessee when diminishing the Lady Vols' credentials as a top seed. That's just as much one-way thinking as your perceived "Tennessee and Connecticut bias."
There is certainly a way I can logically place UConn one line ahead on the S-curve, and thus, one seed line ahead of LSU. It's called head-to-head, and, yes, it matters. Tony, if LSU had beaten Connecticut, you'd be using the head-to-head as part of your pro-LSU rant. It's really not amazing at all.
Now on the other hand, since my projections, Tennessee has lost again and LSU was impressive in beating Vanderbilt. Tennessee and LSU would definitely be switching places at this point. The Lady Vols would have to drop to a No. 2 seed because recent play is also a part of the committee's criteria, and Tennessee is playing worse than any of the top teams right now.
As a big Mickie DeMoss fan, I'm very excited to see you throw Kentucky into the NCAAs this go around. Will a winning record in the SEC alone secure a bid? Or will Kentucky have to beat Vandy or Georgia?
History says a winning SEC record will be enough to get the Wildcats in. The win over Tennessee was huge and is the kind of win that tilts teams to the right side of the bubble if it comes to that.
Why are you just looking at records? BYU a No. 4 seed and New Mexico a No. 5 seed? Who has BYU beaten? Nobody! We thrashed (not beat) Minnesota and other ranked teams. BYU is not in our class. After we win the conference tournament for the fourth straight year, maybe we will get some respect!
Have to love the respect complaint. Actually, Minnesota is the only ranked team New Mexico has beaten. No, records are not the only part of the equation, but they are a pretty big one. BYU checked in at 15-1 at the time of the projections and with a better MWC record than New Mexico. Yes, the Lobos have played a tougher schedule, but BYU's RPI was higher. The bottom line is plenty of factors go into this and the difference in their profiles was small. In fact, BYU was 16 and New Mexico 17 on my S-curve. In this case, though, that one spot is the difference in one seed line.
Don't know much about you, but you are dead wrong about Oklahoma and have been all along. As good as people think the Paris twins are, they are still being underestimated. People like you are also underestimating Sherri Coale. She knows how to develop teams during the season. What she ends up with is always vastly superior to what she started with. What she did with last year's mediocre team was amazing, losing to Stanford down in Phoenix. OU is at least a No. 2 seed. Fasten your seat belt, dude.
I always buckle up, Ralph, but I'm not quite sure what I'm underestimating. Sherri Coale is a tremendous coach, but what she did last year has no bearing on the Sooners' chances this season. At least a No. 2 seed, eh? They certainly aren't a No. 1, and with four losses don't stand up with the other No. 2s. A No. 3 seed is exactly right, but the Sooners are, in fact, the highest of the two seeds on S-curve.
Why in the world would UNC be shipped out to Albuquerque even though the Tar Heels beat UConn by 23 points earlier this year! You know what, though? I wouldn't be surprised if UNC got the shaft. The women's basketball world has disrespected UNC continually, in favor of the hype machines coming out of Storrs, Knoxville and Durham.
It's not about someone getting the shaft. It's about dollars. Look at this objectively, Justin. To build the women's game and maximize attendance and revenue, it only makes sense to put Connecticut in the Bridgeport Regional. Anyone who tries to make money has to understand that concept. If you owned a restaurant, would you want it to be located where there is plenty of foot traffic or in a rural area where there are fewer people? Bridgeport has more UConn fan foot traffic than it does UNC foot traffic.
Where's BC in your bracket? Ranked 24th and despite being 0-4 in the ACC has a win over Stanford.
Forget the rankings. Notre Dame just keeps losing yet stays in the Top 25. You answered your own question, JD. No team that doesn't have a single win in its conference will get a bid. This is not saying BC won't turn its ACC fortunes around and ultimately get into the tournament, but these projections are a snapshot of the season as it is now. Conference record is one of the measures used by the committee, and 0-4 just doesn't cut it.
Charlie, do you think that if Hartford went undefeated in conference play during the regular season, but lost in the America East championship game to either Boston University or Stony Brook, that the Hawks would get an NCAA invite? I doubt they will go undefeated, but right now they are clearly the class of a better-than-ever America East.
Good question, but the answer was likely provided by the committee last season. Gonzaga finished the WCC unbeaten, went 27-3 overall, had a top-50 RPI, but lost in the conference tournament -- and wound up in the WNIT. Whether the Hawks go undefeated or not, they better do the job in the America East tournament.
Beat the C-USA rush. Join the Tulsa bandwagon. Tulsa 81, Marshall 56, at Marshall. Also wins over Florida State, Arkansas, Oklahoma State and Colorado State.
Battle Creek, Mich.
I won't be joining any bandwagons, but that win by Tulsa would put the Golden Hurricane in the tournament if I were to re-do the bracket projections today. However, be very clear that Conference USA is shaping up more and more like strictly a one-bid league. Get excited now, but Tulsa better win that conference tournament.
How could you leave out Arkansas on your Bracketology?
It really wasn't very hard. With an RPI better than 100 and an SOS over 200, Arkansas' credentials are minimal. Every decent opponent on the nonconference schedule (Oregon, Western Kentucky, Florida International, Tulsa) was a loss. Yes, the Lady Razorbacks were 4-1 in the SEC at the time of this bracket projection, but that would be the only plus on the résumé. If Arkansas continues playing at this pace in the SEC then, yes, it will probably be in the field, but that will also mean beating more upper-division SEC foes, which would kick up the RPI and SOS anyway.
Charlie Creme can be reached at email@example.com.