Sports Goggles

My 37 At-Large Teams (That means three have to go!)

with 10 comments

Update: Ruining potential brackets everywhere, Dennis Felton completed and improbable run by winning four games in three days to win the SEC Tournament. Felton took over the Bulldogs program after it was decimated by the actions of the coach he succeeded, Jim Harrick. Now the 16-16 Georgia Bulldogs, after defeating heralded teams and coaches, go dancing.

And who knows, the team he might be knocking out of the Big Dance could just well be from his own conference (or, if the South Alabama Jaguars were the final team in – they’re gone).

Because I love this time of year so much and spend so much time trying to get together a winning bracket, what I’ve decided to do is let you in on my thinking about March Madness, how I see the teams and what I see for the matchups after the bracket is announced. Here are my 34 at-large teams, by conference, according to the hundreds of games I watched throughout the season, and according to Sagarin ratings (yes, I trust in Jeff’s ratings).

Pac 10
Stanford – 89.42, Wash St. – 88.69, USC – 86.62, Zona – 85.09, Oregon – 83.86, Az. St. – 83.06

Big 12
Championship game loser, Texas A&M – 85.78, Ok – 84.26, K St. – 84.24

Championship game loser, Duke – 93.67, Mia – 83.47, Va. Tech – 82.04

Big East
G town – 90.11, Ville – 88.17, Marq – 87.98, W Va. – 86.98, UConn – 86.85, ND – 86.82

Big 10
MSU – 87.32, Ind – 87.02, Purdue – 84.75, OSU – 83.44 (assuming Wisconsin wins today)

Tenn – 90.98, Vandy – 83.85, Ark – 83.79, Miss St. – 83.14, Miss – 82.12, Ky – 81.02

Ill St. – 82.44

Xavier – 88.24, St. Joe’s – 81.76

Mtn. West
BYU – 84.61, N. Mexico – 82.68

Gonzaga – 86.03, St. Mary’s – 84.17

The teams that should go? Illinois State, Kentucky, St, Joe’s, Mississippi, New Mexico.

Ill. State is 0-5 vs. the top 25 and 2-5 vs. the top 50. Kentucky – 1-4 vs, top 25, 4-6 vs. top 50. Mississippi – 1-1 vs. top 25, 5-3 vs. top 50. New Mex. – 0-0, 1-4. St. Joe’s – 2-2, 2-4.

There is also the case for S. Alabama a team with a 25-6 record and a 81.48 Sagarin rating, 0-0 vs. the top 25 and 3-2 vs. the top 50. The Jaguars barely lost at Mississippi (81-78) and at Vandy (91-88), crushed West coast Conference champ San Diego, 77-55, and defeated Sun Belt Conference tournament champ Western Kentucky twice during the regular season.

With the late addition of South Alabama, that means Illinois. State, New Mexico, Kentucky, and St. Joe’s should go, leaving South Alabama and Mississippi (with their stellar vs. top 50 record) as the final two teams in.

Now, what will happen? Kentucky is in. That means the selection committee will be considering Mississippi and the Jaguars. I say Mississippi is the more deserving team. However, in reality? The Jags and the Rebels should be included, leaving the Billy Gillespie to coach the ‘Cats to New York to try to win the NIT.

10 Responses

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  1. Whoa!! No Dayton Flyers? No VCU Rams?

    Shame on you D-Wil, shame on you.


    March 16, 2008 at 2:10 pm

  2. Ry-
    Their ratings weren’t high enough, Ry. Both are below 82.00 and not enough “special” wins (see the post below this one).


    March 16, 2008 at 2:17 pm

  3. Hopefully Mississippi State and Wisconsin take care of business. It’ll look even worse if Georgia and Illinois take automatic bides.

    The ACC shouldn’t have five bids. It really shouldn’t. But they’ll find a way to get Va Tech in.

    Signal to Noise

    March 16, 2008 at 2:24 pm

  4. Bids. Bids. Can’t spell today.

    Signal to Noise

    March 16, 2008 at 2:24 pm

  5. Va. Tech has an 82.04 Sagarin Rating, which makes them in.


    The problem I had with them is that they were 1-7 vs. the top 50. So, trying to look at it from my own POV and the NCAA’s, I think they might just sneak in.


    March 16, 2008 at 2:38 pm

  6. D – Well, I guess so, but blech.

    And I screwed up — the SEC title game is UGA and Arkansas, and the Dawgs are rolling early.

    Signal to Noise

    March 16, 2008 at 2:54 pm

  7. Didn’t VCU beating Duke last year prove they could win in the Tournament? Throw in the “education” Eric Manyor got this summer playing for the US under 21 team and he become a huge force this season.

    I can’t help but think the CAA doesn’t get enough respect which led to their lower rating. OD, George Mason, VUC, and Drexel and Hofstra are normally strong but had rough years. I would like to think VCU’s 80.32 score is too low and that somehow the committee steps up and makes the right decision by letting them in.

    Maybe I’m biased because I’m a huge CAA fan, but I would have loved to see Anthony Grant secure another Tournament win. I think it’s a shame Grant didn’t get to coach Florida this season…


    March 16, 2008 at 2:59 pm

  8. Ry-
    The NCAA is steadfast in not considering previous years for this year (and why would they?)…

    Dude, I covered George Mason as a beat writer, so I always want to see CAA teams to do well. But they needed to reach the finals – and with GMU’s Sag rating and record vs. top teams, win the tourney.


    March 16, 2008 at 4:18 pm

  9. I hate entering arguments with people and realizing I have no argument… it really pisses me off 🙂

    Any chance your starting a Sports On My Mind pool? I have one running on Facebook and I wondering if you wanted to join and if your starting a pool specific for the readers of this site. If you are please post details here on the site or fire me an email. Thanks buddy!


    March 16, 2008 at 6:21 pm

  10. Wow..the Georgia pulls it off, gotta love it. What else could be expected after a tornado hits downtown Atlanta??


    March 16, 2008 at 9:12 pm

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