1-3-1 Sports Field of 68 – February 28th

THE BRACKET:

Bracket 022814

PROJECTED SEEDING

The 1 Seeds

Florida, Arizona, Wichita State, Syracuse

The 2 Seeds

Kansas, Villanova, Duke, Creighton

The 3 Seeds

Wisconsin, Iowa State, Virginia, Michigan

The 4 Seeds

Michigan State, Cincinnati, San Diego State, Saint Louis

The 5 Seeds

North Carolina, Louisville, Texas, Massachusetts

The 6 Seeds

Kentucky, Ohio State, UCLA, Oklahoma

The 7 Seeds

Connecticut, Iowa, New Mexico, Pittsburgh

The 8 Seeds

VCU, Memphis, Gonzaga, SMU

The 9 Seeds

Kansas State, Arizona State, Colorado, George Washington

The 10 Seeds

Xavier, Stanford, Oregon, St. Joseph’s (PA)

The 11 Seeds

Baylor, Oklahoma State, California, Minnesota, BYU

The 12 Seeds

Missouri, Providence, Harvard, Wisconsin-Green Bay, North Dakota State

The 13 Seeds

Southern Miss, Belmont, Stephen F. Austin, Iona

The 14 Seeds

Delaware, Western Michigan, Mercer, UC Irvine

The 15 Seeds

Boston U., Georgia State, N.C. Central, Vermont

The 16 Seeds

Davidson, Robert Morris, Utah Valley, Weber State, High Point, Alabama State

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BUBBLE ACTION

Last Four In

Minnesota, BYU, Missouri, Providence

First Four Out

Arkansas, Tennessee, St. John’s, Florida State

Next Four Out

Nebraska, Richmond, Dayton, Georgetown

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CONFERENCE BREAKDOWN

Pac-12 (7), Big 12 (7), Big Ten (6), Atlantic 10 (5), ACC (5), American (5), Big East (4), SEC (3), Mountain West (2), West Coast (2)

ACC – Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, Pittsburgh

America East – Vermont

American – Cincinnati, Louisville, Connecticut, Memphis, SMU

Atlantic 10 – Saint Louis, Massachusetts, VCU, George Washington, St. Joseph’s (PA)

Atlantic Sun – Mercer

Big 12 – Kansas, Iowa State, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma State

Big East – Villanova, Creighton, Xavier, Providence

Big Sky – High Point

Big South – VMI

Big Ten – Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Iowa, Minnesota

Big West – UC Irvine

Colonial – Delaware

Conference USA – Southern Miss

Horizon – Wisconsin-Green Bay

Ivy – Harvard

MAAC – Iona

MAC – Western Michigan

MEAC – N.C. Central

Missouri Valley – Wichita State

Mountain West – San Diego State, New Mexico

Northeast – Robert Morris

Ohio Valley – Belmont

Pac-12 – Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State, Colorado, Stanford, Oregon, California

Patriot – Boston U.

SEC – Florida, Kentucky, Missouri

Southern – Davidson

Southland – Stephen F. Austin

Summit – North Dakota State

Sun Belt – Georgia State

SWAC – Alabama State

WAC – Utah Valley

WCC – Gonzaga, BYU

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1-3-1 Sports Field of 68 – February 24th

THE BRACKET:

Bracket 022414

PROJECTED SEEDING

The 1 Seeds

Florida, Arizona, Wichita State, Syracuse

The 2 Seeds

Kansas, Villanova, Duke, Creighton

The 3 Seeds

Wisconsin, Iowa State, Virginia, Saint Louis

The 4 Seeds

Michigan, Michigan State, Cincinnati, San Diego State

The 5 Seeds

Kentucky, North Carolina, Louisville, Ohio State

The 6 Seeds

Iowa, UCLA, Texas, Oklahoma

The 7 Seeds

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Memphis, New Mexico

The 8 Seeds

Pittsburgh, VCU, Gonzaga, SMU

The 9 Seeds

Kansas State, Arizona State, Colorado, George Washington

The 10 Seeds

Stanford, Baylor, California, Xavier

The 11 Seeds

Oregon, Missouri, St. Joseph’s (PA), Oklahoma State, Minnesota

The 12 Seeds

BYU, Richmond, Toledo, Harvard, Wisconsin-Green Bay

The 13 Seeds

North Dakota State, Middle Tennessee, Belmont, Stephen F. Austin

The 14 Seeds

New Mexico State, Delaware, Mercer, Iona

The 15 Seeds

UCSB, Boston U., Georgia State, N.C. Central

The 16 Seeds

Vermont, Davidson, Robert Morris, Weber State, Southern, VMI

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BUBBLE ACTION

Last Four In

Oklahoma State, Minnesota, BYU, Richmond

First Four Out

St. John’s, Providence, Dayton, Tennessee

Next Four Out

Nebraska, Southern Miss, Georgetown, Florida State

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CONFERENCE BREAKDOWN

Pac-12 (7), Big 12 (7), Big Ten (6), Atlantic 10 (6), ACC (5), American (5), Big East (4), SEC (3), Mountain West (2), West Coast (2)

ACC – Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, Pittsburgh, North Carolina

America East – Vermont

American – Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis, Connecticut, SMU

Atlantic 10 – Saint Louis, Massachusetts, VCU, George Washington, St. Joseph’s (PA), Richmond

Atlantic Sun – Mercer

Big 12 – Kansas, Iowa State, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma State

Big East – Villanova, Creighton, Xavier

Big Sky – Weber State

Big South – VMI

Big Ten – Michigan State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio State,  Minnesota

Big West – UCSB

Colonial – Delaware

Conference USA – Middle Tennessee

Horizon – Wisconsin-Green Bay

Ivy – Harvard

MAAC – Iona

MAC – Toledo

MEAC – N.C. Central

Missouri Valley – Wichita State

Mountain West – San Diego State, New Mexico

Northeast – Robert Morris

Ohio Valley – Belmont

Pac-12 – Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State, Colorado, California, Stanford, Oregon

Patriot – Boston U.

SEC – Florida, Kentucky, Missouri

Southern – Davidson

Southland – Stephen F. Austin

Summit – North Dakota State

Sun Belt – Georgia State

SWAC – Southern

WAC – New Mexico State

WCC – Gonzaga, BYU

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1-3-1 Sports Field of 68 – February 21st

THE BRACKET:

Bracket 022114

PROJECTED SEEDING

The 1 Seeds

Syracuse, Florida, Arizona, Wichita State

The 2 Seeds

Kansas, Villanova, Duke, Michigan State

The 3 Seeds

Creighton, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, San Diego State

The 4 Seeds

Virginia, Iowa State, Saint Louis, Michigan

The 5 Seeds

Kentucky, Iowa, North Carolina, UCLA

The 6 Seeds

Texas, Louisville, Ohio State, Connecticut

The 7 Seeds

Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Memphis, Gonzaga

The 8 Seeds

Pittsburgh, VCU, Colorado, Kansas State

The 9 Seeds

New Mexico, Arizona State, SMU, George Washington

The 10 Seeds

Xavier, Missouri, Stanford, Baylor

The 11 Seeds

Minnesota, California, Oregon, St. Joseph’s (PA), Oklahoma State

The 12 Seeds

Tennessee, St. John’s, Toledo, Harvard, Wisconsin-Green Bay

The 13 Seeds

North Dakota State, Middle Tennessee, Belmont, Delaware

The 14 Seeds

New Mexico State, Mercer, Stephen F. Austin, Iona

The 15 Seeds

UC Irvine, Boston U., Georgia State, Vermont

The 16 Seeds

N.C. Central, Davidson, Robert Morris, Weber State, Southern, Coastal Carolina

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BUBBLE ACTION

Last Four In

St. Joseph’s (PA), Oklahoma State, Tennessee, St. John’s

First Four Out

BYU, Providence, Richmond, Dayton

Next Four Out

Southern Miss, Georgetown, Nebraska, Indiana State

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CONFERENCE BREAKDOWN

Pac-12 (7), Big 12 (7), Big Ten (6), Atlantic 10 (5), ACC (5), American (5), SEC (4), Big East (4), Mountain West (2), West Coast (2)

ACC – Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, Pittsburgh, North Carolina

America East – Vermont

American – Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis, Connecticut, SMU

Atlantic 10 – Saint Louis, Massachusetts, VCU, George Washington, St. Joseph’s (PA)

Atlantic Sun – Mercer

Big 12 – Kansas, Iowa State, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma State

Big East – Villanova, Creighton, Xavier, St. John’s

Big Sky – Weber State

Big South – Coastal Carolina

Big Ten – Michigan State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio State,  Minnesota

Big West – UC Irvine

Colonial – Delaware

Conference USA – Middle Tennessee

Horizon – Wisconsin-Green Bay

Ivy – Harvard

MAAC – Iona

MAC – Toledo

MEAC – N.C. Central

Missouri Valley – Wichita State

Mountain West – San Diego State, New Mexico

Northeast – Robert Morris

Ohio Valley – Belmont

Pac-12 – Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State, Colorado, California, Stanford, Oregon

Patriot – Boston U.

SEC – Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee

Southern – Davidson

Southland – Stephen F. Austin

Summit – North Dakota State

Sun Belt – Georgia State

SWAC – Southern

WAC – New Mexico State

WCC – Gonzaga

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The Daily 1-3-1 (February 20th)

1  Thought from the Games Last Night

Syracuse lost to WHO!?

Syracuse had been playing with fire all season when it came to remaining undefeated – last night, it finally caught up with them. Seriously though, raise your hand if you had Boston College as the team that would go into the Carrier Dome and hand the Orange their first loss of the season. Looks like nobody raised their hand; if you did, you’re a rapscallion and a liar… or a Boston College alum. This loss leaves Gregg Marshall’s Wichita State squad as the only remaining undefeated team in Men’s D1 college hoops.

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3  Games to Watch Tonight

i. (5) Duke @ North Carolina, ESPN – 9 PM
Let’s try this again! With all do respect to Louisville/Kentucky, Michigan/Michigan State, Georgetown/Syracuse, and Cincinnati/Xavier, this is the best rivalry in college basketball. It is a mere 9 miles from Durham to Chapel Hill, and there is no love lost when the two Tobacco Road goliaths tango on the basketball court. This year’s edition promises to be filled with plenty of excitement and hoopla, as freshman phenom Jabari Parker has really settled into his role in the past few games. North Carolina also seems to have settled into their fast-paced style of play, having won 7 straight games. 

ii. (25) Gonzaga @ BYU, ESPN2 – 11 PM
For all the night owls and people who live on the West coast, this game is one to watch in terms of shuffling of seeding (and entry into) the NCAA tournament. BYU has been flirting with earning an at-large birth into the tournament field, but so far they’ve just been a tease. Gonzaga has an impressive 23-4 record, albeit a bit misleading – their three tough non-conference games (Dayton, Kansas State, and Memphis) all resulted in losses.

iii. Penn State @ Nebraska, ESPNU – 7 PM
Many people would say I’m really scraping the bottom of the barrel when I list this game as one you might want to watch. Those people have a valid point, but have you seen my other options for tonight? Slim pickings. Nonetheless, Nebraska is at least in the conversation as a tournament bubble team after their win in East Lansing this weekend. If they can manage to finish above .500 in the topsy-turvy Big 10, it’s going to be hard to leave them out of the field.

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1  Bold Prediction for Tonight’s Slate

BYU plays their way back into the thick of the bubble discussion with a close home win over Mark Few and Co.

The Marriott Center has proven to be unfriendly confines for visiting West Coast Conference opponents, who are winless against the Cougars when playing in Provo. Something deep down in my gut tells me Tyler Haws is going to find a way to will this team to a narrow victory – he might even drop 30 on the Bulldogs along the way.

The Daily 1-3-1 (February 18th)

1  Thought from the Games Last Night

If I was the coach of a potential 2 or 3 seed, I would want to avoid drawing North Carolina as the 6 or 7 in my sub-regional.

Even with James Michael McAdoo dealing with foul trouble for the entirety of the game, the Heels were able to go on the road and beat a decent Florida State team. This team is fast, athletic, and is the only team to have knocked off a full-strength Michigan State squad – I don’t care if that game took place in early December; it’s still very impressive.

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3  Games to Watch Tonight

i. George Washington @ Richmond, NBC Sports Network – 7 PM
This game has Bubblicious written all over it; hopefully it doesn’t lose its intrigue and flavor as fast as the infamous chewing gum. The Colonials are looking to save their season and tournament hopes after back-to-back losses to VCU and Massachusetts. They control their own destiny, with two opportunities to get quality road wins this week – at Richmond and at Saint Louis. The Spiders are right on the cusp of the field – they must defend home court against the other top teams in the A10 to earn a tournament birth.

ii. (19) Texas @ (17) Iowa State, ESPN2 – 7 PM
It is a forgone conclusion that Kansas is the class of the Big 12. Who is the second best team in the conference? I think this game will do a lot to answer that question. The Cyclones have been less than impressive in their last two games, getting throttled by West Virginia and surviving at home against Texas Tech. Texas has yet to play the conference elite on the road, and this will be the start of a 4-game stretch that also features games in Lawrence and Norman; it’s time for the Longhorns to prove they belong in the conversation of contenders for a deep tournament run.

iii. (9) Villanova @ Providence, Fox Sports 1 – 7 PM
The Wildcats have been able to take care of business against everyone in the Big East not named Creighton, but on the road at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center isn’t going to be a cakewalk (stretch of a pun somewhat intended). Providence is in a similar situation to Richmond – another tournament-caliber conference foe is coming onto their floor, and they’re smack dab in the center of the bubble. If the Friars want to feel more comfortable about their tournament chances, they should probably win this game or their season finale at Creighton; winning this game seems like a much more feasible task.

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1  Bold Prediction for Tonight’s Slate

Marshall Henderson will attempt at least 7 three-point field goals, and will make less than half of those attempts.

He’s a dog without a leash, and Andy Kennedy has enabled him and allowed that to happen – for better or for worse. Henderson’s antics are polarizing, his confidence is incessant, and he’s never afraid to risk taking the blame in order to earn the glory. I’m fairly confident that John Calipari will have the Wildcats ready to shut him down and shut his mouth.

1-3-1 Sports Field of 68 – February 17th

THE BRACKET:

Bracket 021714

PROJECTED SEEDING

The 1 Seeds

Syracuse, Florida, Arizona, Wichita State

The 2 Seeds

Kansas, Duke, Villanova, Michigan State

The 3 Seeds

Wisconsin, Creighton, Cincinnati, San Diego State

The 4 Seeds

Virginia, Iowa State, Michigan, Saint Louis

The 5 Seeds

Kentucky, Iowa, UCLA, Texas

The 6 Seeds

Louisville, Ohio State, Connecticut, Oklahoma

The 7 Seeds

Massachusetts, Gonzaga, Memphis, North Carolina

The 8 Seeds

Pittsburgh, VCU, Arizona State, Colorado

The 9 Seeds

Kansas State, New Mexico, Minnesota, Oklahoma State

The 10 Seeds

SMU, Xavier, California, George Washington

The 11 Seeds

Missouri, Stanford, Oregon, St. Joseph’s (PA), Providence

The 12 Seeds

Richmond, Tennessee, Toledo, Harvard, Wisconsin-Green Bay

The 13 Seeds

North Dakota State, Louisiana Tech, Belmont, Delaware

The 14 Seeds

New Mexico State, Mercer, Stephen F. Austin, Iona

The 15 Seeds

Georgia State, UC Irvine, Boston U., Vermont

The 16 Seeds

N.C. Central, Davidson, Weber State, Robert Morris,  Southern, Coastal Carolina

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BUBBLE ACTION

Last Four In

St. Joseph’s (PA), Providence, Richmond, Tennessee

First Four Out

Baylor, BYU, St. John’s, Georgetown

Next Four Out

Florida State, Dayton, Southern Miss, St. Mary’s (CA)

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CONFERENCE BREAKDOWN

Pac-12 (7), Big 12 (6), Big Ten (6), Atlantic 10 (6), ACC (5), American (5), SEC (4), Big East (4), Mountain West (2), West Coast (2)

ACC – Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, Pittsburgh, North Carolina

America East – Vermont

American – Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis, Connecticut, SMU

Atlantic 10 – Saint Louis, Massachusetts, VCU, George Washington, St. Joseph’s (PA), Richmond

Atlantic Sun – Mercer

Big 12 – Kansas, Iowa State, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Oklahoma State

Big East – Villanova, Creighton, Xavier, Providence

Big Sky – Weber State

Big South – Coastal Carolina

Big Ten – Michigan State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio State,  Minnesota

Big West – UC Irvine

Colonial – Delaware

Conference USA – Louisiana Tech

Horizon – Wisconsin-Green Bay

Ivy – Harvard

MAAC – Iona

MAC – Toledo

MEAC – N.C. Central

Missouri Valley – Wichita State

Mountain West – San Diego State, New Mexico

Northeast – Robert Morris

Ohio Valley – Belmont

Pac-12 – Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State, Colorado, California, Stanford, Oregon

Patriot – Boston U.

SEC – Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee

Southern – Davidson

Southland – Stephen F. Austin

Summit – North Dakota State

Sun Belt – Georgia State

SWAC – Southern

WAC – New Mexico State

WCC – Gonzaga

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1-3-1 Sports Field of 68 – February 14th

THE BRACKET:

Bracket 021414

PROJECTED SEEDING

The 1 Seeds

Syracuse, Arizona, Florida, Wichita State

The 2 Seeds

Villanova, Michigan State, Kansas, Duke

The 3 Seeds

Kentucky, Wisconsin, Michigan, Creighton

The 4 Seeds

Cincinnati, Virginia, San Diego State, Iowa State

The 5 Seeds

Saint Louis, Iowa, UCLA, Texas

The 6 Seeds

Louisville, Ohio State, Memphis, Connecticut

The 7 Seeds

Pittsburgh, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Gonzaga

The 8 Seeds

VCU, North Carolina, Kansas State, SMU

The 9 Seeds

Oklahoma State, Colorado, New Mexico, George Washington

The 10 Seeds

Minnesota, Xavier, Arizona State, California

The 11 Seeds

Toledo, Missouri, Stanford, Tennessee

The 12 Seeds

Southern Miss, Oregon, Georgetown, Richmond, St. Joseph’s (PA), Harvard 

The 13 Seeds

Wisconsin-Green Bay, North Dakota State,  Belmont, Delaware

The 14 Seeds

New Mexico State, Mercer, Stephen F. Austin, UCSB

The 15 Seeds

Iona, Georgia State, Boston U., Vermont

The 16 Seeds

N.C. Central, Davidson, Weber State, Robert Morris,  Southern, Coastal Carolina

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BUBBLE ACTION

Last Four In

Oregon, Georgetown, Richmond, St. Joseph’s (PA)

First Four Out

Providence, BYU, LSU, Baylor

Next Four Out

Florida State, Dayton, St. John’s, Louisiana Tech

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CONFERENCE BREAKDOWN

Pac-12 (7), Big 12 (6), Big Ten (6), Atlantic 10 (6), ACC (5), American (5), SEC (4), Big East (4), Mountain West (2), West Coast (2)

ACC – Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, Pittsburgh, North Carolina

America East – Vermont

American – Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis, Connecticut, SMU

Atlantic 10 – Saint Louis, Massachusetts, VCU, George Washington, Richmond, St. Joseph’s (PA)

Atlantic Sun – Mercer

Big 12 – Kansas, Iowa State, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Oklahoma State

Big East – Villanova, Creighton, Xavier, Georgetown

Big Sky – Weber State

Big South – Coastal Carolina

Big Ten – Michigan State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio State,  Minnesota

Big West – UCSB

Colonial – Delaware

Conference USA – Southern Miss

Horizon – Wisconsin-Green Bay

Ivy – Harvard

MAAC – Iona

MAC – Toledo

MEAC – N.C. Central

Missouri Valley – Wichita State

Mountain West – San Diego State, New Mexico

Northeast – Robert Morris

Ohio Valley – Belmont

Pac-12 – Arizona, UCLA, Colorado, Arizona State, California, Stanford, Oregon

Patriot – Boston U.

SEC – Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee

Southern – Davidson

Southland – Stephen F. Austin

Summit – North Dakota State

Sun Belt – Georgia State

SWAC – Southern

WAC – New Mexico State

WCC – Gonzaga

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The Daily 1-3-1 (February 13th)

1  Thought from the Games Last Night

Tyler Ennis is cold-blooded.

The Panthers had their opportunity to finally get a quality win, up 2 with under five seconds remaining – then Tyler Ennis happened.  In case you missed it:

Ennis has been the most clutch freshman, and perhaps the most clutch player, in all of college basketball this year. He’s made all the big free throws, all the big plays, and all the big shots. Jim Boeheim has one of the greatest luxuries a basketball coach can have – a point guard who thrives with the ball in his hands when the game is on the line.

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3  Games to Watch Tonight

i. Minnesota @ (21) Wisconsin, ESPN – 9 PM
The Golden Gophers aren’t necessarily “on the bubble” at this point, but a loss in this game, especially if it isn’t close, will put Richard Pitino’s squad squarely on the bubble. I still think that the Gophers will get in the tournament if they finish 8-10 in the insanely deep Big Ten, but they should try to get to 9-9 if they don’t want to be sweating out Selection Sunday. Wisconsin needs to stop the home-court bleeding if they want to stay in the upper echelon of the Big 10. Opposing teams used to have nightmares about playing at the Kohl Center, but the Badgers are 1-3 in their last four home games.

ii. Arkansas @ Missouri, ESPN2 – 7 PM
Mike Anderson’s squad is still holding on to a small glimmer of hope that they may be dancing in March, but they’ll have to finish 5-2 or better to get to 20 wins and have a realistic shot for an at-large bid out of the SEC. Missouri is currently (barely) on the right side of the bubble, but a home loss to a fellow bubble team in conference would change that in a hurry. Both these teams are so hot-and-cold that any result is possible in this game.

iii. Colorado @ UCLA, ESPN2 – 9 PM
It looks like the Buffs are finally starting to learn how to win without their star Spencer Dinwiddie, who tore is ACL almost a month ago. After initially struggling to find an identity sans their leading scorer and assist man, Colorado has reeled off three straight wins, albeit all at home.  Tonight’s game at Pauley Pavilion against a very solid UCLA squad will be a whole ‘nother ball of wax, and a good gauge for the committee to see how the new-identity Buffs handle quality competition on the road.

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1  Bold Prediction for Tonight’s Slate

I will only be able to survive watching the Colorado/UCLA game until the first TV timeout because of Bill Walton’s announcing.

I’m usually rather lenient when it comes to judging the quality of a sportscaster – so it says a lot that it takes almost all my willpower not to immediately change the channel when Bill Walton is announcing a game. I can’t listen to him talk for more than 10 seconds without thinking about how much of a pretentious prig he is every time he opens his mouth.

The Daily 1-3-1 (February 12th)

1  Thought from the Games Last Night

San Diego State’s loss in Laramie last night might drop them two whole seed lines.

Alliterations aside, San Diego State can’t afford another loss the rest of the way if they want to have a résumé worthy of a 2-seed. It’s not the worst loss in the world, as Wyoming is at least a borderline NIT team and it was on the road. Nevertheless, watching this team play, I’ve always questioned their ability to put the ball in the basket against top-caliber opponents (which appears well-founded, with their Adjusted Offensive Efficiency outside of KenPom’s Top 50), so maybe they aren’t deserving of a 2-seed.

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3  Games to Watch Tonight

i. (8) Duke @ North Carolina, ESPN – 9 PM
With all do respect to Louisville/Kentucky, Michigan/Michigan State, Georgetown/Syracuse, and Cincinnati/Xavier, this is the best rivalry in college basketball. It is a mere 9 miles from Durham to Chapel Hill, and there is no love lost when the two Tobacco Road goliaths tango on the basketball court. This year’s edition promises to be filled with plenty of excitement and hoopla, as freshman phenom Jabari Parker has really settled into his role in the past few games. North Carolina also seems to have settled into their fast-paced style of play, having won 5 straight games by double digits.

ii. George Washington @ VCU, NBC Sports Network – 7 PM
VCU has their aptly-named “Havoc” defense, and George Washington has wooden teeth. In all seriousness, the Colonials are also capable of playing some high-pressure, lock-down defense when the time comes – and the time will come tonight. Tonight’s battle at the Siegel Center will be a means for determining (temporarily anyway) who is numero dos in the Atlantic 10 behind Saint Louis. Look for Mo Creek to have a big game if George Washington wants to go on the road and get a huge W.

iii. (1) Syracuse @ (25) Pittsburgh, ESPN – 7 PM
These two teams already met once earlier this season at the Carrier Dome, and the Orange slogged their way to an ugly 59-54 victory. The Panthers have the undefeated, unanimous #1 team in the country coming into their backyard; this gives them a chance to finally beat a quality opponent this season. Just to be clear, Pitt has played four legitimately good teams all season – Cincinnati, Syracuse, Duke, and Virginia. Their record in those four games? 0 wins, 4 losses. If they want the committee to take their over-inflated record seriously, they need to have a quality win on their team sheet for Selection Sunday.

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1  Bold Prediction for Tonight’s Slate

The three abovementioned games will all be decided by single digit margins.

Grab some popcorn and settle in for some great basketball tonight, ladies and gentlemen… I think we have three truly great matchups between six teams that are all capable of making the second weekend (and beyond in the case of Duke and Syracuse) come March. If you put a gun to my head and told me to pick each game, I might just flip a coin for each one, because it would be that tough for me to make a decision. Since you twisted my arm, I’ll make some picks: Duke goes on the road and picks up a big W, VCU uses their home court to nix GW, and Cuse’s bid for an undefeated regular season lives to see another day.

The Daily 1-3-1 (February 11th)

1  Thought from the Games Last Night

Can a 3-point overtime loss (on the road) to an in-state rival (that’s also a tournament team) really drop you a seed line?

I don’t know if I have a definitive answer to that question just yet, because I have to see how the rest of the week’s games play out. However, the Jayhawk faithful may not like the conclusion I am leaning towards at this very moment. Last night’s loss in Manhattan was the sixth loss of the year for Kansas, and it’s hard for me to see an 18-6 team deserving a 2-seed, even with the brutally tough schedule they’ve played to this point.

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3  Games to Watch Tonight

i. (15) Michigan @ (22) Ohio State, ESPN – 9 PM
The stakes aren’t quite as high when these two bitter rivals meet on the hardwood as opposed to the gridiron, but I’m sure the game is bound to get quite chippy. These two teams are also trending in opposite directions. After a demoralizing home loss to Penn State, Ohio State has righted the ship with 3 wins in a row, including road wins against Wisconsin and Iowa. Michigan, on the other hand, has loss two of three, after starting 8-0 in conference.

ii. Oklahoma State @ (19) Texas, ESPN2 – 7 PM
The Marcus Smart shoving incident was blown way out of proportion, but that’s a tangent I may address on another day. Nonetheless, Smart’s three-game suspension is going to have a major impact on the Cowboys, who have to prevent the wheels from completely falling off in his absence. In their first game sans their star, OK State faces a stern road test against the surprising Longhorns. It’s not an NCAA tournament game, so I’m sure Rick Barnes will actually have the squad ready to roll this evening.

iii. (3) Florida @ Tennessee, ESPN – 7 PM
Tennessee is that relative that you’re pretty sure has bipolar disorder – you just keep your mouth shut and enjoy the entertaining portion of their performances. Florida is that affluent, well-spoken relative that has had a great deal of consistent success in their life. The family is having a cozy little get-together in Knoxville tonight; we’ll see if the bi-polar relative smashes out the windows on the affluent relative’s Mercedes, or if the affluent relative will overwhelm all their cousins with their general aura and power.

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1  Bold Prediction for Tonight’s Slate

The Gators go on the road and hang a 15+ point beatdown on the Volunteers, further muddling Tennessee’s perplexing bubble résumé.

Billy Donovan’s squad is far better than every other team in the SEC, save Kentucky. Whether that speaks more about the lack of depth in the SEC, or the strength of Florida, I’m not sure… I guess we’ll find out in March!