ESPN gave us much better Bracket Buster matchups this year, due to the wise decision to include more teams in the event. The best game was played in Kalamazoo, Michigan of all places. The Broncs’ ‘Zoo is where Western Michigan center Anthony Kann drained a 13 footer as the horn sounded to send the game to OT. Then the Broncos closed out a victory to keep their at-large hopes alive. The MAC also got good news from a win by Kent St. over Creighton. This nearly assures the conference of two teams in the dance if both win out in the regular season.
1) Alabama upset Mississippi State today. I have never considered Alabama a bubble team. They are not a lock either – they are really playing for their own automatic bid. They have the #1 strength of schedule and will hold that distinction on Selection Sunday. All the Tide has to do is get to 2 games over .500 to get the bid. They made this task more difficult with a loss at home to Vanderbilt earlier in the week, dropping their record to 12-10 with 5 games left and 2 of those against SEC leader Mississippi State. After today’s win, all they have to do is split those 4 remaining games and I think they’re in, regardless of what happens in the SEC tourney.
2) Any game involving St. Joe’s or Gonzaga is fun to watch, even if it’s a 20 point blowout.
3) Air Force came back from its embarrasing 37-35 loss at Texas Pan American on Monday (the lowest scoring game in D1 this year) to win at Utah today, restoring their at-large chances.
4) Kevin Clark at St. John’s won’t get any consideration for coach of the year, but he has made the most out of his situation. With only 5 scholarship players, one of them being a 300+ pound medical miracle, the Red Storm were awfully close to putting together a 2 game winning streak in the Big East today, falling at Virginia Tech by a point.
5) All in all, today was remarkably clarifying for the bubble picture. Right now, the committee would have its easiest task in recent memory. There are still loose ends to tie up in the WAC, MWC, and the A-10. I’m sure things will get muddier in the next 3 weeks, but for now picking the teams would be relatively easy.
6) Later this week, I going to present some work I’ve done on determining how likely a team is to rebound its own 2 point miss as opposed to its own 3 point miss. The reason I bring this up is I wonder what the perception is out there on this. I’ve never seen any work done on it, although that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been done. It probably means that I don’t know how to work a search engine to its fullest potential. Anyway, you can guess (in your head – or e-mail me) what the answer is, and later I’ll reveal what I think is something close to the real answer.