January 21: 1-68

As promised, here is HvG’s first 1-68 of the year.  I’ll get to a full bracket in early February after digging into the metrics in a little more detail.  Plus, a ton is going to change in 2-3 weeks.

I went through how the committee will group the wins and losses, and my initial excel file is a colored mess.  It’s going to take a little getting used to.  If you aren’t aware, there are now four groups based on the RPI of who you play:

Group 1: Home (1-30) / Neutral (1-50) / Away (1-75)
Group 2: Home (31-75) / Neutral (51-100) / Away (76-135)
Group 3: Home (76-160) / Neutral (101-200) / Away (136-240)
Group 4: Home (161+) / Neutral (201+) / Away (241+)

1 Seeds
1. Villanova (18-1) – Best team in the country…and I’m not sure it’s close.
2. Purdue (19-2) – They sure are steamrolling everyone in their path right now.  Their seven Group 1 wins are the most in the country.
3. Virginia (18-1) – This is a prototypical Virginia team with some excellent shooters in Jerome/Guy.
4. Kansas (16-3) – Tied with Xavier and Clemson for most total wins in Groups 1/2 with 10.  They’ll win the Big 12 for the 58th straight year.

2 Seeds
5. Duke (17-2) – The meat of the ACC schedule is coming soon for Dook.  Only six Group 1/2 wins keep them off the top line for now.


The wet suit is back. (Julio Cortez, AP)

6. Xavier (18-3) – Like a superhero, JP Macura put the wet suit back on and led Xavier to a road win at Seton Hall.
7. Auburn (17-2) – Bruce Pearl is doing it again.  Eight Group 1/2 wins, including four on the road.
8. UNC (16-4) – Heels are #3 in RPI, #8 in KenPom and have five Group 1 wins.

3 Seeds
9. Clemson (16-3) – Losing Grantham to an ACL is probably going to move them down some.  They’re good, though.
10. WVU (16-3) – The Mulleteers had a golden opportunity to beat Kansas and blew it.  They then waxed Texas by 35.
11. Cincinnati (17-2) – #6 in KenPom.  Those Cincy/Wichita games should be fun if Wichita gets their shit together.
12. Oklahoma (14-4) – The new fad is to hate on Trae Young.  Sounds very similar to the trend of hating 3 Floyds.  Appreciate greatness.

4 Seeds
13. Texas Tech (15-4) – We’ll excuse that performance Saturday at Hilton…
14. Ohio State (17-4) – Quietly, the Buckeyes are out to an 8-0 start in the pathetic Big 14.  Bates-Diop is good.
15. Michigan State (17-3) – The resume right now is sparse, and the Spartans are going through their typical January swoon.  I still think this is the most talented starting five in the country.
16. Florida (14-5) – Starting to figure it out.  Stole one at Rupp on Saturday.

5 Seeds
17. Tennessee (13-5) – It’s only a matter of time before Rick Barnes messes this up.
18. Miami (14-4) – Brown and Walker can really play.  Very dangerous team that I look forward to seeing on Feb. 19.
19. Arizona (16-4) – Getting Alkins back has helped, but the resume is still a little thin.  Ayton’s excellent.
20. Arizona State (15-4) – After the hot start, Arizona State has come back to Earth a bit and are 3-4 in the Pac 12.

6 Seeds
21. Louisville (15-4) – Padgett is a doing a hell of a job.


Jock is decent at basketball. (Young Kwak, AP)

22. St. Mary’s (19-2) – What a beautiful watch on Thursday night as Jock and the boys went to Duke West and got a W.  Made this guy very happy.
23. Nevada (18-3) – As indicated in the picks yesterday, these guys can really play.
24. Rhode Island (15-3) – The A10 is down and the Rams are clearly the class of the conference.

7 Seeds
25. Seton Hall (15-5) – This may be a little low, but the Hall missed a big chance at home, losing to Xavier.
26. Florida State (14-5) – Terance Mann leads FSU in scoring, but has been banged up.  Ease his pain.
27. Alabama (13-6) – Eight total wins in Groups 1/2.  Sexton is a stud.
28. Michigan (17-5) – Only four total wins in Groups 1/2, but they have that impressive win at Michigan State.

8 Seeds
29. Providence (14-6) – The Friars continue to get themselves in the mix by taking care of business at home.
30. Creighton (15-5) – Losing Krampelj (yes, I spelled that right) for the season hurts.
31. Kentucky (14-5) – Four of their five Group 1/2 wins are at home.  They’ve been very average so far, but may finally be fully healthy.
32. Gonzaga (17-4) – Incredible disparity in rankings for Duke West:  #57 RPI, #7 KenPom.  Let’s put them right in the middle.

9 Seeds
33. Houston (15-4) – This is probably high, but they absolutely handled Wichita on Saturday.
34. Wichita State (15-4) – McDuffie comes back and the Shockers struggle.  They’ll be fine, and I’d bet this is the lowest they fall.
35. Texas (12-7) – Well, they just got whacked at WVU, but they have 5 Group 1 wins.
36. TCU (14-5) – The Frogs are 2-5 in conference play, and are going to have to start winning some of these close games.

10 Seeds
37. Butler (14-7) – The Bulldogs don’t have a loss outside of Group 1, and have the only W over ‘Nova.
38. Marquette (13-6) – Three dudes have scored 30+ in a game for Marquette.  So much offensive firepower.
39. Missouri (13-6) – Here come the middle of the pack SEC teams.
40. Georgia (12-6) – Here’s another.

11 Seeds
41. USC (15-6) – Honestly 35-42 at this point are almost identical.
42. Arkansas (13-6) – Have a neutral court win over Oklahoma.
43. Middle Tenn State (14-5) – Giddy Potts is 42 years old.
44. W. Kentucky (14-6) – Just lost to the team directly ahead of them, but they have a neutral court win over Purdue.
45. Kansas State (14-5) – Good week for Weber’s boys as they beat OU and TCU at home.

12 Seeds
46. SMU (14-6) – Picked up a quality win at Wichita.
47. Washington (14-6) – Early season road win over Kansas would have them barely in the field.
48. Buffalo (14-5) – Undefeated in the MAC


Might have to make a trip up to Gentile Arena after work one of these nights…

49. Loyola-Chicago (16-4) – The Ramblers won at Florida, and went to Valpo today and won by 16.  Fun fact:  both of us obtained our JDs at Loyola.
50. New Mexico State (17-3) – Beat Miami in Hawaii…watch out for the Antelopes.

13 Seeds
51. S. Dakota State (17-5) – Daum is a monster.
52. Belmont (15-6) – Won at MTSU and WKU.
53. Vermont (16-5) – Gave Kentucky a scare.
54. E. Tennessee State (16-4) – Lost by a bucket at Xavier…Wofford will challenge.

14 Seeds
55. Louisiana (17-3) – What the hell happened to UT Arlington?
56. Northeastern (13-7) – Just housed Bill & Mary by 20 at their place.


57. Stephen F. Austin (16-3) – STONE COLD IS BACK.
58. Montana (14-5) – Undefeated in the Big Sky.

15 Seeds
59. Northern Kentucky (14-6) – NORSE.
60. Florida Gulf Coast (14-8) – Dunk City hung with Wichita for a while.
61. Canisius (13-8) – What the hell happened to Monmouth?  They are 5-13.
62. Bucknell (13-8) – Death. Taxes. Bucknell leads the Patriot.  Shout out Jon Rothstein.

16 Seeds
63. Radford (13-8) – Big South has about seven teams that are identical.
64. Pennsylvania (12-6) – Won at Dayton and have the early lead in the Ivy with a win over Princeton.
65. Hawaii (13-5) – The Big West isn’t very good.
66. Wagner (13-6) – If you predict who wins the NEC right now, I’ll buy you a beer.
67. North Carolina A&T (12-8) – MEAC leader.
68. Texas Southern (4-15) – Mike Davis’ theory of getting plowed in the non-conference has worked in the past.



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