Next Stop, One Shining Moment...

The ball is tipped
and there you are
you’re running for your life
you’re a shooting star
And all the years
no one knows
just how hard you worked
but now it shows…
(in) ONE SHINING MOMENT, IT’S ALL ON THE LINE
ONE SHINING MOMENT, THERE FROZEN IN TIME

But time is short
and the road is long
in the blinking of an eye
ah that moment’s gone
And when it’s done
win or lose
you always did your best
cuz inside you knew…
(that) ONE SHINING MOMENT, YOU REACHED DEEP INSIDE
ONE SHINING MOMENT, YOU KNEW YOU WERE ALIVE

Feel the beat of your heart
feel the wind in your face
it’s more than a contest
it’s more than a race…

And when it’s done
win or lose
you always did your best
cuz inside you knew…
(that) ONE SHINING MOMENT, YOU REACHED FOR THE SKY
ONE SHINING MOMENT, YOU KNEW
ONE SHINING MOMENT, YOU WERE WILLING TO TRY
ONE SHINING MOMENT….

Newest Buffetology is up. That's the final field, although pending the outcome of the Big 10 and AAC, there could be some last minute seed swaps.  Final BOOP will be up tomorrow ... and we'll compare it to the field and the announced seed list to see how the formula did and where it needs tweaks.

But, if you are a Syracuse or Illinois State fan. My apologies.  If you are an anti-Duke fan further apologies.  That's where the Buffet hit the limb, moving Duke to #1 on the strength of: top of their resume wins, ACC tourney title, 2 out of 3 over North Carolina, adjusting to various injuries.  That just has the look AND bulk of wins for a #1 seed.

Providence just not inspire me by resume. They could be safer than we ultimately decided, but the field feels right.  Joe Lunardi disagrees.

It's the Final Countdown...

  • We sit hours away from the big reveal... No, not the one where I disclose I was once a candidate for the tv show Survivor -- the bracket reveal.
  • Currently, we're at halftime of potential RAM ON RAM CRIME, as the winner of this game gets the A-10 bid, and loser may find themselves replaying this game all off season (right now, the hard charging URI Rams are committing the Ram felony)
  • Princeton survived a giant Quaker scare are moving comfortably ahead in their game against Yale.
  • The Buffet will be back sometime between 1-130pm PT
  • Enjoy the final six autobid qualification ceremonies...

DOWN TO THE WIRE...

College Hoops, the only place where Head & Shoulders got it wrong...

"Because you never get a second chance to make a first impression." - when you're in the Waiting Line, you get many chances to make a first impression...

QUICK BUFFET ADDENDUM -- It looks as though we're staring at 7 teams for 5 spots (in current order of likelihood of a bid), only 2 of which can do any more resume improvement and/or win their tournament and discard the whole at-large invite nonsense:

  • Wake Forest
  • Vanderbilt
  • Kansas State
  • Providence
  • Syracuse
  • USC
  • Rhode Island
  • Illinois State

After a day that featured 7 OT periods (4 alone out in the WAC) and 21 games at 8 points or less, Selection Sunday Eve was everything we hyped it to be. Here's what we know:

  • Kansas State has likely played its way in
  • Jerry Palm is going to have to find room for Vanderbilt in his bracket
  • Northwestern is going to be wearing white jerseys in its first every tournament
  • Rhode Island is pushing itself towards a bid, and suddenly VCU is playing for its tournament life.
  • Dayton's place in line isn't so safe despite winning the A-10 regular season title
  • Wisconsin has righted their ship
  • Seton Hall will be seeing that point blank miss to tie against Villanova in their minds for a long while
    • And Villanova is all class:

And if you didn't see this:

you missed the best drama of it all yesterday -- 

that grin at the end #savage

What to watch for today:

FIRST EVER IVY TOURNAMENT

  • AMERICA EAST AUTOBID ALERT: Vermont v. Albany
  • North Carolina Central tries to finish what the 2015 Undefeated in MEAC Play couldn't as they and Norfolk play for the MEAC Auto
  • Can Davidson keep playing bid thief? Can Rhode Island - and that's a double-sided question because perhaps they've taken a bid already, at-large style.

Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern & Wisconsin -- all safely in, and not the Big10 tournament final four anyone was expected before the season.  Michigan & Northwestern look to continue their ascendancy up the seed list...

Vandy & Arkansas are in the SEC Semifinal of teams who every prognosticator wants to look at their resume, see not as much as you'd think and find ways to keep them out - but you can't.

VCU plays for what could be their tournament life versus Richmond, as it's getting CROWDED at the front of the waiting line...

It's everyone's favorite time of year -- CONNECTICUT. CINCINNATI. AAC CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT, lest you forgot...

 

Then at about 5:30pm ET, it's an autobid bonanza:

  • 530p: Big East: 6 Creighton v. 1 Villanova
  • 6p: Mountain West: 2 Colorado State v. 1 Nevada
  • 6p: Big12: 4 Iowa State v. 2 West Virginia
  • 630p: SWAC: 2 Alcorn St. v. 1 Texas Southern
  • 730p: MAC: 6 Kent St v. 1  Akron
  • 830p: Big Sky: 3 Weber State v. 1 North Dakota
  • 830p: Conference USA: 6 Marshall v. 1 Middle Tennesee
    • subplot here - has Middle Tennessee done enough to earn a trip to the Buffet win or lose? Or did they need Louisiana Tech to beat Marshall last night to protect the downside impact on their resume of a championship game loss
  • 900p: 5 Duke (no ACC team has won the tournament from the 5-hole) v 3 Notre Dame (Mike Bray is a wizard)
  • 930: Southland: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (THE ISLANDERS!!) v. 1 New Orleans
  • 11p: WAC: New Mexico State (what else is new) vs. 1 Cal-Bakersfield (how much to CSB have left in the tank after their 4 OT thriller (if by thriller you mean, couldn't throw rocks in the ocean, but they and Utah Valley couldn't throw them at the same exact pace)
  • 11p: Pac-12: 2 Arizona v. 1 Oregon
  • 1130p: Big West: 2. UC-Davis v. 1 UC-Irvine

That's 13 tournament finals today... Get your plates out ya'll it's automatic invitation day

A Boop and a Bracket will be coming later today as well...

Its a Buffet Holiday: We Call It Selection Sunday Eve

Yes, well aware Saturday would technically be Selection Sunday Eve, but the Friday before is a cornucopia of game such that, the 12pm ET to after 12am ET makes THIS the day we should all call in sick...

New Bracket & BOOP are up...

Since the BOOP is our guidepost to bracketing, let's take a look (posted in the BOOP section above) where some movement has happened, and what can happen based on today's matchups.

  • Duke - it's recent action has allowed the Blue Devils move from 13 to 8, but they hold the slimmest of margins over Oregon (.4 points) so how the tournaments play out will be big for who nabs that #2 (though, with human element can almost guarantee the P12 tournament winner is getting a 2 seed, it's Baylor and their loss to Kansas St that may be the 2 seed most imperiled by Duke)
  • Oregon hopped Arizona following the Buffet's re-examination and adjustment to Oregon's formula -- as a result, UofA dropped two spots to 11
  • Butler with its 2 loss in the last week drops to 13
  • Florida St & West Virgnia with their tournament wins push up, Purdue who hasn't started yet and St. Mary's who is done were the victims of that move
  • Xavier hops 2 spots with their nice win last night, and are safely in and away from Dayton's last four in
  • Northwestern, even with their destruction of Rutgers, got the least amount of help from that win and watched Va Tech, Vandy and Michigan St jump them as a result
  • Kansas State is the another big mover following their win over Baylor, jumping to 43, and at the front of the waiting line
  • Keep an eye on TCU - up to 56 in the BOOP, and now sitting on the cusp of the Buffet thanks to a Josh Jackson-less win over BOOP #1 TCU.

Some of the more interesting potential BOOP movement in today's Action:

  • Kansas now sits only 1.225 ahead of Villanova, knocked out by a combination of disinterest and no Josh Jackson, Villanova is poised to push in the top BOOP slot with a win or two (and if they win the Big East tournament, I imagine the Committee will place them in top overall slot as well)
  • Duke (UNC) & Oregon (Cal) stand to gain ground again, with Louisville knocked out, the Blue Devils sit .4 behind the Cardinal and the 4th overall team (the rubber match between them and UNC) is on their docket. Oregon won't get the same level of bump versus the slumping Golden Bears, but at .6 behind Louisville, will get themselves in 2 seed range with a win.
  • UCLA has a chance to vault Butler with a win over Arizona, who likewise have a nice chance to skip the upset and eliminated Baylor Bears in this West Coast rubber match
  • Minnesota & SMU are separated by .1, Minnesota has a tougher matchup ahead (MIchigan St) than SMU's ECU, so a win by both will likely see the Gophers hold 20, with St. Mary's in range at 17 for both at Cincinnati.
  • Creighton & Dayton are separated by a half point. Creighton faces Xavier today, with Dayton finally getting started in their tournament against Davidson
  • South Carolina is 3/4 of a point behind Wichita State, with Alabama on deck today.
  • Michigan, with one of the most impressive wins of the season between the frightening airplane scene, the awkward/tired travel and wearing these:
  • now are 3.75 behind eliminated Miami, with an opportunity to gain strong ground if they can knock of Purdue today
  • The Waiting Line is where the most intrigue lies -- Marquette is safely in, despite the BOOP not being a big fan .. but Rhode Island (42), Kansas State (43), California (58) and Indiana (57) have the biggest opportunity to enter the door opened by Clemson, Syracuse, Illinois, Iowa and friends over the last day or two.

Down the stretch they come...

Let's get to it -- 

Big East Conference

Right now, Buffetology has 7 bids projected for the Big East (with 8 teams left in the tournament with last night's results: St. John's over Georgetown and Xavier, saving their tournament hide with a win over DePaul). Let's get right into those teams still playing for a invitation into the Buffet, or looking to upgrade seeding (St. John's must win the tournament)

  • 7 Xavier: We discussed the Musketeers a bit yesterday, beating DePaul was a MUST.  But, it doesn't change the fact that this team has won 4 games since February 4th - and 3 of them are over DePaul. Losses to every tournament team has put this team's worthiness into question. Injuries are the culprit, but they are also the reality - Edmond Sumner isn't coming back.  Trevon Blueitt is back, and propelled them to their win last night. Losing to Butler can never be considered a deathstroke -- but it's incumbent upon X to be competitive and leave as little doubt as they can that they belong. A win and there's no question Sunday will include their name, a loss and they'll be left anxious, a blowout loss and they'll be super anxious... A championship run at they could sit in 8/9 territory, a championship game appearance could push them to the 10 line...
  • 6 Creighton: Creighton is getting in. A 7 seed in the latest Buffetology and online consensus, losing in their BE opener to Providence isn't knocking them from the tournament. But, I'm not bullish on the Bluejays without Mo Watson -- if this version play the entire season, they'd be a Waiting Line... team at best, and if they lose to the Friars here, would not be surprised to see them wearing Away jerseys on the 9 line next week. Now, a little run? Maybe 5/6 is possible, showing they've coalesced following the injury...
  • 5 Seton Hall: The Pirates have been hanging out around 10 for weeks now, they all but sealed their tournament bid with their regular season closing road win at Butler. Now they try to climb to a single digit seed (although, do you want to? If you can beat Butler on the road, you can beat a 7 seed, then you face a 2 seed and not potentially Kansas)... but, I digress -- 
  • 4 Marquette: The Golden Eagles hit a 2 game win streak to close the season, and finish winning 4 of 5, which locked their bid as well -- they, too, sit in 10-seed territory and a little run could get them into 8/9, especially if they can upset Villanova in the semis, that would get them their 2nd top 25 win, now they go on a beat Butler too? 3 top 25 wins, 9-6 record versus the top 50, can serve to erase the memory of their pair of loss to 100+ teams, and maybe 7 is in reach...
  • 3 Providence: the odd situation where a team who via tiebreaker, is seeded above 3 teams in a strong invitation position than they are. But, providence hasn't down the same work of others, only 4-7 on the road, and non-BE SOS of 178, and 3 resume dragging losses. The Buffet has them among the last 4 in, the Online Consensus has them a bit safer at 10. Losing to Creighton isn't elimination per se, but with so many major conference teams alive and playing for their spot, it would, in this blogger's opinion, imperil them greatly.  Beating Creighton + Butler, 10 seed WILL be their floor.  In fact, given the traffic, I don't see them rising higher than 9, but let's allow the run to play itself out...
  • 2 Butler -- The Bulldogs finally had the Buffet believing, with their back to back road wins over Villanova (doesn't get much better than sweeping the #1 team in the country) and Xavier.  We had vaulted them to 2, forgetting the late January stretch where they lost a pair of games to Georgetown and Creighton.  They draw Xavier, who is playing for their tournament inclusion, then Providence/Creighton's winner -- really the only way to push up their profile is winning the BET, bc the rest are nice wins but all they should get. Online consensus as them at 4, we've got them at 3, on the strength of those Nova wins -- they are the #2 overall seed and you beat them twice?
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  • 1 Villanova: The defending champs are getting a 1 seed - full stop. 

ATLANTIC 10

Twelve teams remain in the Atlantic 10 tournament -- but this is down to a 4 bid league (5, if Rhode Island loses in the championship game to Geo Mason, Fordham, Geo Washington and Saint Louis.  As a result, we'll push the discussion of those 4 until tomorrow, when they actually get going.

BIG 10

12 teams remain here as well, but unlike the A10, things get interesting on the Waiting Line right away.  Well, most it -- Rutgers has to win the tournament, Penn State will have to get to the final (beating Michigan St, Minnesota & Purdue), Indiana will have to do the same (beating Iowa, Wisconsin & Maryland) but, from there...

  • 9 Illinois - The Illini sat 13-11 and 3-8 in conference before catching fire and thrusting themselves into the tournament discussion, a 5-2 finish, including 4 in a row but the #2 was a potential tournament eliminating loss at Rutgers. They sit 54 in the BOOP, which means a Big10 run could vault them into the mid 40s (they sit below a group that includes Vanderbilt, Marquette, Rhode Island, Clemson, Seton Hall, Kansas State, Houston, Providence, USC, Illinois State, and Georgia - the Waiting Line teams you've come to know and love, all at varying degrees of tournament safety) -- it starts with a bit of luck, getting Michigan in an early tip, after Michigan's awful flight scare that caused them to arrive in DC this AM for the tournament, play in their practice unis: 
  • it's been also pointed out elsewhere, if this win is truly what would tip the scales for Illinois -- will the circumstances around it come into play for the Committee? Fair question, but seems like an unfair position for Illinois - my guess is the win wouldn't be downgraded -- though, we don't see it that way, believe Illinois needs this and a strong showing against Purdue, at a minimum.
  • 8 Michigan - Michigan -- the Wolverines are in, and thank goodness 100% all safe and uninjured after last night's airplane madness. I don't think I'd be able to get on airplane again, which would make getting home to LA from Atlanta very difficult.  A win over Illinois, in these circumstances would cement them as an 8 (they probably stick right there anyway), but a second win over Purdue in less than two weeks? They could be looking at a 7.
  • 7 Iowa - Iowa is another late B10 pusher. 4 wins to close the season, including a pair of road wins at Maryland & Wisconsin have pushed them right in the discussion.  But they were swept by Illinois, which puts them below the Illini in the pecking order for now, (also losses to Memphis, Nebraska and Omaha loom) -- they sit 60th in the BOOP, 58th in computer average, with a tough non-conference strength of schedule (178) and Northern Iowa on a neutral floor in mid-December as their best work out of conference. Beating Indiana is a must, but also they'll need to beat Wisconsin again to get into the Buffet's field.
  • 6 Northwestern - The Wildcats are going to get their first-ever invite in the NCAA tournament. Here's the problem, they seemingly went into "we made it mode" after winning at Wisconsin on Feb 12 - the buzzer beating goodness against Michigan notwithstanding -- and lost 3 of 4. Online consensus has them at 9 - I see them more in a 10 slot. There's only 1 win versus the top 25 to go with 6 losses.  And a 4-3 record versus 51-100, which means most of the teams barely in, barely out, or all the way out has played them even up.  I think that's a 10 seed with their recent play, but they can put themselves in that 8/9 game with a nice convincing win over Rutgers, and a strong show versus Maryland.
  • 5 Michigan State - talk about resume rehab, the Spartans were 12-9, with losses to every top team they played (Duke, Baylor, Arizona, Kentucky, Purdue) and some not so top (Northeastern, Penn State, Ohio State and Indiana), but they got healthy and back to as full strength as you could hope, won 6 of 8, capped by a win over Wisconsin (yes, there's a pattern developing here, more on the Badgers in a second).  A pair of road losses resettled them for the Buffet at 10, which mirrors online consensus.  Given their inconsistent season, failure to beat a top 25 team not named Minnesota, 8 is probably their ceiling, except they're Michigan State, so a Big10 run probably gets them in the 7 discussions
  • 4 Maryland - Maddening Maryland. At least to the Buffet. This team has Melo Trimble and a host of talent, but a 12-1 start against middling competition turned into a 12-7 finish, with losses against their toughest tests, except Minnesota (a Big 10 trend is coming, just wait).  And a textbook definition of average February (5-5, with a 3 game losing streak mixed in), made that Melo 3 at the gun so critical to balance Maryland back into 6 (Online consensus)/7 (Buffet) range. I think a first game loss to Northwestern/Rutgers (ESPECIALLY Rutgers) would put them in danger of an 8 seed, but getting through to the final (beating Wisconsin + potentially Purdue) and 5/6 may be their home -- though 6/7 seems what their profile dictates (unless that championship happens, and a 5 is super attainable) 
  • 3 Minnesota - Minnesota has something in common with the next team on the list - while hot as any team in this conference (or the country, for that matter) in February - 8 straight, bookended by losses to Maryland/Wisconsin -- they do seem to be every's good win (Michigan St & Wisconsin sweep, Maryland win against them on their court). A road win at Purdue in early January put them squarely on the radar - their top end win list is limited in non-conference (Texas-Arlington & Vandy is it), but wow that SOS (22 overall, 26 non-conference), they've avoided the bad loss, and have a .500 or better record against every bucket of competition (2-2 versus top 25, 4-4 versus 26-50 and 6-2 versus 51-100, for a 12-8 overall record versus the top 100).  But this looks like a 5 seed to me, ready to jump to 4 with a Big10 tournament run.
  • 2 Wisconsin - strange season in Madison ... this was 21 win team, 10-1 in the Big 10.  Then came 5 losses in 6 game (Bronson Koenig did miss time with injury, but that can't be explain), and suddenly they were the big win for Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State (though that didn't help the Buckeyes), and Michigan State. At what point are you the problem not the solution for others? On the strength of their pre-Feb 9, they seem to be hovering at a 6/7 seed. But look deeper -- they failed to win at Creighton (full strength Creighton), versus UNC, at Purdue, and are seemingly most propped up by sweeping Minnesota (see Michigan State for the trend, one team, with great numbers is swept by the same team, thus providing the justification for that team's seeding: Big 10 PATTERN ALERT.  
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  • Wisconsin beats the Iowa/Indiana winner and they'll stay in favored seed range, with a chance to get to 5 or 6 (6 is likelier, if they move at all), but lose in that spot? 8 seed or even 9 seems more justified given their profile...
  • 1 Purdue - Purdue has a great road (Maryland) and neutral win (Notre Dame) at the top of their resume, but a weak non-conference SOS (143) and a loss at Nebraska pulling some weight down. But their won the big ten by 2 full games, come in winning 8 of 9, and 10-4 away from home.  This is a 3 seed (online consensus thinks them a 4, but I sense a bit of overplayed B10 backlash there).  Probably too much traffic to get them in 2nd seed land, unless a current 2 seed totally flames out in their tournaments.

Multi Buffet Day!

It's a two-Buffet day! New bracket posted with some subtle changes...

  • Gave my first real long look at the Pac12 -- Oregon's win over of Arizona, not only gave them the P12 tournament first seed, but it should have had them seeded higher than UofA for some time now, the adjustment has been made, Oregon to a 2-seed, and Arizona to a 3-seed
    • from a forecasting perspective, if any teams are going to move Gonzaga off the 1 line, it's going to be either UCLA or Oregon, if either team can win the Pac12 tournament
    • Given that Arizona is slightly, as in the slightest of slights ahead of UCLA. UCLA has more wins against the top 25, and the Kentucky road win, UofA has a couple extra wins over the top 100 overall, a tougher SOS, and one less P12 loss.  It's pretty much neck and neck, and will likely be settled in Las Vegas
    • (Don't read this Leif) - TJ Leaf is expected to be back in uniform and in UCLA's lineup come the start of the P12 tournament
  • After a bit more resume analysis, we've swapped Cincinnati & Notre Dame
  • Vanderbilt's late season run, winning 6 of 8, 8 of 11 made their resume look slightly better to me than Northwestern's. Better top of the resume, off the charts strength of schedule (that was tick higher non-conference than when they went into SEC play), and that offsets the loss to Missouri, which is the only really UGLY part of what they're putting forward. 
  • Wake Forest has traded places with Syracuse as the safely in ACC team, and Syracuse has moved to last 4 in territory
  • Finally, Clemson popped into the first four and Kansas State has popped out.  Since we're typing this in real ACC time, the way Clemson is playing versus Duke right now is justifying this placement
  • Rhode Island, Kansas State, Houston, Illinois, and Iowa are the teams at the front of the Waiting Line, best positioned to steal some plates.

Every NCAA Tournament Needs a Dauminator

For every wrong prediction - and, well, we've been wrong -- you see Mike Daum coming, and everything turns out ok.  South Dakota State, the former of the great Nate Wolters, in a thrilling finish that saw Nebraska-Omaha have two shots to win it in the final 15 seconds, is back for their 5th run in the NCAA tournament. This time they're bringing Buffet folk hero, Mike Daum. Who's Mike Daum? Reigning Summit player of the year who 100% took over last night's game, with 37 points, scoring 9 of SDSt last 11 points, and has averaged 31 points per game and 9.6 rebounds during the Jackrabbits current 6 game win streak (including a 51 point game)

But I'll say one thing -- as much fun as watching the Sioux Falls crowd last night, and in fairness, the 1 seed was South Dakota -- given the demise of Belmont, Monmouth, Oakland, et al -- if your conference witnesses a court storming after the championship, and it's for the #4 seed - you're doing it wrong.  I saw online a proposal for one-bid leagues (who insist of the $$$$ producing non-campus site conference tournament format) to grant a bye to their top seed until the final.  And, I like that. I still think they should go to all campus sites, had last night been between any school other than a South Dakota school, that gym would have been as empty as Joe Louis was for the semifinals of the Horizon.

We'll take an abbreviated approach to our practice of medicine today, just looking at the schools playing today, and what they must do to: get in the Buffet, stay in the Buffet, or improve their seating geography (see what I did there, the almost homonym plays)

  • We discussed the ACC schools yesterday, so no rehash coming there -- except to say, sayonara Georgia Tech.  Clemson plays for its tournament life today versus Duke, Syracuse could be doing the same versus Miami.
  • Speaking of tournament's life, California's is on life support. No loss to Oregon State is ever a good loss, this one would be tragic. From there it's Utah, who blew the doors off Cal last week, that is a win Cal must avenge, but even then I would think beating Oregon might be the ONLY way in, if that door even opens still...
  • Texas Tech is virtually off the radar, but a run to the final getting through West Virginia & Baylor, 2 projected protected seeds -- then we'd talk about them a bit more
  • Xavier CANNOT CANNOT CANNOT lose to DePaul, and since they've got four wins since Feb 1, and 2 are against DePaul, you'd think they wouldn't. Then is Butler --  and a win over DePaul with the balance of their resume could be enough, but I'd beat Butler if I were the Musketeers, because other teams aren't just sitting around while Xavier plays out the BE tournament.  That win would be enough, that loss would likely send them to Dayton, and perhaps the NIT
  • USC can't lose to Washington - and if they want to get out of the first four, then they would need to flip the upset of UCLA...

New Buffetology will be up later today. with a flip coming on the 2 line, and a little more invitation security for Wake Forest.

Also, a little POY grudge match in Lewisberg, PA as Nana Foulland, a good basketball player who we don't mean to take anything away from (but the Buffet comments on basketball, and is going to sell it straight) leads top seeded Bucknell against 2nd seeded Lehigh, who feature Tim Kempton Jr, who absolutely should have won for his 3rd straight year, but, you know, #sharing...

Doctor Buffet Is In!

Doctor Buffet what do I need to do to get in?

Doctor Buffet what do I need to do to get in?

We've hit the Major Conference Corridor, so let's deep dive in the prescriptions for schools playing this week for getting that almighty invitation..

But, just preview the championship putting autobids on the line tonight, for your viewing reminders:

  • Gonzaga/St Mary's Invitational - decided tonight between, you guessed it Gonzaga & St. Mary's -- interestingly, Gonzaga let Santa Clara stick around and St. Mary's absolutely HAMMERED BYU.

  • Northern Kentucky tries to make a wrong Buffet prediction look good by being the Upset Special that was in the Horizon final versus Milwaukee

  • South Dakota St tried to make a upset prediction look excellent in the Summit final versus a red-hot Nebraska-Omaha
  • St. Francis-PA and Mount Saint Mary's close out the NEC season with their championship battle

ACC TOURNAMENT - IT'S NOT IN CAROLINA!

From where the Buffet sits, as of now, there are 10 ACC tournament teams, there could be room for 11 but 12 probably stretches it (unless Georgia Tech finds Clemson in the conference tournament final, then our discussion could be different).

  • 12: Clemson -- as we speak (as you saw from the Buffet banner), the Tigers drew 13 seed NC State, lame duck coach Mark Gottfried, one of the country's best freshman Dennis Smith Jr., and a super young squad that was 11-2 going into ACC play and just fell apart (more on them in a second). Obviously, Clemson must beat N.C. State, then they face 5th seeded, a win there and it would be very difficult to keep them out - this would get them to 18 wins, 7 wins away from home, a top 25 (top 20 to be precise) win their resume desperately needs, With that strength of schedule, and computer numbers already putting them in the middle of the Waiting Line... - I imagine they'd get in. (update: Clemson took out NC State, sending Gottfried and Dennis Smith Jr. out of Raleigh)
  • 11: Georgia Tech -- Josh Pastner ACC Coach of the Year. Let that sink in for a second. Credit where it's due -- this team does rank 8th in the country in KenPom's Adjusted Defense Efficiency rating, that's the work he has done. Now, credit where it isn't due:
  • Now to keep it real: 93-62-77-89-76: Those are Georgia Tech's computer rankings. They've won 2 games away from home, put, haven't really defended home court to any stretch of perfection, losing to Ohio and the afore-discussed NC State. It gets uglier in the non-conference - a 270th ranked strength of schedule, and an RPI of 168 - so essentially only by being a member of the ACC have they propped up a resume that is tournament discussion worthy. They do have 4 nice wins, including VCU on the road, and 3 great conference home wins (UNC, Florida State and Notre Dame). But then it gets empty.  You go here and look at the "Loss" column and it's an assault of road game losses.  To get in? Obviously you don't lose to a Pitt team that went 4-14 in conference and comes in a 4-game losing streak.  Then comes Virginia, who has solidified themselves a bit after a mid-February swoon, this win is must too, but don't believe it alone will be enough, add Notre Dame and avoid getting blown away by Florida St, and the conversation will be much different.
    •  
      • 10 Wake Forest -- @tiedyenation Danny Manning's Demon Deacons found a formula in late February, closing the season with wins over Pitt, and then impressively over Louisville and at Virginia Tech, they have been a BOOP darling ever since enter was hit on the formula (been sitting at 4-8 slots higher than consensus ratings had them) and now they've vaulted themselves into the Buffet's latest bracket. They do have the unfortunate zero value game today -- beating Boston College adds nothing to their resume, losing would be devastating, then comes Va Tech. A win there -- and John Collins & Brandon Crawford and can discuss where their seed will be not if they'll be in, a loss wouldn't be fatal to an invite, but it would make things a bit more complicated.
      • 9 -- Miami, currently both the Buffet & Consensus Ranks have them at an 8. They open with Syracuse, and in that spot, all they can do is potentially doom (or at least send to Dayton for a first four matchup) a team that has won 2 games, none out of conference and none against a team in the top 50. Next comes North Carolina. You beat the regular season champ, we'll give a long look to bump a Miami team that will then have 2 wins over UNC, 4 top 25 wins, 7 road/neutral wins - problem with Miami's resume is their efforts outside of the conference with a neutral win over Stanford their best work.  6 or 7 with an ACC win feels like their ceiling. Which, it turns out IS the roof (promise that was not planned, but it flowed nicely in an ACC discussion)
      • 8 -- Syracuse -- The Orange have been on a bracket yo-yo, in, out, up to 10, down to 11 and in online consensus their a slot lower than the Buffet has them, at 12. We discussed their work, bereft of anything consequential out of the Carrier Dome.  Now in the Dome they did beat Duke, Virginia & Florida St - and that's not nothing. But losses to Boston College (one of their 2 conference wins) and St. John's loom. I think a loss to Miami could be a tournament invite eliminator, but they'll stay in the conversation because of those top wins, and because even the computers can't figure out who they are. RPI, they sit at 80, the KPI is 61, whereas ESPN's BPI has them at 33 and Sagarin seems them at 40. A win over Miami, and a close to UNC and they'll likely be safe, but blowout loss to UNC? First four will likely be there home. Ceiling? Probably 10 with the unlikeliest of ACC runs.
      • 7 -- Virginia Tech: Buffetology: 10; Online consensus: 8. This team is in, it's all a matter of where they're slotted. I seem them as a 9, beat Florida State, that Online Consensus is probably their place. Win or get to the ACC final? 7 isn't out of the question.
      • 6 -- Virginia. It's been an on again/off again love affair with Virginia.  Buffetology/Online Consensus: 5. I have had them pushing up against a 3.  Now they're Feb losing streak has them sitting at 5. But look at that resume -- 4 top 25 wins, 14 wins over the top 100 overall. A winning road record -- including Louisville (they swept the Cardinals), win at Notre Dame, and victory in Charlottesville to reset themselves. They are 10th in computer average! If they do fall to the GaTech/Pitt winner, then 5 is their destiny.  But a bit of a run? Beating Notre Dame & Florida State? This could get to 3, but I think 4 with a resume deserving of a 3 is the best prediction here.
      • 5 -- Duke.  (Karl Ravech note of the day - no #5 seed has ever won the ACC tournament, and not since 1994 (6-seeded Maryland) has a team lower than #3 won it. The Blue Devils went on an odd trajectory this year. Between the Coach K back surgery, Harry Giles didn't quite live up to the recruiting hype (he's 18, you're not a bust in life until you spending 4 hour plane rides calling yourself Doctor Buffet), the Grayson Allen nonsense, and yes, this was an on-purpose elbow/flop daily double
  • then, Luke Kennard & Amile Jefferson took the reigns, Jayson Tatum stepped up as the Duke freshman to watch -- and a 7 game winning streak, including a thriller over UNC, reasserted themselves. But they've lost 3 of 4 (yes, all on the road. But this is a team lacking a dominant front court player and a game handling point guard, and well-adjusted face of the team.  Keep your eye on a kid who gets maybe the least amount of pub, Frank Jackson -- been super effective of late. Buffet/Online Consensus has them at 4.  ACC run (beating Louisville, North Carolina again and then Fla St/Notre Dame winner, and they'll end up a 3 with some 2 discussion, but #2 seed is crowded)
  • 4 -- Louisville -- The Cardinals are probably at their seed limit, at 2. Gonzaga and the Pac12 schools are probably playing with Kentucky for that last #1. WIn the ACC and we'll see where that can go...
  • 3 -- Notre Dame -- Sitting 5 in both Buffetology/Consensus, a run to the championship would mean their 2-7 record versus the top 20, which is really holding down their seed line ceiling, would now look like 5-7 and potentially get them on the 3-4 line, but that's probably their best possible end game.
  • 2 -- Florida St is sitting at 3 in Consensus - 4 in Buffetology -- could maybe get a 2 going through Va Tech, Notre Dame and North Carolina, but the 3 is probably where they'll settle.
  • 1 -- UNC is getting a 1 - the only thing that would keep it in a conversation would be an opening game loss to the Syracuse/Miami winner, but even then...