NCAA Tournament Bracketology 2014: American, A-10, ACC and Big 12 Conferences

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Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Part Two of my series focusing on college basketball teams heading to the 2014 NCAA Tournament.  This cheat sheet will give you all the relevant numbers that you need to know when picking your brackets.

I will be releasing three pieces today, with the first covering the American, Atlantic 10, ACC and Big 12 Conferences.  Keep checking back on Fantasy CPR as I continue to preview the remaining conferences all Saturday long.

One thing to note about this and further installments is that I hold teams from “major” conferences to a higher standard.  Any loss to a team with an RPI under 100 is a bad loss.  Quality wins are against teams RPI 60 or above at home, and 75 and above for road or neutral site games.

This part deals with those conference that will have more than one bid, but less than the major conferences.

On with the show!

 

(RPI is in parentheses)

AMERICAN CONFERENCE:

Regular Season Champion: Cincinnati

Projected Tournament Bids: 4

Cincinnati (27-5, RPI 15, SOS 72)

vs. RPI top 50: 6-4

vs. RPI under 200: 10-0

Quality wins: vs. (62)North Carolina State, vs. (40) Pittsburgh at New York, vs. (55) Middle Tennessee State, vs. (41) Nebraska, vs. (53) SMU, at (29)Memphis, at (23) Louisville, vs. (28) Connecticut, vs. (29) Memphis

Bad losses: NONE

Projected Seed: 4, if they win the American tourney, 5 if not.

The American conference consists of mostly team that scattered when the Catholics evicted everyone else from the Big East.  This conference may be a patsy in football, but basketball is a different story.  Cincinnati, Connecticut, and Louisville made the trip over to join former C-USA heavyweight Memphis.  The fact that the Bearcats were able to win this conference speaks volumes about just how good they were this year.  In fact, their worst loss was on the road to 53 RPI SMU.  The other four teams that beat them are in the top 50 of the RPI.  Not many teams can claim that.

 

Louisville (27-5, RPI 23, SOS 88)

vs. RPI top 50: 4-5

vs. RPI under 200: 10-0

Quality wins: vs. (30) Southern Mississippi, vs. (53) SMU, at (28) Connecticut, at (15) Cincinnati, at (53) SMU, vs. (28) Connecticut

Bad losses: NONE

Projected Seed: 3, if they win the American tourney, 4 if not

As impressive as Cincinnati’s body of work is, I tend to believe that Louisville’s is slightly better despite the lower RPI.  The Cardinals did not lose to a team outside of the RPI top 30.  Their worst losses were twice to RPI 29 Memphis, which is what kept Louisville from winning the regular season American Conference title.  This is a very dangerous team that has a legitimate shot at making another Final Four run.  There is not much separation between the No. 2 and 5 seeds this year.

 

Memphis (24-8, RPI 29, SOS 48)

vs. RPI top 50: 4-6

vs. RPI under 200: 8-0

Quality wins: vs. (74) LSU at Orlando, vs. (42) Oklahoma State at Orlando, at (23) Louisville, vs. (16) Gonzaga, vs. (23) Louisville

Bad losses: NONE

Projected Seed: 8

If Memphis were to wind up as the No. 8 seed in Wichita State’s bracket, they could wreak some havoc.  The Tigers couldn’t manage to beat Cincy or UConn, but they beat Louisville twice.  They also only lost to Florida by two points, and split with Oklahoma State.  If not for those two wins against Louisville, you could argue that the Tigers would need to win a couple in the American tourney to get an invite.  As it stands now, they are comfortably in, and will be a huge thorn in some No. 1 seed’s side.  Just ask Florida….

 

Connecticut (24-7, RPI 28, SOS 66)

vs. RPI top 50: 5-4

vs. RPI under 200: 8-0

Quality wins: vs. (75) Maryland at Brooklyn, vs. (2) Florida, vs. (48) Harvard, at (29) Memphis, vs. (29) Memphis, vs (15) Cincinnati, at (29) Memphis

Bad losses: at (146) Houston

Projected seed: 6

UConn dumping Memphis for a third time puts them comfortably as a No. 6 seed.  Even if they win the American tourney I don’t think they can move up any further.

 

SMU (23-9, RPI 53, SOS 113)

vs. RPI top 50: 4-5

vs. RPI under 200: 10-1

Quality wins: vs. (28) Connecticut, vs. (29) Memphis, vs. (15) Cincinnati

Bad losses: at (228) South Florida, at (175) Temple, vs. (145) Houston at Memphis

The Mustangs’ loss to Houston in the first round of the American tourney likely banishes them to the NIT.  Their RPI isn’t particularly great and they have three losses to poor RPI teams.  Add that with no quality road wins, and I’m nearly certain that SMU will not get an invite to the Big Dance this year.

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