2020 NCAA Tournament Simulation Results Of East Region

2020 NCAA Tournament Simulation Results of East Region First Round is underway. Contact/Follow @HardwoodTalk & @MWCwire We have our first upset out of the East region and an exciting first day of games. We are joining the herd by simulating a March …

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2020 NCAA Tournament Simulation Results of East Region


First Round is underway. 


Contact/Follow @HardwoodTalk & @MWCwire

We have our first upset out of the East region and an exciting first day of games. 

We are joining the herd by simulating a March Madness bracket through this month. We are doing ours a touch differently and are not going to just blow out the bracket in a few days. Our plan is to have this going on for probably two or so weeks. In the first few days we will have the first and second rounds done by over the weekend.

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The way we are doing the simulation is through WhatIfSports.com and it will be a one-and-done simulation. Both teams will be played on a neutral floor and we will post the box score and play-by-play info that was generated.

East Region 

Final Score: No. 1 Dayton 80, No. 16 Winthrop 70

Cleveland, OH–They wouldn’t have been the first ever sixteenth seed to pull the upset and everyone was cheering on the favorite instead of the underdog in this one as Dayton won over the hearts of thousands, maybe millions this past season. But that didn’t matter to the Eagles as they made it a close one in Cleveland by avenging a poor first half performance by outscoring the Flyers 45-35 in the second half. It wasn’t enough as they couldn’t dig themselves out of the hole they dug for themselves in the first half. Even though Obi Toppin was relatively quiet with only 12 points and 6 rebounds, Trey Landers led Dayton with 18 points and 7 rebounds to lead the Flyers to the next round.

Final Score: No. 8 Colorado 85, No. 9 Marquette 75

Cleveland, OH–This one seemed close, like most No. 8 vs. No. 9 seeds, the Buffaloes and Golden Eagles played hard. But Markus Howard never got the help he needed pouring in 32 points and Sacar Amin the only other Marquette player in double-digits. Colorado’s attack was a bit more balanced and although they have several guys who can get it done for them, Mckinley Wright IV led them with a double-double consisting of 24 points and 10 rebounds. Tad Boyle’s team moves on with some confidence after a double-digit win over one of the best scorers in the country.

Final Score: No. 5 Auburn 84, No. 12 Cincinnati 73

Sacramento, CA–Auburn usually plays some of their best basketball in the tournament and are looking for an encore performance to their Final Four appearance last year. Cincinnati attempted the upset but struggled in the first half and turned the ball over seventeen times. J’von McCormick led the Tigers with 15 points but had help as Auburn advances with their net cutting aspirations still alive.

Final Score:No. 4 Wisconsin 93, No. 13 North Texas 87

Sacramento, CA–Wisconsin surprised everyone coming in at the No. 4 seed as they looked like a team set to miss the tournament back in beginning of the season. They didn’t disappoint, receiving double-digit scoring from six different players. But it was big man Nate Reuvers who led them with 19 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. North Texas played a tough game and almost became the first double-digit seed to get an upset behind 29 points from junior guard Javion Hamlet. The Badgers move on but a little shook up from a close 6-point victory.

Final Score: No. 6 Iowa 82, No. 11 Utah State 73

Greensboro, NC–Our first Mountain West team in the East is Utah State and though they kept the first half deficit to just one point, they couldn’t seal the deal as double-teaming Sam Merrill in the final minutes proved to be effective. Brock Miller led the Aggies as the team’s hot hand in this one with 21 points while finding space on the perimeter with all eyes on Merrill. Luke Garza seemed to be the difference maker in this one as he finished with 23 points and 9 rebounds showing poise against one of the better frontcourts in the Mountain West. The Hawkeyes advance, expecting a match up against the Blue Devils in the next round, barring a Belmont upset of course.

Final Score: No. 3 Duke 83, No. 14 Belmont 74

Greensboro, NC–Belmont was on everyone’s list of possible Cinderella’s and it’s quite understandable. But they were going up against the Duke Blue Devils who didn’t plan on being a part of their fairy tail story. The Blue Devil’s are young but talented and were led by freshman Cassius Stanley who chipped in 17 points in this 11-point win. The Bruins didn’t make it easy but were just out shot from every spot on the field and out rebounded 45-34. Coach K’s team moves on as they look to go further than last March, and that means a Final Four appearance.

Final Score: No. 10 Arizona State 83, No. 7 Houston 67 

Albany, NY–The first upset in the region came in the No. 7 seed vs. No. 10 seed match up of the No.7 Houston Cougars against the No. 10 Arizona State Sun Devils. Houston and head coach Kelvin Sampson have had a great season led by Freshman guard Caleb Mills and a balanced supporting cast. This didn’t turn out how Cougar fans might have wanted as a tough shooting night for Houston’s stars might have been their downfall against a hot handed Rob Edwards who finished the night with 25 points after going 6-11 from deep. Arizona State advances to face the winner of Villanova and Northern Kentucky later in the day, hoping for a Norse upset to avoid facing one of the best coaches in March Madness history in Jay Wright.

Final Score: No. 2 Villanova 84, No. 15 Northern Kentucky 74

Albany, NY–Jay Wright’s teams always perform well in March and even though this one was closer than they would have wanted they move on with a 10-point win over the Norse of Northern Kentucky. The Norse keep their tournament ticket this year under first year head coach Darrin Horn and keep it close but hot hand and former Louisville Cardinal Tyler Sharpe couldn’t do it alone as he finishes the night with 18 points. Villanova found their production in Jermaine Samuels in this one as he ends the night with a team high 16 points to help the Wildcats advance on after a double-digit win over a dangerous Northern Kentucky team.

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NCAA Bracketology Update: San Diego State predicted as 2-seed.

NCAA Bracketology Update: San Diego State predicted as 2-seed. San Diego State Drops to a 2-seed in most brackets – Contact/Follow @ErwinSports and @MWCwire. Somehow, the Aztecs might get their March wish. After falling to UNLV at home in the …

NCAA Bracketology Update: San Diego State predicted as 2-seed.


San Diego State Drops to a 2-seed in most brackets


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Contact/Follow @ErwinSports and @MWCwire.

Somehow, the Aztecs might get their March wish.

After falling to UNLV at home in the regular season, the Utah State Aggies took advantage of that game plan and stunned San Diego State on Saturday

Utah State went from a bubble team to gifting the Mountain West 2-bids on Selection Sunday.

San Diego State has now been projected as a 2-seed in the West regional in most brackets, and especially in the eyes of Jerry Palm of CBS and Joe Lunardi of ESPN. Plus, the composite at BracketMatrix.

With San Diego State’s 2nd loss this season coupled with an unstoppable Dayton team in A10 play, it’s looking bleak the Aztecs rise to a 1-seed.

Unfortunate or fortunate?

Brian Dutcher has been on the record to covet playing as west as possible for his team.

“I want to stay West,” said Brian Dutcher to the San Diego Union-Tribune in early February “and play our way to Staples Center somehow and see if we can’t fill that building with Aztecs fans.”

With no chance of gaining a game on Gonzaga this coming week, the Zags look to lock up their path to L.A. via two games in Spokane, Washington.

The Aztecs were on track to play in Sacramento but instead of playing in Madison Square Garden, they get rerouted to the Staples Center. They would be closer to their fan base, their alumni base, and their recruiting hotbed.

With a week away from Selection Sunday, all the Aztecs can do is practice, go to class, and then show up on TV looking surprised when they receive a 2-seed in the West.

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NCAA Bracketology: Is San Diego State Still a #1 Seed?

San Diego State fell from the ranks of the unbeaten over the weekend, but did they also lose their spot as a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament?

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NCAA Bracketology: Is San Diego State Still a #1 Seed?


Comparing the Aztecs’ resume to other top teams


Contact/Follow @andrewdieckhoff & @MWCwire

SDSU has just one loss, but did they just lose their spot on the one line?

For months, as San Diego State’s unbeaten streak grew and grew, the Aztecs became more comfortable with the idea of being a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

But after Saturday’s loss to UNLV, Brian Dutcher’s club has fallen from the annals of history—but perhaps not from the top line. With the top six teams having separated themselves to this point of the season, and with four of those teams losing last week, the debate surrounding the top seeds is growing to a fever pitch.

In order to determine whether the Aztecs should retain their place on the one-line, let’s take a gander at how they stack up against the other teams in the conversation. But any investigation of a team’s case starts with their own resume.

San Diego State

San Diego State still has the fewest losses in the country after Gonzaga and Baylor also incurred defeats over the weekend. They have 25 wins against Division I opponents, including a perfect 9-0 record in games falling in the NCAA’s Quadrants 1 and 2.

The Aztecs also went 4-0 against their Quadrant 1 opponents—even more impressively, all four of those games were played away from Viejas Arena.

Their opening week win over BYU has aged beautifully, as has a Thanksgiving break romp over Creighton and Iowa in which San Diego State won both games by a combined 41 points. A January win in Logan over Utah State was the only truly valuable win for the Aztecs in league play.

As of Monday night, San Diego State was ranked in the top ten of every major advanced metric except the Kevin Pauga Index, which primarily rewards teams that play difficult schedules.

That brings up the question of the Aztecs’ schedule.

Their season-long strength of schedule is rated outside of the top 100 nationally. Before blaming that on their playing in a middling Mountain West conference, note that San Diego State’s non-conference SOS is also outside the top 100.

This aspect of San Diego State’s resume is their weakest, but it’s still a very strong profile. The real question is: how does it stack up against the other teams in the mix for a top spot?

The Competition

For ease of argument, let’s say that Kansas and Baylor have locked in two of the #1 seeds already. Each of those teams boasts ten-plus wins in Quadrant 1. They are ranked 1-2 in five of six metrics, with only the BPI ranking the Bears outside of the top two.

They’re pretty much locked in at this point, barring some unforeseen disaster.

But after the Big 12’s big two, the conversation opens up quite a bit.

Currently, the main competitors facing off with the Aztecs for those last two spots on the top seed line are Gonzaga, Duke, and Dayton. Others such as Maryland, Florida State, and Creighton might still have an outside shot at getting a top seed, but they are all currently on a tier just below the top six.

For now, we’ll focus on the three teams bunched most closely with San Diego State, starting with the team that is geographically closest to them.

Gonzaga

Of the quartet, Gonzaga likely has the strongest case to get a #1 seed. The Bulldogs are 27-2 and their only losses have come against NCAA tournament locks BYU and Michigan. While it may be tempting to compare the Zags’ loss to BYU against San Diego State’s win over the Cougars, bear in mind that star big man Yoeli Childs was not in action against the Aztecs. (Also, Gonzaga crushed the Cougars in the first matchup, winning 92-69 in Spokane. That seems important.)

Gonzaga has the edge in the analytics over San Diego State, rating higher in every major metric except for KPI, where the Zags are one spot behind the Aztecs at #15. So, that’s a check in the win column for the Bulldogs.

But while the computers may prefer Gonzaga, their best wins are no better than SDSU’s. They both have wins over BYU, and while the Zags also have wins away from home over Oregon, Arizona, and Saint Mary’s, the Aztecs’ wins over Creighton, Iowa, and Utah State are just as good or better.

The similarities between Gonzaga and San Diego State don’t stop there.

The average NET ranking of San Diego State’s triumphs is 158, the second-worst number among the handful of teams vying for a #1 seed. Only Gonzaga’s average NET win is worse, at 163.

It’s hard to tease the two teams apart. Their respective resumes have similar strengths and weaknesses, so any argument against one team can likely be used against the other. For the moment, though, Gonzaga’s edge in the computer rankings likely has them ahead of the Aztecs by a nose.

Dayton

Dayton is also in that neighborhood, with their average NET win coming in at 140. The Flyers have played a tougher schedule than either the Aztecs or Zags, but they lack a true marquee victory. There were chances for glory, most notably in neutral-site games against Kansas and Colorado, but Dayton fell to both in overtime.

Their best wins have come against some of the country’s best mid-major programs, including Saint Mary’s, Rhode Island, Richmond, VCU, and Saint Louis. They also scored wins over top 100 programs in Virginia Tech and Georgia.

But while Dayton’s wins might not jump off the page, the Flyers do perform well in the computer rankings. As of Monday night, they were ranked in the top four of both the KPI (#3) and the NET (#4). That’s higher than San Diego State ranks in any metric, although it does bear mentioning that the Aztecs do better than Dayton in predictive ratings such as KenPom, Sagarin, and BPI.

Led by potential Naismith winner Obi Toppin, the Flyers are very fun to watch. But without a signature win to hang their hat on, it’s hard to see them surpassing Gonzaga or San Diego State in the race for a #1 seed—especially with the rest of the Atlantic 10 faltering down the stretch. No matter who Dayton draws in the A-10 Tournament, they won’t get another opponent that compares to the top wins of the top six.

Duke

That just leaves Duke. Do the Blue Devils have what it takes to steal a spot on the top line?

Mike Krzyzsewski has another winner on his hands in Durham, with Duke currently sitting at 23-4 on the season. The Blue Devils have one of the best wins available this season, and they got it on opening night when they beat Kansas during the Champions Classic in Indianapolis. Only Baylor’s victory over the Jayhawks in Lawrence is better, on paper.

Duke also holds a home victory over Florida State and a road win against Michigan State. Their trio of top wins outclasses San Diego State’s grouping of Creighton, BYU, and Iowa. Still, like the Aztecs, the Blue Devils have just four Quadrant 1 wins.

Duke also joins SDSU as the only teams in the top six that have a Q3 loss.

The Blue Devils’ much-maligned home loss to Stephen F. Austin has actually aged quite gracefully, moving from Quadrant 4 to being a borderline Quadrant 2 game. While the Lumberjacks would still need to climb at least dozen spots in NET rankings to move this game up to Q2, they are currently about 25 spots higher in the NET than UNLV is.

Coach K also has the advantage in the analytics, with his team averaging out to be a top 5 team across the six major metrics. They are currently #1 in the BPI, and their lowest ranking is a #9 placement in ESPN’s Strength of Resume measurement. They are also in the top four of both the KenPom and KPI rankings.

The differences between the teams are quite slim. One of the main distinguishing factors that plays in San Diego State’s favor is that, while the Aztecs are undefeated against top competition, Duke has three losses in Quadrant 1. They have had more opportunities for such games, but the road losses to NC State and Clemson might be an anchor that keeps Duke from rising to the top.

That said, the ACC Tournament could provide the Blue Devils with plenty of opportunities for high-quality wins, so winning out could earn them a #1 bid. It remains to be seen which of the western teams they would push out—Gonzaga or San Diego State?

The Verdict

In view of the explanations above, here is how the selection committee might currently view the top six teams:

  1. Kansas
  2. Baylor
  3. Gonzaga
  4. San Diego State
  5. Duke
  6. Dayton

As of right now, as long as San Diego State wins out and takes home the MWC Tournament title, they should hold on to the #1 seed that they earned with their incredible start to the season. The same can be said for Gonzaga. Those teams are the front-runners for the final two spots on the top line right now. The Bulldogs’ edge in the computer rankings likely has them sitting ahead of SDSU at the moment.

The biggest threat to the Aztecs’ top seeding, then, will be Duke. The Blue Devils could possibly surpass SDSU (and/or Gonzaga) if they win the ACC Tournament and score wins over Louisville and Florida State in the process. Dayton is also still in the conversation thanks to a great record, good metrics, and one of the most electrifying players in the country.

But for San Diego State, the mandate to earn a #1 seed is clear: win and you’re in.

Andrew is a current USBWA member, covering college basketball for multiple outlets, including Mountain West Wire of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Busting Brackets of the FanSided Network. He also runs the Dieckhoff Power Index, a college basketball analytics system, and provides bracketology predictions throughout the season.

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NCAA Tournament Projections: Where Are Mountain West Teams?

San Diego State seems safe as a one seed.

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Is San Diego State still a 1 seed?


Contact/Follow @aztecbreakdown.

Well, it happened. San Diego State took their first L of the season. They lost to UNLV 66-63 at home. At the moment it is a Quad 3 loss, and it will likely remain that way. The fear among SDSU fans has been that an in loss conference, especially at home, would seriously hurt their odds at a No. 1 seed and probably drop them down a line if not two lines.

Checking in over at bracketmatrix.com, we find that so far those fears have so far been unwarranted. SDSU is still projected to be the fourth 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, making them the No. 1 seed in the East. The gap between them and the 5th team has narrowed considerably though. SDSU’s average seed is 1.50, whereas Duke’s average seed is 1.81, and Dayton’s is 1.88.

Joe Lunardi recently wrote that if a team like Duke, Dayton, or a couple other teams were to win their regular season and/or conference tournament titles, they could possibly pass SDSU for the final No. 1 seed. For now, though, a top seed is San Diego State’s to lose.

It does reopen the debate over whether it would be better to be a No. 1 seed in the east or a No. 2 seed in the west. The 1 seed would have easier match ups, whereas with a No. 2 seed SDSU would basically have home court advantage through the Elite 8, should they make it that far. San Diego State fans shouldn’t root for another loss, but if Joe Lunardi is right maybe they should root for Duke or Dayton to keep winning and surpass them? It’s up for each fan to decide of course.

There’s also the slim possibility that Gonzaga could slip up in their final couple of games and SDSU could pass them for the 1 seed in the West. It is highly unlikely, but technically not impossible.

The only other team to have a projection at BracketMatrix.com is Utah State. They seem to be in control of their own destiny, and most experts I’ve read agree that if they win out except for a possible MW championship game against SDSU, they’d get an at-large bid. They are currently projected as an 11 seed to face one of Iowa, Michigan, Arizona, or Ohio State.

Utah State’s biggest challenge may be if they face Nevada in the Tournament. Jalen Harris is playing out of his mind and when a team shoots the ball as well as Nevada does (9th in the Nation in 3pt. %) they can hang around with anyone in the league. If anyone could steal a bid to the NCAA Tournament, it would be Nevada.

Bracket Matrix doesn’t include an NIT projection, but DRatings.com does, so I went there to see what other MW teams are gaining traction. They project 4 Mountain West teams to make the NIT. They have Boise St. as a 4 seed, Nevada as a 5 seed, Colorado State as a 7 seed, and UNLV as an 8 seed.

With any luck, one or two of those teams can make a run and use that momentum to improve next year and get an extra team in to the big dance.

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Can The Aztecs Become The NCAA Tournament’s Overall #1 Seed?

If SDSU continues to win decisively and run the Mountain West Tournament, it is in fact possible to surpass Baylor, Gonzaga and Kansas.

Can The Aztecs Become The NCAA Tourney’s Overall #1 Seed?


There’s a strong possibility the Aztecs will close out the season undefeated.  Can they overcome the remaining top seeded teams?


Contact/Follow @tedmcgovern & @MWCwire

The NCAA has projected the Aztecs to be #1 seed in the East bracket, but can they become top seed in the West- and overall?

San Diego, CA- The Aztecs are having a special season, well into February as the only still undefeated Division I team. There is a case to be made that an undefeated San Diego State team could be worthy of an overall #1 seed.

Currently, they are #1 in the Net rankings, and for three consistent weeks they’ve been ranked #4 in both the AP and the Coaches Poll, and they are a clear consensus #1 seed.

But if teams were selected for the NCAA tournament today as they currently stand, the Aztecs will travel all the way to New York City to play in Madison Square Garden, with Duke (20-3) as a #2 seed.

The NCAA presented their projected brackets on Saturday, February 8th, well before the 68 teams making the NCAA tournament are finalized.  Final Tournament seeding is revealed on Selection Sunday on March 15, and the Final Four is slated for March 27-29 in Atlanta.

Here are Andy Katz’s current projections.

Andy Katz's predicted 2020 NCAA tournament bracket

 

Nobody disputes that #1 Baylor was the clear choice for the No. 1 overall seed. The Bears have spent the past three weeks at No. 1 in the AP Top 25. Baylor is listed as the top seed in the South Region in Houston with Louisville, Seton Hall and Auburn.

#3 Kansas was the second overall seed and is currently top seed in the Midwest Region in Indianapolis with Dayton, Florida State and Michigan State.

#2 Gonzaga was the third overall seed and is currently top seed in the West Region in Los Angeles with West Virginia, Villanova and Oregon.

Gonzaga so far has edged San Diego State out of the West, and because of it, the Aztecs are top seed in the East Region in New York with Duke, Maryland and Butler.

The Aztecs have never been a top seed in the NCAA Tournament.  Their highest rank came nearly a decade ago, when the Kawhi Leonard– led team earned a No. 2 spot in the West Region in the 2011 NCAA Tourney.

With Gonzaga rated third overall, they head to the West Regional at Staples Center in Los Angeles for the tournament’s second weekend while the Aztecs would travel 2,400 miles east.

#2 seed in the East, Duke, has a long history and following at MSG.

The big question for 24-0 SDSU is this: can it get ahead of 25-1 Gonzaga to secure the West Region’s top seed- and can it possibly get ahead of all remaining teams to become overall top seed?

The NCAA committee ranks teams in each of top four seed lines and then goes down the list, sending them to the closest geographic region. Unless things shift dramatically only the Zags and Aztecs will seek the West Region.

Right now, right or wrong, the Zags have the high ground.

In the meantime, the Aztecs will need to keep winning.

The Aztecs also need a Zags loss to surpass them.  It can happen- although Gonzaga just routed St. Mary’s by 30 points- who most consider the second best team in the West Coast Conference.  They face St. Mary’s again, as well as a scrappy BYU team.

As for the overall top two seeds: both Baylor and Kansas face challenging Big 12 opponents ahead including #13 West Virginia.  The two also face off against each other– so one team between the two will register one more loss

Duke Athletic Director Kevin White is the chair of the selection committee.  When he was asked why they put Gonzaga above SDSU, he replied, “It’s such a fine line. I think at the end of the day across the 10-member committee, it was the fact that the Zags had two really good wins, we thought, maybe better wins over Arizona and Oregon. At the end of the day, that’s kind of the way things fell.”

Duke was the committee’s fifth overall team.  White confirmed that the top seeds were “Unanimous” and mentioned there was a bit of a separation between four (Aztecs) and five (Duke). “We clearly delineated those four as the top four.”

Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart, the committee’s vice chair, noted: “There was no question that San Diego State was a No. 1 seed. They’ve had a remarkable year. A couple of us had an opportunity to watch San Diego State in person when we were on the West Coast for the NCAA Convention and they were incredibly impressive. They have obviously had a wonderful, wonderful start to their season. It was razor close between Gonzaga and San Diego State.”

There is more conference basketball yet to play.  It’s an increasing sentiment that San Diego State has a good opportunity to end the season undefeated.  If this holds true, then Baylor, Kansas and Gonzaga will have to conclude the season without any upsets or key losses to remain in the top three.

Becoming the overall #1 is a real possibility.  Time will tell.

 

NCAA Bracketology: Update On San Diego State’s Quest Fo A No. 1 Seed

What’s the national consensus on SDSU’s status as a 1 seed? Contact/Follow @aztecbreakdown. A couple weeks ago I wrote a piece about if San Diego State could possibly get a one seed. With a couple more games out of the way, it’s time to look at it …

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What’s the national consensus on SDSU’s status as a 1 seed?


Contact/Follow @aztecbreakdown.

A couple weeks ago I wrote a piece about if San Diego State could possibly get a one seed. With a couple more games out of the way, it’s time to look at it again.

For those that are unaware, bracketmatrix.com is a website that takes a bunch of bracket projections and puts them all in one place. So far it consists of 96 different experts and websites. These sources all have different methodologies and biases behind them.

For example, some show you what they think the bracket would look like if the season ended today. Others account for likely wins and losses and project what the bracket will look like on Selection Sunday. Neither method is wrong, they just focus on different things. With that, lets see what Bracket Matrix has to say about this years Aztecs team.

As I’m writing this, the Aztecs have an average seed of 1.54, which is fourth best in the nation. So they are projected to be the last 1 seed. The teams above them are Kansas (1.03), Baylor (1.04),  and Gonzaga (1.26). Duke is close on the Aztecs heels, with an average seed of 1.76.

The lowest projection the Aztecs have received is as a 6 seed, with 2 separate sites projecting that.

Despite the Aztecs currently being projected as a 1 seed, as Duke continues to win games I would expect their average to rise, simply due to playing greater competition. That would drop SDSU down to a No. 2 seed.

That is also going on the assumption that San Diego State doesn’t lose a game between now and Selection Sunday. Some of these projections have already factored in a loss or two, so the Aztecs losing a game won’t change all of the predictions. With the quality of competition remaining though, a loss at just about any point would likely take the Aztecs out of the running for a 1 seed.

For Aztec fans, the goal should be to get into the West region, as a top 4 seed. If the Aztecs play in the west region they can play the first weekend in Sacramento, and the second weekend (if they make it that far) in Los Angeles. So a 2 seed in the West region would be better than a 1 seed in any other region. The best case scenario for Aztec fans is for Gonzaga to lose a game or two while SDSU remains undefeated, that way the Aztecs can stay in the West and Gonzaga can play in another region or drop down a seed.

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Can San Diego State Be A No. 1 Seed?

What happens if the Aztecs keep on winning?

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San Diego State is a 1 seed. Can they stay there?


Contact/Follow  @aztecbreakdown & @MWCwire

Recently, Jerry Palm of CBS Sports released a new bracket projection and in it, San Diego State was the No. 1 seed in the South region. Aztec fans are not shy about telling you how good their team is, and the national media is starting to jump on the band wagon.

The first question that must be asked is, has SDSU earned a No. 1 seed at this point. I’d say they have.

They are 15-0, which isn’t easy regardless of who you play. They are ranked No. 1 in the NET, the system the committee uses to help seed teams. On top of that, SDSU is 6-0 in Quad 1 and Quad 2 games. The other No. 1 seeds are Duke, Butler, and Gonzaga, at 5-1, 8-1, and 3-1 in quad 1 and 2 games, respectively. The Aztec’s schedule isn’t the strongest at 103, but it is way ahead of Gonzaga’s at 213, so if you don’t complain about Gonzaga not beating anyone than you can’t complain about SDSU not beating anyone.

Could an argument be made for two other teams to jump up and take the spots of San Diego State and Gonzaga? Sure. However, that is not the same thing as saying San Diego State isn’t deserving.

Having established that San Diego State has earned a 1 seed to thins point, what do they need to do to stay there? It can be a little bit tricky. If they enter the tournament undefeated they will likely be a 1 seed.

Their record in quad 1 and quad 2 games at that point would likely be around 12-0 to 14-0 (counting the conference tournament) depending on how the rest of the conference does. That being said, KenPom has the odds of the Aztecs finishing undefeated at 6.4%. With travel and altitude being such big factors in the Mountain West, it’s tough to win on the road. In addition, this San Diego State team almost lost at home to San Jose State a few weeks ago. Anything can happen.

What if they only lose one game?

Matt Norlander said in the Eye on College Basketball podcast that he thinks if SDSU loses only one game, including the conference tournament, they will be a No. 1 seed, regardless of who the loss is to. I’m no bracketology expert, but I could see that happening. I think it would also somewhat depend on how the other teams that are high in the bracket perform. Teams like Kansas and Ohio State have more opportunities for wins against Quality opponents, so if they go on a tear and the Aztecs drop one to a Wyoming or Air Force team, I could see them falling out of that top spot.

What if they lose two games?

This is where things get interesting. Will the committee, who likely doesn’t watch much Aztec basketball due to late tip off times, put SDSU as a No. 1 seed if they’ve lost two games? Some of it would depend on who they lose to. If one of those losses is to Utah State in the conference tournament final, maybe the committee lets them keep the 1 seed. If they lose to Colorado State and UNLV at home in the same week (end of February), then it wouldn’t be hard for me to believe that the east coast bias would kick in and the committee would drop the Aztecs down the bracket.

As a point of discussion, I also wonder if SDSU should want the No. 1 seed. I know, but let me explain. Receiving a 1 seed would be an awesome accomplishment. That being said, making the first Elite 8 or even the first Final Four in school history would be a better accomplishment. As a one seed in the South region, which is where this bracket has them, SDSU would play the first two rounds in Sacramento, where some fans could travel but many wouldn’t, and then play the next weekend in Houston (assuming they make it that far). As a No. 2 seed in the West region (assuming Gonzaga remains the 1 seed) the first games would be played in St. Louis, and then the second-weekend games would be played in L.A. at the Staples Center.

The chance to play a sweet 16 game in front of a home crowd is very appealing. The argument could be made that a 1 seed would be more valuable than a home crowd, but it is something worth thinking about.

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Week 8 DPI Rankings: CSU hangs around, UNLV falls behind

Week 8 DPI Rankings: CSU hangs around, UNLV falls behind Off-court turmoil could cause a shake-up in the top half Contact/Follow @andrewdieckhoff & @MWCwire Happy Holidays from Mountain West Wire! Enjoy the yuletide with this week’s installment of …

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Week 8 DPI Rankings: CSU hangs around, UNLV falls behind


Off-court turmoil could cause a shake-up in the top half


Contact/Follow @andrewdieckhoff & @MWCwire

Happy Holidays from Mountain West Wire! Enjoy the yuletide with this week’s installment of the DPI rankings.

It seems almost impossible that it’s already the holiday season, but here we are. There have been nearly two months of hoops already and the non-conference season is just about over.

And while we think we may have clarity now, league play is a horse of a different color. Teams that are on cloud nine right now may come crashing back to earth. Others that have been struggling might finally shake the demons free from their backs.

But as we inch ever closer to the official onset of the Mountain West season, let’s take one last look at how all the teams stack up with just a few buy-games left on the league’s non-conference docket.

As always, for a full rundown of how the Dieckhoff Power Index, or DPI, is calculated, head over to my site. And bear in mind, non-Division I games do not count toward the DPI, so all those games against Life Pacific and Portland Bible go out the window. These ratings are current through December 23.

#1 — SAN DIEGO STATE

http://www.dpihoops.net/sdsuwk8.png

The Aztecs had nearly two weeks off between their nailbiter against San Jose State and their next game versus Utah. Clearly, they used this time to reflect and improve. SDSU ran the Utes out of the building just days after the former Mountain West squad beat Kentucky. The defense continues to be the star of the show, but this team can score, too.

#2 — UTAH STATE

The Aggies have been dancing on the knife’s edge over the past few weeks, but they’ve come out on the other side mostly unscathed. In their past four games, Utah State has won in overtime, won by four points, won by two points in overtime, and won by three points. But margins notwithstandings, wins over Florida and South Florida solidified their at-large case.

#3 — NEW MEXICO

Oh, no. Things were going a little too well for the Lobos, weren’t they? After an impressive start, New Mexico announced over the weekend that starters Carlton Bragg and JJ Caldwell would be suspended indefinitely. Paul Weir was able to corral the rest of the team together and they won again over lowly Houston Baptist, but adversity has descended upon Albuquerque.

#4 — NEVADA

The Wolf Pack are the prime candidate to take on third place in the league should the Lobos stumble during this tumultuous time. Their trio of is legitimately dangerous. They hung very tight with Saint Mary’s last week, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them hang a big win over SDSU or Utah State this season. They’ve still got a lot of room to grow, though.

#5 — COLORADO STATE

You just can’t get rid of these Rams! Though they aren’t making many waves on the national scale, give them credit for sticking around the top half of the league for this long. Nico Carvacho is Nico Carvacho, and Isaiah Stevens has been a revelation in Niko Medved’s backcourt. Fellow freshman David Roddy started his first game in CSU’s 111-104 triple OT win over Tulsa.

#6 — BOISE STATE

Boise State has given a pretty good indication of where they are right now with their performance so far, both on the season as a whole and in the Diamond Head Classic. The Broncos lost to a wayward Georgia Tech club and then pummeled an up-and-down Portland team. They got a crummy Christmas gift, drawing a good UTEP team in their final game in Hawai’i.

#7 — FRESNO STATE

Because the DPI doesn’t count non-D1 games, the Bulldogs sit at just 3-8—yet they’ve managed to stay in seventh place, thanks to a slightly above-average defense. It was another heartbreaker for Justin Hutson on Monday, with Fresno State falling to San Francisco by just two points. That’s the sixth time the Bulldogs have either lost by one possession or lost in overtime.

#8 — AIR FORCE

The Falcons continue to struggle during this disappointing year, following up a narrow win over Denver with a loss to Drake. The offense has been good, but they haven’t been able to stop opponents from scoring. They rank near the bottom of the nation both in their ability to make teams miss and in their proclivity toward forcing turnovers.

#9 — UNLV

A rocky start to the season got worse at the start of the month with the news that grad transfer Elijah Mitrou-Long would miss six to eight weeks with a thumb injury. The Rebels are 1-2 without him, with losses to BYU and Pacific buoyed only by a forgettable triumph over Robert Morris. Fans may already be counting down the days until David Jenkins debuts in Vegas.

#10 — WYOMING

More of the same from the Cowboys, as Hunter Maldonado continues to pile up mounds of individual statistics while the team flounders. They did snap a six-game skid, though. To be clear, that’s not a knock on Maldonado. He has developed into a fine player; there’s just not enough talent throughout the roster. But their defensive metrics indicate that they’re putting forth the effort.

#11 — SAN JOSÉ STATE

Yeesh. The Spartans’ skid has extended to eight games after San Jose State fell to Santa Clara and UC Riverside last week. The shots just aren’t falling and they don’t take care of the ball. Seneca Knight is having a good year, but once again, the Spartans have separated themselves as the clear-cut lowest ranked team in the Mountain West.

That’s it for this week. Here’s wishing you all a safe and happy holiday from Mountain West Wire and the DPI.

But buckle up. Conference play starts next week.

Andrew is a current USBWA member, covering college basketball for multiple outlets, including Mountain West Wire of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Busting Brackets of the FanSided Network. He also runs the Dieckhoff Power Index, a college basketball analytics system, and provides bracketology predictions throughout the season.

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