It’s been a cool nine days of games since the last bracketology update.
If you want to review what I wrote last time out, you can check that out here
Since then, the games have been played, but not much has changed. We have four clear bracket-chasers in the A10, but no less until we play some more games.
Last time, I listed five teams that were on the radar of the selection committee, and depending on what happened over the next few games, we could only shrink from that amount of teams. Those teams were Davidson, Dayton, VCU, St. Bonaventure, and Saint Louis. Due to some of those teams playing each other, we had to eliminate one of them.
Unfortunately for Billiken fans, it’s Saint Louis.
I mentioned last time that after the two losses to the Bonnies, Saint Louis needed to win out in the regular season and get to at least the semi-finals of the A10 tournament to get in. Well, they made it as far as the Davidson game, where the Billikens got hammered by the conference-leader Wildcats. Unfortunately for SLU, they now much win the A10 Tournament to make the NCAA tournament.
That leaves us with Davidson, Dayton, VCU, and St. Bonaventure. Let’s break it down.
23-4 Overall, 13-2 Conference
Quad 1: 2-1, Quad 2: 3-3, Quad 3: 8-0, Quad 4: 9-0
Davidson has not lost since the game at Rhode Island. They also notched another Quad 2 win on the belt when they destroyed Saint Louis at home last weekend. They just beat a very bad Duquesne team just last night. Davidson is playing their best basketball again, even without star PG Foster Loyer. Hyunjung Lee has been a beast since he has been out, scoring 29 and 27 points in both games without Loyer, respectively. This team is heating up, and it’s hard to see them losing their next two games at home to Fordham and George Mason before the big showdown at Dayton. Right now, I’m not sure any one of those losses knocks them out of the tournament, but I wouldn’t test it by losing to Fordham or George Mason. If they win their final three games, they win the A10 regular season title and are in the tournament no matter what happens in DC.
Projection: Firmly in the field
20-8 Overall, 12-3 in conference
Quad 1: 2-2, Quad 2: 5-3, Quad 3: 4-0, Quad 4: 9-3
Dayton is still here, Quad 4 losses be damned. The odds of them losing at least once over their last 5 games was very probable, yet they haven’t. The Flyers seem to get better and better every game, even against inferior opponents. Dayton has moved up considerably in the metrics since the last article (10 in the NET, 12 on KenPom). Anthony Grant and staff have done an incredible job to get Dayton back on the bubble at this time of year. Lunardi and Bracket Matrix have the Flyers peaking around the First Four Out/Next Four Out territory. They have one more gimme game at La Salle this weekend before they get to the meat of their remaining schedule: at Richmond and the home cage-match against Davidson. The plan for Dayton remains the same: they have to win out the rest of the regular season and then some to have a chance for an at-large birth. Any loss and you can shut the door and lock it. And yes, I firmly believe a home game in the first four is on the table for Dayton.
Projection: Have to win out and get to the final of the A10 tournament to get in
19-7 Overall, 12-3 in conference
Quad 1: 2-2, Quad 2: 4-4, Quad 3: 7-1, Quad 4: 6-0
Honestly, I believe VCU is in a better position than Dayton to get in. And that’s evidenced by the always-accurate Bracket Matrix, which has the Rams in more brackets than the Flyers as of this writing. Lunardi is not giving VCU that much love, but they are creeping up his board. VCU has also not lost since the last update, and they have looked dominant in those wins. However, none of those wins were Quad 1 or 2, so that might be a reason. Nonetheless, VCU is controlling what they can do and that’s winning basketball games. They have at UMass, vs Bona, and at SLU remaining, which is as tough as it gets to end the season. I do believe they have to beat both UMass and Bona or it’s over, however a Quad 1 loss at SLU would not hurt them. A win at SLU would certainly put them closer to the right side of the bubble.
Projection: I’m going to change my thoughts for VCU of what they have to do. They have a couple of choices:
- Win out in the regular season and get to at least the semi-final of the A10 tournament
- Win at UMass, vs Bona, but lose to SLU + get to the final of the A10 tournament
18-7 Overall, 10-4 in conference
Quad 1: 3-3, Quad 2: 3-3, Quad 3: 2-1, Quad 4: 10-0
The Bonnies are still here, and they are very close to a double-bye in the A10 tournament. Bona has taken care of business since the two wins against Saint Louis. The problem is…the metrics absolutely HATE the Bonnies. Since the last update nine days ago, St. Bonaventure has moved up only four spots in the NET and six spots on KenPom. The committee has even said they are taking metrics and analytics more into account in the selection process. For the Bonnies, that’s bad news. No team this low in the NET makes the tourney as an at-large, which means they have to hope the committee relies on their resume more-so to judge them. As far as their schedule goes, they play at Saint Joseph’s, at VCU, and home vs Richmond to end their season. With their metrics the way they are, they need to win all of these games. One loss, and it’s A10 tourney or bust.
Projection: Win remaining three games and get to the final of the A10 tournament to get in.
Nine days later and not much has changed. Davidson strengthened its case to be firmly in the field of 68. Dayton, VCU, and St. Bonaventure are the only other three teams that are moving up the bubble ladder. Saint Louis is firmly out of the at-large discussion, but they are still a dangerous team to gash someone’s at-large hopes and could also win the A10 Tournament. One reminder about these four remaining teams having to win out is that they all play each other. Davidson doesn’t need to beat Dayton, but Dayton needs to beat Davidson. The loser of the St. Bonaventure-VCU game will be out of the at-large conversation. Nonetheless, I still think history is on the side of the A10, and we figure out how to get multiple bids in the NCAA Tournament.
Projection: 2 bids