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


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)


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.

Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


Regular Season Champion: St. Louis

Projected Bids: 6

St Louis (26-5, RPI 20, SOS 69)

vs. RPI top 50: 5-4

vs. RPI under 200: 4-0

Quality wins: at (39) Dayton, at (42) St Joseph’s, vs. (14) Virginia Commonwealth, vs. (30) George Washington, at (17) Massachusetts

Bad losses: vs (185) Duquesne

Projected Seed: 5

The Billikens were cruising towards a three seed until a rough three game patch last week.  The loss to St. Bonaventure assures them a fall to a No. 5 seed.

Virginia Commonwealth (24-7, RPI 14, SOS 40)

vs. RPI top 50: 4-4

vs. RPI under 200: 4-0

Quality wins: at (12) Virginia, at (56) Belmont, at (39) Dayton, vs. (30) George Washington, vs. (20) St Louis, at (69) Richmond

Bad losses: at (111) Northern Iowa

Projected Seed: 8

The Rams could move up a seed by winning the A-10 tournament.  The Georgetown loss looks much worse now than it did at the time.  The strength at the top of the Atlantic 10 could help raise their seeding a bit, especially if other teams falter.

George Washington (23-7, RPI 30, SOS 86)

vs. RPI top 50: 3-5

vs. RPI under 200: 7-0

Quality wins: at (61) Manhattan, vs. (8) Creighton at Anaheim, CA, vs. (75) Maryland at Washington, vs. (14) Virginia Commonwealth, at (69) Richmond, vs. (43) St Joseph’s

Bad losses: NONE

Projected Seed: 8

The Colonials could be an awfully dangerous mid-level seed.  All of their losses were to teams with an RPI better than 100 and they have two wins against RPI top 15 teams.

St Joseph’s (21-9, RPI 43, SOS 71)

vs. RPI top 50: 4-5

vs RPI under 200:

Quality wins: at (39) Dayton, vs. (17) Massachusetts, vs. (14) Virginia Commonwealth, vs. (39) Dayton

Bad losses: at (175) Temple

Projected Seed: 12

The Hawks need to hope that teams don’t start stealing bids in the conference tournaments.  Their RPI is good, the SOS is good, but that Temple loss, and the loss to La Salle at the end of the season, could end up hurting them.  Beating Dayton will be the thing that barely pushes them in to one of the play-in games.

Dayton (23-9, RPI 39, SOS 65)

vs. RPI top 50: 4-5

vs RPI under 200: 5-0

Quality wins: vs (18) Gonzaga at Lahaina, HI, vs (58) California at Lahaina, HI, vs. (30) George Washington, vs (17) Massachusetts, at (20) St Louis

Bad losses: at (135) Illinois State, vs. (171) USC, at (154) Rhode Island

Projected Seed: 10

With three huge wins in the last week, the Flyers have played their way in.  A loss to St Joseph’s in the A-10 Tournament might hurt them a bit, but I have to think that Dayton is in no matter what.  The three bad losses were offset by three victories over RPI top 20 teams.

Massachusetts (24-7, RPI 17, SOS 43)

vs. RPI top 50: 6-3

vs. RPI under 200: 3-0

Quality wins: vs (41) Nebraska at Charleston, vs (16) New Mexico at Charleston, vs. (34) BYU at Springfield, MA, vs. (43) St Joseph’s, at (30) George Washington, vs. (14) Virginia Commonwealth

Bad losses: vs. (161) George Mason

Projected Seed: 7

The Minutemen have the gaudy RPI to earn them a higher seed than the George Washington team that just beat them.

Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports


Regular Season Champion: Virginia

Projected Bids: 5

Virginia (25-6, RPI 12, SOS 39)

vs. RPI top 50: 3-4

vs RPI under 200: 7-0

Quality wins: vs. (53) SMU at Corpus Christi, TX, at (52) Florida State, vs. (22) North Carolina, at (40) Pittsburgh, at (72) Clemson, vs. (11) Syracuse

Bad losses: NONE

Projected Seed: 3

The Cavs’ loss to Maryland in the regular-season finale might have cost them a No. 3 seed.  Some think that they need to win at least one more game in the ACC tourney to get it.  I am thinking that they are a three no matter what.

Syracuse (27-4, RPI 11, SOS 60)

vs. RPI top 50: 7-2

vs. RPI under 200: 5-0

Quality wins: vs. (47) Minnesota at Lahaina, HI, vs. (58) California at Lahaina, HI, vs. (32) Baylor at Lahaina, HI, at (63) St John’s, vs. (5) Villanova, vs. (22) North Carolina, vs. (40) Pittsburgh, vs. (7) Duke, at (40) Pittsburgh, at (75) Maryland, at (52) Florida State

Bad losses: vs. (197) Boston College, vs. (155) Georgia Tech

Projected Seed: 3

I think the Orange secured fell to a three seed with the loss to NC State.

Duke (24-7, RPI 7, SOS 6)

vs. RPI top 50: 6-4

vs. RPI under 200: 4-0

Quality wins: vs. (9) Michigan, vs. (21) UCLA at New York, vs. (12) Virginia, at (40) Pittsburgh, vs. (11) Syracuse, vs. (22) North Carolina

Bad losses: at (137) Notre Dame, at (112) Wake Forest

Projected Seed: 2

I think Duke is stuck as a two seed, even if they manage to win the ACC Tournament.  They lost to another team fighting them for the No. 1 spot (Kansas), and also lost to Arizona, who might be the top overall seed.  That said, if Duke beats Virginia in the ACC tourney final, that might just get them that coveted one seed anyway.

North Carolina (23-8, RPI 22, SOS 17)

vs. RPI top 50: 5-4

vs. RPI under 200: 4-0

Quality wins: vs. (69) Richmond at Uncasville, CT, vs. (24) Louisville at Uncasville, CT, at (26) Michigan State, vs. (19) Kentucky, vs. (40) Pittsburgh, at (52) Florida State, vs. (7) Duke, at (62) North Carolina State

Bad losses: at (149) UAB, at (112) Wake Forest, vs. (110) Miami(FL)

Projected Seed: 5

The Tarheels were rolling, winning 12 straight before Duke beat them to close out the regular season.  Regardless of what happens in the ACC tourney, they look like a four seed either way, which is quite impressive considering how they started the season.

Pittsburgh (24-8, RPI 40, SOS 73)

vs. RPI top 50: 1-6

vs. RPI under 200: 7-0

Quality wins: vs. (38) Stanford at Brooklyn, at (62) North Carolina State, at (75) Maryland, at (72) Clemson

Bad losses: NONE

Projected Seed: 9

All of the Panthers’ eight losses came to teams ranked 62 or higher.  They have lost to numbers 7, 11, 11, 12, and 15 in the RPI.  The bad part?  They didn’t beat anyone higher than 38, which means that nine seed may be a bit generous…..

There was a time when 20 wins in the ACC meant a guaranteed trip to the NCAA tournament, but not this year.  Clemson and North Carolina State both are sitting at 20 wins, but are still on the outside looking in for now.  Florida State had a tough schedule and is at 19 wins.  However, I think they needed to beat Virginia to get in.

Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports


Regular Season Champion: Kansas

Projected Bids: 7

Kansas (24-8, RPI 3, SOS 1)

vs. RPI top 50: 13-7

vs. RPI under 200: 3-0

Quality wins: vs. (7) Duke at Chicago, vs. (16) New Mexico at Kansas City, vs. (37) Toledo, at (27) Oklahoma, vs. (50) Kansas State, at (10) Iowa State, vs (45) Oklahoma State, vs. (32) Baylor, vs. (10) Iowa State, at (32) Baylor, vs(31) Texas, vs. (27) Oklahoma, vs. (45) Oklahoma State

Bad losses: NONE

Projected Seed: 2

To some, that two seed may be tentative, but take a closer look at this resume.  Kansas played a whopping twenty games against the RPI top 50.  Part of that is a byproduct of playing in the toughest conference, but take a look at this non-conference slate, as well: New Mexico, Duke, San Diego State, Florida, and Colorado.  To me, any team that plays this tough of a schedule and still wins 25 games absolutely deserves a number one seed if they at least get to their conference tournament final.  Unfortunately for Kansas, they did not.

Oklahoma (23-9, RPI 27, SOS 11)

vs. RPI top 50: 8-6

vs RPI under 200: 4-0

Quality wins: at (31) Texas, vs. (10) Iowa State, at (32) Baylor, vs. (45) Oklahoma State, vs. (32) Baylor, at (45) Oklahoma State, vs. (50) Kansas State, vs. (31) Texas

Bad losses: vs. (118) Texas Tech

Projected Seed: 4

The loss to Baylor in their Big 12 tourney opener might knock them down to a five, though St. Louis losing can only help the Sooners stay at No. 4.  I support my team as much as any fan, but I will be the first to admit that Oklahoma is a good candidate to be upset early, depending on their draw.  Any team that defends the perimeter well could doom the outside-heavy Sooners offense.

Texas (23-9, RPI 31, SOS 47)

vs. RPI top 50: 7-8

vs. RPI under 200: 6-0

Quality wins:  at (21) North Carolina, vs. (10) Iowa State, vs. (50) Kansas State, at (32) Baylor, vs. (3) Kansas, vs. (45) Oklahoma State, vs. (32) Baylor

Bad losses: at (118) Texas Tech

Projected Seed: 6

The loss to TT was their only loss outside of the RPI top 50, and they did manage to beat Kansas once this year.  So why aren’t they higher?  Getting throttled by Baylor is the thing that will be fresh in everyone’s mind, and someone has to take the 6 and 7 seeds.

Iowa State (24-7, RPI 10, SOS 15)

vs. RPI top 50: 9-6

vs. RPI under 200: 6-0

Quality wins: vs. (9) Michigan, at (34) BYU, vs. (54) Iowa, vs. (32) Baylor, vs. (50) Kansas State, vs. (27) Oklahoma, at (45) Oklahoma State, vs. (31) Texas, vs. (45)Oklahoma State, vs. (50) Kansas State at Kansas City

Bad losses: NONE

Projected Seed: 3

The Cyclones’ worst loss was on the road to a West Virginia team that might sneak into the tournament on the strength of the Big 12 alone.  Wins over BYU, Michigan, and Iowa out of conference have the RPI really high, high enough to earn them a two seed since they beat Kansas.  I still think they need to take the Big 12 tournament trophy to move up to a two.

Kansas State ( 20-12, RPI 50, SOS 19)

vs. RPI top 50: 7-8

vs. RPI under 200: 6-1

Quality wins: vs. (18) Gonzaga at Wichita, vs. (30) George Washington, vs. (45) Oklahoma State, vs. (27) Oklahoma, vs. (31) Texas, vs. (3) Kansas, vs. (10) Iowa State

Bad losses: vs. (203) Northern Colorado, vs. (149) Charlotte at San Juan

Projected Seed: 10

Their RPI is rather low for being in such a tough conference, and the early season losses to Northern Colorado and Charlotte will put a ceiling on how high of a seed the Wildcats can get.  They didn’t have any bad losses in conference play though.  That probably just means they will avoid the play-in game for the 11 seeds.

Baylor (23-10, RPI 32, SOS 10)

vs. RPI top 50: 9-8

vs. RPI under 200: 5-0

Quality wins:  vs. (33) Colorado at Dallas, vs. (43) Dayton at Lahaina, HI, vs. (20) Kentucky at Arlington, TX, at (45) Oklahoma State, vs. (50) Kansas State, vs. (45) Oklahoma State, vs. (10) Iowa State, at (50) Kansas State, vs. (27) Oklahoma at Kansas City

Bad losses: at (118) Texas Tech

Projected seed: 7

Baylor has won five straight and nine of 10 after a rough start to their conference season.  The Bears seem to be peaking at the right time, and will be a very dangerous second round opponent for one of the high seeds.

Oklahoma State (21-12, RPI 44, SOS 22)

vs. RPI top 50: 5-11

vs. RPI under 200: 6-0

Quality wins: vs. (35) Memphis, vs. (65) Louisiana Tech at Oklahoma City, vs. (33) Colorado at Las Vegas, vs. (31) Texas, vs. (3) Kansas, vs. (50) Kansas State

Bad losses: at (118) Texas Tech

Projected seed: 9

It will be interesting to see whether the committee takes into account the suspension of Marcus Smart for the three games (all losses) after the Texas Tech game.  The closer I look at the Cowboys, the more I think that they will be one of the ones left out.  They beat Kansas, but did not beat Oklahoma or Iowa State.  The loss to the Jayhawks in the Big 12 tourney might be hard to overlook if teams like Minnesota and Providence do well in their respective conference tournaments.  Right now, the Cowboys are in, but just barely.