Hello, college basketball/Big Ten fans!
Welcome to the first Championship Week Schmolik 64 update of 2023!
|Midwest Regional||Kansas City|
|Fri/Sun March 24-26|
|Thur/Sat March 16-18||16|
|Fri/Sun March 17-19||12||Charleston||29-3|
|Fri/Sun March 17-19||11|
|Thur/Sat March 16-18||10||Oklahoma State||17-14|
|Fri/Sun March 24-26|
|Thur/Sat March 16-18||16||Texas A&M Corpus Christi||17-10|
|Thur/Sat March 16-18||12||Yale||18-7|
|Fri/Sun March 17-19||11||Auburn||20-11|
|Thur/Sat March 16-18||10||Florida Atlantic||26-3|
|15||Kennesaw State *||23-8|
|West Regional||Las Vegas|
|Thur/Sat March 23-25|
|Thur/Sat March 16-18||16||Cleveland State||20-11|
|Thur/Sat March 16-18||12||Drake *||26-7|
|Denver||6||San Diego St||23-6|
|Fri/Sun March 17-19||11||Arkansas||19-12|
|Thur/Sat March 16-18||10||Rutgers||18-13|
|15||UNC Asheville *||25-7|
|East Regional||New York|
|Thur/Sat March 23-25|
|Fri/Sun March 17-19||16|
|Fri/Sun March 17-19||12|
|Fri/Sun March 17-19||11||Oral Roberts||25-4|
|Fri/Sun March 17-19||10||Pittsburgh||21-10|
|First Four Games|
|Tue March 17||16||Alcorn State||18-12|
|Dayton||MW||Southeast Missouri *||17-16|
|Wed March 18||16||Fairleigh Dickinson *||17-14|
|Tue March 17||12||Mississippi State||20-11|
|Wed March 18||11||Penn State||19-10|
Bids by conference:
Big Ten: 9 (Purdue Boilermakers, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Northwestern Wildcats, Michigan State Spartans, Maryland Terrapins, Illinois Fighting Illini, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Penn State Nittany Lions)
Big 12: 8 (Kan, Bay, Tex, KSU, TCU, ISU, WV, OkSt)
SEC: 8 (Ala, Tenn, A&M, Ky, Mo, Aub, Ark, MissSt)
Big E: 5 (Marq, Conn, Xav, Creig, Prov)
ACC: 5 (Va, Mia, Duke, NCSt, Pitt)
Pac 12: 3 (UCLA, Ariz, USC)
MWC: 3 (SDSt, BSU, Nev)
WCC: 2 (Gonz, St. M)
AAC: 2 (Hou, Mem)
One bid: 23
Highest NET left out: Utah State (21), North Texas (39), Liberty (43), Oregon (47), North Carolina (49), New Mexico (50)
Our Purdue is still in the running for a #1 seed but it looks like their resume is behind the other #1 seeds in this update, Kansas, Alabama, and Houston, and there are three #2 seeds that look like they have a decent chance to pass them, Texas and Baylor from the Big 12 and UCLA from the Pac 12 (I don't think Arizona has enough). Getting to the Big Ten final might be enough to keep Purdue on the 1 line. I remember in 2015 when the Selection Committee said Wisconsin was going to be a #1 win or lose in the final. If they lose early they might be in danger. They also would prefer Kansas to win the Big 12 and someone other than UCLA to win the Pac 12. Houston's resume seems weak but the Selection Committee did rank them #2 in the initial ranklngs back in February. I'd be surprised to see them drop to a #2 unless they lose their 1st or maybe 2nd AAC tournament game. Geographically Houston is slightly closer to Las Vegas (West Regional) than New York (East Regional) so hopefully if Purdue is a #1 seed they will get to go to the East Regional. Then again the East Regional didn't work well for them last year and who wouldn't like a free trip to Las Vegas? I believe this is the first time the NCAA Tournament will ever be held in Las Vegas. It's possible that Purdue and Indiana could meet for the third time in the Big Ten Championship Game, Indiana won the first two games. It's ironic that the one time Indiana and Purdue meet in the Big Ten Championship Game it's held in Chicago and not Indianapolis.
Rutgers has freefalled in past weeks, dropping all the way to a #10 seed in this bracket. In the past week, they lost to Minnesota, the Big Ten's worst team by far. Overall Rutgers' resume is still good, their NET is #41 with five Quad 1 wins, one being a road win at Purdue. I mentioned last week about Iowa State that in past years the Selection Committee has not punished teams for poor finishes. Rutgers has lost six of their last eight games including the loss at Minnesota as well as home games vs. Nebraska, Michigan, and Northwestern. On the other hand, Rutgers lost forward Mawot Mag in the beginning of February and that 2-6 record is the record without Mag. In the past the Selection Committee does factor injuries both positive and negative when evaluating teams, they are clearly not the same Rutgers as the Rutgers that beat Purdue. If Rutgers loses their first game to Michigan, they are going to have a nervous wait until Sunday (it also gives Michigan another win over Rutgers head to head which considering Michigan is on the bubble could really hurt Rutgers' chances as well as help Michigan's chances).
Also for the first time in a while this season, Penn State rejoins the bracket. They have a NET of 56 but have 5 Quad 1 wins. They and Wisconsin are still in contention for at large bids. Wisconsin's poor Big Ten record and low NET (78) hurt them. Wisconsin has to play an extra game vs. Ohio State. A win won't help them much and a loss really damages that NET and Ohio State has beaten both Illinois and Maryland recently. Penn State has beaten Illinois, the team they play in the Big Ten Tournament, twice this season but the tournament is in Chicago which helps Illinois. Penn State, Wisconsin, and Michigan probably need to win a game if not more than one to feel good going into Selection Sunday, especially if there are upsets in other conferences and/or other bubble teams do better.
Finally, it wouldn't be a 2023 Schmolik 64 update without talking about Utah State. Their NET is all the way up to 21. That would seem to be way too hard to be left out and they finally got their first Quad 1 win beating Boise State. But no at large team in this bracket has fewer than two Quad 1 wins (North Carolina, with just one Quad 1 win, is also left out). They also have two Quad 4 losses. Utah State's big chance comes in the MWC Tournament, they likely will get to play San Diego State, they were swept by them this year. If Utah State wins, that will help their chances (of course they could just win the automatic bid). Boise State and Nevada are 9 seeds but in the MWC if either suffer a bad loss that could put them on the bubble.
I would expect to have another update on Friday and my final Schmolik 64 on Sunday. I'd like to also do a women's Schmolik 64 this season. My alma mater Illinois has a chance to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 20 years.
Compare my bracket to other brackets across the internet at the Bracket Matrix.