NCAA

Bracketology Round-up: One month out from Selection Sunday

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USA TODAY Sports

Bracketology Round-up: One month out from Selection Sunday

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Another wild week of college basketball with Duke, Kansas, and Kentucky all falling on the same day. Are you enjoying this season yet?

With these overabundance of upsets, the question quite frankly is not the bubble, it is what to do with the mess in the middle.

The top is locked down. Barring an insane finish to the season, which you cannot rule out after what has happened this year, Villanova, Virginia, and Purdue will claim either a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Two of them will likely be the No. 1 and No. 2 overall seed.

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The rest is up in the air. Where do North Carolina and Kentucky ‘deserve’ to be? How do you properly evaluate Seton Hall and Wichita State? Are their two top-10 teams in the WCC?

Bracketologists are confused on where to put teams. The only clearheaded thoughts are surprisingly at No.1 and at teams around the bubble. Its roughly the same 8-11 teams circling around the empty spots. And none of those bubble teams are doing themselves any favors, with the lone exception being Alabama.

Its all good stuff, and the looming schedule is only going to lead to more madness.

Storylines for mid-major conferences at this point in the year:

-Only one bid for the Atlantic 10
-Two bids from both the Mountain West and West Coast Conference.
-Middle Tennessee is in, but what happens if the Blue Raiders don’t win Conference USA?

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These projections are based on their latest bracket as of Feb. 5.

Joe Lunardi (ESPN):

No. 1 seeds: Villanova, Virginia, Purdue, and Xavier
No. 2 seeds: Duke, Kansas, Auburn, and Michigan State
Last Four in: Kansas State, NC State, Boise State, and Virginia Tech
First Four out: Marquette, UCLA, Nebraska, and SMU

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 Florida Gulf Coast
No. 12: Virginia Tech (at-large) vs. No. 5 West Virginia
Maryland (Next Four Out)

Dave Ommen (NBC Sports/ Yahoo/ Bracketville):

No. 1 seeds: Villanova, Virginia, Purdue, and Xavier
No. 2 seeds: Kansas, Texas Tech, Auburn, and Duke
Last Four in: Houston, Kansas State, Virginia Tech, and LSU
First Four out: SMU, Boise State, UCLA, Syracuse

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 UNC-Asheville/ Arkansas-Pine Bluff
No. 11: Virginia Tech (at-large) vs. No. 11 LSU

Shelby Mast (USA-Today):

No. 1 seeds: Villanova, Purdue, Virginia, and Auburn
No. 2 seeds: Clemson, Xavier, Texas Tech, and Kansas
Last Four in: Virginia Tech, LSU, Kansas State, and St. Bonaventure
First Four out: Boise State, Houston, Georgia, and Temple

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 Penn
No. 11: Virginia Tech (at-large) vs. No. 11 LSU
Maryland (also considered)

Chris Dobbertean (SB Nation):

No. 1 seeds: Villanova, Virginia, Purdue, and Kansas
No. 2 seeds: Duke, Xavier, Auburn, and Clemson
Last Four in: Kansas State, Marquette, Virginia Tech, and St. Bonaventure
First Four out: Western Kentucky, Houston, Georgia, and SMU

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 Radford
No. 11: Virginia Tech (at-large) vs. No. 11 St. Bonaventure
No. 16: Radford (Big South Champ) vs. No. 1 Virginia
Maryland (also considered)

Jerry Palm (CBS Sports):

No. 1 seeds: Villanova, Virginia, Purdue, and Xavier
No. 2 seeds: Duke, Kansas, Auburn, and Clemson
Last Four in: Virginia Tech, UCLA, NC State, and SMU
First Four out: Kansas State, Boise State, St. Bonaventure, and UCF

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 Nicolls St./ Florida Gulf Coast
No. 11: Virginia Tech (at-large) vs. No. 11 UCLA

Delphi Bracketology (Most accurate bracket projection of past two years):

No. 1 seeds: Virginia, Villanova, Purdue, and Xavier
No. 2 seeds: Kansas, Auburn, Clemson, and Duke
Last Four in: LSU, USC, Virginia Tech, and Houston
First Four out: UCLA, Oklahoma State, SMU, and Temple

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1 overall: Virginia (ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 Nicolls State/ Arkansas-Pine Bluff
No. 11: Virginia Tech (at-large) vs. #11 USC
 

Local Rundown:

A bit of a shake-up since the last Bracketology Round-Up for the Mid-Atlantic Region (Delaware, Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia). Still, it appears there are only two teams from the area that will be dancing into March.

The Virginia Cavaliers have solidified themselves as one of the top three teams in the country. In all of these projections Virginia is listed as a No. 1 seed and in fact, one (Delphi) has the Cavaliers the overall No. 1 seed for the tournament. Even if the long winning streak should come to an end and they do not win the ACC Tournament (they’re going to win the regular season title), they are going to be a No. 1 seed, at worst a No. 2.

Now moving back into the conversation is Virginia Tech and they did that with a statement win over North Carolina. However, with the Tar Heels falling off the tracks that win is not pulling as much weight as it was initially. If they can somehow get four wins in the regular season final stretch, they are in the tournament. It will not be easy though: Duke (twice), UVA, Miami, NC State, Louisville, Georgia Tech.

Even though Maryland’s losses have been to relatively good teams, there are not enough quality wins on their resume. Quite honestly the only reasons they are still alive is because they played Purdue and Michigan State close, and because they are a 16-win team in the Big Ten.  The Terps are out of all projections, but still considered in half of the brackets (Delphi Bracketology did not show teams considered for an at-large spot).

Outside of that William & Mary (CAA) and Radford (Big South) are no longer favorites to win their respective conferences. Only Dobbertean has the Highlanders still in the dance as a conference champion. Additionally with Old Dominion’s home loss to Middle Tennessee, they are fully out of an at-large conversation.

Here is a shortened list of legitimate teams that need a conference championship bid to make it to the big dance from the Mid-Atlantic in no particular order: Old Dominion (C-USA), VCU (A-10), William & Mary (CAA), Towson (CAA), Radford (Big South), Liberty (Big South), and Mount St. Mary’s (NEC).

Virginia star cornerback Bryce Hall out for the season after ankle surgery

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Virginia star cornerback Bryce Hall out for the season after ankle surgery

Virginia’s hopes for a Coastal Division title took a blow on Friday in a loss to Miami. Those hopes took another significant blow on Monday.

Head coach Bronco Mendenhall told reporters on Monday that star cornerback Bryce Hall is expected to miss the remainder of the season after undergoing ankle surgery.

The injury happened while he was blocking on a punt in Friday’s game. The injury appeared significant at the time as Hall had to be carted off the field with his ankle in an air cast.

“We expect a good recovery, he sustained a left ankle injury and had surgery Monday,” Mendenhall said. “We do not expect him back this season.”

Hall is the star of Virginia’s defense which ranks 11th in the nation in total defense and second in the conference behind only Clemson. Hall has 20 tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack and four passes broken up.

This news is particularly devastating for Hall considering he is a first-round NFL talent and elected to forgo the NFL draft for a year to play his senior season. This injury now ends Hall’s college career.

Virginia ranks 11th in the nation in total defense and 23rd in pass defense allowing just 183.7 yards through the air per game. Without Hall, that number is going to take a hit.

The Cavaliers still have five ACC games left on the schedule, including four within the division.

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The 6 craziest things that happened in Week 7 of the college football season

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The 6 craziest things that happened in Week 7 of the college football season

Four teams dropped from the ranks of the unbeaten, Louisville's coaching staff is way too intense, everyone from the state of Michigan is an embarrassment and yeah, Oklahoma and Texas still don't like each other.

Here are the six craziest things that happened in Week 6.

Unbeatens beware

Four undefeated teams suffered their first losses of the season this week as the College Football Playoff Grim Reaper began to rear his ugly head.

The most significant loss was that of Georgia at home to division rival South Carolina and it became evident at the end of the game that neither team wanted to win. I mean, why else would Will Muschamp call for a 57-yard field goal attempt in a tie game with 40 seconds left on the clock and with Georgia having all their timeous left? Why else would Georgia take itself out of field goal range with an illegal shift right before the end of regulation? The Gamecocks had a chance to win after recovering a fumble on the first overtime, but a botched field goal kept the game alive. South Carolina would kick a field goal in the second overtime and a missed field goal by Georgia would give the Gamecocks the win.

Florida also dropped from the ranks of the unbeaten, but that game was going to knock someone off as both the Gators and LSU were undefeated heading into Death Valley on Saturday.

Temple handed Memphis its first loss of the season in an afternoon tilt on Saturday and Wake Forest was also upset at the hands of Louisville who marched into the Demon Deacons’ home field and put up 62 points.

On a related note, the Orange Bowl has to be rooting so hard for Clemson to not make the playoff this year, or the ACC is going to send a mediocre team into one of the best bowl games in the country.

Only 12 undefeated teams remain at the FBS level after this week's action.

Louisville’s defensive line coach needs to chill

Mark Ivey is the defensive line coach at Louisville. To say he is intense would be putting it mildly.

The commentators laugh at how “fired up” the coaches are, but there are several moments in there where it is hard to tell if they are just super pumped or if people players are trying break up a legitimate fight.

Maybe trying to relive the glory days of your playing career during warmups is a bad idea.

Every player from both Oklahoma and Texas was given an unsportsmanlike penalty during the pregame

Oklahoma and Texas is one of the most storied rivalries in college football, even if we have no idea what it’s supposed to be called anymore. The Red River Shootout? The Red River Rivalry? The Red River Hootenanny? The Red River Hullabaloo?

Tensions were high for this game which led to a scuffle during pregame.

More than one.

Realizing that they were losing control of the game before it even started, the referees assessed every player on both teams an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Fun fact, in college football a player is ejected after their second unsportsmanlike penalty in a game so every player was one flag away from getting the boot.

In the end, only one player was ejected and that was for targeting. No one else received a second unsportsmanlike penalty and Oklahoma went on to beat Texas 34-27.

This season could not get any more embarrassing for Michigan

Jim Harbaugh: “Hold my beer.”

The Wolverines won on the road at Illinois on Saturday by a comfortable-looking margin of 42-25. That score, however, does not reflect the nearly epic collapse Michigan faced in the second half.

Jim Harbaugh and Co. jumped out to a 28-0 lead on the Illini before Illinois could even get on the board. Illinois, led by a backup quarterback, managed to score the next 25 points, trimming the lead down to just three early in the fourth quarter. From there, seeing their season was about to collapse in such an epic way woke Michigan back up. The Wolverines went on to add two extra touchdowns to their score while Illinois was shutout the remainder of the game.

Michigan’s quest to prove why they do not deserve to be a ranked team continues next week at Happy Valley where the Wolverines will take on Penn State.

Mark Dantonio answers a “dumbass” question with a dumbass answer

Speaking of disappointing football teams in the state of Michigan, let’s now move on to Michigan State. The Spartans stink on offense as was evident in their 38-0 loss to Wisconsin. In three losses this season, Michigan State has a combined 17 points. That’s bad. What’s worse is the fact that they were bad on offense last year as well, but virtually nothing was done to improve the offense as head coach Mark Dantonio returned the entire offensive coaching staff, but with changed titles and duties.

So now after a humiliating blowout loss in which the offense was made to look as inept as ever, it is fair to wonder if perhaps not making any changes on offense was a mistake. At least most people would think it was fair.

When head coach Mark Dantonio was asked whether his decision on the offensive staff in the offseason was a mistake, here was his response:

Dantonio is absolutely right. That is a “dumbass” question because we all know the answer is yes, it was a mistake, it is going to cost Michigant State its season and not doing anything about it makes him look bad. But go ahead, keep turning your frustrations on the media. That ought to help the offense.

Tennessee becomes the last Power 5 team to earn an FBS win

If you had to guess who the last Power 5 team to earn an FBS win this season was, who would you guess? Kansas? Oregon State? Illinois? One of the other perennial cellar-dwellers?

Nope, you’re all wrong. The answer is Tennessee.

The Volunteers actually won a game against a team with a pulse on Saturday, earning the ugly 20-10 win over Mississippi State. It still counts though proving that there really is no such thing as an ugly win, just an ugly season.

Tennesse improved its record to an impressive 2-4, a fact that right now is prompting every football fan in the south to stand up and spontaneously chant “S-E-C! S-E-C!”

Prior to Saturday, Tennessee’s only win of the season was against FCS Chattanooga. Yes, the Volunteers have losses to Florida and Georgia, both impressive teams. They also have losses against Georgia State and BYU so no, Tennessee is not simply a victim of the brutal SEC schedule.