Posted on: February 18, 2009 5:21 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2009 5:26 pm

Mailbag: Discussing Parity & National Title Odds

Today's Mailbag:


The top 5 teams in the MWC keep knocking each other off; the Parity has given 4/5 (80%) of those teams bids. In the Big 10, the top 9 teams keep knocking each other off and 55% of those 9 have bids. Where do you think the line is drawn between parity helping a conference and parity hurting a conference? Parity seems to be helping the MWC and ACC, and seems to be damaging the Big 10, SEC, and Big East.-Fishstick

Great question Fishstick. I think parity is great for conferences in most cases, and that's including the Mountain West this season. For conferences that went out and showed they can beat up on teams outside of their conference (ACC, Big East) parity is fine.

For teams in the SEC it isn't good. Only Arkansas really showed it can beat good teams outside of the SEC this season, and the Razorbacks can barely even win a conference game.

Partiy can be good and bad though. Going back to the SEC, those teams are just beating up on each other at this point and no single team has established itself as a national title contender. That means that there's no signature win available. The same applies for the MWC, where five teams are trying to get into the field. The good news is that those teams went out and played some pretty good teams out of conference.

Yet again Conference USA has one great team, but no parity. Unless you beat Memphis you aren't getting in the field. Parity is important but too much can change the way a conference is perceived.


If conference play was all we had to base a team's season on then I'd say parity would be bad. Thankfully we have an out of conference schedule so I'd say parity applies a little bit less when deciding NCAA Tournament bids. Is there a team outside of the 4 #1's (OU, UCONN, PITT, UNC) that has a REAL shot at winning it ALL??? I say no, for now... Memphis?? Myehh! Duke?? Come on!! Louisville, Mich St., Wake?? A sleeper like Gonz....ehh forget it!! What say you, dan? -vshman


Alright vshman I will answer this with MY odds of winning the national title (as of today):

North Carolina 2-1
Connecticut 4-1
Pittsburgh 4-1
Oklahoma 4-1
Louisville 6-1
Duke 8-1
Memphis 12-1
Michigan State 12-1
Marquette 14-1
Wake Forest 14-1
Villanova 16-1
Clemson 18-1
Illinois 20-1
Missouri 20-1
UCLA 20-1
Purdue 20-1
Arizona State 20-1
Gonzaga 25-1
Washington 25-1
Syracuse 30-1
Xavier 30-1
Kansas 35-1
Field 50-1

To answer your question in full I think Louisville is the team you might be overlooking. The Cardinals are a lot better than people think and I do believe they could be a Final Four team.


Category: NCAAB
Tags: Mailbag
Posted on: February 6, 2009 11:54 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2009 11:36 am

Mailbag: The best session yet!

I am L-O-V-I-N-G the mailbag questions you guys are sending my way. Here's the latest:

Gonzaga vs. Memphis .. who ya got? -gonzagafan62

First off I've been excruicatingly tough on Memphis.  The Tigers are a team I've described as one of the most talented, poorest shooting teams I've ever seen. Gonzaga was a team I once thought was a top five team and then they struggled for a few games. These two teams are pretty even talent wise but when I look at which team is the best I see the Zags. Gonzaga is loaded with talent. Plus Gonzaga is playing at home. The most talented team, playing at home, is usually a good bet. I like Gonzaga by five or less.

Couple issues. I'm assuming the star means you think they will get the autobid. You have Kentucky as the autobid of the SEC and an 11th seed? I would think running through the SEC tourney would yield a higher seed than that unless its last year's Georgia team...which I believe Kentucky is certainly doing better than them at this point. Also Wake Forest has lost 3 of the last 4 games to subpar competition and they weren't 'good' losses. Of course one would argue the UNC and Duke wins..."who else can boast that", etc. However, those were both at home by 3 and 2 points. Fortunately for them the UNC fluke won't be exposed in regular season but Duke has their shot. Anyways I think you have to take into account the last couple weeks and put them as a 3 seed. Who is a 2 then? Probably Louisville, less shame in losing to UCONN than VT, @GT, and @Miami (a smashing btw).-mastertim

This is referring to my bracketology , but I put it here since it was posed to me as a mailbag question. The autobid asterisk is something I need to change around a little more often than I have so far, but right now I'd say that out of the six power leagues that the SEC is the toughest to judge. Until someone takes a firm lead I will probably just give the Wildcats the asterisk, since it's not really important until someone actually does win the SEC Tournament.

Wake Forest is a team I had on the 1 line before their losses. I think you are putting too much into the last few weeks. How many teams can say that they have wins over both Duke, North Carolina, AND Clemson this year? I think those three wins, all over top ten teams, prove how good the Demon Deacons are.

My favorite team is Iowa. I have a question about Arizona, though. IN the wake of Arizona's comeback against Oregon State, do you think they get a tourney bid now, or do you think that they are going to fade out??? Just wondering, because I have a friend that likes Arizona.-yankeecyclon

Great question yankee. I don't think Arizona gets in, mainly due to the weakness of the Pac 10, despite their newest efforts to make it happen. The Wildcats have the name to get some recognition and a winning streak that is helping them gain momentum, and that will count in March. They are going to have a few more big wins and move up in the Pac 10 standings to get in though. The computer numbers (RPI: 59, SOS: 44) need to improve a little.

SDSU just beat UNLV at the thomas and Mack, that coupled with a home win against Utah is a solid resume, no bad losses as Wyoming is undefeated at home and not in the top 100, but how can you not move up SDSU what so ever, they were in the alst 4 out before the UNLV game on the road, and they still are. I think they are more deserving than a few teams on your list and if you want I will back it up with facts, here are the teams I don't think that should be on over SDSU, Penn State, USC, Georgetown, and Virginia tech (by the way I don't think we have seen an at large bid getting a 13 seed in a long time if ever).-sdfananduclafan

First of all sdfananduclafan in most years we do see an at large team get a 13 seed. What is the committee going to do if teams like Siena, Butler, Davidson, and Utah State (all projected auto bid winners) keep winning? Make it so there are 6 12 seeds? Of course not. That's impossible. That explains the seeding of Penn State and Virginia Tech.

About San Diego State I can't say you don't have an argument because you certainly do. The main problem I have with San Diego State is their OOC SOS, which is 121.  Plus the Aztecs are 3-5 against the RPI top 100. I mean NO disrespect to San Diego State and I agree, the MWC is at least a three bid league. Remember my bracketology is a guess at what I think the selection committee would decide if today was Selection Sunday.

I have a question. What would Xavier have to do to jump to the 2 seed and why wouldn't they be seeded in the Midwest since they are probably the number 1 three seed right now.-crazylegs0721

Crazylegs this is a pretty simple question. Xavier would probably have to win out or just about win out. The Musketeers aren't my top 3 seed either, that honor would go to Louisville. I will worry more about location the deeper we get into February. Right now seeding is more important and more difficult to figure out.

Dan, what have you heard about the recruiting of DeMarcus Cousins? Thanks.-huskyonspeed

The main thing I've heard is that Cousins wants to play at UAB (which would be great because I could watch him play almost every game) but that he wants it put in writing that Mike Davis will be the head coach there next season. This has been going on for months, and for some reason UAB will not put it in writing that Davis isn't going anywhere. This might have a lot to do with Davis' interest in the Alabama job, if he has any interest at all. Other than that I can tell you that Memphis, LSU, Kansas State, UAB, Missouri, N. C. State, Wake Forest, and Washington have offered him a scholarship.

Dan, this is not a criticism of your bracket in any way, I only have 4 at-large bids going to "mid-majors" (and three of those are to the Mountain West, so if you count the 7th best conference as a major conference then there would only be one). I guess my question would be: Are the Mid-major teams and/or conferences down this year? You can put that as a mailbag question if you'd like.-lobofan2003

I love the mid majors and questions about them. The Mountain West deserves three bids and if they don't get three bids it's going to be tough to determine which two teams should get in and which two shouldn't out of the San Diego State, UNLV, BYU, Utah group. I only have the conference getting two right now but it was mainly due to the strength of the power conferences. As far as mid majors being down I guess I have to say they are. Look at this Lobofan:

Bubble Teams-Mid Major Conferences:
Conference USA: 2 (Memphis, UAB)
Horizon 1 (Butler)
Mountain West 4 (Utah, UNLV, San Diego State, BYU)
WAC 1 (Utah State)
Missouri Valley 2 (Northern Iowa, Creighton)
Socon 1 (Davidson)
MAAC 1 (Siena)
Atlantic 10 2 (Xavier, Dayton)
CAA 3 (Northeastern, VCU, George Mason)
MAC 1 (Buffalo)
Summit 1 (North Dakota State)
Sun Belt 1 (Western Kentucky)
WCC 2 (Gonzaga, St. Marys)

This is being EXTREMELY generous in a lot of cases, but it shows the weakness of some of the usual power "mid major" conferences. For instance it really wouldn't be a surprise for CUSA, WCC, Missouri Valley, and Atlantic 10 to end up with only one bid apiece.

-Daniel Evans

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 3, 2009 5:25 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2009 5:44 pm

Mailbag: A Few Tuesday Afternoon Questions

I wasn't planning on doing a mailbag today but I received a lot of great questions from CBS viewers. Keep the great questions coming guys. Plus good 'ole Shuless Joe threw together an awesome logo (actaully two) for this segment.

So here's your Tuesday Afternoon Mailbag:

Florida/South Carolina. A Monsterous bubble game. Florida hasn't beaten a decent team in a while, and South Carolina is quickly making the ranks as a team to look out for in the SEC. Now that we have teams starting to slide, and teams that are on the bubble, this game has a lot of significance to it. Whoever, wins, does this put them in the tournament? Or does this just increase their chances? Would love to get your thoughts! -Gonzagafan62

Very good game tonight between the Gamecocks & Gators, and a very big one at that. A couple of weeks ago on a Wednesday night South Carolina shocked Florida with a buzzer beating layup after a full court pass was set up due to a couple of missed free throws by Nick Calathes and Chandler Parsons.

The winner is NOT in the tournament but it would greatly improve their chances. Florida may not have a nice win outside of Washington, but they also don't have a bad loss. South Carolina already has wins over Kentucky & Florida so another big SEC win would count quite a lot.

I personally like Florida to win at home, especially after what just happened to them in Knoxville.

What are your Cinderellas going into the NCAA tourney? I know there is the Usual Gonzaga, Memphis, Xavier. I wanna know who else in the field has a realistic shot at a sweet sixteen or elite eight run. Thanks. Vince Jackson, Tennessee.

I love this question. I can't pinpoint which team it will be but I do know some teams capable of doing it. Butler, Siena, Utah State, Davidson (again), Virginia Commonweath, and Northern Iowa would lead my list. If I had to pick my odds on favorite to pull it off this year I'd go with either Davidson or Siena. The Saints have proven how well they can play in the NCAA Tournament, and the Wildcats have a baby faced assassin.

What are your thoughts on the SDSU @ UNLV game on wednesday, I know this is not really a bracketology question, but how do you see it palying out? Also one of the better match ups of the year will be one of the top 10 defenders in the country Rene Rogou again a n extremly gifted foward who has improved his jump shot from last year. ALSO if SDSU wns they will be in at that moment right? If yes where would you project them? 10 or 11 seed right? -sdfananduclafan

I'm going to keep the question within bracketology boundaries since it begins in just a few hours. The winner is in while the loser is probably out of a crowded Mountain West picture, where five teams are within range of a bid. I like the Rebels to pull it out at home.

-Daniel Evans


Posted on: February 1, 2009 11:12 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2009 11:28 pm

Mailbag: Discussing Mid Majors, Gtown, & More

I asked my readers to ask questions for a mailbag segment I wanted to do and I received some great responses. If you have a question for next week's mailbag either send me a PM or email me at dantheman4250@aol.com .

Hey Dan, I have a question for you to answer next time you do a blog on here or OSF. What mid-major teams do you think could get an at-large if they slip up in their conf. tourney? I was thinking of Davidson and Siena, maybe a MWC team too? Thanks.


I love this question Husky. First we have to determine the definition of a mid major. Most people don't say that Gonzaga, Memphis, and Xavier are mid majors, so for this exercise we will refrain them from being an answer to this question. If it matters all three are getting at large bids.

Butler and Davidson are getting into the field, even if they lose in their conference tournaments. The Wildcats would be closer to the cutline than the Bulldogs, but I think they'd both get in. St. Marys is another likely to get in, but it all depends on how they fare without Patty Mills. So far in they blew a halftime lead to Gonzaga without him and then lost to Portland without him.

Siena would be an interesting case with a RPI of 21 and a SOS of 39. If their RPI number stayed that high it would be almost impssoble for the Saints to be left out of the field. Dayton is in my field for now but their lack of marquee wins is going to hurt them. Utah State may be one of the more interesting bubble cases on Selection Sunday if they lose in the WAC Tournament. Right now their RPI (42) is impressive but their SOS would likely mean a NIT berth (202).

The Mountain West is considered a mid major league, although it has proven itself pretty good on both the football and basketball courts. It looks like at least two of five teams are going to get in; TCU, San Diego State, Utah, BYU, and UNLV. Right now Utah and UNLV lead the way. Chances are the regular season champion will be relatively safe going into the MWC Tournament.

The CAA also presents an interesting case. Northeastern, VCU, and George Mason are all in the 'discussion' for an large berth but I don't feel like any would be in without winning the CAA Tournament unless a LOT of chaos goes on before the final week of the season.

To clear up my answer I think Butler & Davidson are going to get in, even if it means stealing an at large berth. The same goes for Siena if their RPI stays like it is. The Mountain West is probably going to get two or three bids, and the CAA will probably get one unless something crazy takes place.

Hey dan where do you think Georgetown is gona end up in the tournament? As in what seed? They've played good at times and have beat high caliber teams, but have lost to them too. Anywhere from 5-7 maybe? And what about Arkansas? Are they in?


Another great question. In my bracketology I have Georgetown out right now due to their 3-6 Big East record. I don't think that's going to last very long though. Being realistic at this point I don't see the Hoyas getting higher than a 6 seed in the Big Dance. If I had to guess right now (assuming they do indeed get in) I'd say they get in a scary 8-9 game. I'm sure the last thing a #1 seed wants to do is see Georgetown looking at them in round two, a team as talented as any in the entire country.

Before we can really discuss the Hoyas and the words 'NCAA Tournament' in the same sentence they have to prove they deserve to be in. Right now they don't.

Arkansas is done. They are 1-4 in SEC play and struggling. Their two wins over Texas & Oklahoma were nice, but they appear only to be a sign of the future in Fayetteville and not the present. I'm sure its sad for Razorbacks fans that weren't expecting much, and then raised their expectations after the two big wins. The SEC will be lucky to get five teams in, but without a Georgia-esque run for the SEC Tournament title Arkansas will be in the NIT or CBI.

Do you think that they still have a decent shot to get a #4 seed? They are probably going to run through the WCC now, with Mills hurt. Portland may be a contender, but I am not sure yet. I guess I wait on that for Thursday. Your thoughts on Zaga getting a 3-5 seed? And is it realistic?


Another great question. First off gonzagafan makes an excellent point. I mean no disrepect to the Zags at all when I say this, but I'm not sure Gonzaga would be the top team in the WCC without Patty Mills injury the other night. Gonzaga was down (but certainly not out) against the Gaels before Mills left the game.

But to the dismay of St. Marys fans the injury did take place and Gonzaga did win the game, proving once again they are the beasts of the WCC. Now onto the seeding scenarios for Gonzaga.......

If the Zags win out and win the WCC Tournament they can probably still get a 3 seed. A 2 isn't completely out of the picture but it would depend more on the other top teams faltering and nothing Gonzaga could control. Winning out would put Gonzaga on the top 4 seed lines for sure (at least that's the way the tournament appears to be shaping at this moment). When all is said and done I think Gonzaga ends up in the 3-7 range. Right now I have them as a 5 seed, and that should only improve from here on out.

This is a good potential sleeper team for the Final Four.

How many games do you think Wisconsin can lose and get into the NCAA's with their great rpi and sos?


I actaully answered this one somewhat yesterday. I played out the Badgers season midday yesterday and had them finishing 18-12 with a 9-9 conference record. Is that good enough to get in? Honestly I'm not sure. Their computer numbers are going to help them a lot but a lot also depends on how the other bubble teams from the Big Ten and from around the rest of the country fare.

I cannot narrow it down to a specific number realistically but I can say this. Anything below .500 in the Big Ten probably isn't going to get it done, no matter how good your computer numbers are. Still a 37 RPI and a 3rd ranked SOS will get you a long way, even without a gaudy record overall.


Earlier today I made a post regarding Penn State's NCAA Tournament chances. Right now I think the Nittany Lions would be in, but I created a thread to ask you guys what you thought. Early on the lead answer to the question is that 'Yes, the Nittany Lions should be in the field', but I'd like everyone to keep voting. If you haven't voted or if you'd just like to review the poll here's the link .

-Daniel Evans

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com