NCAA – Bracket Projections v5.0

Seeded Teams

#1 Seeds

1 – Florida – SEC
2 – North Carolina – ACC
3 – Stanford – Pac-12
4 – UCLA – Pac-12*

#2 Seeds

5 – Penn State – Big Ten*
6 – Florida State – ACC*
7 – South Carolina – SEC
8 – West Virginia – Big XII*

#3 Seeds

9 – Rutgers – Big Ten
10 – Pepperdine – WCC
11 – Wisconsin – Big Ten
12 – Texas Tech – Big XII

#4 Seeds

13 – Notre Dame – ACC
14 – Washington – Pac-12
15 – Virginia – ACC
16 – Texas A&M – SEC*
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NCAA – What Chris Is Watching – 10/19/14 – (14) Kansas vs (9) West Virginia

(14) Kansas vs (9) West Virginia – 2:00 PM

With all due respect to current leaders Oklahoma State, the Big XII title will likely be decided on Sunday afternoon in Lawrence when Kansas hosts West Virginia. The Jayhawks’ margin of error diminished noticeably following their first league defeat on Friday, a 1-0 loss to Texas Tech. The Jayhawks had previously racked up four straight wins to put themselves in the driver’s seat for a shock league title. Against the Red Raiders though, KU fell prey to a late defensive mix-up at the end of the first half that would eventually prove decisive. While the defense limited Janine Beckie to just one shot on goal and TTU to three overall, they couldn’t tally more than three shots on goal themselves, marking the first time the club’s been shutout since their only other loss, to Marquette. KU’s defense still hasn’t conceded multiple goals yet this season though, something that will probably serve them well against West Virginia’s dangerous attack. However, if the Jayhawks can rebound and top the Mountaineers on Sunday, they’ll be back in control of the title race with two winnable matches left. A win over WVU would also keep them in seed contention with a few weeks left in the regular season.

Having now won three in a row and gone unbeaten in eleven, West Virginia will face likely back-to-back Big XII title deciders in the next week against the Jayhawks on Sunday and then Oklahoma State next Friday. The Mountaineers’ title credentials may have come into a little bit of doubt after a 0-0 draw with TCU to open up their league season, but WVU has seldom put a foot wrong since, winning all three of their following league games by multiple goals. Iowa State was the latest club to be fed into the woodchipper on Friday, as WVU put up twenty-three shots, including nine on frame, while limiting ISU to just one on-target shot on the evening. The club may have gone into the break tied at 0-0, but they scored through Kate Schwindel shortly after the restart and didn’t look back before adding two more late. Sunday should provide a fascinating test for an attack that has scored multiple goals in six of its last seven, including four goals four times in that span. Shutouts against Duke and TCU show WVU’s mortal, but they also have seldom fired blanks this season. A win over the Jayhawks would also boost WVU’s case for an all-important high national seed, though the club might need to do more damage in the Big XII Tournament given the resumes of their rivals on that front.
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NCAA – Bracket Projections v4.5

Seeded Teams

#1 Seeds

1 – Florida – SEC*
2 – Stanford – Pac-12
3 – UCLA – Pac-12*
4 – North Carolina – ACC

#2 Seeds

5 – South Carolina – SEC
6 – Rutgers – Big Ten
7 – Florida State – ACC*
8 – Penn State – Big Ten*

#3 Seeds

9 – Pepperdine – WCC*
10 – Wisconsin – Big Ten
11 – West Virginia – Big XII
12 – Texas Tech – Big XII

#4 Seeds

13 – Texas A&M – SEC
14 – Washington – Pac-12
15 – Virginia – ACC
16 – Virginia Tech – ACC
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NCAA – What Chris Is Watching – (1) UCLA vs (28) Arizona

(1) UCLA vs (28) Arizona – 10:00 PM

The defending national champs already likely have a #1 seed in the bag, so all that’s left for them really is both extending their unbeaten streak, which has hit thirty-five matches, and step closer to a Pac-12 title, with Stanford hot on their heels after the Card beat Colorado like a drum on Thursday night. The Bruins have the thoroughly odd Pac-12 schedule with this being the last of five straight matches at home, while the club ends the regular season with five straight on the road (though that last match is against USC down the road). After the high drama of the 2-1 comeback win against Stanford, UCLA was able to flex its muscles against Cal on Monday night in a 3-0 win against the NorCal side. Of course, that also brings up the fact that the Bruins are coming into this one on short rest, having played Cal just four days ago. While you seriously doubt there’ll be any fitness issues considering Amanda Cromwell’s reputation, it’s still something to keep in mind against the Wildcats. Sam Mewis will look to continue her push towards the Hermann Trophy with another starring display on Friday. She had assists on UCLA’s first two goals on Monday and continues to impress in her senior season. The defense limited Cal to a single shot on goal, which bodes well against an Arizona side that can get in amongst the goals when on form.

Arizona will be looking for some payback after they saw their Pac-12 winning streak snapped at three with a defeat at Washington last Sunday. The Wildcats looked to be hanging tough against UW but were ultimately undone by a pair of late goals. Despite that setback, the Wildcats are all but assured of an NCAA Tournament berth thanks to earlier results against Texas A&M and Washington State. More success means better odds of a home match in the first round though, so Arizona will want to come away with one of the upsets of the season on Friday. When it’s gone wrong, it’s gone really wrong though, as both of Arizona’s league defeats were by multiple goals, with Zona being shutout in each. The four goals they scored against Washington State showed just what this club can do offensively though, which has to give them a little confidence heading into a showdown with UCLA’s defense. Gabi Stoian and Alexandra Dollar have combined for fourteen goals, and each is going to have a sizable impact on Friday if Arizona’s to upset the odds. With Stanford and Cal next week, this is a brutal stretch for Tony Amato’s team, but there’s little evidence that these Wildcats are going to have a late season swoon in the final weeks of the regular season.
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NCAA – What Chris Is Watching – 10/16/14 – (15) South Carolina vs (3) Florida

(15) South Carolina vs (3) Florida – 7:00 PM

The RPI says “glamour tie”, the reality does not. After six of eleven rounds in the league, Florida is pushing for another league title, while South Carolina are still battling to ensure they qualify for the SEC Tournament. The Gamecocks currently sit in ninth place in the league having won just two of six SEC matches, and their most notable accomplishment in the league thus far has likely been keeping many bubble hopefuls’ NCAA Tournament hopes alive. The Gamecocks have won just one of five in the league since beating Auburn in the SEC opener, hobbled by a toothless offense. SC scored two in that win against Auburn but have scored just two in the five matches since. The defense has been typically tough, but it also has kept just one clean sheet in the league thus far, another worry for a club that makes its bones on defense. That defense had some trouble keeping Jade Klump of Kentucky in check in their last match, as the Wildcat had three shots on goal, which was just two less than the five the entire SC team put up in ninety minutes. Where the goals are going to come from is anyone’s guess, but with the Gators and Texas A&M left on the schedule, Carolina needs some answers, even if the rest of the regular season schedule is quite doable.

Winners of seven straight and all six league games thus far, Florida has batted aside just about every challenge they’ve faced since their defeat at Stanford in mid-September. They’ve looked quite efficient in wins against Arkansas and Mississippi State since beating Texas A&M in a likely title decider, and three points on Thursday would all but wrap up a league title with the Gators likely to roll over the likes of LSU and Vanderbilt in the final weeks of the regular season. There’ll likely be a little bit of personal vengeance in the air for Florida in this one as well, considering a 2-1 loss in Gainesville last season cost the club a solo league title last season. The Gators were hardly challenged by Mississippi State in their last match…after the first seventy-seven seconds. MSU took a shock lead but were then pegged back five times. Savannah Jordan netted a brace, while Tessa Andujar also shone with a goal and two assists. More of the same offensive form will likely sink South Carolina in short order considering the Gamecocks’ woeful attack. The away team has won this fixture the last four seasons in the SEC, and Florida will be odds on to make it half a decade since a home side’s tasted victory in this derby on Thursday night.
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NCAA – Bubble Watch Proper – Week Three

AAC

Bubble – UCF, UConn, Memphis, South Florida, Tulsa, Temple, East Carolina

Yes, this league may actually be a one-bid conference if UCF wins the AAC Tournament. Not that UCF’s resume is any great shakes either. The Knights’s best result is a win over #33 RPI Texas, but UCF would probably make it in through sheer competence in a season where it may be in short supply. Otherwise? Uh, good luck. UConn still has a chance to beat UCF this weekend and improve their position markedly, but if they don’t, they’re in deep trouble but could get another shot in the conference tournament. Memphis has had plenty of chances to rack up decent wins but have only managed draws against UConn and Ole Miss. South Florida probably has a decent shot at making it with wins against Texas and Boston College, but they’re going to have to finish strong to stay on the bubble. That goes double for Tulsa who has draws with Oklahoma and UConn but is further out from the bubble and has the terrible Texas twosome left in the league to further drown their RPI. Temple’s probably too far out with not enough results, even if they beat UCF on Thursday, while East Carolina also gets their shot at UCF but would basically need to run the table and win a few games in the AAC Tournament as well.

Atlantic 10

Bubble – La Salle, Rhode Island, VCU
Bubble (Danger) – George Washington

Well, the RPI says La Salle is good…for now. And that really is, “for now”, as with five teams out of the RPI Top 100 left to play in the regular season, the Explorers’ RPI looks likely to start to drop. What’s worse is the lack of RPI Top 50 results for the club. Will they get the benefit of the doubt if they don’t get the auto bid? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t want to find out if I were them. Rhode Island’s been a nice story but hasn’t even played and RPI Top 50 team, while VCU’s probably hanging around here thanks to it’s really tough non-conference schedule. All three of George Washington’s losses have been to teams in the RPI Top 76. Their best win is against RPI #90 Liberty though, so they aren’t long for this list.

ACC

Lock – North Carolina, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Virginia
Bubble – Clemson, Notre Dame, Boston College, Duke
Bubble (Danger) – Wake Forest

Ch-ch-changes. North Carolina and Florida State will be aiming for a #1 seed, while Virginia is trying to make up for lost time, though a #2 seed might be the best they can hope for. Clemson and Notre Dame are both in the clear as well, and the latter has a pretty good case for a national seed if they can move up in the RPI enough. Boston College looks like the prototypical good bad team, with wins over Colgate and…well nobody else really, so BC probably will want to take care of business against struggling NC State and Wake Forest sides before a huge clash at Duke. Duke’s odds plummeted earlier after a draw with Louisville. They probably have to beat Boston College and avoid defeat against one of North Carolina, Virginia, or Florida State to ensure they’re at .500. Wake Forest is alive in only the most technical sense. They’d have to win their final four regular season matches, hope they somehow slide into the ACC Tournament, win their semi-final match, and lose in a shootout in the final to have a chance at an at-large bid. So, yeah, probably not going to happen.
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NCAA – Weighted Total Shot Ratio – Week 5

AAC

1.40 – UCF
1.34 – South Florida
1.22 – Cincinnati
1.22 – UConn
1.06 – Temple
1.05 – Memphis
0.82 – Tulsa
0.76 – East Carolina
0.50 – Houston
0.49 – SMU

ACC

1.62 – Florida State
1.59 – Virginia
1.32 – North Carolina
1.29 – Clemson
1.28 – Duke
1.16 – Notre Dame
1.01 – Virginia Tech
0.89 – Louisville
0.81 – Boston College
0.75 – Wake Forest
0.66 – Pittsburgh
0.58 – Miami (FL)
0.50 – NC State
0.50 – Syracuse
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NCAA – Keep Punching That Ticket – Week One

Welcome to AWK’s weekly roundup of who’s in and who’s out of the conference tournament picture around the country. We’ll be adding conferences as every team finishes half its league schedule, so everyone should be on here within a week or two. The number in parentheses is maximum possible points for each club with matches remaining in the league. Leagues without any divisions between teams either take all teams to the conference tournament or don’t have a conference tournament. I’ve tried to use tiebreakers properly to separate teams when necessary.

* = Clinched Conference Tournament Berth

America East

12 (24) – Hartford
07 (19) – Albany
06 (15) – Maine
05 (17) – UMBC
05 (14) – New Hampshire
04 (16) – Binghamton
-
04 (16) – Stony Brook
04 (13) – Vermont

Ineligible – UMass-Lowell

AAC

15 (27) – UCF
11 (20) – Memphis
10 (19) – Temple
09 (18) – UConn
07 (16) – Tulsa
06 (18) – Cincinnati
06 (18) – South Florida
06 (18) – East Carolina
06 (18) – SMU
01 (13) – Houston

ACC

18 (30) – Florida State
18 (30) – North Carolina
15 (27) – Virginia
12 (24) – Notre Dame
-
10 (22) – Clemson
10 (22) – Duke
09 (21) – Virginia Tech
08 (20) – Louisville
06 (18) – Syracuse
06 (18) – Pittsburgh
06 (18) – Boston College
04 (16) – Wake Forest
01 (13) – Miami (FL)
00 (12) – NC State
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NCAA – What Chris Is Watching – 10/13/14 – (1) UCLA vs (23) Cal

(1) UCLA vs (23) Cal – 10:00 PM

It’s a rare Monday night feature with big name clubs, as the Bruins try to pull the sweep over the Northern California Pac-12 schools that they started by topping Stanford in a superstar showdown last Thursday. Now at 3-0-1 in the league, UCLA is in the driver’s seat to claim their second straight league title and have all but wrapped up a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament thanks to that win over the RPI #2 Stanford side. Amanda Cromwell’s side would leave it oh so late, going down after a corner kick early in the second half but seeing a mad dash to equalize late pay off when Ally Courtnall netted the equalizer after an assist from Annie Alvarado. Alvarado would put her name in lights with five minutes to play, latching onto a Sam Mewis pass and hitting for the winner. It was the type of comeback win Stanford had been known for for so long and was further evidence that this UCLA side may have grown its own indomitable spirit against adversity. They’ll be dealing with a minor bit of adversity soon enough, when Rosie White departs for OFC WWC Qualifying with New Zealand, which will likely mean a recall to the starting lineup for Darian Jenkins who assisted on the first goal on Thursday. Until then, UCLA will be counting on White and the rest of the attack to keep on chugging against Cal and Arizona this week as they try to sign off in style from their home regular season schedule before finishing with five on the road.

Cal comes into this one with a day’s fewer rest, which might be a bit contentious considering they had a close shave of their own against USC on the road on Friday afternoon. The Golden Bears also had to come from behind, going down after the hour mark to the Trojans before striking right back with a gorgeous equalizer from range from Grace Leer. The winner was not as aesthetically pleasing, especially for USC supporters, who were livid at what they felt was interference against goalkeeper Caroline Stanley on the header from Arielle Ship. At the end of the day though, Cal ran out with the three points and put a halt to a two-game losing streak that had seen the club begin to slide in the RPI. With UCLA and Stanford left on the schedule, there certainly is time for a big move back up with an upset. The club really could use with a good result against one of the league’s better teams to act as a counterweight against a mostly tepid non-conference resume. That’s a lot to ask on the road against the nation’s best team though. Supporters may be especially worried about a defense conceding a goal and a half in league matches thus far. Keeping that pace up could be disastrous on Monday.

NCAA – Bracket Projections v4.0

Note: Projected auto-bid winners are gradually moving to league leaders as conferences complete half their league schedule. Those that haven’t are still projecting top RPI team as their auto bid winner.

Seeded Teams

#1 Seeds

1 – Florida – SEC*
2 – Stanford – Pac-12
3 – UCLA – Pac-12*
4 – North Carolina – ACC

#2 Seeds

5 – Florida State – ACC*
6 – Rutgers – Big Ten
7 – Penn State – Big Ten*
8 – West Virginia – Big XII*

#3 Seeds

9 – Pepperdine – WCC*
10 – Wisconsin – Big Ten
11 – Virginia Tech – ACC
12 – Washington State – Pac-12

#4 Seeds

13 – Washington – Pac-12
14 – Texas A&M – SEC
15 – Virginia – ACC
16 – Kansas – Big XII
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