Conference Tournaments Rooting Guide Update

Submitted by Seth on March 9th, 2018 at 10:46 AM


[Marc-Gregor Campredon (oui, les Campredons qui fait le bon vin)]

After some some rooting guides by the users popped up we made our own, and now that we're deeper in I've updated it. I’ve highlighted the team you’re rooting for in each. All times eastern.

UPDATE 3/9: Just about nothing went right for our rooting interests last night except Duke easily dispatched the Domerless Domers. We're now 5-14 overall on our rooting guide, though to be fair we were picking against a lot of favorites. There's nothing to be done for Maryland and Penn State since everything that could conspire to move them down RPI has transpired—the Terps dropped 6 spots from yesterday without even playing—and everyone around them now has upward mobility. We're going to stop tracking that now since they’re both probably trapped below the 75th threshold, and just focus on various conference champions we don't want to pass Michigan.

Friday, March 9


  • Cincinnati vs SMU (ESPN2). Why: Michigan’s competing for a protected seed and there are too many Midwest teams for too few Detroit slots. Cincy is a 2 in the bracket matrix but an early tourney loss could have an outsized effect given their weakish schedule (best non-conf win is @UCLA) and deny Wichita State a shot at a signature win later on.
  • VCU vs Rhode Island (NBCS). Why: No, URI isn't catching us; this is because Michigan beat VCU earlier this year and an upset here would be nice for an RPI bump, while a run to the A10 title would sneak in another tourney win. It won't happen but it'd be fun.


  • Bama vs Auburn (ESPN). Why: Auburn has a slightly stronger resume than Michigan’s right now. A loss to a mediocre Tide could push them below us and lock Michigan into a 3-see. However Auburn could also do us a favor if we get stuck behind them by winning the SEC and keeping Kentucky, Florida, or Tennessee from passing us. So if Auburn wins, just root for them the rest of the way.


  • Southern Miss vs Marshall (CBSSN). Why: Former Michigan opponent stayin' alive.


  • Kentucky vs Georgia (ESPN). Why: Kentucky is currently a five seed to Bracket Matrix but a run in the SEC Tourney could conceivably pass Michigan while boosting the resumes of Tennessee and Auburn. Florida is the last double-bye in the SEC tourney and are currently a six seed by the way. Georgia knocked out Mizzou, probably the best shot to blast the SEC threats out of the water, so now we're UGA fans I guess? Hard to root for that school.


  • UVA vs Clemson (ESPN2). Why: Last chance to knock Clemson below Michigan--if they upset a 1 seed here that'll almost certainly push the Tigers ahead for good.
  • Miss St vs Tennessee (SEC Network). Why: Any chance of Michigan moving up means passing one or two SEC teams, and Tennessee is currently one spot ahead of us in the bracket matrix and 10th in RPI. 
  • Temple vs Wichita State (ESPNU). Why: Wichita State can’t play in Wichita because they’re the hosts so we really don’t want them winning the AAC tournament and passing Michigan for a protected seed (they’re the second four-seed to Bracket Matrix). Better Cincy than Wichita.


  • West Virginia vs Texas Tech (ESPN2). Why: Both are technically threats to Michigan but TTU is one spot below us on Bracket Matrix so a win here could push them permanently over Michigan while WVU has a ton of RPI to make up.
  • UCLA vs Arizona (Pac 12 network). Why: Zona (last four-seed on BracketMatrix, 18th RPI) would probably need a championship to have a shot at passing Michigan but the best possible time for them to go out is versus a team Michigan beat.

The Rest of the Weekend

I'm just going to do this by conference now:

  • ACC: Anyone but Clemson. UNC helps those around us as much as it does us, Michigan can't pass UVA, UNC, or Duke. Championship Game: 8:30 pm ESPN tomorrow night.
  • Atlantic 10: VCU all the way! They play A10 1-seed Rhode Island in an hour or so in the quarterfinals so there's a way's to go.
  • Big East: An upset by Butler or Providence doesn't move Nova or Xavier down far enough, and neither can catch Michigan but feel free to root for one-seed chaos anyway?
  • Big XII: Would strongly prefer WVU knocks out Texas Tech then loses to whichever Kansas team (probably Kansas). In the championship root for whichever team has the most Kansas in their name. CG will air at 6:00 p.m. on ESPN.
  • ConfUSA: Root for Southern Miss to maybe (not likely, they're not very good) give Michigan another victory over a tournament team. They play Marshall this afternoon and the winner of ODU/WKU tomorrow night at 7:30pm, CBSsports.
  • Pac 12: Root for UCLA and against Arizona. A Pac12 banner shouldn't put the Wildcats over Michigan but never trust the selectors with a marquee name. Championship game is at 10pm on FS1.
  • SEC: They're still in the quarterfinals so this is a bit more complicated. Root for all the upsets tonight in hopes of Michigan finishing above the entire SEC, but if they don't come off you want Auburn (8th RPI, first 3 seed to Bracket Matrix) to win it, followed by Florida (37th, first 6 seed), Kentucky (17th, last 5 seed), and last of all Tennessee (3rd 3 seed, 10th RPI). Worst case scenario is Tennessee over Auburn in the finals, since that'll put both of them over Michigan. Florida over Auburn in the finals would get iffy. Semifinals will be at 1pm and 3pm tomorrow on ESPN, and the championship will be at noon on ESPN on Sunday.
  • Atlantic 10, ConfUSA, MEAC, MtnWest, Southland, Sun Belt: Don't curr.

[After THE JUMP: results from Wednesday and Thursday]




Highlighted team is the one we were rooting for. Blue means they lost, yellow means they won.

UPDATE 3/8: Noted the scores and winners from last night. Now Maryland is 74th in RPI and Penn State has fallen to 80th, so really you're rooting for nobody else to pass Maryland now. I don't know how much the quartiles will actually mean to the committee--maybe not at all--but it's a number they see so we might as well track it.

Wednesday, March 7



  • VCU vs Dayton (NBCS). Why: Early year Michigan opponent could provide a small RPI bump for beatting Dayton (70 in Kenpom, 134th in RPI).


  • Cal vs Stanford (Pac12 Network). Why: Penn State is currently 77th in RPI and Stanford (76th) losing would be one fewer teams ahead of PSU. If PSU gets up to 75th that’s another Q1 win for Michigan.
    RESULT: Stanford 76-58, but Cal is such a schedule weight they dropped to 83rd.


  • Notre Dame vs Virginia Tech (ESPN2). Why: Same reason; ND is 70th in RPI. Also why: they’re an MSU non-conference win, and State needs to cherish every tournament team victory since they skipped out on a lot of chances in-conference. Also also why: Screw ND.
    RESULT: Notre Dame 76-65. VT pissed away a 19-point lead with some Teddy V assistance. ND is up to 64th.

  • Vanderbilt vs Georgia (SEC Network). Why: ditto. Georgia is 83rd.
    RESULT: UGA 78-62. Georgia moved up to 81st.

  • Southern Misss vs MTSU (CBSSN) Why: Not likely but an upset for 9th seed SMiss would give Michigan an RPI bump since we played them earlier this year.
    RESULT: SoMiss with the upset 71-68!


  • Texas vs ISU (ESPNU). Why: Michigan beat Texas on the road earlier this year so any little boost to that victory should help. Even if they ride Mo Bamba all the way to a banner they can’t catch up to Michigan but a decent run could put them in the tournament. Also Shaka Smart was college roommates with one of our big sponsors. Hook ’em!
    RESULT: Texas 68-64

  • Ole Miss vs South Carolina (SEC Network) Why: Back to helping Md/PSU. South Carolina is 80th in RPI and a run in the SEC could push them up.
    RESULT: SC 85-84, up to 75th in RPI

  • North Carolina vs Syracuse (ESPN2). Why: This is an argument because UNC is a two seed right now to Bracket Matrix, so UNC losing to Syracuse miiight give a Michigan a shot to move up a line. But honestly, nah, the H2H settles things if it’s close, and I hate Cuse.
    RESULT: UNC 78-59

Thursday, March 8



  • Clemson vs Boston College (ESPN2). Why: Clemson is currently 12th in RPI--one spot ahead of Michigan--so the sooner they go out in this tourney the better.
    RESULT: Clemson 90-82. Clemson remains one spot ahead of Michigan though we both moved past Wichita State.


  • Colorado vs Arizona (Pac12 Network). Why: Zona is currently the last 4 seed on Bracket Matrix and Michigan is the last 3, so a run could pull the Wildcats ahead of us. Root against them all the way: they probably get UCLA in the 2nd round by the way.
    RESULT: 83-67. Arizona up to 18th in RPI, on the 3 seed line


  • Cal State Bakersfield vs Utah Valley (ESPN3). Why: Utah Valley is 73rd in RPI and we want Penn State to get to 75th to convince the committee to count that as a Quartile One victory instead of a Quartile Two victory because Penn State’s non-conference schedule was crap so RPI has them severely underrated. This should be all the explanation you need for streaming WACball when your family is begging you to come to dinner.
    RESULT: UVU 81-74. Utah Valley is now 75th, Maryland 76th, Penn State 79th. Grrr.


  • Texas Tech vs TEXAS (ESPN2). Why: The Red Raiders are currently predicted to be a four seed so a run in a very strong Big XII tournament could push them past us. Texas is also a non-conference win.
    RESULT: TTU 73-69, Texas Tech up two spots in RPI and still alive. This one was brutal to watch.
  • LSU vs Mississippi State (SEC Network). Why: An LSU run would make for a boost in Michigan’s strength of schedule and also knock Mississippi State (72nd in RPI) below Michigan's conference rivals.
    RESULT: MissSt 80-77. Cowbelliers are 68th in RPI now.
  • Duke vs Notre Dame (ESPN). Why: I flipped this because Notre Dame is an important non-conference win for Michigan State, who skipped double-plays against every tournament or bubble Big Ten team, and only played one ranked conference team on the road, until they lost by double-digits again to Michigan in the tournament and if you thought it was getting old to point this out you don't know me very well. If ND gets blown out here the committee will remember they were a legendary Teddy V'ing away from losing to Virginia Tech; if they pull off the upset MSU has a stronger case to be ranked ahead of the team they lost to twice, once at home and once at a neutral site, by double digits. Nope, still not old. Michigan can't pass Duke.
    RESULT: Duke 88-70, but SOS of an added Duke game held ND in place.


  • Baylor vs West Virginia (ESPN2) Why: Though we’re all secretly hoping West Virginia ends up in Michigan’s bracket we’re not hoping for West Virginia to steal Michigan’s spot. At 31st in RPI we probably shouldn’t worry about WVU, but Baylor can’t hurt us at all and the Mountaineers could.
    RESULT: WVU 78-65. WVU up to 28th in RPI, advanced.
  • East Carolina vs UCF (ESPNU) Why: UCF is 78th to RPI so that removes another Md/PSU problem but also UCF is 5th in defense to Kenpom and Michigan is 6th so YAR ME CAROLINA MATEYS or whatever the kids say when they’re not saying “We in here!”
    RESULT: UCF 66-52. They're one spot behind Maryland, two ahead of PSU at 77th, and probalby won't fall behind either now.
  • UCLA vs Stanford (Pac 12) Why: UCLA is a Michigan victory so the further they progress in the tournament the better.
  • RESULT: UCLA 88-77


  • Old Dominion vs La. Tech (no TV). Why: ODU (77th) is another team that needs to get out of Maryland and Penn State’s way.
    RESULT: ODU 62-58. ODU now 73rd, knocked Maryland out of Q1.


True Blue 9

March 9th, 2018 at 10:56 AM ^

Perhaps I missed it but Southern Miss also got a HUGE win against Middle Tennessee yesterday. VCU also beat Dayton in a super exciting game. I gotta think them going further in their tourneys only helps our RPI. 


March 9th, 2018 at 11:15 AM ^

Unless either wins their conference tourney.  SEC hoop this year may be the most over-rated conference ever - I predict a sub .400 showing in the NCAA tourney, while the B1G is .700 plus


March 9th, 2018 at 12:02 PM ^

That's really unfair comparison. Because the big ten is only getting 4 teams in and all 4 teams are going to be top 5 seeds the winning percentage will be high.  But they are only getting 4 teams in because the big ten was a trash basketball program without a strong middle. 

What about this season says the sec is overrated? Was it Tennessee beating Purdue? Florida having wins over Gonzaga and Cincy? LSU beat us and finished 10th in the sec. The big ten wasn't good. The sec is probably slightly overrated but both Auburn and Tennessee have similar resumes to us.


March 9th, 2018 at 11:34 AM ^

If they win, it improves their chances of playing in Nashville and which would block the committee from being able to move Xavier, Cincinnati and possibly Purdue out of Detroit to that subregional.  We need those SEC teams in Dallas or Wichita.


March 9th, 2018 at 6:05 PM ^

but I think Maryland is going to end up on the good side of 75th.

Tulsa lost to drop below them. Old Dominion is about to.  And Utah Valley has work to do to stay ahead of them (prob need to win two more).

The crazy thing is, teams in that part of the curve are so close that wins and loses by their opponents are changing their positions all the time.  PSU has moved up to 78th ahead of Belmont and Colorado by literally a few ten thousandths of an RPI "point" and are within striking distance of a couple teams ahead of them despite all of them being done.  Goes to show how dumb the arbitrary cutoffs are as well.