February 23, 2009
The Bracket Big Board takes into consideration past returns, current performance and expected future gains in determining who should be included among the field of 65 (31 automatic and 34 at-large bids). Essentially, the Bracket Big Board is a cheat sheet designed for amateur bracketologists if they were filling out a Tourney Pick ‘Em '09 bracket pool entry today. The Bracket Big Board is updated every Monday until the dance card is officially unveiled March 15.
If Dayton continues to incredibly win games, its season will forever be known as the "Miracle on the Miami."
The old "defense wins" adage applies to Flyers basketball. Brian Gregory, a Tom Izzo disciple, has quietly vaulted his club to second place in the Atlantic 10 and into the national rankings with unflinching defense. Nationally, Dayton ranks in the top 30 in four defensive categories -- efficiency (25th), efG% (21), 3PT% (22) and 2PT% (28).
But despite their defensive stalwartness, the Flyers are a mess offensively. Methodical and slow-footed, they've netted an appalling 32.2 percent from three (252nd in DI) and 46.6 percent inside the arc (227th). Ranked alongside offensive encumbrances San Francisco, Southern Illinois and Akron in offensive efficiency (174th), they've tallied under 1.00 points per possession in 10 contests this season. More disturbing, they have converted a mere 66.4 percent from the charity stripe.
Unless the Flyers can figure out how to manufacture buckets, the potential for a late-season tailspin is great. On paper, their final four contests (at Rhody, Temple, at Xavier, Duquesne) appear daunting. Without key bench contributor Rob Lowery, who tore his patalla tendon against Xavier February 11, Dayton could inch its way toward the proverbial bubble.
Dayton could be dangerous if they discover an offensive rhythm. Forward Chris Wright is a post monster in disguise (12.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg). However, it's extremely rare for a mid-seeded team with such a large disparity in efficiency totals to survive Round 1 of the tourney. Over the past five years, only Nevada (132nd in offensive efficiency in 2005) and Bucknell (126th in 2006) were able to overcome scoring maladies.
*For games played through Sunday, February 22
*RPI data provided by Rivals
*Efficiency stats from kenpom.com
*Team in red = Baller of the Week
*Team in blue = Faller of the Weak
*Teams in orange = moving up
*Teams in blue/gray moving down
On the Bubble: Cincinnati (17-10), Virginia Tech (16-10), Michigan (17-11), Temple (17-9), Kansas St. (19-8), St. Mary's (22-5), UAB (19-8), Nebraska (16-9), Texas A&M (19-8), Miami (FL) (16-10), Notre Dame (15-11), Providence (16-11), New Mexico (17-10)
Dropped Out: Virginia Tech, Cincinnati, Northern Iowa, VMI, Jacksonville, Morehead St.
Conference Breakdown: American East (1), ACC (7), Atlantic Sun (1), Atlantic 10 (2), Big 12 (4), Big East (7), Big Sky (1), Big South (1), Big Ten (7), Big West (1), Colonial (1), Conference USA (1), Horizon (1), Ivy (1), Metro (1), Mid-American (1), Mid-Eastern (1), Missouri Valley (1), Mountain West (4), Northeast (1), Ohio Valley (1), Pac-10 (6), Patriot (1), SEC (5), Southern (1), SWAC (1), Summit (1), Sun Belt (1), West Coast (1), WAC (1)
Image courtesy of US Presswire