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Archive for the ‘Jumpology’ Category

Jumpology 3.1

Monday, March 8th, 2010

By Ron Jumper

Here is another edition of Jumpology, I’ll have my final version out later this week as we approach Selection Sunday. For this one, we have really started to narrow down the field. I feel as though the pecking order has really started to lay itself out. The four conferences that most experts have the greatest difference of opinions on are the A10, C-USA, Mountain West, and Pac-10. As to where I stand, I liked the A10 more a month ago, but schools like Charlotte, Dayton, and Rhode Island have played themselves out of the field. I like C-USA more than others, as I like UTEP a lot and Memphis is still a pretty talented club. In the Mountain West, I really like the top four teams and think they all deserve to be in over this weak “high-major” at-large field. For a long time, it appeared Cal was the lone Pac-10 school in the mix but Arizona State and Washington have played themselves back onto the bubble.

1 Seeds:
Kansas** Big 12
Syracuse** Big East
Kentucky** SEC
Duke**ACC

2 Seeds:
Ohio State**Big Ten
New Mexico**Mountain West
West Virginia
Purdue

3 Seeds:
Kansas State
Villanova
Pittsburgh
Michigan State

4 Seeds:
Vanderbilt
Wisconsin
Temple**Atlantic 10
Maryland

5 Seeds:
Butler**Horizon
Texas A&M
BYU
Tennessee

6 Seeds:
Baylor
Northern Iowa**MVC
Xavier
Georgetown

7 Seeds:
Gonzaga
Texas
Richmond
UTEP**C-USA

8 Seeds:
Clemson
UNLV
Oklahoma State
Cal**Pac-10

9 Seeds:
Florida State
Wake Forest
Louisville
Old Dominion**CAA

10 Seeds:
Marquette
Missouri
Virginia Tech
Florida

11 Seeds:
Memphis
Utah State**WAC
Notre Dame
St. Mary’s**WCC

12 Seeds:
Illinois
San Diego State
Arizona State
Cornell**Ivy

13 Seeds:
Ole Miss
Siena**MAAC
Kent State**MAC
Murray State**OVC

14 Seeds:
Wofford**Southern
North Texas**Sun Belt
Weber State**Big Sky
UCSB**Big West

15 Seeds:
Oakland**Summit
Vermont**America East
East Tennessee State**Atlantic Sun
Winthrop**Big South

16 Seeds:
Sam Houston State**Southland
Lehigh**Patriot
Robert Morris**Northeast
Morgan State**Mid-Eastern (Play-In)
Jackson State**SWAC (Play-In)

Last Four In:
Ole Miss
Illinois
San Diego State
Arizona State

First Four Out:
UAB
Washington
Mississippi State
Rhode Island

Jumpology 2.0

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

By Ron Jumper

It has been awhile since my season opening Jumpology, but there will start to be much more regular editions as we get closer to the finish line. With so many games to go, how do we distinguish who has done enough and who needs work? The long answer is complicated and subjective, but the short answer is the criteria here:

-RPI
-SOS
-Conference RPI
-Road Wins
-“Signature Wins”
-“Bad Losses”

The debate over these different components always causes quite a stir among hoops fans. What should matter more: a big win over Duke or a bad loss to Loyola Marymount? The committee last season seemed to reward the “signature win” and not punish teams for bad losses, as Maryland and Arizona snuck in.

My thing is that the small schools don’t get as many opportunities to get those kinds of “signature wins” as the big schools do. Within the ACC or Pac-10 (just as an example), every team loses a few games, especially on the road. I think just one win over an elite team shouldn’t trump a great body of work from start to finish by another team. On the flip side, I also feel like the mid-majors get punished because they happened to lose a game or two in their conference. The same principle applies, as most teams just don’t go undefeated in conference play very often. Within any conference, there are rivalries and bad matchups, along with tough stretches on the schedule and whatever injuries come up along the way.

To put it simply, mid-majors play more bad teams so there are more opportunities to have a bad loss while “Big Six” conferences play more games against really good teams so they have more opportunities for these so-called “Signature Wins” that I keep hearing about.

Atlantic 10

As always, the landscape of college basketball seems to change every year. At this time last season, it appeared the Mountain West was in position to get 4 or 5 teams in the dance. As for this season, that breakout conference is the A10. There are several teams fighting for bids and it is getting harder and harder to leave them out of the tournament. At the top of that list is Temple, as they seem to be a lock for the dance. They have wins over Villanova, Siena, Virginia Tech, St. Johns and Penn State in the non-conference. Next up is Rhode Island, as they already have 7 true road wins to go along with wins over Boston College and Oklahoma State. At 6-1 in the A10 is Xavier, who has played a challenging schedule (SOS 2) and held their own, though they had some near misses against Baylor (lost by 5), Butler (lost by 1), and Wake Forest (lost in OT by 4). Those three seem the safest to me, but there is still Charlotte, Richmond, and Dayton fighting for additional bids as well.

Conference USA

Without Memphis as the premier program at the top of Conference USA, the league has become much more balanced. UAB is currently at the top of the standings, with Tulsa, Memphis, and UTEP not far behind. Vastly improved Marshall is in the mix as well, thanks to 6’11” freshman Hassan Whiteside. The biggest surprise is the Blazers, with wins over Butler and Cincinnati to go along with a perfect 6-0 C-USA record. The problem with C-USA is their conference RPI, which currently has them ranked eleventh. That usually doesn’t translate to many at-large bids. The bottom half of this conference is what drags that ranking down, as Rice, Tulane, and East Carolina are awful. Any of the teams fighting for an at-large bid in this conference had better not stumble to one of those bottom feeders along the way.

Here is a seed-by-seed breakdown:

1 Seeds:
Kansas*
Kentucky*
Villanova*
Syracuse

2 Seeds:
Michigan State*
Georgetown
West Virginia
Texas

3 Seeds:
Duke*
Kansas State
Purdue
New Mexico*

4 Seeds:
Temple*
BYU
Wisconsin
Pitt

5 Seeds:
Cal*
Northern Iowa*
Vanderbilt
Gonzaga*

6 Seeds:
Butler*
Xavier
Rhode Island
Georgia Tech

7 Seeds:
Wake Forest
UAB*
Tennessee
Siena*

8 Seeds:
Ole Miss
Oklahoma State
Baylor
Ohio State

9 Seeds:
Maryland
UNC
UConn
St. Mary’s

10 Seeds:
Texas A&M
Louisville
UNLV
Florida State

11 Seeds:
Missouri
Clemson
Minnesota
Marquette L4

12 Seeds:
Memphis L4
Old Dominion*
Richmond L4
Florida L4

13 Seeds:
Cornell*
Louisiana Tech*
Western Carolina*
Kent State*

14 Seeds:
Weber State*
Pacific*
Murray State*
Arkansas State*

15 Seeds:
Oakland*
East Tennessee State*
Maine*
Sam Houston State*

16 Seeds:
Coastal Carolina*
Lafayette*
Robert Morris*
Morgan State* Play-In
Texas Southern* Play-In

*****

First Four Out:
Charlotte
Mississippi State
Cincinnati
Notre Dame

This is it where it gets tough, as these teams can easily play their way in over the next couple of weeks. Charlotte keep winning and, if that continues, there is no way to snub them from the dance. Mississippi State should finish towards the top of the SEC West and, if this is the case, they should be in. The Bearcats and Fighting Irish are slugging it out in the loaded Big East, which is going to be a crowded bubble race down to the wire.

Next Four Out:
Wichita State
San Diego State
Arizona
Dayton

The Pac-10 didn’t get any at-large bids from me, but that should change. Any of Arizona, Arizona State, Washington, or Washington State could work there way into the mix by Selection Sunday. As for Wichita State and San Diego State, these mid-majors just need to stay the course within conference play and that means winning their road games too.

Jumpology: Getting Started

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

By Ron Jumper

In the midst of football season, there is that sport with a round bouncing ball that you throw into a basket from time to time with the winner being the team that does it more. Yeah, basketball. That one, you got it. Well, I don’t know about you but I’m ready for some hoops. In particular, I love college basketball season. From the heavyweights to the mid-majors, I follow it all with pleasure. Before the season kicks off though, I have to make impossible predictions about the upcoming season and hope you forget about them after the season (unless they all come true, in that case, I’ll be sure to remind you).

I will be giving you a regular Jumpology article, which is my version of Bracketology. If you’re not following, my last name is Jumper (see above). Ahh, now it all makes sense…

I’ll be picking the entire 65-team field, from the 31 automatic bids to the 34 at-large teams.

Key:
** = Conference Champion

1 Seeds:
Kansas**
UNC**
Kentucky**
Michigan State**

These were the teams I thought really stood out from top to bottom, as I’m not quite as high on Purdue and Villanova as everyone else seems to be. Granted, I have them as 2 seeds so it isn’t like I’m down on them or anything. I see Purdue losing 4 games or so in Big Ten play, bumping them down to a 2 seed. With Villanova, I’m concerned with the lack of size even though I love the guards.

2 Seeds:
West Virginia**
UConn
Purdue
Villanova

3 Seeds:
Cal**
Duke
Texas
Tennessee

4 Seeds:
Georgia Tech
Oklahoma
Michigan
Notre Dame

The Yellow Jackets are likely to be this year’s version of Wake Forest, being a team that wasn’t very good the year before but due to an influx of young talent, as well as an abundance of size, the team drastically improves. For once, I’m higher on Notre Dame than the pre-season magazines. That has never happened before, none the less I like transfers Ben Hansbrough and Scott Martin.

5 Seeds:
Washington
Mississippi State
Georgetown
Louisville

6 Seeds:
Butler**
Clemson
Oklahoma State
Minnesota

7 Seeds:
Dayton**
Memphis**
Ole Miss
South Carolina

Some probably don’t even have Ole Miss in the dance, but I love the potential of this group. Chris Warren is my favorite point guard in the country, as he flew under the radar as an undersized guard out of Florida but has proven the critics wrong that he can be a dynamic playmaker.

8 Seeds:
UCLA
Vanderbilt
Wisconsin
Kansas State

9 Seeds:
Maryland
Pittsburgh
Illinois
Ohio State

Sometimes, it isn’t so much about the returning starters but the type of program in place. When I look at Pitt, I don’t see the same talent as last year but I also don’t see them falling off the face of the earth either. Head coach Jamie Dixon will have this team playing great defense and winning the rebound battle on most nights. It won’t be pretty, but they will still win games. Trust me.

10 Seeds:
Northern Iowa**
Cincinnati
Creighton
Virginia Tech

11 Seeds:
BYU**
Gonzaga**
Wake Forest
Xavier

Gonzaga lost everything except for Matt Bouldin and they have 9 new faces on the roster this season. They should still win the WCC, but asking them to be the giant slayers they usually are may be a tall order. Wake Forest is going to be a little better then some think, they still have size and talent. If Ishmael Smith can handle the point guard duties, this team can be pretty solid.

12 Seeds:
Old Dominion**
Siena**
Baylor
Tulsa

Tulsa finally gets over the hump, not just for the Golden Hurricane, but for the rest of Conference USA as a whole. It has been Memphis and everyone else for awhile now, but Tulsa earns the conference a well deserved at-large bid. Watch Tulsa’s Jerome Jordan, as you may hear this 7-footer’s name called in the lottery.

13 Seeds:
Cornell**
Western Kentucky**
Nevada**
Long Beach State**

14 Seeds:
Kent State**
Boston University**
Weber State**
Morehead State**

15 Seeds:
Holy Cross**
Jacksonville**
Radford**
Morgan State**

16 Seeds:
Mount St. Mary’s**
Western Carolina**
Sam Houston State**
Oral Roberts** Play-In Game
Jackson State** Play-In Game



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