The Bracketology Report: Western Michigan

Updated: January 21, 2004, 4:32 PM ET
By By Tom Durso | Insider Bracketologist

Editor's note: Each week Bracketology Insider will take an in-depth look at teams headed for the NCAA Tournament ... or not.

Week in review
Streaking Western Michigan (No. 38 RPI, No. 211 SOS) continued to play well last week, posting victories over IPFW (No. 234 RPI, No. 36 SOS) on Wednesday and Eastern Michigan (No. 286 RPI, No. 279 SOS) on Saturday to run its winning streak to 11 straight, the school's longest in 28 years.

In its 77-48 stomping of non-conference (and independent) foe IPFW in Kalamazoo, the Broncos took advantage of a career-high 19 points from reserve senior Reggie Barry, as well as atrocious shooting from the thoroughly outclassed Mastadons. Returning to MAC play with a road game against Eastern Michigan, the Broncos faced what should have been an equally modest test. But in a contest marked by lopsided runs for each team, WMU coughed up nearly all of a 20-point lead before hitting its foul shots to seal the win.

Coming up
Western Michigan visits Kent State (No. 90 RPI, No. 233 SOS) Wednesday night, then opens a three-game home stand which will bring Ball State (No. 126 RPI, No. 98 SOS), Ohio (No. 254 RPI, No. 194 SOS), and Eastern Michigan to Kalamazoo.

East Division-leading Kent will have had a week to stew in the sour juices of its first conference loss, so the Broncos will have to be wary. Ball State is shaping up to be a divisional contender; the Cardinals have played some tough non-conference games and should be stoked for their visit to WMU on Saturday.

Ohio appears to be still finding its way, giving the Broncos a chance next Wednesday to beat up on an East Division foe at home.

"Planting seeds"
The Broncos are No. 30 this week on The Bracketology Report national seeding chart. That should make Western Michigan a No. 8 seed, but because Vanderbilt can't be placed in this bracket position, the Broncos get a permissible bump to No. 7 and manage to sidestep an undesired 8/9 matchup. WMU is the only MAC team in the projected NCAA field at this time.

Western Michigan has won a lot of games, but its own profile is so-so. Its conference's profile is so-so, as well. The Broncos, who also project as an at-large team this week, likely will have to rely on a glittering road/neutral record to avoid dropping too far in the bracket.

Games of the Week
Western Michigan fans should root FOR and AGAINST the teams in ALL CAPS.
For UAB @ Charlotte (Sat.)
USC @ Stanford (Sat.)
Against Bowling Green @ TOLEDO (Thur.)
BALL STATE @ Toledo (Wed.)

Inside the Numbers
Additional considerations for the NCAA Selection Committee include:
"Good" wins
(vs. RPI 1-25) NONE
(vs. RPI 26-50) N-UAB
(vs. RPI 51-100) Southern Cal
"Bad" losses
(vs. RPI 101-150) NONE
(vs. RPI sub-150) NONE
Record vs. projected field (0-0)
Loss: NONE
Record vs. at-large pool (1-0)
Win: N-UAB
Loss: NONE
Reason(s) to INCLUDE Western Michigan
  • No. 38 RPI
  • 7-1 road/neutral record
  • Reason(s) to EXCLUDE Western Michigan
  • No. 232 SOS
  • Four of next six vs. sub-200 opponents
  • Season breakdown (12-1, 5-0)
    All RPI data through Monday, Jan. 19

    Date      Opponent            Result     Opp.RPI    Opp.SOS
    11/21     USC                 83-65        91         48
    11/24     @Detroit            43-64 (L)    110        59

    12/6 Miami 61-38 146 287 12/13 Fordham 88-67 169 28 12/15 N-UAB 69-62 36 11 12/20 @Loyola 79-61 325 296 12/29 N-Winthrop 76-71 178 224 12/30 @Arizona State 81-76 120 116

    1/3 @Akron 83-75 128 108 1/10 @Buffalo 84-54 175 139 1/12 Marshall 88-65 139 73 1/14 IPFW 77-48 234 36 1/17 @Eastern Michigan 72-63 286 279 1/21 @Kent State 90 233 1/24 Ball State 126 98 1/28 Ohio 254 194 1/31 Eastern Michigan 286 279

    2/4 @Central Michigan 260 114 2/7 Bowling Green 240 281 2/11 @Ball State 129 98 2/15 @Marshall 139 73 2/18 Toledo 81 225 2/21 @Bracket Buster (TBA) 2/25 Central Michigan 260 114 2/28 @Toledo 81 225

    3/1 @Bowling Green 240 281 3/6 Northern Illinois 279 303 3/8-13 MAC Tournament

    Joe Lunardi's forecast (Jan. 21)
    Chance of NCAA top seed: 0 percent
    Chance of NCAA "protected" (1-4) seed: 0 percent
    Chance of NCAA bid: 65 percent
    Chance of NCAA at-large bid: 45 percent
    Chance of NIT bid: 35 percent
    Chance of missing post-season: 0 percent