Bracketology: Selection Sunday Final Edition

Here is my final projection for the NCAA Tournament field for 2019. Everyone cares about the 1-seeds and the bubble teams. My 1-seeds are Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, and Gonzaga. I know a lot have moved Duke up to overall 1-seed; I’m still sticking with Virginia.

My Last 4 IN the field are Ohio State, Belmont, Arizona State, and Indiana. My First 4 OUT are NC State, St. John’s, Texas, and Temple. I could honestly see those 4 teams completely flipping and me missing 4 teams this season. UNC-Greensboro and Alabama are the next two teams listed in my Next 4 OUT (along with Clemson and Creighton). I think those two have a small chance, but would ultimately be surprised if any teams from those 4 made it.

When it comes to the logic with my Last 4 IN, I think the committee will reward the big wins recorded by Arizona State and Indiana. I know St. John’s fans would be upset with their exclusion using that logic considering their wins over Marquette and Villanova, but their NET is so outrageously low that I just don’t see it being rewarded by the committee. Conversely, NC State has a high NET (at 31), but they really don’t have a signature win; their best win was vs. Auburn in December. Their incredibly weak schedule could be used as a message to teams. “Don’t try to game the NET and fool the committee by scheduling weak opponents in November and December and then expect to be rewarded in March.”

Regarding Belmont, I think there tends to be at least one mid-major in the First 4 in Dayton nearly every year. If we go back five years, you have St. Bonaventure (2018), Tulsa (2016), Wichita State (2016), BYU (2015), Boise State (2015), Dayton (2015). Since 2015, only 2017 did not have a mid-major playing in Dayton. I think the committee likes placing at least one mid-major there, potentially to avoid the backlash, even if that’s a subconscious thought that is simultaneously occurring in the room among the committee members. Could UNC-Greensboro get that bid over Belmont? Perhaps. I just think Belmont having a higher NET than UNC-Greensboro (47 vs. 60), and having a better record in Q1/Q2 games (5-3 vs. 4-6) means Belmont gets that Dayton mid-major slot. Maybe both of them get it? That wouldn’t be unprecedented.

Now, these are all obviously just educated guesses on my part, but that’s where my mind is at this point in time with an hour to go before the Selection Show.

Okay, here is the final bracket. As always, the seed list of teams from 1 to 68 is below, as is the group of teams who just barely made the field, and those just outside of it.

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Bracketology: 2018 Final Edition

Here is a my final Bracketology of this 2018 season. Before Davidson beat Rhode Island in the A-10 final, I had made the decision to have Oklahoma State as my last team in. I was convinced the committee would ignore Oklahoma State’s poor RPI and SOS and weigh the quality wins more. The selection committee is moving away from the RPI more and more. Next year, there’s discussion that it will not be used at all. A great way to send it off would be including the lowest ever RPI for an at-large bid. I had thought the discussion on Oklahoma State had moved in this direction. Maybe it still has. But with Davidson winning, I just don’t have room for them in my field.

Before I get to the bracket, here’s a quick reminder on how the NCAA is bucketing wins this year:

One important development since my last Bracketology post is that the NCAA has revealed some of their new logic in selecting teams for this year’s tournament. No longer will we see the historical Top 25, Top 50, Top 100 wins. Now, the committee has placed more importance on road/neutral games and have created “quadrants” to properly place these games. Straight from the linked article above from the NCAA website, here is how the quadrants will be bucketed:
  Quadrant 1: Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75
  Quadrant 2: Home 31-75; Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135
  Quadrant 3: Home 76-160; Neutral 101-200; Away 136-240
  Quadrant 4: Home 161-plus; Neutral 201-plus; Away 241-plus

So now instead of talking about top-50 wins, you’ll hear and read about Quadrant 1 wins when you read Bracketology posts. If a site is still talking about top-50 wins in regards to a team’s NCAA Tournament chances without mentioning if that win came at home, on the road, or at a neutral site, quit reading that site. It is uninformed. There are two tools I like to use to see how a team’s wins will look at the end of the season: RPIForecast and barttorvik.com. Both sites show a current projection of where a team’s RPI is expected to be at the end of the season, but you can also tinker with results to see what it would mean for their RPI. At barttorvik.com, there is an RPI Forecast page and a TeamCast page. The latter allows you to input results into future games for a specific team to see the RPI and NCAA Tournament likelihood effects on that team — it’s a great tool. Use these tools if you’re curious about your favorite school’s Selection Sunday chances.

Here is the bracket for this edition, and I’ve seeded the teams 1-68. Also included below is group of teams I have just outside of the field currently. I’ll break down what this all means for each Big 12 team below. Continue reading

Bracketology: March 16, 2019 Morning Edition

I wanted to get an edition out this morning based on the results through last night. I am actually going to the Big 12 Tournament Final today, so I will have not have another updated bracket until the FINAL updated bracket that I will post on Sunday shortly before Selection Sunday. When I get home late tonight, I may do some late-night tweeting about bracket developments, but won’t release that next bracket until Sunday afternoon.

Here is the bracket. As always, the seed list of teams from 1 to 68 is below, as is the group of teams who just barely made the field, and those just outside of it.

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Bracketology: March 11, 2019 Afternoon Edition

Time for another updated Bracketology post today. Once again, there is no real intro to this one. I want to get this bracket up before tonight’s games. I will have an updated bracket out either tomorrow or Wednesday and then will have daily updates starting on Thursday of Championship Week.

Here is the list of teams that I view as not yet safely in the field and contenders for the final at-large spots: Seton Hall, Minnesota, Texas, TCU, Ohio State, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Arizona State, Florida, NC State, Indiana, Belmont, Alabama, Creighton, Temple, UNC-Greensboro, Furman, Lipscomb, Georgetown. If a team is not on that list, they are either definitely in at this point or definitely out.

Here’s the bracket. As always, the seed list of teams from 1 to 68 is below, as is the group of teams who just barely made the field, and those just outside of it.

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Bracketology: March 8, 2019 Morning Edition

Here is my third Bracketology entry for this season. No real intro today — just want to get this bracket out there before the final weekend of the regular season. I will have an updated bracket out on Monday morning as we head into Championship Week and will probably have daily updates starting on Thursday of Championship Week.

Here’s the bracket. As always, the seed list of teams from 1 to 68 is below, as is the group of teams who just barely made the field, and those just outside of it.

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Bracketology: March 5, 2019 Morning Edition

Here is my second Bracketology entry for this season. The most interesting part of the bracket to me right now is the 4, 5, and 6 seed-lines. If you look at the seed list below, I’m having real difficult separating the group of teams from Wisconsin to Villanova. The NCAA Selection committee is now using the NET, which they created as the new-and-improved metric, and what is most difficult for me to predict or understand at this point in time is how closely they will adhere to their new-and-improved metric.

Let’s use two Big 12 teams as an example. Iowa State has lost 4 of 6, and if you look at various Bracketology posts across the Internet, you’ll see them falling to a 7-seed on some sites. Their NET right now is 18, which would place them as a 5-seed if you adhered strictly to seeding teams by their NET ranking. Conversely, Kansas State is in 1st place in the Big 12, has won of 8 of 10, and some sites are now projecting them as a 4-seed. Their NET right now is 28. If you go by NET ranking alone, their seed would project as 7-seed. At the time of this posting, only 3 out of 110 bracket at the Bracket Matrix are projecting Kansas State as a 7-seed. Iowa State is being projected as a 7-seed in 17 out of 110 brackets.

Could that end up happening? Could Iowa State be a 7-seed while Kansas State is a 4-seed? I guess? Sure? But, NET would say otherwise. Iowa State is at 18 while Kansas State is at 28. Q1 wins aren’t too different either. Kansas State has 7, Iowa State has 5. Iowa State has the best win of the two teams (their road victory at Texas Tech). Both teams beat Kansas at home, and both teams beat each other on the road. Kansas State is 7-5 on the road; Iowa State is 5-5. Iowa State’s SOS is 29; Kansas State’s is currently 43. Their worst loss is similar as well: Iowa State lost a neutral site game without their full roster to Arizona (NET 85), and Kansas State lost a road game without their full roster at Tulsa (NET 97). When you consider all those metrics, it’s wild to me that Kansas State could end up being 3 full seed lines ahead of Iowa State on Selection Sunday.

We’re always told the committee doesn’t care about conference record and looks at the season as a whole (i.e. they don’t care about how you are playing lately). The Kansas State/Iowa State comparison is a good test of this. If K-State really does end up 2 or 3 full seed lines ahead of Iowa State, they must care about conference record and how you close down the stretch more than they say. And if K-State ends up that far ahead of ISU in the final seed list, I will be even more confused about the committee’s adherence to the NET rankings.

I’ve always assumed the committee will closely follow the NET rankings, as I’m guessing they want their new shiny ranking system to be viewed positively. If they themselves ignore the ranking system, or at least make decisions that would be viewed as incorrect according to the NET, is the new system really that great? And if they’re not following the NET ranking system at all, why did they make the change from the RPI? I guess what I’m arguing is that I think the committee has a personal self-interest in not straying too far from the NET. They need to make their new ranking system look smart and good and better than what we’ve had.

This is what makes that group of teams from Wisconsin to Villanova in the 4-6 seed range so difficult to project right now for me. I can’t fully know what will matter most to the committee. Will it be NET ranking, Q1 wins, road wins, conference championships? That’s what makes this whole Bracketology thing difficult (and fun), but there is an added wrinkle this season in not knowing how the NET will be different than the RPI.

Okay, here is today’s bracket projection of the season. I’ve also provided a seed list of teams from 1 to 68 and included the group of teams who just barely made the field, and those just outside of it.

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Bracketology: March 2, 2019 Morning Edition

Here is my first entry into the ever-burgeoning Internet field of Bracketology for the 2019 season. Unfortunately, due to a variety of factors, I have not been able to write about the Big 12 this season like I was able to last season. I felt like I created a real following last season and generated some quality content on the Big 12, and I apologize for not doing the same this season, especially in a Big 12 season that has been so dramatic and full of surprises. Hopefully, I will be able to get back into the blogosphere next season.

But there was one thing that I simply could not allow to go to waste, and that is my top-25 ranking in the Bracket Matrix. (Seriously, look. Way ahead of those so-called experts Lunardi and Palm.) I don’t know why I enjoy projecting the NCAA Tournament field so much, but as I dove back into the bracketology world last night, two hours flew by as I dove deeper and deeper into teams’ resumes (some of which are QUITE bleak), and I felt a genuine happiness at getting back into this.

Without further ado, here is my first bracket projection of the season. I’ve also provided a seed list of teams from 1 to 68 and included the group of teams who just barely made the field, and those just outside of it.

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