Thursday, February 20, 2014

W-3.5 BP68

The big story in the comments section to these brackets the past few weeks has been Syracuse and me having them as a 2 seed. Honestly, the Boston College upset doesn't really change things too much. Syracuse is still in the same situation: If they can win the ACC tournament then even two or three losses won't knock them from the 1 seed line. But if they lose at least three games before the ACC tournament (and at this point it's pretty unlikely that they'll lose fewer than three games before the ACC tournament) and then fail to win the ACC tournament, I think that's a formula for a 2 seed.

What about the other teams near the top? Michigan State is still a 1 seed, but they're now the least likely of the 1 seeds. That basically represents me being nervous about the Keith Appling injury. And I can tell you that I thought very seriously about moving Arizona back up to a 1 seed and dropping Michigan State to a 2 seed. It won't take much for me to make that move at this point.

Also, Creighton is the new favorite to win the Big East tournament over Villanova. Villanova might be a better team than Creighton, but I think it's pretty clear at this point that Creighton is a match-up nightmare for Villanova. If those two teams play for the Big East tournament title, you have to give the edge to Creighton.

As for the Field of 68 itself, there were four changes since Sunday. Two at-large teams changed, as did two auto bid teams. First, the at-large teams: Colorado and St. John's are in, while Florida State and Oklahoma State are out.

Remember, don't focus too much on "last team in" or "first team out" - that's a concept basically invented by ESPN and Joe Lunardi to eat up television time. But the reality is that with uncertainty in levels of play, uncertainty with the Selection Committee and uncertainty with how many at-large bids will actually be available (since at least one or two auto-bids from multi-bid leagues always get stolen during Championship Week), the difference between "last team in" and "first team out" is almost negligible as far as future probability of making the NCAA Tournament goes. What matters is that teams like Minnesota, Oklahoma State and Colorado are on the bubble. Any of them can get in with a strong finish, and any can fall out with a weak finish.

The two auto-bid changes came in the Patriot League and the SWAC. In the Patriot League, American University has been in a little bit of a tailspin, and after losing head-to-head to Boston University it looks like BU will win the regular season title. So BU is the new favorite. The SWAC is complicated, as Southern remains in first place and is the best team, but it looks most likely that they'll be ineligible for the postseason (the decision isn't final, but for now they're ineligible). So I dropped them for the second best team, Alabama State.

Only three teams were eliminated from at-large contention since the last bracket: Houston, La Salle and Northwestern. That leaves 45 teams not in my bracket that still have a chance at an at-large bid.

Please remember that the following is a projection of Selection Sunday and not a list of where teams would be seeded if the season ended now. The teams in all-caps are the projected automatic bid winners for their respective conference.

1. FLORIDA (SEC)
1. KANSAS (BIG 12)
1. WICHITA STATE (MVC)
1. MICHIGAN STATE (BIG TEN)

2. ARIZONA (PAC-12)
2. DUKE (ACC)
2. Syracuse
2. SAN DIEGO STATE (MWC)

3. Iowa
3. CREIGHTON (BIG EAST)
3. Michigan
3. Villanova

4. SAINT LOUIS (ATLANTIC TEN)
4. Virginia
4. LOUISVILLE (AAC)
4. Cincinnati

5. Wisconsin
5. Iowa State
5. North Carolina
5. Kentucky

6. Texas
6. UCLA
6. Ohio State
6. VCU

7. Memphis
7. SMU
7. UConn
7. Arizona State

8. New Mexico
8. GONZAGA (WCC)
8. Pittsburgh
8. UMass

9. Kansas State
9. Oklahoma
9. Xavier
9. California

10. George Washington
10. Tennessee
10. Stanford
10. HARVARD (IVY)

11. Missouri
11. Oregon
11. Georgetown
11. Saint Joseph's

12. Colorado
12. Minnesota
12. LOUISIANA TECH (CONFERENCE USA)
12. TOLEDO (MAC)
12. St. John's
12. Clemson

13. NORTH DAKOTA STATE (SUMMIT)
13. WISCONSIN-GREEN BAY (HORIZON)
13. STEPHEN F AUSTIN (SOUTHLAND)
13. DELAWARE (COLONIAL)

14. UC SANTA BARBARA (BIG WEST)
14. IONA (MAAC)
14. NEW MEXICO STATE (WAC)
14. MERCER (ATLANTIC SUN)

15. BELMONT (OVC)
15. GEORGIA STATE (SUN BELT)
15. BOSTON UNIVERSITY (PATRIOT)
15. NC CENTRAL (MEAC)

16. WEBER STATE (BIG SKY)
16. VERMONT (AMERICA EAST)
16. DAVIDSON (SOCON)
16. ROBERT MORRIS (NEC)
16. VMI (BIG SOUTH)
16. ALABAMA STATE (SWAC)

Teams seriously considered that just missed the cut:
Florida State, Marquette, Providence, Baylor, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Southern Miss, BYU

Decent resumes, but not good enough:
NC State, Dayton, Richmond, Nebraska, Indiana State, Boise State, Utah, Arkansas, LSU, Saint Mary's

Long shots, but still in the at-large discussion:
Maryland, St. Bonaventure, Indiana, UTEP, UNLV, Wyoming, Mississippi

Still alive, but pretty much need a miracle:
Georgia Tech, Miami (Fl), Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Seton Hall, Illinois, Penn State, Purdue, Texas Tech, Middle Tennessee, Akron, Ohio, Utah State, Oregon State, Washington, Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt

5 comments:

Sburke said...

I think this is a very legit looking bracket. My minor quibble is GW at 10. Compare to Xavier (who is only a 9) but GW is 9-6 v top 100 with no bad losses, Xavier is 6-6 with 2 bad losses. GW has a favorable schedule down the stretch after @SLU which no one expects them to win. Xavier has to go to Gtown, Hall and StJohns. I just think Xavier is more bubbly. As always, great job

Daniel Tappa said...

Wisconsin is a 5 seed? Did you stop watching them after January? They are playing back to their pre-January funk level and are coming off consecutive wins over Michigan State, Minnesota, and @ Michigan. They have non-conference wins over (@)Virginia, Florida, (N) St. Louis. Those 3 teams are a combined 37-1 in conference play. They also beat 3 borderline tourney teams (West Virginia, St. Johns, Marquette) and 1 more likely tourney team (Green Bay).

If the season ended today, they would be no lower than a 3 seed.

Jeff said...

I disagree on Wisconsin. I think they'd be a 4 seed if the season ended now. They might be a 3, but I'd lean a 4. Certainly not a 2.

And the problem that they have is that their schedule is not conducive to a good finish. Their toughest opponents are on the road, with no quality opponents at home.

So basically, unless they pull the upset at Iowa, they won't pick up another quality win before the Big Ten tournament, but they have a really good chance of picking up a "bad" loss at either Nebraska or Penn State. Pomeroy puts their odds of losing at least one of those four final games at 65%.

Anonymous said...

How exactly is Nebraska a "bad" loss? NU is 12-1 at home and on the verge of being a top 50 RPI team...yet you consider that a "bad" loss? Likewise...how in the world do you have a team like Marquette over Nebraska? Have you even compared the two's resumes?

Jeff said...

Don't get too married to the RPI. Nebraska's Sagarin PURE_ELO is 65th, and it's pretty unheard of for a team that bad to earn an at-large bid. I think only one or two teams ever have gotten a bit with a PURE_ELO that far out. They still have a long way to go to earn an at-large bid.