Sunday, February 26, 2017

W-2 BP68

It's that time of year again! The first conference tournament games kick off tomorrow.

Probably the biggest bracket discussion yesterday was the fate of Gonzaga and the top Pac-12 teams. Gonzaga dominated the WCC in such a way that I don't think a single loss to BYU suddenly drops them from the 1 seed line. There is simply not an obvious replacement, be it a second ACC team or a Pac-12 team. The biggest complication for them is probably if Louisville beats North Carolina in the ACC title game.

As for the top Pac-12 teams, the media seems oddly confused by why the bracketologists are "down" on UCLA, putting them more in the 3 or 4 seed range than the 1 seed range. The fact that their offense is really good or that "they can beat anybody" is not really an argument for seeding, since their defense is a mess and teams aren't judged by how good they look anyway. The problem for UCLA is that their strength of schedule is so poor. Even with yesterday's huge victory, they still have only 5 RPI Top 50 wins and 11 RPI Top 100 wins. That's basically equivalent to Gonzaga (5 and 10, respectively), and Gonzaga's schedule has been softer than usual this season as well. In comparison, a team like Baylor, despite going just 10-6 in Big 12 play thus far, has 8 RPI Top 50 wins and 14 RPI Top 100 wins. And that is why Baylor is in a better position than UCLA to earn a 2 seed.

Anyway, there was just one at-large change this week, with Rhode Island pulling themselves back in and Kansas State dropping out. There were also two changed auto-bid projections, with Cal State Bakersfield replacing New Mexico St as WAC champion, and Eastern Washington replacing Weber State as Big Sky favorite.

In addition 5 teams were eliminated from at-large contention this week: Arizona St, UConn, Memphis, Mississippi St, and New Mexico. That leaves just 31 teams not in the projected bracket that still have a chance for an at-large bid.

Capitalized teams are projected automatic bid winners. Remember that this is a projection of what the bracket will look like on Selection Sunday, and not a measure of where teams would be if the season ended now:

1. VILLANOVA (BIG EAST)
1. KANSAS (BIG 12)
1. NORTH CAROLINA (ACC)
1. GONZAGA (WCC)

2. Louisville
2. KENTUCKY (SEC)
2. Baylor
2. ARIZONA (PAC-12)

3. Florida
3. Oregon
3. Duke
3. UCLA

4. Florida State
4. WISCONSIN (BIG TEN)
4. Purdue
4. Butler

5. Virginia
5. CINCINNATI (AAC)
5. West Virginia
5. SMU

6. Minnesota
6. Notre Dame
6. Iowa State
6. Oklahoma State

7. DAYTON (ATLANTIC TEN)
7. South Carolina
7. Saint Mary's
7. Creighton

8. Maryland
8. Xavier
8. VCU
8. Miami FL

9. Michigan
9. Arkansas
9. WICHITA STATE (MVC)
9. Michigan State

10. Virginia Tech
10. Northwestern
10. Illinois State
10. USC

11. Syracuse
11. Wake Forest
11. MIDDLE TENNESSEE (CONFERENCE USA)
11. Marquette
11. Rhode Island

12. California
12. TCU
12. NEVADA (MOUNTAIN WEST)
12. UNC-WILMINGTON (COLONIAL)
12. TEXAS-ARLINGTON (SUN BELT)

13. VALPARAISO (HORIZON)
13. AKRON (MAC)
13. MONMOUTH (MAAC)
13. VERMONT (AMERICA EAST)

14. PRINCETON (IVY LEAGUE)
14. EAST TENNESSEE ST (SOCON)
14. BELMONT (OVC)
14. BUCKNELL (PATRIOT)

15. UNC-ASHEVILLE (BIG SOUTH)
15. CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD (WAC)
15. FLORIDA GULF COAST (ATLANTIC SUN)
15. NORTH DAKOTA ST (SUMMIT)

16. EASTERN WASHINGTON (BIG SKY)
16. TEXAS SOUTHERN (SWAC)
16. UC-IRVINE (BIG WEST)
16. NEW ORLEANS (SOUTHLAND)
16. NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL (MEAC)
16. MOUNT ST MARY'S (NEC)

Teams seriously considered that just missed the cut:
Houston, Providence, Seton Hall, Vanderbilt

Decent resumes, but not good enough:
Indiana, Kansas State, Georgia, Tennessee

Long shots, but still in the at-large discussion:
Illinois, Utah, Alabama, Mississippi, BYU

Still alive, but pretty much need a miracle:
UCF, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, St. Bonaventure, Georgetown, St. John's, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio St, Penn St, Texas Tech, Boise St, Colorado St, Colorado, Stanford, Auburn, Texas A&M

17 comments:

Tommy said...

If UCLA wins out, including beating both Oregon and Arizona again in the Pac-12 tournament they will be the #2 seed out West, no?

ken gustafson said...

I find it interesting that you have discounted UCLA throughout the season and let's end this nonsense about the Bruins not playing defense. Did you watch the Arizona game last night?

They deserve a 2 seed. When UCLA beat Kentucky (at KY), Oregon and Arizona (at Arizona), all 3 were ranked in the top 5.

UCLA is the only team in the history of college basketball to have 3 wins against top 5 teams in the regular schedule of a college basketball season.

ken gustafson said...

If UCLA wins out they should be a #1 seed. Much better resume than Gonzaga.
Gonzaga's best true road wins are St. Mary's and BYU, but they have neutral wins over Florida and Arizona.
Now suppose both win their conference tournaments. Gonzaga's RPI will get worse, and they will have at most one more quality win. If St. Mary's got upset in an earlier round, they get no quality wins.
UCLA would get 2 or 3 more quality wins, and their SOS gets a boost.



Of course, the committee could drop the Zags to #2, and put the winner of the SEC tournament in as the last #1 seed..

Jeff said...

UCLA is allowing 1.05 PPP in Pac-12 play, and KenPom rates their defense 96th best in the country, which is the worst of any team in the current AP Top 25. So it's not just my personal opinion that their defense is mediocre.

The Selection Committee has a number of metrics that they use each and every year. "AP ranking at the time you beat them" is not one of them.

Tommy said...

Since things bottomed out against USC they have allowed 0.99 PPP and their KenPom defense was somewhere in the high 120s (I forget exactly). So no, the defense is not good, but it has gotten better and is at least passable at this point considering how good their offense is. If they win out with victories over USC, Arizona, and Oregon in the P12 tournament then RPI forecast puts their RPI at 8 and the SOS would jump 20 spots to 64th. Think that still probably is good enough to get them the last #2 seed out West

Anonymous said...

Providence needs to be in over Rhode Island- They beat them head to head and have more signature wins

Jeff said...

Head-to-head is not considered by the Selection Committee, as we've seen many, many times over the years. Providence is likely heading for 9-9 in the Big East with an RPI around 60th. Classic bubble team, either one of the last few teams in or first few out.

Anonymous said...

I would take PC over Marquette at this point but lots of moving pieces.

KJ said...

Does the committee still try and balance the regions via adding up the seed totals or have they completely done away with that due to geography? So for example in the bracket preview if you added up the seed totals the regions ended like this

E: 35
MW: 33
S: 32
W: 36

Pretty balanced, but not perfect. Is this even a thing they look at anymore?

Jeff said...

My understanding is that there is no effort to balance out the regions.

KJ said...

I understand the desire for geography playing a role, but shouldn't the committees two main objectives be to pick the right teams (best or most deserving or whatever criteria) and produce a balanced bracket? If you pick the rights teams that's great, but if overall number one seed gets the best 2 and 4 seeds in their region because of geography, then it doesn't matter. I'm not saying the number 1 overall should get the number 8 overall and S curve it on down, but there should be some effort made to make sure that one region isn't too stacked. Seems like what you're saying is that as long as the bracket principles are followed and teams are kept close to home, they don't care about balance.

Jeff said...

If I was in charge, I'd change quite a few things about Selection. I would indeed try to balance the regions. But in recent years, there have been some wildly unbalanced regions.

Anonymous said...

IIRC, balancing regions is still a factor, but they're allowed to be five seed points apart.

Jeff said...

I was referring to balancing regions by how good the teams are. There's nothing about that, because the Selection Committee is not aware that such a thing exists. So we have seen some regions vastly tougher than other regions.

HenryMuto said...

Like I said before no way Wisky was getting a 2 seed they might not even get a 6 seed.

Jeff said...

If you saw this huge Wisconsin losing streak coming, congratulations. I hope you made a lot of money gambling on it.

HenryMuto said...

This is what I wrote on the W-4 BP 68 comments when you had Wisky as a 2 seed. This isn't like I am coming after the fact saying it after their losses.

"You have Wisconsin getting a 2 even though they were not even in the top 16 with only 4 weeks left I find it going to be very hard for Wisconsin to get to the 2 line. They would basically need to nearly win out. They have no big wins (Minnesota ?) and no ability to get any in the regular season since the Big 10 has no top 16 teams. The best they can do is win the Big 10 tourney beating Purdue on the way. I think 4 seed might actually be their max and 3 seed if they win out. I don't see them getting a 2 seed."