Thursday, February 09, 2012

W-4.5 BP68

For the first time this season I've got to change up my 1 seeds. In the past I have made it through a full season with the same four teams as 1 seeds all year long, and I'd managed to make it this season from April all the way until this past Saturday. But finally, I've got to make a change.

Kansas is, in my opinion, the third best team in the nation, behind only Ohio State and Kentucky. I've felt for a while that they were better than North Carolina, but that UNC's remaining schedule was so much easier that they'd have an easier path to the 1 seed. I no longer feel like that's the case. So Kansas is now a 1 seed and UNC has been dropped to a 2 seed.

The last few at-large teams are still difficult to figure out. I decided to move Washington into the bracket because of how well they've been playing lately. Right now they're projected to finish 13-5 in Pac-12 play. And I know that their computer numbers aren't good and they don't have a nice set of quality wins, but can the Selection Committee really turn away a 13-5 team from a major conference? And yes, the Pac-12 is still a major conference.

Cleveland State also moved into the bracket as an at-large team. I'm still not ready to give up on Butler's ability to turn things around once they get back into tournament play, but I think Cleveland State has a real chance at an at-large bid even if they can't get the Horizon's auto bid. The two teams moved out of the bracket were Stanford and Xavier.

Only two teams were eliminated from at-large contention since Saturday: Wake Forest and Penn State. That leaves 66 teams not in my bracket that still have a chance at an at-large bid.

The following are my typical disclaimers:

If I projected your favorite team below where you think it deserves to be, it's because I hate your favorite team. If I projected a team above where you think it deserves to be, it's because I secretly love them and have an incredibly blind bias in their favor.

On a more serious note, this is a projection of the final bracket on Selection Sunday, and not a listing of how I think teams would be seeded if the season ended now. There's a difference.

Here we go:

1. KANSAS (BIG 12)

2. Florida
2. Duke
2. Missouri

3. Michigan State
3. Georgetown
3. Baylor

4. Marquette
4. Virginia
4. Wisconsin

5. San Diego State
5. Indiana
5. Louisville

6. Michigan
6. Vanderbilt
6. Illinois
6. Florida State

7. Texas
7. Alabama
7. West Virginia

8. Gonzaga
8. Kansas State
8. Saint Louis
8. Wichita State

9. UConn
9. Southern Miss
9. New Mexico

10. Purdue
10. Iowa State

11. BYU
11. Mississippi State
11. Northwestern

12. Notre Dame
12. Seton Hall
12. Cincinnati
12. NC State

13. Cleveland State
13. Washington

14. OHIO (MAC)



Teams seriously considered that just missed the cut:
Miami (Fl), Xavier, Minnesota, VCU, Colorado State, Wyoming, Arizona, Stanford

Decent resumes, but not good enough:
Virginia Tech, Dayton, La Salle, St. Joseph's, UMass, Oklahoma, Drexel, Central Florida, Marshall, Northern Iowa, Colorado, Oregon, Arkansas, LSU, Mississippi, Nevada

Long shots, but still in the at-large discussion:
Maryland, Duquesne, St. Bonaventure, Pittsburgh, South Florida, Iowa, Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Akron, Illinois State, Missouri State, UCLA, Oregon State, South Dakota State

Still alive, but pretty much need a miracle:
Clemson, Charlotte, Richmond, DePaul, Providence, Rutgers, St. John's, Villanova, Weber State, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Georgia State, Old Dominion, UTEP, Tulane, Valparaiso, Loyola-Maryland, Buffalo, Kent State, Drake, Indiana State, Air Force, TCU, Washington State, Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee, Denver


DMoore said...

"the Pac-12 is still a major conference"

That is way more controversial than whatever seed you've given Texas and Missouri this week.

Chris said...

Assuming Xavier goes 4-2 the rest of the way in the A-10 (factoring losses at Temple & at StL) & at least 1 if not 2 wins in the A-10 Tourney you dont think thats enough to make it in. They would be about 22-11.

Jeff said...

If Xavier goes 4-2 and wins a pair of games in the A-10 tournament then they're probably in. But in my opinion, they're likely to underperform that.

They will likely be underdogs in all three of their remaining road games, and also have a tough home game against Dayton. If they go 4-2 against that schedule I'll be impressed.

Anonymous said...

What do you Wichita State's ceiling is? I feel like they're one of the most underrated teams this year, but the nation won't get to see how good they are if they get stuck playing a 1 seed in the second round.

Would an MVC title be enough to boost them out of the 8/9 game?

Kansas vs. Cuse said...

Kansas is not better than Syracuse.

They have losses to mediocre Davidson (at home no less) and Iowa State. Not to mention 3 other losses.

Syracuse's only loss was without Fab Melo, and they are clearly a different team without him.

Say what you will about computer rankings and strength of schedule (which I'm sure you will) but Syracuse would not lose to Davidson or Iowa State anywhere, and definitely not at home.

Jeff said...

Anonymous, I do agree that Wichita State is very underrated. Their problem is the lack of quality wins, though. They are 1-3 against the RPI Top 50.

They definitely can improve their seed. If they sweep the Missouri Valley regular season and conference titles, even a 4 or 5 seed isn't impossible, though a 6 seed would be more likely.

Wichita State definitely is a dark horse Sweet 16 team if they can get the right draw.

Jeff said...

And to the Syracuse fan, be careful what "can" or "can't" happen. Anything can happen. Syracuse needed a blown goaltending call to avoid overtime against a West Virginia team basically identical in quality to Iowa State. And they won by only six points at home to a Marshall team that (according to both Sagarin and Pomeroy) is worse than Davidson.

Syracuse has taken advantage of the fact that the top of the Big East is way down from previous years, so they don't have the time of night in and night out competition that teams in the Big Ten and Big 12 get.

The Kansas thumping of Baylor last night was one of the most impressive wins by any team all season, and it's firmed up their spot (in the computer polls, at least) as the third best team in the country. I don't disagree.

In my view, Syracuse still has some clear flaws. Their offense still struggles in the half court without any clear creators, and their front court in particular is an offensive black hole. When they don't turn games into layup lines, they tend to have close games. And over the long run, they'll lose a fair percentage of those games.

Kansas has proven in Big 12 play that they can adapt to a variety of different paces and styles. There's no clear way to attack Kansas the way there is to attack Syracuse (hit your threes, get back on defense).

Kansas vs. Cuse said...

Syracuse was without Fab Melo in the West Virginia game so it isn't fair to compare that game to Kansas - Iowa State.

As for Marshall, Syracuse controlled the entire game and were up by 11 with 30 seconds left. Marshall hit 2 late 3s to make it seem like it was closer than it was. Very different than Kansas-Davidson, where Davidson controlled and led the entire game.

The Kansas win last night against Baylor was impressive, yes. But obviously they aren't consistent if they lose to Davidson and Iowa State.

Syracuse's transition offense is way better than their helf-court offense, and the recipe to beat them has been the same for the last several seasons (slow the game down, hit 3s and get back on defense), but that is easier said than done. If it was so easy, Syracuse wouldn't be 24-1.

Every team has weaknesses - you can argue that Kansas is too dependent on Thomas Robinson so what happens if he has an off night or is in foul trouble (as he often is).

And Syracuse's leading scorer, part of their "black hole frontcourt" scored 29 points last night and I don't remember any baskets that were fast break points.

Jeff said...

Well you're free to believe that if you want, but it's not my job here to make excuses for every close game Syracuse has.

By the way, don't be fooled by the names of teams. Iowa State and Davidson would sound way more impressive if they were called UConn and Pitt, two teams that they are (respectively) equal to in terms of performance this season.

Yes, Kris Joseph got white hot and hit 6-for-11 on threes last night, but he's at 35.8% for the season. If anything that's a bad stat to bring up. If Joseph doesn't shoot so abnormally well, Georgetown probably wins.

Anonymous said...

I dont necessarily buy into the belief that citing injuries is an excuse, per say. Injuries are a part of the game that isn't quantified by computer ratings, nor could they be, but I don't think they should be ignored.
I might catch some flak for this, but I'm in the camp that believes OSU would have beaten KU had Sullinger played. Obviously I can't prove this, but I think it wouldnt be unreasonable to argue KU's ratings benefited from Sullinger not playing. Beating the number one rated team by 11 will do that.
Likewise, I don't necessarily look at putting point differential into perspective as an excuse. Syracuse beat Marshall by "only" six. This is a bit deceptive, though. Syracuse was up by 12-16 almost the entire second half, and up by 11 with 30 seconds to go. Marshall hit two inconsequential threes in the last few seconds to make it "only" a six point game. But to say Syracuse beat Marshall by "only" six doesnt accurately portray the flow of the game. Its not making an excuse to point these things out. It's just that perspective is important when citing these things.

Jeff said...

A lot of games have garbage baskets made near the ends of games, but that will tend to even out.

There are imperfections in the computer ratings, just as there are imperfections in how teams play from game to game. But a few points in one game here or there aren't the difference.

I won't say that it's a "fact" that Kansas is better than Syracuse, it's just my opinion. But Syracuse is the type of team that tends to get overrated by the media. The media is always blinded by won/loss records, and the weak Big East has given Syracuse a better record than they'd have in the Big 12 or Big Ten. And the top of the Big East in general is always overrated.

Heck, if you've noticed, I have Syracuse above Kansas in my bracket, because they have a much easier path to a conference tournament title. But they'll be, in my opinion, the weakest 1 seed.

Anonymous said...

I hear you. I think Kansas is one of the top 3-6 best teams in the country. I was just trying to expand on the previous poster's comments. In regards to Marshall, he wasn't trying to "make excuses for every close game Syracuse has", but rather he was trying to show the Marshall game actually wasn't a close game at all. Minor point in the grand scheme of things.

Jeff said...

Sure, but I wasn't trying to argue that Marshall should have beaten Syracuse. Just that Syracuse, like every other team, has off days, and it's folly to say that something "can't" happen that isn't all too different from results that have already happened.

Davidson is probably slightly better than Marshall, and they beat Kansas. Marshall lost by 6 to Syracuse. And if we're going to play this game, I can point out that Syracuse was only up by 7 points with 6 minutes to go at home against a Providence team much worse than either Marshall or Davidson. Obviously you'd rather win than lose, but it's just silly to argue that a few points of difference in a single game matters in a discussion about overall team quality.

Syracuse can lose to Iowa State at home, or to Davidson. Upsets happen.

Anonymous said...

Of course any team can lose to a plethora of teams. No argument there. But the Marshall-Syracuse game simply wasnt a "close game" as it has been indirectly referred to here. I'm just trying to put it in perspective. Syracuse definitely could lose to Davidson, but the Marshall game isn't a good example to illustrate the point.
My point was more to bring to the discussion the importance of context in all things. It's one thing to say Syracuse beat Marshall by "only" six. It's another to observe the game flow and see it was basically over by halftime. Likewise, it's one thing to say KU beat OSU, it's another thing to watch the game and know OSU was without it's all-American.

Jeff said...

I agree that OSU probably would have beaten Kansas if they had Sullinger. But even if they had, Kansas would still be the clear #3 in the computer ratings. They, unlike human pollsters, don't recognize a big difference between a narrow win and a narrow loss.

Anonymous said...

I guess it all depends on how much OSU would have won by. The difference between OSU actually losing and OSU "likely" winning with Sullinger would be at a minimum a swing of twelve points. That's a pretty big differential. And that's if OSU won by only one point. A four point OSU win would be a fifteen point swing. The switch from a win to a loss would affect KU's Elo chess, and the huge point swing would affect their predictor as well. I could see this result dropping KU's sagarin rating by .6, but there's no way to tell. KU is locked at three in KenPom either way though.

Anonymous said...

The 7 seed that shall not be named is being dismantled at home by an 8 seed. Maybe your projections overrate that particular 7 seed and underrate that particular 8 seed.

Jeff said...

Look at the shooting differential. It's why 20 minute sample sizes have such large margins of error.

Funny Name said...

Big 12 teams don't get the benefit of the "Well, we had a poor-shooting game" excuse when they are playing at home. A good Big 12 team shoots well at home. A bad Big 12 team is Texas.

Jeff said...

Funny Name, I can assure you that every basketball team in the history of mankind has occasionally shot poorly at home.

I Don't Care About Anything You Blog About Except for your Terrible Projection of Texas and I Capitalize Excessively said...

Jeff, I can assure you that Texas will not get a 7 seed.

Except for your Terrible Projection of Texas said...

The part of my name that didn't fit the first time around.

Jeff said...

Oh, well if you assure me it won't happen, then I have to believe you now!

It Took You Long Enough said...

I'm glad you are finally seeing the light.

Wisconsin is The Worst State, Except for Kansas said...

Ad Hominem Arguments Rock

I'm Bringing Hits to Your Blog said...

Is responding to trolls part of the job description of a blogger. You do it nicely.

You Should IP Block Me or Something said...

Can you make a living blogging? Essentially, am I shitting on your life's work or a simple hobby?

The Douche said...

I'm sure the AP voters will really care if you go on a hunger strike or something.

Jeff said...

Come on, man. Settle down.