Sunday, March 17, 2013

Current Projected Field

1 Seeds: Louisville, Indiana, Gonzaga, Kansas
2 Seeds: Miami (Fl), Duke, New Mexico, Florida
3 Seeds: Ohio State, Georgetown, Michigan State, Wisconsin
4 Seeds: Kansas State, Marquette, Syracuse, Michigan
5 Seeds: Arizona, Oklahoma State, St. Louis, NC State
6 Seeds: Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, North Carolina, UNLV
7 Seeds: VCU, Butler, Colorado State, Creighton
8 Seeds: UCLA, Memphis, Oregon, Illinois
9 Seeds: SD State, Minnesota, Villanova, Colorado
10 Seeds: Boise State, Iowa State, Missouri, Oklahoma
11 Seeds: Cincinnati, Temple, Wichita State, California
12 Seeds: St Marys / Tennessee, Belmont, La Salle / Ole Miss, Bucknell
13 Seeds: Valpo, Akron, Davidson, South Dakota State
14 Seeds: Montana, Harvard, New Mexico State, Florida Gulf Coast
15 Seeds: Iona, Northwestern State, Albany, Pacific
16 Seeds: WKU, Southern, LIU / Liberty, James Madison / NC A&T

Last Four In:
St Marys
Ole Miss
La Salle

Others in Consideration:
Middle Tennessee State
Southern Miss


1 Seeds: I gave Louisville the number 1 overall seed on the strength of their performance down the stretch and their overall body of work. I thought their resume was fairly close to Indiana and just watching Louisville play I don't think there is anyone better in America right now. Indiana by virtue of being the number 2 overall seed, does not get the Indianapolis regional. I could easily justify putting Duke as a 1 seed based on their overall body of work, but I simply could not put them ahead of ACC regular season and tournament champion Miami. That said I think Miami and Duke are both possible one seeds, even though I went with Gonzaga and Kansas.

2-3 seeds: The only additional thing I will note about the 2 seeds is I think Ohio State can get there if it wins the Big Ten tournament AND Ole Miss beats Florida. Otherwise I like my 2 and 3 seeds as they are right now.

4-6 Seeds: I think Arizona has a good case for a 4 seed, but I think a lot of that was based on early season luck. As a result I ultimately went with Michigan and Syracuse for the final four seeds. I could even see the committee making the leap and putting St Louis there. If North Carolina wins the ACC today, I may bump them up to a 5 seed, knocking down NC State. Likewise if VCU wins the A10 I may flip them and UNLV.

Some Specific Teams:

Villanova- There is plenty of weakness to their resume, but I ultimately decided to see them on the high end of where they may be seeded, because I value, and I think the committee has historically valued, really strong wins. Now if really strong wins come with a bad resume that is one thing, but Villanova's wins come with at least an alright resume. Because of this, I think the wins keep them in the 9/10 range.

Boise State- I like what Boise State accomplished in the number 1 RPI conference. I think that is going to matter to the committee. I think Boise is going to be a 10 seed, further away from the bubble than many experts have them.

Cincinnati- You may notice I moved Cincinnati up a couple spots on my bracket and are now the highest 11 seed. Essentially I made the decision that Temple and Wichita State should be behind Oklahoma and Cincinnati. I could, however, see the committee going the other way. I think Cincinnati is going to likely wind up with either the 10 or 11 seed. I know many people have them as a 9 and there is an outside shot at that, but honestly I don't think they will be there (which is probably a good thing).

Last Four In: I am really comfortable with St Marys, La Salle and Ole Miss at this point, though it would not shock me if either of them were left out. As I mentioned in my ranking the bubble piece, St Marys has a flimsy resume based on RPI wins, but their advanced numbers (Ken Pom) are really good and scream tournament team (and probably a higher seed than I have them). Frankly if the committee seeded them as high as a 10 seed I would be 100% Ok wit that. La Salle to me is a closer case, but I just think their overall resume is better than the rest of the bubble. I think Ole Miss played their way in by taking 2/3 from Missouri and making the finals of the SEC tournament. I did not necessarily think this would be enough at the beginning of the week, but none of the bubble teams around them did anything to warrant a bid. Ole Miss, of course, can beat Florida to earn the automatic bid, and avoid being in the first 4.

The last spot, however, is a nightmare. I ultimately went with Tennessee because I think they have more meat on their resume when it comes to beating tournament caliber teams than anyone but Virginia. Virginia would be an interesting case, but they did too much damage to their resume and closed the season poorly. There is a lot of talk about Middle Tennessee State, but wow is their body of work uninspiring. I'd be fine with them getting in, but I ultimately could not put them in over Tennessee. I do think switching Tennessee for MTSU is the spot I am most likely off.

I will put up my final bracket just before the selection show, after the games have finished.

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