Sunday, March 15, 2015

Selection Sunday - Morning Bracket Projection

Hopefully I have time to do one final projection before the bracket come out, but here is my bracket as of Selection Sunday morning.  All of the conference tournament champions are in bold.  I have included the first round tournament sites by putting them in between the two pod games played there.  Each site gets two 4 team pods.  There is a potential for UConn to steal a bid today, so that is something to keep an eye on. 

Cincinnati Bearcats:

I have the Bearcats as the third 8 seed.  I think there is a 90% chance UC is playing in the 8/9 game (yea I pulled the number out of thin air and it’s probably wrong, but just seems that is what their resume will warrant).  You could make a case for UC has high as a 7 and as lows a 10.  I don’t see them any higher or any lower.  The way my bracket worked out after doing adjustments for locations and balance of brackets I have UC in Kentucky’s region playing their first round games in Louisville.  For teams not seeded in the top 4, locations and what top teams they are paired in a region with are almost impossible to project accurately, so take all that with a grain of salt.  The seed range is the most important part and who they are paired against is largely luck of the draw after that.

Top 10 on the S-Curve: 

As of right now my top ten looks like this:
1. Kentucky
2. Villanova
3. Wisconsin (assuming they win the Big 10, if they lose you can make a case for 4)
4. Duke
5. Virginia
6. Arizona
7. Gonzaga
8. Kansas
9. Iowa State
10. Notre Dame

I think the top 6 are going to be the top 6 in some order (with UK at the top undoubtedly).  You can make a case for Arizona and Virginia as 1 seeds, but I think the case for Wisconsin/Duke is stronger.  It seems clear to me that the 1 seeds will come from those 6 teams.  I have Gonzaga and Kansas as 2 seeds, but both Iowa State and Notre Dame have good arguments as well.  In the end I valued Gonzaga’s gaudy record and 9-2 RPI top 100 record (6-2 vs. top 50) and I valued Kansas’s incredible RPI profile that included play the number 1 schedule in the country and an absurd 9 RPI top 25 wins, 12 RPI top 50 wins and 17 RPI top 100 wins.  It is possible the committee sees it differently, but I am pretty confident that all the 1 and 2 seeds will come from these 10. 

Last 7 in:
Boise State, Davidson, Indiana, Colorado State, Temple, Texas, Ole Miss

First 2 out:
BYU, Old Dominion

I did this as 7 and 2, because in the end these are the 7 I have in that I could see the committee leaving out and the First 2 are the 2 teams I could possibly see taking any of their places.  I think I am one of the few people still leaving BYU out so that is probably where I am most likely to be wrong.  My problem with BYU is they only beat 1 at large quality team all season (a great win at Gonzaga).  Historically that just has never been enough for the committee.  Every team on the bubble has more quality wins than BYU.  That means something.  Old Dominion has a weird profile where they are 6-2 against the RPI top 100 (including wins over VCU and LSU) and strong nonconference strength of schedule numbers (both of which the committee loves for at large bids), but they were very mediocre in conference play and lost in their conference tournament semis.  Had they made the finals, I would have them in, but I think they just miss. 

Of the last 7 I feel best about Boise State.   One major reason I feel best about Boise State is that I can see no reason they would be behind Colorado State on the S-Curve.  That’s one team where I believe they certainly have a better profile.  Davidson’s performance down the stretch will likely be enough to carry them in as well.  I’m in the minority but I think Temple should be very worried at this point and think they should be rooting against UConn today.  I think UConn could take Temple’s spot in the tournament.  It’s an easy switch for the committee to make and Temple is only 2-8 against the RPI top 50.  Looking deeper a lot of those losses are to really good teams (5 in RPI top 13), but 2 wins over tournament type teams isn’t ideal.  The Kansas win will carry a lot of weight, but I’m not sure it carry’s enough considering both of Temple’s wins over tournament competition were at home. 

I have Colorado State below most projections as well and would be fine if the committee left them out.  They simply haven’t done any damage away from home and haven’t beaten tournament caliber teams.  I think Indiana’s quality wins keep them in and I think Texas’s ridiculous schedule combined with not losing to any bad teams keeps them in.  Still in the end, I see the bubble as 9 teams for 7 spots (and if UConn wins 9 teams for 6 spots).  If any other team misses I think it will be a clear error by the committee and if any team not listed gets in, I think it will be another error by the committee.  These are the teams with the best at large cases.

Here’s the bracket:

Midwest Region

1. Kentucky
16. Texas Southern / Hampton
               Louisville, Kentucky

8. Cincinnati
9. Purdue

4. North Carolina
13. Valparaiso

               Jacksonville, Florida

5. West Virginia
12. Harvard

3. Notre Dame
14. Coastal Carolina

               Columbus, Ohio

6. Wichita State
11.  Texas / Temple

2. Kansas
15. Lafayette

               Omaha, Nebraska

7. Xavier
10. Ohio State

West Region

1. Duke
16. North Florida / Georgia State

               Charlotte, NC

8. Iowa
9. Dayton

4. Arkansas
13.  UC Irvine

               Jacksonville, Florida

5. Butler
12. Wofford

3. Oklahoma
14. North Dakota State

               Portland, Oregon

6. Michigan State
11. Davidson

2. Arizona
15. Eastern Washington
               Portland, Oregon

7. San Diego State
10. LSU

South Region

1. Wisconsin
16. Robert Morris

               Omaha, Nebraska

8. St Johns
9. Georgia

4. Baylor
13. New Mexico State

               Seattle, Washington

5. Utah
12. Stephen F. Austin

3. Iowa State
14. UAB

               Louisville, Kentucky

6. SMU
11. Ole Miss / Colorado State

2. Gonzaga
15. Belmont

               Seattle, Washington

7. Oregon
10. Oklahoma State  

East Region

1. Villanova
16. Manhattan

               Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

8. VCU
9. North Carolina State

4. Northern Iowa
13. Wyoming

               Columbus, Ohio

5. Louisville
12. Buffalo

3. Maryland
14. Northeastern

               Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

6. Providence
11. Indiana

2. Virginia
15. Albany

               Charlotte, NC

7. Georgetown
10. Boise State

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