This isn’t like other Bracketology sites. They all like to brag that they got 64/65 or some such number. This is false. They are literally given 29 through automatic bids. There are only 36 at-large bids, and most of those are pretty obvious, regardless of who wins tomorrow between Michigan State or Purdue, the loser will still go on. Getting that pick correct is hardly worthy of adulation. It really comes down to getting the 5 or so truly open spots remaining so missing one is more egregious.
This one is what the tournament field should look like, not what it will look like. This is how the field would look if I were in charge. I have made certain assumptions since all the conference championships haven’t completed yet, and they will end very late tonight and I have an early flight.
First, my criteria:
Div-I wins: It should be obvious, but the more you win, the more likely you are in the field. But only D-I wins count. D-II doesn’t mean didly.
Top 25 Wins: Some wins mean more than others, if you beat top 25 teams that means you are capable of beating anyone.
Top 50 Wins: Same as above, but a closer comparison to your peer group if you want to get in.
Top 100 Wins: Good solid wins. Wins you should have if you want to get in.
Bad Losses: Don’t lose to teams below RPI 100
Last 10: This is no longer used by the committee, but I think you want a team playing well coming in. It is a small weight though.
Road/Neutral Wins: The tournament isn’t played on your home court. Teams that perform on the road or on neutral sites should be rewarded.
Computer Average: Wins and losses are all well and good, but sometimes it really is how you play the game. I take an average of several computer rankings.
So here we go:
1s – Kansas, Virginia, Oregon*, MSU*
2s – Villanova, Oklahoma, West Virginia, North Carolina
3s – Utah, Xavier, Miami, Texas A&M
4s – Purdue, Duke, Arizona, Seton Hall
5s – Iowa State, California, Indiana, Kentucky
6s – Texas, Maryland, Baylor, Iowa
7s – St Joseph’s, Gonzaga, UConn, Notre Dame
8s – Dayton, Wichita St, VCU, St Mary’s
9s – Cincinnati, Providence, Colorado, Wisconsin
10s – Michigan, Texas Tech, Butler, San Diego St.
11s – USC, Florida, Vanderbilt, Valpraiso, Pitt, Arkansas Little Rock/Louisiana Monroe (probably a 15 if they won)
12s – Yale, Stephen F Austin, Hawaii/Long Beach St (probably a 14 if they won), Chattanooga
13s – South Dakota St, UNC Wilmington, Northern Iowa, Iona
14s – Stony Brook, Fresno St, New Mexico St./Cal St. Bakersfield, Middle Tennessee St
15s – Weber St./Montana, Buffalo, UNC Asheville, Hampton
16s – Hampton, Florida Gulf Coast, Austin Peay, Southern U., Fairleigh Dickinson, Holy Cross
Last 4 IN – Pittsburgh, Valparaiso, Vanderbilt, Florida
Last 4 OUT – Syracuse, South Carolina, Monmouth, Oregon St.
Let’s take a look at some of the big differences (>2 seed lines) in my bracket versus the projected bracket.
Seton Hall (4 vs. ~7)– They just won the Big East Tournament. 25 wins, plus 12 road and neutral wins is a favorable comparison to other teams on the 4 line
Gonzaga (7 vs ~11)—Won their conference tournament. Have a great computer average relative to their peers and huge 14 road/neutral wins (2nd most in the country)
UConn (7 vs. ~11) – Have a very good computer average and 23 wins.
Michigan (10 vs. 1st 4 out) – First, I am a Michigan grad and fan. Those that have them out, point to having only 4 Top 100 wins, but with a closer look you see that all 4 are top 25 wins (only 7 teams in the country have more) and that they only have 3 losses outside the top 40, and none of those were played at home. They also have zero bad losses, which nearly every single team has. However, Mark Hollis of MSU is on the selection committee and MSU would do anything to screw Michigan over.
USC (11 vs ~8) – Only 3 wins in their last 10, only 5 road and neutral wins.
Florida (11 vs OUT) – I was a little surprised about this one, but a solid computer average buoys them.
Valparaiso (11 vs OUT) – 12 road/neutral wins are better than their peers.
South Carolina (OUT vs 9) – They only have 1 Top 50 win, and 3 bad losses. Any time you have more bad losses than really good wins, maybe you aren’t a good team. ESPN loves them some SEC so they will pump them up any chance they get.
Oregon St (OUT vs 8) – Only 5 road and neutral wins and a poor computer average hurts them.
St Bonaventure (OUT vs 10) – Dreadful computer average.
Enjoy the games everyone.