It’s Selection Sunday, one of the best days in the college basketball season. I’m glad we’re finally here. Below is my final bracket projection of the season, but first, some notes:
I kept my 1-seeds as Villanova, Kansas, North Carolina, and Gonzaga. I understand the discussion with Duke due to their top-5o wins, but I think the number of losses they have, including the bad losses, will keep them on the 2 line. If they do move up to 1, I’ll be curious if the committee puts them their replacing North Carolina or Gonzaga. The media seems to think it will be North Carolina; I think it would be Gonzaga. I would disagree with that decision. Gonzaga deserves to be a 1 seed.
I see the following 12 teams battling for the final 8 spots: Xavier, Michigan State, Vanderbilt, Marquette, Providence, USC, Wake Forest, Kansas State, Illinois State, Syracuse, Iowa, and Illinois. I ultimately think those first 7 will be in. So it comes down to Kansas State, Illinois State, Syracuse, Iowa, and Illinois. I think Kansas State has the best resume, but would not be surprised if any of the other 4 make it. I would be surprised if Syracuse makes it, and Iowa isn’t also included in the field. Those two teams have very similar resumes, and I would argue Iowa’s is slightly better. But I do think the Syracuse name carries weight with the committee.
Speaking of Illinois State, I think where Wichita State is seeded SHOULD have impact on whether or not Illinois State is included, even if I don’t think it necessarily WILL happen. Those two teams have very similar resumes. Both only have top 50 wins against each other. Both have 1 other top 100 win. They have similar RPI and SOS numbers. The biggest difference is Wichita State is ranked much higher in the analytic, predictive tools like KenPom and Sagarin. I think Wichita State’s seeding will show how much the committee is using those predictive measures. But if Wichita is seeded as a 7 or 8 seed, I’m not sure how you can keep Illinois State out of the field based on traditional RPI and SOS measures. They have very similar resumes. However, I think that is exactly what the committee will do. I think they will seed Wichita as a 7 or 8 seed and keep Illinois State out, which means the Redbirds will have a legitimate gripe (unless of course the committee finally commits to seeding using predictive, analytical measures).
Okay, here is the final bracket projection and seed list before Selection Sunday. Enjoy the night, everyone.
1 – Villanova, Kansas, North Carolina, Gonzaga
2 – Kentucky, Duke, Arizona, Oregon
3 – Louisville, Baylor, UCLA, Florida State
4 – Butler, Notre Dame, Florida, West Virginia
5 – Purdue, Virginia, Iowa State, Cincinnati
6 – Wisconsin, Minnesota, Creighton, SMU
7 – St. Mary’s, Maryland, Michigan, Wichita State
8 – Virginia Tech, Dayton, Oklahoma State, Arkansas
9 – Miami (FL), VCU, South Carolina, Seton Hall
10 – Middle Tennessee, Northwestern, Xavier, Michigan State
11 – Vanderbilt, Marquette, Rhode Island, Providence, USC
12 – Wake Forest, Kansas State, UNC Wilmington, Nevada, Vermont
13 – Princeton, East Tennessee State, Bucknell, Winthrop
Here is the updated bracket following one of the best basketball days of the year, the Thursday of Championship Week. Big winners today: Kansas State, Vanderbilt, and Xavier. Big losers today: Iowa and Illinois. Right now, California and TCU are in their “keep hope alive” stage of the season. Neither would be in today, but the bubble hasn’t bursted yet for either squad.
Biggest change near the top of the bracket. Villanova has jumped Kansas for the number 1 overall seed. I’d say those two are locked in at those spots with North Carolina locked into the third 1-seed. I have Gonzaga as the final 1-seed currently; it is possible the Pac-12 Tournament champion could overtake them.
Here is the bracket and the seed list heading into Friday’s action.
1 – Villanova, Kansas, North Carolina, Gonzaga
2 – Kentucky, Oregon, Baylor, Louisville
3 – UCLA, Arizona, Duke, Florida State
4 – Florida, Butler, West Virginia, Purdue
5 – Notre Dame, Virginia, Cincinnati, SMU
6 – Minnesota, Iowa State, St. Mary’s, Creighton
7 – Maryland, Wisconsin, Oklahoma State, Dayton
8 – South Carolina, Miami (FL), Virginia Tech, Wichita State
Here is the updated bracket following Saturday’s slate of games. There were a lot of big results for bubble teams on Saturday, with Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Kansas State, Rhode Island, Syracuse, Marquette, Seton Hall, Providence, and Xavier all picking up big wins. On the other end, Illinois and California suffered losses that could be major setbacks in their hopes of reaching the tournament. All of these results have affected the bracket projection for today.
The other major change to the bracket today is switching Kansas and Villanova. I have now made Kansas the overall #1 seed after having Villanova there the last few editions. This is due to a re-examination of both resumes. Even though Villanova has more top-50 wins, I think the committee is going to have Kansas ahead of Villanova due to their big road win (Baylor, Kentucky, Iowa State, Oklahoma State), and for winning one of the two best leagues in America by 4 games.
Okay, here’s how the bracket projections looks:
1 – Kansas, Villanova, North Carolina, Gonzaga
2 – Baylor, Kentucky, Oregon, Louisville
3 – UCLA, Arizona, Butler, Duke
4 – Florida, Florida State, West Virginia, Purdue
5 – Virginia, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Purdue
6 – SMU, St. Mary’s, Iowa State, Oklahoma State
7 – Creighton, Dayton, Maryland, Wisconsin
8 – South Carolina, Miami (FL), VCU, Virginia Tech
It’s time for the first bracketology in February for the 2017 NCAA Tournament. We are officially hitting the stretch run of the college basketball season, which means we are hitting the prime time for frequent bracketology updates.
This edition is a bit different than most due to the release of the Top 16 by the NCAA Selection Committee on Saturday. My goal with bracketology is not to create a bracket based on what I think it should be or based on my own methodology; I am trying to mimic what I think the committee will do come Selection Sunday. Because of that, the committee provided a great starting point on Saturday with their top 16. Of their top 16, Florida State, Virginia, and Butler all lost this weekend. I don’t think the losses by FSU and Virginia are too damaging to their profiles. I considered dropping Butler a couple of spots, but their resume is still very strong, and a loss to an improving Providence team is not THAT damaging. I kept them on the 4-line. Therefore, my 16 matches the committee’s 16 in today’s bracket.
Here’s today’s bracket projection. A reminder: each bracketology edition, I will post the projected bracket with match-ups, pod locations, and all the other things a bracket would have. I will also post the seed list 1-68 as well as the breakdown of bids by conference (for conferences that receive multiple bids). Here we go.
1 – Villanova, Kansas, Baylor, Gonzaga
2 – North Carolina, Florida State, Louisville, Oregon
3 – Arizona, Virginia, Florida, Kentucky
4 – Butler, West Virginia, UCLA, Duke
5 – Purdue, Cincinnati, Creighton, Wisconsin
6 – Maryland, South Carolina, St. Mary’s, Notre Dame