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’s this week’s Stock Up/Stock Down report, which, as a reminder, you’ll notice is no longer found in the Monday Bracketology post.
Before we get into the stock outlook, let’s talk a little bit about conference tournaments. As we’re sitting here on February 24th, checking out projected brackets from around the web daily, if not hourly, I think we tend to forget the importance of conference tournaments. Not only do we forget the importance of bubble teams picking up big wins in these tournaments, which helps solidify their selection into The Big Dance. But even more importantly, we forget about the bids that get stolen. Bid aren’t just stolen from “mid-major” leagues, but also if a team outside of the bubble looking in picks up a few wins to find their way into the dance, a “power” conference tournament can have a major impact as well.
Take a look at the last three seasons to see bids that were stolen before Selection Sunday.
2013: Oregon and Ole Miss ended up stealing bids by winning their conference tournaments.
2012: St. Bonaventure’s stole a bid and based on where they ended up seeded as an 11-seed, it’s possible/likely that Colorado did as well.
2011: Memphis and Richmond were both given 12-seeds after winning their conference tournaments. It’s very likely these were two bid stealers as well.
That’s only the last three seasons, but just remember those teams when you’re checking out projected brackets in these last few weeks before Selection Sunday. This year, the Missouri Valley and Mountain West conference tournaments are flashing a “POTENTIAL BID STEALER” light in bright red right now. And (more…)
Here’s our second bracket here on The Nickel Dimer. The plan for these brackets is going to change a bit. Originally, I planned on just doing one a week. That’ll change to two, I’ll stick to releasing one on Sunday night/Monday, but I’m going to add a second update on Thursday night/Friday as well.
Let’s take a look at a few teams from a stock up/stock down perspective since last week before the bracket reveal. (more…)
We’re reaching that point of the year where college basketball is reaching the national spotlight. College football is over, the NFL is winding down, and the NBA is in the dog days of January. With those factors combined with the start of conference play, it feels like this weekend had some added importance and interest. Here’s a rundown of some of the biggest storylines I took out of the weekend.
Big Win for Iowa:
Iowa headed into their game Sunday against Ohio State with a 13-3 record with road losses to undefeated Wisconsin and 1-loss Iowa State and a neutral court OT loss to 1-loss Villanova. All of those games were one possession games with 5 minutes or less to go in the 2nd half. So clearly, Iowa’s losses were very good losses that were close to being very good wins. They finally got that good win Sunday at #3 Ohio State.
Iowa was up 70-68 with 3:22 left, and it was shaping up to be another one of those close games that Iowa has struggled to win this year, as well as last year. Iowa closed the game on a 14-6 run to record one the best victories by any team in the nation yet this season. Iowa’s two best players, Roy Devyn Marble and Aaron White, had highly effective and efficient games on Sunday. Marble had 22 points on 7-13 shooting from the field and 8-11 from the line, while White put up 19 points on 8-12 shooting. Iowa is known for its depth, they play 11 guys. But Marble and White are the key for this club and are two of the more underappreciated players in the nation. When they play like they did Sunday against Ohio State, Iowa is extremely tough to beat and will be a threat in March to make the Final 4.