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 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
Here’s a quick look at today’s Bracketology before today’s games get going. There’s a lot of conference tournament championship games today, so things will clear up quite a bit by tonight. We’ll have another updated bracket posted tonight. And tomorrow, on Selection Sunday, we’ll be updating throughout the day and have a final bracket up right when the Big Ten Tournament final ends.
Here’s our Tuesday morning update. I apologize for not having a bracket ready to go yesterday morning and for not having a long preview/write up here. I’m still in the process of recovering from my weekend out of town. I’ll be releasing a new bracket every day from now until Selection Sunday and will have a writeup on Wednesday or Thursday I’m thinking.
Until then, onto the bracket for today. The link to the bracket immediately follows this paragraph. The seed list from 1 to 68 is below, along with Last 4 IN, First 4 OUT, and Next 4 OUT. Bids by conference is further down the page as well.
5 – Michigan State, North Carolina, St. Louis, Ohio State
6 – UCLA, Texas, UConn, VCU
7 – New Mexico, Kentucky, UMass, Memphis
8 – Baylor, SMU, Oregon, Oklahoma State
9 – George Washington, Iowa, Kansas State, Arizona State
10 – Stanford, Gonzaga, Colorado, Pittsburgh
11 – BYU, Harvard, Nebraska, St. Joseph’s
12 – Xavier, Dayton, Tennessee, Minnesota, North Dakota State, LA Tech
13 – Stephen F. Austin, Toledo, Delaware, Manhattan
14 – Eastern Kentucky, Mercer, New Mexico State, UC-Santa Barbara
15 – Georgia State, North Carolina Central, Boston University, Wright State
16 – Stony Brook, Robert Morris, Weber State, Coastal Carolina, Wofford, Alabama State
Last 4 IN: Xavier, Dayton, Tennessee, Minnesota
First 4 OUT: Arkansas, California, Georgetown, Providence
Next 4 OUT: St. John’s, Missouri, Green Bay, Southern Miss
Breakdown by Conference:
Big 12: 7
Big Ten: 7
Big East: 3
Mountain West: 2
West Coast: 2
As always, check out The Bracket Matrix. It’s getting updated more and more this last week of the season. We’ll have another updated bracket late tonight/early tomorrow morning following today’s games.