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 our final bracket before the bracket is revealed in about an hour. I’d like to personally (sarcastically) thank the Big Ten and American conferences for both holding their tournament finals far too late in the day. It sure does make trying to complete the final bracket before the Selection Show starts quite difficult. But nonetheless, the final bracket is below!
Below is the link to the bracket, as well as the usual seed list, bubble teams, and conference breakdown.