Monday Bracket

 

EAST

1 Villanova
16 Weber State / Mt St Mary’s

8 Oklahoma State
9 VCU

5 Purdue
12 UNC-Wilmington

4 UCLA
13 Vermont

6 Wisconsin
11 Mid Tennessee

3 Kentucky
14 UNC-Asheville

7 USC
10 Tennessee

2 Louisville
15 Furman

WEST

1 Gonzaga
16 NC Central / UC Davis

8 Iowa St
9 Cal

5 Creighton
12 Nevada

4 West Virginia
13 New Mexico St

6 Cincy
11 Michigan

3 Virginia
14 Valpo

7 SMU
10 Wake Forest

2 Oregon
15 Bucknell

SOUTH

1 Baylor
16 New Orleans

8 Virginia Tech
9 Michigan State

5 Notre Dame
12 Wichita State

4 Butler
13 Belmont

6 Maryland
11 Seton Hall / Syracuse

3 Florida
14 Arkansas State

7 Northwestern
10 TCU

2 UNC
15 FGCU

MIDWEST

1 Kansas
16 TX Southern

8 Dayton
9 Saint Mary’s

5 Xavier
12 Akron

4 Duke
13 Monmouth

6 South Carolina
11 Miami / Georgia Tech

3 Arizona
14 Princeton

7 Minnesota
10 Kansas State

2 Florida State
15 N Dakota St

NEXT TEAM OUT: Georgetown

Bracket Reactions & New Bracket

Well, I ended up beating Shelby (of Bracket WAG) in our early release competition all because I had Butler at a four seed, and he had them at five.  That said, I had West Virginia at a six instead of a four so I kind of lucked into the victory considering he had them at a closer five seed. He also nailed Oregon at a two whereas I had them at a three.

BRACKET REACTIONS

-The committee likes the Big XII.  The efficiency metrics will tell you it is the Big XII, and not the ACC, that is America’s best league. And the committee seemed to hold the league in high regard. I had Kansas and Baylor at two and three overall, like the committee. But I had WVU all the way down at a six.  The committee putting them at four shows the Big XII gauntlet is getting respect, which is great news for the Iowa State, K-State, TCU, and Oklahoma State crowds.

-The Big Ten isn’t very strong this year, and the committee recognizes that.  Michigan State, Minnesota, and Northwestern are good teams.  But without something more in non-conference play, Wisconsin and Purdue aren’t worthy of the top two lines and won’t be getting there.

-The SEC has two three seeds (Florida and Kentucky).   That is a good sign for teams like Tennessee and Arkansas that are hoping to make the field.

And now, the new bracket:

EAST

1 Villanova
16 Weber State / Mt St Mary’s

8 Oklahoma State
9 Virginia Tech

5 Purdue
12 UNC-Wilmington

4 UCLA
13 Vermont

6 Cincinnati
11 Mid Tennessee

3 Kentucky
14 UNC-Asheville

7 USC
10 Tennessee

2 Louisville
15 Furman

WEST

1 Gonzaga
16 NC Central / UC Davis

8 Iowa St
9 Cal

5 Creighton
12 Nevada

4 West Virginia
13 New Mexico St

6 Xavier
11 Michigan

3 Virginia
14 Valpo

7 SMU
10 Wake Forest

2 Oregon
15 Bucknell

SOUTH

1 Baylor
16 New Orleans

8 VCU
9 Michigan State

5 Notre Dame
12 Wichita State

4 Butler
13 Belmont

6 Maryland
11 Seton Hall / Syracuse

3 Florida
14 Arkansas State

7 Dayton
10 TCU

2 UNC
15 FGCU

MIDWEST

1 Kansas
16 TX Southern

8 Northwestern
9 Saint Mary’s

5 Wisconsin
12 Akron

4 Duke
13 Monmouth

6 South Carolina
11 Miami / Georgia Tech

3 Arizona
14 Princeton

7 Minnesota
10 Kansas State

2 Florida State
15 N Dakota St

NEXT TEAM OUT: Georgetown

Pre-Top 16 Bracket

Tomorrow, the selection committee will unveil their current top 16 seeds. My good friend, Shelby Mast of USA Today bracketology fame, and I are conducting a friendly competition to see who can better predict the committee’s top 16 seeds. The scoring system is three points for having a team in the top 16, three points for exact seed, and one point for a line off.

Here is what I expect the top four seeds to look like:

1 – Villanova, Kansas, Baylor, Gonzaga

2 – UNC, Florida State, Virginia, Louisville

3 – Arizona, Duke, Oregon, UCLA

4 – Florida, Kentucky, Butler, Wisconsin

And now for the full bracket:

EAST

1 Villanova
16 Weber State / Mt St Mary’s

8 TCU
9 Virginia Tech

5 Xavier
12 UNC-Wilmington

4 Wisconsin
13 Vermont

6 Maryland
11 Miami FL

3 Duke
14 UNC-Asheville

7 Minnesota
10 California

2 North Carolina
15 Furman

WEST

1 Gonzaga
16 NC Central / UC Davis

8 Oklahoma St
9 Seton Hall

5 Purdue
12 Nevada

4 Butler
13 New Mexico St

6 Saint Mary’s
11 Michigan / GA Tech

3 Arizona
14 Valpo

7 USC
10 Michigan State

2 Virginia
15 Bucknell

SOUTH

1 Baylor
16 New Orleans

8 Dayton
9 Tennessee

5 Cincinnati
12 Wichita State

4 Kentucky
13 Belmont

6 W. Virginia
11 Clemson / Syracuse

3 Oregon
14 Arkansas State

7 SMU
10 Iowa State

2 Florida State
15 FGCU

MIDWEST

1 Kansas
16 TX Southern

8 VCU
9 Northwestern

5 Creighton
12 Akron

4 Florida
13 Monmouth

6 Notre Dame
11 Mid Tennessee

3 UCLA
14 Princeton

7 South Carolina
10 Kansas State

2 Louisville
15 N Dakota St

What I’m Watching For Tomorrow:

-Where is Gonzaga ranked among the one seeds? I feel confident the Zags will get a one seed, but they couldn’t be ranked anywhere from one to four. If it’s four, they likely can’t stay a one seed if they lose a game.

-How are the top of the SEC and Pac-12 being compared? Florida and Kentucky have better metrics, but UCLA won at U.K. and the PAC-12 teams are finally healthy. By the narrowest of margins, I decided on Oregon and UCLA for three seeds over the two SEC schools. We will see what the committee says.

-Is West Virginia included? If so, expect a bump for Big XII teams.

-If Butler isn’t a top 16 seed, then the Big East probably isn’t very highly thought of by the committee.

 

February 5 Bracket (after all Sunday games)

EAST

1 Villanova
16 Weber State / Mt St Mary’s

8 Iowa State
9 Clemson

5 Xavier
12 Monmouth

4 Florida
13 Vermont

6 Maryland
11 Miami / Arkansas

3 Duke
14 FGCU

7 USC
10 Wake Forest

2 North Carolina
15 Furman

WEST

1 Gonzaga
16 NC Central / UC Davis

8 Oklahoma State
9 Seton Hall

5 Creighton
12 UNC Wilmington

4 Cincinnati
13 Boise State

6 Saint Mary’s
11 California / GA Tech

3 Virginia
14 Arkansas State

7 Notre Dame
10 Michigan State

2 Oregon
15 Bucknell

SOUTH

1 Baylor
16 TX Southern

8 SMU
9 VCU

5 South Carolina
12 Akron

4 UCLA
13 New Mexico State

6 W. Virginia
11 Mid Tennessee

3 Kentucky
14 Princeton

7 Minnesota
10 TCU

2 Louisville
15 Winthrop

MIDWEST

1 Kansas
16 Sam Houston State

8 Virginia Tech
9 Dayton

5 Wisconsin
12 Wichita State

4 Butler
13 Valpo

6 Purdue
11 Tennessee

3 Arizona
14 Belmont

7 Northwestern
10 Kansas State

2 Florida State
15 N Dakota St

THOUGHTS:

-After a crazy Saturday, the one seeds are all the same.  None have more than three losses and all have multiple elite wins.

-Kansas State and TCU couldn’t fit into 8-9 games because Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Kansas, and Baylor were already in the pods. They are true nines in ten positions. Seton Hall and Clemson bumped up as a result.

-First four out: Georgetown, Syracuse, Marquette, and Rhode Island

One Seed Contenders

Here is an updated exhaustive list of every team that can reasonably get up to the one line, along with their estimated percentage chance of getting there.

THE TOP CONTENDERS

· Villanova (70%) – The reigning champions are 11-1 vs. the RPI top 100, with six top 50 wins (4 of which were on road or neutral courts). With the 26th rated overall schedule, they are in solid position to get a one seed if they win the Big East outright.  Beating Virginia at home isn’t a must, but it drastically improves their one seed odds.
· Kansas (65%) – The Jayhawks just picked up a huge win at Kentucky and are 6-1 against the RPI top 50 (with 4 of those wins away from home). With eleven top 100 wins and the 24th-rated OOC SOS, they should get a one seed if they win the Big XII outright.
· Baylor (45%) – The Bears have 12 top 100 wins, including a whopping NINE top 50 wins. Their great ninth-rated OOC schedule puts them in prime position to land a one seed with a Big XII regular season or tournament title.
· Gonzaga (70%) – The nation’s only unbeaten has 6 top 50 wins, including Iowa State, Arizona, Butler, and Tennessee on neutral floors. Their overall SOS won’t be great by Selection Sunday, so a one seed seems unlikely if they suffer more than one loss. Even one loss isn’t a one seed guarantee.

· Arizona (30%) – The Wildcats are just 3-2 against the top 50, but they are playing their best ball right now and their best five wins of the year are away from home. They’ll probably need to win the Pac-12 regular season and tournament.

THE DARKHORSES

Louisville (20%), UNC (18%), Kentucky (12%), UCLA (12%), Virginia (12%), Oregon (10%), Florida State (9%)

THE LONGSHOTS

Butler (8%), Florida (5%), Maryland (5%), Notre Dame (3%), Duke (3%), Other (3%)

The Tournament Picture

These teams are locks to play in the NCAA tournament:

AAC (1) – Cincinnati

ACC (5) – Florida State, UNC, Louisville, Virginia, Notre Dame

Big XII (3) – Kansas, Baylor, West Virginia

Big East (2) – Villanova, Butler

SEC (2) – Kentucky, Florida

Pac-12 (3) – UCLA, Oregon, Arizona

Others (1) – Gonzaga

These teams should make the tournament, but aren’t locks:

AAC (1) – SMU

ACC (1) – Duke

Big East (2) – Xavier, Creighton

Big Ten (4) – Wisconsin, Maryland, Purdue, Minnesota

SEC (1) – South Carolina

These teams are on the bubble:

A-10 (3) – VCU (unlikely to get an at-large because they are lacking in quality wins, and the road loss to Fordham is bad), Dayton (not in bad shape with plenty of top 100 wins, but the lack of top 50 wins could do them in), Rhode Island (a neutral court win over Cincinnati is about all they have)

AAC (1) – Houston (a longshot that desperately needs quality wins)

ACC (7) – Virginia Tech (the lack of bad losses and number of good wins will likely be enough), Clemson (lots of solid wins over other bubble contenders, but their atrocious ACC start may derail their bid), Miami (they keep doing enough to stay on the radar, but haven’t made a strong push), Wake Forest (they are lacking in quality wins, but greatly benefit from exceptional computer numbers), Pitt (is on the radar because of a strong start to the year, but the blowout losses will not be forgotten; this team needs to play a lot better to get a bid), NC State (a strong schedule is bolstered by a great road win over Duke), Georgia Tech (the OOC portion of the schedule was bad, but the Jackets have great wins over Florida State and North Carolina to get them squarely in the mix)

Big XII (5) – Kansas State (faces a tough climb because of a very weak non-conference slate, but the wins over West Virginia and at Oklahoma State really help), Texas Tech (a very poor out of league schedule means they need lots of good wins and a decent conference record), TCU (lacks marquee wins, but has avoided truly damaging losses), Oklahoma State (a real at-large contender despite a poor Big XII record), Iowa State (has a solid profile that should only get better)

Big East (3) – Seton Hall (has some decent wins out of conference and no bad losses), Marquette (may regret playing so many RPI 200+ teams, but greatly benefit from the win at Creighton and the home win over Villanova), Providence (is hanging by a thread; it’s unlikely they can overcome some bad losses)

Big Ten (7) – Michigan (has a middling profile that should put them near the cut line), Indiana (will probably make the field because of wins against Kansas and UNC, despite way too many games against RPI 200+ teams), Illinois (has a decent profile, but may be done in by the home loss to Winthrop and too many losses to other bubble teams), Northwestern (has no bad losses and will likely have their first tournament appearance upcoming), Nebraska (has pretty much ruined an excellent non-conference schedule and a good start to conference play; hanging by a thread), Michigan State (has decent computer numbers, but they are simply not winning enough games), Penn State (is unlikely to overcome a couple bad OOC losses, but they have done enough to be in contention)

Pac-12 (4) – Utah (is barely hanging on the bubble with an awful OOC slate and a neutral loss to San Francisco), Stanford (has decent numbers but a serious lack of good wins), USC (has important home wins over SMU and UCLA to pair with solid RPI numbers), California (has a very nice win at USC, but not too much else)

SEC (8) – Vanderbilt (is only under consideration because of a great OOC schedule and a win at Florida), Georgia (has an unremarkable profile, which includes a blowout home loss to Alabama), Arkansas (has a home loss to Mississippi State and a lack of great wins, but their numbers are solid), Ole Miss (has a great non-league slate but no great wins), Tennessee (the Vols are within striking range after picking up a win over Kentucky), Auburn (doesn’t really have much of an argument yet, but can still make a run), Alabama (like their Auburn rivals, they are in position to make it with a run but have no current argument for being in the bracket), Texas A&M (the neutral court win over Virginia Tech is about all they have)

Others (5) – St. Mary’s (should be fine if they avoid bad losses), UNC-Wilmington (needs to hope for a run by St. Bonaventure and no losses before the tournament final), Middle Tennessee (has some good wins that they hope will overcome a home loss to Georgia State), Illinois State (they have a few bad losses and no top 50 wins, so it likely won’t happen but they keep on winning over a decent slate), Nevada (will find it extremely hard to overcome the sweep by Fresno St)

January 24 Bracket

EAST

1 Villanova
16 Weber State / New Orleans

8 Indiana
9 Arkansas

5 Florida
12 Pitt / Oklahoma State

4 Cincinnati
13 Monmouth

6 Xavier
11 TCU

3 Oregon
14 Vermont

7 Virginia Tech
10 Marquette

2 Florida State
15 Texas Southern

WEST

1 Gonzaga
16 Morgan State / Fairleigh Dickinson

8 USC
9 Kansas State

5 Maryland
12 New Mexico State

4 Creighton
13 Nevada

6 South Carolina
11 Iowa State / Georgia

3 Louisville
14 North Dakota State

7 Minnesota
10 Wake Forest

2 Arizona
15 Bucknell

SOUTH

1 Baylor
16 UC-Irvine

8 Michigan State
9 Seton Hall

5 Wisconsin
12 Illinois State

4 Virginia
13 Valparaiso

6 Purdue
11 UNC-Wilmington

3 UCLA
14 Georgia Southern

7 Saint Mary’s
10 NC State

2 Kentucky
15 Belmont

MIDWEST

1 Kansas
16 UNC Greensboro

8 SMU
9 Dayton

5 West Virginia
12 Akron

4 Notre Dame
13 FGCU

6 Duke
11 Middle Tennessee

3 Butler
14 Winthrop

7 Northwestern
10 Clemson

2 North Carolina
15 Princeton

THOUGHTS:

-TCU dropped one at Oklahoma State. Not a bad loss, but it really demonstrates just how glaring their lack of quality wins is. They find themselves all the way down at an 11.  The Cowboys, on the other hand, move into the field despite starting 0-6 in Big XII play.  Their loss at Texas isn’t that bad, and they have some very good road victories (including the demolition of Wichita State). Rhode Island dropped out because OSU simply has a better resume.

-NC State’s road win at Duke moved the Pack back into the field, even avoiding the First Four. Duke, meanwhile, is a borderline disaster. Their talent appears to be vastly overrated and they have some chemistry issues.  They fall to a six seed, but a further drop could definitely happen.

 

January 23 Bracket

EAST

1 Villanova
16 Weber State / New Orleans

8 TCU
9 Indiana

5 Florida
12 Akron

4 Duke
13 Monmouth

6 Xavier
11 Pitt

3 Oregon
14 Vermont

7 Virginia Tech
10 Dayton

2 Florida State
15 Texas Southern

WEST

1 Gonzaga
16 Morgan State / Fairleigh Dickinson

8 USC
9 Kansas State

5 Maryland
12 New Mexico State

4 Creighton
13 Nevada

6 South Carolina
11 Iowa State / Georgia

3 Louisville
14 North Dakota State

7 Minnesota
10 Wake Forest

2 Arizona
15 Bucknell

SOUTH

1 Baylor
16 UC-Irvine

8 Michigan State
9 Seton Hall

5 Wisconsin
12 Illinois State

4 Notre Dame
13 Valparaiso

6 Purdue
11 UNC-Wilmington

3 UCLA
14 Georgia Southern

7 Saint Mary’s
10 Marquette

2 Kentucky
15 Belmont

MIDWEST

1 Kansas
16 UNC Greensboro

8 Northwestern
9 Clemson

5 Cincinnati
12 Michigan / Rhode Island

4 Virginia
13 FGCU

6 West Virginia
11 Middle Tennessee

3 Butler
14 Winthrop

7 SMU
10 Arkansas

2 North Carolina
15 Princeton

THOUGHTS:

-VIrginia Tech picked up another huge road win (at Clemson, to pair with at Michigan). They have three top 50 wins and some solid 51-100 wins away from home. They will likely be dancing despite an awful out of conference strength of schedule.

-Clemson’s loss leaves them with just one ACC win. This serious downward trajectory drops the Tigers all the way down to a nine.  But remember, the committee will judge the team’s total resume, and not just their ACC performance. They are still in solid shape if they just win some games.

-Xavier and USC both picked up much needed wins yesterday over Georgetown and Arizona State, respectively. Xavier stays at a six and USC moves up to an eight because of the Clemson nosedive.

Tournament Picture

These teams are locks to play in the NCAA tournament:

AAC (1) – Cincinnati

ACC (6) – Duke, Florida State, UNC, Louisville, Virginia, Notre Dame

Big XII (3) – Kansas, Baylor, West Virginia

Big East (3) – Villanova, Creighton, Butler

SEC (2) – Kentucky, Florida

Pac-12 (3) – UCLA, Oregon, Arizona

Others (1) – Gonzaga

These teams should make the tournament, but aren’t locks:

AAC (1) – SMU

Big East (1) – Xavier

Big Ten (3) – Wisconsin, Maryland, Purdue

SEC (1) – South Carolina

These teams are on the bubble:

A-10 (4) – VCU (lacking in quality wins, and the home loss to Georgia Tech isn’t great), Dayton (the lack of quality wins could do them in), Rhode Island (no bad losses and a neutral court win over Cincinnati help), LaSalle (a long shot that needs to be almost perfect from here on out)

AAC (1) – Houston (there likely isn’t enough heft to make it)

ACC (7) – Virginia Tech (the lack of bad losses and number of good wins will likely be enough), Clemson (lots of solid wins over other bubble contenders, but their atrocious ACC start may derail their bid), Miami (they keep doing enough to stay on the radar, but haven’t made a strong push), Wake Forest (lack quality wins, but greatly benefit from exceptional computer numbers), Pitt (is going to be headed for the cut line with a mediocre resume), NC State (a strong schedule, but ACC play has been a disaster), Georgia Tech (the OOC portion of the schedule will likely prevent a bid)

Big XII (5) – Kansas State (faces a tough climb because of a very weak non-conference slate), Texas Tech (a very poor out of league schedule means they need lots of good wins and stop losing to bubble teams at home), TCU (lacks marquee wins, but has avoided damaging losses), Oklahoma State (needs to start beating top 50 teams), Iowa State (has a solid profile that should only get better)

Big East (3) – Seton Hall (has some decent wins out of conference and no bad losses), Marquette (may regret playing so many RPI 200+ teams, but greatly benefit from the win at Creighton), Providence (needs good road wins to overcome a couple bad losses)

Big Ten (7) – Michigan (has a middling profile that should put them near the cut line), Indiana (will probably make the field despite way too many games against RPI 200+ teams), Illinois (has a decent profile, but may be done in by the home loss to Winthrop and too many losses to other bubble teams), Northwestern (has no bad losses and will likely have their first tournament appearance upcoming), Nebraska (has pretty much ruined an excellent non-conference schedule and a good start to conference play; hanging by a thread), Michigan State (will likely be dancing with a solid seed despite early hiccups), Minnesota (is a solid tournament bet)

Pac-12 (4) – Utah (is barely hanging on the bubble with an awful OOC slate and a neutral loss to San Francisco), Stanford (has decent numbers but a serious lack of good wins), USC (has an important win over SMU at home and solid RPI numbers), California (has a very nice win at USC, but not too much else)

SEC (5) – Vanderbilt (is only under consideration because of a great OOC schedule and a win at Florida), Georgia (has an unremarkable, but decent profile), Arkansas (has a home loss to Mississippi State and a lack of great wins, but their numbers are solid), Ole Miss (has a great non-league slate but no great wins), Tennessee (the Vols are within striking range, but are lacking noteworthy achievements)

Others (3) – St. Mary’s (should be fine if they avoid bad losses), UNC-Wilmington (needs to hope for a run by St. Bonaventure and no losses before the tournament final), Middle Tennessee (has some good wins that they hope will overcome a home loss to Georgia State)

January 22 Bracket

EAST

1 Villanova
16 Weber State / New Orleans

8 TCU
9 Indiana

5 Florida
12 Akron

4 Duke
13 Monmouth

6 Xavier
11 Pitt

3 Oregon
14 Vermont

7 Clemson
10 Dayton

2 Florida State
15 Texas Southern

WEST

1 Gonzaga
16 Morgan State / Fairleigh Dickinson

8 Virginia Tech
9 Kansas State

5 Maryland
12 New Mexico State

4 Creighton
13 Nevada

6 South Carolina
11 Iowa State / Georgia

3 Louisville
14 North Dakota State

7 Minnesota
10 Wake Forest

2 Arizona
15 Bucknell

SOUTH

1 Baylor
16 UC-Irvine

8 Michigan State
9 Seton Hall

5 Wisconsin
12 Illinois State

4 Notre Dame
13 Valparaiso

6 Purdue
11 UNC-Wilmington

3 UCLA
14 Georgia Southern

7 Saint Mary’s
10 Marquette

2 Kentucky
15 Belmont

MIDWEST

1 Kansas
16 UNC Greensboro

8 Northwestern
9 USC

5 Cincinnati
12 Michigan / Rhode Island

4 Virginia
13 FGCU

6 West Virginia
11 Middle Tennessee

3 Butler
14 Winthrop

7 SMU
10 Arkansas

2 North Carolina
15 Princeton

THOUGHTS:

-Florida State picked up another huge home win. This time, they beat Louisville.  FSU is putting together a one seed worthy resume. Two things are keeping them off the one line right now.  First, there are four really good teams already there. Secondly, the Noles have been beating almost all of these teams at home.

-Nebraska lost to Rutgers yesterday. They are no longer close to being in the field.

-Baylor picked up a huge road win at TCU.  They are firmly entrenched as a one seed.  As the season develops, it is looking increasingly feasible for Baylor to get a one seed even if they fail to take the Big XII Championship or the tournament title.

-Marquette easily moves into the field after winning at Creighton.  The Bluejays, meanwhile, have dropped to a four seed because of the loss of Maurice Watson.