2/16 Bracket

MIDWEST

1 KANSAS
16 UC DAVIS / NC CENTRAL

8 USC
9 SAINT MARY’S

5 CREIGHTON
12 MIDDLE TENNESSEE

4 VIRGINIA
13 BELMONT

6 WISCONSIN
11 SYRACUSE / KANSAS STATE

3 ARIZONA
14 PRINCETON

7 MINNESOTA
10 CLEMSON

2 FLORIDA STATE
15 FURMAN

WEST

1 GONZAGA
16 WEBER STATE / MOUNT ST. MARY’S

8 DAYTON
9 CAL

5 NOTRE DAME
12 UT ARLINGTON

4 WEST VIRGINIA
13 VALPO

6 OKLAHOMA STATE
11 GEORGETOWN / MICHIGAN

3 DUKE
14 UNC ASHEVILLE

7 VIRGINIA TECH
10 TCU

2 OREGON
15 FGCU

EAST

1 VILLANOVA
16 TEXAS SOUTHERN

8 SMU
9 VCU

5 MARYLAND
12 AKRON

4 UCLA
13 VERMONT

6 CINCINNATI
11 WICHITA STATE

3 KENTUCKY
14 COLORADO STATE

7 SOUTH CAROLINA
10 MICHIGAN STATE

2 LOUISVILLE
15 NORTH DAKOTA STATE

SOUTH

1 BAYLOR
16 NEW ORLEANS

8 NORTHWESTERN
9 SETON HALL

5 PURDUE
12 UNC WILMINGTON

4 BUTLER
13 MONMOUTH

6 XAVIER
11 MIAMI

3 FLORIDA
14 BUCKNELL

7 IOWA STATE
10 ARKANSAS

2 NORTH CAROLINA
15 CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD

NEXT TWO OUT: GEORGIA TECH, PROVIDENCE

2/16 Bracket

Tournament Picture

These teams are locks to play in the NCAA tournament:

AAC (1) – Cincinnati

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

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

Big East (2) – Villanova, Butler

Big Ten (1) – Wisconsin

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) – Virginia Tech

Big XII (2) – Iowa State, Oklahoma State

Big East (2) – Xavier, Creighton

Big Ten (3) – Maryland, Purdue, Minnesota

Pac-12 (1) – USC

SEC (1) – South Carolina

These teams are on the bubble:

A-10 (3) – VCU (the profile is more bare than you would think, but some close wins will likely get them in), Dayton (not in bad shape with plenty of top 100 wins, but the lack of top 50 wins keep the Flyers from feeling comfortable), Rhode Island (a neutral court win over Cincinnati is about all they have; the loss to Fordham puts them on their last legs)

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

ACC (5) – Clemson (lots of solid wins over other bubble contenders, and the win over Wake Forest gets them back towards the cut line), Miami (the win over UNC is the only thing that pops, but this is a solid profile overall), 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 home loss to Virginia Tech makes this a longshot; not enough ACC wins), 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 (3) – Kansas State (near the cut line because of a very weak non-conference slate, but the wins over West Virginia and at Oklahoma State and Baylor really help), Texas Tech (a very poor out of league schedule means they need to finish really strong, despite wins over Baylor and West Virginia), TCU (lacks marquee wins, and suffered a really damaging home loss to Oklahoma State that they desperately needed)

Big East (3) – Seton Hall (really benefits from the win over Creighton because they were lacking high quality victories), Marquette (may regret playing so many RPI 200+ teams, and dropping the Butler home game), Providence (may be able to overcome some bad losses with a strong finish)

Big Ten (7) – Michigan (has a middling profile that should put them near the cut line), Indiana (is just about done), 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 (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 that makes a so-so team likely to make the tournament), Penn State (is unlikely to overcome a couple bad OOC losses, but they have done enough to stay on the page for now)

Pac-12 (4) – Utah (is barely hanging on the bubble with an awful OOC slate and a neutral loss to San Francisco), California (has a very nice win at USC and a solid profile overall)

SEC (6) – 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 find themselves close to the cut line), Alabama (is only on here because of the win at South Carolina)

Others (5) – St. Mary’s (should be fine if they avoid bad losses), UNC-Wilmington (is probably done already), Middle Tennessee (has some good wins, but still probably needs the auto bid), Illinois State (they have a few bad losses and only Wichita State as a top 50 win, so it likely won’t happen), Nevada (will find it extremely hard to overcome the sweep by Fresno St)

Tournament Picture

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

Monday Bracket

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

Bracket Reactions & New Bracket

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.

 

Pre-Top 16 Bracket

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

February 5 Bracket (after all Sunday games)

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%)

One Seed Contenders