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Bracketology 12/31/16

Welcome back to my bracketology. As I've done for the past few years, I'm dropping my first seed list of the season on New Year's Eve. A couple of notes:

1) These results are based entirely off of my model, which is heavily dependent on the RPI. Ordinarily, this is a good thing, as the RPI is a solid predictor of the selection committee, but this early in the season the RPI is rather strange and has some very good teams (such as Indiana) absurdly low and some mediocre teams (such as Middle Tennessee) absurdly high. This explains a lot of the strange seeds you'll see, but as the RPI converges with other metrics as conference play goes along this will become less and less of an issue.
2) This seed list does not include any of the New Year's Eve results, it only takes into account the results of the games through December 30th.

1: Villanova, Kansas, Baylor, Creighton
2: Kentucky, Gonzaga,Duke, Florida
3: Virginia, Louisville, Florida State, Xavier
4: North Carolina, U…

Bracketology 3/13/16 FINAL

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1) This bracket is final (as long as UConn beats Memphis)! I made a number of changes throughout the bracket just now- the main bubble change is that I now have Michigan in instead of South Carolina.

2) I can't help but shake the idea that Monmouth will be in to promote strong non-conference scheduling. Perhaps they'll be in Temple's place.

3) Here is my bracket. Sorry if the photo quality is pretty bad- my phone is acting up.


1: Kansas, Oregon, Villanova, North Carolina
2: Virginia, Oklahoma, Michigan State, West Virginia
3: Utah, Xavier, Miami (FL), Kentucky
4: California, Iowa State, Maryland, Duke
5: Purdue, Indiana, Texas A&M, Texas
6: Arizona, Baylor, Seton Hall, St. Joseph's
7: Iowa, Notre Dame, Dayton, Colorado
8: Texas Tech, Wisconsin, Oregon State, Connecticut
9: Providence, St. Bonaventure, VCU, USC
10: Butler, St. Mary's, Gonzaga, Cincinnati
11: Pittsburgh, (Michigan/Wichita State), (San Diego State/Temple), Arkansas-LR
12: South Dakota State, UNC Wilmington, Cha…

Bracketology 3/13/16 Morning

1) If San Diego State gets an at-large, Fresno State will go down as the first bid stealer of the year. Memphis will join them (and knock South Carolina out of my field) if they beat Connecticut. 

2) This is just my morning update- another update that reflects today's 5 games will be posted after the Big Ten and American championship games end.

1: Kansas, Villanova, Virginia, Oregon
2: Oklahoma, North Carolina, Michigan State, West Virginia
3: Utah, Miami (FL), Xavier, Indiana
4: Kentucky, California, Purdue, Texas A&M
5: Iowa State, Duke, Maryland, Texas
6: Arizona, Baylor, Seton Hall, Dayton
7: Iowa, Notre Dame, St. Joseph's, Texas Tech
8: Colorado, Wisconsin, Oregon State, Providence
9: St. Mary's, VCU, Connecticut, Butler
10: USC, St. Bonaventure, Gonzaga, Cincinnati
11: Pittsburgh, (Wichita State/Temple), (San Diego State/South Carolina), Arkansas-LR
12: South Dakota State, Yale, UNC Wilmington, Chattanooga
13: Northern Iowa, Stony Brook, Fresno State, Stephen F. Austin
14: Hawa…

Bracketology 3/12/16

1) Today's bracket is updated to reflect the latest run of my model. I'm a little skeptical about certain things, such as how high St. Mary's and St. Joseph's are, but my model has been very accurate over the past four years so I'll defer to its judgement. 
2) Here's what today's bubble teams need to do to get in:

Michigan: If they lose, they're probably 50/50 to get in. If the win, they're quite safe.
LSU: Almost certainly needs the auto-bid. An at-large isn't impossible if they win today and lose close tomorrow.
Arkansas-LR: They probably need the auto-bid no matter what, but a loss today definitely does them in.
Connecticut/Temple: A loss for either team today would put them at slightly worse than 50/50 to get in.
Georgia: They're a real long shot- they definitely need to win today and probably need to tomorrow.
San Diego State: I'm increasingly optimistic about their at-large chances should they lose today, but it's probably worse than …

Bracketology 3/11/16

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1) Bubble teams in action today:
Michigan: Needs a win
Temple: Needs a win
Florida: Needs a win
Connecticut: Could be in with a loss, but it's doubtful
Cincinnati: Probably safe no matter what
George Washington: Needs a win
VCU: Will be right on the cutline with a loss
Ohio State: Needs a win
Houston: Needs a win
Tulsa: Needs a win
San Diego State: Needs a win
South Carolina: Almost certainly safe no matter what

Here's today's bracket:

1: Kansas, Villanova, Virginia, Oklahoma
2: Oregon, Xavier, Michigan State, North Carolina
3: Utah, Miami (FL), West Virginia, Indiana
4:Purdue, Kentucky, Maryland, California
5: Arizona, Duke, Baylor, Texas A&M
6: Iowa State, Dayton, Notre Dame, Texas
7: Seton Hall, Colorado, Iowa, Providence
8: Wisconsin, USC, St. Joseph's, Texas Tech
9: St. Bonaventure, Oregon State, South Carolina, Butler
10: Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, VCU, (St. Mary's/Wichita State)
11: Gonzaga, Temple, (Tulsa/Connecticut), San Diego State
12: Arkansas-LR, Akron, Yale, South Dakota Sta…

Bracketology 3/10/16

1) Holy Cross winning the Patriot League tournament is truly one of the most unlikely things I've ever seen in college basketball. Kenpom had them at a .05% chance to win the tournament. For comparison, here were the odds of various other crazy March feats, according to Kenpom:
Florida Gulf Coast making the Sweet 16 in 2013: 2.1% (40 times more likely)
Norfolk State and Lehigh both making the Round of 32 in 2012: .84% (17 times more likely)
Austin Peay winning the 2016 OVC tournament: .50% (10 times more likely)

2) Syracuse is a long shot to get an at-large now after their loss to Pitt yesterday. I don't see Boeheim's absence being a real factor, and even if it is Syracuse's RPI is 67 which is prohibitively high.

3) Bubble teams in action today:
Michigan- A loss knocks them totally out of the picture.
Pittsburgh- They're almost certainly in even with a loss.
Florida- If they lose, there's almost no shot at an at-large.
Butler/Providence- Both teams are almost certainly …

Bracketology 3/9/16

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1) The only real surprise in last night's results was Farleigh Dickinson's victory over Wagner- FDU was a big underdog @Wagner, who had dominated the NEC this year. 

2) Gonzaga got a crucial win over St. Mary's and is going dancing again. I feel pretty good about the Gaels' at-large chances- even though I have them in the First Four right now, I still have them as my sixth team in (they're above the other 3 First Four teams, as well as Gonzaga and Temple). However, the Gonzaga win probably cost some bubble team their at-large bid- perhaps Connecticut, Temple or Tulsa.

3) The better teams of the major conferences start playing tomorrow, and we have a big noon bubble battle between Syracuse and Pittsburgh. The Orange fell out of my bracket today, and Pitt is one spot away from the First Four right now.


Moving In: Green Bay, Farleigh Dickinson, Gonzaga
Moving Out: Wright State, Wagner, Syracuse
Removed From Consideration: None

Legitimate Possibilities: Syracuse, Valparaiso,…

Bracketology 3/8/16

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1) Both Monmouth and Valparaiso lost, and now both face uphill battles towards at-large bids. I have both out of the field right now, with Valparaiso significantly closer to the field. However, I see the argument for Monmouth- the committee loves non-conference strength of schedule and giving Monmouth an at-large would go a long way towards encouraging low-major teams to schedule harder. My hunch is that I will have both teams out in my final bracket, but I wouldn't be shocked to see either one end up in.

2) For the first time all year, Hofstra appears in my at-large consideration. I think they're a real long-shot to get in, but they are 6-4 against the RPI top 100. Their 5 losses against RPI 101+ is a bit deceiving- three of those losses are to RPI 101 Siena or RPI 103 James Madison. I don't expect them to be in anyone's projected bracket on Sunday, but I wouldn't be floored to see them get an at-large.

3) The only bubble teams in action today are Florida State, St.…

Bracketology 3/7/16

1) The only real bubble movement today was Cincinnati's win over SMU. This is a big win for Cincinnati, and they're now 8 spots above the cut line. Their first AAC tourney game is against Connecticut, so barring a semifinal loss to USF or something crazy like that I feel pretty good about the Bearcats' at-large chances.

2) Only four bubble teams play tomorrow- St. Mary's, Gonzaga, Valparaiso and Monmouth. All four have distinctly different at-large situations right now:

St. Mary's should be feeling pretty good. I know I'm higher on them than most, but even if they lose to Pepperdine for a 3rd time this season I will probably still have them above a First Four game.

In my mind, Gonzaga is cooked if they lose tomorrow. I think they're still unlikely to get an at-large should they not win the WCC tournament, but perhaps the committee will take their good Kenpom/Sagarin ratings into account, which there is little precedent for.

Valparaiso has a legitimate at-large …

Bracketology 3/6/16

1) While I've heard some talk of Wichita State missing out on the tournament, I don't buy it. My model, which doesn't take the Van Vleet injury into account, projects them as a 10-seed right now with a fair bit of wiggle room between themselves and the bubble. Had they lost to Loyola Chicago yesterday the story might be different, but I think they're quite safe. Thus, it appears as if the Valley will be a 2-bid league and someone's bid just got stolen.

2) All teams that have clinched auto-bids will be italicized, as Yale and Austin Peay are now. 

1: Kansas, Villanova, Virginia, Oklahoma
2: Xavier, Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan State
3: Utah, West Virginia, Miami (FL), Maryland
4: Kentucky, Duke, Iowa State, Indiana
5: Texas A&M, Purdue, Arizona, Iowa
6: Dayton, Texas, California, Wisconsin
7: Baylor, Texas Tech, Seton Hall, Colorado
8: Oregon State, Notre Dame, St. Bonaventure, Providence
9: St. Mary's, USC, St. Joseph's, South Carolina
10: Pittsburgh, Wichita …

Bracketology 3/4/16

1) One of the surest signs of march is watching teams on my 13-16 lines fall in their conference tournament, as both North Florida and Bucknell did yesterday. I'm more bummed about North Florida- they have a prolific offense and a horrible defense which would've been a fun combo to see in the tournament. However, due to Stetson's APR issues, they still have a shot. Since Florida Gulf Coast is the highest seed remaining in the A-Sun, I put them in. 

2) I had been hyping up Little Rock's at-large chances recently, and was looking forward to the possibility of an at-large from a genuine low-major (a team below the "red line", to give a nod to Mid-Majority). However, last night's loss @ RPI 287 Appalachian State sunk their chances. Since I don't think Monmouth as a real shot at an at-large, Valparaiso is the only low-major who might get an at large. This is problematic on two fronts, the first being I wouldn't really consider the Horizon that obscure a…

Bracketology 3/3/16

1) A couple teams near the bubble made big movements yesterday- Butler got a big win to propel themselves into the field while Alabama took a bad loss at home against Arkansas. I might be a little premature in eliminating the Crimson Tide, but it appears likely they'll have between the 7 and the 10 seed in the SEC tournament. That would mean they'd be facing a must-win quarterfinal against Texas A&M or Kentucky- not a situation I'd favor them in. Even then, I think they'd need to advance to the SEC final to have a legitimate at-large chance.

2) My model told me to move Connecticut out, but I moved Tulsa out instead. Connecticut's wins @Texas and vs. SMU are quite good, but more importantly they lack sub-100 losses and Tulsa's loss to Oral Roberts is a real blemish. Tulsa is playing good basketball as of late, and I'd say they'll probably finish strong and make the tournament but right now I have them just barely out.

3) There's some intriguing bub…