Bracketology 12/31/18

This was an abbreviated week of college hoops with the only real action on the weekend. It was a pretty wild Saturday. Highlights included Western Kentucky continuing their roller coaster season with a win against Wisconsin, Florida jumping out to a 21-0 lead on Butler, and San Diego State getting thrashed by my school, Brown. That doesn't even cover the horrible day in the Pac-12, where Steve Alford might have coached his last game in a blowout loss to Liberty, Cal lost to Seattle, Washington State lost to Santa Clara and Arizona State lost to Princeton. When was the last time a power conference lost 2 games to Ivy League schools on the same day?

As the calendar turns to the New Year, conference play kicks off in most leagues. A word of caution though- in my last seed list of 2017, Arizona State was a 1 seed (and ended up in the First Four). 31 of the 32 teams I had as 8 seeds or higher made the field, though an injury-riddled SMU tumbled from a 6 seed to missing the NIT. Going back to New Year's Eve 2016, 30 of my top 32 teams made the field, the exceptions being 6 seed Clemson (11-2 non-conference, 6-12 ACC) and Pittsburgh (11-2 non-conference, 4-14 ACC).

I can probably safely say that 27 or so of the top 32 in this projection will make the tournament. Another 2 or 3 will make it dicey but get in, leaving 2 or 3 left out. If I had to guess which teams would miss out, I'd pick teams that are punching above their weight according to Kenpom and other metrics- maybe St. John's, Seton Hall, LSU or Buffalo. It's unlikely we'll see another 2018 Arizona State type collapse though.

1: Duke, Michigan, Virginia, Kansas
2: Tennessee, Gonzaga, Nevada, Oklahoma
3: Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Houston, Florida State
4: North Carolina, Texas Tech, Ohio State, Marquette
5: Wisconsin, Mississippi State, Kentucky, North Carolina State
6: Auburn, Indiana, Buffalo, Nebraska
7: Cincinnati, Kansas State, Iowa State, Seton Hall
8: LSU, TCU, St. John's, Villanova
9: Iowa, Florida, Purdue, Arizona State
10: Louisvilla, Minnesota, UCF, Temple
11: Utah State, Butler, (Maryland/Arizona), (Mississippi/Clemson)
12: North Texas, VCU, Murray State, Lipscomb
13: UNC Greensboro, Charleston, Penn, Radford
14: Texas State, New Mexico State, Drake, UC Irvine
15: Montana, Vermont, Lehigh, South Dakota State
16: Northern Kentucky, Abilene Christian, (Texas Southern/Rider), (St. Francis NY/North Carolina A&T)

First Four Out: Creighton, Texas, Syracuse, Toledo
Next Four Out: San Francisco, Northwestern, Washington, North Texas
Also Considered: Vanderbilt, VCU, Notre Dame, Murray State, Belmont, Saint Louis, Providence

Big Ten: 10
ACC: 8
SEC: 7
Big 12: 6
Big East: 5
American: 4
Mountain West: 2
Pac-12: 2
MAC: 1
WCC: 1

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