Inside the Bracket

ITB: February 19th, 2018

Before we get to the Seed List, I'd like to add a few comments on how some of the teams are stacking up against each other. Just a reminder - wins against Tournament Level teams are a main source of seeding. Quadrants are simply leveraged to sort the data in a clean fashion.

1. Virginia is barely leading Villanova in my eyes. You can easily argue Villanova since they have a larger quantity of quality wins and now an incredibly strong road win at Xavier at the moment. However, I look at Virginia and I see a team who also has great wins and only lost twice in the final minute of both games. Really impressive for an ACC team this late in the year and deserving of the Top overall seed.

2. The final #1 seeds went to Xavier and Kansas. From a wins perspective it was an easy choice, Xavier has 10 wins against Tournament Level (TL) teams. Plus another three against Bubble or higher Auto Bid (BAB) teams and Kansas has 11 TL wins plus two BAB wins. Duke/Purdue/Auburn dont come close and Texas Tech took another loss on Saturday to remain out of the discussion. 

3. Michigan State is still not a two seed in my book becuase they only have two TL wins and one to four BAB wins (if you count Maryland and/or Notre Dame).  I think the committee will give them some extra credit in the conversation because they beat the full strength Notre Dame team and they pounded UNC. MSU is setup well for any predictive metric tiebreakers, should they come up in discussions. Overall, I have them tenth on the seed list but with upside still available - the Big 10 tournament and other teams losing around them. Hard to envision the Spartans getting a 1 seed at this point.

4. Cincinnati lost twice last week and I thought they may drop them to the 4th seed range. But the Bearcats resume is still holding up above Arizona/Clemson and others. They are solidly a three seed and eleventh overall.

5. Wichita State made real nice upward movement, as expected. I have them 15th overall today and they have another date with Cincinnati to end the regular season still in front of them. Shockers are finally starting to play like the Final Four team I projected them to be back in preseason. Always good to get hot at the right time.

6. The middle of the Seed list, from 20-42 is a big pile of chaos and will hurt your brain if you look it at for as many hours as I do. Eventually I decided on keeping Oklahoma as the last five seed (20 overall). I think you can make a case for Florida State or Kentucky and depending on how much the Predictive metrics matter, you could argue Nevada there too. My projections are continuing to be based primarily on the Result-Based metrics (RPI, KPI, SOR) above the predictive.
Interesting nugget: Houston had an outstanding week and ended up moving all the way to the 7-seed line, shows what kind of week we just experienced with many of the teams in this range losing. 

7. Florida is a team I have seen a lot of chatter about this morning. The committee in recent years has shown that enough quality wins will outweigh your bad losses and seeding can really be enhanced regardless of a bad loss or two. Florida is the perfect candidate for said profile this season. The Gators have two wins over Protected seeds, eight wins total over TL teams, and have two BAB wins.  Results Based Metrics have them ranked 43rd, not great. So this is tough - but for today I am keeping them as the last #6 seed. 

8. What to do with Nevada? First off, I was impressed the Pack won both at Boise and at Utah State. The Utah State game had letdown written all over it and they went into Logan and took care of business. When you look at Nevada's body of work, they have the Rhode Island home win, but it's their only win against the field. You add the Neutral court loss to San Francisco and home loss to UNLV and you have a tough team to seed. The metrics like them (Results Based they are near 17th and Predictive they are 26th) and they are a darn good team when you watch them play.  I think they land somewhere in the middle. I believe the committee has more respect for the MWC than the A-10 or WCC this year, despite the majority of the programs not being tournament caliber. So for now, Nevada gets the final eight seed, but they are much more impacted by others around them than what they can achieve themselves.

9. Kansas State has landed as my final Nine seed and I feel good about that. If you've read my previous posts or listened to the HoopsHD shows, I've discussed how no teams with a NCSOS of 250+ has been selected as an At Large in the 10+ seed range since 2006 (Air Force). Thus, if K-State, VTech or NC State recieve At Large bids, I presume the committee will need to feel very strongly about each and have them very comfortably in the field. With all three of these teams playing well and building stronger resumes than the bubble, I feel real good about having them in the 8-9 range right now. 

10. Saint Mary's is a headache to seed. I think the win at Gonzaga keeps them pretty safe for making it in. But they lost at San Francisco and it's getting tough. For now, they are my top 11-seed. 

11. The bubble is very strong for now after a weekend where several bubble teams won and only Nebraska, Penn State, Louisville, and Temple lost. My first six teams teams out (UCLA, Georgia, Marquette, Washington, Louisville, and USC) all have a case to be included for selection. A bit unusual for this late in the season. Of course the bubble will continue to be scrutinized daily for the next twenty days. Segway...

20 Days til Selction Sunday! 1-68 Seed List


ITB: February 16th, 2018

For today's Inside The Bracket feature, I wanted to provide you with a full breakdown of the current "Bubble." Several teams are close to being on the bubble, or just above the bubble, or just below the bubble. Which means on any given night, these 26 teams can find themselves right near the cut line. History has taught me that teams with a poor Non Conference Strength of Schedule and a lack of Quality road wins, will be left out if they are in the Cut Line range. So that is a key factor here.

One quick note: After doing a deeper dive today, I placed Saint Mary's above Houston, which is not reflected in the bracket release from this morning.

To give everyone a glimpse on how I break this down, please see the chart below.

  Quck Definitions:   Super Wins  - Wins in the Top Half of Quadrant 1 (1-15 Home, 1-25 Neutral, 1-38 Away)  Total A/N  - Toal Away/Neutral record.  The Rest  - Q4 games. Generally the wins in this column are ignored by the committee,, and losses are killers.   NCSOS  - Non Conference Strength of Schedule

Quck Definitions:
Super Wins - Wins in the Top Half of Quadrant 1 (1-15 Home, 1-25 Neutral, 1-38 Away)
Total A/N - Toal Away/Neutral record.
The Rest - Q4 games. Generally the wins in this column are ignored by the committee,, and losses are killers. 
NCSOS - Non Conference Strength of Schedule

And that leads us to Today's current seed list 1-68..

Seed List 02.16.18.JPG

ITB: February 5, 2018

Movement Summary

  1.  Villanova and Virginia keep switching places for me. And now it looks so close that it's hard to say. Nova has the two extra Q1 wins and they own the metrics too. So I will take the Wildcats #1 right now.
  2. Kansas, Xavier, Duke, and Auburn are battling for the final #1 Seed. I think Kansas total number of Q1 and Q2 wins (12) seperates themselves just enough to overcome the home losses. But this is a real close battle that could use more definition.
  3. Cincinnati is simply not losing. I don't love their resume, but they still have just the two losses overall and everyone around them has been losing, so for now the Bearcats are on the 3 seed line.
  4. Arizona slides down to #13 overall and a 4 seed after losing at UW. Don't worry Cats fans, AZ is still in good shape to play in San Diego then LA.
  5. Gonzaga eeks out the final #5 seed as Florida tumbled down to the 7 seed line. The Zags profile compared to Saint Mary's and Rhode Island is just a little bit stronger. Interesting battle to follow because a loss for any of the three against a lesser team can make a big difference.
  6. Miami and Butler have bypassed Arizona State's resume in my book. Thus, they are now on the 6 seed line.
  7. Texas has a lot of good wins and their resume is standing out compared to the other teams in this range. The Horns do have 8 losses, so they will want to be careful to not pick up a few more. 
  8. Wichita State's resume seems to be getting weaker by the day. They have fallen to #30 on the seed list and sitting as an Eight Seed.
  9. Missouri and Washington had big wins over the weekend over Kentucky and Arizona respectively. They are both in the field comfortably today as #10 seeds.
  10. The final two spots in the field were incredibly difficult today! I'm not kidding. I looked at 17 resumes for the final two spots and it wasn't fun. All 17 have flaws, and many have major flaws. Temple is so hard to place, but I ultimately left them out because of the brutal losses they have against GW, La Salle, Memphis and Tulane. So finally I settled on Boise State and Georgia as my final two. I could probably stare at this for another 10 hours and change my mind. I'm hoping the picture clears up soon so I can get better sleep.

Seed List 1-68

Seed List 2.5.18.JPG

ITB: January 29, 2018

           Biggest Jumps

  • Virginia's marquee road win over Duke propels them above Villanova for the time being. UVA's resume currently includes four Super Wins over the RPI Top 11. And their lone loss was in Morgantown, very respectable. I think it is enough to push them in front of Villanova and Purdue if the Tournament started today.
  • Auburn will not stop winning, and they have landed themselves into the #7 slot on the Seed List. Good for a number two seed and headed to Nashville/Atlanta. Which would be major for the Tigers if they can maintain this level of play.
  • Texas Tech capitalizes on another Quadrant 2 loss for North Carolina, and sneaks onto the three seed line, #12 overall. The Red Raiders picked up another Quality road win at South Carolina on Saturday.
  • Kentucky had a massive come from behind road win at West Virginia over the weekend. The Wildcats are still a little thin on Quadrant 1 wins (2), and land at #17 on the Seed List (5 seed).
  • Arkansas hung on for a narrow victory against Oklahoma State. The Razorbacks compared to some others in this range stand out for now with two Top 10 wins over Oklahoma and Tennessee.
  • Florida State avenged a loss to Miami and moved up to a number eight seed. They now have significant home wins against UNC and Miami to go along with road wins at Florida and Virginia Tech.
  • NC State made the biggest splash over the weekend with a road "Super Win" at UNC. The Wolfpack skyrocketted past teams like Providence, Washington, Nevada and others with a win of this magnitude to go along with the home wins over Duke and Clemson. The Pack are in comfortabally with a nine seed today.
  • Washington moved up a bit to a Number 10 seed over the weekend. Little of that had to do with UW's blowout win over WSU. More significant was the rise of Virginia Tech, USC, and Kansas. Helping improve the quality of wins and reducing a negative impact of the Hokies loss.
  • Virginia Tech's huge week with wins over UNC and at Notre Dame have vaulted them to barely inside the bubble for today. NonConf SOS is 295 still and if I were a Hokies fan, I'd be very concerned about that.

    Farthest Drops
  • West Virginia dropped to a 3 seed today after the weekend home loss to Kentucky. But the bigger concern is the Mountaineers RPI is all the way down to #34.
  • North Carolina went 0-2 last week including a tough loss at home to rival NC State. North Carolina's strong wins keep them in Protected seed land and #13 on the Seed List.
  • TCU had by far the furthest drop out of any of the teams today. The loss at Vanderbilt (#122) ruined a clean resume for the Horned Frogs. Additionally, Nevada/SMU/West Virginia all lost last week, which weakens the Frogs good wins a bit. After a full reevaluation, TCU land at #31 on the Seed List (8 seed).
  • Marquette had two golden opportunites last week against Xavier and Villanova and couldn't get the win in either. The losses dont kill them, but their loss total is now 8. I have them as the final 10 seed today.
  • Notre Dame has lost five straight including a home loss to the Hokies over the weekend. The injury to Bonzi Colson has been too much to overcome recently in ACC play. As a result the Irish RPI is down to #78. They are now on the outside looking in.
  • Missouri has been free falling as well, a road loss by double digits at Mississippi State wasn't a good look for the Tigers. They are now out of the field. Another big week as they travel to Alabama and host Kentucky this week.
  • Texas A&M is ice cold. Losers of seven of thier last nine games, the Aggies are clearly not playing like a tournament team. This resume can be rectified but they need to find some wins quickly.

          Most Intriguing Matchups

  • South Regional: Potential 2nd Round matchup between Auburn and Miami. Two schools who were at the center of the FBI Investigation at the beginning of the season would find themselves playing each other with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line.
  • East Regional: Michigan State vs. Loyola-Chicago. Red hot Loyola returning to Boise (where they were spanked by Boise State) to face a Michigan State team trying to overcome turmoil.
  • Midwest Regional: Potential 2nd Round matchup between Purdue and Saint Mary's. The big men Jock Landale and Isaac Haas going at each other would be a must watch.
  • West Regional: Potential Sweet 16 matchup of Arizona vs, Kansas in Los Angeles. Arizona may actually be favored in Vegas if this game happened.

Seed List 1-68

Seed List 1.28.18.JPG

Inside The Bracket - January 26, 2018

Overall, not a whole lot of Major changes since Sunday. Here is the rundown:

  • Virginia moves ahead of Duke for the third #1 seed due to adding a "Super Win" over Clemson. With Clemson still sitting at #6 in the RPI, it helps out the UVA case to be ahead of Duke.
  • Xavier jumps up from a three seed to a two seed thanks to a Quadrant 2 loss by UNC to Va. Tech and West Virginia losing at TCU. 
  • Clemson has injury concerns, for the time being they have a resume still worthy of a 3 seed.
  • Tennessee jumps in to the three seed mix. This makes me feel a bit uneasy, however they do have the strongest profile and all of their losses are clean (meaning nothing out of Quadrant 1).
  • TCU moves from #24 on the seed list to #18. Really the only team in this range to make a leap.
  • Florida dropped from #12 to #19 after the Home loss (Quadrant 2) to South Carolina.
  • Arizona State fell from #19 to #25 after another home loss tonight against Utah. ASU is free falling and clinging to their 12-0 NonConference record.
  • Rhode Island takes advantage of ASU's loss and improves to a #6 seed.
  • Texas A&M is joining ASU in the Tough to seed Parade. They took another loss to LSU and dropped to #35 overall (9 seed).
  • South Carolina joins the field and is in one of the Play-in games after the big win in Gainesville earlier this week.
  • SMU drops out after a tough loss at UConn. They will need to play more consistent to get back in. They continue to struggle against the middle of the American Conference.
  • Also joining the field are newcomers South Dakota, Nicholls State, and Bethune-Cookman

Seed List 1-68

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Inside The Bracket - January 22, 2018

Inside The Bracket - January 22, 2018

  • Excited to release my first bracket of the Regular Season. It has been a fun season already. I have had the pleasure to see teams from the Pac-12, Big 10, WCC, MAC, WAC, and NEC in person. And many more games to come. My goal is to see some of these teams first hand, especially potential bubble teams, to help make more accurate bracket projections.
  • The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee has new Team Sheet criteria in place for this March. The selection committee will no longer use top 50, top 100, 200 and 201 and above as dividing categories. Instead, the new terminology is quadrants 1, 2, 3 and 4. The decision is to get away from treating every team the same if the game was on the road, neutral or at home based on their power rating. Now the road/neutral games matter more.
  • Quick review for anyone unfamiliar. The actual NCAA committee will submit list ballots to the committee chairman throughout the seeding process, which eventually takes a pool of the top eight teams left on the board to select four teams per seed line. Since I am doing this on my own, I will take my highest eight teams for each seed line and do a full comparison on all eight, and select the top four. The remaining four stay in the mix for the next seed line down. This repeats itself until I get to the last four At Large selections. At that point I evaluate all "bubble" teams, typically a pool of 12-15 teams to select the last four teams. This will vary based on how the bubble is shaping up, for example certain times I may take a large pool of teams to determine any of the last 4-8 spots.
  • For The Bracketeer's Automatic Bid projections the following tiebreakers are used: 1) Head to Head 2) KenPom Rating if Head to Head does not suffice.

Seed List 1-68


Inside the Preseason Bracket

  • Each of the FBI Investigation highly ranked teams (Arizona, USC, Miami) were dinged slightly due to the inevitable distractions that will come up during the season. Really just hedging them three because I believe all of them will lose a game or two that they have no business losing.
  • Hearing that Collin Sexton is being suspended at Alabama after the Preseason Bracket was released. If this is permanent, move Marquette into the field and Alabama out.
  • My Conference Championship projections are based on a combination of talent and location of the Tournament.  For example Charleston has a big advantage playing in Charleston for the CAA Tourney.
  • Louisville was completely removed due to my presumption they will be banned from the tournament. If Louisville winds up with postseason eligibility by January, look for them in the next update.
  • Some intriguing match-ups across the bracket. Some of my favorites: Baylor vs. TAMU in Dallas, Gonzaga vs. Arizona (possible 2nd round), Florida vs. Dunk City (FGCU), Mercer vs. UNC (Mercer beat Duke last time they qualified for the dance).

Here is the Full Seed List:

Seed List 11.6.17.JPG

Preseason Under The Radar Conferences Summary

Hope you had a chance to listen to the podcast on the 22 Under The Radar Conferences. If you have not, here is the link:

To Summarize, I wanted to provide my predicted Regular Season Champion, Tournament Champion, and Player of the Year for each of the featured 22 Conferences discussed the HoopsHD Panel. Please see below:


Preseason Bracketology coming soon!

Welcome to another year of College Hoops! How many storylines could there possibly be by the time we get to March? This already was the most entertaining off-season in recent memory with seemingly thousands of transfers and the FBI crackdown. This makes the prediction business much more challenging and fun!  

I will be putting out a Preseason Bracket this year as usual and plan to post it by November 6th.  It will be comprised of what we know today about the Selection committee, FBI News, Schedule Strength and realistic Conference RPI for this year.  Make sure to check back early next week.  



Seed List 03.10.17

Teams in Bold are Projected Conference Champions.  Conference Champions in their school color are newly projected league champions. Teams higlighted in Yellow and in their school color have secured an Automatic Bid.

Seed List 03.07.17

Teams in Bold are Projected Conference Champions.  Conference Champions in their school color are newly projected league champions. Teams higlighted in Yellow and in their school color have secured an Automatic Bid.