Inside the Bracket

Seed List 02.17.17

Teams in Bold are Projected Conference Champions.  Conference Champions in their school color are newly projected league champions.

Seed List 02.13.17

Teams in Bold are Projected Conference Champions.  Conference Champions in their school color are newly projected league champions.

Seed List 02.10.17

Teams in Bold are Projected Conference Champions.  Conference Champions in their school color are newly projected league champions.

Seed List Notes:

1-4. Really hard to place Gonzaga.  We will find out tomorrow.  But these 4 teams are the clear #1 seeds in my book.  At least I feel good about that.

5-8. Feeling mostly good about the #2 seeds too.  Arizona is the most debatable of the bunch.  I am looking at this as if the tournament started today.  So that assumes Arizona wins the Pac-12, in which case they deserve that #2 seed.

9-10.  I think Louisville, Oregon belong right here for now.  Can't put them with the next group below in my book.  And it's easy to make a case to be with the #2's.

11-19. This is pretty tough right now.  Duke's win last night made it tougher.  I am high on West Virginia because they've beaten two #1 seeds as of now.  UCLA is tough to place right now, I am impressed by their win at Rupp.  Butler is also tough to place, up and down team lately with a great overall resume.

20. Creighton is set here because of two reasons. Recent play combined with a strong resume.  Can't make a case to be higher due to Watson's injury and can't knock them down to 3rd tier quite yet with their resume.

21-33.  Xavier had a real nice road win in Omaha to sharpen their resume and move up a seed line.   Maryland's loss at Penn State wasn't pretty at all, they dropped a seed line.  SMU is a tough team to seed because they steamroll everyone but don't have an incredible resume.  Big game for the Mustangs this weekend hosting Cincinnati.  The three State schools of the Big 12 have outstanding road wins (KSU over Baylor, OK State over West Virginia, and ISU over KU) really solidifying their spot in the tournament today.  Each need to be sure not to slip up at home and all will be in.  And Northwestern has plenty of chances to make up for their loss to Illinois ahead, they are still in great shape.

34-43. TCU is a team I've enjoyed watching this year, they play hard and take care of the basketball.  Good to see them get rolling lately. VCU has got to be the luckiest team in the country - to pull out their last two wins was a miracle or a conspiracy depending on your views. Nevertheless, they are winning the A-10 and building their profile.  Syracuse remained hot by pulling out a huge last second road win at Clemson.  Miami's profile is actually starting to compare favorably compared to most of the bubble as they picked up a key win over Virginia Tech. I moved Wichita State one spot above Middle Tennessee because the Shockers are obliterating tougher opposition lately and MTSU has a similar profile just without the sexy metrics.  

44-47.  Marquette has really dropped lately, just picking up too many losses.  They have several chances ahead to climb back up.  Illinois State has had too good of a year thus far to not get in.  They seem like an ideal First Four team right now, another loss in the MVC and that likely changes.  Michigan gets back into the field after demolishing rival Michigan State.  They need to root for their rivals the rest of the way so that win continues to carry weight.  And finally my last team in is Indiana.  Holding on by a thread, but they still have a stronger resume than the teams on the outside looking in.

48-68.  Simply using KenPom rankings.  UNC-Wilmington is on the verge of At-Large discussion should they lose in the CAA tournament.  Beginning next Friday I will breakdown this group more thoroughly.

Teams out.  Rhode Island is close but they really need a signature win and might need two. Huge opportunity for the Rams tonight against Dayton.  I can't put them in over a team like Indiana yet.  Tennessee is getting very close as well, another key victory on the road would be huge for their resume and they still have South Carolina and Kentucky on the road.  I like Texas Tech's profile despite the bleak RPI (87).  They need to rack up a road win or two.  Red Raiders get Kansas and Baylor at home next, great opportunities.  Vanderbilt and Alabama are teams playing very well and could make a big final push.  Watch out for them. 

Enjoy the games this weekend!

Seed List 02.06.17

Teams in Bold are Projected Conference Champions.  Conference Champions in their school color are newly projected league champions.

Seed List 1.30.17

Here is today's Seed List.  Teams in Bold are Projected Conference Champions.  Conference Champions in their school color are newly projected league champions.

Seed List 01.23.17

Here is today's Seed List.  Teams in Bold are Projected Conference Champions.  Conference Champions in their school color are newly projected league champions.

Seed List 1.16.17

Here is today's Seed List.  Teams in Bold are Projected Conference Champions.  Conference Champions in their school color are newly projected league champions.

Wooden Legacy Predictions

  1. UCLA - This strikes me as a must win tournament for UCLA to elevate their status as a legitimate contender this season.  They have the best player in the tournament, Lonzo Ball, and it is in their backyard.  I think they get it done this weekend. The Pac-12 could really use this as a whole for the Conference RPI as well.
  2. Texas A&M - I am not exactly sold on the Aggies.  I would be surprised if they lost to Northridge, but can certainly see VTech or the Lobos beating them in the Semifinals.
  3. Dayton - Flyers are scrappy and hungry after the loss to Saint Mary's last week.  They will be in three battles in this tournament as long as they win the opener.  I see them winning that and the 3rd place game over....
  4. New Mexico - Predicting an upset over the Hokies in Round 1, despite the fact that I believe the Hokies are in my field of 68 right now.  I am thinking New Mexico will be more amped for this game in Titan Gym.
  5. Virginia Tech - The loss to the Lobos will wake them up and they will bounce back to beat Northridge and Nebraska.
  6. Nebraska - Mystery team coming in undefeated.  I see them battling Dayton and falling short in round 1.
  7. Portland - Don't sleep on the Pilots.  They come in undefeated and ready to prove themselves.  But I see them falling short in the first two games.
  8. Cal State Northridge - The Matadors are also a tough out with solid overall talent.  But again, someone has to finish 8th.

Advocare Invitational Predictions

  1. Miami - Coach Larranaga has had hot starts to seasons recently and I'm forecasting his team to win this tournament against a highly contested field.  
  2. Gonzaga - I see them having the experience to squeak by Florida in the semifinals, but Miami will come with more energy in the Final.
  3. Iowa State - I see the Cyclones bouncing back from a tough loss to Miami in the Semis to beat Florida for 3rd Place.
  4. Florida - Could certainly win this tournament.  Somebody has to get 4th.
  5. Seton Hall - So many important games will be played in Orlando.  And the 5th-6th place game between the Hall and Stanford will be important for both of these potential bubble teams.
  6. Stanford - Been impressed with this team early, we will learn about them this week.
  7. Indiana State - This field will be too much for the Sycamores, except the 7th place game.  Already had to play two OT games against Ball State and NIU.  
  8. Quinnipiac - Completely overmatched until the game vs. Indiana State.

Early Season Observations and Preseason Seed List

Got a late start this year, but you can find The Bracketeer's preseason seed list at the bottom of this post.  Since the time that this came out there are some obvious disappointments.  Texas, UConn, NC State, Washington, and Texas Tech are all off to sluggish starts.  UConn already has 4 losses!  I am going to let the season play out for a bit before doing the next bracket projection (likely around Christmas time).

A few thoughts on the young season:

  • I see six elite teams so far: UNC, Kentucky, Duke, Villanova, Kansas, and Virginia.  Syracuse and Louisville could join the ranks if they can prove themselves in the coming weeks.  
  • UNC really impressed me with their showing in Maui.  Dominating Wisconsin is not easy and its pretty rare.  UNC made it look easy last night.
  • Villanova's gutsy win at Purdue followed by winning the Charleston Classic proved that they have no signs of dropping off from last year.
  • Initially I had Florida State and Notre Dame out, we will see how FSU fares in Barclay's the next couple of days.  The Noles have the talent to make a run this year and do big things. My preseason gut feeling was simply that they would have a disappointing finish to their schedule and be one of the First Four out.  They have a history of being hyped in preseason and falling short by March.  As for Notre Dame, they have already proved me wrong and they will be likely in a much higher position by the next update.
  • The Bracket Matrix is showing 11 teams from the ACC out of 15 making the tournament.  I simply cannot envision this happening.  I remember when the Big East had 11 out of 16 a few years ago but this ACC is not quite as deep in my opinion.  The ACC would need an incredibly strong Non-Conf RPI for the committee to consider putting 11 ACC teams in the field.  My initial bracket has 9 teams in.  And if I did another one today I would likely have Notre Dame and Florida State in and NC State out.  But once conference play starts expect at least 2 of these 11 to play themselves out.
  • Teams that have already played themselves out for now: UConn, Washington, Texas, Texas Tech, NC State, Georgetown.
  • Who would be in now? - South Carolina, Notre Dame, Florida State, USC, Oklahoma State, Maryland

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!


Quality Wins

One of the favorite topics for bracketologists this time of year is Quality Wins vs. Bad Losses.  My predictions are always based on guessing what the committee would do if the season ended today.  With that being said, I put slightly more weight on a Quality Win than a Bad Loss.  What I consider to be a Quality WIn, are wins against teams that are still in the realistic hunt for an At Large Bid.  Then comparing resumes as I work thru the Seed List to generate a final outcome.  This process must happen before every bracket update, because the bubble and tournament profiles are constantly shifting.  Below I've outlined some teams that stand out to me as teams that need to add more Quality Wins to achieve their goals.

  1. North Carolina - Yes, they beat Maryland (we will get to them shortly) at home.  Yes, they currently sit in 1st place in the ACC.  But besides that, what else have they done that warrants a #1 seed thus far?  Big opportunity this week to take care of Duke and Miami at home.  Win those two and they'll be close to a #1.  Also, the Heels have trips to Virginia and Duke before the ACC Tournament.  
  2. Dayton - The Flyers have had a tremendous season and are a lock to make the tournament.  They own a huge win over Iowa on a Neutral Court.  But also own an ugly loss to #244 La Salle. The biggest problem for Dayton is how bad the Atlantic 10 has been.  They dont have many chances to improve their current position.  Highest I can foresee them getting to is a #3 seed.
  3. Maryland - The home loss against Wisconsin last weekend was a long time coming for the Terps.  They've had several scares this season for Bad Losses and now have a home loss against one of the few teams they beat on the road.  Maryland has a very talented team, but they haven't meshed the way I expected them to earlier in preseason.  They still have big games @Purdue, @Indiana, and vs. Michigan on the schedule before B10 tournament time.  
  4. South Carolina - Gamecocks got a clutch win at Texas A&M ten days ago.  And now the Aggies have tanked, which isn't helping South Carolina's resume.  Even worse, they got blown out of their own gym against Kentucky when they had a big opportunity to add to their resume.  The Gamecocks should be safe, but another Quality Win would go a long way to guarantee it.
  5. Seton Hall - Here we go again with the Pirates back on the bubble.  Losing at home to Butler last week was rough.  Making matters worse, is the recent collapse of Wichita State.  That win is not carrying as much weight as it did two weeks ago.  They go to Georgetown and St. John's this week and can't afford to slip up.  Chances will come for Quality Wins next week against Providence and Xavier.


2/5 Seed List - Lousiville Removed.

With the news that Louisville handed themselves a Postseason Ban, we now have welcomed Saint Joseph's back into the field.  Bubble teams with hope got some great news today.  Please see above for where we see the College Basketball landscape going into the 2/5 weekend.  Enjoy the games everyone!