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