Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Full Bracketed Field Projection - 02/18/20

Every couple of weeks or so I will do full blind re-scrub of the teams under consideration.  This will result in some changes to the field, and that was the case this week.

After fully scrubbing the field this morning Penn State, Creighton, Michigan and Arizona all made at least 2 Seed line jumps up on the seed list.

Sliding down at least 2 seed lines or more were West Virginia, Illinois, Bowling Green and Winthrop.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Seed List and Ranking of Field - 02/16

Here is the my current rankings and true seed list of the full 68 team field, plus the next 12 outside of the bubble and looking in through all games played Saturday, February 15th. 

Monday, February 10, 2020

First Full Bracketed Projection - 02/10/20

Today I am releasing a full update which includes a full bracket projection, created following NCAA Seeding and Bracketing guidelines.

This update is complete through games played Sunday, February 9th and does include some changes from the Seed List published yesterday.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

68 Team Tournament Field Projection - 02/09/2020

Here is my first full field projection list for this year's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.  Included in this release are the Top 4 Seeds in each Regional, assigned according to NCAA Bracketing Principles.  This is based on all games played through Saturday, February 8th.

Also included is a listing from 1-68 of the teams I am projecting would be in the field if it were selected today.

Finally, I have included the 12 Teams on the outside looking, in ranked order from 69-80.

As a caveat, this is a projection of what I feel the NCAA Selection Committee would do, not necessarily what I would do if I was the selection committee.

What is not included today (But may be by tomorrow morning) is bracket, with teams placed according to bracketing principles.  Future updates typically will include this, and can sometimes lead to seedings that vary from the S-Curve.  However, the Badgers are on in an hour and I have run out of time this morning.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Top 16 Seed Projections - 02/08/20

Today at 11:30 AM CST, the NCAA Selection Committee will release the Number 1 through 4 Seeds through games played on Friday, February 7th.   Its a view from the committee of the top 25% of the field if the committee had to announce its brackets today.

You can read more about it here: Selection Committee To Reveal Top 16 Teams as of 02/08

The NCAA Selection Committee has been giving this early preview of how they are evaluating top teams for a few years now.  I haven't published a full bracket projection prior to this reveal in past seasons.

While this year will be no different in regards to the reveal of my first full bracket of 68 Teams, I thought I might try something different this year and reveal my Top 16 in advance of the Committee to see how my current evaluation stacks up against the Committee so far.

Below are my 1 Through 4 Seeds, by Regional Assignment, and placed there according to NCAA Bracketing Principles (I have a link on the right hand margin which provides the official NCAA Bracketing Principles and Guidelines).  Also included are my current Top 20 teams on the S-Curve.

I believe the NCAA will provide a ranked list, from 1-16 and should answer some questions about how this particular committee may evaluate teams as we head towards selection Sunday.  Some things I will be interested to find out:

  • How will it rank Gonzaga compared to San Diego State?  Right now I have Gonzaga ranked above SD State by the slimmest of margins ... two better road or neutral court wins.  I will acknowledge though, that their loss to Michigan on a neutral court is starting to look worse with each passing week that Michigan slips in the NET rankings.  SD State remains unbeaten.  Which team gets ranked higher may give us a good idea of just how much weight the Committee is going to place on the NET in gauging Quad 1 wins.
  • How does the committee use the NET to sort out the top teams from PAC 12, and which teams, if any, crack the top 16?  I'm a bit mystified by the high NET ranking of Arizona (8).  Colorado (18) and Oregon (19) seem to me to have much better resumes.  Arizona, Despite being 2-4 against Quad 1, 0-3 against the top tier of Quad 1 teams which I call 'Quad 1a', and losses on a neutral court to St. John's (72) and at Oregon State (82), are ranked 10 spots higher in the NET than PAC 12 Leader Colorado and the team from the conference that I think has the best overall resume' to date in Oregon.  The Ducks are 6-3 vs Quad 1 teams, 3 of which are against Tier 1a teams.  They have a neutral court win over Seton Hall, and beat Arizona at home earlier this year.  If Arizona shows up in the top 16, ranked higher that either Colorado or Oregon,  it would suggest that NET Rankings are carrying more weight with the Committee than actual wins and losses in the top quads.
  • Dayton, similar to Arizona, is valued highly in the NET, ranked 5th but the basis for it is difficult to understand.  They do have a gaudy 20-2 record, but the resume' seems thin as I dive deeper.  They are the only team among my top 8 without a win against a Quad 1a tier opponent. Their best wins are on a neutral court against St. Mary's (33) and on their home court against VCU (32), who I have out of the field as of today with an S-Curve ranking of 73.  In fact, looking at the resume', St.Mary's is likely the only team they have beaten that I would expect in the field right now, and I have them as just a 7 seed.  Others have them even lower than that.  They have lost to every other team that I think is in at this point.  I have them as a #2 Seed today (barely) based on overall record and top 5 NET rating.  Can a team with only a single win against a  team that is probably no higher than a 6 or 7 seed today really be seriously considered for the 2 line?  Frankly, they look more like a 4 or 5 seed to me right now.  Where they land with the committee today should tell us something about how they evaluate wins against other teams in or under consideration for the field versus their overall record and NET ranking.  
  • Auburn, by the way, has a very similar looking resume' to Dayton, has a road win against a Quad 1a opponent, but is ranked 12 spots lower at 17 in the NET.  Where these two teams land in the top 16 relative to each other will be revealing as well.
The NCAA completed their top 16 Reveal a few minutes ago, and here is a quick look at how I did:
Quick Analysis:
  1. 10 of 16 Teams on the correct Seed Line
  2. 15 of 16 Teams within 1 of the Correct Seed Line*
  3. 5 of 16 Teams Ranked Correctly
  4. 12 of 16 Teams Ranked correct or within 2 Spots of NCAA Ranking*
  5. Missed 2 Teams in Top 16 (West Virginia, Michigan State instead of Penn State and Kentucky)
  6. Biggest Miss: West Virginia - 10 Ranks Spots/ 2 Seed Lines
* Committee Chairman indicated that LSU, Kentucky and Iowa generated the most discussion for inclusion in top 16.  Leads to assumption they were ranked in the 5 Seed line, and therefore counted Kentucky, who I included in top 16 as a 1 Seed Line Miss and 2 or less rank spots.

As I noted earlier, how the committee treated Dayton was going to be revealing.  They obviously think very highly of them despite the thin resume on wins over Quad 1 teams.  In looking at other metrics the committee appears to be relying upon beyond the NET ranking, Dayton and West Virginia both rank in the top 8 in efficiency metrics as ranked by Ken Pomeroy, at 6 and 7 respectively.  Auburn, who has similar, if not better resume in terms of quality of wins is ranked 29th by comparison in the Ken Pom rankings.  Seton Hall, who I had as the top 2 Seed, and ranked 5th overall is 13th in efficiency rankings.  To be honest, I think that is good thing.  I believe the Ken Pomeroy metrics to be among the very best in measuring team performance, especially when you have disparate schedules or resumes to try and compare.

Biggest shock to me was Michigan State being included given the quality of play recently.  Penn State just beat them this week, has a 6-3 record against Quad 1 (Michigan State is 3-6), are 10-4 against Quad 1&2 (Michigan State is 8-7) and 5-3 in Quad 1 & 2 games on Road or Neutral Courts (Michigan State is 3-5).  That to me was a big miss ... and could have made equally compelling cases for including Kentucky, LSU, Iowa or Colorado instead of Michigan State.  Again, it appears the Ken Pom rankings factor in heavily here.  Michigan State entered play today ranked 9th in efficiency.  Where I differ on this one though, despite my affinity for Ken Pom rankings, is that in my opinion, Michigan State just isn't winning enough against the best teams it plays.

It's That Time of Year Again!

Greetings fellow NCAA Basketball Bracketology fans and nerds.  It's that time of year again.  That time when College Basketball fans start turning their attention to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, and start to try and figure out which teams are on their way to a bid in the big dance, which ones are on the bubble to get in, and where they may ultimately get seeded should they get in.

This has become an annual endeavor for me dating back to the 2006-07 season.  It all started for me when I was becoming increasing frustrated as a Wisconsin Badger Fan by projections of a team that looked to me when watching them to be worthy of the programs first #1 seed continuing to get projected as a #2 or #3 by pundits and prognosticators leading up to selection Sunday.  So I opened up EXCEL, starting plugging data of what were generally considered to be the top 16-20 teams into a spreadsheet, and started analyzing the data to see what in the world I was missing.  The more I analyzed, and tried to develop algorithms and formulas for sorting and ranking, the more teams I kept adding to the spreadsheet, until I found myself trying to figure out not just where Wisconsin would get seeded, but which teams would get in, which ones would be left out, and what I thought the seeds of those teams should be.  I did miserably, as I recall.  I know I still felt like going into the Selection Show that Wisconsin had earned a #1 seed, and they wound up a #2.  I was convinced the committee had completely blown it ... at least until Wisconsin was upset in the Round of 32 by #7 Seed UNLV.

That exercise hooked me though.  From that point on, every year (except 2018) I have gone about the same exercise, and a few years ago, started sharing my projections on this site, and submitting to the The Bracket Project as a way of measuring my projections against other geeks like me across the county.  Generally speaking, its something I have slowly gotten better at with each passing season (though my results last year suggest regression).  I'm no expert, and don't claim to be.  However, I would argue I'm as good most years as the Joe Lunardi's and Jerry Palm's of the world who are paraded out every day in March on ESPN and CBS Sports respectively as the resident experts on who is going to get in, who is going to get left out, and who's going to be seeded where.  It's actually not something to brag about ... those guys are outperformed consistently year in and year out by dozens of people at the bracket project.  But, I would argue you can get just as good analysis from me most years as you can from them.

So thanks for stopping in, or stopping back, and checking things out as we get ready to embark on another season of this.  I hope you find the content interesting and thought provoking.


Sunday, March 17, 2019

Final Seed List - Sunday 4:45 PM CST

Duke ACC 1 1
Virginia ACC 1 2
Tennessee SEC 1 3
Gonzaga WCC 1 4
Michigan St. Big Ten 2 5
North Carolina ACC 2 6
Kentucky SEC 2 7
Michigan Big Ten 2 8
Houston AAC 3 9
Florida St. ACC 3 10
LSU SEC 3 11
Kansas Big 12 3 12
Texas Tech Big 12 4 13
Purdue Big Ten 4 14
Kansas St. Big 12 4 15
Wisconsin Big Ten 5 16
Iowa St. Big 12 5 17
Mississippi St. SEC 5 18
Virginia Tech ACC 5 19
Auburn SEC 5 20
Villanova Big East 6 21
Marquette Big East 6 22
Buffalo MAC 6 23
Cincinnati AAC 6 24
Maryland Big Ten 7 25
Nevada MWC 7 26
Louisville ACC 7 27
Wofford SoCon 7 28
Iowa Big Ten 8 29
UCF AAC 8 30
Seton Hall Big East 8 31
Minnesota Big Ten 8 32
Ole Miss SEC 9 33
Baylor Big 12 9 34
VCU A10 9 35
Utah St. MWC 9 36
St. John's (NY) Big East 10 37
Arizona St. Pac-12 10 38
Florida SEC 10 39
Washington Pac-12 10 40
Temple AAC 11 41
Oklahoma Big 12 11 42
Syracuse ACC 11 43
TCU Big 12 11 44
Belmont OVC 11 45
Oregon Pac-12 11 46
Saint Mary's (CA) WCC 12 47
Murray State OVC 12 48
New Mexico St. WAC 12 49
UC Irvine Big West 12 50
Old Dominion C-USA 13 51
Northeastern CAA 13 52
Liberty ASUN 13 53
Saint Louis A10 13 54
Georgia State Sun Belt 14 55
Vermont AmEast 14 56
Yale Ivy 14 57
Montana Big Sky 14 58
Colgate Patriot 15 59
Northern Kentucky Horizon 15 60
Bradley MVC 15 61
Gardner-Webb Big South 15 62
Abilene Christian Southland 16 63
North Dakota State Summit 16 64
Prairie View SWAC 16 65
Iona MAAC 16 66
Fairleigh Dickinson NEC 16 67
N.C. Central MEAC 16 68
Ohio St. Big Ten OUT 69
NC State ACC OUT 70
Alabama SEC OUT 71