Sunday, February 16, 2020

2/16/20 Bracketology


Teams are ranked in order by seed. Auto bids are in bold.

1 seeds: Baylor, Kansas, Gonzaga, San Diego State

2 seeds: Duke, Dayton, Maryland, Penn State

3 seeds: Florida State, Louisville, Seton Hall, Auburn

4 seeds: Creighton, Villanova, Oregon, West Virginia

5 seeds: Colorado, Michigan State, Butler, Kentucky

6 seeds: Marquette, Ohio State, Arizona, Iowa

7 seeds: LSU, Houston, Wisconsin, BYU

8 seeds: Michigan, Texas Tech, Illinois, Oklahoma

9 seeds: Rutgers, Florida, Rhode Island, Wichita State

10 seeds: Saint Mary’s, Xavier, Cincinnati, Indiana

11 seeds: USC, Arizona State, Purdue, Virginia, Utah State, Georgetown

12 seeds: Northern Iowa, East Tennessee State, Yale, Liberty

13 seeds: Vermont, Stephen F. Austin, North Texas, Akron

14 seeds: New Mexico State, Colgate, Wright State, Hofstra

15 seeds: Winthrop, UC Irvine, Little Rock, Murray State

16 seeds: South Dakota State, Montana, Rider, Prairie View A&M, Robert Morris, NC Central



/**********************************************************************************/
Last 4 In: Purdue, Virginia, Utah State, Georgetown
First 4 Out: Arkansas, Richmond, Alabama, NC State
/**********************************************************************************/

Friday, February 7, 2020

Top 16 Projection for 2/8/20 Reveal


Tomorrow afternoon the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee will be releasing their third annual top 16 team projection. The committee’s goal is to shed light on the selection and seeding process, letting the public know what factors they deem most important in determining where teams are ranked. Below is my attempt to mimic what their ranking will be, as well as what region the teams will play in. Note that this projection is reflective of results through Friday 2/7.

Teams below are ranked in order by seed.

1 seeds: Baylor, Kansas, San Diego State, Gonzaga
2 seeds: Dayton, Louisville, Duke, Maryland
3 seeds: West Virginia, Florida State, Villanova, Seton Hall
4 seeds: Auburn, Oregon, Butler, Creighton

Teams just missing the cut (aka the 5 seeds): Penn State, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan State



There seems to be a consensus in the bracktology community that the 1 seeds are Baylor, Kansas, San Diego State and Gonzaga, likely in that order. I feel confident on all other teams up to and including Oregon making the cut. I'm interested in seeing see how the committee handles Auburn and Dayton. Another team that I have ranked as the top 6 seed, Arizona, could sneak in if the committee relies heavily on pure NET ranking. Arizona is ranked 8th in the NET, but the consensus among bracketologists is the resume fits the bill of a 5-6 seed team - they just do not have good wins away from home. I'll also be intrigued to see if Penn State sneaks into the top 16. They have really good wins, especially compared to Auburn and Oregon, but a loss to Ole Miss in the non conference and a non conference SOS ranked in the 330s (out of 353 total D1 teams) I think is going to be enough to just keep them out. The committee has historically punished teams with non conference SOSs in the 300s.

This is the second best day of the year in the bracketology universe, only behind Selection Sunday, and I’m looking forward to learning what the committee values as that will not only help rank these team but also help shape the bubble picture in determining which teams to include and which teams to exclude in rounding out the field of 68.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

2/2/20 Bracketology


Teams are ranked in order by seed. Auto bids are in bold.

1 seeds: Baylor, Kansas, San Diego State, Gonzaga

2 seeds: West Virginia, Florida State, Duke, Dayton

3 seeds: Villanova, Seton Hall, Louisville, Auburn

4 seeds: Maryland, Creighton, Butler, Oregon

5 seeds: Michigan State, Colorado, LSU, Iowa

6 seeds: Penn State, Arizona, Kentucky, Illinois

7 seeds: Marquette, USC, Rutgers, Houston

8 seeds: Arkansas, Wichita State, Wisconsin, Ohio State

9 seeds: BYU, Michigan, Stanford, Indiana

10 seeds: Oklahoma, Florida, Rhode Island, Saint Mary’s

11 seeds: Memphis, Texas Tech, VCU, Xavier, Mississippi State, Georgetown

12 seeds: Northern Iowa, East Tennessee State, Yale, Liberty

13 seeds: Vermont, Stephen F. Austin, North Texas, New Mexico State

14 seeds: Wright State, Winthrop, Colgate, UC Irvine

15 seeds: Bowling Green, Little Rock, South Dakota State, Murray State

16 seeds: William & Mary, Montana, Monmouth, Texas Southern, Merrimack, Norfolk State



/**********************************************************************************/
Last 4 In: VCU, Xavier, Mississippi State, Georgetown
First 4 Out: Virginia, Minnesota, Purdue, Alabama
/**********************************************************************************/

Sunday, January 26, 2020

1/26/2020 Bracketology


Teams are ranked in order by seed. Auto bids are in bold and are determined via KenPom projections, with tiebreaker being awarded to the head-to-head winner. Second tiebreaker is awarded to the team ranked higher in KenPom’s rankings.

1 seeds: Baylor, Kansas, San Diego State, Gonzaga

2 seeds: Seton Hall, West Virginia, Florida State, Duke

3 seeds: Dayton, Butler, Oregon, Villanova

4 seeds: Michigan State, Louisville, Maryland, Colorado

5 seeds: Iowa, Auburn, Kentucky Penn State

6 seeds: LSU, Creighton, Illinois, Rutgers

7 seeds: Wichita State, Arizona, Marquette, Houston

8 seeds: USC, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Indiana

9 seeds: Stanford, BYU, Ohio State, Michigan

10 seeds: Oklahoma, Florida, Minnesota, Memphis

11 seeds: Saint Mary’s, Texas Tech, Purdue, NC State, Virginia Tech, Rhode Island

12 seeds: Liberty, Northern Iowa, East Tennessee State, Yale

13 seeds: Akron, North Texas, Vermont, Stephen F. Austin

14 seeds: New Mexico State, William & Mary, Wright State, Colgate

15 seeds: UC Irvine, Little Rock, Murray State, Montana

16 seeds: South Dakota State, Winthrop, Saint Francis (PA), Norfolk State, Prairie View A&M, Monmouth



/**********************************************************************************/
Last 4 In: Purdue, NC State, Virginia Tech, Rhode Island
First 4 Out: Georgetown, VCU, Alabama, DePaul
/**********************************************************************************/

Sunday, January 19, 2020

1/19/2020 Bracketology


Teams are ranked in order by seed. Auto bids are in bold and are determined via KenPom projections, with tiebreaker being awarded to the head-to-head winner. Second tiebreaker is awarded to the team ranked higher in KenPom’s rankings.

1 seeds: Baylor, Kansas, San Diego State, Gonzaga

2 seeds: Seton Hall, West Virginia, Duke, Florida State

3 seeds: Dayton, Michigan State, Butler, Oregon

4 seeds: Louisville, Maryland, Villanova, Colorado

5 seeds: Michigan, Ohio State, Auburn, LSU

6 seeds: Kentucky, Iowa, Arizona, Wichita State

7 seeds: Wisconsin, Creighton, Penn State, Arkansas

8 seeds: Rutgers, Memphis, Indiana, Marquette

9 seeds: Stanford, Houston, BYU, Florida

10 seeds: Oklahoma, USC, Texas Tech, Illinois

11 seeds: Purdue, DePaul, Saint Mary’s, Virginia Tech, Minnesota, NC State

12 seeds: Liberty, Northern Iowa, East Tennessee State, Yale

13 seeds: Akron, Louisiana Tech, Vermont, Stephen F. Austin

14 seeds: Georgia State, New Mexico State, Belmont, William & Mary

15 seeds: Wright State, Colgate, Northern Colorado, UC Irvine

16 seeds: South Dakota State, Winthrop, Quinnipiac, Saint Francis (PA), Grambling State, Norfolk State



/**********************************************************************************/
Last 4 In: Saint Mary’s, Virginia Tech, Minnesota, NC State
First 4 Out: Georgetown, VCU, Washington, Virginia
/**********************************************************************************/

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Ranking Non-Conference Strength of Schedule (Part 2)


Part two of ranking the non-conference SOS for all major conference teams continues with a deeper dive into the top ten’s schedules. The top ten on-conference SOS based on my method are below:

  1. Florida
  2. Alabama
  3. Auburn
  4. Cincinnati
  5. Kansas
  6. Purdue
  7. Temple
  8. North Carolina
  9. Michigan St.
  10. Wisconsin


The first thing that jumps out to me is each of the top three teams are from the SEC. That tells me that the SEC has a great opportunity to get some additional teams into the NCAA tournament if those teams perform well in their non-conference schedule as it will bolster the conference’s ranking. The second thing I noticed was three Big Ten teams making the cut, with two of those three being contenders for the conference title and the other being a bubble team. Let’s dig into each of these team’s schedule a little bit.

1. Florida
Opponent
Location
KenPom Rank
Quadrant
North Florida
Home
184
4
Florida St.
Home
14
1
Towson
Home
161
4
Connecticut
Away
71
1
Saint Joseph’s
Neutral
216
4
Miami FL
Neutral
65
2
Xavier
Neutral
18
1
Marshall
Home
195
4
Butler
Away
33
1
Providence
Neutral
31
1
Utah St.
Neutral
68
2
Long Beach St.
Home
309
4
Baylor
Home
13
1

Florida has 6 projected games in Quad 1, including road trips to UConn and Butler. Their holiday tournament features potential matchups against in-state rival Miami FL and a championship game against Xavier. Another neutral court game against Providence will be a challenge, as the Friars are a sexy dark horse pick to win the Big East Conference. At opposite ends of the schedule are two home games against preseason KenPom top 15 teams – Florida State and Baylor. The Baylor game is a Big 12/SEC Challenge game and comes in January. The 6 Quad 1 games are second most in the nation, but what also helps Florida’s SOS is their worst opponent ranks 304th (out of 353) and their other Quad 4 games are against teams ranked between 161 and 216.

2. Alabama
Opponent
Location
KenPom Rank
Quadrant
Penn
Home
112
3
Florida Atlantic
Home
177
4
Rhode Island
Away
83
2
Furman
Home
105
3
North Carolina
Neutral
6
1
Iowa St.
Neutral
47
1
Southern Miss
Neutral
229
4
Stephen F. Austin
Home
300
4
Penn St.
Away
43
1
Samford
Away
128
2
Belmont
Neutral
85
2
Richmond
Home
92
3
Kansas St.
Home
49
2

Alabama draws North Carolina in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, and even with a loss they would face a likely Quad 1 opponent. Road games against Penn State, Rhode Island and Samford (?!) provide opportunities for the Crimson Tide to pick up road wins against quality opponents. The committee really values winning on the road and on neutral courts when comparing otherwise comparable teams. Their Big 12/SEC Challenge opponent is defending Big 12 Champion Kansas St. Much like Florida, their Quad 4 games are against the “better half” of Quad 4, which helps out when ranking schedules by average tam ranking.

3. Auburn
Opponent
Location
KenPom Rank
Quadrant
Georgia Southern
Home
126
3
Davidson
Neutral
61
2
South Alabama
Away
120
2
Cal ST. Northridge
Home
175
4
Colgate
Home
115
3
New Mexico
Neutral
91
2
Wisconsin
Neutral
45
1
Furman
Home
105
3
Saint Louis
Neutral
141
3
N.C. State
Home
28
1
Lehigh
Home
227
4
Lipscomb
Home
182
4
Iowa St.
Home
47
2

Auburn has just two projected Quad 1 games, the fewest of any team on this list. What helps them get this high on these rankings is their average ranking of opponents in Quad 4 games, which is 195. That is the best of all 92 teams in this analysis. They only play one true road game, at South Alabama, and have a potential neutral court game against Wisconsin. Their other Quad 1 game, which just barley makes the cut, is a home game against NC State. Upon closer inspection of the schedule, it isn’t nearly as difficult as their ranking suggests.

4. Cincinnati
Opponent
Location
KenPom Rank
Quadrant
Ohio St.
Away
11
1
Drake
Home
150
3
Alabama A&M
Home
350
4
Illinois St.
Neutral
226
4
Western Kentucky
Neutral
86
2
Nevada
Neutral
98
2
UNLV
Home
164
4
Vermont
Home
78
3
Xavier
Away
18
1
Colgate
Home
115
3
Tennessee
Home
19
1
Iowa
Neutral
41
1

Cincinnati opens the season on the road against Ohio State, a team that is projected to finish between second and fourth in the Big Ten Conference this season. The Bearcats also hit the road against their crosstown rival Xavier. Their holiday tournament isn’t that strong of a field and they should win the tournament. A home game against perennial American East Conference contender Vermont just before the Xavier game is a classic trap game. A home game against Tennessee and a neutral court game against Iowa in Chicago anchors a very impressive non-conference schedule.

5. Kansas
Opponent
Location
KenPom Rank
Quadrant
Duke
Neutral
4
1
UNC Greensboro
Home
108
3
Monmouth
Home
247
4
East Tennessee St.
Home
74
2
Chaminade
Neutral
354
4
BYU
Neutral
72
2
Michigan St.
Neutral
1
1
Colorado
Home
37
2
Milwaukee
Home
239
4
UMKC
Neutral
230
4
Villanova
Away
8
1
Stanford
Away
90
2
Tennessee
Home
19
1

Kansas may have the best nonconference schedule in the nation but falls victim to an assumption in my method. The Jayhawks open the Maui Invitational against DII school Chaminade, a game that technically won’t count as a game played on the selection committee’s team sheet. My method assumes games against DII schools are equivalent to playing to worst team in DI, meaning that game is against the 354th ranked team. If that game were removed from the average ranking, Kansas finishes first with an average opponent ranking of 94 – by comparison, Florida is ranked first and their average opponent ranking is 106. Kansas opens the season against Duke in the Champions Classic, heads to Maui for a likely showdown with preseason #1 Michigan State in the championship game, hosts a very good Colorado team after returning home from Hawaii, and then ends the nonconference season with three tough games – at Villanova, at Stanford and home against Tennessee. That’s three top 10 opponents on their schedule with none of those games being played at home. Once again, Kansas will likely have the #1 ranked nonconference SOS come March.

6. Purdue
Opponent
Location
KenPom Rank
Quadrant
Green Bay
Home
197
4
Texas
Home
32
2
Marquette
Away
17
1
Chicago St.
Home
351
4
Jacksonville St.
Home
215
4
VCU
Neutral
23
1
Florida St.
Neutral
14
1
Virginia
Home
5
1
Ohio
Away
223
3
Butler
Neutral
33
1
Central Michigan
Home
168
4

Purdue has the a challenging but not overly daunting nonconference schedule, which is ideal for a team they needs to find a new offensive identity following the departure of Carsen Edwards. It features four games against Quad 1 opponents and just one walk over (Chicago St.) opponent. They host Texas in the second game of the season and then turn around and hit the road against Marquette. Their holiday tournament will feature two Quad 1 games guaranteed, as all four tams in the field are ranked in the top 50. Upon returning from their holiday tournament, the Boilermakers host Virginia in a rematch of that epic Elite Eight game. Purdue then plays Ohio on the road, for reasons unknown, before facing Butler in the Crossroads Classic.

7. Temple
Opponent
Location
KenPom Rank
Quadrant
Drexel
Home
237
4
Morgan St.
Home
272
4
La Salle
Away
218
3
USC
Away
48
1
Maryland
Neutral
16
1
Harvard
Neutral
75
2
Davidson
Neutral
61
2
Missouri
Home
39
2
Saint Joseph's
Home
216
4
Miami FL
Neutral
65
2
Rider
Home
157
3
Penn
Away
112
2
Villanova
Home
8
1

Temple plays three Quad 1 games against USC, Maryland and Villanova. Their holiday tournament features a solid field with projected games against top 100 teams Harvard and Davidson. Additionally, they face power conference schools Missouri at home and Miami FL on a neutral court. What makes the schedule even more challenging is only 6 of their 13 non-conference games are at home. The Owls are looking for back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time since 2012-2013, and this schedule presents the opportunity to achieve that.

8. North Carolina
Opponent
Location
KenPom Rank
Quadrant
UNC Wilmington
Away
266
4
Gardner Webb
Home
205
4
Elon
Home
330
4
Alabama
Neutral
70
2
Michigan
Neutral
21
1
Gonzaga
Neutral
9
1
Ohio St.
Home
11
1
Wofford
Home
121
3
Gonzaga
Away
9
1
UCLA
Neutral
107
3
Yale
Home
146
3

North Carolina once again has one of the most challenging schedules in the nation. They open the season by hitting the road against an in-state opponent, then return home for a couple of cupcakes before heading to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis. They open against Alabama, then have potential Quad 1 games against Michigan and Gonzaga. What’s interesting is North Carolina also has scheduled a game at Gonzaga later in the season, so there is a potential for those teams to meet up twice. A home matchup against Ohio State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge right after the Battle 4 Atlantis should offer a great test for this revamped Tar Heel team.

9. Michigan St.
Opponent
Location
KenPom Rank
Quadrant
Kentucky
Neutral
2
1
Binghamton
Home
324
4
Seton Hall
Away
20
1
Charleston Southern
Home
209
4
Virginia Tech
Neutral
54
2
Georgia
Neutral
55
2
Kansas
Neutral
10
1
Duke
Home
4
1
Oakland
Away
191
3
Eastern Michigan
Home
206
4
Western Michigan
Home
255
4

Michigan State arguably has the toughest schedule in the fact that they play Kentucky in the Champions Classic to open the season, Duke in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, and potentially face Kansas in the championship game of the Maui Invitational. Those teams are ranked 2, 4 and 3 in the AP poll, and oh by the way Michigan State is ranked #1. As a fan of college basketball, I cannot wait to see those games. I haven’t even mentioned yet their third game of the season, when Sparty hits the road against one of the best teams in the Big East, Seton Hall, in the Gavitt Games. The Spartans also play a road game against in-state foe Oakland.

10. Wisconsin
Opponent
Location
KenPom Rank
Quadrant
Saint Mary's
Neutral
26
1
Eastern Illinois
Home
254
4
McNeese St.
Home
322
4
Marquette
Home
17
1
Green Bay
Home
197
4
Richmond
Neutral
92
2
Auburn
Neutral
22
1
N.C. State
Away
28
1
Milwaukee
Home
239
4
Tennessee
Away
19
1
Rider
Home
157
3

Wisconsin adjusts to life without Eathan Happ this season, and the non-conference schedule will provide challenges right out the gate with a neutral court game against Saint Mary’s. The annual game against Marquette will be in Madison, offering the opportunity for a Quad 1 win. Their holiday tournament features an opening game against Quad 2 opponent than Richmond and a potential title game against Auburn. The Badgers travel to NC State for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and travel to Tennessee. In all, the Badgers have five potential Quad 1 games, which will offer them opportunities to find themselves on the right side of the bubble come Selection Sunday.