Sunday, February 11, 2018

Top 16 Projection for 2/11/2018 - Factoring in Saturday's Games

Last season the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee released their top 16 on a Saturday afternoon, prior to the games being played. As people that follow college basketball know, Saturdays are the biggest day for the game, with nearly every team playing. This season, the committee is releasing the top 16 projection on Sunday, and it is uncertain how much of a factor Saturday's results will play into it. I personally think it should be factored in, as one team's profile has materially changed in just 24 hours, showing the challenges of the art of bracketolgoy.

As such, I have revised my top 16 projection in anticipation of the committee factoring in Saturday's results.

1 seeds: Virginia, Villanova, Xavier, Kansas
2 seeds: Purdue, Clemson, Auburn, Texas Tech
3 seeds: North Carolina, Cincinnati, Tennessee, Duke
4 seeds: Michigan State, Ohio State, Arizona, Rhode Island

Teams just missing the cut (aka the 5 seeds): Wichita State, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Texas A&M

The profile that has materially changed is Michigan State. Prior to Saturday, the Spartans did not have a profile deserving of a top 16 ranking. On Saturday, they beat Purdue, picking up their best win of the season. But that's not the only thing that changed. Due to Notre Dame's upset of Florida State and UConn playing Wichita State, the Spartans retroactively picked up two Tier 2 wins on Saturday. That means they went from having 5 total Tier 1 + Tier 2 wins (the lowest of the teams I considered) to 8, all in the matter of 24 hours. Their SOS has improved from 94th to 79th. That is still the worst of all teams considered, and I think that caps them at a 4 seed for now.

The other change was moving Texas Tech up to the 2 seed line, replacing them with Tennessee. Tennessee got blown out at Alabama on Saturday and Texas Tech picked up a Tier 1 win at Kansas State. I would not be surprised to see North Carolina get the final 2 seed, however, given their volume of Tier 1 wins (7 compared to just 4 for Texas Tech).

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