It’s time for our penultimate bracket! This is always a sad moment…a flurry of activity all week ends up collapsing in on itself in a few hours. And then it’s all over for 10 months. Sad.
Anyway, here we go:
Since we’re close to the end, let’s look at the Last Four In more closely than normal:
(33) – Temple: Temple did themselves no favors in the AAC tournament, but at least they didn’t lose to a bad team. We’ve definitely proven that they cannot beat SMU. Wyoming’s victory last night moves them into the play-in game.
(34) – Indiana: We covered IU in-depth yesterday. Not much else to say except that I think they’re still safe, and I think they made things way too hard on themselves in this whole process.
(35) – BYU: Okay, here’s the deal with BYU (and Miami) – If the committee values good road wins and SOS, then BYU and Miami will likely be in. If they don’t, then you could very easily see Colorado State or Boise State (or both) in this spot. I’m placing my bets on the committee opting for quality of wins over quantity of wins. If the committee breaks the other direction, that could mean good news for the Mountain West…and very good news for Murray State (who I don’t even have as a factor right now due to a lack of quality wins).
(36) – Miami: (See above)
Last Four Out: Boise State, UCLA, Illinois, Colorado State
Listen to the Chairman: Every year, attentive bracketologists tune in to CBS during the break between Big Ten semifinal games to listen to the Selection Committee chairman talk about the process. While they generally don’t go into specifics, there are normally some clues dropped about what the committee is thinking about. This year they had the VP of Basketball on instead of the committee chairman, but he nevertheless had some interesting things to say. Here they are, in order of how they were mentioned:
- The top 8 teams in the field are pretty much set
- UK is the #1 overall seed
- As of yesterday afternoon, there were 14 teams left on the Under Consideration board with 5 teams remaining to be selected. Possibility that a few more teams could be added depending on results.
- Number of opportunities to play against top-50 or top-100 is “often a consideration”. Mentioned Murray State in comparison with Texas. This was in response to a question that Seth Davis asked about whether the “percentage of wins you have against top-50 or top-100 opponents” is looked at, instead of just the total number of wins.
- Compared to the last couple of years, the decisions are “tougher”. The number of teams involved is more difficult. The bubble is smaller but the differential between the teams is smaller. The committee is having a challenge differentiating.
- The committee is having more trouble seeding the field, particularly between seed lines 3 and 9.
- Notre Dame leaps up and grabs a well-deserved 3 seed, knocking UNC back down to a 4.
- My order for the 1 seeds is: Kentucky, Villanova, Duke, Wisconsin. I think it stays this way regardless of today’s outcomes. I also don’t see how Arizona gets serious consideration as a 1 seed, but I do think they have secured the top 2 seed spot.
- Who will be the last “protected seeds”? I’m not sold on West Virginia and Georgetown but it’s also hard to see anyone in the current crop of 5 seeds vaulting into that range.
- Northern Iowa continues to be trouble, going back to the “quality/quantity” debate I talked about earlier. Right now I have them as a 6, but I’m seriously considering moving them up to the 5 line before the final bracket update.