CrimsonCast bracketology is back after a nearly year-long hiatus! It’s a complicated bubble this year, with lots of teams potentially moving up and down the seed list (or perhaps off of it entirely) this week.
Let’s take a look at the bracket as of Tuesday morning:
Last Four In: Indiana, Texas A&M, UCLA, Illinois
Last Four Out: Tulsa, Temple, BYU, Stanford
Next Four Out: Richmond, Miami, Colorado State, Old Dominion
Movement: UNC got dropped one seed line from a 4 to a 5 due to conference avoidance.
Where we differ: If you haven’t checked out the Bracket Matrix yet, please do so – it’s an interesting “wisdom of crowds”-type site where all the brackets from various sources get aggregated. So when looking at where the crowds differ from this projection, it’s mostly on the following teams:
- Northern Iowa – They look significantly overseeded in the Matrix, given their relative lack of quality wins. Yes the won the MVC conference tournament but let’s not get carried away.
- Southern Methodist: Their entire profile consists of wins against Temple and Tulsa. They get some credit for winning the AAC outright, but a 6 seed still seems high given their actual level of accomplishment.
- Oregon: Projections for the Ducks are all over the place. The Matrix has them as an 8 seed, but they have a range of 7-11 in the individual brackets. The 10 seed they are given here seems closest to reality.
- North Carolina State: Another team with huge deviations in where they’re being placed. If the committee values their big wins, then I think they likely end up higher than the Matrix’s projected 9 seed.
- Colorado State: I simply do not see why they are being included. Their lofty RPI ranking is the basketball version of empty calories, and they haven’t won a meaningful game away from home all season.
Biggest question marks:
- How much will the committee overvalue deep conference tournament runs? This is normally the biggest confounding variable when doing brackets – the committee tends to ignore their stance about the whole season mattering for certain teams, but not for others.
- What’s the committee’s consensus criteria this year? In past years, each committee (remember, it changes a bit each year!) tend to put primary emphasis on different things. Some years it’s total wins. Other years it’s big wins. Other years it’s road/neutral record. Other years it’s winning your regular season conference title. The committee favoring one of those factors over the others has a huge impact on both team selection and seeding.