We’re back after a two-day hiatus. Lots of little changes, and I keep zeroing in on various aspects of the S-Curve and finding conflicts to resolve. As a result, there have been some shifts in a couple of areas, which I’ll detail below the bracket.
Last Four In: UCLA, Baylor, Arizona State, Alabama
UCLA’s resume is buoyed by a couple of key early-season victories, plus acceptable power numbers. If they beat Arizona they’ll be safely in the field. Baylor blew a chance to demonstrate any sort of desire to enter the tournament with their loss yesterday, but I still think their overall profile gets them in. Arizona State is hanging on by a thread, and can’t help itself anymore. Alabama is tricky — they have a lot of really good wins, and while their resume is very heavy on home victories, they also now have a neutral court win vs A&M and a road win vs Florida, and both of those wins are superior to what Marquette or Louisville have. They also have 14 losses already, and it’s tough to see a 15-loss team getting into the field. Winning today vs Auburn would solve a lot of the remaining questions about their place.
First Four Out: Marquette, Louisville, USC, Syracuse
Unfortunately for the Eagles and Cards, they are on the outside looking in. Lots of people have USC in, but the more I look at their resume, the more I don’t like it. If Middle Tennessee doesn’t get an at-large bid (and they won’t), then USC will have zero wins against teams who got into the field on their own merits (New Mexico State doesn’t count). So for USC, I think it’s either win the Pac 12 or miss the tournament — a neutral court win vs Oregon isn’t going to get you anywhere. Syracuse is close, but can’t help themselves anymore.
Next Four Out: Notre Dame, Oregon, Penn State, Mississippi State
Notre Dame came relatively close, but despite good power numbers and road/neutral record, they just haven’t shown enough on balance this season. Oregon doesn’t really have a path to the tournament as an at-large; their best bet is to win the Pac 12. Penn State isn’t going anywhere. Mississippi State has a razor-thin margin for getting in, but it’s going to require getting to the SEC title game and then losing to someone good.
Here’s some bracket things to note:
- I really like Duke’s chances at a 1 seed. If they beat UNC I think they’ll definitely get the fourth 1 seed ahead of Xavier. I don’t see North Carolina getting a 1 seed, though. Even with a bevy of quadrant 1 wins, UNC still has nine losses on the year.
- Michigan finally moved one slot ahead of Michigan State on my S-curve, which is why the Wolverines are in Detroit and MSU is in Wichita. I keep looking for the the big wins on MSU’s resume and I can’t find them.
- Auburn could still move ahead of Purdue if they can win the SEC Tournament and beat Tennessee along the way.
- Cincinnati is probably stuck on the 2 line.
- Xavier can move back on the 1 line if they beat Villanova on a neutral floor — that would probably be enough to get them back ahead of Duke.
- I’m most curious where the committee decides to put Nevada and Rhode Island at this point. Their resumes are RPI-bloated but don’t really hold up very well beyond that.