We taped this a couple days ago, but it’s still fresh! We look at the coaching vacancies out there in college hoops, recap the first two rounds of the tournament, and preview the Sweet 16. All that and more on this episode of the Bracket Racket!
On this edition of the Bracket Racket, we recap the selection committee’s performance, and give some previews of each region. We discover that Kyle and Galen’s brackets are eerily similar, and we also give our opinions on some potential first-round upsets and underdogs that should be watched for.
For the final CrimsonCast/HoopsHD bracket report, the Bracket Racket and HoopsHD folks got together and did it committee-style. The seedings and placements are a bit different from what I’ve been posting, but that’s due to other voices being in the room. This bracket is the official submission to the Bracket Matrix this year, a site you should absolutely visit (and love) if you have any interest in Bracketology.
Here is the final bracket:
Last Four In: Boise State, MTSU, St. Mary’s, Kentucky
Some individual notes:
- Louisville ends up as the #1 overall seed in this projection, while Indiana is #2, Gonzaga is #3, and Miami is #4. Louisville barely beats out Indiana, thanks to near-identical RPI Top 100 records, better non-conference SOS, and slightly better power ratings across the board.
- Why Miami as a 1 seed? It was a close competition between the Hurricanes, Duke, and Kansas. Miami sweeping ACC honors puts them ahead of Duke. Kansas/Miami is a hard one to crack, but the committee ultimately valued Miami’s overall resume just slightly more.
- North Carolina gets the expected “conference tournament run” boost into a 5 seed.
- UCLA slides slightly due to the Jordan Adams injury.
We cranked up the podcast machine and did a special late-night version of the Bracket Racket. Some of the topics we covered:
- Who are the teams in the lead for the top overall seed?
- Who is competing for the 2 and 3 seed lines, and what’s the general order?
- Who are the last four at-large teams in?
- Where should we expect teams like VCU, North Carolina, and Creighton to be seeded?
We also take phone calls and talk about some of the “Belweather” teams and scenarios that you can look out for on Selection Sunday. Thanks for listening!
A very late night bracket. Quite a bit of scrubbing and shuffling. Updates and information below the bracket. This is the second-to-last bracket of the process for us:
- Last Four In: Tennessee, MTSU, La Salle, Baylor
- The big debate over IU or Louisville should already be settled by now in the eyes of the committee. I’ve gone with IU because of slightly better resume points in areas that I think the committee will value (i.e., Regular Season Big Ten title, road wins vs quality teams, conference SOS). Either way, Louisville and IU are getting 1 seeds, so perhaps it doesn’t matter.
- Gonzaga is in trouble for a 1 seed, despite what the pundits say. They’re not “a lock” by any means, due to a lack of wins.
- North Carolina is going to get overseeded. Their resume belongs to an 11 seed, but they are probably getting a 6 or better, due to their ACC tournament performance.
- The last at-large spot is rotating right now between Baylor, Kentucky, and St. Mary’s. I liked Baylor this time around due to their wins. The biggest issue for the Bears is their low RPI, but that’s really it — they even own a win over Kentucky at full strength. This spot will be revisited once more before the selection show.
Some changes. Duke drops off the 1 line, and Miami moves into a 2 seed. IU maintains the 1 seed in the midwest, but that is a tenuous grasp at best with Louisville playing Syracuse tonight. At-larges are still the same. Mistakes from earlier have been (hopefully) corrected.
Here’s the bracket update for just before the start of today’s games. Louisville has pushed ahead of Duke, and IU is back in the #1 overall spot. Also, Kentucky and Baylor are both out of the bracket, and St. Mary’s has moved back in:
Some changes! Mostly in seeding order, though. MTSU and Baylor are still hanging on to spots but it’s not looking great for either.
Meant to post this last night but I wanted a few more hours to ponder it:
- Kentucky was moved out of the bracket in favor of Middle Tennessee State. This has to be a tough one for the committee — on the one hand, you’ve got a name team in Kentucky with a resume similar to two other teams on the bubble, but on the other hand you’ve got an MTSU team that won 28 games and has a good RPI, two factors that have always combined to result in at-large berths in the past. Both MTSU and St. Mary’s are in similar boats, but I think MTSU is in better shape due to their outright conference title and large win total. Yes, these items are not traditional resume factors. But go back and look at teams in similar situations (Utah State from a few years ago comes to mind) and you’ll see that the committee loves rewarding outright titles and huge win totals.
- I tried shaking up the regional arrangement by putting IU in Lexington this time around. I still think the Hoosiers end up in Dayton, but I wanted to see what would shake out if they didn’t.
Here’s the latest bracket. Lots of changes in the auto bids, but none thus far in the at-larges:
Last Four In: Tennessee, LaSalle, Kentucky, Baylor
What about St. Mary’s? Well, here’s the deal. The Gaels are in the same boat right now as Middle Tennessee State and (to a lesser extent) Denver and Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech. No wins, but good computer numbers. As is the case every year, it all depends on what the committee has decided they are going to value. If they value RPI numbers, then I’d say both St. Mary’s and MTSU are getting in over Kentucky and Baylor. But I tend to think the committee will focus on good wins, and SOS. And if you look at the profiles of the teams who are on either side of the in/out line, UK and Baylor seem to fit that profile the best. I was actually hoping to see St. Mary’s win the WCC Tournament, just so we could go through a week without having to hear about their profile. No such luck. I still think they’ll be out come Sunday.