Tuesday, March 14, 2017
The first year in the matrix, I did, well, OK. 321 puts me in the lower third, but in a pretty tight group and nowhere near the bottom. Commitment to ISU hurt, but the Big Ten also jacked things up with several teams more than one line off. I will put up some additional thoughts and lessons learned.
5 points for a hit, 2 points for 1 line miss, -1 for 2 line miss, -4 for 3 line or more miss, -5 for missing the field
9 SEEDS: 7 points
ME: Vanderbilt, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Marquette
FIELD: Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Seton Hall, Michigan State
Analysis: Sneaking Vandy up to a 9 was a good call, despite the losses. Virginia Tech outplayed their RPI, but much like Miami, was a hard team to slot with the rest of the ACC. I think Seton Hall was the benefit of some fortuitous scheduling. They are vey similar to Wake Forest, as they go as far as Delgado can take them. Much like the rest of the Big Ten, the Spartans are even a slight reach for a 10 seed, but can get there on reputation, much like Syracuse last year. A 9 is too high.
10 SEEDS: -2 points
ME: Rhode Island, Miami, South Carolina, Michigan State
FIELD: VCU, Wichita State, Marquette, Oklahoma State
Analysis: LOL… haha… LOL.
OK, in the committee’s defense, Marquette and OKST were seeded high in my metric that focused on more on form, less on RPI. That said, NOBODY wants to play any of these teams. But the Shockers are closer to the 1 line than the 10 line. Marquette can drop 100 on anyone any night, and the Cowboys score more efficiently than Tiger at a Denny’s. VCU is the weak link here, and they were the hottest team in the A-10, just lacking that Shaka swagger. Let’s just say the 2 seeds are going to take it on the chin.
11 SEEDS: -9 points (-10 for ISU)
ME: Seton Hall, Nevada, Northwestern, Providence, Illinois State
FIELD: Providence, USC, Xavier. Wake Forest, Kansas State, Rhode Island
Analysis: So, here is where the bracketologists deserve a pass. While there were a few upsets, with Valpo, Monmouth, and Arlington going down. There were still several one-bids with profiles to snare single-digit seeds. What the committee did to the field with Wichita State is reprehensible, but MTSU, Nevada, UNCW, Princeton, Vermont, and ETSU all brought fair profiles to the table. Given the bubble was not strong, it seems bizarre that both play-in games get lofted to the 11 line. I originally had them on the 12/13 lines. As the conference tourneys shook out, it was clear that at least one game would move up to the 11 slot for balance. Let’s just say the last bucket of at-large candidates, Xavier, Wake, KSU, Marquette, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Providence, USC, and Illinois St (fuck it, Syracuse), al profiled worse than MTSU, all except Vandy profiled worse than Nevada, and UNCW also jumped ahead of most of these teams. When we project the bracket, we take certain rules and assumptions into account, and one of those is that regardless of conference affiliation, the next best team gets the next highest slot until there is a conflict. In this case, it appears the committee through all that out the window and lumped all one-bids into the lowest seed leper colonies. This really does a disservice to the higher seeds, as MTSU and Little Rock either showed how overrated the Big Ten was last year, or how poorly managed the seeding process was for the lower seeds. By the way, I chose Andy Enfield as my coach of the year, but they finished lower in my ranking than every team listed in the two categories above, making them clearly a 13 seed if they were selected. Not saying they couldn’t get in, but if they did make it, they belonged with Providence or KSU on the 12/13 line. Instead, the 5 seed gets a much tougher matchup than the 6 seed.
12 SEEDS: 16 points
ME: Xavier, UNC Wilmington, Princeton, Wake Forest, Kansas State
FIELD: UNC Wilmington, Princeton, Middle Tennessee State, Nevada
Analysis: I had UNCW forward on the 10/11 line for a while, but reality set in and they were easily passed by Nevada. I had Nevada as the 12 West and Xavier on the 11 and switched them as the last thing I did before submitting, as Nevada was going to have a huge proximity advantage in the West pod and region. Politics reigned. I cannot conceive a scenario that had MTSU coming out of the single digit seeds, but his proves they were not even in the running for an at-large bid had they lost. Princeton dodges several bullets to get to the dance, likely seeded correctly.
13 SEEDS: 17 points
ME: Vermont, East Tennessee State, New Mexico State, Bucknell
FIELD: Vermont, East Tennessee State, Bucknell, Winthrop
Analysis: No beef. I thought FGCU had a better chance of moving up than Winthrop, but the WAC was pretty weak. NMSU is fairly assessed.
14 SEEDS: 14 points
ME: Florida Gulf Coast, Northern Kentucky, Iona, Winthrop
FIELD: Florida Gulf Coast, Kent State, Iona, New Mexico State
Analysis: Iona’s RPI jumped a long ways during their run, and I never properly accounted for that. So did Northern Kentucky, but they got buried behind a pedestrian Kent team that may have been closer to the 16 line than the 14 line. This is more historical bias believing that the MAC was actually relevant this year. I do like where NKY ended up.
15 SEEDS: 14 points
ME: NC Central, Kent, North Dakota, Troy
FIELD: North Dakota, Troy, Northern Kentucky, Jacksonville State
Analysis: Kentucky/Northern Kentucky… chances the Wildcats are looking ahead to the Shockers and UCLA? 100%. Troy and Texas State both profiled to the same spot on the seed line, so that was no big deal. NC Central’s metrics play much better than their RPI. I watched them really tax Ohio State earlier in the season. They can play and may have screwed a sleepy 2 seed.
16 SEEDS: 27 points
ME: Texas Southern, Jacksonville State, South Dakota State, Mount Saint Mary’s, Davis, New Orleans
FIELD: Those guys, but NC Central instead of JAXST
Analysis: It’s easy to find the weak sisters on the S-curve. The committee is just a little lazier and dropped a significantly more talented Central team into the 68th slot based on RPI, rather than looking at the results on the floor. By the way, the ONE GUY that could have ruined Gonzaga’s opening weekend will face them in the first game. Mike Daum has the full package and can spread them out. He doesn’t have much help, and the Zags are deep, but don’t sleep on the Jacks.
Monday, March 13, 2017
5 SEEDS: 8 points
ME: Notre Dame, Wichita State, Butler, Iowa State
FIELD: Notre Dame, Iowa State, Virginia, Minnesota
Analysis: Iowa State and Notre Dame played their way up last week. Virginia certainly has slumped the last month, but the advanced metrics say they are much closer to top seed performance than where I had them (6). Minnesota is a slight reach here, but acceptable based on their finish. The Shockers just opened as a 6 point favorite despite getting the 10 seed shaft and that is already surging upwards, which shows what the public thought of that decision. Has a 10 seed ever been a 6-7 point favorite before. This was just reckless and irresponsible and the Kentucky boosters will not let them forget it if it derails them
6 SEEDS: 8 points
ME: Cincinnati, Virginia, Wisconsin, Minnesota
FIELD: Cincinnati, Southern Methodist, Creighton, Maryland
Analysis: Cinci was good. The Jays made a passionate run late, but really don’t have the weapons for a second weekend run. The committee did pit Dana Altman against his former club if they even survive that long. The problem I have is that I actually watch the games. Maryland has not been very good this year. They are the poster child for an overrated Big 10. Turgeon would be on the hot seat if not for miracle wins over American, Georgetown, Richmond, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Michigan State. 12 loss team in disguise here, and not sure what alternate reality they are 2 lines better than Wisconsin, though wounded Xavier may be a fair matchup.
7 SEEDS: 7 points
ME: Virginia Commonwealth, Saint Mary’s, Michigan, Creighton
FIELD: Saint Mary’s, Michigan, Dayton, South Carolina
Analysis: Given how far the committee dumped Wichita State, it’s amazing they let the Gaels hang on this despite getting swept by Gonzaga 3-0. They must have a very high opinion of the Zags. Michigan played their way up to this line, because as of 2 weeks ago, they were barely in at all. I had Dayton on the 7 line until the Davidson loss, dropping them behind VCU in the A-10 pecking order. South Carolina has not been the same since their 4OT loss to Alabama at home. 2 of their 3 wins were against MSU, who is not playing any postseason basketball. As much as I love Sin-D, the Cocks look more like a 9-10 seed across the board, weaker than other SEC fodder Arkansas and Vanderbilt.
8 SEEDS: 1 point
ME: Arkansas, Middle Tennessee State, Dayton, Oklahoma State
FIELD: Arkansas, Wisconsin, Miami, Northwestern
Analysis: So far, the committee had been pretty solid, but here is where things begin to get a little wacky. If Northwestern was really this safe as an 8 seed, why was the Michigan game so critical? And how do they get on the same line as Wisconsin, a team that out played them all season, and recently clobbered them on a neutral floor. The Badgers hit a slump, but nothing more severe than NW. These teams are 4 lines apart. Miami snuck into this spot. I was holding them as a 9 and VT as a 10 until the final numbers came out. Arkansas has been cruising the 8/9 line since recovering from the Missouri loss.
Sunday, March 12, 2017
5 points for a hit, 2 points for 1 line miss, -1 for 2 line miss, -4 for 3 line or more miss, -5 for missing the field
1 SEEDS: 20 points
ME: Villanova, Gonzaga, Kansas, North Carolina
FIELD: Villanova, Gonzaga, Kansas, North Carolina
Analysis: Nailed it, lets move on.
2 SEEDS: 14 points
ME: Oregon, Kentucky, Duke, Florida State
FIELD: Arizona, Kentucky, Duke, Louisville
Analysis: I guess the 3 point victory yesterday outweighed the 27 point loss (that was not that close) earlier in the season. No matter how you slice it, Oregon is superior. My only rationalization is that the Cats had to run deeper into the season without Trier than Oregon did without Brooks. Cardinals were a dead heat with the Seminoles the whole second half, but nose them out in most metrics (RPI, KenPom, Sagarin). I had FSU way ahead in quality of win. Neither team was good away from home.
3 SEEDS: 11 points
ME: West Virginia, Arizona, Baylor, Louisville
FIELD: Oregon, Baylor, Florida State, UCLA
Analysis: Not sure what to make of Baylor anymore. End of season slump makes hot, fortuitous Nov/Dec seem like ancient history. Big 12 is a beast, but which team give coaches nightmares: Baylor or WVU? Mountaineers could never live up to their advanced metrics, but are still more than capable of making a deep run.
4 SEEDS: 11 points
ME: UCLA, Purdue, Florida, Southern Methodist
FIELD: Purdue, Florida, West Virginia, Butler
Analysis: Committee missed big here, but part of it is justifiable. AAC is not a deep conference and should not be feeling their conference championship game participants are locked into the field, let alone their line. I think this is a case where they saw 2 teams that split their games, but ignored the actual results (SMU dominated 2 and nearly stole the 3rd. I bumped Butler to the 5 assuming SMU’s Sunday result would count. It did not. Butler did earn their keep here.
Villanova, Gonzaga, Kansas, North Carolina
Oregon, Kentucky, Duke, Florida State
West Virginia, Arizona, Baylor, Louisville
UCLA, Purdue, Florida, Southern Methodist
Notre Dame, Wichita State, Butler, Iowa State
Cincinnati, Virginia, Wisconsin, Minnesota
Virginia Commonwealth, Saint Mary’s, Michigan, Creighton
Arkansas, Middle Tennessee State, Dayton, Oklahoma State
Vanderbilt, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Marquette
Rhode Island, Miami, South Carolina, Michigan State
Seton Hall, Nevada, Northwestern, Providence, Illinois State
Xavier, UNC Wilmington, Princeton, Wake Forest, Kansas State
Vermont, East Tennessee State, New Mexico State, Bucknell
Florida Gulf Coast, Northern Kentucky, Iona, Winthrop
NC Central, Kent, North Dakota, Texas State/Troy
Texas Southern, Jacksonville State, South Dakota State, Mount Saint Mary’s, Davis, New Orleans
WEAKEST FOUR AT-LARGE BY RATING
Providence, Illinois State, Seton Hall, Rhode Island
LAST FOUR IN:
Providence, Kansas State, Wake Forest, Illinois State
BREATHING EASIER NOW THAT THE CARNAGE IS OVER:
Xavier, Seton Hall, Michigan State, Northwestern
FIRST FOUR OUT
USC, Syracuse, Monmouth, Houston
NEXT FOUR OUT
Iowa, California, UT Arlington, BYU
SOME TEAMS THAT PLAYED GAMES
Utah, Clemson, Charleston, Indiana