Tuesday, January 24, 2017
24 January Bracket Update!
January 24th Bracket is live!
The biggest change is that I tweaked my formula to give a little bit more weight to quality wins, and penalized teams for being the conference punching bag. Basically, your conference cannot be the self-licking ice cream cone, with certain teams riding their way to good computer rankings by going 0-10 against the top 50.
Apologies to Pittsburgh and Texas A&M. I didn’t even have the Aggies in my matrix of Top 100 candidates. That has been remedied, and while they didn’t make a list, they are lurking much closer to the fringe than I anticipated. Pittsburgh was originally in my 12 seed play in game, but would have an ACC conflict with UVA in the weekend round. They were bumped for Boise State, whose numbers are not poor, but they are hardly better than:
THE FIRST FOUR OUT
Right now, Pittsburgh and VCU are getting the raw deal. VCU needs to keep winning, period. There are no good losses in the A-10 right now. As Houston fades, Memphis is probably feeling that spot is theirs to claim. Oklahoma State and their #1 SoS needs to get back to .500 in conference to feel safe.
THE NEXT FOUR OUT
My ratings tweak mostly shuffle the deck chairs with no major impacts, other than poor Miami. They plummet in the rating into the 60s, basically because they beat up on trash and lost to anyone meaningful they played. Two Top 50 wins would get them back in, but there are desperate teams out there that are not going to give that up in the ACC. Utah has decent numbers, but really are the epitome of a top-heavy PAC-12. Ditto for Arkansas, who has the tools and opportunities to move up into the bracket. Brigham Young is the longest of long shots, as they do not have nearly enough opportunities, and have been prone to choking those away. One Gonzaga win changes everything.
LAST FOUR IN
Michigan, Houston, Seton Hall, Boise State. Houston and Seton Hall were hurt a lot by the ratings tweaks, sliding down a few lines. Neither is particularly threatening, and I could see the committee dumping them both for more attractive names. I mean, I watch the Big East and feel Providence can get hotter than the Pirates. Boise State may want to go claim the autobid, as their hold on this spot will only get weaker. San Diego State in the MWC has a much stronger profile to grab that spot. The Wolverines seem to enjoy this zone. They can’t get hot enough to win 3-4 in a row, but they are too consistent to bottom out.
ENJOYING A SOFT BUBBLE
Michigan State, TCU, Clemson, Rhode Island
When I ran my numbers last week, it wanted Clemson as a 5 seed. Now it has settled them into the 10-11 range, contingent they climb out of the ACC cellar. TCU did just enough early to ride this out, but I can easily see them getting bullied into the NIT. Rhode Island is in trouble like anyone else in to A-10 who cannot essentially win out. 8 losses there is probably doom. Michigan State was originally on the 10 line, but lost out on the seeding shuffle to TCU (11 to 9) and UNC Wilmington (9 to 10).
THE ONE SEEDS
No matter how you slice it, Kansas and Villanova are not going anywhere until they get to 5 losses. Everything is deep there. The big winners are Baylor and Florida State. FSU slides in ahead of UNC, because they have passed every test. Baylor has been helped by West Virginia’s recent struggles, as well as the PAC-12 and SEC blowing donkeys. None of these teams are particularly vulnerable until they lose a couple more games. Kentucky and UNC are closest to the 1 line, though an undefeated or 1-loss Gonzaga team will be hard to ignore. Wisconsin isn’t really close to a 1 seed, but can easily build the profile in the Big Ten.
Kansas State finds themselves on the 10 line, across from a much improved Virginia Tech team. Northwestern storms the table and has the computer numbers to hold their spot, minus any more players getting relegated to janitor. Maryland is quietly stalking Purdue. Butler gets a huge boost from their beast non-conference slate and jumps Creighton and Xavier in the Big East pecking order. Duke is in free-fall right now, having dropped 1 to 3 to 5 just like that, and this projection doesn’t even include last night’s collapse.
(5) Oregon playing the BSU/SHU winner. Oregon should be able to run them out of the gym, but could also be vulnerable playing a team already warmed up.
(7) Xavier vs. (10) Wichita State sounds like it should be a Sweet 16 game, not a first rounder.
(4) Purdue vs. (13) Valpo in the battle for Indiana.
(6) SMU vs. (11) MSU, where it seems these seedings should be switched, right?
(4) UCLA vs. (13) Ohio… UCLA better hope this is not Akron, or one of the other 13/14 seeds that can score…. Or God forbid Princeton sneaks in again.
I plan to get a coefficient to weight last 10 games. Not sure who this helps the most, but my thoughts are mid majors that go on a run and get upended in their conference tourney may benefit most. BCS Bubble Teams are usually there because they can’t get over the 5-5/6-4 hump to show a run.