Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Bracket Projection: 1/18

Disclaimer: I ran the simulation yesterday (1/17), but haven't gotten a chance to publish it until today. So all the data used is behind a day. Looking at yesterday's results, it's hard to tell if any of the games would have changed the projection all that much, but I'm guessing it would look pretty much the same. Anyways, here's what my computer spit out this week:

1 Villanova Kansas Baylor Kentucky
2 North Carolina Creighton Louisville Gonzaga
3 Florida Florida St. Butler UCLA
4 West Virginia Virginia Oregon Duke
5 Arizona Minnesota Xavier Purdue
6 Notre Dame Wisconsin Saint Mary's Cincinnati
7 South Carolina Maryland USC Clemson
8 Northwestern Dayton SMU TCU
9 Iowa St. Michigan St. Arkansas Pittsburgh
10 Indiana Virginia Tech Seton Hall VCU
11 Illinois St. Wichita St. Wake Forest Texas Tech
11 Illinois Miami FL
12 Monmouth Nevada UNC Wilmington Middle Tennessee
13 Vermont Akron Valparaiso Chattanooga
14 Lehigh Princeton Florida Gulf Coast New Mexico St.
15 UNC Asheville Belmont Georgia Southern Texas Southern
16 North Carolina Central Weber St. UC Irvine Fort Wayne
16 Mount St. Mary's Sam Houston St.

Biggest Movers: Duke drops down to a 4 seed after losing two games in a row to Florida State and Louisville, two teams that as a result are now ahead of them in the bracket. Virginia Tech is all the way down to a 10 after a loss to Notre Dame, which seems a bit harsh. TCU is trending upwards to an 8 seed after wins over Texas and Iowa State. Dropping out from last week's bracket are Rhode Island, who was upset by La Salle, North Carolina State, who dropped games to lowly Boston College and Georgia Tech, and Oklahoma State, who is now having a disastrous season having lost their first five conference games. Replacing the teams that dropped out are Illinois and Illinois State, the latter of which hopes to win their conference and assure a bid, and Texas Tech, who makes their first appearance here despite being 2-3 in conference.

1 seeds: Once again the same, although Gonzaga is extremely close behind the leaders. After pointing out that Baylor only had a 0.06% chance of going undefeated, the Bears promptly dropped their first game of the season to a very good West Virginia team. Gonzaga, on the other hand, beat Saint Mary's, the only other good team in their conference. The Bulldogs' chances of going undefeated are now up to 33.1%.

Big Ten: The seeds still seem a bit off to me. Wisconsin is now the heavy favorite to win the conference, so it would be very odd to see Purdue and Minnesota seeded above them come Selection Sunday. The Badgers are still 38th in RPI, though, which is the reason they're still hanging out as a 6 seed. Northwestern is now 4-2 in the conference, creeping up to an 8 seed. It's really starting to look like this is the year the Wildcats finally break through. Michigan State and Indiana flip spots, as the Spartans are also up to 4-2, while the Hoosiers are still struggling at 2-3. Illinois blew out Michigan, and as a result, the Illini sneak back in, while the Wolverines remain on the outside.

Michigan: I, like many other fans, was thoroughly disappointed in Michigan's performance in Champaign last week. They bounced back at home against Nebraska, but that wasn't enough to put them back in the tournament picture. At this point they'll need a couple of "big wins" like they had last year against Maryland, Purdue, and Indiana. Since starting this article, the Wolverines lost a chance at one of those big wins, as they fell just short in Madison. They return home this weekend for a quick rematch with Illinois, a game they absolutely need if they want to stay alive. Here's what the chart tells us about expectations:

It is still very ugly, and only incrementally better than the graph I tweeted after the Illinois game (and much worse than the graph from last week). 8-10 is now up to 23.6%, and 7-11 is more likely than 9-9. If you are like me and think Michigan really should go above .500 in conference, there is only a 15.6% chance of that happening. Ugh. We'll check in next week after the next Illinois game, and if that one is a loss, it might be just about time to close the door on this season. Let's hope that is not the case.

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