Monday, January 9, 2017

Bracket Projection: 1/9

I'm sorry, but it had to be done. You will not find our beloved Michigan Wolverines in this bracket projection. We'll discuss why they're out, and what they can do to get back in, later in this post. For now, here's the full bracket:

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

Biggest Movers: Dayton is the big riser after wins over St. Bonaventure and Rhode Island. They are the favorite to win the Atlantic 10. Minnesota is all the way up to a 5 after three straight wins against Purdue, Northwestern, and Ohio State. USC lost at home to Cal and drops to a 7. Indiana continues to struggle at 1-2 in the Big Ten; they're down to a 9. Miami drops to a 10 after losing to Syracuse, and Oklahoma State is hanging on for dear life after starting 0-3 in conference play. Meanwhile, Michigan State and North Carolina State make their first appearances as their respective RPI rankings start to climb. Oddly enough, Pittsburgh climbs up to a 9 and Wake Forest comes back in the field despite poor starts to conference play. Dropping out are Texas A&M, Illinois, and of course Michigan, who are all off to rough starts in their respective conferences.

1 seeds: They are exactly the same as last week. Villanova actually lost on the road to Butler, but Butler is a great team and the Wildcats were still able to hold on to my #1 overall seed. That leaves Baylor and Gonzaga as the lone undefeateds. According to Kenpom, Gonzaga has a 14.1% chance of running the table, while Baylor's chances are only 0.06%.

Big Ten: I've already discussed quite a few Big Ten teams already, but we'll cover the rest here as it pertains to the NCAA Tournament. Most notably, Purdue's win over Wisconsin moves the Boilermakers up to a 4 seed. Maryland's win over Michigan bumped them up to a 7 seed and knocked Michigan out. Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan State, and Illinois are all discussed in the previous section, and Northwestern stays right where they were last week.

Michigan: Alright, time to figure this out. Dropping out of the tournament is bad, but it's not a full-on red alert. There are a lot of games left to be played, but in order to get back in, they must exceed expectations as they currently stand. The cumulative win probability graph is as bad as it has been all season:
Yikes. 9-9 is now the median at 21%, and 8-10 is more likely than 10-8. Remember what I just said about exceeding expectations? That's because these are the current expectations. The Wolverines have a huge week coming up with a road game against fellow "First Four Out" team Illinois, followed by a home game against conference wild card Nebraska. I really think they need to win both to stay alive. Kenpom claims they have a 38.2% chance of winning both. There have certainly been flashes of greatness from this Michigan team, but they have yet to piece it all together for 40 minutes since the 2k Classic. Now would be an excellent time for the proverbial light to go on.

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