Monday, February 20, 2017

Bracket Projection: 2/20

Three years ago, my roommate and I stumbled upon an Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game, watching about 15 seconds of it before switching to something else. In those seconds, we watched a tiny guy receive a pass absurdly far from the basket, before the announcers declared, "oh he might shoot from there." He did, shooting with painfully bad form, and of course, the shot went in. Sorry the GIF doesn't continuously loop, I'm still a little new at this whole blogging thing. If you want to watch it multiple times, you'll have to reload the page.

Many things were bizarre about this: 1. The fact that he shot from 30 feet away with terrible form, 2. The fact that it went in, and 3. The fact that the announcers were completely unfazed by this entire series of events. To only watch that bit of the game out of context turned this player, Phil Forte, into somewhat of a cult hero in our world. Three years later, we were excited to find out the man is still in college and is the all-time leader in three pointers for the Cowboys. We always joked that the only way this fairytale could end is with Michigan and Oklahoma State playing in a first round 7-10 matchup in the NCAA Tournament. And the reason I'm telling you this long and obscure story is because when I ran the bracket this week, lo and behold, look at where those two teams are:

1 Villanova Kansas Gonzaga Baylor
2 Oregon Kentucky North Carolina Louisville
3 Duke Florida St. Florida Arizona
4 West Virginia Virginia Butler Cincinnati
5 Purdue Saint Mary's SMU UCLA
6 Xavier Creighton Notre Dame Wisconsin
7 Maryland Oklahoma St. Minnesota South Carolina
8 Iowa St. Northwestern VCU Dayton
9 Wichita St. Arkansas Virginia Tech USC
10 Miami FL Michigan California Michigan St.
11 Kansas St. Illinois St. TCU Tennessee
11 Marquette Seton Hall
12 Nevada UT Arlington UNC Wilmington Middle Tennessee
13 Princeton Vermont Monmouth Akron
14 Bucknell Valparaiso East Tennessee St. Belmont
15 UNC Asheville Cal St. Bakersfield Florida Gulf Coast North Dakota St.
16 Mount St. Mary's North Dakota UC Irvine Texas Southern
16 North Carolina Central New Orleans

We can only hope that magical matchup holds through the end of the year. Anyways, let's take a closer look at the bracket:

Biggest Movers: The purple Big XII teams are in a bit of a slide, as TCU has lost three straight and Kansas St. has lost three of their last four. Both drop down to 11 seeds. Wake Forest has lost two in a row and Syracuse has lost three straight, so both of those teams drop back out of the tournament. Taking their place once again is the always back-and-forth Illinois State, and Marquette, who is now hanging on by a thread.

1 seeds: They are the same. Gonzaga will finish undefeated (97%).

Big Ten: Michigan's big win over Wisconsin moves both of those teams up and down one seed, respectively, as Wisconsin is now a 6 and Michigan is a 10. Purdue, Maryland, Minnesota, and Michigan State all hold steady, and Northwestern drops down to an 8 after their loss to Maryland. Indiana would have to win out to have a shot (something they have a 2.1% chance of doing), and Ohio State is all but eliminated, barring a magical Big Ten Tournament run.

Michigan: This week the Wolverines got one of their biggest wins of the year at home against Wisconsin. They then fell last night on the road in overtime to Minnesota. While fans obviously would've liked to see the team win both games, they have still helped their cause quite a bit, as the graph suggests:

They have a 38.4% chance of going 9-9, a 36.5% chance of going 10-8 or better, and a 25.1% chance of going 10-8 or worse. If you feel like things hang pretty precariously right now, you are correct. This week Michigan plays at Rutgers and comes home to face Purdue. The Rutgers game is obviously a must-win, as the Scarlet Knights are by far the worst team in the conference. Purdue, on the other hand, is currently the best team in the conference, winners of 5 straight, and they will provide significant matchup problems for the Wolverines. Despite that, Kenpom still sees the game as a coin flip at Crisler. That game isn't an absolute must-win, but doing so would make the last two road games quite a bit less stressful. When we return next week, we'll be facing down the final week of the regular season, and the bracket will finally be starting to solidify.

No comments:

Post a Comment