Sunday, March 11, 2018

FINAL BRACKET PROJECTION (sort of)

Sort of because you won't see 32 green teams here. The American Tournament finals are still going on but I don't see it effecting seeding at all. That being said, here we go!

ATLANTA BOSTON OMAHA LOS ANGELES
1 Virginia Villanova Xavier Kansas
2 Purdue Cincinnati North Carolina Duke
3 Tennessee Michigan St. Michigan Auburn
4 West Virginia Texas Tech Arizona Wichita St.
5 Clemson Kentucky Gonzaga Ohio St.
6 Miami FL Florida Arkansas Houston
7 Nevada TCU Texas A&M Seton Hall
8 Creighton Virginia Tech Missouri Rhode Island
9 Alabama Kansas St. Butler Providence
10 North Carolina St. Florida St. St. Bonaventure USC
11 Loyola Chicago Saint Mary's UCLA New Mexico St.
11 Texas Oklahoma
12 Murray St. San Diego St. South Dakota St. Buffalo
13 Davidson UNC Greensboro College of Charleston Marshall
14 Stephen F. Austin Wright St. Montana Bucknell
15 Lipscomb Penn Georgia St. UMBC
16 Radford Iona LIU Brooklyn Cal St. Fullerton
16 North Carolina Central Texas Southern

Bracket Projection: 3/10

The Penultimate Bracket is here! I'm putting yesterday's date so that it doesn't get confused with the final bracket that will be posted later today once the final five auto-bids are determined. Here's how things stand:

ATLANTA BOSTON OMAHA LOS ANGELES
1 Virginia Villanova Xavier Kansas
2 Purdue Cincinnati North Carolina Duke
3 Tennessee Michigan St. Michigan Auburn
4 West Virginia Texas Tech Arizona Wichita St.
5 Clemson Kentucky Gonzaga Ohio St.
6 Miami FL Florida Arkansas Houston
7 Nevada TCU Texas A&M Seton Hall
8 Creighton Virginia Tech Missouri Rhode Island
9 Alabama Kansas St. Butler Providence
10 North Carolina St. Florida St. St. Bonaventure USC
11 Loyola Chicago Louisville Saint Mary's UCLA
11 Texas Oklahoma
12 San Diego St. New Mexico St. South Dakota St. Buffalo
13 Murray St. UNC Greensboro College of Charleston Marshall
14 Stephen F. Austin Wright St. Montana Bucknell
15 Lipscomb Penn Georgia St. UMBC
16 Radford Iona LIU Brooklyn Cal St. Fullerton
16 North Carolina Central Texas Southern

The SEC, American, Atlantic 10, Sun Belt, and Ivy League will determine their conference tournament champions today, and then it'll be time to wait and see what the actual committee goes with. Enjoy your Selection Sunday!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Bracket Projection: 3/8

Only one auto-bid yesterday (Bucknell) and none today, but quite a bit of movement around the bubble. This projection does not include games that occurred earlier today. Those will go into tomorrow's bracket. Things are moving fast:

ATLANTA BOSTON LOS ANGELES OMAHA
1 Virginia Villanova Kansas Xavier
2 Purdue Cincinnati North Carolina Duke
3 Auburn Michigan St. Michigan Tennessee
4 West Virginia Arizona Texas Tech Wichita St.
5 Clemson Kentucky Gonzaga Ohio St.
6 Miami FL Florida Houston TCU
7 Nevada Texas A&M Seton Hall Arkansas
8 Missouri Virginia Tech Creighton Rhode Island
9 Butler St. Bonaventure Florida St. Oklahoma
10 North Carolina St. Kansas St. Texas Saint Mary's
11 USC Baylor Alabama UCLA
11 Providence Arizona St.
12 Buffalo New Mexico St. Middle Tennessee Loyola Chicago
13 Murray St. Vermont South Dakota St. Louisiana Lafayette
14 Montana Bucknell College of Charleston UNC Greensboro
15 Wright St. UC Santa Barbara Iona Penn
16 Radford Texas Southern Stephen F. Austin Lipscomb
16 Hampton LIU Brooklyn

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Bracket Projection: 3/7

Five more teams punched their tickets yesterday, and the number of auto-bids is up to 12. One more will be added to their ranks today, as Bucknell takes on Colgate (who presumably beat Oral-B in the semifinals) for the Toothpaste Patriot League championship. Everything else remains essentially unchanged:


ATLANTA BOSTON LOS ANGELES OMAHA
1 Virginia Villanova Kansas Xavier
2 Purdue North Carolina Cincinnati Duke
3 Auburn Michigan St. Michigan Tennessee
4 West Virginia Arizona Texas Tech Wichita St.
5 Clemson Kentucky Gonzaga Ohio St.
6 Miami FL Florida Houston TCU
7 Nevada Texas A&M Seton Hall Arkansas
8 Oklahoma Missouri Creighton Rhode Island
9 Butler Florida St. Virginia Tech North Carolina St.
10 Kansas St. Arizona St. Saint Mary's St. Bonaventure
11 Texas UCLA Providence USC
11 Baylor Alabama
12 Buffalo New Mexico St. Middle Tennessee Loyola Chicago
13 Murray St. Vermont South Dakota St. Louisiana Lafayette
14 Montana Bucknell College of Charleston UNC Greensboro
15 Wright St. UC Santa Barbara Iona Penn
16 Radford Texas Southern Stephen F. Austin Lipscomb
16 Hampton LIU Brooklyn

Several bubble teams are in action today and tomorrow as the bigger conferences begin their tournaments, so that will be something to keep a close eye on as Selection Sunday draws nearer.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Bracket Projection: 3/6

I did a full reevaluation after hastily posting yesterday's bracket. A few teams have moved, but not as much as I would've expected. Most notable are Florida and Miami continuing to climb. Also UNC Greensboro and Iona did punch their ticket, as expected, so we're up to 7 green highlights:


ATLANTA BOSTON LOS ANGELES OMAHA
1 Virginia Villanova Kansas Xavier
2 Purdue North Carolina Cincinnati Duke
3 Auburn Michigan St. Michigan Tennessee
4 West Virginia Arizona Texas Tech Wichita St.
5 Clemson Kentucky Ohio St. Gonzaga
6 Miami FL Florida Houston TCU
7 Nevada Texas A&M Seton Hall Arkansas
8 Oklahoma Missouri Creighton Rhode Island
9 Butler Florida St. Virginia Tech North Carolina St.
10 Kansas St. Arizona St. St. Bonaventure Saint Mary's
11 Texas UCLA Providence USC
11 Baylor Alabama
12 Buffalo New Mexico St. Middle Tennessee Loyola Chicago
13 Murray St. Vermont Louisiana Lafayette South Dakota
14 Montana Bucknell College of Charleston UNC Greensboro
15 Wright St. UC Santa Barbara Wagner Penn
16 Radford Iona Stephen F. Austin Lipscomb
16 Hampton Texas Southern

Saint Mary's also got upset by BYU which could put them in jeopardy, but I haven't looked closely at that yet. That'll be evaluated in tomorrow's update. Additionally, a whopping five conference tournament championships are tonight, so we'll see if Gonzaga, South Dakota, College of Charleston, Wright State, and Wagner (which in my head I always pronounce with the German pronunciation) can also seal the deal.


Monday, March 5, 2018

Bracket Projection: 3/5

Happy Monday! Bracket week has arrived, and this year it comes with the sweet satisfaction of Michigan having already sealed an automatic bid and a huge resume boost from beating Michigan State and Purdue. As mentioned a few weeks ago, the extreme best-case scenario of Michigan winning their last two games and then four straight in the conference tournament has rocketed them up to a 3 seed, which is fun. What's less fun is the 1 and the 2 in this exact scenario, but of course, the regions are just for fun. Here is the rest of the bracket as it stands today. Like last year, green highlight means the team has won their conference tournament and secured an auto-bid:


ATLANTA BOSTON OMAHA LOS ANGELES
1 Virginia Villanova Xavier Kansas
2 Purdue Cincinnati North Carolina Duke
3 Auburn Tennessee Michigan St. Michigan
4 Arizona Clemson Texas Tech Wichita St.
5 Kentucky Ohio St. Gonzaga West Virginia
6 Houston Nevada Arkansas TCU
7 Seton Hall Rhode Island Texas A&M Creighton
8 Oklahoma Florida Miami FL Butler
9 Saint Mary's Virginia Tech Missouri Florida St.
10 North Carolina St. Alabama Arizona St. USC
11 Middle Tennessee St. Bonaventure Providence Louisville
11 Texas Kansas St.
12 New Mexico St. Baylor Louisiana Lafayette Loyola Chicago
13 Buffalo Vermont Murray St. South Dakota
14 Montana Bucknell College of Charleston UNC Greensboro
15 UC Santa Barbara Wright St. Wagner Penn
16 Radford Iona Lipscomb Stephen F. Austin
16 Hampton Texas Southern

Iona and UNC Greensboro attempt to punch their tickets today, with Fairfield and East Tennessee State as their respective challengers. Enjoy the madness this week!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Bracket Projection: 2/28

Good news for Michigan fans! Rhode Island's insane 30 point home loss to #122 Saint Joseph's causes them to fall two whole seed lines, which makes room for Michigan on the 5 line. Obviously beware the infamous 5-12 matchups, but I think most fans would rather play Loyola Chicago than Kansas State. Anyways, here's the rest of the bracket:


ATLANTA BOSTON OMAHA LOS ANGELES
1 Virginia Villanova Xavier Kansas
2 Michigan State Purdue North Carolina Duke
3 Auburn Cincinnati Texas Tech Tennessee
4 West Virginia Clemson Arizona Wichita St.
5 Kentucky Ohio St. Gonzaga Michigan
6 Houston Arkansas Nevada TCU
7 Seton Hall Rhode Island Texas A&M Creighton
8 Florida Oklahoma Miami FL Butler
9 Saint Mary's Virginia Tech Arizona St. Florida St.
10 North Carolina St. Missouri USC Alabama
11 St. Bonaventure Providence Middle Tennessee Louisville
11 Texas Kansas St.
12 New Mexico St. Baylor Louisiana Lafayette Loyola Chicago
13 Buffalo Vermont Murray St. South Dakota
14 Montana Bucknell College of Charleston UNC Greensboro
15 Northern Kentucky UC Santa Barbara Canisius Penn
16 UNC Asheville Wagner Florida Gulf Coast Nicholls St.
16 Hampton Grambling St.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Bracket Projection: 2/27

We're getting down to it! We've entered conference tournament season, where I chain myself to my spreadsheets and furiously create new brackets as different teams punch their tickets and seeding makes its final few shuffles. Here's the bracket as it currently stands:


ATLANTA BOSTON OMAHA LOS ANGELES
1 Virginia Villanova Xavier Kansas
2 Michigan State Purdue North Carolina Duke
3 Auburn Cincinnati Tennessee Wichita St.
4 Arizona Clemson Texas Tech Ohio St.
5 West Virginia Rhode Island Kentucky Gonzaga
6 Houston Michigan Nevada TCU
7 Seton Hall Texas A&M Creighton Arkansas
8 Florida Florida St. Oklahoma Butler
9 Arizona St. Saint Mary's Miami FL USC
10 Missouri Virginia Tech Alabama Louisville
11 North Carolina St. Kansas St. Texas Middle Tennessee
11 Providence St. Bonaventure
12 Buffalo Baylor Louisiana Lafayette Loyola Chicago
13 New Mexico St. Vermont Murray St. South Dakota
14 Bucknell Montana UNC Greensboro Northeastern
15 Canisius Northern Kentucky UC Santa Barbara Wagner
16 UNC Asheville Penn Florida Gulf Coast Nicholls St.
16 Hampton Grambling St.

Kansas has been lurking on the 2 line just about all season, but finally claims their place with the top seeds as they appear to be closing out the regular season in strong fashion. What's interesting this year is that it looks like each of the top 8 has a decent shot at landing a 1 seed. The only one that looks set in stone is Virginia. The Big East powerhouses are on a collision course, as are the two Big Ten teams just behind them. And the ACC Tournament will be ripe with opportunities for teams to rack up resume-boosting wins, something Duke is actually lacking right now despite their shiny advanced stats. 

As for games I missed yesterday that aren't affecting this bracket: Virginia Tech beat Duke (speaking of lacking big wins) and that's about it. This year I'm trying to front load some of the work it takes to have the bracket up to date throughout the coming chaos so that I don't end up missing the final deadline for Bracket Matrix scoring like I did last year. So get ready for these posts to become a bit more frequent, and get ready for the Madness!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Bracket Projection: 2/21

I'm going to crank this one out so that it gets posted before the Michigan-Penn State game starting soon. If you haven't noticed, I've been slacking a bit on this site. I haven't even published my Northwestern post from two weeks ago, which is almost done. I also went to Wisconsin, but I don't think a post will be coming on that one because I already wrote about Madison back in the fall. The short version: The Kohl Center is exactly like Crisler but bigger, much like Madison is exactly like Ann Arbor but bigger. It was great and Michigan won and I finally got my road win. The end. Here is a bracket:


ATLANTA BOSTON LOS ANGELES OMAHA
1 Virginia Villanova Duke Xavier
2 Purdue Cincinnati Kansas North Carolina
3 Auburn Clemson Michigan St. Texas Tech
4 Arizona Ohio St. Tennessee Wichita St.
5 Nevada Rhode Island West Virginia Kentucky
6 Oklahoma Michigan Gonzaga Texas A&M
7 Houston TCU Creighton Arizona St.
8 Seton Hall Alabama Missouri Arkansas
9 Saint Mary's Florida St. Butler Miami FL
10 Florida Providence Virginia Tech Baylor
11 Middle Tennessee Syracuse Texas St. Bonaventure
11 Kansas St. UCLA
12 New Mexico St. North Carolina St. Louisiana Lafayette Loyola Chicago
13 Buffalo Vermont East Tennessee St. South Dakota St.
14 Bucknell College of Charleston Rider Murray St.
15 Montana UC Santa Barbara Northern Kentucky Wagner
16 Florida Gulf Coast Penn Nicholls St. Winthrop
16 Savannah St. Grambling St.

By now, you're probably well familiar with the new "quadrant" style used in the selection process, which I'm probably going to dive into explaining how they affect my picks in a post sometime soon. Long story short, I haven't been using it as much as some other bracketologists, except in the case of eyeballing resumes for teams in the 5-9 seed range. Outside of that, the formula I started using last year seems to be working fine.

Big Ten check-in. The Big Ten seed lines are starting to solidify, but there's still a lot of room for movement. Purdue looks like a very solid 2, and Michigan State has a 2/3 type of resume who will hope to move up one by winning a few conference tournament games. Ohio State is up to a 4 and should stay that way unless they start to collapse.

Michigan has probably the most room to move of any Big Ten team, with two coin-flip games left on the schedule and a likely third one in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament. If they lose the next two, win their first tournament game, and then lose to Nebraska, they're probably back down to the 8/9 range. On the other hand, if they go on a 2017-esque miracle run and win out, they could potentially move all the way up to a 3 seed. 6 is a nice middle ground there, which is the outcome if they split their next two games, win two Big Ten Tournament games, and then lose to Michigan State, which looks to be the most likely scenario at this point.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Bracket Projection: 2/5

As promised, this week I'm just going to throw a bracket at you without any explanation. Another post of some sort will be coming at you later this week.


ATLANTA BOSTON LOS ANGELES OMAHA
1 Virginia Villanova Purdue Xavier
2 Kansas Clemson Auburn Duke
3 Cincinnati Tennessee North Carolina Michigan St.
4 Kentucky Arizona Oklahoma Texas Tech
5 Rhode Island West Virginia Ohio St. Seton Hall
6 Creighton Miami FL Saint Mary's Nevada
7 Butler Wichita St. TCU Gonzaga
8 Florida Michigan Texas A&M Louisville
9 Texas Florida St. Arizona St. Alabama
10 Washington Arkansas Providence Missouri
11 Virginia Tech Middle Tennessee Houston North Carolina St.
11 Boise St. USC
12 Kansas St. Vermont Buffalo New Mexico St.
13 Louisiana Lafayette Loyola Chicago East Tennessee St. South Dakota St.
14 College of Charleston Rider Montana Belmont
15 Bucknell UC Santa Barbara Northern Kentucky Wagner
16 UNC Asheville Penn Stephen F. Austin Florida Gulf Coast
16 Arkansas Pine Bluff North Carolina A&T

Friday, February 2, 2018

Spidey's Blog: Are You Purdue Pete?

I'm a firm believer that a college basketball arena's only real defining feature should be the people in it. Well, that's not exactly true; let me elaborate. I do love when an arena has a weird quirk--like the raised floor at Minnesota, for example--so having other defining features is definitely a good thing. But a lot of college arenas give me the impression of being a sterile, bland, state-of-the-art, almost NBA arena, and no matter how good the team playing there is, it feels hard to really get the energy going (looking at you, Ohio State).

By that standard, Mackey Arena should be considered one of the best in the country. From the outside you'd look at it and say, "this is definitely a basketball arena." The concourses will neither wow you nor gross you out. The interior is perfectly round, steeply sloped, and way too dark. The ceiling consists of a gigantic steel spiderweb-looking thing (which appeals quite a bit to someone like me) that someone probably put up decades ago, thinking, "well, at least it will keep the roof in place."

Home of Purdue Blog

But despite it's uninspiring appearance, Mackey was rocking last Thursday. I'm grading on a curve because any arena featuring a top 5 team playing arguably their biggest home game of the season is going to be insane, but it did not disappoint. We were so high up, our view was nearly blocked by some Big Ten championship banners, but we were still shoulder to shoulder on the hard metal benches. The student section fills both areas behind the basket all the way to the spiderweb ceiling, and they are loud, energetic, and quite organized. Overall, it's pretty much exactly what you're looking for in a college basketball experience, although nothing jumped out to me as quirky or unexplainable like the list of things I experienced at Camp Randall.

Except one.

As you may know, Purdue's sidelines are patrolled by the notorious hell-demon known as Purdue Pete. If you don't remember him, allow me to jog your memory:

Getty Images

He swings a hammer, dances around, and stares you down with the cold, unblinking gaze of a serial killer. But at Thursday's game, I had another thought about this monster that I now can't get out of my head. It started with a simple question: "doesn't he usually wear a black helmet?" (he was wearing gold at this game). The Purdue grad I came with wasn't sure, so I started doing some Google image searches (a horrible idea, but I had to find out). He does switch helmet colors, and he even switches uniforms depending on what sport he's at and what color the team is wearing. For this game, he was sporting a gray Purdue basketball uniform to go with his shiny gold helmet.

So it turns out Purdue Pete has multiple outfits; so what? My next discovery was even more concerning:

Boilermaker Traditions

These are definitely not the same being. Clearly different creatures have been designated as Pete over the years, and we are only experiencing the most recent incarnation. But then it gets worse:

Purdue University

THERE ARE CLONES?? Identical triplets? Some sort of ancient pattern of regeneration? Who are you, Purdue Pete? You're defined not by any physical or outfit characteristics. The only commonality is that you wear a hard hat and Purdue gear. But I sat one section over from the Paint Crew, and I saw a lot of people that fit that description! Are they all Purdue Pete? What if he only wears Purdue gear to Purdue games (like many do), and he's just a guy with a hammer? Are you, dear reader, a guy who owns a hammer? For all we know, you could be Purdue Pete. There's clearly opportunities for a seemingly infinite number of Petes. Am I Purdue Pete? I certainly don't think so, but at this point I think it's fair to say we can't be 100% certain. We don't even know for sure what he does for a day job. Does he make trains? Work on a railroad? Operate a train? The world may never know.

Now I'm wondering if he exists outside the world of Purdue athletics. If that's the case, we'd be living in constant fear of a Pete attack, not knowing where he truly dwells. What if he isn't strictly a Purdue fan? Lots of people have multiple allegiances, and he could be no different. Maybe he went to undergrad at Purdue and then got some sort of advanced degree somewhere else, like say, Nebraska?

Nebraska University

Oh no.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Bracket Projection: 1/30

Blog notes: My wi-fi was out four days, so I haven't gotten around to writing about Purdue yet. That'll come later this week. Also I'll be going to Allstate Arena next Tuesday for the Northwestern game, so expect a bracket post on Monday with no analysis, followed by some sort of follow up post Wednesday or Thursday. For now, back to your regularly scheduled bracket post:


ATLANTA BOSTON LOS ANGELES OMAHA
1 Virginia Villanova Duke Purdue
2 Auburn Clemson Kansas Xavier
3 Oklahoma Michigan St. Arizona North Carolina
4 Cincinnati Texas Tech Kentucky Tennessee
5 Rhode Island Wichita St. Seton Hall West Virginia
6 Florida Creighton TCU Ohio St.
7 Nevada Arizona St. Miami FL Gonzaga
8 Michigan Florida St. Saint Mary's Louisville
9 Arkansas Alabama Butler Texas
10 USC Providence Texas A&M Syracuse
11 Marquette Boise St. SMU Houston
11 North Carolina St. Kansas St.
12 Loyola Chicago New Mexico St. Buffalo Middle Tennessee
13 Louisiana Lafayette Vermont East Tennessee St. South Dakota St.
14 Murray St. Bucknell UC Santa Barbara Northeastern
15 Montana Iona Northern Kentucky Wagner
16 Florida Gulf Coast Princeton Stephen F. Austin North Carolina A&T
16 Winthrop Texas Southern

This would be a hilarious bracket in terms of preseason expectations, considering Duke, Kansas, Arizona, and Kentucky are all in the same region. That probably wouldn't happen because I do think ticket sales and ratings play a bigger role than the committee likes to admit, but that is where the teams fall at this moment. 

What's up with the SEC? The conference known for football is vastly improved this year, currently holding onto 7 tournament spots where they usually only send 3-5. There are as many as 9 or 10 SEC teams battling for tournament position right now, but the most surprising one to me by far is Auburn. They're 19-2 on the year, have risen from the 50s to the top 10 on Kenpom, and look like the runaway favorite to win the SEC, which would make them the first non-Kentucky/Florida team to do so since LSU nine years ago. Will the Tigers hold on to their lofty position as a 2 seed? They get Kentucky at home and travel to Florida down the stretch, but other than that they have very few tricky games and could finish with an impressive resume.

Michigan holds steady on the 8 line. For the fifth straight week, Michigan finds themselves in a winnable 8-9 matchup with the winner facing a tough 1 seed. This is starting to feel a lot like 2011, where Michigan annihilated Tennessee in the first round before losing a nail-biter to an absolutely loaded Duke team. Let's check in with the graphs after the Purdue loss and the Northwestern win:


I'm not sure why Kenpom still predicts Michigan at 11-7 when his own probabilities show 12-6 much more likely. Michigan is now at an 89% chance of finishing 11-7 or better. However, five of the seven remaining games are between 44 and 61%, so there's still quite a bit of swing to the schedule. Saturday's game against Minnesota is one of the ones not in that range, so that's kind of a must-win as far as holding position goes. There's also Big Ten tournament seeding on the line from here on out, as Michigan looks to be in a battle with Nebraska for the last double bye. They need to finish in sole possession of fourth to get that, since Nebraska owns the tiebreaker there. It's something to keep an eye on as the calendar turns to February.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Bracket Projection: 1/23

Rivalry week, apparently. Check out those 8-9 matchups this week. Texas A&M-Texas and Florida-Florida State first round matchups would certainly be fun. Other than that, I don't think you'll be too surprised by anything. Let's take a look and then I'll cover the updates from yesterday:


BOSTON LOS ANGELES ATLANTA OMAHA
1 Villanova Duke Virginia Purdue
2 Clemson Xavier Kansas North Carolina
3 Auburn Oklahoma Arizona West Virginia
4 Texas Tech Michigan St. Cincinnati Tennessee
5 Ohio St. Kentucky Seton Hall Wichita St.
6 TCU Arizona St. Rhode Island Nevada
7 Creighton Louisville Miami FL Gonzaga
8 Michigan Saint Mary's Texas A&M Florida
9 Arkansas Butler Texas Florida St.
10 Syracuse Missouri Marquette Alabama
11 USC Boise St. SMU Notre Dame
11 Providence UCLA
12 Louisiana Lafayette Western Kentucky New Mexico St. Buffalo
13 South Dakota St. East Tennessee St. Vermont Loyola Chicago
14 Stephen F. Austin Murray St. Northeastern Northern Kentucky
15 UC Santa Barbara Montana Bucknell Canisius
16 Princeton Texas Southern Winthrop Florida Gulf Coast
16 Wagner North Carolina A&T

Virginia Tech beating North Carolina was about the only notable thing that happened yesterday, and even that you can pretty much ignore because UNC was borderline 1 seed going into the week, so the loss reaffirms them as a 2 right now. 

No more Maryland. Yeah, and that was before they lost to Indiana last night. The Big Ten is down to four teams as predicted earlier this year. However, Ohio State continues to rise like crazy, and that could continue as they legitimately compete to win the Big Ten. It's a crazy year.

Clemson continues to rise. Here's another weird one you may have noticed. The Clemson Tigers have been steadily climbing all year long and are all the way up to a 2 seed with a whopping 10 wins over the RPI top 100. Personally, I would be surprised if the ACC ends up with four of the top 8 teams on the S-curve, but crazier things have happened. They have a huge matchup with Virginia tonight, so by the time you actually are reading this, things could have changed.

Michigan had an eventful week. Since we last met, Michigan won a crazy one against Maryland, got run off the court in Lincoln, and did the normal thing you do when you play Rutgers. That combination of events makes the graph look like this:


We've shifted back to 11-7 but with a favorable skew: still a 70.5% chance of finishing 11-7 or better. Obviously a win Thursday against Purdue would work wonders toward the season outlook. I'll be making the trek down to Mackey to watch the game, so hopefully I'm treated to an exciting game. I'll be writing a post on my trip as I did when I went to Madison, so keep an eye out for that sometime at the end of the week. 

Now I've got an Oklahoma-Kansas game going on in the background that I'd like to pay more attention to so I'm going to close my computer and watch that. You should too. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Bracket Projection: 1/16

What I missed. Due to the adult-like nature of my schedule these days, I've gotten into the habit of preparing all the data to make a bracket on Monday and then actually making it on Tuesday. So I think these posts are basically all going to have to include a list of notable events that happened between the data and the bracket. First the bracket, then the games I missed:


ATLANTA LOS ANGELES BOSTON OMAHA
1 Duke Virginia Villanova Purdue
2 West Virginia Kansas North Carolina Oklahoma
3 Xavier Michigan St. Texas Tech Wichita St.
4 Kentucky Seton Hall Auburn Clemson
5 Arizona Tennessee Arizona St. Cincinnati
6 Arkansas TCU Creighton Miami FL
7 Nevada Ohio St. Texas A&M Gonzaga
8 Florida Michigan Florida St. Butler
9 Rhode Island Missouri Texas Notre Dame
10 UCLA Marquette Saint Mary's Louisville
11 Boise St. Syracuse Maryland Georgia
11 Houston Baylor
12 Missouri St. New Mexico St. Buffalo Western Kentucky
13 South Dakota St. Vermont East Tennessee St. Towson
14 Stephen F. Austin Murray St. UC Davis Louisiana Lafayette
15 Northern Kentucky Iona Bucknell Florida Gulf Coast
16 Radford Montana Princeton Texas Southern
16 Hampton Robert Morris

Yesterday Kansas beat West Virginia, Florida State lost to Boston College, and of course Michigan beat Maryland. But if you're Michigan, you wouldn't be too upset with the draw shown here. Missouri is weak and Virginia, while always formidable, has a recent history of struggling in the tournament, and could be a team Michigan exploits. I'd certainly take this draw, but they're probably more like a 7 now after the week they just had.

It's probably time to talk about Purdue. Yeah, would you look at that: Purdue suddenly accomplishes what Michigan State couldn't the last few weeks and climbs to the 1 line. In reality, the top three overall seeds are rock solid right now and Purdue, Oklahoma, and North Carolina are all extremely close, but my choice went to the Boilermakers after looking at their impressive resume. They currently have wins over Louisville, Arizona, Michigan, Butler, Marquette, Maryland and Minnesota, and their only 2 losses are both to tournament teams. With a corps of seniors, a consistent style of play, and a very winnable conference, the Boilermakers could hang on to their current position. I'll be at Mackey for their rematch with Michigan next week, so I'll be hoping Michigan makes their path to a 1 a bit more difficult.

Speaking of Michigan. Yeah, what a week. Since we spoke last, Michigan took the aforementioned Boilermakers to the brink, ran Sparty off their home floor, and won a wacky first half slog turned second half barnburner against Maryland. Apparently that's only enough to raise them one seed, but they're moving up right now and I expect that to continue with an easier slate this week against Nebraska and Rutgers. I tweeted the win probability graph yesterday but I'll throw it in here again since it looks so nice:


The Wolverines have won 9 of their last 10. Let's keep the wins coming. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Bracket Projection: 1/9

A new #1 overall emerges. Yep, the Cavaliers have shot up the rankings after their quick 3-0 start in the ACC that included a big win over former 1 seed North Carolina. You won't see anything too crazy in this bracket, but take a minute to admire that 1-8-9 pairing in the West regional:


ATLANTA LOS ANGELES BOSTON OMAHA
1 Virginia Duke Villanova Xavier
2 Michigan St. Oklahoma Kansas North Carolina
3 West Virginia Purdue Arizona St. Texas Tech
4 Arizona Seton Hall Clemson Wichita St.
5 Kentucky TCU Arkansas Texas A&M
6 Cincinnati Miami FL Auburn Tennessee
7 Nevada Florida St. Creighton Gonzaga
8 Missouri Butler Notre Dame Rhode Island
9 Ohio St. Michigan Florida Texas
10 Louisville SMU Saint Mary's Alabama
11 Syracuse UCLA Maryland Boise St.
11 St. Bonaventure Minnesota
12 Missouri St. New Mexico St. Western Kentucky Buffalo
13 South Dakota St. Lipscomb Vermont Louisiana Lafayette
14 Murray St. UC Santa Barbara Towson East Tennessee St.
15 Iona Northern Kentucky Radford Stephen F. Austin
16 Texas Southern Montana Penn Bucknell
16 Hampton Robert Morris

Beilein vs. LaVall with the winner facing Duke? Sign me up. Remember last year when I correctly had the Michigan-Oklahoma State matchup way back in like February and made a big deal about how cool that would be? Yeah let's hope the wish list continues.

Michigan State gets stomped and somehow moves up a seed. Yeah, RPI is stupid. Oh well. They shouldn't have even been that low last week, so this is better I guess.

How many tournament teams will the Big Ten get? Somehow there are six Big Ten teams in this week's bracket thanks to the emergence of the Buckeyes. However, my gut tells me Maryland without Justin Jackson and Minnesota without Reggie Lynch will not end up in the tournament. As it stands, they're both hanging on by a thread. I'm thinking four Big Ten teams is more likely, barring any unforeseen craziness. Michigan is still a 9 seed but they're just barely in the territory I would consider "safely in" rather than a bubble team. But the margin for error is slim with so much dead weight in the conference. Let's check the graph:


11-7 should do the trick, it's just a matter of whether they can get a big win or two to move up the seed lines. Tonight's game against Purdue scares me as a 41% chance of victory. There would be no shame in losing to a top 5 Purdue team, but it would make the graph look a bit dicier. Assuming the trip to East Lansing this weekend isn't going to go particularly well, it seems going 0-2 this week would only put more pressure on the sea of 70ish% games remaining against the middle tiers of the Big Ten. The path to March Madness is laid out for them; they just have to take advantage.

And one final note on the Big XII. It's awesome, friends. The ACC will have the most tournament teams like they always do, but if you don't think the Big XII is the best conference, you're doing yourself a disservice. As you may know, I've hitched myself to the Oklahoma bandwagon, as they personify the traits laid out in my guide to finding a second favorite team impeccably. Kansas is Kansas and will probably win the conference like they always do, but somehow the current projected conference winner is Texas Tech of all teams. And of course West Virginia is quite formidable as well, and nine of the ten teams are in the Kenpom top 60. Do yourself a favor and watch some conference games (when they're not frustratingly buried on ESPNU); you won't regret it.