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March 14, 2014 Basketball # , , , , ,

EPW: Mock Bracket Walkthrough

I’ve meant to do this exercise for a few weeks. This will be a full walk-through of the seeding process, using my rankings as an S-Curve. I’m going to attempt to build the bracket using the selection committee rules, while trying to stay as true to the ratings as possible. I will do this on Selection Sunday so that I can send a bracket to Bracket Matrix to track the results. I want as little human interaction as possible, but I know I can’t just seed everyone straight through with the rankings, otherwise we can end up with 6 teams from the same conference in the same region. The only thing I won’t pay attention to is potential re-matches from non-conference opponents. I’m only one set of eyes and I don’t have the time to double-check everything while still writing this post. Enough explanation, let’s do this.

This whole process starts off simple, but gets harder as it goes as more teams need to be shuffled. The four #1 seeds are, in order, Arizona, Florida, Villanova and Syracuse. Arizona goes to the West Region (Anaheim) and is placed in the San Diego Pod. Florida goes to the South Region (Memphis) and gets the Orlando pod. Villanova will be in the East Region (New York) and gets a Buffalo pod, with Syracuse rounding it out in the Midwest Region (Indianapolis) and grabbing the other Buffalo pod. The bracket lines up like this:

Bracket - #1 seeds

 

 

 

 

 

Next, we have the #2 seed: Wichita St., Wisconsin, Kansas, San Diego St. Wichita St. goes first, being placed in the Saint Louis pod and the South Region. Wisconsin goes to the Milwaukee pod and the Midwest Region. Kansas joins Wichita St. at the Saint Louis site, while heading to the East region. San Diego St. is unable to be placed in the San Diego pod, since it is their home floor, so they’ll be heading to Spokane and grabbing the spot in the West. So far, so good.

The #3 seeds are as follows: Michigan, Creighton, Virginia and Iowa St. Michigan has a few favorable pod locations, so to make things easier for some other #3 seeds, but since both Buffalo pods have been taken, they’ll grab the 2nd spot in Milwaukee. The Midwest would be their best region geographically, but since Wisconsin is already in that region, they move to the East. Creighton’s two best pods (St. Louis and Milwaukee) have already been filled, so they’ll head to San Antonio for their first game and be placed in the Midwest. Virginia is next, and they’ll head to Raleigh and take a spot in the South, with Iowa St. going to San Antonio and the West.

Moving on to the #4 seeds, we have Duke, Cincinnati, Saint Louis and Michigan St. Duke gets a first round game in Raleigh and is heading to the East region. Cincinnati has to head to Orlando, via process of elimination, but gets a spot in the Midwest. Saint Louis and Michigan St. both draw short straws for pods, heading to Spokane and San Diego, respectively. Saint Louis is placed in the South region, with Michigan St. heading to the West. Not a lot of perks for Michigan St. as the last #4 seed, but what can you do? The bracket now looks like this:

Bracket - Top 16

 

 

 

 

 

The #5 seeds are Louisville, Massachusetts, Connecticut and North Carolina. Louisville can’t go to the Midwest, due to the presence of Cincinnati, so they’ll be put in the South. Massachusetts is next, heading to the East. Connecticut is locked out of the Midwest and the South, the East has already been filled, so process of elimination puts the in the West. Which should mean that North Carolina goes to the Midwest, however that is where Syracuse is seeded. The only region that does not have an ACC representative at this point is the West, meaning the Tar Heels need to be bumped down a spot on the seed line. The next team in like is Gonzaga. Since they have no conflicts, they can be placed on the #5 line in the Midwest.

Now the #6 seeds should be North Carolina, Ohio St., New Mexico and Pittsburgh. Now UNC can slot into the West. Ohio St.’s only possible location at this point is the South. New Mexico can’t go to the West because of San Diego St., so they’ll be in the Midwest. That leaves Pittsburgh to be placed. Pittsburgh will be the 5th ACC team to be seeded, meaning there will now be multiple conference teams in one region. With Duke being the #4 seed in the East, Pittsburgh can slot in as the East’s #6 seed, which avoids any potential conference re-match until the Elite 8. Perfect.

Bracket - Top 24

 

 

 

 

 

Next up is the #7 seeds, Texas, VCU, George Washington and Oklahoma. Texas goes to the South, VCU to the Midwest, and George Washington is forced to the West as the 4th A-10 rep. These leaves Oklahoma unable to be seeded as a 7, as their only potential landing spot at the point is in the Midwest. UCLA is next in line, so they snag a cross-country trip to the East, if they make a Sweet 16 appearance.

The #8 seeds are now Oklahoma, Harvard, Baylor and Memphis. Oklahoma heads to the Midwest and Harvard takes a spot in the East. Baylor makes team number 5 for the Big 12, so their spot requires some analysis. The Big 12 has no teams in top half of the two remaining regions, so placing them in either one will work. That’s a different story for Memphis, though. The AAC has teams in the top half of both of those regions, so the Tigers will be forced to drop to the #9 line. The next team up is Oregon, who can be placed in the South without problem, which makes Baylor to the West official. This type of musical chairs becomes quite regular from here on out.

Half of the bracket has now been seeded. Potential conference re-matches have been minimized and pushed out as late as possible. An all-chalk 2nd round is now visible for the entire bracket, which looks like this:

Bracket - Top 32

 

 

 

 

 

Now, the first round matchups start being created. The #9 seeds are Memphis, Kentucky, Southern Miss and Colorado. Memphis goes to the East, since the AAC has teams in the other 3 regions, where they’ll meet Harvard. I don’t think Kentucky would get a spot in the Midwest, as that could potentially put Syracuse in a semi-road game in the 2nd round, so they head to the West to play Baylor. Southern Miss goes to the South to take on Oregon, since Colorado’s only potential region is the Midwest and a game against former conference mate, Oklahoma.

For #10 seeds, we have THE LUMBERJACKS OF STEPHEN FULLER AUSTIN, Xavier, Toledo and Providence. Stephen F. Austin heads to the Midwest for a date with VCU. Xavier is the South region and draws Texas. Toledo ends up in the East and matches up with UCLA. Lastly, Providence goes to the West and plays George Washington.

In the 8 total games that have been set-up so far (ignoring any potential home court adjustments), only Kentucky is projected to be a favorite in their game.

Moving on to the #11 seeds, we have Stanford, Arizona St., Florida St. and SMU. Since the Pac12 already have 4 teams in the bracket, the region choices have some limits. The East is the only region to have a Pac12 in the bottom half of a region, so Stanford gets a spot in the West against North Carolina, while Arizona St. takes on Ohio St. in the South. Florida St. takes Midwest’s #11 seed, taking on New Mexico, with SMU joining the East region and taking on Pittsburgh.

Bracket - Top 44

 

 

 

 

 

The #12 seeds traditionally are the most popular upset teams in the tournament, and in this instance, one of these teams is particularly strong. This group of teams also includes the first play-in game. The teams are Oklahoma St., Dayton, the winner of Nebraska/Saint Joseph’s, and North Dakota St. Seeding these teams was a little tricky due to the play-in game, but ultimately everyone can be kept on this seed line. Oklahoma St. heads to the South to take on Louisville in what I would assume is one of the strongest 1st round games in the history of the NCAA tournament. It’s absolutely a doomsday scenario for the defending champs. Louisville will still be favorites in the game, but the relative strength of the rest of the 12-seeds pales in comparison to OKST’s. Dayton goes to the West for a game against Connecticut. The Nebraska/St. Joe’s winner is placed in the Midwest, which has an top-half of the bracket without any teams from the BigTen or A10. Both teams are underdogs in that match-up with Gonzaga, though. The last 12-seed in North Dakota St., who heads to the East to face Massachusetts.

#13 seeds include the winner of Green Bay and BYU, Louisiana Tech, Manhattan and North Carolina Central. With BYU as the projected winner, they’ll be in the East region as Duke’s opponent. Louisiana Tech would be in the Midwest and would take on Cincinnati. Manhattan goes to the South for a date with Saint Louis and NC Central heads to the West to take on Michigan St.

The #14 seeds are Delaware, Georgia St., New Mexico St. and Mercer. Delaware gets placed in the Midwest to take on Creighton, Georgia St. is in the South region and draws Virginia, New Mexico St. is in the West region and plays Iowa St., and Mercer finishes off this group in the East against Michigan.

Per KenPom ratings, half of the Sweet 16 teams have now been decided.

Bracket - Top 60

 

 

 

 

 

This leaves just the #15 and #16 seeds. The #15 seeds are UC-Irvine, Eastern Kentucky, Stony Brook and Milwaukee, with the #16 seeds being American, Wofford, and the winners of Weber St./Coastal Carolina and Mount St. Mary’s/Texas Southern. UC-Irvine takes a crack at Wisconsin in the Midwest. Eastern Kentucky takes on Kansas in the East. Stony Brook locks up with undefeated Wichita St. in the South, and UW-Milwaukee heads to the West and “battles” San Diego St.

Finally, the #16 seed match-ups are American taking on Syracuse in the Midwest, Wofford against Villanova in the East, the Weber St./Coastal Carolina winner against Florida in the South and the Mount St. Mary’s/Texas Southern winner against Arizona in the West.

All of this creates a bracket that looks like this:

Bracket - Complete

 

 

 

 

 

All of the games are done using a straight comparison of the higher KenPom rating. No need to run any sims on this hypothetical. So much can change just by simply putting teams in different regions. For example, even though Louisville makes it to the finals, the game against Oklahoma St. would severely lower their overall chances of doing that. Replace Saint Louis with Duke and you have an even more difficult road. All in all, I think this is a really fun exercise. The bracket was able to come together with a very small amount of restructuring due to conference alignments. I’ll be very interested to see how this measures up to the rest of the brackets that are tracked at Bracket Matrix. Anything in the top half will look like a very big success.

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March 14, 2014 Basketball # , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

EPW: College Basketball Rankings through March 13

There were so many shake-ups yesterday that I don’t even know where to begin. Villanova lost their spot as the EPW #1 overall team with their loss to Seton Hall. Iowa tumbled 12 spots thanks to a loss against Northwestern and now are on the outside looking in. Xavier, Providence, Stanford and Florida St. have all taken the necessary steps to strengthen their resumes. All in all, yesterday was a pretty eventful day in college hoops, and it is only going to get better.

Spreadsheet

Seeds

1: Arizona, Florida, Villanova, Syracuse

2: Wichita St., Wisconsin, Kansas, San Diego St.

3: Michigan, Creighton, Virginia, Iowa St.

4: Duke, Cincinnati, Saint Louis, Michigan St.

5: Louisville, Massachusetts, Connecticut, North Carolina

6: Gonzaga, Ohio St., New Mexico, Pittsburgh

7: Texas, VCU, George Washington, Oklahoma

8: UCLA, Harvard, Baylor, Memphis

9: Oregon, Kentucky, Southern Miss, Colorado

10: Stephen F. Austin, Xavier, Toledo, Providence

11: Stanford, Arizona St., Florida St., SMU

12: Oklahoma St., Dayton, (Nebraska/Saint Joseph’s), North Dakota St.

13: (Green Bay/BYU), Louisiana Tech, Manhattan, North Carolina Central

14: Delaware, Georgia St., New Mexico St., Mercer

15: UC Irvine, Eastern Kentucky, Stony Brook, Milwaukee

16: American, Wofford, (Weber St./Coastal Carolina), (Mount St. Mary’s/Texas Southern)

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March 12, 2014 Basketball # , , , ,

EPW: College Basketball Rankings through March 11

Spreadsheet

Seeds

1: Villanova, Florida, Arizona, Syracuse

2: Wichita St., Wisconsin, San Diego St., Kansas

3: Michigan, Creighton, Virginia, Duke

4: Iowa St., Cincinnati, Saint Louis, Michigan St.

5: Louisville, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Oklahoma

6: Connecticut, Gonzaga, Ohio St., VCU

7: George Washington, New Mexico, Pittsburgh, Texas

8: Memphis, Harvard, UCLA, Oregon

9: Kentucky, Stephen F. Austin, Baylor, SMU

10: Southern Miss, Arizona St., Colorado, Toledo

11: Iowa, Xavier, Providence, Nebraska

12: Oklahoma St., Saint Joseph’s, (Dayton/Florida. St), North Dakota St.

13: (Green Bay/Kansas St.), Louisiana Tech, Manhattan, North Carolina Central

14: Delaware, Georgia St., Boston University, New Mexico St.

15: Mercer, UC Irvine, Eastern Kentucky, Stony Brook

16: Milwaukee, Wofford, (Weber St./Coastal Carolina), (Mount St. Mary’s/Texas Southern)

Last Four In: Dayton, Florida St., Green Bay, Kansas St.

First Four Out: Stanford, BYU, St. John’s Missouri, Arkansas

Next Four Out: California, Tennessee, Minnesota, Clemson

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March 11, 2014 Basketball # , , , , , , ,

EPW: College Basketball Rankings through March 10

Spreadsheet

Seeds

1: Villanova, Florida, Arizona, Syracuse

2: Wichita St., Wisconsin, San Diego St., Kansas

3: Michigan, Creighton, Virginia, Iowa St.

4: Duke, Cincinnati, Saint Louis, Michigan St.

5: Louisville, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Connecticut

6: Oklahoma, Ohio St., VCU, George Washington

7: Gonzaga, New Mexico, Pittsburgh, Texas

8: Memphis, Harvard, UCLA, Oregon

9: Kentucky, Stephen F. Austin, Baylor, SMU

10: Southern Miss, Arizona St., Colorado, Toledo

11: Xavier, Iowa, Providence, Nebraska,

12: Oklahoma St., Saint Joseph’s, (Dayton/BYU), (Florida St./Green Bay)

13: North Dakota St., Louisiana Tech, Manhattan, North Carolina Central

14: Delaware, Georgia St., Boston University, New Mexico St.

15: Mercer, UC Irvine, Eastern Kentucky, Stony Brook

16: Robert Morris, Wright St., (Wofford/Weber St.), (Coastal Carolina/Texas Southern)

 

Last Four In: Dayton, BYU, Florida St., Green Bay

First Four Out: Kansas St., Stanford, Missouri, St. John’s

Next Four Out: Arkansas, California, Tennessee, Minnesota

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March 10, 2014 Basketball # , , , , , , ,

EPW: College Basketball Rankings through March 9

There have been lots of changes since the last rankings update. I had planned on putting stuff up on Saturday AND Sunday, but got side-tracked by day-drinking on Saturday and a hangover yesterday. It happens. Also, I am now deeply immersed in South Park: The Stick of Truth. Absolutely hilarious game. Anyway, no one cares about that so I’ll get to the point.

5 teams have officially punched their ticket to the dance: Mercer, Coastal Carolina, Harvard, Eastern Kentucky and Wichita St. Stony Brook (or Albany, but whatever) replaced Vermont, Wofford (or Western Carolina) replaced Davidson and the Horizon’s automatic qualifier will either be Wright St. or Milwaukee. Green Bay took a tumble, dropping 12 spots since the last rankings. They are now slotted in the Last Four In, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see them passed by some of the bubble teams with games left to play.

The biggest change, in my opinion, came at the top. Villanova is now the #1 team in the EPW rankings. Please understand, this does not mean that Villanova is the best team in the nation. It means that Villanova has performed the best relative to expectations, which is how I believe the tournament should be seeded. While they have one more loss than my #2, Florida, they’ve played a harder schedule. If Villanova can win the Big East tournament, and avenge the two beatings they took from Creighton, I truly believe they should be the #1 overall seed. I don’t think the committee will agree, but I think we all know that my opinion is way more important.

One more note before I provide the updated data is on Wichita St. The Shockers are the #5 team in EPW, meaning they would not be considered a 1-seed in the tournament. I think a reasonable argument can be made that Arizona, Florida, Villanova and Syracuse should be the four 1-seeds if they all win their respective conference tournaments. The chances of the tournaments playing out like that are small, so I don’t expect this to be an issue, but it is something to think about over the next week. Being undefeated should not be an automatic 1-seed.

Spreadsheet

Seeds

1: Villanova, Florida, Arizona, Syracuse

2: Wichita St., Wisconsin, San Diego St., Kansas

3: Michigan, Creighton, Virginia, Iowa St.

4: Duke, Cincinnati, Saint Louis, Michigan St.

5: Louisville, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Connecticut

6: Oklahoma, VCU, Ohio St., George Washington

7: New Mexico, Pittsburgh, Texas, Gonzaga

8: Memphis, Harvard, UCLA, Oregon

9: Kentucky, Stephen F. Austin, Baylor, SMU

10: Colorado, Southern Miss, Arizona St., Toledo

11: Xavier, Iowa, Providence, Nebraska

12: Saint Joseph’s, Oklahoma St., (Dayton/Florida St.), (Green Bay/Stanford)

13: North Dakota St., Louisiana Tech, North Carolina Central, Delaware

14: Iona, Boston University, Georgia St., New Mexico St.

15: Mercer, UC Irvine, Eastern Kentucky, Stony Brook

16: Robert Morris, Wright St., (Wofford/Weber St.), (Coastal Carolina/Texas Southern)

Last Four In: Dayton, Florida St., Green Bay, Stanford

First Four Out: Kansas St., BYU, Missouri, St. John’s

Next Four Out: Arkansas, California, Tennessee, Minnesota [4 states…weird]

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March 6, 2014 Basketball # , , , , , ,

EPW: College Basketball Rankings through March 5

Stanford, out. Dayton, in. While the rest of the bracket had some small jockeying between the rankings, the biggest change was the Flyers tagging in and the Cardinal diving out. Stanford lost by 3 at home to Colorado, while Dayton knocked off the suddenly slipping Saint Louis on the Billikens home floor.

Spreadsheet for March 6

 

Seeds

1: Arizona, Florida, Villanova, Wisconsin

2: Wichita St., Syracuse, Kansas, Virginia

3: Michigan, San Diego St., Creighton, Duke

4: Iowa St., Cincinnati, Massachusetts, Michigan St.

5: Louisville, Saint Louis, North Carolina, Connecticut

6: New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, UCLA

7: Ohio St., George Washington, VCU, Gonzaga

8: Memphis, Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Iowa

9: Arizona St., SMU, Colorado, Harvard

10: Oregon, Green Bay, Stephen F. Austin, Saint Joseph’s

11: Southern Miss, Xavier, Providence, Kansas St.

12: Baylor, Oklahoma St., (Florida St./Dayton), Toledo

13: (Arkansas/Missouri), North Dakota St., Louisiana Tech, North Carolina Central

14: Belmont, Delaware, Boston University, Georgia St.

15: Iona, New Mexico St., Mercer, UC Irvine

16: Vermont, Davidson, (Robert Morris/Weber St.), (Coastal Carolina/Texas Southern)

 

Last Four In: Florida St., Dayton, Arkansas, Missouri

First Four Out: Stanford, Nebraska, BYU, Clemson

Next Four Out: Utah, Tennessee, California, St. John’s

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March 5, 2014 Basketball # , , , , ,

EPW: College Basketball Rankings through March 4

We have finally reached the most exciting time in college basketball. The next two weeks are arguably the most exciting two-week stretch in all of sports. The breakdown of a potential NCAA tournament field will change daily. As someone who is writing about these changes, I couldn’t be happier. With that said, he are the updated EPW rankings through March 4. The link to the spreadsheet is here.

Quick note, I realize that Arkansas/Missouri are matched up in the chart below for the play-in game. This is literally just a breakdown from 1-68, with no adjustments whatsoever. I know this can’t happen. I’m just not trying to predict the real bracket yet.

 

1: Arizona, Florida, Villanova, Wisconsin

2: Wichita St., Syracuse, Kansas, Virginia

3: Michigan, Duke, Creighton, San Diego St.

4: Iowa St., Saint Louis, Cincinnati, Michigan St.

5: Massachusetts, North Carolina, Connecticut, Louisville

6: New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, UCLA

7: Ohio St., SMU, VCU, Gonzaga

8: Memphis, Kentucky, George Washington, Pittsburgh

9: Iowa, Arizona St., Harvard, Oregon

10: Saint Joseph’s, Green Bay, Stephen F. Austin, Southern Miss

11: Colorado, Xavier, Providence, Stanford

12: Kansas St., Baylor, (Oklahoma St./Florida St.), Toledo

13: (Arkansas/Missouri), North Dakota St., Louisiana Tech, North Carolina Central

14: Belmont, Delaware, Georgia St., Boston University

15: Iona, New Mexico St., Mercer, UC Irvine

16: Vermont, Davidson, (Robert Morris/Weber St.), (Coastal Carolina/Texas Southern)

 

Last Four In: Oklahoma St., Florida St., Arkansas, Missouri

First Four Out: BYU, California, Clemson, Dayton

Next Four Out: Nebraska, St. John’s, Minnesota, Georgetown

 

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March 3, 2014 Basketball # , , , , , ,

EPW: College Basketball Rankings through March 2

Here’s a quick synopsis of what’s going on in the EPW rankings.

Biggest jump from a team that could matter: Indiana (from #89 to #69) – They can get into a serious at-large discussion, but it’s going to take wins vs. Nebraska and at Michigan, plus a deep run in the Big Ten tournament, to do it.

Biggest fall from a team that matters: Kentucky (from #21 to #33) – This team is going to be fascinating on Selection Sunday. I fully expect them to be two spots higher than EPW will show, if they hold this current pace. If not, MSM can start writing articles about how Wichita St. will lose to 9-seed Kentucky in the Round of 32. (FYI, KenPom would have the Shockers as 4 point favorites on a neutral court, 6 point favorites for a semi-home game.)

Last Four In: Baylor, Florida St., Arkansas, Brigham Young

First Four Out: Missouri, California, Dayton, Nebraska.

The Arkansas/BYU/Missouri/Cal run is particularly tight, with Arkansas’s rating being .025 and Missouri/Cal sitting at .022. Those rankings are close enough to shift solely on results of teams they have played, which would impact their perceived strength.

Stephen F. Austin Watch: The Lumberjacks held steady at #39 after a 40-point win at New Orléans and a 13-point victory at Southeastern Louisiana. The are two wins away from a perfect record in the Southland conference. This shirt is already bookmarked and ready to be ordered once they punch their ticket.

As always, here is the link to the document with the full ranking breakdown.

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February 28, 2014 Basketball # , ,

EPW: College Basketball Rankings through February 27

I don’t have time this morning to do a blog post, but I wanted to get this posted as I am getting the EPW rankings added to Bracket Matrix. I think the rankings will serve as a great baseline for this exercise. If you can’t beat this method, which is very simple and can be completely replicated by anyone, then you probably should not be covering college basketball. Link to the full document is here.

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