Finally, the long-awaited (at least by me) Mike Broman Bracketology. This proved to be a massive project, and it was worth every minute of the work I put into it. It combines two of my favorite things, sports and numbers, and includes a lot of analysis. Here’s how I did it.
I realized about five minutes into the project that I would need an Excel spreadsheet. There is just way too much information to juggle to write it on paper. So, I set up a spreadsheet and recorded the following info for each team: Overall Record, Conference Record, RPI, Good Wins, and Bad Losses. Here’s how I defined those last two:
Good Wins: I counted any win over a team that is projected to be in the field or that even has a chance. Obviously, there’s a huge disparity between Virginia (my overall #2 team right now) and, say, Yale, who has a shot at winning the Ivy League. So I broke it down further to distinguish really, truly good wins from those versus bubble teams.
Bad Losses: Essentially, any loss to a team with an RPI in the triple digits fell into this category. As with good wins, there’s a huge gap between Nebraska and Austin Peay (North Florida actually lost to the latter, but somehow beat Purdue… go figure). So I also broke this category down further to really dig in deeper.
I then noted all losses by every team in the spreadsheet, and made notes on how teams had performed lately. This was invaluable when I started seeding the 7-12s (I had done 1-6s and the 12-16 auto-qualifiers first). There is so much parity between these teams that in a lot of cases, the differences were microscopic. After this, I had finally finished.
So, if I were the Selection Committee and the tournament started tomorrow, this is what you would get! I ranked the teams 1-68 as the real Committee does, and I present them here in that order (i.e. Kentucky is the overall 1, Virginia the overall 2, Duke the overall 3, and so forth).
Teams in bold are those that I am projecting as automatic qualifiers. This means more in the case of the mid-major conferences that fill out the bottom seeds, as these conferences rarely get more than one team to the Dance. In the case of a Virginia, for example, they are obviously going to be part of March Madness whether or not they win the ACC tournament. This holds true for any of the teams above the 12-line who are projected as auto qualifiers. Of course, anything can (and does) happen in the conference tournaments, which causes some movement leading up to the Selection Show.
1s – Kentucky, Virginia, Duke, Villanova
2s – Arizona, Wisconsin, Kansas, Gonzaga
3s – Maryland, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Iowa State
4s – Baylor, Louisville, Arkansas, Butler
5s – West Virginia, Northern Iowa, Wichita State, North Carolina
6s – Providence, Georgetown, Utah, Southern Methodist
7s – Saint John’s, Virginia Commonwealth, Dayton, Boise State
8s – Iowa, San Diego State, Indiana, Oregon
9s – Xavier, Ohio State, Cincinnati, Michigan State
10s – Purdue, Texas A & M, Georgia, Colorado State
11s – Louisiana State, Tulsa, Mississippi, Davidson, Temple
12s – Brigham Young, North Carolina State, Wofford, Stephen F. Austin, Lousiana Tech
13s – Valparaiso, Murray State, Buffalo, Iona
14s – Harvard, California-Davis, High Point, South Dakota State
15s – Georgia State, North Carolina Central, Albany, William & Mary
16s – Texas Southern, North Florida, New Mexico State, Sacramento State, Saint Francis-New York, Bucknell
LAST FOUR IN: Davidson, Temple, Brigham Young, North Carolina State. Thus, the First Four would feature Davidson vs. Temple and Brigham Young vs. NC State. It would also include New Mexico St. vs. Sacramento St. and St. Francis-NY vs. Bucknell.
FIRST FOUR OUT: Oklahoma State, Texas, Pittsburgh, UCLA
NEXT FOUR OUT: Illinois, Miami (Florida), Stanford, Central Michigan
It was interesting to see how many teams from the same conference were bunched up in similar seeds when I finished. For example, the Big Ten has two 8 seeds, two 9s, and a 10. The SEC has two 10s and two 11s. I anticipate that when we get to the conference tournaments, some changes will happen because of first-round losses or deep runs (semifinals or finals).
Well, that was a huge project and a lot of fun for my first foray into bracketology. As someone who does everything possible to clear my schedule during March Madness, and who watches a lot of regular season college hoops as well, I’m surprised it took me this long. Next year, I’m going to start earlier. For now, it’s time to sit back and watch the chaos leading up to Selection Sunday!
Finally, if you want to see a really cool site that aggregates projections from around the web, check out the Bracket Matrix. I’ll be back with more of my own projections later this week after most of the teams have played again.