With February almost upon us, that means that it is almost time for the greatest sporting event of all, March Madness! So, it’s time for the first offering of my 2016 bracket projections. In addition to watching a ton of college basketball so far this season, I mainly looked at these factors to come up with my seeding:
- Strength of schedule: self-explanatory. It helped me figure out, for example, that South Carolina should be on the 5 line even though they’re in a major conference and they are 18-2… because their SOS is 150.
- RPI: its merits are questionable, but it’s used by the Selection Committee and most other people who do this, so I used it.
- Good wins: in my view, these are wins over teams that are also projected to be in the tournament or who at least have a reasonable shot of getting there right now.
- Bad losses: I define these as losses to teams that have as much chance of getting to the tournament as one of my middle school Rec & Ed teams. In other words, zero.
With that in mind, here we go. I ranked the teams 1-68 and here is what I came up with.
1s – Oklahoma, Iowa, North Carolina, Villanova
2s – Iowa State, Virginia, Oregon, Xavier
3s – Kansas, Texas A & M, Michigan State, Maryland
4s – Miami, Dayton, Kentucky, Providence
5s – Purdue, Texas, Utah, Baylor
6s – South Carolina, West Virginia, Colorado, Pittsburgh
7s – Michigan, Louisville, Florida, Southern California
8s – Indiana, Notre Dame, Duke, Arizona
9s – Wichita State, San Diego State, California, Washington
10s – Syracuse, Stanford, Virginia Commonwealth, Saint Mary’s
11s – Monmouth, Cincinnati, Saint Joe’s, George Washington
12s – Georgetown, Seton Hall, Clemson, Tulsa, Valparaiso, Chattanooga
13s – Arkansas-Little Rock, Belmont, UC Irvine, Princeton
14s – South Dakota State, Akron, Stony Brook, Montana
15s – Hofstra, Alabama-Birmingham, New Mexico State, Texas A & M – Corpus Christi
16s – North Carolina-Asheville, North Florida, Bucknell, Hampton, Wagner, Southern (Southern had to be last on the 16 line because they lost to Prairie View A & M… who is 1-18. Let that sink in.)
LAST FOUR IN – Georgetown, Seton Hall, Clemson, Tulsa. That means these teams would play in the First Four, as would Bucknell, Hampton, Wagner, and Southern.
FIRST FOUR OUT – UCLA, Vanderbilt, Butler, Florida State
NEXT FOUR OUT – Wisconsin, Louisiana State (they may have jumped into the Last Four In if they’d held on against Oklahoma tonight), Gonzaga, Temple
So, that will do it for the first of many projections I will do before the end of the conference tournaments. If you want to rip me because I have your team too low or want to discuss anything else related to bracketology, feel free to do so in the comments. And as always, remember to check out the Bracket Matrix, a must for those of us who are obsessed with this stuff.