Through and including games played on Monday, January 28th
- Tennessee, Duke, Michigan, Virginia
- Gonzaga, Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State
- Marquette, Nevada, North Carolina, Villanova
- Houston, Louisville, Purdue, Iowa State
- LSU, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Kansas State
- Texas Tech, Florida State, Wisconsin, Oklahoma
- Mississippi State, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Buffalo
- TCU, Minnesota, Iowa, Auburn
- St. Johns, Ole Miss, UCF, Seton Hall
- Temple, Baylor, Alabama, Ohio State
- Arizona State, Nebraska, Washington, North Carolina State, Indiana, Texas
- Wofford, Lipscomb, Hofstra, Murray State
- VCU, Yale, New Mexico State, Vermont
- Northern Kentucky, Texas State, North Texas, South Dakota State
- Radford, Montana, Drake, UC Irvine
- Lehigh, Rider, Abilene Christian, Fairleigh Dickinson, Texas Southern, Norfolk State
First Four Out: Davidson, Creighton, UNC Greensboro, Butler
Next Four Out: Florida, Clemson, Memphis, Saint Louis
Third Four Out: Pittsburgh, Arizona, Oregon, Utah State
Also Considered (In Order): San Francisco, Liberty, Saint Mary’s, Northwestern, Toledo, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, ETSU, Belmont, Providence, USC, Oregon State, UConn, Furman, South Florida, Fresno State, Missouri, Xavier, Penn, Grand Canyon, Georgia, Georgetown, Utah, Penn State, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Ball State, Dayton, UCLA, San Diego
Differences of 3+ Seedlines from the Matrix:
North Carolina State, 11 vs 8
I’m not sure why there’s so much slack for this team. Their SOS is 277 and NC SOS is even worse at 349. Their best win…and only win against a tournament team from this projection is at home against a decreasingly impressive Auburn team. Not to mention a bad loss at Wake Forest. It’s hard to believe I still have a team like that in the tournament (see note below).
- This bracket has the Big Ten receiving 10 bids. I don’t think this will end up happening as that third tier (Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio State, Nebraska, and Indiana) continue to beat up on one another. I think at least two of the five above fall behind and the Big Ten gets closer to 8 teams in.
- It’s seemingly mentioned every year that it’s a “weak bubble.” I do my best to fight that recency effect by instead comparing the quality of this year’s resumes to those of the last four in and first four out contenders in prior years at this time. That being said…this year is shaping up to be a weak bubble. Starting around the 9 line, everyone seems to be ranked at the very least two seedlines better than similar resumes in the past. Hopefully, this opens things up for midmajors like UNC Greensboro, San Francisco, and Liberty (or if they end up falling in their conference tournament, Wofford, Lipscomb, Hofstra, and Murray State).
- I personally feel there’s a top 8 starting to separate themselves. The one and two seedlines feel like they’re playing a different level of basketball, one more consistent with tournament success. Not to disrespect teams like Marquette, Nevada, and North Carolina, who clearly have talent and can win on any given day, but the top 8 right now have the talent and the consistency.
Let me know your thoughts on this format. Do you like the extra analysis?