Grant’s Bracket 2/19

Through and including games played on Monday, Feb 18

  1. Duke, Virginia, Gonzaga, Tennessee
  2. Kentucky, North Carolina, Michigan, Michigan State
  3. Marquette, Houston, Kansas, Nevada
  4. Purdue, LSU, Iowa State, Texas Tech
  5. Louisville, Wisconsin, Villanova, Kansas State
  6. Florida State, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Iowa
  7. Buffalo, Mississippi State, Cincinnati, St. Johns
  8. Ole Miss, Auburn, Baylor, Syracuse
  9. Washington, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas
  10. Arizona State, Seton Hall, Alabama, UCF
  11. Temple, Ohio State, Minnesota, North Carolina State, VCU, Wofford
  12. Florida, Butler, Lipscomb, Hofstra
  13. Belmont, New Mexico State, Yale, Vermont
  14. Old Dominion, South Dakota State, UC Irvine, Montana
  15. Texas State, Northern Kentucky, Loyola Chicago, Radford
  16. Colgate, Abilene Christian, Rider, Texas Southern, Fairleigh Dickinson, Norfolk State

First Four Out: Clemson, Davidson, Indiana, Arkansas

Next Four Out: Furman, UNC Greensboro, Utah State, Oregon

Third Four Out: Murray State, Memphis, Saint Mary’s, Nebraska

Also Considered (In Order): San Francisco, Liberty, Toledo, Creighton, ETSU, Colorado, Tulsa, BYU, Fresno State, Northwestern, South Florida, Georgetown, UConn, Dayton

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Grant’s Bracket 2/13

Through and including games played on Tuesday, Feb 12

  1. Duke, Virginia, Tennessee, Gonzaga
  2. North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan State, Michigan
  3. Marquette, Houston, Kansas, Nevada
  4. Purdue, Villanova, LSU, Wisconsin
  5. Louisville, Iowa State, Florida State, Kansas State
  6. Maryland, Virginia Tech, Texas Tech, Iowa
  7. Syracuse, Mississippi State, Cincinnati, Buffalo
  8. St. Johns, TCU, Auburn, Baylor
  9. Washington, Alabama, Arizona State, Ohio State
  10. Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Minnesota, Texas
  11. Seton Hall, UCF, North Carolina State, Temple, VCU, Wofford
  12. Indiana, Clemson, Lipscomb, Hofstra
  13. New Mexico State, Belmont, Yale, Vermont
  14. Old Dominion, South Dakota State, Northern Kentucky, UC Irvine
  15. Montana, Texas State, Loyola Chicago, Radford
  16. Colgate, Abilene Christian, Rider, Fairleigh Dickinson, Texas Southern, Norfolk State

First Four Out: Arkansas, Florida, Butler, Davidson

Next Four Out: UNC Greensboro, Oregon, Utah State, Memphis

Third Four Out: Creighton, Arizona, Furman, Saint Mary’s

Also Considered (In Order): Nebraska, San Francisco, Toledo, Liberty, Murray State, Northwestern, South Florida, Providence, ETSU, Fresno State, Georgetown, UConn, Colorado, Tulsa, Dayton

 

Grant’s Rant (Power vs. Mid-Major – Please let this be the year for the lesser known)

One of the difficulties for someone who tries to predict the bracket is figuring out how this year’s committee is going to treat the perennial dilemma of comparing resumes with high loss totals but high quality wins to those with few losses but nothing impressive on the win side. Typically, the former is represented by the middling power conference teams while the latter is represented by the top mid-major teams. And typically, the power conference teams win out thanks to strength of schedule double counting as a committee metric when they considered both SOS and RPI (in which SOS is a component…broken system?). While the committee dropping RPI as a metric is a great decision, I’m going to reserve my congratulations until we see how NET works out in practice. I’m also going to keep my bracket predictions on the side of history, with power conference teams getting the edge (though for entertainment’s sake, I’d love to be wrong). But let’s take a look at what kind of teams are on each side…

This year, representing the power conference bubble teams, we have Indiana, Clemson, Arkansas, Florida, and Butler (welcome to the power conference side Butler, your league is likely getting three teams in, even if you’re on the wrong side right now, so I’m considering you one of the big guys despite your recent history as a giant killer.)

On the mid-major side, we have a healthy number of challengers including Wofford, Lipscomb, Hofstra, UNC Greensboro, and Furman. And while maybe not mid-majors, teams like Davidson and Utah State probably fit into this group too thanks to their body of work.

I’ve always been a moderate when it comes to this “yes but who did you beat” debate. I see both sides. Power conference teams play tougher schedules, so there’s more margin for error. But even when you have that larger margin, eventually you reach the end of your rope. This year’s bracket should finally be the year where those teams have nothing left to grab.

On the heels of UMBC proving that anything really can happen in the NCAA tournament, it’s time we give the little guys a shot. Should a 4-loss Toledo play Buffalo tough in a MAC Championship game but come up just short, let’s throw them in the First Four and give them a chance to prove themselves. It’d be a lot more fun than watching a team like Florida, who thus far this season is 1-9 vs. quadrant one and 11-2 vs everyone else, go, maybe sneak out a win, and get destroyed by the 5 or 6 seed waiting for them in the second round.

There’s a lot of basketball yet to be played and a lot of upsets are bound to happen, so maybe this rant is premature. Maybe we’ll see Indiana and Clemson take advantage of their tough conference slates and prove their worth. And maybe we’ll see mid-majors drop a couple games and get upset earlier rather than later in their conference tournaments. Maybe this will happen. But it also might not, should we be so lucky.

Grant’s Bracket 2/10

Through and including games played on Saturday, Feb 9

  1. Duke, Tennessee, Virginia, Gonzaga
  2. Michigan, Kentucky, North Carolina, Michigan State
  3. Marquette, Kansas, Houston, Purdue
  4. Nevada, Wisconsin, Villanova, Louisville
  5. Iowa State, Florida State, LSU, Kansas State
  6. Virginia Tech, Maryland, Texas Tech, Iowa
  7. Syracuse, Mississippi State, Cincinnati, Buffalo
  8. St. Johns, TCU, Auburn, Alabama
  9. Oklahoma, Washington, Texas, Baylor
  10. Arizona State, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Minnesota
  11. Seton Hall, UCF, Indiana, North Carolina State, VCU, Wofford
  12. Temple, Butler, Lipscomb, Hofstra
  13. New Mexico State, Belmont, Vermont, Yale
  14. Old Dominion, South Dakota State, Montana, Northern Kentucky
  15. UC Irvine, Texas State, Radford, Loyola Chicago
  16. Colgate, Abilene Christian, Rider, Sacred Heart, Texas Southern, Norfolk State

First Four Out: Clemson, Arkansas, Davidson, Florida

Next Four Out: UNC Greensboro, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah State

Third Four Out: Memphis, Arizona, Creighton, Saint Mary’s

Also Considered (In Order):

San Francisco, Toledo, Furman, Liberty, Murray State, South Florida, Northwestern, Providence, ETSU, Fresno State, Georgetown, UConn, Colorado, Tulsa, Dayton

Grant’s Bracket – 2/9

Through and including games played on Friday, Feb 8

  1. Duke, Virginia, Tennessee, Gonzaga
  2. Michigan, Kentucky, North Carolina, Michigan State
  3. Kansas, Marquette, Houston, Purdue
  4. Villanova, Iowa State, Louisville, Wisconsin
  5. Nevada, LSU, Kansas State, Virginia Tech
  6. Florida State, Maryland, Texas Tech, Iowa
  7. Syracuse, Mississippi State, Cincinnati, Buffalo
  8. St. Johns, Oklahoma, Auburn, Minnesota
  9. Alabama, Washington, Baylor, TCU
  10. Texas, Ole Miss, Ohio State, Arizona State
  11. Seton Hall, Temple, UCF, Indiana, VCU, Wofford
  12. North Carolina State, Davidson, Lipscomb, Hofstra
  13. New Mexico State, Belmont, Vermont, Yale
  14. Old Dominion, South Dakota State, Montana, Northern Kentucky
  15. UC Irvine, Texas State, Radford, Loyola Chicago
  16. Colgate, Abilene Christian, Rider, Sacred Heart, Texas Southern, Norfolk State

First Four Out: Butler, Arkansas, Florida, Clemson

Next Four Out: Nebraska, Utah State, UNC Greensboro, Oregon

Third Four Out: Arizona, Creighton, Saint Mary’s, Memphis

Also Considered (In Order):

San Francisco, Toledo, Liberty, Murray State, South Florida, ETSU, Furman, Georgetown, Northwestern, UConn, Missouri, Fresno State, Colorado, Grand Canyon, USC, Providence

Grant’s Bracket 1/31

Through and including games played on Wednesday, January 30th

  1. Tennessee, Duke, Michigan, Virginia
  2. Gonzaga, Kentucky, Michigan State, North Carolina
  3. Marquette, Kansas, Nevada, Villanova
  4. Houston, Louisville, Purdue, Iowa State
  5. LSU, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Kansas State
  6. Texas Tech, Wisconsin, Florida State, Oklahoma
  7. Syracuse, Mississippi State, Cincinnati, Buffalo
  8. TCU, Minnesota, Iowa, St. Johns
  9. Auburn, Ole Miss, UCF, Alabama
  10. Temple, Seton Hall, Baylor, Ohio State
  11. Arizona State, Texas, Washington, Nebraska, North Carolina State, Davidson
  12. Wofford, Lipscomb, Hofstra, Murray State
  13. VCU, Yale, Vermont, New Mexico State
  14. Northern Kentucky, Texas State, South Dakota State, North Texas
  15. Montana, Radford, UC Irvine, Loyola Chicago
  16. Lehigh, Abilene Christian, Rider, Fairleigh Dickinson, Prairie View, Norfolk State

First Four Out: Indiana, UNC Greensboro, Florida, Creighton

Next Four Out: Butler, Clemson, Memphis, Arizona,

Third Four Out: Oregon, Pittsburgh, Utah State, San Francisco

Also Considered (In Order): Saint Mary’s, Liberty, Northwestern, Toledo, Arkansas, Belmont, Oklahoma State, Providence, ETSU, UConn, Fresno State, Furman, USC, South Florida, Oregon State, Grand Canyon, Penn, Penn State, Utah, Xavier, Georgetown, UCLA, Tulsa, Georgia, Missouri, Dayton, Georgia Tech, San Diego, Notre Dame, Old Dominion

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The Grant Rant – Saint Louis Edition

Welcome to The Grant Rant. Expect this segment to pop up randomly when I feel like ranting about something. I could go weeks without a rant, or I could rant multiple times in a single post, you never know when it’s coming (and neither do I!).

This week I’m ranting about Saint Louis. Why rant about a team so on the fringes of the bubble that they could end up on the wrong side of the NIT? Because it’s my rant and I can do what I want.

I had Saint Louis in my “Next Four Out” as recently as yesterday. They seemed to have some decent pros in their favor. A 14-6 record including 5-2 in a decent Atlantic 10 conference. A win at Seton Hall, a team currently sitting on the right side of the bubble (and that I tend to be higher on than most bracket makers on the matrix. And sprinkle in a home win against a bubbling Butler team and I thought, and still think this team has the foundation of a decent resume, especially in a weak bubble year such as this one is shaping up to be.

So what exactly is my rant? Well yesterday’s home loss to a bad Richmond team (who had a NET ranking of 210 coming into the game) didn’t do them any favors. But outside of the win at Seton Hall, Saint Louis’ best showing away from home? La Salle, currently ranked 239th in the NCAA NET Rankings. And after that? Fordham, 257. And after that? No one. Three wins away from home, two of them in bottom third of teams in all of D1.

After dropping them out of my First, Next, and Third four out, they fell victim to “also considered” process in which I stop ranking teams myself and fill out every team in the top 100 (at this point of the season) of NCAA’s NET Rankings that haven’t yet been listed*. Saint Louis’ new ranking? 109. Hence why they aren’t listed above anymore.

*I do this to avoid group think in my analysis. Too often I see bracketologists using each other and including teams that have no right to be included because someone else did that. This way, objective metrics determine who gets a spot on my posts and keeps them at top of mind.

/rant

Grant’s Bracket 1/30

Through and including games played on Tuesday, January 29th

  1. Tennessee, Duke, Michigan, Virginia
  2. Gonzaga, Kentucky, Michigan State, North Carolina
  3. Marquette, Kansas, Nevada, Villanova
  4. Houston, Louisville, Purdue, Iowa State
  5. LSU, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Kansas State
  6. Texas Tech, Wisconsin, Florida State, Oklahoma
  7. Syracuse, Mississippi State, Cincinnati, Buffalo
  8. TCU, Minnesota, Iowa, Auburn
  9. St. Johns, Ole Miss, UCF, Alabama
  10. Temple, Seton Hall, Baylor, Ohio State
  11. Arizona State, Texas, Washington, Nebraska, North Carolina State, Indiana
  12. Wofford, Lipscomb, Hofstra, Murray State
  13. VCU, Yale, New Mexico State, Vermont
  14. Northern Kentucky, Texas State, North Texas, South Dakota State
  15. Radford, Montana, Drake, UC Irvine
  16. 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, Saint Mary’s, Liberty, Northwestern, Toledo, Arkansas, Belmont, Oklahoma State, Providence, ETSU, USC, Oregon State, UConn, Missouri, Furman, South Florida, Fresno State, Grand Canyon, Xavier, Penn, Penn State, Utah, Georgetown, Georgia, Dayton, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, San Diego, UCLA, West Virginia

Grant’s Bracket 1/29

Through and including games played on Monday, January 28th

  1. Tennessee, Duke, Michigan, Virginia
  2. Gonzaga, Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State
  3. Marquette, Nevada, North Carolina, Villanova
  4. Houston, Louisville, Purdue, Iowa State
  5. LSU, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Kansas State
  6. Texas Tech, Florida State, Wisconsin, Oklahoma
  7. Mississippi State, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Buffalo
  8. TCU, Minnesota, Iowa, Auburn
  9. St. Johns, Ole Miss, UCF, Seton Hall
  10. Temple, Baylor, Alabama, Ohio State
  11. Arizona State, Nebraska, Washington, North Carolina State, Indiana, Texas
  12. Wofford, Lipscomb, Hofstra, Murray State
  13. VCU, Yale, New Mexico State, Vermont
  14. Northern Kentucky, Texas State, North Texas, South Dakota State
  15. Radford, Montana, Drake, UC Irvine
  16. 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).

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Other Finds

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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?

Grant’s Bracket 1/22

Through and including games played on Sunday, January 21st

  1. Tennessee, Duke, Virginia, Michigan State
  2. Michigan, Gonzaga, Kansas, Nevada
  3. Kentucky, North Carolina, Marquette, Villanova
  4. Texas Tech, Houston, Virginia Tech, Maryland
  5. Oklahoma, Louisville, Iowa State, Wisconsin
  6. Florida State, Auburn, LSU, Purdue
  7. Buffalo, Mississippi State, Iowa, Syracuse
  8. Ole Miss, Nebraska, Cincinnati, North Carolina State
  9. St. Johns, Indiana, Kansas State, TCU
  10. UCF, Seton Hall, Texas, Temple
  11. Ohio State, Arizona State, Minnesota, Alabama, Washington, Butler
  12. Wofford, Murray State, Lipscomb, Hofstra
  13. VCU, Vermont, Yale, New Mexico State
  14. North Texas, Radford, Loyola Chicago, Texas State
  15. Northern Kentucky, Montana, South Dakota State, UC Irvine
  16. Colgate, Rider, Abilene Christian, Texas Southern, Sacred Heart, NC A&T

First Four Out: Arizona, Saint Louis, Florida, Pittsburgh

Next Four Out: Davidson, UNC Greensboro, San Francisco, Clemson

Third Four Out: Baylor, Saint Mary’s, Utah State, Liberty

Also Considered: Northwestern, Toledo, Creighton, Furman, Fresno State, Memphis, Oregon, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Penn State, Ball State, Notre Dame, Missouri, Xavier, ETSU, Dayton, Arkansas, Providence, Old Dominion, Belmont, UConn, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, Penn, Miami, West Virginia, Grand Canyon, DePaul, USC, Tulsa, Colorado

Grant’s Bracket 1-21

This bracket represents games completed on or before Sunday, January 20th.

  1. Duke, Virginia, Tennessee, Michigan
  2. Michigan State, Gonzaga, Kansas, Nevada
  3. Virginia Tech, Kentucky, North Carolina, Marquette
  4. Texas Tech, Maryland, Villanova, Houston
  5. Oklahoma, Louisville, Iowa State, Wisconsin
  6. Florida State, Auburn, Nebraska, LSU
  7. Purdue, Buffalo, Mississippi State, Iowa
  8. Syracuse, Ole Miss, North Carolina State, Cincinnati
  9. St. Johns, Indiana, Kansas State, TCU
  10. UCF, Seton Hall, Texas, Temple
  11. Ohio State, Arizona State, Minnesota, Alabama, Washington, Butler
  12. Wofford, Murray State, Lipscomb, Hofstra
  13. VCU, Vermont, Yale, New Mexico State
  14. North Texas, Radford, Loyola Chicago, Texas State
  15. Northern Kentucky, Montana, South Dakota State, UC Irvine
  16. Colgate, Rider, Abilene Christian, Texas Southern, Fairleigh Dickinson, NC A&T

First Four Out: Arizona, Saint Louis, Florida, Pittsburgh

Next Four Out: Utah State, San Francisco, Saint Mary’s, Liberty

Also Considered: Baylor, Clemson, Northwestern, UNC Greensboro, Toledo, Furman, Creighton, Fresno State, Memphis, Oregon, Oklahoma State, Davidson, Oregon State, Penn State, Missouri, Notre Dame, Ball State, Xavier, Dayton, ETSU, Providence, Arkansas, West Virginia, Old Dominion, Belmont, UConn, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Penn, Depaul, Georgetown, Miami, Grand Canyon, USC, Tulsa

Grant’s Bracket 1-19

Does not include games played on Saturday, January 19th.

  1. Virginia, Michigan, Duke, Tennessee
  2. Michigan State, Kansas, Gonzaga, Nevada,
  3. Texas Tech, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Oklahoma
  4. Kentucky, Marquette, Auburn, Maryland
  5. Florida State, Villanova, Houston, Iowa State
  6. Louisville, Nebraska, Purdue, LSU
  7. Buffalo, Wisconsin, Syracuse, Indiana
  8. Iowa, Mississippi State, TCU, Ole Miss
  9. St. Johns, Cincinnati, Seton Hall, Kansas State
  10. North Carolina State, Ohio State, Texas, UCF
  11. Temple, Washington, Arizona State, Minnesota, Alabama, Arizona
  12. Wofford, Murray State, Lipscomb, VCU
  13. New Mexico State, Vermont, Hofstra, South Dakota State
  14. Loyola Chicago, Yale, Northern Kentucky, Texas State
  15. Old Dominion, UC Irvine, Montana, Radford,
  16. Bucknell, Rider, Abiline Christian, Texas Southern, Wagner, NC A&T

First Four Out: Utah State, Florida, Liberty, Butler

Next Four Out: San Francisco, Pittsburgh, St. Mary’s, Northwestern

Also Considered: Clemson, Creighton, Furman, Toledo, UNC Greensboro, Baylor, Saint Louis, Fresno State, Oregon, North Texas, Oregon State, ETSU, Oklahoma State, Davidson, Notre Dame, Memphis, Dayton, Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Providence, Xavier, Penn State, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Ball State, UCLA, UConn, Belmont, Colorado, Missouri, Louisiana Tech, Georgetown, Miami, Texas A&M, South Florida, West Virginia