Bracketology: Final NCAA tournament projection as of March 12, 2018

  • 03/11/2018 5:28 pm in

The final automatic bids have been handed out, although the only one that really impacted the bracket was Davidson winning that Atlantic-10. Not only did that earn them a spot in the field, it also bumped an at-large contender, forcing me to do a little unexpected work on Sunday afternoon.

For me, it came down to three teams for the final spot – Arizona State, Saint Mary’s, and Louisville. I wouldn’t be shocked to see any of the three make it, and I’m not convinced any of them have a legitimate gripe about being left out.

In addition to reviewing the final few teams in the field, I made some minor adjustments. One of the toughest groups of teams to evaluate was the quintet of Butler, NC State, Kansas State, Alabama, and Florida State, all of whom finished between 33 and 37 on the seed list.

Thanks again to Alex for giving me the opportunity to post this on Inside the Hall and to all of you who followed along during the season. Now I’m ready to get some sleep and just sit back and enjoy what I hope is a fantastic NCAA tournament.

Here’s a final reminder of how the selection committee is classifying wins this season:

· Quadrant 1: Home vs. teams ranked 1-30 / Neutral vs. teams ranked 1-50 / Road vs. teams ranked 1-75
· Quadrant 2: Home vs. teams ranked 31-75 / Neutral vs. teams ranked 51-100 / Road vs. teams ranked 76-135
· Quadrant 3: Home vs. teams ranked 76-160 / Neutral vs. teams ranked 101-200 / Road vs. teams ranked 136-240
· Quadrant 4: Home vs. teams ranked 161-351 / Neutral vs. teams ranked 201-351 / Road vs. teams ranked 241-351

The Bracket

The projections below are based on all games played through March 12, 2018. Following the bracket, I included a few thoughts on the last four in and other two teams I believe have the best shot to get in.

SOUTH (ATLANTA)   EAST (BOSTON)
Charlotte – March 16/18 Pittsburgh – March 15/17
1) Virginia 1) Villanova
16) LIU Brooklyn / NC Central 16) Radford / Texas Southern
8)  Providence
8) Nevada
9) Kansas St. 9) Alabama
Dallas – March 15/17 San Diego – March 16/18
5) Ohio St.
5) Clemson
12) Buffalo 12) South Dakota St.
4) Auburn 4) Texas Tech
13) Marshall 13) Charleston
Nashville – March 16/18 Wichita – March 15/17
6) Florida 6) Houston
11) UCLA / Texas 11) New Mexico St.
3) Michigan St. 3) Michigan
14) Bucknell 14) Stephen F. Austin
Detroit – March 16/18 Charlotte – March 16/18
7) TCU 7) Texas A&M
10) Florida St. 10) Creighton
2) Cincinnati 2) North Carolina
15) Penn
15) Lipscomb
WEST (LOS ANGELES)   MIDWEST (OMAHA)
Nashville  – March 16/18 Wichita – March 15/17
1) Xavier 1) Kansas
16) Cal St. Fullerton 16) UMBC
8) Missouri 8) Virginia Tech
9) NC State 9) Butler
Boise – March 15/17 Boise – March 15/17
5) Gonzaga 5) Kentucky
12) Davidson 12) San Diego St.
4) West Virginia 4) Wichita St.
13) Murray St. 13) UNC Greensboro
San Diego – March 16/18 Dallas – March 15/17
6) Arkansas 6) Miami (FL)
11) Loyola (IL)
11) USC / Saint Mary’s
3) Arizona 3) Tennessee
14) Montana 14) Wright St.
Pittsburgh – March 15/17 Detroit – March 16/18
7) Seton Hall 7) Rhode Island
10) St. Bonaventure 10) Oklahoma
2) Duke 2) Purdue
15) Georgia St. 15) Iona

Last Four In:

UCLA – The Bruins were bumped into the First Four by virtue of Davidson’s win over Rhode Island, but I like their profile more than fellow Pac-12 bubbler USC.

Texas – I’m ultimately not very worried about the Longhorns, who have six quadrant 1 wins and no bad losses.

USC – The Trojans played well in the Pac-12 Final against Arizona, but DeAndre Ayton was simply too much to handle. Even after that loss, USC’s RPI sits in the mid-30s, which suggests they are relatively safe, but the fact remains they have yet to beat a team in the at-large picture.

Saint Mary’s – While predictive metrics like KenPom and BPI really like Saint Mary’s, there isn’t much meat on the actual resume following a WCC tournament loss to BYU. The Gaels have a huge road win at Gonzaga, a home victory over New Mexico State, and a regular season sweep of BYU, but 24 of their 28 victories came against quadrants 3 and 4. They accomplished very little in the non-conference while picking up losses to Georgia and Washington State, and a Saint Mary’s team with a relatively similar profile was left out just a couple years ago. A 10-1 mark in true road games helps the cause, but I wouldn’t be the least bit shocked to see them miss the cut.

Other Teams Considered:

Arizona State – It’s been a precipitous fall for the Sun Devils, who were ranked in the top five in the nation after beating Xavier and Kansas. Their more I looked at their profile, the more it reminded me of Indiana’s profile last season, where the Hoosiers picked up marquee wins over Kansas and North Carolina in the non-conference, picked up a handful of home wins over bubble teams in league play, and ultimately gave the committee too many reasons to leave them out.

Louisville – After falling to Virginia once again, the Cardinals are in a difficult spot. The good news is that they don’t have a bad loss, but they also have zero wins against the RPI top 50. The predictive metrics love Louisville, and four of their five best wins have come in road or neutral games. The Cardinals sit in the Top 40 of the RPI as well, and few (if any) major conference teams in that range have been left out of the field in the past.

Oklahoma State – I would have no issue whatsoever with the Cowboys getting in the field, but their RPI would be about 15 spots worse than the highest to ever receive an at-large bid. I understand the impact just a few games can have on that number, but since my challenge here is to predict the field, I’m not banking on something unprecedented.

Conference Breakdown:

ACC (8): Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Miami (FL), North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia*, Virginia Tech

SEC (8): Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Kentucky*, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas A&M

Big 12 (7): Kansas*, Kansas State, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, West Virginia

Big East (6): Butler, Creighton, Providence, Seton Hall, Villanova*, Xavier

Big Ten (4): Michigan*, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue

Pac-12 (3): Arizona*, UCLA, USC

American (3): Cincinnati*, Houston, Wichita State

Atlantic 10 (3): Davidson*, Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure

Mountain West (2): Nevada, San Diego State*

West Coast (2): Gonzaga*, Saint Mary’s

America East: UMBC*

Atlantic Sun: Lipscomb*

Big Sky: Montana*

Big South: Radford*

Big West: Cal St. Fullerton*

Colonial: Charleston*

Conference USA: Marshall*

Horizon: Wright State*

Ivy: Penn*

MAAC: Iona*

MAC: Buffalo*

MEAC: NC Central*

Missouri Valley: Loyola (IL)*

Northeast: LIU Brooklyn*

Ohio Valley: Murray State*

Patriot: Bucknell*

Southern: UNC Greensboro*

Southland: Stephen F. Austin*

SWAC: Texas Southern*

Summit: South Dakota State*

Sun Belt: Georgia State*

WAC: New Mexico State*

* – Automatic Bid

(Photo credit: Abbie Parr/Getty Images North America)

Filed to:

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    So much name calling…such a small guy you must be ,when you don’t agree with someone you call them names “CLASSY”

  • AndyCapp

    The B1G with only four reps says less about the quality of the conference and more about the bias of the committee. It calls into MAJOR question the effectiveness of the formula and the B1G leaders should be livid and vocal about the outcome.

  • AndyCapp

    lol, perfect

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    If you say so.. quality wins and or losses speak for themselves Nebraska and PSU had chances to put themselves in the dance but losses to UCF,ILL,Rider and IU cancelled that.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    That so called dumpster fire was because the school didn’t offer an extension.(everyone in MBB knows what that means).so instead of firing him a year before it was used against him on the recruiting train even more than the past years hence no top recruits so coach Ryan got the players the admin gave him (#Facts) he was on the hot seat for 3 years.

  • sd chuck

    Just a thought. I’m wondering if this is the way tournament is selected, there will be no advantage of playing a 20 game schedule in the Big Ten! Too much emphasis on quadrant wins. OK does not belong in this field! Nebraska 13 conference wins, not in! What is the advantage of playing 2 more games in the conference ?

  • Robert Swartz

    Huh, very interesting. So, what has actually happened in the past are not facts? Yes, I will give you that history can be open to interpretation. It is what happened, if that is not a fact. Well, then please enlighten me as to what a fact is. I’m all ears.

    As to reading the messageboards or blogs of other teams. Sorry, I’m guilty. I do find it interesting what happens with other teams. My baseless opinion, that could be open to discussion. So, answer this, do you want IU to be better? I do. I’m just a dumb fan, never went to IU. Been following this team since Lou Watson was the coach. I guess your retort is I’m a troll and not entitled to a view. Go find another team to root for, right?

  • Robert Swartz

    For the sake of discussion, who didn’t get the extention? Who was coach Ryan?

  • Ole Man

    You admitted after every game during the season that you had not watched it. Now you change your tune?
    Not buying it.
    And your assessment of Archie simply adds to you diminishing reputation as a basketball fan.
    Face it, you’re never on here except to say negative things about the team, conference, and the fans.
    Sorry that you have to project your life upon this blog and the rest of us.
    However, that’s your problem to work out. Take it elsewhere.

  • Ole Man

    “IU fans not understanding basketball…”
    I might be name-calling you.
    You’re name-calling millions.

  • Ole Man

    Your reading comprehension is as poor as your IU fandom.
    I said that historical fact is open to interpretation.
    I also said you’re entitled to opinion.
    I could care less who you root for.
    Don’t post ridiculous, mindless ramblings without expecting response, however.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    Again you’re reading very bad…I said one time I didn’t watch a game and you ran with that like you always do ..sad

  • IdahoHoosier

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding your comment or the context of Dakich’s comment, but isn’t that exactly what we are seeing played out? Those early season wins can easily make or break a team’s chances of getting in the tourney. Several fizzling teams, notably OK and Arizona St, limped into the tourney on the backs of wins they had months ago. So yeah, it seems the first handful of games in a season matter a lot, especially for low major, mid major, and “weak” conferences as the B1G was labeled this year.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    HAHA .. you are a riot… those are truths… not an assessment.. Mike Davis has more NCAA wins than coach Ryan

  • IdahoHoosier

    I’ll have to respectfully disagree with you in a way. I think conference season winners should get an automatic bid because you’re 100% right, that is the true test of a team. But no way should they take away the automatic bids for conference tourney winners. That is what makes March magical, that high school sectional feel where literally every team has a chance, however slim, of sneaking into the big dance. I’d love to see automatic bids handed out for conference tourney AND regular season champs. Yes that would involve expanding the tourney. Love to get your thoughts.

  • Robert Swartz

    No sir, I believe my reading comprehension is just fine. OTOH, I refuse to be goaded into following down the path you would like me to enter. Good day.

  • IdahoHoosier

    We all need the B1G to do well so the media can stop they “B1G is weak” mantra.

  • inCMitrust

    Everybody debating this should look at Kenpom. It makes it very clear there are 1 too many teams from the ACC, SEC, and Big12. Those teams being Syracuse, Alabama, and Oklahoma. They should be replaced with St. Mary’s, Penn St., and USC. I have no idea how they can’t have St. Mary’s in. The B1G and PAC deserve one more team.

  • Fifer39

    I like the idea of both winners getting automatic bids although I think it might dilute NCAA tourney quality too far if it were extended to every conference. However, I certainly think there should be more room for highly placed mid-majors over mediocre power 6 conference teams (here’s looking at you Oklahoma). And the more automatic selection takes choice away from the Committee the better in my view.

  • Ole Man

    “The other fan bases?” How would you know this. Do you spend time trolling their blogs or just ours?
    It’s not slamming to say that you’re entitled to your baseless opinion.

    And please don’t offer up the history of IU basketball as you did below as “facts.”
    It’s history which can be open to interpretation in any number of ways. Your opinions on it are not facts.

  • IdahoHoosier

    It just plain sucks to see small conference teams like Vermont this year dominate their conference, then because they lose a fluke conference tourney game, no NCAA tourney. I agree I’d hate to dilute the NCAA tourney too much, but there has to be a way to give credit to conference season winners AND tourney winners. And yeah I’m all for leaving less of this inane guesswork/beauty competition up to the committee. I welcome other opinions on how this could be made to happen!

  • coachv

    sports illustrated has him at $7.15 million per year. hard to imagine. where did you get $3 million?

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    My take is that the whole season needs to be addressed. I probably should not of been so dramatic.

  • Ole Man

    “Chris Holtmann will make $3.1M per year for 7 years guaranteed at Ohio State, per source. Made low $1M at Butler.”

    — Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) June 9, 2017

  • Ole Man

    “First-year Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann is listed as the highest-paid Big Ten coach this season, though that figure is a bit misleading. Holtmann is listed as making $7,149,849 in “school pay” this season, but roughly $4 million of that pays for his buyout at Butler. “School pay includes $2,040,360 in one-time supplemental pay and a $1,879,640 tax gross-up payment on that amount,” USA Today noted.”

  • coachv

    while your points have some merit, i am not sure i understand your beef with miller. he is young yet so there is no reason to have expected him to win an ncaa title while at dayton. from a coach’s point of view, i’m telling you that miller has what it takes to get us to the mountain top. i am not just waving pom poms. halfway thru crean’s second season i told anyone who would listen that crean could not and would not be able to, due to his obvious shortcomings as a technical and tactical coach.

    as for recruiting, also be patient. he’s in on langford despite a very late start. that says something. other top indiana players are interested. and the sun doesn’t set on 5 star recruits. i would rather have a team with seniors, especially at guard, than a 5 star freshman who will jump to the nba after one season. how many 5 stars are on the roster at michigan, purdue, or wisconsin all those years they were beating the hell out of us. you can add nova, butler, xavier, wichita st and many others to that list, too.

  • Ole Man

    Nah, you’ve come on here to proselytize, promote negativity and distortion. You’ve made a total of seven comments on ITH. Do you even have a school or rooting interest?
    Don’t really care. Good bye!

  • coachv

    i don’t remember lou watson but i’m kinda surprised anyone that old knows what hashtags and otoh are. reminder, tweet others as you would like to be tweeted and don’t send out any twats that you may later regret.

  • coachv

    ryan miller

  • Ole Man

    In four tournaments, Archie Miller is 5-4.
    In eight tournaments, Mike Davis is 7-8, all seven of those victories coming as IU’s coach. Four of the losses as IU’s coach.

    BTW, anyone calling Archie Miller “Ryan” isn’t an IU fan. He’s a knucklehead.

  • coachv

    and in the case of the st mary’sz of the world, if you don’t rack up some quadrant 1 wins pre-league, you are mucked if you don’t win the conference tourney. but the teams that would qualify as q1 wins won’t schedule them so what are they to do? i thought the committee was trying to find a way to include more good mid-major teams and it appears as if they have done the complete opposite.

  • coachv

    i hate to think of two teams from the meac getting in. i watched a couple of games during their tourney and the play and coaching was so bad i had to look up what the coaches are paid in that league.

  • coachv

    you’re right. that is some shabby reporting from si. that’s why i was shocked. but why include the buyout. doesn’t that get paid to butler?

  • Ole Man

    I believe so.

  • Fifer39

    Completely agree. I don’t know what the solution is but the non conference part of the season is interminably long and lumpy. When you add to that the mess that was B1G scheduling this year, we ended up playing Duke, Michigan, Iowa and Louisville in early December and then Fort Wayne, Youngstown St and Tennessee Tech later the same month. Some way of shortening that part of the season and perhaps moving more of the inter-conference play to the end as a means of deciding tourney invitations might have some mileage. It’ll take someone cleverer than me to work it all out but some possible options…

    1. Larger inter-conference challenges to determine relative seedings and issues on the bubble (Nebraska v Syracuse)?

    2. Joint conference tournaments (Vermont v Davidson)?

    3. I was never a fan of the ‘play-in’ games but, more play in games (Oklahoma v USC)? Just don’t call them round 1!!

  • Fifer39

    Cost to the school I suppose, which is, of course, not the same as what the coach is paid.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Maybe that is the form a tournament expansion takes. Not a full doubling of the tournament to 128 teams, but a larger group of “play-in” games for lower seeded teams. That way when we reach the field of 64 we’ve already weeded out some of the weaker teams and are left with a truer picture of the best 64 NCAA teams. What a concept! We would have room for auto bids for conference regular season AND tourney winners, plus at-large bids, and everyone who earned a shot at the big dance actually gets a shot. Plus… more basketball in more locations!

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Now that the dust has settled, the Committee is getting killed by the media, in reputation and process. ESPN, TNT, Dickey V,, you name it. Hang in their bball!!!

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Nice job!!!

  • Fifer39

    You have my vote to succeed Rasmussen.

  • coachv

    fifer. sticks in my craw a bit seeing him at msu. i know he was born in michigan and it’s a perfect opportunity for dane but i miss seeing him in crimson. would love to see him on miller’s staff one day

  • coachv

    how in the hell does anyone upvote “dilly dilly”? do you want to be shills for the beer that tastes most like water? a beer for girls and children lerning how to acquire a taste for alcohol for the first time? how easily we are manipulated. where’s my razor blade?

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Nectar of the Gods!!! Actually, I don’t drink that crap, just think the commercials are funny. I knew I would get a reaction from you on that one.

  • Fifer39

    Not the fife behind my username coach, but I agree with the sentiment.

  • AndyCapp

    If you say so… although agreeing with the formula, like you do, doesn’t mean it’s not substantially flawed, which it appears to be.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    Point made.. coach Ryan hasnt done anything.. and the administration hand cuffed him by Leaving CTC dangling in the wind instead of firing him or extending him before last year blowing recruiting because no good coaches being retained are limping on the last years of their contracts… so it will be no sooner than the 3rd year before they can even compete for B1G….. the last few years of the last coach being on the hot seat has helped cause the last 2 season records.. and will have lasting effects