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sportsguychris
Projecting the NCAA Tournament Field with @sportsguychris - 1st Edition
Projecting the NCAA Tournament Field with @sportsguychris 1st Edition It may be mid-February and the "down" time when it comes to sports as a whole - football is done, baseball is still a ways away, and the NBA still has a good 30 games remaining in the regular season, but the college basketball season is in full-swing with each game becoming increasingly important when it comes to making the "big dance". We still have about 3 weeks or so in the regular season, but a lot of the college basketball landscape has taken shape. The top 7-8 teams have really distanced themselves from the rest of the pack. After that it gets much more interesting and jumbled with several quality teams out there that have shown flashes of brilliance at times, while also showing glaring inconsistencies. The back end of the bracket is especially difficult to project. "The Bubble" really consists of a numerous "bleh" teams if you will at the moment - a whole lot of 8, 9, and 10 loss teams jockeying for their chance to sneak into the tournament. If anything, it has really created an interesting argument for several of the quality 'mid-majors' out there that are lacking in overall "quality" victories. The question once again for the committee may very well be, would you rather have a mid-major with possibly only 3, 4 or 5 losses or a "power" conference school with a couple of quality victories that has a plethora of losses? I believe I've found the correct balance of deserving teams based on overall resume quality, good wins vs bad losses, and so on. The NCAA tournament currently awards an automatic bid to each respective Conference Tournament champion for a total of 32 bids. The "selection committee" then awards 38 "at-large" bids to other deserving programs. The teams are seeded 1-16 into four regions. There are a total of four "play-in" games or 1st Round games, consisting of the "last four" at-large schools to receive a bid, and the four lowest-rated of the automatic-bid conference winners. Below is my projected field for the 2019 NCAA tournament as it stands today. Each team is followed by its record, current RPI ranking (as of Sunday night) and Strength of Schedule rating - two of the data points that the committee considers when putting together the official bracket. The "automatic" bid for conference winner is denoted by an asterisk and is awarded to the current leader in each conferences' standings. Here we go, without further ado, here is the @sportsguychris projected field: The Field: 1 - seeds: *Duke (21-2) 2, 1; *Tennessee (22-1) 9, 25; *Gonzaga (23-2) 5, 9; Virginia (20-2) 6,2 2 - seeds: *Michigan (22-2) 4, 15; Kentucky (20-3) 7, 8; North Carolina (19-4) 8,4; *Houston (23-1) 3, 75 3 - seeds: Marquette (20-4) 17, 36; Purdue (17-6) 10,6; *Nevada (23-1) 14, 69; Villanova (19-5) 12, 30 4 - seeds: Michigan State (19-5) 15,5; *Kansas State (18-5) 13, 31; Kansas (18-6) 1,3; Wisconsin (17-7) 20,7 5 - seeds: Iowa State (18-6) 25, 23; Texas Tech (19-5) 23, 17; Florida State (18-5) 18, 21; Louisville (17-7) 19, 10 6 - seeds: Virginia Tech (18-5) 29, 14; Maryland (18-6) 24, 20; LSU (19-4) 11, 40; Cincinnati (20-4) 27, 77 7 - seeds: *Washington (19-5) 21, 45; Iowa (18-5) 31, 24; TCU (17-6) 22, 37; *Buffalo (20-3) 16, 80 8 - seeds: Syracuse (17-7) 40, 49; Mississippi State (16-7) 26, 27; St. John's (17-7) 38, 52; Auburn (16-7) 34, 19 9 - seeds: Minnesota (16-8) 47, 43; Arizona State (16-7) 54, 62; Alabama (15-8) 33, 38; Ohio State (16-7) 51, 34 10 - seeds: Texas (14-10) 37, 13; UCF (17-5) 42, 94; Seton Hall (14-9) 50, 35; VCU (17-6) 28, 77 11 - seeds: Temple (17-7) 32, 74; Baylor (15-8) 57, 42; *Wofford (21-4) 39, N/A; Ole Miss (16-7) 48, 47; / Clemson (15-8) 44, 29 (play-in game; last four in) 12 - seeds: *Hofstra (21-4) 52, N/A; *Lipscomb (20-4) 53, N/A; *Davidson (17-6) 43, N/A Arkansas (14-9) 62, 57; / Belmont (19-4) 45, 109 (play-in game; last four in) 13 - seeds: *Vermont (19-5) 61, N/A; *New Mexico State (20-4) 46, N/A; *Yale (15-4) 46, N/A; *Murray State (19-4) 87, N/A 14 - seeds: *South Dakota State (20-6); *Old Dominion (20-6); *UL-Chicago (14-9); *UC-Irvine (21-5) 65, N/A 15 - seeds: *North Kentucky (20-6) 94, N/A; *Texas State (19-5); *Bucknell (16-8) 99, N/A; *Montana (17-6) 16 - seeds: *Radford (18-7) 75, N/A; *Sam Houston State (16-8) *Norfolk State (13-11) / *Monmouth (10-16) *Robert Morris (13-12) / *Prarie View (11-12) Ole Miss (16-7), Clemson (15-8), Belmont (19-4), and Arkansas (14-9) - in that order- would be the last-four in the tournament at the moment. Duke, Tennessee, Gonzaga, and Virginia are all worthy 1-seeds. It's hard to downgrade Virginia too much as Tony Bennett's squad has only lost to Duke this season. They remain the final team on the 1-line. Michigan, Kentucky, and UNC are all easy choices as 2-seeds. It's tough to ignore Houston's sparkling record (23-1) & RPI rating (3) and they finish off the 2-line. Kansas State sits atop the Big 12 at the moment, and that has them sitting on the 4-line. Hofstra (21-4) & Lipscomb (20-4) are a couple of mid-majors to keep an eye on moving forward. Even if one or both faulters in their respective conference tournament, they could still very easily get in the tournament and make some noise... We still have a good chunk of season to go, but every game will have a direct bearing on the NCAA tournament moving forward. I would love to hear your thoughts below - what would your seeds look like? Who is missing? Who is over-seeded & under-seeded? As always thanks for reading and enjoy the full week of basketball action ahead of us!
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