Monday, January 04, 2010

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - Jan. 4

The start of conference play has caused a considerable amount of change in our latest bracket. There wasn't a whole lot of movement at the top, other than Purdue, on the strength of its win over West Virginia, replacing Syracuse as a 1 seed. Where the bracket got much more complicated was in the 5-7 lines, where lots of teams with very similar resumes were fighting for spots, and on our 11 and 12 lines, where four new teams ended up making their debuts this week.

The A-10 continues to be one of the biggest stories of the season so far, and thanks to Rhode Island's win over Oklahoma State, the league has a season-high four bids in this week's bracket. The only power conference to lose a bid was the Big Ten, which was hurt by Northwestern's recent struggles and now has five teams in the field. Mid-major-wise, we see the Valley as a one-bid league at the moment (Missouri State drops out after its loss at Northern Iowa) and we like the 10th-ranked Colonial to get multiple bids - at-large worthy William & Mary and newcomer VCU, which has a pretty underrated resume.

The one change we didn't think we would have to make was to exclude red-hot USC from the bracket, but the school's self-imposed postseason ban as a result of the Tim Floyd-O.J. Mayo scandal means that the third Pac-10 team in this week's field is upstart Oregon. The Ducks have no OOC resume to speak of, but they've won six in a row and are coming off a very impressive road sweep of the Washington schools in their first two Pac-1o games of the year.

Bracket Breakdown
Last Four In
Dayton, VCU, Oregon, St. Mary's

Last Four Out
Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Oklahoma State

Next Four Out
Notre Dame, Missouri State, Missouri, Illinois


Conference Breakdown
ACC (7), Big East (7), Big XII (6), Big Ten (5), SEC (5), A-10 (4), MWC (3), Pac-10 (3), Colonial (2), WCC (2)

America East - Vermont

ACC - Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami (FL)

Atlantic Sun - Campbell

A-10 - Temple, Richmond, Rhode Island, Dayton

Big East - West Virginia, Syracuse, Georgetown, Villanova, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Pittsburgh

Big Sky - Weber State

Big South - Radford

Big Ten - Purdue, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State, Minnesota

Big XII - Kansas, Texas, Kansas State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Baylor

Big West - Pacific

Colonial - William & Mary, VCU

Conference USA - UAB

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Akron

MEAC - Morgan State

MVC - Northern Iowa

MWC - New Mexico, BYU, UNLV

Northeast - Robert Morris

Ohio Valley - Murray State

Pac-10 - Washington, California, Oregon

Patriot - Army

SEC - Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi State

Southern - Western Carolina

Southland - Texas-San Antonio

Summit - Oakland

Sun Belt - Western Kentucky

SWAC - Prairie View A&M

WAC - Louisiana Tech

WCC - Gonzaga, St. Mary's


The Seeds
The 1s
Kansas, Texas, Purdue, Kentucky

The 2s
Duke, West Virginia, Syracuse, Georgetown

The 3s
Villanova, North Carolina, Kansas State, Wisconsin

The 4s
Michigan State, Gonzaga, New Mexico, Mississippi

The 5s
Wake Forest, Tennessee, Washington, Cincinnati

The 6s
Temple, Butler, Florida, Texas Tech

The 7s
Clemson, Texas A&M, Florida State, Mississippi State

The 8s
Connecticut, Ohio State, William & Mary, UAB

The 9s
Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, BYU, Minnesota

The 10s
UNLV, California, Northern Iowa, Richmond

The 11s
Rhode Island, Baylor, Dayton, VCU

The 12s
Miami (FL), Oregon, St. Mary's, Louisiana Tech

The 13s
Cornell, Western Carolina, Siena, Western Kentucky

The 14s
Akron, Oakland, Radford, Weber State

The 15s
Pacific, Murray State, Vermont, Texas-San Antonio

The 16s
Morgan State, Campbell, Army, Robert Morris (Play-In Game), Prairie View A&M (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at


Anonymous said...

Uconn an 8 seed? Really?!

Rainmaker203 said...

UConn has 3 losses, 0 road wins, and their best wins are William & Mary, Harvard, LSU, and Notre Dame. Not exactly hard to make the case why they shouldn't have a high seed at this point.

Bracketology 101 said...

If you look at UConn based solely on what they have done so far, and don't factor in their potential, an 8 seed could be considered generous. As Rainmaker mentioned, the Huskies have nothing on their resume (besides beating William & Mary and maybe Notre Dame) that could be considered a quality win. The fact that they lost their only true road game hurts them as well. By season's end, UConn may earn their customary high seed in the bracket, but right now they have done nothing to prove that they deserve anything higher than an 8.

Joe said...

I know you guys don't deal much with the actual bracketing but I have two questions.
1) Kentucky looks like they are on the track for a #1 seed. It looks like, based on mileage, the nearest first round venue for them would be Milwaukee. Does the committee use mileage over all other factors or would Kentucky get sent to a more traditional SEC location like New Orleans or Jacksonville?
2) Does the committee show preference on the same seed line? Say Kansas St. and Wisconsin are both #3 seeds but Kansas St. is the #10 overall and the Badgers are #12 and there is one available slot in Milwaukee and two spots in both Spokane and San Jose. Does Kansas St. get sent to Milwaukee based on their higher overall seed or does Wisconsin get to play in Milwaukee since Kansas St. has a shorter trip out west?

Anonymous said...

Tennessee, really a 5? Have you read a newspaper lately about their situation?

Bracketology 101 said...

We're well aware of Tennessee's situation, but we decided it would be unfair to downgrade their seed until we see how they respond on the court without Tyler Smith and Co. Once we see them play a couple of games with this roster, we will adjust their seeding accordingly.

Howard Salwasser said...

William & Mary got edged out by a point at home by UNC Wilmington and VCU loses at home to Northeastern as well. How does this affect the Colonial chances at getting a 2nd team in the dance?

Bracketology 101 said...

Very rough night for our 2 CAA bids. The way things are shaping up right now it looks like it could be a real bloodbath getting thru league play with only a few losses for any team who has some at-large aspirations (VCU, William & Mary, or ODU). But the regular season league champ will likely have at large potential since it is a top 10 league at this point. BracketBuster weekend will probably be make or break for a couple CAA teams.

Anonymous said...

How can florida POSSIBLY be a six seed, when they are 76th in RPI, have 3 losses, including one at HOME against the #148 RPI team, and are just 3-2 against the RPI top 100? William and Mary has a better argument than florida...

matt r said...


I work on the bracketing for B101 based on the 1-65 field... conference affiliation certainly has nothing to do with geographic assignments. From the principles and procedures: "The committee will attempt to assign teams to the most geographically compatible first-/second-round site, descending in order on the seed list.", the seed list being the field ranked 1-65. So, theoretically, if Kentucky is a 1-seed, they should be headed north to Milwaukee, or even Buffalo. That being said, you never really know what they might come up with, especially since there is not a site for them that is right around the corner. The quote above should also answer your other question about geographic preference on the same seed line. In your scenario, Kansas St. should be bracketed for Milwaukee, but again, you never know what they might come up with. You can have a look at the selection committee's principles and procedures for yourself here as a pdf download:

I will be releasing the bracket based on our current field soon, and Kentucky is slated for Milwaukee (along with Purdue).


Bracketology 101 said...

We're not in love with Florida as a six seed either, but there weren't a whole lot of other options on the 6 line. We went with the Gators because of their two quality OOC wins (Michigan State and Florida State) and the fact that in the SEC, they will have plenty more chances to pad their resume down the road. They also have a home game against Xavier on Feb. 13 that could help.

You are correct in saying that William & Mary has a surprisingly strong OOC resume, but unfortunately they are now handcuffed by their conference. No win in the Colonial is a real "quality" win, and any loss they suffer (like last night to UNC-Wilmington) really hurts their resume. In using our projection-prediction model, we have to look ahead when we make a bracket, and we liked Florida's chances to be a 6 seed better than the teams below them.

Anonymous said...

Based on my own projections... I could see florida state going 24-5, at best, 22-7 at worst. With 11 ACC wins, and 3 BCS wins in the OOC schedule, could they touch a 3 seed with a semi-final or finals run in the ACC tourney?

Bracketology 101 said...

It all matters who those ACC wins are against (opponent and home/away) but if they include a few big name wins, your scenario could get the 'Noles a 3 seed.

matt r said...

Bracketing note for the above bracket: You will see BYU as an 11-seed even though they are a 9-seed in the field. UNLV has moved up from 10 to 9, and Rhode Island up from 11 to 10. This is due to BYU's inability to play on Sundays, and instead of punishing the higher seeded teams by moving around the sites, it is more fair to drop them to a seed that will allow them to never have to play on a Sunday. What you are seeing is something that could very likely happen when the selection committee is placing teams in the bracket.

Joe said...

Thanks Matt. I haven't seen that document before.
One thing which you may want to consider in your future brackets is the following from page 4 of your link:

Each of the first three teams selected from a conference shall be placed in different regions.

So, for example, Kansas St and Kansas would not be in the same region. Same for Purdue and Wisconsin.

matt r said...

You are right... completely dropped the ball on that. There might be a new bracket coming!

Tammy said...

I would be very surprised if Kentucky is not put in New Orleans. New Orleans had trouble with filling the arena last time and UK fans would fill it easily. I doubt UK would be shipped to Big 10 country in Milwaukee. Next bracket you guys should put UK in New Orleans.

matt r said...


When they change their manual from 'geography' to 'seat-filling based on historical ticket sales', we will take that into account. Until then, I think we should keep putting teams in New Orleans that are actually closer, like Texas and Ole Miss in the case of this bracket.

Bracketology 101 said...

Matt's new bracket is posted (with the Purdue and Kansas State changes.)

Anonymous said...

Matt R,
Why would they put a 3 seed Wisconsin in San Jose rather than Milwaukee? The 4/5 pod with Ole Miss would be shipped out west and Purdue/Wisconsin would be put in Milwaukee and Kentucky in New Orleans.

matt r said...

Like I said in the earlier comment, they go for the most 'geographically compatible' site in order of seed. But, maybe Milwaukee, Buffalo, New Orleans, and Jacksonville are all equally geographically incompatible for Kentucky (which is unusual... there is almost always a centrally-midwestern first weekend site in Ohio or Indiana... not to mention this is the first year in a while they haven't had a Duke/UNC gimme-site located in NC.)

So maybe you are right, and that could be something considered down the road.

matt r said...

Just checked... Six straight years, 2004-09, there had been a first/second round site in the state of North Carolina. The streak ends this year.