Detailed Bracket Breakdown, February, 2017
Two weeks before Selection Sunday and who will be in contention for at-large bids has come into focus. Now that we know more-or-less what will comprise a ‘Good Win’ or ‘Bad Loss’ and it’s time for the first detailed, fully resume scrubbed update of the year.
The following projects teams finish with the current projected conference record per KenPom and projected RPI per RPIForecast.com, but gives credit for good wins/bad losses only through games already played. Beyond the list above, it would take a massive change in a team’s resume from this point to get back onto the bubble, and in most cases the conference tournament will be the only opportunity for such teams to get those big victories.
First, the S-Curve:
|6||Minnesota||Oklahoma St.||Iowa St.||Notre Dame|
|7||Saint Mary’s||Creighton||Miami FL||South Carolina|
|10||Michigan St.||Seton Hall||VCU||Marquette|
|12||UT Arlington||Nevada||UNC Wilmington||Middle Tennessee|
|14||New Mexico St.||East Tennessee St.||Valparaiso||Akron|
|15||Bucknell||UNC Asheville||Florida Gulf Coast||North Dakota St.|
|16||New Orleans||North Dakota||Texas Southern||UC Irvine|
|16||Mount St. Mary’s||NC Central|
The following 29 teams have now done enough with two weeks left to consider their tournament hopes 99%+ safe. Note teams 4-10 in the following list are all probably in play for the last #1 seed two weeks from now, while the top 3 are looking pretty good to grab the first three spots.
Next, the following teams have largely played themselves upwards to the next tier of likely in barring an epic collapse/injuries/etc. I know I’ll get pushback on Wichita St being this high, but a top 10 team in KenPom that’s moved into the national polls and has lost 1 game the last two months after a strong tournament performance in a similar situation last year has historically gotten the benefit of the doubt. They also only have their conference tournament remaining, so it’s tough for too much of a collapse to occur from here. Xavier’s play has dropped off significantly since losing Sumner, and at 1-7 in their last 8 their bid could be in play so it would be wise for them to win at least 1 game down the stretch as well.
Finally, the most interesting part, the bubble. The last at-large spot, assuming MTSU wins the CUSA Tournament, will be #46/47. MTSU is currently #45 and would make an interesting test case of good mid-major with good metrics but a resume somewhat light on good wins (like much of their competition at the end of the at-large bubble pool.
|Next Four||Second Four Out||Four More|
|Last Teams In:||First Teams Out:|
|39||Seton Hall||101.14||51||UNC Wilmington||119.54|
When you get to the bubble, teams are either lacking a good overall/computer profile (Syracuse, Michigan St, TCU, Georgia Tech, Indiana) or are lacking quantity and quality of good wins (Illinois St, Wake Forest, Cal, TCU, Kansas St, Houston). Which of these teams make the tournament will come down to the balance of weighting the committee places on the different factors.My guess above is as good a guess as to what things will look like in two weeks as we can make without knowing how all the conference tournament brackets will shake out. Those tournaments will provide the last chance to capture a quality win for many of these teams in competition for the final spots.
Rhode Island’s win yesterday doesn’t get them in the field but does keep their hopes alive. Syracuse (currently losing), USC, Georgia Tech, Houston, Xavier, Michigan St, and Illinois are all teams with a chance to help their resume or avoid a bad loss to stay in the field today.