Monday, March 14, 2016

Bracket Breakdown

Two big things are always debated right after the brackets are released:
The best teams to get in -- the #1 seeds -- and the worst teams to get in -- those final at-large berths.

I really have no problem with what they did at the top line, though I can quibble with Virginia over Michigan State, there really isn't much difference between 4 and 5 overall. They'll be able to settle their differences on the court. Michigan State beat UVa in the second round two straight years.

Some people have problems with Oregon, but it goes back to a misunderstanding about the strength of the Pac-12. They have 9 top 50 wins, 10 if you include a victory over #51 USC.

Now we get to the bubble teams. As usual the committee completely effed small conference teams that didn't win their conference tournaments. I like St. Bonaventure. They're in the 7th strongest league and finished 30th in RPI, making them the highest ranked team to get left out. And they have 3 Top 50 wins (St. Joseph's twice & Dayton). But surely they were hurt by losing to Davidson in the conference tournament and losing head-to-head to Syracuse earlier in the year.

A lot of people are also talking about Monmouth. They went 1-1 against the Top 50, beat Notre Dame, lost to Dayton and split against USC #51. And if you are hating on Syracuse for losing to #245 St. John's, how can you advocate for Monmouth, which lost to #222 Canisius, #214 Army & #228 Manhattan. But it would have been nice to see what their bench would have done deep in a close game.

St. Mary's another bubble team, beat Gonzaga twice (and nobody else), but not when it counted, as the Zags earned the WCC berth. And San Diego State, similar story, one big win (California) and a bunch of losses.

Granted Syracuse had a lot more chances against top teams and that's the rub of small conference teams versus the big boys.

But I think Vanderbilt might have an even worse resume than the Orange, 10 spots better in the RPI but only 2-7 against the top 50.

The committee says Tulsa was the last team in, and would have gotten bumped had Memphis earned an automatic bid, but with 4 top 50 wins, I still think they have a better resume than Vanderbilt.

Others are also clowning on Michigan, but at 21-12, 11 of their losses came against top-50 teams.

Overall, I am looking forward to the tournament as always. I don't think there is a clear favorite has there recently has been, but I also don't buy the hype that there are 15-20 teams that can win it all. I'm quite certain the champion is coming off the top 2 lines, but I also think there are upsets that will happen as well.

And March will always be madness.

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