Monday, January 7, 2019

So here's my latest projection. Some things I considered:
1. I know I had Tennessee on the top line last week, and bumped them down this week even though they didn't lose. My problem was that I couldn't leave unbeaten Virginia as a 2-seed, especially after the way they hammered Florida State. And even though Kansas also lost (and I know that the Committee doesn't really look at head-to-head but rather body of work), I couldn't put the Vols ahead of a team that beat them when push came to shove. I have a feeling that after Michigan and Duke there'll be a lot of volatility (though we'll see what happens after Virginia plays Duke in a week or so!).

2. I couldn't leave Nevada as a 2 after taking that loss to New Mexico. Again, I feel like the Committee is relatively unforgiving of teams outside the Power Five (or six or so), and that Nevada will have to earn its way back to the 2-line.

3. By the same token, I had trouble putting Houston as a 4. They were actually among my 5-seeds, but I had trouble putting Florida State there after their loss to Virginia (no shame in that, though), and I had nowhere to put an ACC school with 4 already in the top 16, so for now I bumped them down and Houston up. Personally I think Houston can get a top 4 seed, but like Nevada, they won't get much margin for error. And I hated to drop FSU that far down. These early bracket projections are tough but they get easier as the overall body of work grows.

4. Is the best Pac-12 team really just a 9-seed? Is the best A-10 team really just a 12-seed? Is the best Big East team really only a 6-seed? Just doesn't seem right.

5. If we consider the "power" conferences to be Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12, SEC, ACC, Big East, then there are two at-large bids currently going to schools outside of those leagues, both to schools in the American. And that's not exactly a wimpy conference, either, consisting of some traditionally strong basketball programs (UConn, Cincy, Temple, Memphis, Wichita State), along with some newer upstarts (Houston, UCF). It hurts that the A-10 is in such a down year since they're usually good for at least one and usually 2-3 at-large bids.

These early brackets will change a lot from week to week. The last two years I learned a lot from the Committee revealing their top 4 seeds (top 16 teams) and was able to use that information to improve my projections going forward. At that point I can see if the Committee thinks there are 5 ACC teams in their top 16 (and what they did with that fifth team!), and puzzle out how they came to that conclusion, and use that info as I project going forward.

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