"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Selection Sunday, Take 1

 It's Selection Sunday! We have a quick morning S-Curve updated with last night's results, including two teams being bumped from the field by bid thieves Georgetown and Oregon State. Kansas and Virginia have not informed the NCAA of any issues with playing next week, so both remain in the field for now. We'll see if any Robin Hoods come forward. Here are a few quick thoughts:

Protected Seeds: The top two lines see no change. Michigan stays ahead of Illinois because the only think in Illinois' favor is their 7-2 vs 3-2 records in Q1B. Michigan is better everywhere else, so it's strictly a volume question, not one of quality. Similarly, Iowa stays ahead of Alabama because while the Hawkeyes have more losses overall, their five best losses are better games than any single game Alabama has played. Texas jumps up to the 3-line, bumping down West Virginia. I had some debate over where to place the Longhorns in the midst of four straight Big 12 teams, and simply settled on putting the champs first.

Middle Seeds: From the 5 to the 10 lines, things are relatively unchanged. Some auto-bids punched, but there's no real seed line movement. I may rescrub this part of the bracket later today and try to refine it, but I would say every team in this range is at the minimum 100% locked into the field.

The Bubble on the Inside: Georgetown and Oregon State knocked Xavier and Mississippi out of the field. After re-evaluating, the quality at the top of the Hoyas' and Beavers' resumes pushed them to the 12-line. This puts all of the at-large play-in games on the 11 line, which is where every such game has landed the past five tournaments. Right now, I feel like UCLA, Maryland, and Louisville are safely in the field. The bubble is essentially 6 teams for 3 spots. We have Wichita State, Drake, and Colorado State in. All of them were in to start the week and none had anything disastrous change their forecast. If Cincinnati wins today, Colorado State is out.

The Bubble on the Outside: The other three teams that could show up in the bracket are Mississippi, St. Louis, and Utah State. The Bulldogs are there simply on the basis they have the next best resume (7 Q1+2 wins is a lot on the bubble). St. Louis is interesting. They would be in if not for two losses coming after a month-long COVID pause. Will the Selection Committee factor those games differently? If so, we could see the Billikens in. However, factoring those differently would mean doing the same for literally dozens of other teams both in and out of the field that dealt with long layoffs, so expect the results to be the results and St. Louis to be out. Utah State would be the best bet for the "played their way in" argument, as they went 2-1 during Championship Week with the only loss in Q1A. That said, Colorado State has better top-end wins, no bad losses, and I don't expect the single data point of a neutral court head-to-head this week to trump a full season of results.

The Big Surprises: Xavier was in the field yesterday, but fell all the way to the NIT 2-Seed in today's edition. What happened? Well, Georgetown winning made it very easy to oust Xavier, who we were hesitant at best on. They only had one Q1 win, only two wins over the field, and going 0-1 while adding a Q3 loss wasn't good. As we said earlier in the week, 0-1 may not hurt you, but it certainly won't help, and as our last team in, Xavier needed help. The other team getting a lot of traction right now is Syracuse. I simply don't believe a team that was on the outside looking in a week ago vaulted into bracket certainty on the basis of beating an NC State team that isn't close to the field. What else did Syracuse do to convince anyone they belong? They only have one Q1 win (in 8 tries!), three wins over the field (all Q2 at home), and a bad loss. The "Georgetown knocked out Syracuse" narrative is nice, but it's more likely they knocked out Xavier or Mississippi. We did move Syracuse up to the NIT 1-line, but would be very surprised to hear their name called today.

Here's the updated S-Curve:

1-Seeds: 1-GONZAGA 2-Baylor 3-Michigan 4-ILLINOIS

2-Seeds: 8-HOUSTON 7-Ohio State 6-ALABAMA 5-Iowa

3-Seeds: 9-Arkansas 10-TEXAS 11-Kansas 12-Oklahoma State

4-Seeds: 16-Florida State 15-Virginia 14-Purdue 13-West Virginia

5-Seeds: 17-Villanova 18-Tennessee 19-Byu 20-Creighton

6-Seeds: 24-LOYOLA CHICAGO 23-Connecticut 22-Texas Tech 21-Usc

7-Seeds: 25-Colorado 26-Wisconsin 26-Clemson 27-Oregon

8-Seeds: 32-Lsu 31-Oklahoma 30-Missouri 29-SAN DIEGO STATE

9-Seeds: 33-ST BONAVENTURE 34-Florida 35-Rutgers 36-North Carolina

10-Seeds: 40-GEORGIA TECH 39-Michigan State 38-Vcu 37-Virginia Tech

11-Seeds: 41-Ucla 42-Maryland 43-Louisville 44-Wichita State 45-Drake 46-Colorado State






First Four Out: Mississippi, St. Louis, Utah State, Syracuse

Next Four Out: Xavier, SMU, Memphis, Seton Hall

No comments: