"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

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Bracketology: First Look at 2024

Marquette celebrates the 2023 announcement of their 2-seed 

Photo Credit: JS Online

Today we have our first projected look at the 2024 NCAA Tournament field. Typically this comes at the end of December, but we gave it a little more time to breathe this year, though it didn't help much. A few thoughts on the current bracket:

  • Regarding Marquette: They currently sit as the last 3-seed. While some losses have piled up, they have more Q1A wins than the 4 teams on the 4-seed line combined. Had we done this a week ago, they would've been on the 2-line and had we done it a month ago, they may have been a 1-seed, so this is a team going in the wrong direction. For now, they are still a 3-seed, but they need conference play to start matching their non-con performance to stay there.
  • The Circles of Crap: There are two groups that strike me as circles of crap. They are teams that have the metrics to warrant solid placement, but no real results to back it up. Baylor, Duke, Auburn, San Diego State, and BYU all look good on paper, but their signature wins either do not exist or are against each other. Further down, the Big 12 has its own circle with BYU, Texas Tech, Cincinnati, and Texas. The last three in particular only are in the field because they have wins over other teams in this group. I'm not sure how deserving any of them are.
  • Where the Field Falls Apart: Once you get to the 6-line, the quality is very questionable. FAU has some excellent wins, but also some egregious losses. Memphis looked good a month ago, but their best wins are against teams who have fallen on their faces and while they earned wins against Quadrant 3 & 4 opponents, they weren't exactly convincing in doing so. BYU and Alabama have some incredible metric numbers, but very little in the resume to warrant being in the field, much less this high. They had to go somewhere, so this was where the darts started getting thrown against the wall.
  • The Bubble: I think there's a case for inclusion or exclusion that starts at Texas Tech and continues to Miami. 17 teams for 11 spots was ultimately what the field came down to. Resume scores and quality wins were ultimately what got teams spots in the field.
  • Teams to Watch: Dayton lost out on a 1-seed when the 2020 Tournament was cancelled, but they have a similar resume this year and if they can run the table in a weak A-10 could move up into that territory again. St. John's is a team we were high on in the preseason and is moving up the seed lines. If they can be the top-3 Big East team we projected them as, this could be a protected seed come March. On the bubble, Gonzaga is not only outside the field but outside the first 8 teams out as well. We would have them as a 4-seed in the NIT today. They've avoided bad losses, but don't have any quality wins at the moment. Everyone will be watching their trip to Kentucky in February, but they close their season with two road games at San Francisco and St. Mary's, both of which will likely be Quadrant 1 games. If the Zags close the season hot, they could still sneak into the field.

Here's the current Tournament Field, S-Curve, and Bids by Conference:


Big 12: 9

SEC: 8

Big East: 8

Big 10: 6

Mountain West: 5

ACC: 3

Pac-12: 3

American: 2

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