Monday, February 12, 2018

Bracketology: Committee releases top 16 teams

The College Football Playoff found their footing in the debate scene by producing six weekly rankings, releasing them every week starting around late October, leading up to their version of Selection Sunday in early December. While college basketball does not go that far, they've dipped their toes into making their process more transparent. Sunday, the selection committee released their current top 16 teams for the NCAA Tournament, along with how the four regions would be set up with those 16 teams.

Today's bracket update will use those regional set-ups, essentially finishing the puzzle that the committee started. But before that, let's look at the committee's top 16.

1. Virginia
2. Villanova
3. Xavier
4. Purdue
5. Auburn
6. Kansas
7. Duke
8. Cincinnati
9. Clemson
10. Texas Tech
11. Michigan State
12. North Carolina
13. Tennessee
14. Ohio State
15. Arizona
16. Oklahoma

The committee is clearly going to look at quadrant one wins pretty heavily, as evidenced by Kansas sitting at No. 6. The Jayhawks have nine wins against the top RPI group and 14 wins against groups one and two.

As a reminder, in case you are new and haven't seen the new RPI groupings, the committee will divide wins into four quadrants that favors wins away from home.

Group 1: Home games vs. RPI 1-30, neutral games vs. RPI 1-50, road games vs. RPI 1-75
Group 2: Home vs. RPI 31-75, neutral vs. RPI 50-100, road vs. RPI 76-135
Group 3: Home vs. RPI 76-160, neutral vs. RPI 101-200, road vs. RPI 136-240
Group 4: Home vs. RPI 161-351, neutral vs. RPI 201-351, road vs. RPI 241-351

The committee also now will have a host of metric rankings for teams right on the team sheet, such as KPI, Jeff Sagarin and Ken Pomeroy, among others, which Kansas is high on as well, including No. 3 in KPI and No. 6 in Sagarin.

Kansas does have six losses, but only one in group two and one in group three. The loss to Oklahoma State could be holding them back right now, but all those tier one and tier two wins, plus already sitting at No. 6, shows that Kansas is very much in play for a No. 1 seed and probably will get it if they win Big 12, and especially if they pull the double-dip of regular season and tournament titles.

One team many thought would be in the top 16 but did not show up was Rhode Island. URI is currently No. 5 in RPI, but their lack of top wins (just 1-3 vs. group one and 6-3 vs. groups one and two) plus some of their low computer ranks (27th in Pomeroy, 34th in Sagarin) are the likely factors to not being a current top-4 seed. Our projection does have them as a No. 5 seed.

On the other side of the bracket, it was close between Syracuse and Louisville for the last spot in the field. Louisville has two group one wins to Syracuse's one, but the Orange have six wins against groups one and two, while Louisville has just three. And Syracuse won at Louisville. The Orange get the nod for the last spot. Syracuse is also among the RPI top 40. Only one Power 5 top-40 RPI team has been left out of the field since the formula change in 2005.

With that, here is your full bracket update.

Last Four Byes: Providence, Arkansas, Houston, UCLA
Last Four In: Temple, North Carolina State, USC, Syracuse
First Four Out: Louisville, LSU, Georgia, Marquette
Next Four Out: Notre Dame, Kansas State, Baylor, St. Bonaventure

Conference Breakdown

ACC - 9
SEC - 8
Big East - 6
Big 12 - 6
Pac-12 - 5
American - 4
Big Ten - 4
West Coast - 2
One-bid leagues - 24

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