Rock Chalk Talk's Bracket Projection

Everyone else is doing it.

And, with my massive ego and obscene amount of basketball watched, I figure I'm just as qualified as any to put out my own opinion.

So, I figured I'd put my own bracket together. Now, I'm terrible at html table thing-a-ma-jigs, so it won't be anything like that. I'll just list them out. But, the information will be the same.

As always, disagreement and criticism is encouraged. The bracket and, more specifically, the bubble is one of the most hotly-contested debates in all of sport. Naturally, there is going to be massive disagreement. That's fine.

And, obviously, much of this can change. We've still got, at time of publishing, plenty of action to go. Mississippi State could come in and snatch away a bid in the SEC Final, which would change the bracket. Florida State's seeding depends on their ACC Championship finish, just as Ohio State's and Purdue's could change in the Big 10/11 Final.

But, as of Sunday morning, here is how I would do the Tournament if I was the one-man Selection Committee. Man, that'd be the life.

All actual content after the jump...

 

Just so all of you know, this is assuming the following end results on Sunday. None of the results should matter too much, although a Mississippi State win would take away an at-large bid. Here is what I am expecting:

Tennessee over Mississippi State

Duke over Florida State

Stephen F. Austin over UT-San Antonio

Purdue over Ohio State

 

With all of that said, here's the best I could come up with.

 

Seeds

Obviously, some of these will be wrong. Towards the end, I kind of just half-assed the difference between a 15-seed and a 16-seed. Hopefully I at least get some of them correct.

Note: Remember, there are certain rules any bracketologist must follow, most notably to avoid regular season matchups at all costs in the first two rounds, and to prohibit teams from the same conference meeting up until the Elite Eight.

Seed South Midwest East West
1 Louisville (Big East) Pittsburgh UNC UCONN
2 Duke (ACC) Memphis (C-USA) Michigan State Oklahoma
3 Missouri (Big 12) Syracuse Kansas Villanova
4 Wake Florida State Purdue (Big 10) Washington
5 UCLA Gonzaga (WCC) Arizona State Illinois
6 West Virginia Tennessee (SEC) LSU Xavier
7 BYU Texas Utah (MWC) Clemson
8 Ohio State Cal Marquette Butler
9 Siena (MAAC) Texas A&M Oklahoma State Boston College
10 Wisconsin Michigan Dayton Minnesota
11 Temple (A-10) San Diego State USC (Pac 10) Arizona
12 VCU (CAA) Cleveland State (Horizon) St. Mary's Utah State (WAC)
13 Western Kentucky (Sun Belt) Northern Iowa (MVC) Akron (MAC) North Dakota State (Summit)
14 Binghamton (A-East) Cornell (Ivy) Robert Morris (NEC) American (Patriot)
15 Morgan State (MEAC) East Tennessee State (A-Sun) Stephen F. Austin (Southland) Portland State (Big Sky)
16 Play-In Game Morehead State (OVC) Pacific/CS-Northridge (Big West) Radford (Big South)

Play-In Game will be: Alabama State (SWAC) vs. Chattanooga (Southern)

Pods

I'm not doing mileage trackers, or anything. This is just the best thing I can come up with. Hopefully nothing blows up in my face.

 

Dayton

(1) Pittsburgh vs. (16) Morehead State (OVC)

(8) California vs. (9) Texas A&M

(1) Louisville vs. (16) Play-In Game -- Chattanooga (Southern) vs. Alabama State (SWAC)

(8) Ohio State vs. (9) Siena (MAAC)

Greensboro

(1) North Carolina vs. (16) Pacific/CS-Northridge (Big West)

(8) Marquette vs. (9) Oklahoma State

(2) Duke (ACC) vs. (15) Morgan State (MEAC)

(7) BYU vs. (10) Wisconsin

Philadelphia

(1) Connecticut vs. (16) Radford (Big South)

(8) Butler vs. (9) Boston College

(3) Villanova vs. (14) American (Patriot)

(6) Xavier vs. (11) Arizona

Kansas City

(2) Memphis vs. (15) East Tennessee State (A-Sun)

(7) Texas vs. (10) Michigan

(2) Oklahoma vs. (15) Portland State (Big Sky)

(7) Clemson vs. (10) Minnesota

Boise

(3) Missouri vs. (14) Binghamton (America East)

(6) West Virginia vs. (11) Temple (A-10)

(3) Kansas vs. (14) Cornell (Ivy)

(6) LSU vs. (11) USC (Pac 10)

Portland

(4) Wake Forest vs. (13) Western Kentucky (Sun Belt)

(5) UCLA vs. (12) VCU (CAA)

(4) Washington vs. (13) North Dakota State (Summit)

(5) Illinois vs. (12) Utah State (WAC)

Miami

(3) Syracuse vs. (14) Robert Morris (NEC)

(6) Tennessee (SEC) vs. (11) San Diego State

(4) Florida State vs. (13) Northern Iowa (MVC)

(5) Gonzaga vs. (12) Cleveland State (Horizon)

Minneapolis

(2) Michigan State vs. (15) Stephen F. Austin (Southland)

(7) Utah (MWC) vs. (10) Dayton

(4) Purdue (Big 10) vs. (13) Akron (MAC)

(5) Arizona State vs. (12) St. Mary's

 

Bubble Talk

For most of the at-larges, it was a piece of cake deciding who went in and who went out. I was mostly just concerned with bracketing and seeding and not breaking any rules, until I hit a snag. There was 3 at-large bids to give out, and 6 just-about-equal teams. At least to me. Obviously, I had to make a decision, eventually. But, it took me about an hour to completely decide. In the end, as you could tell from above, here was what I said:

 

Last 3 In:

St. Mary's

Arizona

San Diego State

 

Last 4 Out:

Creighton

Maryland

Penn State

New Mexico

 

New Mexico wasn't seriously considered, but the other three were. Definitely. At times, I actually had Creighton and Maryland and Penn State as the three in, if only for a bfrief second. The actual teams in changed in my head at least 100 times before I eventually settled on the Aztecs, Gaels and Wildcats. In the end, I thought that those three were the three best teams left. If they were to play a round-robin, and play everyone else, I think that the three I put in would have the best records.

But that wasn't all. Maryland's despicable 7-9 record in the ACC, highlighted by their embarrassing loss to Virginia, along with their non-conference loss to Morgan State did them in, for me. Their wins over Michigan State and North Carolina are both awesome, sure, but they just lost too many games, and had very little depth beyond that. And if you compare them to Arizona, for example, the Wildcats dwarf them. Here is a quick comparison:

Arizona Maryland
Record 19-13 (9-9) 20-12 (7-9)
1-25 W's* vs. Zaga^, vs. KU, vs. U-Dub, vs. UCLA vs. Mich. St.^, vs. UNC, vs. Wake^
26-50 W's* vs. USC, vs. SDSU, vs. USC, vs. Wazzu vs. Michigan, vs. Miami,

101+ L's*

-- vs. Morgan State
Road Record 2-9 2-6

* All rankings are KenPom's rankings, not RPI.

^ Denotes neutral floor victory.

Why, again, is Maryland considered "in" over Arizona? Arizona has a better conference record. Arizona has more Top 25 wins (4 to 3), more 26-50 wins (4 to 2), which effectively mens that Top 50 wins favors the Wildcats 8 to 5. That is a large difference. Plus, Arizona doesn't have a bad loss, while Maryland has that ugly Morgan State L on their resume. And for all of the crap Arizona gets for not being able to win away from home, Maryland is only 2-6 in true road games. Not a whole lot better, folks. Arizona's non-conference SOS was 62nd, it's overall SOS 7th. Maryland's were 165th and 31st, respectively. Sure, Maryland's conference is probably tougher as a whole, but Arizona played the tougher schedule.

As for Saint Mary's, I really, really think that the Patty Mills-led Gaels squad is one of the 34 best at-large teams in the country. They don't have the resuem to back it up, because Mills got injured, but he's back, and he looked much better on Friday night in a game against Eastern Washington that was scheduled just two weeks ago. And San Diego State is a personal favorite of mine. I kind-of-sort-of wanted to put in Creighton instead, but I just couldn't do it. Just couldn't do it.

Closing Thoughts

First off, that was hella fun. Quite a bit of work, I ended up working on it for a solid 2 hours-or-so, plus another hour typing all of this into the computer, but it was fun. I reccommend you do it. If things change from my expectations, listed immediately preceding the seedings, I'll post a quick update of sorts tomorrow. But there's my bracket. I would go through and justify, but that'd take forever-and-ever, and that's just not efficient. If you have a question about a certain bubble team getting in or a certain seed, just post it in the comments and I'll respond with my reasoning. As always, completely intelligent and rational people can and will disagree, and this is just my opinion.

Editor's Note: There will be a OGT for the games tomorrow, then a separate one for the actual Selection Sunday proceedings. I'll try to add some other Selection Sunday preview-type pieces, just to add some flavor to the day, but I might not be able to sit down long enough to d oit. I swear, tomorrow, I jump up-and-down out of excitement for a solid, oh, I dunno, 8 hours straight. It's bad.

 

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