Final Update! Selection Sunday Morning!
Wow this Texas A&M team is fun to watch! Aggies continue to roll and, in my estimation, have played their way into a 5 seed. With only a handful of championships scheduled for Sunday and being hours away from the official bracket reveal, the bracket is essentially set regardless of the outcomes of today’s games.
There weren’t very many other updates from Saturday. A dozen or so of the automatic bids were handed out which adjusted the 13-16 seed lines slightly. Kansas lost and slipped to the #2 overall seed. UCLA lost and confirmed Purdue as the 4th 1 seed. And then all the potential bid stealers lost, which means everyone around the bubble was breathing a little easier by Saturday night.
The only bubble team that was still in action on Saturday was Vanderbilt, coming into the day not into the field and then being completely noncompetitive means there was no movement of teams in and out of the field. I feel very confident about the first 66 teams into the field, the real bubble that is a difficult decision is 5 teams for 2 spots – Oklahoma State, Arizona State, Nevada, Pitt, and Wisconsin. For a full numerical breakdown of the bubble and some insight into the process I use to evaluate teams, check out the below statistical analysis. Each of these numbers (in addition to things like road record, non-conference record, etc.) is what is on the selection committee “team sheets” that are used for selection and seeding. This isn’t just a numbers game, when the numbers are close it just means there is a conversation which is what I think will happen with essentially 5 teams for 2 spots on the cut line.
Here is how I evaluate the 12 teams on the bubble, in order.
So, I’ll take Oklahoma State and Arizona State with the final 2 spots. No, I don’t feel great about it at all and was hoping for a stolen bid or 2 to take these spots off the table. Arizona States non-conference and the win over Creighton is ultimately what put them over the top for me.
For seeding and where A&M is compared to other teams near them here is that same look. These numbers were BEFORE the Vanderbilt game. But the seeding is essentially done as of Saturday night. These are old school guys (and gals) using printouts in their binder in front of them. They aren’t checking their phone for how high we went in KenPom as a result of the blowout. They are likely using these numbers and then will at best make the tweaks to the seeding using the knowledge of Saturday.
Key insights: very close numbers standpoint from Indiana through Creighton. A&M appears to be top 20 in essentially every metric (that’s a key number for a 5 seed), even before the win against Vanderbilt. I gave Iowa State a boost because their key wins and who have you beat stat is better than anyone outside of the 1 seeds. Miami should clearly be a 6. Not only is that what the computers say, they are the only team in this range without a quad 1A win. It would be completely undeserved for them to get a 5. A&M and Duke are attached at the hip, but the lack of quad 1 wins is a separator for me to have A&M slightly in front. Duke (and A&M) should be ahead of Virginia after the ACC championship – do I have any faith in that happening? No.
So here is my seed list as of Sunday morning. I do not foresee any major changes to this based on Sunday’s action. (5 games, small tweaks noted based on who auto bid for Ivy and A10, no seeding impact for SEC, AAC or Big 10 – although there could be a contingent bracket where Penn State and Utah State flip if PSU loses).
12. Kansas State
17. Iowa State
18. San Diego State
20. Texas A&M
22. St. Mary’s
27. Michigan State
28. Florida Atlantic
31. West Virginia
34. Boise State
36. Penn State
37. Utah State
41. NC State
44. *Mississippi State
45. *Oklahoma State
46. *Arizona State
*Play In game Participants
47. Summit League – Oral Roberts
48. CAA – Charleston
49. MVC – Drake
50. A10 – Dayton vs. VCU – Projecting VCU to win. If Dayton wins they are a 13 seed and move Kent State up to a 12.
51. MAC - Kent State
52. MAAC – Iona
53. Ivy – Yale vs. Princeton – Projecting Yale to win. If Princeton wins they are a 14 and move Furman up to a 13.
54. Sun Belt – Louisiana
55. Southern – Furman
56. Big West – UCSB
57. Atlantic Sun – Kennesaw State
58. Big Sky – Montana State
59. Patriot – Colgate
60. WAC – Grand Canyon
61. America East – Vermont
62. Big South UNC Asheville
63. Horizon - Northern Kentucky
64. Southland – Texas A&M Corpus Christi
65. %MEAC – Howard
66. %Ohio Valley – Southeastern Missouri
67. %Northeast – Fairleigh Dickinson
68. %SWAC – Texas Southern
The Projected Bracket
16 Northern Kentucky
9 Boise State
5 Iowa State
12 Oral Roberts
3 Kansas State
6 St. Mary’s
11 NC State
15 UNC Asheville
16 Southeastern Missouri/ Fairleigh Dickinson
5 San Diego State
14 Kennesaw State
11 Oklahoma State / Arizona State
7 Michigan State
16 Texas A&M Corpus Christi
8 West Virginia
9 Penn State
5 Texas A&M
11 Providence/ Mississippi State
15 Grand Canyon
7 Florida Atlantic
10 Utah State
16 Texas Southern / Howard
13 Kent State
14 Montana State
*Note: 2 slight unresolved issues (Maryland/Indiana and Oklahoma State/Texas are a bit too close and due to the number of teams in from each conference the issues were not easily resolved without un naturally moving a team to a different line which I chose not to do for this projection)
- Jan. 19 Bubble Watch (#73)
- Jan. 29 Bubble Watch (#67)
- Feb. 5 Bubble Watch (#69)
- Feb. 12 Bubble Watch (#64)
- Feb. 16 Bubble Watch (#56 9 seed)
- Feb. 19 Bubble Watch (#51 8 seed)
- Feb. 23 Bubble Watch (#46 7 seed)
- Feb. 26 Bubble Watch #48 7 seed
- Mar. 1 Bubble Watch #48 7 seed
- Mar. 4 Bubble Watch #47 7 seed
- Mar. 6 Bubble Watch #42 6 seed
- Mar. 9 Bubble Watch #44 6 seed
- Mar. 11 Bubble Watch #41 5 Seed