It's a Monday in February; that can only mean one thing: ROCK-M-TOLOGY IS BACK. EVEN IF MIZZOU IS NOWHERE CLOSE TO BEING INCLUDED IN THE PARTY.
A recap of how I go about this:
- It's formula-based, but only sort of. I collect a variety of factors to simulate both what the selection committee will use in its decisions and general quality judgments. I use RPI -- whether it should carry weight or not, it clearly does -- and different weights for Conference-Only RPI (to gauge conference strength and your performance within the conference) and Non-Conference RPI (to gauge your non-conference schedule strength and your performance). I look at top-50 wins (giving extra heft to top-25 wins) and losses to teams ranked 101st and below (with extra heft to losses to teams ranked 200th or worse). I also factor in Ken Pomeroy's ratings as a quality indicator.
- A couple of years ago, I tinkered a lot with the weights of these factors, basing them on what seemed to hold the most heft with the committee in years past. And in 2013, after years of coming close, I got all 68 teams right, along with a pretty decent performance in terms of seeds. Last year, if I recall correctly (and honestly, I might not), I got 67 of 68 right. So it seems to be pretty well-tuned right now.
This being my first go-round of the year, I'm assuming there will be a couple of mistakes here or there -- second-round matchups between teams that have already played, things like that -- but that doesn't really affect much. And in coming weeks, we'll talk a bit about teams moving up and down, maybe teams that are overrated and underrated, etc. But for now, let's get straight to it.
Last Few In
Names in italics would be among the last in without their conference's automatic bid.
Ole Miss (14-7)
Texas A&M (15-5)
Michigan State (15-7)
St. John's (13-7)
Old Dominion (17-4)
George Washington (16-6)
As it stands, it looks like I've got six SEC teams in the field, but two (Ole Miss, A&M) are on semi-precarious footing. They're fine as long as they don't undergo a decent-sized slump, but they're not completely safe. Meanwhile, the AAC could get two and could get four. Pretty close.
First Few Out
N.C. State (14-9)
Boise State (13-6)
Stephen F. Austin (15-3)
The numbers like Washington a hell of a lot less than others' brackets do, and they like Florida a decent amount more. Regardless, both of those teams are out.
7 - Big East, Big 12
6 - Big Ten, SEC
5 - ACC
4 - Atlantic 10, AAC
3 - Pac-12
2 - MWC, MVC
FIRST FOUR (in Dayton)
George Washington (16-6) vs. Tulsa (16-4)
Iowa (13-8) vs. Temple (15-7)
St. Francis (13-9) vs. Texas Southern (10-11)
Long Beach State (12-11) vs. New Mexico State (13-10)
|1||Kentucky (21-0)||1||Duke (18-3)||1||Virginia (19-1)||1||Kansas (18-3)|
|16||Lafayette (13-8)||16||Stony Brook (13-9)||16||St. Francis / TXSO||16||LBSU / NMSU|
|8||Colorado State (18-3)||8||LSU (16-5)||8||Xavier (14-8)||8||Cincinnati (15-6)|
|9||Seton Hall (15-6)||9||Texas (14-7)||9||Georgia (14-6)||9||Stanford (15-6)|
|5||Wichita State (18-3)||5||Northern Iowa (20-2)||5||Utah (16-4)||5||Maryland (18-4)|
|12||Wofford (16-5)||12||Old Dominion (17-4)||12||Stephen F. Austin (15-3)||12||George Wash. / Tulsa|
|4||Iowa State (16-4)||4||Butler (16-6)||4||Baylor (15-5)||4||Notre Dame (20-3)|
|13||Buffalo (14-6)||13||Iona (16-6)||13||Green Bay (15-5)||13||Murray State (17-4)|
|6||Ohio State (17-5)||6||Georgetown (15-6)||6||Oklahoma (14-7)||6||Arkansas (16-5)|
|11||Davidson (13-5)||11||Iowa / Temple||11||St. John's (13-7)||11||Michigan State (15-7)|
|3||North Carolina (17-5)||3||West Virginia (18-3)||3||VCU (17-4)||3||Louisville (18-3)|
|14||William & Mary (14-7)||14||Yale (13-6)||14||Georgia State (14-7)||14||E. Washington (13-5)|
|7||SMU (17-4)||7||Indiana (16-6)||7||Providence (16-6)||7||San Diego State (16-5)|
|10||Oklahoma State (13-7)||10||Ole Miss (14-7)||10||Texas A&M (15-5)||10||Dayton (17-4)|
|2||Gonzaga (21-1)||2||Arizona (20-2)||2||Wisconsin (19-2)||2||Villanova (19-2)|
|15||S. Dakota State (15-7)||15||Fla. Gulf Coast (13-7)||15||High Point (14-5)||15||N.C. Central (13-6)|
My At-First-Glance Final Four
Second glance: UNC-Duke-VCU-Louisville
Missouri's inevitable path to destiny™ (ahem)
Hmm. Well ... I guess something like ... Auburn-Texas A&M-Georgia-Kentucky-Arkansas-VCU-Oklahoma-Wisconsin-Virginia-Notre Dame-Kentucky. Easy peasy!