Weekly Bracketology: 01.04.10

Posted by zhayes9 on January 4th, 2010

Zach Hayes is RTC’s  resident bracketologist.  He’ll regularly be out-scooping, out-thinking and out-shining Lunardi over the next three months.

The biggest note: this is the most subjective bracket of the process. With RPI still evolving into a tool worth considering substantially, I had to construct this bracket primarily on 1) quality wins and bad losses in non-conference play, 2) non-conference SOS and 3) simple W-L record. Even conference RPI can’t be factored in yet because teams have played, at most, three conference games. With RPI rounding into form as January progresses, the bracket will switch from a more subjective process (had to use the eye test a few times, which I despise) to a more objective compilation.

  • The #1 and #2 seeds were fairly straightforward. Due to Syracuse tripping up at home to Pittsburgh Saturday, the process became much easier and the four undefeated teams remaining earned the #1 nod. Three Big East teams earned nods as a #2 seed, all with one loss: West Virginia, Villanova and Syracuse. Duke was the other obvious choice for the second line.
  • One of the more interesting cases was Ohio State. How much do I penalize them for the loss of Evan Turner? I was fairly harsh in the opening bracket following a discouraging defeat to Michigan and a blowout loss at Wisconsin. I’m fairly sure the Buckeyes will be moving further up the bracket when Turner is back in the fold a few weeks from now, but a #11 seed at 0-2 in the Big 10 and wins over California and Florida State seemed appropriate.
  • USC will not be included in any of my brackets this year. It’s a shame because they have strong computer numbers and are building a handful of quality wins including Tennessee and UNLV. Like the Pac-10 needed to be hurt any further.
  • Some notable snubs were Miami, Oregon and Saint Mary’s.  The point is pretty straightforward: I’m not going to reward you for playing a soft schedule. Miami is 14-1 but has the #85 RPI and #328 SOS in the nation with only notable wins against Minnesota and South Carolina. Oregon may be 2-0 in the Pac-10 but they have some BAD losses and need to do more to find their way into the bracket. The win at Oregon is looking stronger for St. Mary’s, but they still need to do more.
  • Since we’re so early, I did factor in “quality” losses for some teams. For example, Dayton lost by under 10 to both Villanova and Kansas State (both top-10 teams) and by 2 at New Mexico (top-20 team). They deserve some credit for those close losses.
  • Since we’re early in conference play, I determined the automatic bids among undefeated squads by which team had the highest RPI. I figured I should stay consistent with this throughout the season.

Last Four In: Northwestern, Richmond, Missouri State, Vanderbilt.

Last Four Out: Oklahoma State, Miami (FL), Saint Mary’s, Oregon.

Automatic bids: Vermont, Temple, Duke, East Tennessee State, Kansas, West Virginia, Weber State, Radford, Purdue, Pacific, William & Mary, UAB, Butler, Cornell, Siena, Western Michigan, Morgan State, Northern Iowa, New Mexico, Quinnipiac, Murray State, California, Army, Kentucky, Western Carolina, UT-San Antonio, Texas Southern, Oakland, Western Kentucky, Gonzaga, Louisiana Tech.

Bids per conference: ACC (7), Big East (7), SEC (6), Big 12 (6), Big 10 (6), Mountain West (3), Atlantic-10 (3), Pac-10 (2), Missouri Valley (2).

Next bracket: January 18

zhayes9 (301 Posts)

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13 responses to “Weekly Bracketology: 01.04.10”

  1. Orbea says:

    Texas losing in the second round to Miss State is a reach.

  2. zhayes9 says:

    Probably. But what’s the fun in going all chalk? That’s somewhat realistic.

  3. Brian says:

    We’re due for an 8 over a 1. Not a reach at all. Mississippi State is a good team.

  4. JR says:

    What does everyone think on Cornell’s chances of an at-large bid if they beat Kansas and lose only one game in conference to Harvard but do not get the auto bid on the tiebreaker (a playoff game I believe). If Cornell pulls the upset over Kansas giving them wins over Kansas, Alabama and Umass (with solid performances against Seton Hall and Syracuse) could we see the Ivy pull off multiple bids??

    A long shot for sure though but with the major conferences (Pac-10 in particular) not very strong, we could see more mid majors earn at large bids.

  5. David says:

    No way does Cornell beat Kansas

  6. zhayes9 says:

    They have to beat Kansas to get an at-large. Alabama, UMass and SJU wins won’t get it done even with 1 loss in the Ivy.

  7. rtmsf says:

    I think Andy Glockner’s bracket had two Ivies in it today, but if Kansas loses to Cornell at home, then they’re going to lose several other games as well, which would probably mean they’re not a #1 seed and that W by Cornell wouldn’t look as good in March as it does now (shades, remember). I like the idea of multiple mid-majors getting multiple bids, but it would take a lot of difficult things to happen for the Ivy to get two I believe.

  8. Ryan says:

    Good to see Oakland is being paid attention to, they need to win 15-16 conference games to really have a shot at better than a 14th seed. I can see them pulling an upset as a 13 or even 12, but not quite good to pull one playing a 3 or a 2.

  9. JR says:

    Just because you lose one game does not mean you automatically are not as good as people thought. Crazier things have happened (Chaminade over UVA??) and you can’t rule it out or say that Kansas is a bad team because they lose to Cornell.

    I agree that their resume right now is not good enough but adding a Kansas win to it would solidify and if they lose only one Ivy game to Harvard (assuming Harvard wins the auto bid) we could see.

    Again, it is a long shot but still possible (until Wednesday).

  10. zhayes9 says:

    Wow my Miss St pick looking quite foolish after falling to WKU.

  11. Brian says:

    It always happens. I talk a team up and they lose their next game LOL.

  12. Orbea says:

    While it may be time for an 8 seed to knock off a one seed, I don’t see that happening to Texas this year. The team is too deep and too good. Rick Barnes may not be an over achiever in the tournament, but he is also not an under achiever. In the 11 times that he has taken Texas to the tournament (every year he has been at Texas) the team has basically played to its seed. There have been a couple of times it has played over its seed and a couple of times it has played under its seed, but there has never been a dramatic variation between seed and result. So, assuming Texas is a one seed I would not expect them to drop a second round game.

  13. rtmsf says:

    Orbea, thanks for the comment, but I don’t think the author was particularly indicting Texas as a “likely” candidate for an upset as much as having some fun with the matchups as they presented themselves. Miss St is the type of team that could sneak up on a #1 seed – they very nearly took down #1 Memphis two years ago as I recall.

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