RTC Bracketology: February 22 EditionPosted by Daniel Evans on February 22nd, 2013
Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is RTC’s new resident bracketologist. According to Bracket Matrix, he ranks as one of the top several bracketologists among those who have produced brackets for more than three years, including two seasons with perfect bracket projections. He updates the field daily on his site, Bracketology Expert, and will be producing a weekly bracket update here at RTC on Fridays. RTC Bubble Watch will publish on Sunday nights and Thursday afternoons for the rest of the season.
New in This Update:
- Illinois continues to be the toughest team in the country to figure out. The media’s mock bracket came out last week and the Illini were a #5 seed. This team was once ranked in the nation’s top 15 teams and then it was 2-7 in conference with a game against No. 1 Indiana up next. The Illini won that one at the buzzer and four more games in a row to get to 7-7 in conference. Compare Illinois to the other teams around them in the bracket — they have five wins against the RPI top 26 and no longer have an under .500 conference record to bring them down. I agree with the media mock — Illinois is now a #5 seed.
- After Florida’s loss earlier this week against Missouri, the #1 seed line is again hard to figure out. Indiana and Miami (FL) are easy to pick given their overall resumes and Duke fits in nicely despite struggling somewhat without Ryan Kelly. The fourth #1 seed could be any number of teams. It looks like Joe Lunardi and Jerry Palm have pegged Gonzaga as the final top seed, but I disagree. The Zags are going to have to rely on the eye test to get that high and in general most are decided by overall profile and not eye test. Gonzaga simply does not have the profile of a #1 seed. Michigan State is the fourth top seed in my field based on the Spartans’ overall profile.
- The Mountain West is a mess. It looks like four teams are going to get a bid, with UNLV and Colorado State playing fantastic basketball over the last few weeks. New Mexico has a top five RPI and San Diego State held the Lobos to 33 points in a game earlier this year. Putting those teams into the bracket is pretty tough, because there is not a lot of separation between them.
- Maryland was in my field after upsetting Duke, but the Terps are out again after falling to Boston College. Temple is in after defeating La Salle. Indiana State has fallen out of serious at-large contention after a loss to Wichita State and six inexcusable losses on its resume.
- Kentucky and Mississippi are making things interesting in the SEC. Both teams are among my last four teams in. Missouri’s win over Florida practically assures the conference of at least getting two teams in.
- Minnesota and Cincinnati are sliding in my bracket, but I still think both teams are safe. The Gophers may not want to tempt fate, though. Tubby Smith’s team has been blown out in games against Iowa and Ohio State and is now two games under .500 in the Big Ten. Teams under .500 in conference play typically do not get in. Overall, 34 teams have gotten at-large bids over the last 43 years while being under .500 in conference play.
LAST FOUR IN: Colorado, Baylor, Saint Mary’s, Kentucky
FIRST FOUR OUT: Boise State, Alabama, Arizona State, Charlotte
NOTE: Projected conference champions (or auto bid winners) are in capital letters.
(full bracket after the jump)
Conference Roundup: Big East (8), Big Ten (7), Big 12 (6), Pac-12 (5), Mountain West (4), Atlantic 10 (5), SEC (4), ACC (4), Missouri Valley (2), West Coast (2)
S Curve Rankings:
- 1s: Indiana, Miami (FL), Duke, Michigan State
- 2s: Michigan, Florida, Gonzaga, Arizona
- 3s: Kansas, Syracuse, New Mexico, Louisville
- 4s: Georgetown, Kansas State, Marquette, Wisconsin
- 5s: Oklahoma State, Butler, UNLV, Illinois
- 6s: Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Saint Louis, Colorado State
- 7s: Oregon, UCLA, San Diego State, Minnesota
- 8s: N. C. State, Notre Dame, Missouri, Cincinnati
- 9s: Oklahoma, Iowa State, Creighton, VCU
- 10s: Memphis, Wichita State, California, North Carolina
- 11s: La Salle, Temple, Villanova, Kentucky
- 12s: Colorado, Baylor, St. Mary’s, Mississippi, Belmont, Middle Tennessee
- 13s: Louisiana Tech, Akron, Bucknell, South Dakota State
- 14s: Stephen F. Austin, Harvard, Valparaiso, Davidson
- 15s: Stony Brook, Montana, Long Beach State, Mercer
- 16s: Niagara, Robert Morris, Northeastern, Southern, Norfolk State, High Point