FINAL BRACKET 2014

South Midwest
1 Florida 1 Wichita St
16 Wofford 16 Mount St Marys/Texas Southern
Orlando St Louis
8 Oregon 8 Baylor
9 Dayton 9 Memphis
4 VCU 4 Creighton
13 Manhattan 13 New Mexico St
Spokane San Antonio
5 Cincinnati 5 North Carolina
12 Harvard 12 Iowa/Tennessee
3 Wisconsin 3 Kansas
14 NC Central 14 Mercer
Milwaukee St Louis
6 New Mexico 6 Massachusetts
11 BYU/Xavier 11 Arizona St
7 George Washington 7 Connecticut
10 Oklahoma St 10 Pittsburgh
Raleigh Milwaukee
2 Duke 2 Michigan
15 Eastern Kentucky 15 Weber St
East West
1 Louisville 1 Arizona
16 Albany/Cal Poly 16 Coastal Carolina
Orlando San Diego
8 Gonzaga 8 St Joes
9 Colorado 9 Kansas St
4 Michigan St 4 St Louis
13 Stephen F Austin 13 Tulsa
San Diego San Antonio
5 UCLA 5 Oklahoma
12 WMU 12 North Dakota St
3 Syracuse 3 Iowa St
14 Delaware 14 Georgia St/ULL
Buffalo Spokane
6 Ohio St 6 San Diego St
11 SMU 11 Providence
7 Texas 7 Kentucky
10 Stanford 10 Nebraska
Buffalo Raleigh
2 Villanova 2 Virginia
15 Milwaukee 15 American
First 4 Out In Today Out Today By Conference
Arkansas Providence Arkansas Big 12 – 7
California Tulsa Louisiana Tech Pac 12 – 6
Southern Miss WMU Toledo Atlantic 10 – 6
Missouri Georgia St/ULL WKU Big Ten – 6
Albany Stony Brook ACC – 5
Next 4 Out Weber St North Dakota AAC – 5
St Johns Cal Poly CSUN Big East – 4
Minnesota SEC – 3
Georgetown MWC – 2
Green Bay WCC – 2

A couple of comments on this bracket:

1) I still think Louisville will be the 4th #1 seed, although I think the chances of another team being the 4th #1 have increased some since yesterday.  I think the second most likely scenario is that the Duke/UVA winner will be a #1 seed.  I also think there’s a chance Michigan could grab that spot.

2) In my rankings, there is a 3 team grouping for the last spot, with Arkansas nudging out Cal and Tennessee.  I don’t really think the committee will pick Arkansas over Tennessee, however, so I’ve included Tennessee in the field.

3) Of the 2 Sun Belt teams playing for the championship today, I have Georgia St ranked as a #13 seed and UL Lafayette ranked as a #15 seed.  Given the fact that I don’t think the committee will create 2 separate brackets with different seeds for these 2 teams, I’ve averaged their seed rank and slotted the winner in as a #14 seed.

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March 15th Bracket

South Midwest
1 Florida 1 Wichita St
16 Wofford 16 Mount St Marys/Texas Southern
Orlando St Louis
8 Gonzaga 8 Oregon
9 Dayton 9 Memphis
4 Cincinnati 4 Creighton
13 North Dakota St 13 Manhattan
San Diego San Antonio
5 Oklahoma 5 VCU
12 Harvard 12 Iowa/Arkansas
3 Michigan 3 Wisconsin
14 NC Central 14 WKU
Milwaukee Milwaukee
6 UCLA 6 North Carolina
11 Xavier/Tennessee 11 Arizona St
7 George Washington 7 New Mexico
10 Oklahoma St 10 Pittsburgh
Raleigh St Louis
2 Duke 2 Kansas
15 Eastern Kentucky 15 American
East West
1 Louisville 1 Arizona
16 Coastal Carolina/CSUN 16 North Dakota
Orlando San Diego
8 Kentucky 8 St Joes
9 Colorado 9 Kansas St
4 St Louis 4 Iowa St
13 Stephen F Austin 13 New Mexico St
Spokane San Antonio
5 Michigan St 5 Connecticut
12 Louisiana Tech 12 Toledo
3 Syracuse 3 San Diego St
14 Delaware 14 Mercer
Buffalo Spokane
6 Ohio St 6 Massachusetts
11 SMU 11 BYU
7 Texas 7 Baylor
10 Stanford 10 Nebraska
Buffalo Raleigh
2 Villanova 2 Virginia
15 Stony Brook 15 Milwaukee
First 4 Out In Today Out Today By Conference
California Arkansas California Big 12 – 7
Providence Louisiana Tech Southern Miss Pac 12 – 6
NC State North Dakota NCU Atlantic 10 – 6
Southern Miss CSU Northridge UC Irvine Big Ten – 6
ACC – 5
Next 4 Out AAC – 5
St Johns SEC – 4
Missouri Big East – 3
Minnesota MWC – 2
Green Bay WCC – 2

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March 14th Bracket 10:00 Update

South Midwest West East
1 Florida Wichita St Arizona Louisville
2 Duke Kansas Virginia Villanova
3 Michigan Wisconsin San Diego St Syracuse
4 Cincinnati Creighton Iowa St St Louis
5 Oklahoma Michigan St Massachusetts Ohio St
6 UCLA North Carolina Texas VCU
7 Connecticut Oregon Kentucky Baylor
8 St Joes George Washington New Mexico Colorado
9 Gonzaga Kansas St Memphis Dayton
10 Oklahoma St Pittsburgh Nebraska Stanford
11 Xavier Arizona St BYU Iowa/Tennessee
12 Harvard SMU/California Toledo Louisiana Tech
13 North Dakota St Manhattan New Mexico St Stephen F Austin
14 UC Irvine WKU Mercer Delaware
15 NC Central Eastern Kentucky American Milwaukee
16 Stony Brook Wofford/Texas Southern NCU Coastal Carolina/Mount St Marys
First 4 Out In Today Out Today By Conference
Arkansas Louisiana Tech Southern Miss Big 12 – 7
Providence Pac 12 – 7
NC State Atlantic 10 – 6
Southern Miss Big Ten – 6
ACC – 5
Next 4 Out AAC – 5
Missouri SEC – 3
St Johns Big East – 3
Minnesota MWC – 2
Georgetown WCC – 2

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Why I Have Louisville as a #1 Seed

Since I’m the only bracketologist with Louisville as a #1 seed, I’d like to explain why I have them there.  It really boils down to 2 factors — 1) Public perception matters much more than profile when it comes to the top seed lines, and 2) The need for contingency plans to find an alternative #1 seed this season.

I started building my math model to predict which teams would be chosen to the NCAA basketball tournament and where they would be seeded in 2003.  The first few years, I made some progress getting the seeding more in line with what the committee was doing, though obviously getting it nailed down continues to be tricky to this day.  However, I consistently got the top seed lines wrong, which was frustrating because it seemed like those should be the easiest to predict.  Following a strict by-the-profile view did not accurately predict which teams got the #1 seeds.  The breaking point for me was 2008, when Tennessee finished the regular season #2 in RPI and a profile easily worthy of a #1 seed, but ended up with a #2.  I realized that public perception of the top teams had a substantial impact on the top seed lines, and the perception that season was that Tennessee was a step below the top teams in the land.  The only way I felt I could measure this perception in an analytical way was to use the AP and ESPN polls as stand-ins for public perception.  The following year I incorporated those rankings into my model and have had much better success in predicting the top seeds ever since.  For example, last season, Gonzaga did not have the profile of a typical #1 seed, given the lack of overall schedule strength.  Some bracketologists predicted a #2 seed for Gonzaga, but given their #1 ranking in both polls last season, I had them as a #1, which turned out to be an accurate prediction.  This season, with Louisville at #5 in both polls at the start of the week and with Villanova losing (a team that also does not have the strongest case for #1 seed based on profile alone), my model has Louisville moving up to #4 in both polls by the end of the week and grabbing a #1 seed.

Furthermore, the case for making another team a #1 seed is complicated by the fact that most, if not all, of the other potential #1 seeded teams would be playing on Sunday.  For at least the last 2 seasons, the committee has completed the bracket on Saturday night, with contingency plans created based on possible results of Sunday games.  With Michigan, Wisconsin, Duke, and possibly Syracuse and UVA as potential #1 seeds, the committee would have to create a number of contingency plans based on the different combinations of possible results of Sunday’s games.  I don’t think it’s likely that a committee of 10 people will be able to come to an agreement by Saturday on these contingency plans.  I think it is much more likely that the committee would grab another team as a #1 and seed the rest of the highly seeded teams that play Sunday as #2 or #3 seeds based on their profiles as of Saturday night.  Last season, the committee did not even have a contingency plan in place for Ole Miss winning the SEC tournament, which led to last minute scrambling to remove them from the first-round games in Dayton.

So given these factors, I think the committee will make Louisville a #1 seed come Sunday if they are able to come out of the AAC tournament as champions.

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March 14th 7:00 EDT Update

South Midwest
1 Florida 1 Wichita St
16 Stony Brook 16 Wofford/Texas Southern
Orlando St Louis
8 Colorado 8 St Joes
9 Dayton 9 Kansas St
4 Cincinnati 4 Creighton
13 North Dakota St 13 Manhattan
San Diego San Antonio
5 Oklahoma 5 Michigan St
12 Harvard 12 Tennessee/California
3 Michigan 3 Wisconsin
14 UC Irvine 14 WKU
Milwaukee Milwaukee
6 UCLA 6 North Carolina
11 Xavier 11 Arizona St
7 Connecticut 7 Oregon
10 Oklahoma St 10 Pittsburgh
Raleigh St Louis
2 Duke 2 Kansas
15 NC Central 15 Eastern Kentucky
East West
1 Louisville 1 Arizona
16 Coastal Carolina/Mount St Marys 16 NCU
Orlando San Diego
8 New Mexico 8 Kentucky
9 Stanford 9 Gonzaga
4 St Louis 4 Iowa St
13 Stephen F Austin 13 New Mexico St
Spokane San Antonio
5 Ohio St 5 Massachusetts
12 Southern Miss 12 Toledo
3 Syracuse 3 San Diego St
14 Delaware 14 Mercer
Buffalo Spokane
6 VCU 6 Texas
11 Iowa/BYU 11 SMU
7 Baylor 7 George Washington
10 Memphis 10 Nebraska
Buffalo Raleigh
2 Villanova 2 Virginia
15 Milwaukee 15 American
First 4 Out In Today Out Today By Conference
Providence Big 12 – 7
Minnesota Pac 12 – 7
Arkansas Atlantic 10 – 6
Missouri Big Ten – 6
ACC – 5
Next 4 Out AAC – 5
Georgetown SEC – 3
Green Bay Big East – 3
St Johns MWC – 2
Florida St WCC – 2

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March 14th Bracket

South Midwest
1 Florida 1 Wichita St
16 Stony Brook 16 Wofford/Texas Southern
Orlando St Louis
8 Colorado 8 Dayton
9 Gonzaga 9 Kansas St
4 St Louis 4 North Carolina
13 North Dakota St 13 Manhattan
San Antonio San Diego
5 Cincinnati 5 Michigan St
12 Harvard 12 Toledo
3 Michigan 3 Wisconsin
14 UC Irvine 14 WKU
Milwaukee Milwaukee
6 Texas 6 UCLA
11 BYU/Tennessee 11 Xavier
7 Oregon 7 Connecticut
10 Oklahoma St 10 Pittsburgh
Raleigh St Louis
2 Duke 2 Kansas
15 NC Central 15 Eastern Kentucky
East West
1 Louisville 1 Arizona
16 Coastal Carolina/Mount St Marys 16 NCU
Orlando San Diego
8 Kentucky 8 George Washington
9 St Joes 9 Memphis
4 Iowa St 4 Creighton
13 Stephen F Austin 13 New Mexico St
Spokane San Antonio
5 Massachusetts 5 Oklahoma
12 Iowa 12 Southern Miss
3 Syracuse 3 San Diego St
14 Delaware 14 Mercer
Raleigh Spokane
6 VCU 6 Ohio St
11 SMU/California 11 Arizona St
7 New Mexico 7 Baylor
10 Nebraska 10 Stanford
Buffalo Buffalo
2 Villanova 2 Virginia
15 Milwaukee 15 American
In the Mix In Today Out Today By Conference
Providence Tennessee Arkansas Big 12 – 7
Minnesota UC Irvine UCSB Pac 12 – 7
Missouri Atlantic 10 – 6
Arkansas Big Ten – 6
Florida St ACC – 5
Illinois AAC – 5
NC State SEC – 3
Richmond Big East – 3
Georgia MWC – 2
Louisiana Tech WCC – 2

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March 13th Bracket 7:00 EDT Update

South Midwest
1 Florida 1 Wichita St
16 Stony Brook 16 Wofford/Texas Southern
Orlando St Louis
8 Dayton 8 Memphis
9 Colorado 9 St Joes
4 Oklahoma 4 Creighton
13 North Dakota St 13 Manhattan
San Antonio Spokane
5 Cincinnati 5 North Carolina
12 Harvard 12 Toledo
3 Michigan 3 Wisconsin
14 WKU 14 UCSB
Milwaukee Milwaukee
6 Texas 6 UCLA
11 BYU/Arkansas 11 Pittsburgh
7 Oregon 7 Connecticut
10 Oklahoma St 10 Arizona St
Raleigh St Louis
2 Duke 2 Kansas
15 NC Central 15 Eastern Kentucky
East West
1 Louisville 1 Arizona
16 Coastal Carolina/Mount St Marys 16 NCU
Orlando San Diego
8 New Mexico 8 Kentucky
9 Kansas St 9 Gonzaga
4 St Louis 4 Iowa St
13 Stephen F Austin 13 New Mexico St
San Antonio San Diego
5 Michigan St 5 Massachusetts
12 Tennessee/California 12 Southern Miss
3 Syracuse 3 San Diego St
14 Delaware 14 Mercer
Buffalo Spokane
6 Ohio St 6 VCU
11 Stanford 11 Xavier
7 George Washington 7 Baylor
10 Nebraska 10 Iowa
Buffalo Raleigh
2 Villanova 2 Virginia
15 Milwaukee 15 American
In the Mix In Today Out Today By Conference
SMU Tennessee SMU Big 12 – 7
Minnesota Pac 12 – 7
Missouri Atlantic 10 – 6
Florida St Big Ten – 6
Providence ACC – 5
West Virginia AAC – 4
Illinois SEC – 4
NC State Big East – 3
Richmond MWC – 2
Georgia WCC – 2

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