Sunday, March 16, 2014

Final Bracket Prediction

(Click on the image for better viewing)

The final bracket has now been posted. It is very similar to the one I posted on Friday, but it takes into account the wins by Northwestern State, Wright State, Prairie View, Fresno State, and Western Kentucky.

I still believe the bubble will be five of the following teams:

Florida State
Bowling Green
South Florida
Southern Miss
St. Joseph's

I dropped Creighton off the list from Friday.  I almost added Central Michigan to the list, but I decided against it because if the selection committee chooses an additional team from the MAC, it won't be the Chippewas, and three teams from the MAC just sounds absurd.

Charlie Creme and I agree on 62 out of the 64 teams that will be in the tournament.  Creme puts St. Joseph's and BYU in (both as 9-seeds), while I put Bowling Green and Rutgers in.  Bowling Green has a good RPI (32) and few bad losses. BYU has a fairly good RPI (38) but several losses in games the Cougars should have won, including their rivalry game against Utah at home in Provo, and conference games against Pacific, St. Mary's and San Diego. St. Joseph's still has an absurdly good RPI (22) but lots and lots of Atlantic 10 conference losses. Rutgers has a bad RPI (51), but come in with the only non-conference win over an at-large team of the four teams I've mentioned (against Georgia). If you're conspiratorial minded, Rutgers also fares better than other teams in categories that the Selection Committee isn't supposed to look at, like having a legendary and well-liked coach in the final stages of a contract negotiation, being on the East Coast, and being in UConn's conference.           

There are many good teams from small conferences that won't make the tournament, but I really feel the worst for Stetson. It had been since December 8th of last year that the Hatters were undefeated against teams that weren't Florida Gulf Coast. The last game of the regular season, the Hatters took the Eagles to overtime, but lost by one point to let Gulf Coast take the regular season title.  And today in the A-Sun championship, Stetson once again forced Gulf Coast to go to overtime, only to lose by two points. And now they won't be going to the NCAA tournament because the Atlantic Sun is considered a weak conference that can only support one bid (and also the Hatters lost to three bubble teams in the non-conference season by a combined 52 points). 

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