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NCAA Basketball Bracketology: STL’s January Edition

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Though still way too early, we take a peek at the bracket

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Features Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

In the first edition of STL Bracketology, we find our beloved Hoos as a number three seed in the Midwest Region. There are a whopping 11 ACC teams as of now. I don’t think it stays that high come selection Sunday, but for now speaks to the depth of the conference as a whole.

Just like last year, this bracket is built using composite ranking of Ken Pomeroy, RPI, and the AP poll as well as assigning a numerical value to quality wins and bad lossses according to both Ken Pomeroy and RPI. Now, on to the bracket.

East Regional

Seed Team
Seed Team
1 Villanova
16 Morgan State / Texas Southern
9 Clemson
8 Kansas St
5 Cincinnati
12 Vermont
13 Nevada
4 Wisconsin
3 UNC
14 Belmont
11 Texas Tech
6 Minnesota
7 Xavier
10 UNC Wilmington
15 Florida Gulf Coast
2 Louisville

South Regional

Seed Team
Seed Team
1 Baylor
16 Weber State
9 Dayton
8 Northwestern
5 Duke
12 Seton Hall / Michigan
13 Princeton
4 Florida
3 Creighton
14 Bucknell
11 Michigan St
6 WVU
7 SMU
10 Wake Forest
15 Winthrop
2 Butler

Midwest Regional

Seed Team
Seed Team
1 Kansas
16 Fairleigh Dickinson / New Orleans
9 USC
8 Saint Mary's
5 Oregon
12 Illinois St
13 Akron
4 Notre Dame
3 Virginia
14 New Mexico State
11 Oklahoma St
6 Maryland
7 Virginia Tech
10 Indiana
15 North Dakota State
2 Kentucky

West Regional

Seed Team
Seed Team
1 Gonzaga
16 UNC Greensboro
9 Arkansas
8 TCU
5 Purdue
12 Pittsburgh / Georgia
13 Valparaiso
4 UCLA
3 Arizona
14 Monmouth
11 Middle Tennessee
6 South Carolina
7 Marquette
10 Iowa St
15 UC Irvine
2 Florida St

Last Four In: Seton Hall, Pittsburgh, Michigan, Georgia
First Four Out: Wichita St, Cal, Miami, VCU

Bracket Thoughts

  • I can't argue with the four number one seeds. Baylor and Kansas will likely push one or the other off the one line, potentially leaving room for the top team from the ACC (unless the ACC continues to beat up on each other). Gonzaga is a solid number one but even if they go undefeated, may fall off based off the quality wins component of the analysis. With only St Mary’s and BYU (and they’re a stretch) good enough to register quality wins, they aren't going to be able to compete with the likes of the ACC and Big 12 teams and the volume of quality opponents they face each night.
  • When looking down the bracket, it’s curious to see West Virginia and UCLA so low. West Virginia checks in as a six seed thanks to both their two losses outside the top 100 as well as their to their number 43 RPI. Expect their RPI to change quickly though as West Virginia navigates their way through the Big 12 schedule. UCLA is a four seed despite being recognized as a top team in the country by the AP and in the national perception. They fall in these rankings due to lack of quality wins as they only has one top 25 Kenpom win, and while that win is considered some one of the best wins in the country (at Kentucky) they just don’t have the meat to compete with the likes of Villanova, Baylor, Kansas, UNC, and Louisville.
  • The Big East acquitted themselves quite well in the non-conference with Villanova, Creighton, and Butler all checking on the top two seed lines. Creighton will be interesting without Maurice Watson Jr. as he was one of he best players in the country. Butler is a surprise that high, but their seven top 50 KenPom wins are legit, and are good for second most in the country behind Baylor.
  • As of now, the bubble is very large with UNC Wilmington, Middle Tennessee, and Illinois State hailing from one-bid leagues, but being in the field whether or not they win their conference tournament. Other than these teams, we’ll also be looking closely at St Mary’s, Nevada, UT Arlington, and Wichita St as all these teams could expand or contract the bubble based on how they finish the year and if they are the team to take down their conference tournament.

What are your thoughts? Who’d we miss? Who’s too high? Who’s too low?