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Final Bracketology Prediction: Selection Sunday 2019

Virginia is heading to DC in the final bracket prediction of the year

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Nashville Practice Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATED: 3:45 P.M.

Sunday evening at 6 P.M. the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee will unveil what we’ve all been waiting for—the official sign of the start of the NCAA Tournament. So, before you get ready to fill out a bracket, take a look at STL’s final bracket prediction of the year.

East and West Regionals

East Regional West Regional
East Regional West Regional
1. Virginia 1. North Carolina
16. North Carolina Central / North Dakota State 16. Gardner-Webb
9. UCF 9. Seton Hall
8. Oklahoma 8. Utah St.
5. Wofford 5. Mississippi St.
12. Oregon 12. Liberty
13. UC Irvine 13. Yale
4. Purdue 4. Florida St.
3. Houston 3. LSU
14. Old Dominion 14. Northern Kentucky
11. North Carolina St. 11. Florida / Ohio St.
6. Buffalo 6. Villanova
7. Nevada 7. Iowa
10. Baylor 10. Belmont
15. Colgate 15. Bradley
2. Tennessee 2. Gonzaga

South and Midwest Regionals

South Regional Midwest Regional
South Regional Midwest Regional
1. Duke 1. Michigan St.
16. Iona 16. Prairie View A&M / Fairleigh Dickinson
9. Washington 9. Mississippi
8. Minnesota 8. Louisville
5. Auburn 5. Kansas St.
12. New Mexico State 12. Murray State
13. Northeastern 13. Vermont
4. Kansas 4. Virginia Tech
3. Wisconsin 3. Texas Tech
14. Saint Louis 14. Georgia State
11. TCU / Indiana 11. Saint Mary's College
6. Iowa St. 6. Marquette
7. Cincinnati 7. Maryland
10. Syracuse 10. VCU
15. Montana 15. Abilene Christian
2. Michigan 2. Kentucky

Last Four In: TCU, Florida, Ohio State, Indiana

First Four Out: Lipscomb, Creighton, Arizona State, UNC Greensboro

Bracket Thoughts:

UVA vs. Duke - This is a really tough one. Coming into the weekend, I said the only way UVA didn’t get the overall number one seed was if Duke won the ACC Tournament. Now, obviously, that’s not happened here. Sure, Duke won the whole thing, but I still have UVA as the number one overall seed. Let me explain. First, I think for Duke to jump the Hoos, beating Virginia again to sweep the season series would have been the ultimate tiebreaker. Since Duke didn’t get that chance, their 2-0 H2H record will have to suffice and the five to three loss differential looks a little wider with someone else taking down the Hoos. Second, is how I think the committee should handle the Zion Williamson injury. Let me start this argument by saying I don’t buy into Duke getting any leniency from the committee for losing at home to Syracuse without Tre Jones and Cam Reddish. While those missing players were seen as big losses at the time, I think through the lens of hindsight, we all know who the irreplaceable part of the Blue Devils is. So that just leaves us with how to deal with the three losses without Williamson. Going into the week, I was certain that with Williamson, Duke would have gone at worst 1-2 in the losses to VaTech and North Carolina. But after the Blue Devils snuck by with a one-point win over the Tar Heels, are we really sure they showed us enough that they could have been closer than the 16 and nine point drubbings they received from UNC at the end of the year? I don’t think so, therefore I’m not as quick to dismiss those losses as affected by the injury. Furthermore, maybe it’s just how poorly they played against Wake Forest that’s actually clouding our judgement as to the impact of Williamson’s injury.

The Rest of the Number One Seeds - Heading into Sunday’s conference championship games, I have Tennessee and Michigan State with number one seed play in games. Win and they’re in. Lose and they fall to the two line. Waiting in the wings are North Carolina and Gonzaga (in that order) should either of them slip up. I’ve had Gonzaga as a one seed most of the year (as have most brackets), but to be honest I was going against my own model to do so. Based on their lack of volume of quality wins, I’ve actually had them as a two-seed since the non-conference ended. Their loss to St. Mary’s justified me following my rankings and putting them were their resumes suggests they ought to be. Michigan certainly has a case should they beat Michigan State Sunday, but at this point, even doing so isn’t enough to overtake the Tar Heels or Bulldogs.

Washington - The Washington Huskies have been a topic of this column almost every week I’ve put it out, and their resume continues to get more baffling. I think we can all agree the Pac-12 was horrendous this season, and not worthy of two bids. But, the Huskies couldn’t hold serve falling in the Conference final to the Oregon Ducks (who have been playing much better of late) leaving a big question mark surrounding their at-large resume. My model has them clearly in, but I feel nauseous about it. Oregon represents their only win over a tournament team all season, and they were 1-2 against the Ducks. Their resume actually compares well to that of Lipscomb who, unlike the Huskies, are squarely on the bubble. Both went 1-2 against their conferences champ, and that win represents their only win over a tournament team. Both have two wins in KenPom A games, while Washington has six losses and Lipscomb only has three against that level of competition. Washington does boast seven B game wins to Lipscomb’s one. But considering at most, one of those is against a tournament team, what are we really talking about? All this is to say that Washington is still in, but it makes me wonder why they get such a pass while Lipscomb isn’t getting the same treatment.

Mid-Majors - As I’ve said all along, I really felt Belmont was nowhere near being out of this field and when all was said and done, Lipscomb and UNC Greensboro were especially hard to leave out Lioscomb had a profile similar to Washington’s as noted above and UNC-G didn’t have a single loss outside of quad one showing they challenged themselves in the non-conference. In the end they just didn’t have a signature win to put them over the edge.

Agree? Disagree? Also, head on over to Bracket Matrix and see how this bracket stands up against the rest from around the country.