I would like to take the time to explain my preseason projections, and how I ranked the teams.
1) I ended up deciding to project the conference champions of the top 4 conferences on my 1 line. It's kind of the easy way out, but I think it holds up. No one is questioning these are the solid favorites in their respective conference.
2) Kentucky on the 2 line? Ok, a few points here:
- Freshmen take time to develop. They'll suffer early losses. And that's ok.
- Teams from mid-major conferences don't get 1 seeds unless they run the table. Therefore, Kentucky won't get a 1 seed without a big run.
- Yes, the SEC is a mid major conference. Go ahead, take away Kentucky and Florida. Compare the rest of the conference to the A-10, Mountain West, WCC, and MVC. The SEC might still be better, but it's darn close.
3) I'll do a conference hierarchy in another post, but the ACC and B1G are the big 2...and I think the Big 12 will be sneaky good this year. Good depth in the league. This should boost Kansas, among others.
4) I think an up year for CUSA is brewing. The bottom half of the conference is bad, but between LaTech and UTEP and a couple others, I expect multiple teams challenging the Top 25 this year. They have a reasonable shot at an at-large bid - if they avoid catastrophic losses in conference play.
5) Down a bit is the A-10 and MWC. That's reflected with 3 and 2 projected bids, respectively.
6) As always, I project a MAC at-large team for giggles. I think the conference has a fair shot of being relevant in March.
7) The Big East and AAC are major conferences. Not mid-major. AAC is getting close, but I can't demote teams like UConn and Cincy like that. The reason I mention this point? Too many people out there in the medias not giving enough respect to these conferences.
8) The Ivy League is ascending, and it's going to help Harvard this year. Very reasonable shot at a single-digit seed for Harvard. As for all the other small-majors...don't see another team cracking the 12-seed ceiling. For the record, I'm counting small-majors as the bottom 20 conferences, excluding CUSA, WCC, MVC, A-10, MWC, and the 7 majors.
9) B1G with 8 of 14 teams in, ACC with 7 of 15 teams in. This is reflective of the middle of the ACC. Both conference's bottom teams are bad, but the B1G has the advantage in the middle.