A new season begins, and your first S-Curve of the season is below. This is mostly the same as the offseason bracket, with a few tweaks here and there.
In the preseason bracket, I would argue it's more important to look at my conference breakdown rather than the individual teams. Sure, of course teams get bids and not conferences, but for preseason projections, I like to look at the relative strength of each conference. The strength will be an indicator of how many quality wins will be available in each conference, which will influence the likelihood of increased bids in the conference. I would look at the conference breakdown as a rough guide of how good I expect each conference to be, and how easy it'll be for them to get more bids.
- ACC will be strong. I have 8/15 getting in, that could easily be more than 8.
- I expect a mild rebound from the Mountain West, getting a 2nd team back in, and I expect the WCC Top 2 to keep clear of the bubble.
- The top of the SEC will be a bit stronger, but they only have 4 bids. I see very little depth. This won't hurt Kentucky, but it will hurt all of the bubble teams needing quality wins. My Auburn call is a bit of a hunch, though.
- The other power conferences lurk around the 50% mark in getting at-large bids, give or take a team. This is pretty standard.
- I'm probably selling the American conference short with only 3 teams, but I can't figure out who that 4th team will be. I'll wait and see there.
Individual team calls I'm leaning on:
- Monmouth will get their vengeance this year.
- Marquette/VT/Auburn is a trio of teams on my 9 line that are my bolder calls. There's room for each team in their conference to settle into the middle of the pack.
- I'm not completely sold on New Mexico being that 2nd MWC team, or Davidson being that 4th A-10 team, but I like the odds of those conferences posting a 2nd team and 4th team, respectively.
- I feel like the odds are the MVC gets 2 teams in, but I just didn't find room in this initial bracket.
- One note after the fact: some have 10 or 11 ACC teams in their bracket. It's not impossible, but let's slow your collective roll until we see evidence they should get that many. If you're wondering why Syracuse is off the board....I had to take a couple ACC teams off the board for balance...made my call with them over others.
One tradition has died this year. The traditional MAC at-large bid I give out in my first bracket of the year has been eliminated. RIP.
The 1 line: Duke, Villanova, Kansas, Oregon
The 2 line: Kentucky, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Michigan St
The 3 line: Virginia, Xavier, Arizona, Iowa St
The 4 line: Louisville, Indiana, UCLA, UConn
The 5 line: Dayton, Purdue, Gonzaga, Texas A&M
The 6 line: Baylor, California, Creighton, Rhode Island
The 7 line: West Virginia, Florida, Michigan, Miami
The 8 line: Wichita St, Maryland, Cincinnati, Colorado
The 9 line: Marquette, Virginia Tech, Auburn, St Mary's
The 10 line: Monmouth, Texas, Notre Dame, VCU
The 11 line: San Diego St, Florida St, USC, Seton Hall
The 12 line: Oklahoma, Davidson, New Mexico, SMU, Valparaiso, Harvard
The 13 line: Akron, Towson, Long Beach St, North Dakota St
The 14 line: Chattanooga, Texas-Arlington, Belmont, UAB
The 15 line: Weber St, Lehigh, Vermont, North Florida
The 16 line: Winthrop, Sam Houston St, Fairleigh Dickinson, New Mexico St, South Carolina St, Texas Southern
Next 4 in:
Last 4 in:
Last 4 out:
Next 4 out:
Break it down!
Big 12 6
Big 10 6
Big East 5