Side note: I miss old cranky CM Newton.
8) UNC-Greensboro at 1) Syracuse
5) Ole Miss at 4) Monmouth
6) Georgia Tech at 3) Indiana
7) Belmont at 2) Georgia
On the whole, I like this region. No seed is really out of line, and it's geographically about as compact as you could ever hope for.
8) Cal St-Bakersfield at 1) California
5) Charleston at 4) Colorado St
6) UT-Arlington at 3) BYU
7) Akron at 2) Houston
Here, I'd pick a nit with the seeds of UTA and Akron. UTA deserves a little better. A lot better, actually. This is the "west" region, but the bottom line is that a couple eastern teams were going to get boned. Charleston and Akron get the bone this year. I actually think this is a good spot for moving teams around a seed line. I'd move Fresno from a 5 seed to a 6, put them in this bracket, move UTA to a 5 seed, and rescue Charleston. I'd also consider making Irvine a 7 seed for this region.
8) UC-Irvine at 1) Illinois St
5) Colorado at 4) Central Florida
6) Boise St at 3) Utah
7) Valparaiso at 2) Illinois
Actually pleasantly surprised by Valpo being in. I thought with Peters out they'd be out, but the committee chose to reward their results with a full lineup. I'm okay with this.
As for geography, this is kind of a mess. This is an ugly regional for UCF, and I would've absolutely moved TCU into this spot. Also would've rescued Irvine as described above.
8) South Dakota at 1) Iowa
5) Fresno St at 4) TCU
6) Richmond at 3) Alabama
7) Oakland at 2) Clemson
No real issue with any of the seeds. Geography isn't the cleanest, and is really a chain reaction from the above 2 regionals.
I got 31/32 teams correct in my projections. Missed on Valpo as described above...had Ohio St in my field. Committee said OSU and UNC-Asheville were the last 2 teams out. Pretty encouraged to hear the presence of UNCA on that list. Overall I can't complain too much about this field. They could tighten up the geography a bit, though.
Of the 28 teams, I seeded 12 correctly and had 20 within 1 line. Not great. However, most of my misses were along the 3-5 lines where I didn't have strong preferences. I'm okay with most of the misses, and well, as long as the right teams are in the tourney, that's good. Seeding doesn't matter much here. The NIT has really improved its selection process for teams in recent years, I'll give them that much.
Using these seeds, I created the following pairings:
1) California vs. 8) Cal St-Bakersfield
4) Fresno St St vs. 5) Colorado
3) BYU vs. 6) Boise St
2) Utah vs. 7) UC-Irvine
1) Illinois St vs. 8) Oakland
4) Indiana vs. 5) Monmouth
3) Alabama vs. 6) Georgia Tech
2) Illinois vs. 7) Akron
1) Syracuse vs. 8) UNC-Greensboro
4) Central Florida vs. 5) Charleston
3) Clemson vs. 6) Richmond
2) Georgia vs. 7) Belmont
1) Iowa vs. 8) South Dakota
4) TCU vs. 5) Texas-Arlington
3) Colorado St vs. 6) Valparaiso
2) Houston vs. 7) Ole Miss
Note the western pairings are much more compact. The Cal region is perfect. The Iowa regional is just about perfect, minus Valpo (one team had to travel to this region). The Syracuse region is almost perfect, there's 7 southern teams with them so it's not ideal, but still clean. The Illinois St region has a couple invaders from the south, but that's ok. A bit tighter geographically, and no one moved more than one seed line.