Friday, November 2, 2018

Preseason bracket breakdown

Let's chat briefly about the preseason bracket I put up.

Everyone says it these days:  teams get bids, not conferences.  True.  However, schedule is increasing in importance, and your conference has a lot to do with your schedule.  Therefore, every year, I always instruct the reader to do the following with my preseason bracket:  don't pay attention to where specific teams are seeded.  I'm bound to be off on some of them.  I know I will.

What do I think you need to pay attention to?  How well a conference is represented, and seeded, in the bracket.  My opinion on the strength of a conference will be represented by the seedings.  These opinions matter because the conferences will shape a significant portion of everyone's at-large profile.  Therefore I wouldn't worry about where your specific team is seeded; look more at your overall conference position.

With that in mind, let's whip around conference by conference:

ACC:  I have 9 teams in.  Seeds of 1, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 12.  I feel like with 3 top tier teams who are vulnerable, I expect many teams in the middle of the conference to pick off signature wins.  A typical year for the conference awaits.

B1G:  7 teams in.  I expect a rebound year.  I have a typical distribution (a 2 seed, a couple 4 seeds, and the rest scattered throughout the bracket).  I expect the identify of teams 4-7 to be very fluid throughout the year.

SEC:  7 teams in.  Like the B1G, I have a pretty even distribution of teams throughout the bracket, and I also expect the middle of this conference to be in a very fluid state.

Big 10:  6 teams in.  Might be the strongest conference top to bottom.  It's just so tough to put 70% of your conference in the field, though.  I expect the teams that do make it to be solidly in, though.  Looking back to last year's bubble, I expect this year's bubble teams to be in a bit stronger position overall.

Big East:  5 teams in.  I'm not quite sure what to do with them.  I found trouble identifying a second team I feel really good about getting a very high seed.  Will there be enough signature win chances in the conference?  They could easily slide down to 4 teams if things break the wrong way.

Pac-12:  4 teams in.  I don't trust this conference.  At all.

A-10:  2 teams in.  Champ on the 8 line.  Pretty standard year.

MWC:  2 teams in.  Nevada up to the 5 line.  This should be the year the conference rallies a bit.  I still don't think the bottom half is strong enough; Nevada's computer profile will get tanked a bit.

WCC:  1 team in.  St Mary's falls into the abyss; Gonzaga is alone.  BYU could make it close.

MVC:  1 team in.  Strong computer numbers last year; I expect it to continue this year.  Think they can get a second team close to the field.

everyone else:  Western Kentucky is my official bandwagon pick for at-large bid candidacy this year.  You can also talk me into Charleston, if the CAA has a good year, and Buffalo.

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