For those unfamiliar with my December brackets:
There's a lot of projection in these. These rankings are NOT based solely on results so far. There's a lot of prediction and projection in these. So don't get caught up too much in individual seeds for individual teams at the moment. Not really interested in arguing, for example, if Nebraska should be on the 6 line or the 10 line.
What IS important is the following:
1) Conference breakdowns. See how each conference is situated, because it's a clue as to how I feel each conference race will be setting up. For example, in the SEC, I have 2 teams on the 2 line (UT, AU, plus Kentucky as a 4 and MSU as a 6. Then 3 more teams in the rest of the field. This means I think this conference will have a pretty normal distribution of teams throughout the bracket. You can repeat this exercise for most of the major conferences.
So some of my early takeaways:
- the Big East seems to be missing some top-end teams. Nova is still the best team, but I only have them on the 4 line. I still have them sneaking in 6 teams into the field at the moment, but that feels like a maximum. I'm not sure there's enough quality wins available in conference play to support that.
- I snuck in a 3rd team for the AAC at the back end of the field. I'm not sure that sticks. I also snuck in a 2nd team for the A-10. I'm very sure that I'm going to regret that. A-10 might really be a one-bid league.
- I tried really hard to make room for a second WCC team. Couldn't justify it. However, many teams are racking up sexy W-L records. There's a real chance someone emerges behind Gonzaga as a legit at-large contender, largely on the strength of quality in-conference wins. This will require said team to separate as a clear top 2 team in the league, though.
- Conferences in trouble: MVC, MWC. One-bid leagues, and I'm not sure I can find a path to a second bid right now.
- ACC has 8 teams in this field. That is likely their floor, and I expect them to gobble up 1 or 2 excess bids from other conferences as time goes on.
- Pac-12's in trouble.
The 1 line: Kansas, Michigan, Gonzaga, Duke
The 2 line: Virginia, Tennessee, Auburn, Michigan St
The 3 line: North Carolina, Texas Tech, Nevada, Wisconsin
The 4 line: Villanova, Florida St, Kentucky, Arizona St
The 5 line: Virginia Tech, Ohio St, Marquette, Kansas St
The 6 line: Syracuse, Buffalo, Iowa St, Mississippi St
The 7 line: Arizona, Purdue, Houston, Nebraska
The 8 line: UCLA, North Carolina St, St John's, Furman
The 9 line: Cincinnati, LSU, Indiana, Butler
The 10 line: Louisville, Oklahoma, Creighton, Davidson
The 11 line: Washington, Arkansas, Maryland, TCU
The 12 line: Seton Hall, Florida, VCU, UCF, New Mexico St, Southern Illinois
The 13 line: Charleston, North Texas, Belmont, Lipscomb
The 14 line: Radford, Texas St, Penn, South Dakota St
The 15 line: UC Irvine, Northern Kentucky, Vermont, Montana
The 16 line: Marist, Abilene Christian, Lehigh, St Francis (NY), Howard, Texas Southern
Last 4 in:
Last 4 out:
Next 4 out:
Break it down!
Big 12 6
Big East 6