Tristan Beckmann’s College Basketball Bracketology (1/27/2019)

It was a chaotic week in college basketball, as many upsets occurred and we saw some ranked teams battle. That’s why I’m bringing you my first ever College Basketball Bracketology Breakdown. I’ve projected seeding and matchups for all tournament teams, and I plan on releasing one of these each Sunday for the rest of the season heading up to Selection Sunday.

College basketball fans and experts abroad have started to gain a decent understanding of the contenders and pretenders in each college basketball conference, and I’m as big of a college hoops fan as you’ll find. Some teams are distancing themselves from the bubble, but some teams continue to remain clustered around it.

My process is pretty simple actually. Firstly, I’ve compiled a list of college basketball teams who realistically still have a chance at making the NCAA Tournament. Secondly, I’ve used the brand new NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) Rankings as a seeding criteria for all teams, which will also be heavily used by the actual selection committee. Lastly, I’ve looked at every team’s current record and used the NCAA’s Quadrant Wins System to analyze the quality of their respective wins and losses.

After I have made a judgment on all teams, I begin to seed the 68 chosen teams from 1 to 68. Ranking them this way allows me to separate them into seed lines (#1 to #16). Finally, I place the teams into regions based on their respective seeds, conferences, and game location (for higher seeds). I tried my best to keep conference opponents from playing until at least the Sweet 16, but there may have been situations where this wasn’t realistically possible.

All in all, the process I went through definitely isn’t easy, but it’s fun to look at the possibilities already. I’ve tried my best to simulate what the actual selection committee would be doing if the tournament had to be seeded today. So after this crazy week in the college hoops world, let’s check into my first-ever Bracketology projection!

East Region (Washington, D.C.):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Duke vs. #16 Robert Morris/Norfolk State

#8 Kansas State vs. #9 Ole Miss

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#4 Texas Tech vs. #13 Yale

#5 Purdue vs. #12 Wofford

Salt Lake City, Utah

#3 Marquette vs. #14 Loyola-Chicago

#6 Iowa vs. #11 Alabama

Des Moines, Iowa

#2 Kansas vs. #15 UC-Irvine

#7 Wisconsin vs. #10 Texas

Midwest (Kansas City, MO):

Columbus, Ohio

#1 Michigan vs. #16 Rider

#8 Mississippi State vs. #9 St. John’s

Hartford, Connecticut

#4 Louisville vs. #13 Northern Kentucky

#5 LSU vs. #12 Lipscomb

Tulsa, Oklahoma

#3 Houston vs. #14 Radford

#6 NC State vs. #11 Ohio State/Baylor

Des Moines, Iowa

#2 Kentucky vs. #15 Weber State

#7 TCU vs. #10 UCF

South (Louisville, KY):

Jacksonville, Florida

#1 Tennessee vs. #16 Sam Houston State/Prairie-View

#8 Nebraska vs. #9 Florida State

San Jose, California

#4 Villanova vs. #13 Davidson

#5 Iowa State vs. #12 Murray State

Jacksonville, Florida

#3 Virginia Tech vs. #14 South Dakota State

#6 Oklahoma vs. #11 Indiana

Columbus, Ohio

#2 Michigan State vs. #15 Stony Brook

#7 Cincinnati vs. #10 San Francisco

West (Anaheim, CA):

Columbia, South Carolina

#1 Virginia vs. #16 Cal State Bakersfield

#8 Auburn vs. #9 Minnesota

Salt Lake City, Utah

#4 Nevada vs. #13 Texas State

#5 Buffalo vs. #12 Hofstra

Hartford, Connecticut

#3 North Carolina vs. #14 North Texas

#6 Washington vs. #11 Syracuse/Temple

San Jose, California

#2 Gonzaga vs. #15 Lehigh

#7 Maryland vs. #10 Florida

The Bubble Breakdown:

The tournament bubble continues to simmer down as each day of conference basketball passes, but it’s still a very log-jammed one like it has been in recent years. Here’s a breakdown of the last few teams that made it and the last few that are just outside the cut line right now:

IN:

Last Team In: Temple Owls (15-5, 5-2 AAC)

Temple was on the verge of pulling out a must-needed quality win today at home against Cincinnati, but they folded under pressure, blowing a 14 point lead in the second half. They’re squarely on the bubble and will likely be kicked off if they lose to Houston on the road on Thursday night. They don’t have the schedule to make up for a loss there, and so it’s up to the Owls to earn their spot on this list for next week and beyond.

Second To Last Team In: Baylor Bears (13-6, 4-2 Big 12)

Baylor has quietly put itself on the bubble radar after not being taken seriously when Big 12 conference play began. They sit at 4-2 thus far in the conference, and nearly beat Kansas at home a few weeks ago. They did beat Texas Tech, however, which added a huge Quadrant 1 victory to their schedule. Going on the road to beat West Virginia was good for them as they didn’t suffer a bad loss, and it was also impressive to see them beat fellow tournament squad Alabama yesterday.

Third To Last Team In: Ohio State Buckeyes (13-6, 3-5 Big Ten)

It’s crazy how fast Ohio State has fallen from being ranked #13 in the nation to being unranked and struggling in the gauntlet that is the Big Ten. Losing to the Big Ten bottom-feeder in Rutgers didn’t help this case. They are 3-4 in Quadrant 1 Games, and 2-2 in Quadrant 2 Games, which certainly doesn’t make for a terrible resume. But they’ll definitely have to be picking up some more solid wins in the regular season to help pick them up off the bubble.

Fourth To Last Team In: Syracuse Orange (14-6, 5-2 ACC)

Until Saturday night’s blowout loss to Virginia Tech, Syracuse continued to claw its way further from the brink of the bubble. They are 2-2 in Quadrant 1 games and certainly display the talent of a tournament squad, but they’ve had some tough losses to swallow. Losing to Old Dominion at home will hurt them, as well as losing to one of the ACC’s worst teams in Georgia Tech at home. Beating Duke on the road was huge towards their chances, but they need to keep winning in order to really feel safe from the bubble.

OUT:

First Team Out: Pittsburgh Panthers (12-8, 2-5 ACC)

With wins against Louisville and Florida State, the Panthers are definitely in the bubble conversation but they still need to win some more games to get over their losing record in ACC play. Oh, and their non-conference schedule was brutally easy, so that won’t get them any favors from the selection committee. The good thing for Pittsburgh is that they’ve played their hard part of the ACC Schedule, and there are plenty of winnable ACC games on the schedule in February and March.

Second Team Out: VCU Rams (14-6, 5-2 A-10)

To get a bid in the big dance, VCU will probably have to just go out and win the Atlantic 10 to secure an automatic bid. But there’s a small shot for an at-large berth if the Rams can win out or win most of their remaining games. Losing to Davidson shook off a huge resume opportunity for them, but they aren’t dead yet. They still have a Quadrant 1 win from defeating Texas on the road in December, but they’ll need more of a resume than that to make the tournament.

Third Team Out: Arizona State Sun Devils (14-6, 5-3 Pac-12)

Arizona State has been struggling in the weak PAC-12, so that has started to offset what was a really solid non-conference resume. Losing to a weak Utah club at home to start the month of January really hurt the Sun Devils, as did losing to Stanford on the road a few weeks ago. They are 3-1 in Quadrant 1 games, but they do have a really bad Quadrant 4 loss that they suffered to Princeton at home. They’ve certainly got their work cut out for them as we near the start of Fabulous February.

Fourth Team Out: Butler Bulldogs (12-9, 3-5 Big East)

Butler’s 0-2 week was very tough for their bubble hopes, as they slid from inside the field to farther on the outside than they’d like to be. They’ve got a huge resume building opportunity on Wednesday at home against #12 Marquette. With road games at Marquette and Villanova still left in February/March, Butler has some great chances to grab some pivotal wins as they remain on the tournament bubble.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed my first ever Bracketology Breakdown. If you want to see more content like this, let me know on my Twitter @TBeckmann24. Feel free to ask questions and share thoughts to me there as well. Have a great and blessed day! Peace!

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