Welcome to the best bracketology on three-man-weave.com! Sorry Ky…but anyways, pretty pumped to finally be unveiling this. Predicting the bracket has been a passion of mine for 10 years now, starting way back in my parents’ basement in 2006. A couple of my high school buddies and I had a delightful Sunday eating pizza and poring over data (with a driveway basketball break mixed in). We’ve been in bracketmatrix.com’s rankings since 2010 under the name ‘Brackonomics’ (see them here – 21st of 89) – the idea was that I’d do “stock up, stock down” and “buy low, sell high” write-ups similar to this website’s Poll Game. The write-ups barely materialized, but the bracketology continues today.
Thanks for indulging my bracketology history. At long last, here’s the full bracket, by location, for Friday, January 22nd, 2016!
And the full S-Curve:
Some jumbled thoughts:
· Sticking with Oklahoma as #1 overall right now. The numbers/wins are right there with Villanova, but the 30-point thumping on a neutral floor serves as a tiebreak. Very rarely will head-to-head be used as a differentiator between two teams here (it’s about the entire 30ish-game resume), but in this case, I think these teams are close enough to use that Pearl Harbor Memorial game as a clincher.
· It’s interesting seeing similar “types” of profiles. For example, Florida and Texas Tech are both teams who have great computer numbers, but their wins are lacking, particularly away from home. Another clear genre of teams is a group with great wins, horrific losses, and solid numbers: Monmouth and UCLA embody this group. Finally, teams like Clemson, LSU, and Marquette combine solid wins, terrible losses, and very weak strengths of schedule to leave you baffled as to what to do with their inconsistencies.
· It would really help bracketing purposes for Texas A&M, Kentucky, Oregon, USC, etc. to continue to play well and earn high rankings – the glut of Big Ten/ACC/Big 12 teams in the top-16 makes fairly dividing the top quarter of the bracket extremely difficult.
· I struggled with the last two #1 seeds – both UNC and Xavier only have 1 loss with their point guards in the lineup (Paige missed @UNI, Sumner missed nearly all of @Nova – though they got whipped), and yet Kansas probably has the best wins of the group. Xavier’s KenPom rating and slightly weaker wins ultimately brought them down to #5.
What about the bubble, you ask? Well I’m glad you did.
When in doubt, I tried to gravitate towards qualities that the committee has stressed as important in recent years – nonconference strength of schedule (because teams can control who they play) and road wins/road record (can you go out and beat someone in a hostile environment?).
· Clemson’s 329 nonconf SOS is a real problem – but they’ve racked up so many elite wins early in the ACC season (Louisville, Miami, Virginia, Duke, @Syracuse) that it’s hard to actually keep them out. If they end up floating down to the middle of the ACC pack, that nonconf SOS might keep them out (just ask 2014 SMU).
· I struggled with California’s resume – poor computer numbers and only one win outside of Berkeley is a baaad recipe. Those home wins are barely strong enough to squeak them in.
· Stanford is a team I didn’t expect to like this year, but their resume is solid aside from the blah 9-7 record. No bad losses (all 7 against the top 50), two decent away-from-home wins (@Oregon St, Arkansas in Brooklyn), great SOS and solid nonconf SOS. The Pac 12 is one hell of a gauntlet, though, and what that conference looks like now may be nothing like what it looks like in mid-March. Wake Forest is pretty similar.
· A home win over Virginia is nice, but George Washington hasn’t backed it up well at all. They had a solid home win against Seton Hall, beat Tennessee on a neutral court (gigantic “meh”), but also lost at DePaul and SLU. They need to do some more work in the A-10.
· I’m not interested in Saint Joseph’s. No top-70 wins is just not going to cut it, despite the lack of bad losses.
So that's it for today! I will attempt to re-visit every Monday and Friday (traditionally the slowest days of the week) until March, when I will ramp up to daily as it leads up to Selection Sunday on March 13th.