- Ky McKeon
Guys, we finally made it to the finish line. Christmas is here. Today is Selection Sunday, the best day of the year. Below is how I see the Field of 68 shaking out. This was a difficult bracket to seed with so many teams exhibiting similar resumes.
The Full S-Curve:
- The last team in will by far be the most scrutinized spot of the day. The nation seems to agree this spot comes down to three teams: Syracuse, Illinois State, and USC. Syracuse has six wins against the RPI Top 50, a very impressive number, but they have a sky-high 84 RPI. The Orange set the record for highest RPI at-large bid last season. I've had the Orange in for the past week, but upon further scrutiny, I have decided to slide them out in favor of USC. The Trojans are 33 spots higher than Syracuse in the RPI but nine spots lower in KenPom's rankings. All of Syracuse's good wins came at home, and they lost a couple questionable games to St. John's and Georgetown at home, UConn on a neutral floor, and away at Boston College. It also would feel weird to me to have only three Pac-12 teams in the field.
- The 10/11 line is ridiculously tough to peg down this year. Literally every 10-seed and 11-seed you see above could flip-flop. I think Rhode Island deserves a 10-seed. They won their postseason tournament and finished with similar resumes to conference rivals Dayton (8-seed) and VCU (9-seed). Xavier and Vandy both feature RPI and KenPom rankings well above the rest on these two lines and Dandy has six wins against the RPI Top 50. I honestly think the Commodores could get a 9-seed today. I don't feel good about having Marquette on the 11-seed line - I bet they fall into a 10 today (possibly even over Seton Hall).
- There's been a lot of debate about the 1-seeds today. In my mind, there is no question about Villanova, Kansas, UNC, and Gonzaga maintaining the top four spots. Duke has the most wins in the country versus the RPI Top 50 (13), but they finished tied 4th in the ACC - UNC won the league by two whole games. Kentucky has a real shot at a 1-seed, but who do you unhorse from the top? I don't think Arizona's analytic ranking (22 in KenPom) will allow them to be a 1-seed.