- Ky McKeon
This was by far and away the toughest bracket I have ever put together. Arguments can be made for jostling of just about every team seeded 6 - 11. Opinions vary greatly during this time of year, so this version may look drastically different than another bracketologist's.
After the Committee's Top 16 Reveal, it was clear that the primary focus areas were 1) wins against quadrant 1 opponents, 2) road record, and 3) strength of schedule. I tried to keep that in mind in this latest bracket...
Top 16 - I made a couple slight adjustments to the Committee's Top 16 revealed on 2/11. Purdue, with its recent tumble, now sits on the 2-seed line while Auburn takes the final 1-seed. Oklahoma falls out of the top 16 and are replaced by West Virginia. The Mountaineers have three more wins against Quadrant 1 & 2 competition and have the edge in road record and advanced ratings such as KenPom.
The Jumble in the Middle - I feel good about Kentucky and Wichita State on the 6-seed line, but after that is a total crap shoot. Arguments could be made for just about any order from the mid 6's to even the first few FFO teams. Check out the resumes of Florida, Alabama, and Missouri for instance.
That's a neck-and-neck heat. Ultimately number of quality wins was given precedence. Florida's SOS and Road Record were also determining factors in ranking them first in this group. Side note: Missouri v. Kansas second round - yes please. The 9-seed line is interesting. Houston has been SURGING lately, enough to vault them to a single-digit seed without too much effort. Also in the "mid-major" realm, Nevada's strong computer numbers put them on the 9-seed line alongside the Coogs.
The Edge - It's very weird seeing Louisville and Butler hanging on by a thread, but this is the reality we live in. The Cards are hanging on thanks to a strong RPI and KenPom number, but they have only three wins against Quadrant 1 & 2 opponents. The Dogs have seven Q1 & Q2 wins, but an ugly nine losses against that same group. So-so RPI and NCSOS also doesn't inspire much confidence.
Nebraska - I'm getting a bit tired of the Nebrasketball fanatics out there complaining about the Huskers not being included in just about every bracket out there. While, yes, Nebraska is having a great season and running roughshod over the Big Ten, the fact remains that they have ZERO wins against Quadrant 1, an RPI of 53, and a NCSOS of 291. Winning 20 games and 10 conference games doesn't automatically get you into the Tournament. Just ask 2011 Washington.