This is my second installment of bracketology. Before we get into it, let's go over a few notes:
- The Committee looks at: Strength of Schedule, Head-to-Head Competition, RPI (wins against top 5, top 10, and top 20, losses verse teams outside the top 20 in RPI)
- There are 10 automatic qualifiers and eight at-large bids
- Only the top eight teams are seeded
- The #1 and #2 seeds play the winner of play-in games
- The four AQs with the lowest RPI must play in the play-in games
- A team must have a winning record to be an at-large bid
- Non-seeded teams are placed with geographic consideration
- First round matchups are determined with consideration given to separate conference opponents
- If a host school (Ohio State and Brown) make the Tournament they have to play in that city
I think the biggest challengers to enter the poll are a pair of Big Ten teams, Rutgers and Penn State. These two teams will face off this weekend, so that will be an important matchup to watch.
I think all of the unseeded, non-conference AQs (Syracuse, Marquette --Marquette is the conference leader right now but Denver should win the Big East; Villanova, UNC, Duke) are susceptible to falling out of the Tournament field as this is still a very fluid situation. As for the ACC teams, UNC will be solidly in if it beats Notre Dame this weekend. Really though, if UNC, Duke, and/or Syracuse wins its first round ACCT game then that should be enough. If it comes down to UNC and Duke, and both lose its first round ACCT game then I would give the edge to UNC because it has the head-to-head win over Duke even though Duke has the better RPI.
Virginia has to beat Georgetown this weekend and Brown the following Friday. Lose either of those games and the Cavaliers' fate is solidified. A win over the Bears could give UVA a birth as an at-large team, so there is still hope.
I edged Navy above Loyola in the seeding because of the head-to-head win for the Midshipmen over the Greyhounds. Previously I had Albany in that eight seed but I dropped them out in favor of Loyola because Albany only has a top 20 win over Stony Brook while Loyola has that win over Hopkins from earlier in the season.
I should note, that I selected the automatic qualifiers based on conference leaders. In the case of ties, I gave the team with the higher RPI the nod. That being said, I am not predicting that Marquette will win the Big East, but the Golden Eagles are currently the conference leader.
I put together a neat spreadsheet and analyzed all the data available, but there is certainly plenty to disagree with, so check it out and let me know what you think.
ACC: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
AmEast: Albany Great Danes
Big East: Marquette Golden Eagles (Marquette is 4-0 in the Big East, while Denver is 3-0)
Big Ten: Maryland Terrapins
Colonial: Fairfield Stags
Ivy: Brown Bears
Metro: Quinnipiac Bobcats
Northeast: Saint Joseph's Hawks
Patriot: Navy Midshipmen
SoCon: Air Force Falcons (has the RPI lead over Richmond)
#1 Notre Dame/ACC vs. Quinnipiac/Metro Atlantic or Fairfield/CAA
#8 Loyola vs. Albany/AmEast
#4 Brown/Ivy vs. Villanova
#5 Yale vs. Syracuse
#3 Denver vs. Duke
#6 Johns Hopkins vs. UNC
#2 Maryland/Big Ten vs. Air Force/SoCon or Saint Joseph's/Northeast
#7 Navy/Patriot vs. Marquette/Big East
Next out: Duke, Villanova, UNC, Syracuse
Next in: Rutgers, Penn State, Stony Brook