EBS Bracketology, 2016/03/13 (AM)

Just five games and as many hours separate us from locking into place this year’s model of the six-round extravaganza. Memphis lurks as a potential bid thief. Louisiana-Monroe, too, could pose problems if the selection committee gives Arkansas-Little Rock a pass. My guess is that given today’s title tilt, the committee is more prepared to insert the appropriate Sun Belt champion and adjust the S-curve accordingly.

VCU helped themselves with a rout of Davidson in the A-10 semifinals, and have jumped to the 7-line along with today’s championship opponent, Saint Joseph’s. Connecticut is pretty darn safe regardless of their result today, though I’m sure a lot of bubble denizens will be pulling for the Huskies.

Speaking of bubble denizens, welcome San Diego State to the fold. Their loss to Fresno State last night not only deprived them of the Mountain West auto-bid, but knocked them down to the 10 line from the 7 line in the EBS. And the EBS has provided the Aztecs with relatively favorable projections compared to the remainder of the Bracket Matrix. Arkansas-Little Rock is the last team close to the EBS bubble (ranking just below the last at-large selection) that’s in action, but they need to win for all intents and purposes. Keep an eye on VCU, too.

Now, for EBS’s bubble breakdown with consensus spots in parens:

Last Four Byes: Valparaiso (6th out), Vanderbilt (2nd out), Colorado (7), Oregon State (8)
First Four: Butler (9), Pittsburgh (10), Florida (5th out), USC (9)
First Four Out: Princeton (12th out), St. Bonaventure (11/FF), Syracuse (4th out), Michigan (1st out)
Next Four Out: South Carolina (10), Tulsa (7th out), Akron (14th out), Monmouth (2nd out)

The essential swap of Valparaiso and South Carolina in EBS compared to the rest of the bracket-predicting world is telling. Something to think about more at another time. But the jumps between having teams projected out and as 7-seeds at the same spot in this ranking tells you either 1) that a two-input formula has limitations, of course, or 2) that this really is a subjective process. Do we care that a committee makes subjective determinations about middle-of-the-pack teams in major conferences and high-flying low-majors that had the bad timing to drop a game in their conference tourneys? That’s the eternal question.

Anyway, spreadsheet is here, seed list is below. Talk to you in a bit.

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EBS Bracketology, 2016/03/12

We’re more than four hours into the Saturday slate as I type, so I won’t belabor this too much. (This iteration is based on the overnight KenPom and RPI rankings. The lone multi-seed mover was San Diego State, who got a big RPI kick out of beating 19-13 Nevada and jumped to the 7 line (a little bullish) from the 9 line.

The Easy Bubble Solver’s last four byes go to Vanderbilt, Colorado, Oregon State, and Pittsburgh. Its First Four are Florida, Butler, USC, and Princeton. Note that by the close of yesterday, all of those teams have no games on their calendars before Selection Sunday. Several didn’t play yesterday; Pittsburgh and Princeton actually jumped back into the field thanks to indirect appreciation in their RPIs.

On the other side of the coin, Easy Bubble Solver has Michigan, St. Bonaventure, Syracuse, and South Carolina as the First Four Out. Tulsa, Monmouth, Georgia, and Georgia Tech comprise the Next Four Out. It’ll be worth watching Georgia take its shot at Kentucky to notch a quality win and punch a ticket to the SEC final, at the very least.

The spreadsheet with all the info (including teams’ seed and rank histories from the start) is here. Seed list after the jump.

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EBS Bracketology, 2016/03/11

The asymptotic approach to the selection show continues, and the updates become more frequent. So I’ll get some quick hits in on big movers and the bubble.

Providence’s Big East quarterfinal defeat of Butler was the biggest game of Thursday. The Friars jumped from 48th to 38th overall, and from a 12 to a 9 on the seed lines, while the Bulldogs slipped 10 spots and into a First Four 11-seed from a 9. Vanderbilt’s excruciating loss to Tennessee was very Vanderbilt, my Commodore friends tell me, and kicked them down to the 10 line from the 8 line in this ranking.

The bubble rundown:

Last Four Byes: Connecticut, Colorado, Tulsa, Oregon State
First Four: Florida, Butler, St. Bonaventure, USC
First Four Out: Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Princeton, Syracuse
Next Four Out: Michigan, Monmouth, Houston, Georgia Tech

Check out the spreadsheet here for all the details, or look below the fold for the seed list.

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EBS Bracketology, 2016/03/10

The Tuesday and Wednesday of Championship Week are a peculiar time. There are just a smattering of conference tournaments with title games over these days, so most of the lower-level bid thievery has concluded. Meanwhile, it’s early enough in the major conference tournaments that there’s not a lot of action with NCAA bracket implications (NIT implications, sure).

That said, we did have a few moves of note. Gonzaga’s win over Saint Mary’s is probably a bigger deal than the Zags are getting credit for. They jumped to an 8 from an 11, mostly thanks to a good RPI boost from a neutral-court win over the RPI #36 Gaels (who remain a 7 here). Texas Tech dropping its Big XII tourney opener to TCU, meanwhile, was a disappointment. The Red Raiders’ 8-spot KenPom hit fueled their slide from the 7-line to the 9-line, but they’re still safe on Sunday.

Although the effect seems delayed, Valparaiso finally took its hit from the Crusaders’ defeat to Green Bay on Monday, falling to an 11 from an 8. EBS does have a soft spot for small-conference cream-of-the-crop types–the RPI eats up their win totals and KenPom may struggle to peg these teams precisely when they have very little exposure to top-level competition. That said, of the prominent potential Cinderellas, Valparaiso appears to be the EBS’s dividing line–Monmouth is in Next Four Out territory, while the likes of Arkansas-Little Rock, Stephen F. Austin, and Akron will realistically have to take their conference tournament titles to make the field.

Here’s the bubble lineup as of Thursday morning:

Last Four Byes: Colorado, USC, Valparaiso, Pittsburgh
First Four: Connecticut, Tulsa, Providence, St. Bonaventure
First Four Out: Florida, Princeton, South Carolina, Syracuse
Next Four Out: Monmouth, Houston, Michigan, Georgia Tech

Twelve of these teams are playing this week, so this will be a dynamic race to the finish, as usual.

For more details, check out the spreadsheet here or check out the seed list after the break.

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EBS Bracketology, 2016/03/08

The regular-season games are done. Scores of teams are one loss away from the end of their 2015-16 campaigns. Championship Week is a high-intensity, high-stakes rite that brings us to obscure corners of the internet such as this.

Cincinnati’s defense of their floor against SMU was a big RPI get for the Bearcats, and their EBS stock rose accordingly, from the 10 line to the 8 line. After a relatively innocuous midweek loss to St. Bonaventure in Rochester, however, St. Joseph’s dropped the ball by letting Duquesne ruin Senior Day. The 13-spot hit the Hawks took in KenPom saw them slide to the 10 line from the 8 line.

After USC defeated Oregon State in Los Angeles last week, it’s curious to see that the Trojans and Beavers have swapped spots, with USC now a 12 and Oregon State now a 10. I don’t have an explanation for that one.

Here’s the EBS bubble rundown, 5 days out:

Last Four Byes: Oregon State (9), Colorado (8), Gonzaga (4th Out), Tulsa (3rd Out)
First Four: Princeton (-), USC (8), Providence (8), Florida (6th Out)
First Four Out: Pittsburgh (10), Syracuse (10), St. Bonaventure (10), South Carolina (9)
Next Four Out: Monmouth (1st Out–shed a tear), Florida State (10th Out), Michigan (5th Out), Houston (8th Out)

There are some curiosities here, of course. I’ve added the Bracket Matrix consensus seeds to these teams for context. Such are the limitations of a two-variable formula. I will certainly spend more time discussing that later on.

Access the full breakdown here, or check out the seed list after the jump.

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EBS Bracketology, 2016/03/06

One week separates us from judgment day. The action in the conferences on the lower rungs of D-1 changes the shape of the 15s and 16s that serve as fodder for the high and mighty programs. It can also shrink the bubble, as we found with Wichita State’s MVC semifinal loss yesterday. It would be silly to exclude the Shockers from the field; they obviously won’t come in as high as the 6 that EBS still awards them, but they were a unanimous pick on Bracket Matrix until yesterday’s loss (and are still on 77 of 84 brackets listed).

How the EBS sets the bubble is interesting, and I hope to have some time to address its strength and liabilities during the week.

Cutting to the chase, though, the spreadsheet is where it always is, and the seed line will appear below the fold.

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EBS Bracketology, 2016/03/03

It is with great regret that I inform you… that I have begun red-texting teams in the EBS who have lost in their conference tournaments and are far from the bubble. Muy triste. (I suppose I’ll have to come back around to catch the teams that didn’t qualify for their conference tournaments, too.)

Not a ton of movement in the top half of the bracket with the mid-week games; most interestingly, the RPI was impressed with Saint Mary’s win in Moraga over WAC regular season champ Grand Canyon (who is, alas, still “transitioning” to D1 ((except in terms of on-court results!)) and is not NCAA-eligible) and their shiny 24-6 record. That popped the Gaels up to the 8-line from the 10-line, which is a pretty nice ancillary benefit to staying sharp in the week-long layoff between the end of the WCC slate and their Las Vegas tournament.

San Diego State also spanked New Mexico 83-56 in the Pit, which is impressive in itself. But it’s also a B-tier win for the Aztecs, who could use the help in case the MWC tourney (also in Vegas…) doesn’t shake out as hoped. Their 22-8/15-2 mark to this point is marred by non-conference losses to San Diego on a neutral court and hosting… Grand Canyon. The EBS boosted SDSU from a 13 to an 11.

The bubble rests at the end of the 12 line in this iteration of the EBS (see here). I’ll rattle off the first few teams out, then get the seed lists down after the jump.

First Four Out: Yale, St. Bonaventure, Michigan, Florida State

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