Thirteen days. It’s a great time, as conference tournaments kick into gear tomorrow while major conferences are in their last week of league play. I’ll be kicking up the frequency of these bracket projections between now and Selection Sunday, as the progressively fewer games left to play have a progressively larger impact on teams’ postseason tournament positions (not that they count for more, but…).
EBS idiosyncracies: it’s still keen on Oklahoma (the fourth 1-seed) and Kentucky (the fourth 3-seed) after their weekend losses. It dings Colorado (stuck on the 11 line) for its #62 perch in KenPom, despite the Buffs’ 28th-ranked position in the RPI built on … a bunch of road losses?
This is a fair question, really. Their resume against tourney-quality teams: neutral-court losses to Iowa State and SMU out of conference; a split with Cal, splits with Oregon and Oregon State, a loss at USC, and a narrow home loss to Utah, with their revenge chance coming in the season finale Saturday (though KP gives Colorado a 19% shot). Pretty bubblicious, if you ask me. But the BracketMatrix consensus of an 8 isn’t all that different from the EBS’s 11 qualitatively, I suppose.
The EBS is keen on the likes of Wichita State, Arkansas-Little Rock, Valparaiso, Saint Mary’s, and Princeton, too. KenPom has discussed before his system’s tendency to vault a certain kind of team in his rankings; all of these schools fit that mold. They’re front-runners in one-bid conferences who don’t get more than a few high-quality matchups, and spend most of their seasons winning often and winning big. The RPI, of course, dispenses with all MOV-related data, so there’s a natural counterbalance in play for the sake of the EBS. (KenPom ignores outcomes, as far as I can tell, using only in-game statistics to establish the efficiency data that is the input for his Pythagorean rating system.) I know I will be watching this group closely to see if they make it through their conference tournaments (I only presume Wichita to be safe), where they’re placed in the bracket, and how they fare in a couple weeks’ time.
For the entire EBS breakdown, the spreadsheet can be found here, and the seed list is after the break.