EBS Bracketology, 2016/02/29

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.

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EBS Bracketology, 2016/02/26

Today’s EBS has all the mid-week action taken into account, and we’re just over two weeks away from the big day!

The biggest move near the top of the heap is Iowa slipping from 9th to 16th in the EBS rankings after allowing Wisconsin to win the fourth quarter 22-8 and take the win in Iowa City, though, to Iowa’s benefit, that’s only a drop of one seed line. Utah continues rounding into form; its weekend win at USC and spanking of Arizona State (a 27-2 first quarter set the tone) have increased the Utes’ standing to a 4 from a 6.

Closer to the bubble, the highest-leverage game was Vanderbilt’s win at Florida on Tuesday. The 87-74 win for the Commodores was an elusive top-tier victory, and helped exorcise a little bit of the bad luck Vandy has had with close losses in KenPom Tier A games to Kansas, at Baylor, at Arkansas, at South Carolina, at Mississippi, at Mississippi State… Vanderbilt’s up to a 9 from an 11 (and Florida’s down to a 10 from an 8), though the EBS is bullish on them thanks to that top-30 KenPom rating. Perhaps their perception will catch up to that–a win against Kentucky tomorrow would certainly aid them.

Quick breakdown of the 16-team bubble:

Last Four Byes: Colorado, Pittsburgh, Oregon State, Yale

First Four: Michigan, Providence, Syracuse, Gonzaga

First Four Out: VCU, Butler, St. Bonaventure, George Washington

Next Four Out: Kansas State, BYU, UCLA, Alabama

VCU taking a loss at George Mason, who is outside the top 175 of both KP and the RPI, was… not good, dropping them from the 9-line to the wrong side of the bubble. The biggest marginal difference is between St. Bona, with an EBS score of 108, and George Washington, with a 119.

The full EBS is available here, as always, and the seed list follows the break.

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EBS Bracketology, 2016/02/22

Inside of three weeks until Selection Sunday, the college basketball landscape continues to coalesce. Most of the ramifications of game-by-game developments are fairly incremental. But hope springs eternal as long as there’s a conference tournament berth waiting for you.

Toward the top of the rankings, North Carolina’s second-half walloping of Miami bumped the Tar Heels up to the highest 2-seed from the 3 line, and bumped the Hurricanes down to the lowest 3-seed from the 2 line. Very symmetrical. West Virginia squandered its chance playing host to Oklahoma, and slipped two seed lines to a 4. Cal is now a sneaky 5-seed after sweeping the Pac-12’s Washington schools at home; their fate will probably be more influentially shaped by their final weekend at the Arizonas. Wichita State is back to crushing MVC opponents, which helps its case up to the 6-line. After Baylor’s convincing win in Austin, the Bears are now a 6 (7 previously) and the Longhorns are a 7 (5 previously).

Closer to the bubble, positive movers are Arkansas-Little Rock, Tulsa, Pittsburgh, and Valparaiso (still correcting course after dropping its second league game, again to Wright State). Sliders include Syracuse (thanks, Pitt), Gonzaga, and Monmouth, who I now have below the at-large cutoff for the first time.

On the very bubble, we’re looking at:

  • Last 4 Non Play-Ins: South Carolina, Providence, Vanderbilt, Oregon State
  • First Four: St. Bonaventure, Syracuse, Gonzaga, Yale (!)
  • First 4 Out: Butler, Michigan, Colorado, …Kansas State (ellipsis to represent distance)
  • Next 4 Out: Alabama, UCLA, Creighton, BYU

For comparison’s sake, here’s where those teams are currently seeded by the consensus of the Bracket Matrix (please keep in mind the lag effect):

  • 7, 7, 6th out, 10
  • 3rd out, 9, 11, 14 (as Ivy autobid)
  • 11, 10, 8, NR
  • 11, 11th out, 9th out, NR

KenPom loves the hard-luck Commodores, so Vandy gets a little more love than they deserve in the EBS (if you’re one of those people that thinks winning games is important). I sense that the two-headed top of the Ivy, Princeton and Yale, are getting less respect from humans because they don’t have any big wins to hang their hats on, but they fare well in both KenPom and the RPI. Colorado is an RPI darling, while Kansas State is a decent team stuck in the Big XII and sporting an ugly 15-12/4-10 record.

The full EBS is here; the seed list is below the fold.

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EBS Bracketology, 2016/02/19

We’re marching ever closer to Selection Sunday. Here’s a glimpse of the landscape as it stands, 3+ weeks away from judgment day.

Oklahoma holds steady on the 1-line even after a tough road loss against an emerging Texas Tech team (an 8 today, out two weeks ago). North Carolina’s let-off in Chapel Hill allows Duke to draw even with them on the 3-line.  Road missteps by Iowa and Maryland drop each of them from the 2-line to the 4-line, leaving KenPom darling Michigan State as the top-seeded Big Ten outfit (a 3).

After an 11-point loss at RPI #5 Xavier, Providence slides–no, jumps–from a 12 to a 10 thanks to the provided (ha!) strength of schedule boost. EBS has been as bearish about the Friars as any bracket in the Bracket Matrix (link on the right). They are one of the prime examples of the KenPom component’s effect here; it also hampers the likes of Dayton in the top third of the field, fellow power-conference middlers Colorado and Pittsburgh closer to the bubble, and Oregon State and Temple outside it.

The spreadsheet with all the details is here, with the seed lists below the fold.

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EBS Bracketology, 2016/02/15

It was another fun weekend (what February college basketball weekend isn’t?). Today’s version of the EBS bracket has a different flavor to it, it seems.

Kansas slipped ahead of Oklahoma on the 1-line after completing the season sweep of the Sooners. Oregon’s mini-skid has brought the Ducks down to the 4-line (while Cal’s victory brings them up to a 6 from an 8). Meanwhile, Notre Dame is ascendant, notching another quality win (home v. Louisville) to jump from the 7-line to the 5-line.

Things get crazier as we near the bubble, though. Wichita State was dinged down to an 8 after falling prey to the Davids of Northern Iowa. Texas Tech’s thumping of Baylor in Waco springs them from the First Four to an 8-seed. Wisconsin’s tough win at Maryland both avenges the Melo Trimble buzzer-beater of last month in the Kohl Center and moves the Badgers from the wrong side of the bubble to the 9-line. Vanderbilt holding serve against the lesser lights of the SEC positions it on the 9-line, which could stick if they pick up a win or two @ Miss. St., @ Florida, home to Kentucky, and @ Texas A&M in a rough last 3 weeks. Valparaiso took a tough loss at home to Wright State (an 8-0 run in the last 80 seconds was the difference), and the RPI repelled the Crusaders from the 8-line to an 11. Florida State is also bubble-icious (at a 12, from a 9) after failing to capitalize on two game-winning possession opportunities and dropping a winnable bout at home to Miami.

With three weeks left in major conference play, the bubble is shaping up nicely. I’ll break things down a bit more separately.

For the the full breakdown on the EBS, look here. Full seed list after the jump.

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EBS Bracketology, 2016/02/12

I’m impressed with Oregon’s rise to #1 in the current edition of the RPI. The five losses they’ve taken have all been to roughly top-100 teams on the road, which is a help, of course. It is interesting, though, that in a Pac-12 full of NCAA-quality teams, none of Oregon’s conference foes has been strong enough to make their visit to Eugene a Tier A game as defined by KenPom (roughly equivalent to a top-25 opponent at home). Alas, the Arizona-Arizona State pair is the one that Oregon-Oregon State don’t get to host in Pac-12 play, so that matchup goes unfulfilled. Oregon’s win in Tucson will be their best of the season all the way to Selection Sunday.

Now for the EBS. Things are pretty darn steady after this week’s mid-week results. Saint Joseph’s strong 84-66 showing at George Washington pushed them up from a 9 to a 7. They were at an 11 last Friday (crushing Fordham on the road wasn’t huge in a resume-building sense, but it bolstered the Hawks’ KenPom ranking). Indiana knocking off Iowa at home brought their RPI close to the top 50, improving their seed position to an 8 from a 10. Syracuse’s double-digit home win against Florida State was a bellwether game in the middle of the ACC, bringing the Orange up to the Seminoles on the 9 line after starting the week as an 11. Seton Hall is this edition’s biggest tumbler, dropping to a 10 from a 7 after failing to defend its home court against Butler, a fellow Big East borderline at-large team. And Tulsa earns its first at-large consideration after shooting the lights out to get by SMU in Dallas.

Full seed listings after the jump.

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EBS Bracketology, 2016/02/08

A weekend’s worth of giant-killing leaves us with Villanova as a #1 all over the place, including in the EBS’s two inputs, KenPom and the RPI. Kentucky notching a strong home win against Florida and Wichita State dropping one to Illinois State on the road (any MVC loss not to Evansville is “bad” in a sense) produce our first non sanction-related movement in the composition of top 4 seed lines in a couple weeks. The spreadsheet is here. The seed list in full is after the jump…

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