Conference play starts tomorrow which means it’s a natural time to start looking around and taking stock of the season so far. On Monday I reviewed what I think would be the all-conference teams after the non-conference has concluded. Today we’ll do some bracketology.
In order to put together my own bracket I use a couple of data points. The NET rankings have been out for a few weeks and because there’s still a little volatility in them I average them together with KenPom’s rankings to hopefully get a little bit more of an accurate result than just one system or the other.
My bracket score for each team is a combination of the computer numbers and the schedule that a team has actually faced. To determine the strength of record a Q1 victory is worth 4 points, Q2 3 points, Q3 2 points, and Q4 1 point. Similarly a Q1 loss is -1 points, Q2 -2 points, Q3 -3 points, and Q4 -4 points. Games against non-D1 competition don’t count. A win over a bottom feeder mid major at home doesn’t help you a ton but losing a high profile road game doesn’t hurt you much.
The presumed auto bid is the team in each conference that has the highest current bracket score. The #1 overall seed receives a bracket score of 100.
Pac-12 Bracket Scores
Before we get into the actual bracket I’ll list out how the Pac-12 is performing so far with the overall D-1 rank plus their win/loss margin.
9. Oregon (11-2)- 97.9, +22 margin. #3 Seed
23. Arizona (10-3)- 93.3, +16 margin. #6 Seed
26. Colorado (11-2)- 92.6, +17 margin. #7 Seed
32. Stanford (11-2)- 90.6, +17 margin, #8 seed
43. USC (11-2)- 87.3, +18 margin. #11 Seed
47. Washington (10-3)- 86.7, +12 margin. #12 Seed (First Four)
75. Arizona State (9-4)- 80.8, +10 margin
76. Utah (9-3)- 80.5, +12 margin
78. Oregon State (10-2)- 79.0, +8 margin
127. Washington State (9-4)- 62.3, -1 margin
157. UCLA (7-6)- 55.9, -5 margin
192. California (6-7)- 45.5, -8 margin
When I last when through the numbers (pre-Thanksgiving) there were 8 teams from the conference in line for either an NCAA or NIT berth. That number has shrunk to 6 although ASU, OSU, and Utah are at least in the general vicinity of an NIT spot even though they’d be on the outside looking in right now.
Oregon is the clear conference front-runner right now but it wouldn’t be much of a shock to see the next 5 end up in any order at the end of Pac-12 play. The computer numbers give Arizona the edge but their resume isn’t all that much more impressive than anyone else.
The Huskies really needed to pull out the win against Houston and if they had it would vault them up to a #9 seed without factoring in what it would do to their computer numbers. Unfortunately, Tennessee has dropped off the face of the earth since losing their senior PG to injury for the season and that loss no longer counts as Q1. That puts the Huskies at 1-2 in Q1 games, 0-1 in Q2 games and 9-0 in Q3/Q4 games. The comeback win over Baylor is the entirety of their resume. Close losses against Houston and Gonzaga won’t be viewed as pluses by the selection committee, just not as much of a negative.
We’ll see how things shake out but if you were to put the conference into tiers right now it lines up pretty cleanly as:
Tier 1: Oregon
Tier 2: Arizona, Colorado, Stanford, USC, Washington
Tier 3: Arizona State, Utah, Oregon State
Tier 4: Washington State, UCLA, California
The conference really needs the 1st and 2nd tier teams to beat up on the 3rd and 4th tier in order to actually send 6 teams to the NCAA tournament. More likely at least one of the second tier falters to a below .500 conference record and the Pac-12 gets 4-5 teams.
St. Louis, MO
1. Butler- 100.0; Big East AQ vs. 16. Oral Roberts- 62.1; Summit AQ
8. Stanford- 90.6; Pac-12 At-Large vs. 9. Liberty- 90.1, A Sun AQ
4. Dayton- 96.5; A10 AQ vs. 13. Belmont- 73.3; OVC AQ
5. Florida State- 95.3; ACC At-Large vs. 12. DePaul- 87.0; Big East At-Large/Iowa State- 86.2, Big 12 At-Large
6. Saint Mary’s- 94.3; WCC At-Large vs. 11. Kentucky- 87.1; SEC At-Large
3. Penn State- 96.6; Big 10 At-Large vs. 14. Vermont- 72.5; AE AQ
7. Colorado- 92.6; Pac-12 AQ vs. 10. Northern Iowa- 88.2; MVC AQ
2. Kansas- 99.4; Big 12 AQ vs. 15. Hofstra- 62.8; CAA AQ
1. Ohio State- 99.6; Big 10 AQ vs. 16. Hawaii- 59.8; Big West AQ/Morgan State- 26.3; MEAC AQ
8. Georgetown- 91.0; Big East At-Large vs. 9. BYU- 90.4, WCC At-Large
4. Louisville- 96.0; ACC At-Large vs. 13. Stephen F. Austin- 77.7; Southland AQ
5. Wichita State- 95.1; American At-Large vs. 12. East Tennessee St- 83.7; Southern AQ
6. Arizona- 93.3; Pac 12 At-Large vs. 11. Virginia- 87.7; ACC At-Large
3. Maryland- 97.6; Big 10 At-Large vs. 14. New Mexico State- 68.5; WAC AQ
St. Louis, MO
7. Seton Hall- 92.0; Big East At-Large vs. 10. Utah State- 89.8; MWC At-Large
2. West Virginia- 98.3; Big 12 At-Large vs. 15. Colgate- 67.0; Patriot AQ
1. Duke- 99.4; ACC AQ vs. 16. St. Francis PA- 60.9; NEC AQ
8. Xavier- 91.8; Big East At-Large vs. 9. Oklahoma State- 90.4, Big 12 At-Large
4. Memphis- 96.2; American AQ vs. 13. Akron- 76.4; MAC AQ
5. Iowa- 95.6; Big 10 At-Large vs. 12. Washington Huskies- 86.7; Pac-12 At-Large/VCU- 86.7, A10 At-Large
6. Creighton- 93.9; Big East At-Large vs. 11. USC- 87.3; Pac 12 At-Large
3. Baylor- 97.7; Big 12 AQ vs. 14. Wright State- 71.5; Horizon AQ
7. Michigan State- 92.7; Big 10 At-Large vs. 10. Houston- 89.6; American At-Large
2. Auburn- 98.3; SEC AQ vs. 15. Southern Utah- 66.1; Big Sky AQ
I have the Huskies playing in the First Four in Dayton against VCU as an automatic qualifier coming out of the Atlantic 10. The two teams have similar resumes which is obviously why their bracket score is nearly identical. VCU has a win over LSU propping them up and 3 “good” losses to Tennessee on a neutral (sound familiar), Purdue on a neutral and Wichita State on the road.
If Washington were to make it past that they would have a date with Iowa who currently sport the #3 offense in the country which would make for an intriguing matchup. If the Dawgs were able to pull that one out as well it would be a showdown with Memphis and a game that I guarantee you would have the most NBA scouts in attendance going against the 5-stars the Tigers have even without James Wiseman.
1. Gonzaga- 99.7; WCC AQ vs. 16. Radford- 54.5; Big South AQ/Texas Southern- 32.7; SWAC AQ
8. Indiana- 91.3; Big 10 At-Large vs. 9. North Carolina State- 90.0, ACC At-Large
4. Michigan- 96.4; Big 10 At-Large vs. 13. Louisiana Tech- 78.2; Conference USA AQ
5. Villanova- 94.4; Big East At-Large vs. 12. Yale- 81.5; Ivy AQ
6. Marquette- 92.9; Big East At-Large vs. 11. Wisconsin- 88.0; Big 10 At-Large
3. Oregon- 97.9; Pac-12 AQ vs. 14. Georgia State- 70.3; Sun Belt AQ
7. Arkansas- 92.4; SEC At-Large vs. 10. Oklahoma- 89.7; Big 12 At-Large
2. San Diego State- 98.9; MWC AQ vs. 15. Rider- 67.3; MAAC AQ