Brad-ketology: Final 2020 NCAA Bracket

Here it is– my annual projection for this year’s NCAA tournament bracket.  The only problem is there is no NCAA tournament this season.  Nevertheless, the show must go on and my love for “Christmas”, as I call the first round of the NCAA tournament, will not be diminished by this mass overreaction to this year’s flu.

If you would like to see this in bracket form, let me know and I’ll send you an excel copy of the bracket. My regional final four pairings are Midwest vs. East and South vs. West.

Midwest Regional- Indianapolis, IN (March 26, 28)

(1) Kansas vs. (16) Robert Morris/Prairie View- Thursday March 19 (St. Louis, MO)

(8) LSU vs. (9) Rutgers– Thursday March 19 (St. Louis, MO)

(5) Butler vs. (12) Liberty- Friday March 20 (Omaha, NE)

(4) Kentucky vs. (13) Akron– Friday March 20 (Omaha, NE)

(6) Houston vs. (11) Indiana/Richmond- Friday March 20 (Greensboro, NC)

(3) Louisville vs. (14) Belmont- Friday March 20 (Greensboro, NC)

(7) Virginia vs. (10) Southern California– Friday March 20 (Cleveland, OH)

(2) Michigan State vs. (15) Eastern Washington- Friday March 20 (Cleveland, OH)

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East Regional- New York, NY (March 27, 29)

(1) Dayton vs. (16) Winthrop- Friday March 20 (Cleveland, OH)

(8) Florida vs. (9) Saint Mary’s- Friday March 20 (Cleveland, OH)

(5) West Virginia vs. (12) East Tennessee State- Thursday March 19 (Tampa, FL)

(4) Maryland vs. (13) North Texas- Thursday March 19 (Tampa, FL)

(6) Iowa vs. (11) Arizona State- Thursday March 19 (Albany, NY)

(3) Villanova vs. (14) UC Irvine- Thursday March 19 (Albany, NY)

(7) Penn State vs. (10) Texas Tech- Friday March 20 (Greensboro, NC)

(2) Duke vs. (15) Arkansas Little Rock- Friday March 20 (Greensboro, NC)

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South Regional- Houston, TX (March 27, 29)

(1) Baylor vs. (16) Boston U/North Carolina Central– Friday March 20 (Omaha, NE)

(8) Colorado vs. (9) Marquette- Friday March 20 (Omaha, NE)

(5) Auburn vs. (12) Yale- Friday March 20 (Sacramento, CA)

(4) Wisconsin vs. (13) Vermont- Friday March 20 (Sacramento, CA)

(6) Michigan vs. (11) Stanford- Thursday March 19 (Albany, NY)

(3) Seton Hall vs. (14) Hofstra- Thursday March 19 (Albany, NY)

(7) Illinois vs. (10) Utah State– Thursday March 19 (Tampa, FL)

(2) Florida State vs. (15) Northern Kentucky- Thursday March 19 (Tampa, FL)

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West Regional- Los Angeles, CA (March 26, 28)

(1) Gonzaga vs. (16) Siena– Thursday March 19 (Spokane, WA)

(8) Providence vs. (9) Oklahoma- Thursday March 19 (Spokane, WA)

(5) Ohio State vs. (12) Stephen F. Austin– Thursday March 19 (Spokane, WA)

(4) Oregon  vs. (13) New Mexico State– Thursday March 19 (Spokane, WA)

(6) Brigham Young vs. (11) NC State/Wichita State- Thursday March 19 (St. Louis, MO)

(3) Creighton vs. (14) Bradley- Thursday March 19 (St. Louis, MO)

(7) Arizona vs. (10) Cincinnati- Friday March 20 (Sacramento, CA)

(2) San Diego State vs. (15) North Dakota State- Friday March 20 (Sacramento, CA)

Brad-ketology: Final 2020 NIT Bracket

If you would like to see this in bracket form, let me know and I’ll send you an excel copy of the bracket. The regional final four pairings are Region 1 vs. Region 2 and Region 3 vs. Region 4.

Region 1

(1) Texas vs. (8) SMU

(4) Tennessee vs. (5) Georgetown

(3) Saint Louis vs. (6) Clemson

(2) UCLA vs. (7) VCU

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Region 2

(1) Mississippi State vs. (8) Radford

(4) Minnesota vs. (5) St. John’s

(3) UConn vs. (6) Furman

(2) Northern Iowa vs. (7) Washington

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Region 3

(1) Xavier vs. (8) Colgate

(4) Syracuse vs. (5) Alabama

(3) Memphis vs. (6) Oregon State

(2) Rhode Island vs. (7) UNC Greensboro

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Region 4

(1) Purdue vs. (8) Wright State

(4) South Carolina vs. (5) Notre Dame

(3) Oklahoma State vs. (6) Tulsa

(2) Arkansas vs. (7) Utah

Brad-ketology: 2020 Final Seed List

I will send out final brackets in a few minutes, but here is the final seed list for both my NCAA and NIT Bracket Projections.  The teams below are displayed below on an S-curve, so they are ranked from left to right within each seeding line.  Teams in bold would have earned automatic bids to this year’s NCAA or NIT tournament by virtue of either winning their respective conference tournaments (NCAA auto bids) or conference regular season (NIT auto bids).  Teams italicized are those who would have earned those bids as a result of being their regular season conference champ in situations where conference tournaments were not completed because of the Corona.  Feel free to comment or debate.

NCAA Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Kansas, Baylor, Gonzaga, Dayton

2-seeds: San Diego State, Florida State, Duke, Michigan State

3-seeds: Creighton, Villanova, Seton Hall, Louisville

4-seeds: Oregon, Maryland, Kentucky, Wisconsin

5-seeds: Butler, West Virginia, Ohio State, Auburn

6-seeds: Brigham Young, Houston, Iowa, Michigan

7-seeds: Arizona, Virginia, Penn State, Illinois

8-seeds: Colorado, Providence, LSU, Florida

9-seeds: Rutgers, Marquette, Saint Mary’s, Oklahoma

10-seeds: Texas Tech, Utah State, Southern California, Cincinnati

11-seeds: Stanford, Arizona State, Wichita State, NC State, Richmond, Indiana

12-seeds: East Tennessee State, Yale, Liberty, Stephen F. Austin

13-seeds: Vermont, Akron, North Texas, New Mexico State

14-seeds: Belmont, Bradley, Hofstra, UC Irvine

15-seeds: North Dakota State, Eastern Washington, Arkansas Little Rock, Northern Kentucky

16-seeds: Winthrop, Siena, Boston U, Robert Morris, Prairie View, North Carolina Central

NIT Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Texas, Xavier, Purdue, Mississippi State

2-seeds: Arkansas, Northern Iowa, UCLA, Rhode Island

3-seeds: Memphis, Saint Louis, Oklahoma State, UConn

4-seeds: South Carolina, Minnesota, Syracuse, Tennessee

5-seeds: Alabama, St. John’s, Georgetown, Notre Dame

6-seeds: Oregon State, Furman, Clemson, Tulsa

7-seeds: Washington, VCU, UNC Greensboro, Utah

8-seeds: SMU, Colgate, Wright State, Radford

Brad-ketology: March 9th Edition

The teams below are displayed below on an S-curve, so they are ranked from left to right within each seeding line.  The italicized teams are ones predicted to win their conference tourney and gain an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.   The bold teams are ones who have already clinched an automatic bid to the respective postseason tournament (NCAA or NIT).  You will notice that some teams are listed both the NCAA and NIT brackets.  These are teams predicted to be automatic qualifiers to the NCAA tournament that would also earn at-large bids to the NIT tournament but not the NCAA tourney.  The reason these teams are displayed like this is two-fold.  First and foremost, it shows how close those teams are to getting at-large bids in the NCAA tournament field.  Secondly, it shows where those squads would be seeded if in fact they lost in their conference tournament and garnered an automatic bid to the NIT.

Also, just to clarify, my bracket projection is intended to project the NCAA Tournament field if it was chosen today.  Unlike some bracketologists, I am not trying to predict how each team will finish the season and then seed the teams based on that.  There is one slight exception to this rule, however, and that is that I have always chosen to award the projected automatic bid for each conference to my projected best team in that conference, and not the team who is currently leading the conference standings.   Given how unbalanced conference schedules are, it just seems like common sense to project that the best team in a conference will win the league championship, not the squad currently in first place.

Brad-ketology columns will be published at least twice a week (typically on Mondays and Fridays).  This bracket projection has been updated through all games played on Sunday March 8th.

NCAA Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Kansas, Baylor, Gonzaga, Dayton

2-seeds: San Diego State, Florida State, Duke, Michigan State

3-seeds: Creighton, Villanova, Seton Hall, Louisville

4-seeds: Oregon, Maryland, Kentucky, Butler

5-seeds: West Virginia, Ohio State, Brigham Young, Wisconsin

6-seeds: Houston, Auburn, Arizona, Michigan

7-seeds: Penn State, Colorado, Marquette, Iowa

8-seeds: Illinois, Rutgers, LSU, Texas Tech

9-seeds: Virginia, Southern California, Florida, Stanford

10-seeds: Saint Mary’s, Providence, Oklahoma, Xavier

11-seeds: Utah State, Arizona State, Indiana, NC State, Texas, Purdue

12-seeds: East Tenn. State, Liberty, Yale, Liberty, Stephen F. Austin

13-seeds: Vermont, Akron, North Texas, Belmont

14-seeds: New Mexico State, Bradley, Colgate, UC Irvine

15-seeds: Hofstra, Wright State, North Dakota State, Eastern Washington

16-seeds: Winthrop, Arkansas Little Rock, Siena, Prairie View, Robert Morris, North Carolina Central 

NIT Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Cincinnati, Wichita State, Richmond, ETSU

2-seeds: Arkansas, Northern Iowa, Mississippi State, Tennessee

3-seeds: Tennessee, UCLA, Alabama, Rhode Island

4-seeds: South Carolina, Saint Louis, Minnesota, Oklahoma State

5-seeds: Georgetown, St. John’s, Syracuse, UConn

6-seeds: Notre Dame, Yale, Utah, Oregon State

7-seeds: Washington, VCU, Virginia Tech, Furman

8-seeds: Clemson, Tulsa, UNC Greensboro, Radford

Ranking of Other Postseason Contenders: TCU, Stephen F. Austin, SMU

Brad-ketology: March 6th Edition

The teams below are displayed below on an S-curve, so they are ranked from left to right within each seeding line.  The italicized teams are ones predicted to win their conference tourney and gain an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.  You will notice that some of these squads are also listed in the NIT bracket.  The reason for this is two-fold.  First and foremost, it shows how close those teams are to getting at-large bids in the NCAA tournament field.  Secondly, it shows where those squads would be seeded if in fact they lost in their conference tournament and garnered an automatic bid to the NIT.

Also, just to clarify, my bracket projection is intended to project the NCAA Tournament field if it was chosen today.  Unlike some bracketologists, I am not trying to predict how each team will finish the season and then seed the teams based on that.  There is one slight exception to this rule, however, and that is that I have always chosen to award the projected automatic bid for each conference to my projected best team in that conference, and not the team who is currently leading the conference standings.   Given how unbalanced conference schedules are, it just seems like common sense to project that the best team in a conference will win the league championship, not the squad currently in first place.

Brad-ketology columns will be published at least twice a week (typically on Mondays and Fridays).  This bracket projection has been updated through all games played on Thursday March 6th.

NCAA Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Kansas, Baylor, Gonzaga, Dayton

2-seeds: San Diego State, Florida State, Duke, Louisville

3-seeds: Michigan State, Seton Hall, Creighton, Villanova

4-seeds: Oregon, Maryland, Ohio State, Kentucky 

5-seeds: Butler, Brigham Young, Arizona, Colorado

6-seeds: Penn State, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Michigan

7-seeds: Houston, Auburn, Iowa, Marquette

8-seeds: Texas Tech, Rutgers, Florida, LSU

9-seeds: Saint Mary’s, Virginia, Southern California, Stanford

10-seeds: Providence, Illinois, Oklahoma, Xavier

11-seeds: Indiana, Arizona State, Texas, NC State, Purdue, Wichita State

12-seeds: East Tenn. State, Northern Iowa, Yale, Liberty

13-seeds: Stephen F. Austin, Vermont, Akron, North Texas

14-seeds: Belmont, New Mexico State, Colgate, UC Irvine

15-seeds: Hofstra, Wright State, North Dakota State, Eastern Washington

16-seeds: Arkansas Little Rock, Radford, Siena, Prairie View, Robert Morris, North Carolina Central 

NIT Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Utah State, Cincinnati, Northern Iowa, Arkansas

2-seeds: ETSU, Richmond, Mississippi State, Alabama

3-seeds: South Carolina, Tennessee, Memphis, UCLA

4-seeds: Rhode Island, Georgetown, Syracuse, Saint Louis

5-seeds: Yale, Liberty, Minnesota, UConn

6-seeds: Notre Dame, Oregon State, Oklahoma State, Clemson

7-seeds: St. John’s, VCU, Furman, Tulsa

8-seeds: UNC Greensboro, Utah, Virginia Tech, TCU

Ranking of Other Postseason Contenders: SMU, Duquesne, Washington, Ole Miss

Potential March Madness Cinderella Stories 2020- Conference Tourney Edition

As the calendar turns to March, it is time for me to update my earlier entry regarding potential March Madness Cinderella stories.  Each season, I chronicle the potential March Madness Cinderella Stories by writing two articles that detail teams across that could become a feel-good story come March.   The first article is written around the midpoint of the season (late January/early February) and the second is published  just as the conference tournaments begin.  Here is the second of those two annual editions.

While almost all mid-major NCAA teams have the chance to play Cinderella come Christmas Day (aka the first round of the NCAA tourney), it is particularly special when these teams have an inspiring sentimental storyline.  Often times this involves a squad making its first trip to the Big Dance (see Northern Colorado in 2011).  Other times there is a likable coach who warms the hearts of the nation (see Pete Carril in 1994, Andy Enfeld in 2012).  Inevitably, when the second week of March comes around, these stories will come to fruition.  In the meantime, it’s worth looking at the standings and checking out which mid-major conference leaders/contenders and other probable NCAA Tournament teams could inspire us during the first few weeks of March.  Only teams currently in first or second place of their respective conferences or squads currently in the hunt for an at-large bid will be included in this column.  They are listed in alphabetical order by conference.

Tulsa (AAC)- The Golden Hurricane were picked to finish 10th in the American Athletic this season but now they find themselves tied for the conference lead entering the final week of the regular season.  Add in the heart-warming story of Elijah Joiner, and you have all the makings of a great March Madness Cinderella Story.

Image result for elijah joiner and father

Rutgers (Big Ten)- The Scarlet Knights have long been the doormat of major college basketball.  In fact, you could argue they have long been the doormat of major college athletics, as they are only one of two Power 5 schools never to play in a ESPN College Gameday basketball or football game (the other is my beloved Wake Forest squad).  Nevertheless, Rutgers is in prime position to break through this season as they are  start to the season and currently projected as a 9 seed in my most recent bracket projection.  The Knights haven’t played in an NCAA tournament since 1991 and haven’t even had a winning season since 2006!

Image result for rutgers basketball 2020

Hofstra (Colonial)- The last time Hofstra went to the Big Dance they were known as the Flying Dutchmen (2001).  The Pride are now in great shape to end their drought, as they enter the CAA tournament as the # 1 seed.

Image result for hofstra basketball 2020

William & Mary (Colonial)- Could this be the year?  The Tribe are one of the original four NCAA teams that have been apart of Division 1 since the tournament’s inception in 1939 but have never garnered a tourney bid. (Army, Citadel, and St. Francis-Brooklyn are the others).  Nevertheless, William & Mary finished alone in second in the CAA regular season and appears to be Hofstra’s top challenger in the upcoming conference tournament.  Dane Fischer has done a tremendous job with this program in his inaugural season as head coach.

Image result for dane fischer with william and mary player

Louisiana Tech (Conference USA)- The Ragin’ Cajuns have produced a solid football program over the years, but the basketball program hasn’t seen in an NCAA Tournament berth since 1991.  They have a decent shot at ending that drought this season, however, as they are tied for second place in the loss column in the current Conference USA standings.

Image result for louisiana tech basketball 2020

Bowling Green (MAC)– Would you believe the Falcons haven’t danced since LBJ’s presidency back in 1968?  This football powerhouse may finally have the goods to breakthrough in hoops, as they are tied with Akron for first place in this league entering the final week of the season.

Image result for bowling green basketball 2020

Northern Illinois (MAC)– The Falcons aren’t the only MAC team positioning themselves for a Cinderella NCAA tourney bid.  The Huskies, who have been the class of the league in football for several seasons, are alone in first in the MAC West, as they search for their first NCAA tourney bid since 1996.

Image result for northern illinois basketball 2020

Loyola-Chicago (MVC)– Can Sister Jean make more one more March Madness run?  This may be the 100 year old nun’s last, best shot as the Ramblers enter the MVC tournament as a # 2 seed after recently knocking off the regular season champ Northern Iowa.

Image result for sister jean in 2020

St. Francis-PA (NEC)– The real Cinderella story in the Northeast Conference is the Merrimack Warriors who won this conference’s regular season in their very first year playing Division 1 basketball.  Unfortunately, Merrimack is ineligible for the Big Dance, so the one Cinderella Story that matters in this league is St. Francis PA who will be a # 2 seed in this week’s NEC tournament, despite a 29 year NCAA tournament drought.

Image result for st. francis pa basketball 2020

Furman (Southern)– The Paladins haven’t danced since 1980 but did you know this squad made the Sweet 16 in 1974?  This year they will enter the SoCon tournament as a dangerous # 2 seed, as they only lost by 3 at Auburn earlier this season and split regular season meetings with league champ ETSU.

Image result for furman basketball

Nicholls State (Southland)- The Colonels haven’t danced since the late 90’s, and even though everyone think this is Stephen F. Austin’s league to lose, Nicholls is just a half game back of second place in the conference standings.

Image result for nicholls state basketball 2020

Arkansas-Little Rock (Sun Belt)– The Trojans have danced as recently as 2016 when they beat Purdue in a huge first round upset.  Nevertheless, Little Rock finished dead last in conference the past two seasons.  That is why it is fairly astonishing that Darrell Walker has led this team to a regular season championship and conference tourney # 1 seed this season.

Image result for arkansas little rock basketball 2020

Texas State (Sun Belt)– The Bobcats haven’t danced since the late 1990s but they are the aforementioned Little Rock’s top challenger in the upcoming Sun Belt tournament.

Image result for texas state basketball

Brad-ketology: March 2nd Edition

The teams below are displayed below on an S-curve, so they are ranked from left to right within each seeding line.  The italicized teams are ones predicted to win their conference tourney and gain an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.  You will notice that some of these squads are also listed in the NIT bracket.  The reason for this is two-fold.  First and foremost, it shows how close those teams are to getting at-large bids in the NCAA tournament field.  Secondly, it shows where those squads would be seeded if in fact they lost in their conference tournament and garnered an automatic bid to the NIT.

Also, just to clarify, my bracket projection is intended to project the NCAA Tournament field if it was chosen today.  Unlike some bracketologists, I am not trying to predict how each team will finish the season and then seed the teams based on that.  There is one slight exception to this rule, however, and that is that I have always chosen to award the projected automatic bid for each conference to my projected best team in that conference, and not the team who is currently leading the conference standings.   Given how unbalanced conference schedules are, it just seems like common sense to project that the best team in a conference will win the league championship, not the squad currently in first place.

Brad-ketology columns will be published at least twice a week (typically on Mondays and Fridays).  This bracket projection has been updated through all games played on Sunday March 1st.

NCAA Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Kansas, Baylor, Dayton, Gonzaga 

2-seeds: San Diego State, Seton Hall, Maryland, Florida State

3-seeds: Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, Creighton

4-seeds: Villanova, Michigan State, Oregon, Ohio State

5-seeds: Butler, Brigham Young, Colorado, Arizona

6-seeds: Iowa, Penn State, Wisconsin, West Virginia

7-seeds: Auburn, Michigan, Marquette, Illinois

8-seeds: Houston, LSU, Texas Tech, Florida

9-seeds: Rutgers, Stanford, Saint Mary’s, Providence

10-seeds: Oklahoma, Southern California, Virginia, Arizona State

11-seeds: Xavier, Purdue, Wichita State, NC State, Rhode Island, Alabama

12-seeds: East Tenn. State, Northern Iowa, Liberty, Yale

13-seeds: Stephen F. Austin, Vermont, North Texas, Akron

14-seeds: Belmont,UC Irvine, New Mexico State, Colgate, 

15-seeds: Hofstra, Wright State, North Dakota State, Arkansas Little Rock

16-seeds: Eastern Washington, Radford, Siena, Prairie View, Robert Morris, North Carolina A & T

NIT Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Utah State, ETSU, Indiana, Mississippi State

2-seeds: Cincinnati, Arkansas, Richmond, Northern Iowa

3-seeds: Texas, Memphis, UCLA, Georgetown

4-seeds: South Carolina, Minnesota, Liberty, Tennessee

5-seeds: Syracuse, Clemson, Notre Dame, Saint Louis

6-seeds: VCU, Yale, Oklahoma State, Oregon State

7-seeds: St. John’s, UConn, Furman, Tulsa

8-seeds: UNC Greensboro, Utah, Virginia Tech, SMU