With college football season over and NFL playoffs winding down, it’s time to start dreaming about March. Which means it’s also time for me to publish my first edition of Brad-ketology for the 2014 season (my personal NCAA/NIT bracket projections). For the fifth consecutive season, this column will become the staple of my blog from now until Selection Sunday. Brad-ketology is a little different than other NCAA bracket projections in that it is much more expansive, as it also includes the NIT field and bubble. Furthermore, it is one of the columns used in the nationally-recognized bracket project which seeds NCAA teams by taking an average of the most prominent bracket projections in the country. As you will see here, my bracket projection has been the 18th most accurate amongst the top 67 bracketologists in the country. That’s not too bad considering ESPN’s Joe Lunardi is 35th and CBS’ Jerry Palm is 38th.
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 dance. For the conferences who currently have NCAA tourney teams, it is assumed that one of those teams will win their conference tourney. If not, then a stolen bid would result, and the number of at-large bids would drop.
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. For example, my bracket projection currently has UMass (a # 4 seed) earning the automatic bid from the Atlantic 10 even though they are 2nd in league 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 Sundays and Fridays) and more often than that when it gets closer to tourney time. Please feel free to comment or debate.
NCAA Tourney Field:
1-seeds: Arizona, Syracuse, Villanova, Michigan State
2-seeds: Florida, Kansas, Wichita State, Wisconsin
3-seeds: San Diego State, Creighton, Iowa State, Michigan
4-seeds: UMass, Duke, Oklahoma State, Cincinnati
5-seeds: Louisville, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Kentucky
6-seeds: Iowa, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, UCLA
7-seeds: Memphis, Colorado, Virginia, Saint Louis
8-seeds: Texas, UConn, George Washington, Gonzaga
9-seeds: Florida State, Xavier, New Mexico, Kansas State
10-seeds:VCU, Providence, Oregon, Southern Miss
11-seeds: North Carolina, Missouri, Arizona State, California
12-seeds: Stanford, Richmond, SMU, Indiana State, Toledo, Harvard
13-seeds: North Dakota State, Green Bay, Belmont, Mercer
14-seeds: Delaware, Georgia State, Stephen F. Austin, Boston University
15-seeds: Manhattan, North Carolina Central, Northern Colorado, UC-Irvine
16-seeds: Stony Brook, Robert Morris, Utah Valley, Davidson, Southern, Winthrop
NIT Tourney Field:
1-seeds: Tennessee, Baylor, St. Mary’s, Toledo
2-seeds: Harvard, North Dakota State, Green Bay, Dayton
3-seeds: Indiana, Brigham Young, Louisiana Tech, LSU
4-seeds: Ole Miss, Wake Forest, Belmont, Boise State
5-seeds: Georgetown, Illinois, Mercer, Delaware
6-seeds: Arkansas, Clemson, Washington, NC State
7-seeds: Nebraska, Maryland, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame
8-seeds: Marquette, La Salle, Ohio, St. Joe’s
Ranking of Other Postseason Contenders: St. John’s, Wyoming, Miami (FL), Akron, West Virginia, New Mexico State, Purdue, Missouri State, Seton Hall, St. Bonaventure, Oregon State, Georgia State, Georgia