Brad-ketology: January 30th 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 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.   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.  This bracket projection has been updated through all games played on Thursday January 29th.

NCAA Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Kentucky, Virginia, Kansas, Arizona

2-seeds: Gonzaga, Villanova, Wisconsin, Duke

3-seeds: VCU, Wichita State, Notre Dame, North Carolina

4-seeds: Iowa State, Maryland, West Virginia, Louisville

5-seeds: Utah, Arkansas, Providence, Baylor

6-seeds: Northern Iowa, Butler, Georgetown, Texas

7-seeds: Oklahoma, San Diego State, Georgia, SMU

8-seeds: Stanford, Cincinnati, Oklahoma State, LSU

9-seeds: Dayton, Indiana, Texas A & M, Ohio State

10-seeds: Seton Hall, Michigan State, Xavier, Colorado State

11-seeds: Miami-FL, Iowa, Old Dominion, Davidson

12-seeds: George Washington, Ole Miss, NC State, Washington, Wofford, Green Bay

13-seeds: Eastern Washington, Yale, Iona, Bowling Green

14-seeds: Long Beach State, Murray State, Stephen F. Austin, William & Mary

15-seeds: North Carolina Central, High Point, Georgia State, Texas Southern

16-seeds: Florida Gulf Coast, South Dakota State, Albany, New Mexico State, Bucknell, Robert Morris

NIT Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Temple, St. John’s, Syracuse, Tennessee

2-seeds: St. Mary’s, Tulsa, Illinois, Brigham Young

3-seeds: Alabama, Kansas State, Wofford, Green Bay

4-seeds: Michigan, UConn, Eastern Washington, Boise State

5-seeds: UCLA, UMass, Florida, Clemson

6-seeds: Purdue, Oregon, Yale, Oregon State

7-seeds: Iona, Pittsburgh, Bowling Green, Memphis

8-seeds: Rhode Island, Nebraska, Minnesota, Evansville

Ranking of Other Postseason Contenders: Wyoming, Colorado, Harvard, Western Kentucky, New Mexico

Mid-Major Cinderella Stories of 2015

The mid-major conference tournaments are the source of much of the early holiday season drama, as only the tourney champion will be able to put on their dancing shoes.  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 could inspire us during ESPN’s annual championship week.  Only teams currently in first or second place of their respective conferences will be included in this column.  They are listed in alphabetical order by conference.

SMU (AAC)- The Mustangs are projected as the first 8 seed in my inaugural edition of Brad-ketology in 2015.  This squad is still looking to earn its first tourney bid since 1993 with the legendary Larry Brown at the helm.

North Florida (Atlantic Sun)- Basically, anyway the current Atlantic Sun ends up will produce a sentimental storyline.  The reason being is that thanks to conference realignment only two teams in the current league have ever danced before and one of those squads (Jacksonville) hasn’t been in the field of 64 since 1986.

Lipscomb (Atlantic Sun)- See comment above.

Florida Gulf Coast (Atlantic Sun)- We all remember what this squad did in the 2012 tournament and even though some of the personnel and head coach have changed, Lob City 2.0 would be a fun story come March.

Sacramento State (Big Sky)- The Hornets of Sacramento State currently sit atop the Big Sky standings in search of their first ever bid to the NCAA tournament.

High Point (Big South)- The Panthers are another Big Dance virgin sitting in first place of their current conference standings.

Charleston Southern (Big South)- The Buccaneers haven’t danced since 1997 but are tied with High Point and Coastal Carolina for first-place in the Big South standings.

UC Irvine (Big West)– Despite being a powerhouse in baseball, the Anteaters have never qualified for the NCAA basketball tournament.  Now, they are deadlocked in a three-way tie atop the Big West Standings.

UC Davis (Big West)– See comment above.

Northeastern (Colonial)– The Huskies haven’t earned a Big Dance invite since the 1990’s but they currently are deadlocked in a three-way tie atop the CAA standings.

William & Mary (Colonial)- The Tribe are seeking their first dance invite in school history, as they are presently tied with both Northeastern and UNC-Wilmington for first place in the Colonial.

Louisiana Tech (C-USA)- The Bulldogs are just a game back of Western Kentucky for first place in Conference USA and haven’ been dancing since 1991.

Green Bay (Horizon)- Butler’s departure has opened the door for the Phoenix, who actually won a tourney game in 1994, to earn their first bid since ’96.  This team is tied with perennial powerhouse Cleveland State for first place in the league.  If this story/video doesn’t get you excited about this program, then nothing will: http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/35087/green-bay-guard-pranked-with-scholarship.

Yale (Ivy)- For the past 25 years, this league has been dominated by Princeton and Penn with an occasional run by Cornell or Harvard mixed in.  Now, Yale is looking to finally breakthrough as they are alone atop the Ivy League standings and already possess a road non-conference win over the defending national champions.  The last-time the Bulldogs went dancing JFK was president (1962).

Rider (MAAC)- The Broncos are just a game back of perennial power Iona for first place in the Metro Atlantic Conference and haven’ been dancing since 1994.

Bowling Green (MAC)- The Falcons’ NCAA tourney drought extends almost as far back as Yale’s (1968). However, right now this squad is only a game back of the lead in the MAC East.

Bryant (Northeast)- As you can probably see, conference realignment has really opened the door for a lot of Big Dance virgins to earn their first-ever tourney bid.  The same can be said about the Bulldogs of Bryant University, as they are tied with St. Francis (NY) and Robert Morris for first-place in the NEC.

St. Francis (NY) (Northeast)- See comment above.

Colgate (Patriot)- The Raiders haven’t gone to the tourney since former NBA star, Adonal Foyle, played for them in 1996. However, they are currently tied with perennial powerhouse Bucknell for first place in the league standings.

George Southern (Sun Belt)- This conference used to be ruled by Western Kentucky, but now that the Hilltoppers have departed for C-USA, it has open the door for an unusual suspect to earn a tourney bid. See football power Georgia Southern who leads the conference standings at 6-2 and hasn’t gone dancing since 1992.

George State (Sun Belt)- Even though rival Georgia Southern currently leads the Sun Belt, the Panthers of Georgia State are only a half game back and possess a few of the top sentimental storylines of the season. Not only is Georgia State trying to end a 13-year tourney drought, but two of their star players are former major conference superstars seeking redemption at a smaller school. Starting point guard, Ryan Harrow, was a highly-touted high school recruit that failed to make things work at both NC State and Kentucky. Starting shooting guard, Kevin Ware, was a starter for Rick Pitino’s Louisville team before a horrifying leg injury in the Elite 8 sidelined him for over a year. Can you imagine if these two guys got another shot at the Big Dance?

UMKC (WAC)- Are you ready for the Kangaroos on to your bracket for the first-time in school history this March? Well it very well could happen as the ‘Roos are only a half game back of league leader New Mexico State in the WAC.

Brad-ketology: The Inaugural 2015 Edition

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 2015 season (my personal NCAA/NIT bracket projections).  For the sixth 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 26th most accurate  amongst the top 76 bracketologists in the country.  That’s not too bad considering ESPN’s Joe Lunardi is 44th and CBS’ Jerry Palm is 52nd.

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 Old Dominion (a # 11 seed) earning the automatic bid from Conference USA even though they are 5th 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 typically be published 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: Kentucky, Virginia, Kansas, Arizona

2-seeds: Gonzaga, Duke, Villanova, Wisconsin

3-seeds: VCU, Maryland, Notre Dame, Wichita State

4-seeds: North Carolina, Iowa State, West Virginia, Utah

5-seeds: Louisville, Georgetown, Baylor, Arkansas

6-seeds: Texas, Providence, Northern Iowa, Butler

7-seeds: Oklahoma, San Diego State, Georgia, Dayton

8-seeds: Indiana, SMU, Stanford, Cincinnati

9-seeds: Oklahoma State, Miami-FL, Colorado State, LSU

10-seeds: Texas A & M, Michigan State, Seton Hall, Xavier

11-seeds: NC State, Washington, Iowa, Old Dominion

12-seeds: George Washington, St. John’s, Davidson, Ohio State, Wofford, Green Bay

13-seeds: Eastern Washington, Yale, Iona, Bowling Green

14-seeds: Long Beach State, Murray State, Stephen F. Austin, Northeastern

15-seeds: North Carolina Central, High Point, Georgia State, Texas Southern

16-seeds: Florida Gulf Coast, South Dakota State, Albany, New Mexico State, Bucknell, Robert Morris

NIT Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Tennessee, Syracuse, Ole Miss, Temple

2-seeds: Alabama, St. Mary’s, Kansas State, Tulsa

3-seeds: Illinois, Brigham Young, UConn, Wofford

4-seeds: Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Michigan, Eastern Washington

5-seeds: Oregon State, Yale, Oregon, Iona,

6-seeds: Florida, Bowling Green, Nebraska, Memphis

7-seeds: Minnesota, Wyoming, Purdue, Rhode Island

8-seeds: UCLA, Boise State, Clemson, Evansville

Ranking of Other Postseason Contenders: Colorado, Western Kentucky, UMass, Harvard, New Mexico

My Final College Football Rankings (1-128)

1 TCU
2 Ohio State
3 Florida State
4 Oregon
5 Alabama
6 Michigan State
7 Baylor
8 Marshall
9 Missouri
10 Georgia
11 UCLA
12 Arizona State
13 Georgia Tech
14 Clemson
15 Wisconsin
16 Mississippi State
17 Boise State
18 Southern California
19 Utah
20 Ole Miss
21 Arizona
22 Kansas State
23 Duke
24 Louisville
25 Nebraska
26 Memphis
27 Air Force
28 Georgia Southern
29 Northern Illinois
30 Colorado State
31 Auburn
32 Stanford
33 Oklahoma
34 Minnesota
35 NC State
36 Notre Dame
37 Texas A & M
38 Florida
39 LSU
40 Rutgers
41 Utah State
42 UCF
43 Toledo
44 Cincinnati
45 UL-Lafayette
46 Arkansas
47 Oklahoma State
48 Washington
49 Penn State
50 Virginia Tech
51 South Carolina
52 Tennessee
53 West Virginia
54 Iowa
55 Maryland
56 Boston College
57 BYU
58 East Carolina
59 Navy
60 Houston
61 Louisiana Tech
62 Western Kentucky
63 Western Michigan
64 Rice
65 Texas State
66 Appalachain State
67 Texas
68 Miami-FL
69 North Carolina
70 Pittsburgh
71 Illinois
72 Bowling Green
73 Central Michigan
74 San Diego State
75 Nevada
76 UTEP
77 Arkansas State
78 South Alabama
79 Fresno State
80 Kentucky
81 Oregon State
82 California
83 Michigan
84 Northwestern
85 Virginia
86 Temple
87 Middle Tennessee
88 UAB
89 Ohio
90 Old Dominion
91 Buffalo
92 Texas Tech
93 Indiana
94 Akron
95 Ball State
96 Washington State
97 Syracuse
98 Wake Forest
99 Vanderbilt
100 Kansas
101 Purdue
102 South Florida
103 UTSA
104 Army
105 UL-Monroe
106 New Mexico
107 FIU
108 Wyoming
109 North Texas
110 Iowa State
111 Colorado
112 Tulane
113 FAU
114 Hawaii
115 UMass
116 Troy
117 San Jose State
118 Kent State
119 Southern Miss
120 Tulsa
121 Uconn
122 Miami-OH
123 New Mexico State
124 Eastern Michigan
125 UNLV
126 Idaho
127 SMU
128 Georgia State