With football season officially over, 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 2017 season (my personal NCAA/NIT bracket projections). For the eighth 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 27th most accurate amongst the 88 nationally recognized veteran bracketologists. That’s not too bad considering I am ahead of the chief bracketologists for Yahoo, SI, and CBS.
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 the best team in that conference, and not the team who is currently leading the conference standings. For example, my bracket projection currently has Baylor earning the automatic bid from the Big 12 even though they are currently 2nd in the league standings behind Kansas. 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 Mondays 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: Villanova, Baylor, Kentucky, Kansas
- Huge matchup between Kentucky/Kansas this Saturday night. Winner stays on one line. Loser likely drops out.
2-seeds: Gonzaga, North Carolina, Florida State, Louisville
- The top ACC teams are currently bunched together pretty tight.
3-seeds: Creighton, UCLA, Butler, Virginia
- Losses to Arizona and Marquette on Saturday bumped UCLA and Creighton off the 2 line. Creighton could have major issues going forward without superstar guard Mo Watson.
4-seeds: Arizona, Notre Dame, Duke, West Virginia
- A lot of people have the Blue Devils on the 5 line right now but the committee always gives the Dookies the benefit of the doubt.
5-seeds: Florida, Oregon, Wisconsin, Cincinnati
- It’s weird to seed the projected Big 10 Champ this low but that conference appears to lack a legitimate title contender this season.
6-seeds: Purdue, Xavier, Maryland, South Carolina
- The Gamecocks were an 8 seed in my inaugural Brad-ketology last season and ended up falling into the NIT. Will history repeat itself?
7-seeds: Minnesota, St. Mary’s, Indiana, SMU
- The Hoosiers have a real strange resume right now. Their RPI is 73 but they have 4 solid top 50 wins.
8-seeds: Northwestern, Dayton, Southern California, Virginia Tech
- Can the Wildcats earn their first ever tourney bid? Right now they are well in but will it hold?
9-seeds: Michigan State, Clemson, Pittsburgh, VCU
- Sparty is much improved after looking like an NIT team during the first month of their season.
10-seeds: Seton Hall, Middle Tennessee, Kansas State, Marquette
- Marquette has an underrated resume (and team in general) in my opinion, even if their upset win over Creighton came without the participation of Bluejays guard Mo Watson.
11-seeds: TCU, Arkansas, Iowa State, Miami-FL, Texas Tech, Wake Forest
- I feel like a homer putting my alma mater, Wake Forest, as the last team in the field at this point but their RPI of 23 is too high to ignore even if they lack quality wins.
12-seeds: UNC-Wilmington, Illinois State, Valpo, Akron
- The Seahawks are my local teams so I’ve followed them closely all season. They are going to be a dangerous NCAA tourney out depending on their matchup, if they can repeat as CAA champions.
13-seeds: Nevada, Monmouth, Chattanooga, New Mexico State
- Monmouth and its lovable bench are back and hopefully they won’t choke away a tourney bid like they did last season.
14-seeds: Vermont, Belmont, Winthrop, North Dakota State
- The Catamounts are rocking a surprisingly high RPI.
15-seeds: Bucknell, Georgia Southern, Florida Gulf Coast, Texas Southern
- Texas Southern is finally recovering after brutal non-conference schedule.
16-seeds: Princeton, UC Irvine, New Orleans, Weber State, Mount St. Mary’s, North Carolina Central
- Princeton and Irvine are probably too talented to be 16 seeds but their computers put them there right now.
NIT Tourney Field:
1-seeds: California, Georgia, Illinis, Providence
2-seeds: Rhode Island, Michigan, UNC Wilmington, Houston
3-seeds: Illinois State, NC State, Stanford, Valpo
4-seeds: Georgia Tech, Akron, Wichita State, Nevada
5-seeds: Ole Miss, Utah, La Salle, Memphis
6-seeds: Monmouth, Penn State, Ohio State, Alabama
7-seeds: Boise State, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Auburn
8-seeds: Texas A & M, Chattanooga, New Mexico, New Mexico State
Ranking of Other Postseason Contenders: Fresno State, College of Charleston, Temple, Georgetown, UCF