March Madness: Projecting the NCAA Tournament Field (Version 2.0)

March Madness: Projecting the NCAA Tournament Field (Version 2.0)


March Madness: Projecting the NCAA Tournament Field (Version 2.0)

Here they are, with current conference auto bid projections with an *, and play-in game participants marked with a +.

A few weeks ago, I projected the tournament field. Of course, things change, though, mine should have less changes than how some others do it, if my ability to predict an imperfect future works.

Here’s what I do, and how I approach this differently than say, what Joe Lunardi or Jerry Palm are doing. It is my impression that they are looking at the current resumes of each team, where RPI places that, and how the committee has historically looked at those teams, and projecting an “at the moment” field. I am trying to actually project how the tournament field will look on Selection Sunday, but using the NCAA selection committee’s methodology (and not how I would select the teams).

What this means is that I am looking at predictive models and trying to project average results through the conference tourneys. I then take those average results and try to figure out how RPI would respond, positively or negatively from where that team now sits, based on those future results. Some teams may have a lower RPI now, but because they have a favorable rating, or because they have opportunities for quality wins. Other teams can play themselves off because I think they will take losses. For example, Jerry Palm has 9 of the 12 Big Ten teams in today; I think teams like Illinois, Minnesota and Northwestern will fall out, as all are 5-8 and not great teams. I don’t think 7-11 teams from the Big Ten get in by association for losing several times to tourney teams. But yes, today, they might all be on the inside looking out.

As we get closer, the RPI will become more important and the predictive stats less important, but for now, we still have about 5-6 games left, plus the tournaments.

Here are the Biggest Movers since my last projection:

Notre Dame (13 seed to 6 seed), St. Louis (9 seed to 4 seed), New Mexico (9 seed to 6 seed), Texas (Outside Bubble to 8 seed), Louisville (8 seed to 5 seed), Seton Hall (13 seed to 10 seed), Miami-FL (Outside Bubble to 11 seed)

Here are the Biggest Droppers since my last projection:

Creighton (3 seed to 7 seed), Virginia (5 to 8 seed), St. Mary’s (4 to 9 seed), Murray State (5 to 9 seed), Kansas State (8 to 12 seed), Arkansas (11 seed to Outside Bubble), Mississippi State (9 seed to Outside Bubble-First Out), Illinois (10 seed to Outside Bubble)

Here are all 68 teams, with current conference auto bid projection with a -*, and the first 4 game participants with a _+

#1 Seeds: Kentucky*, Syracuse*, Ohio State*, Kansas*

#2 Seeds: Michigan State, North Carolina*, Missouri, Duke

#3 Seeds: Baylor, Marquette, Georgetown, Indiana

#4 Seeds: Florida, Wichita State*, Michigan, St. Louis*

#5 Seeds: New Mexico*, Florida State, Wisconsin, Louisville

#6 Seeds: Gonzaga*, UNLV, Temple, Notre Dame

#7 Seeds: Memphis*, Vanderbilt, Creighton, California*

#8 Seeds: Southern Miss, Texas, Virginia, San Diego State

#9 Seeds: Harvard*, St. Mary’s, Purdue, Murray State*

#10 Seeds: Middle Tenn. State*, Iowa State, UCONN, Seton Hall

#11 Seeds: Long Beach State*, Alabama, West Virginia, Miami-FL

#12 Seeds: Kansas State, BYU, Xavier, Oral Roberts*

#13 Seeds: Cleveland State*, Arizona, St. Joseph’s+, NC State+, Washington+, Northwestern+

#14 Seeds: Nevada*, Davidson*, Akron*, Iona*

#15 Seeds: Bucknell*, Belmont*, Virginia Commonwealth*, Wagner*

#16 Seeds: Norfolk State*, Weber State*, Stony Brook*+, UNC-Asheville*+, UT-Arlington*+, Miss. Valley State*+

[photo via US Presswire]