Early Thoughts on the Bracket

Tim Cluess and Iona are Dancin'

Tim Cluess and Iona are Dancin'

Last night we were revealed the brackets and unlike last year, the controversy wasn’t overwhelming. The only surprise and gripe most people had was with the inclusion of Iona over teams like Drexel or Seton Hall. Personally I have absolutely no problem with Iona being in, I was just a bit surprised. I was happy to see them in, and I instead would have replaced USF with Drexel, a team that played unbelievable the last 27 games of the season. They had their top shooter out the first part of the season when they started 2-4, and they should have considered that. There are 3 trends we have seen now over the last few years in how the committee picks teams:

1. RPI DOES MATTER: Seton Hall, Drexel, and many other bubble teams had much lower RPI’s than Iona and I think that helped them get in over them. RPI is a reflection of who you play and who you beat. Personally I am a much bigger fan of the KenPom rating system which takes into account the efficiency of how a team performs on both ends of the floor. Historically ranking systems are designed in order to give the most accurate representation of how good each team is, and a team ranked lower would lose on a neutral court. The RPI doesn’t do this nearly as accurately as KenPom rankings does. The committee should rethink if RPI is the best system. Still said, Iona deserved to get in and I was excited to see them make it because they were the better team.

2. Strength of Schedule is a big deal: Look no further than who you play as a big indicator of where or if you’ll be seeded. A team like Missouri missed out on a 1 seed likely because they didn’t do enough tough scheduling non-conference despite racking up a better record than UNC or Michigan State. Strength of schedule is the best way to manipulate RPI too. Teams every year that schedule tough (and lose) reap more benefits than those who schedule easy and roll to victories. Personally though, it’s best to find some middle ground. Losing a game a team you’re supposed to is fine, losing a game to a team that is a bad loss isn’t. With the struggle for teams at the bottom of the ACC, Big 12, Big East, SEC (and the entire Pac 12), bad losses were easier to come by for big conference schools.

3. Being a Mid Major on the bubble is actually better now: Last year it was VCU, this year Iona. Teams most people didn’t have in but they got in. The question is why go halfway with this new trend and include a very mediocre USF instead of Drexel. I am all for getting more mid majors in, but most years didn’t have the depth this year did. Many teams that weren’t even mentioned on the bubble should have been there and lost in their conference championships. To name a few teams that a really legit but in NIT include: Middle Tennessee State, Marshall, Weber State, Oral Roberts, LaSalle, St. Joseph’s, Denver, Akron, Wyoming, and Dayton.

One of my favorite annual traditions is to fill out the brackets. I always do a predictions bracket, but I also do a bracket of exactly what I’d like to see happen. In general you should know a few things:

1. I’m rooting for Creighton first and foremost as Clemson and St. John’s are not in the tourney this year

2. There are a series of teams I dislike in general even though they will unfortunately be winning many games. This includes Duke, UNC, UConn, and any team coached or previously coached by John Calipari. 

3. I love seeing upsets, so in this fun bracket I will have absurd ones and a lot of them.

So here it is! Click Below…

Fun Bracket 2012

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