Below is my first Bracket of the season, as of the completion of all games of January 8, 2018. I also have a few notes and the HoopsHD staff may comment below it:
- The new #1 overall is… West Virginia. With Villanova, Oklahoma and Michigan State among teams with recent losses, Coach Huggins team is looking better and better.
- Also cracking the #1 line, much to my initial surprise, is the Virginia Cavaliers. The Hoos only have one loss on the season . . . and that loss was to my #1 overall team on the road!
- Yes, that is Auburn sitting there on the 4 line as a Protected Seed. The Tigers are 14-1, with four wins away from home that count as top or second tier wins under the new team sheets. That is as impressive as anyone else below them in my opinion.
- I do have two SEC teams playing each other in a First Four game (Mississippi State and Georgia). Given that I have three SEC teams in the First Four, that became unavoidable, and I at least created a matchup of two teams that only play once during the regular season. Which leads me to . . .
- My last team in. You saw it here. Yes, I am serious. LSU. In the field as of today. Again, yes, I am serious.
- With those three First Four teams, there are 10 SEC teams in this field and one more (Alabama) among my top 8 out. I don’t expect 10 or even 9 to hold, but 8 is very realistic right now.
- Top four teams out: Maryland, Utah, Minnesota, Boise State. Next four out: Providence, UCF, Alabama, Oklahoma State
COMMENTS FROM HOOPS HD STAFF:
COMMENTS FROM JOHN:
– Duke is an interesting team to place. Their 3 best wins are away from home – namely Michigan State, Florida and Texas. While not necessarily true road wins, we have a harder time trying to seed them when they’re losing games at Boston College and NC State. The new tier system wouldn’t punish these losses as severely as we would have done in the past.
– Oklahoma v. Purdue is also a fun debate for the #1 seed. The Boilers have the edge as far as better wins, but the Sooners’ losses haven’t been as bad as what Purdue had back in Atlantis. The current ratings favor Oklahoma, but the predictive ratings favor Purdue since they’ll more likely than not dominate a conference that is a mess outside of them and Michigan State.
– I am with Chad on the Auburn protected seed bandwagon, but not TCU. Auburn has won 12 games in a row that include Middle Tennessee on a neutral court, Tennessee on the road and Arkansas at home over the weekend. Look for Auburn to hit the polls for the first time since about 2001 later today.
– TCU I would have just outside of a protected seed right now. They have 4 decent wins (SMU, St. Bonaventure and Nevada on neutral floors and at Baylor), but none of those wins are against a sure-fire first ballot team at the moment. They are 0-2 against protected seed caliber teams (Oklahoma and Kansas) right now, and those games were played at home.
– Contrast that to a team like Clemson who really is playing like a Top-4 seed right now. Like Duke, they have a win on a neutral court against Florida. Unlike Duke, they actually won at Boston College. Oh, and they also won decisively at Ohio State back in November. Their only toe stub was against Temple during exempt tournament season (as was Auburn).
– I think Chad is secretly hoping that I’ll crucify the LSU pick, but I would take more exception to his Mississippi State pick right now. While both teams did pile up on the pastry cart with a number of OOC wins, LSU at least has mixed in wins against Michigan (in Maui) along with the dagger at Texas A&M over the weekend. As for the Bulldogs? They failed their lone OOC test at Cincinnati and just lost to in-state rival Ole Miss over the weekend. GET THEM OUT (as Chad likes to say). Personally, I’d favor a team like Boise State over a team like Mississippi State, but the Broncos better not have too many toe stubs like they had over the weekend.
– I would also be curious to see if New Mexico State was above the First Four on Chad’s seed list, or were they just bumped up because of bracketing rules that Chad follows to the letter (unlike the Puppet)?
– Clemson vs TCU is an interesting debate for that protected seed spot. I went with TCU because there is zero shame whatsoever in their two losses and they have three wins away from home against teams in the at-large discussion (St Bonaventure, Nevada, Baylor). Clemson only has two such wins (Ohio State and Florida) while their loss is to a team not under consideration (Temple).
– I wanted to put Boise State in this field. I just ran out of room for them. I understand that John thinks Mississippi State should be the team left out; however, Mississippi State at least has the win over Arkansas. Boise has zero wins against teams in or even close to being in this field and two losses (Iowa State and Wyoming) to teams not even Under Consideration. I just don’t see the resume from Boise at this time.
– Finally, yes, I had New Mexico State ranked right where they are seeded, just barely inside the First Four. They had better not lose again if they want an at-large bid though. Better yet, they better just make sure they win the WAC Tournament. The only minor seed line swap I made was within the First Four, as Baylor should have been one of the 11 seed teams and Georgia a 12, but bracketing rules only gave me one spot on the 11 line for an SEC team (due to Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky all being 6 seeds), and that spot was invalid for Baylor (due to Texas Tech being a 3 seed in that region). The easiest thing to do was place the SEC vs SEC First Four game in the Midwest and drop Baylor into the 12 seed game against LSU.
COMMENTS FROM DAVID
-When Chad said that he wanted to do this week’s bracket, I knew that he’s screw it up. And low and behold, he screwed it up!!
-Actually, there isn’t a whole lot on there I take issue with. I do like Florida State more than Chad, but the consensus is with Chad. This Florida State team has just three losses, and some pretty good wins in their pocket including at Florida. Their losses were all close calls against the likes of Duke and Miami FL away from home. When two of a team’s three losses were close games in true road games to ranked teams, then it’s a sign they are pretty good. Chances are that FSU will have the wins they need by the end of the year to warrant a better seed.
-Now, with LSU in and Boise State out he’s lost his mind. He needs his house checked for lead! LSU!!?? I mean, I know they beat Houston and needed a miracle to beat a slumping Texas A&M team that’s a bunch of its roster, but WOW!!! I count just one win against a likely tournament team that was at full strength.
-I’m really not all that big on SMU either.