Selection Sunday: Six Days Away

Welcome to the week of Selection Sunday! Some teams already know they’re locks for March Madness, while others rely on this week to play their way in. Four teams have punched their tickets, so let’s see who else should complete the field:

1                                  2                                  3                                  4

Virginia                       Duke                           LSU                            Kansas

Gonzaga                      Kentucky                    Michigan                  Florida State

UNC                           Texas Tech                  Houston                      Nevada

Tennessee                    Michigan State            Purdue                    Kansas State

5                                  6                                  7                                  8

V Tech                        Cincinnati                    Wofford                      VCU

Buffalo                        Villanova                     Louisville                    UCF

Auburn                        Maryland                     Miss State                   Baylor

Wisconsin                    Marquette                    Iowa State                   Washington

 

9                                  10                                11                                12

Utah State                   Syracuse                  Seton Hall                   Belmont

Ole Miss                      Temple                      NC State                     New Mexico State

Oklahoma                    Arizona State        Minnesota          Clemson / Georgetown

Iowa                            St. John’s                Murray State    TCU / UNC Greensboro

 

13                                14                                15                                16

Hofstra                        Georgia State              Montana                      Norfolk State

UC Irvine                    Old Dominion             Sam Houston State     Gardner-Webb

Yale                             Bucknell                      Liberty                     Bradley / PV A&M

Vermont                      No. Kentucky             Omaha              Iona / St. Francis (PA)

 

Last 4 Byes:               Last 4 In:                    First 4 Out:          Next 4 Out:

Seton Hall                   Clemson                      Florida                   Creighton

NC State                     Georgetown                Furman                   Alabama

Minnesota                   TCU                            Ohio State                Xavier

Belmont                      UNC Greensboro        Indiana                   Lipscomb

 

First, I’d like to point out that even though the NCAA has dismissed the RPI and implemented the new NET ranking system this season, it isn’t that simple. You can’t take a system that’s been in play for years and suddenly discount it fully in favor of a new, unproven ranking system. That said, my logic for these selections comes from a weighted combination of RPI, NET and, of course, the EYE TEST (sorry Ohio State and Alabama, you both fail that one)!

The One Seeds – That fourth spot is essentially up for grabs between Duke, Tennessee and Kentucky. I have Tennessee there right now because I don’t think their loss to Auburn is as bad as Kentucky’s loss to Alabama. If either Kentucky or Tennessee wins the SEC tournament, put that team alongside Virginia, Gonzaga and UNC. Duke would have to win the ACC tournament as well to get back to the top line.

Bubble Watch – To me, any team from Arizona State down is still subject to missing the tourney, while Temple and up are all safe. It’s obvious the new NET ranking is much friendlier to mediocre “Power 5” teams than really good mid-majors, whereas RPI tends to (rightfully so) favor a 27-5 mid-major over a 17-15 “Power-5” team. That’s why I take both into account.

Last 4 Byes – NC State’s an interesting case. The Wolfpack beat who they’re supposed to (minus two bad losses @ Wake Forest and vs Georgia Tech) and lose to who they’re supposed to (only good win is vs Auburn). That gives them a respectable NET ranking of 32 but a horrific RPI of 102. If they’re in, that’d be the lowest RPI among at-large bids. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt because they’re 21-10 and went .500 in the ACC.

Belmont – A win at UCLA, a season sweep of Lipscomb and a win at Murray State highlight the Bruins’ season. Their resume also features a respectable loss at Purdue and a not-so respectable loss at Green Bay. With a NET of 45 and an RPI of 40, Belmont is one of the few teams in the country whose two rankings are extremely consistent, put ‘em on the right side of the bubble.

Last 4 In / First 4 Out – Let’s make some comparisons! How can I have Georgetown in and Florida out??? For starters, the Hoyas are seven games over .500 while the Gators are just three over. They both have low RPIs with Georgetown’s at 78 and Florida’s at 70, however, the Gators have a NET of 33. That’s solely because the NET favors those mediocre big schools. Against Quadrant I and II opponents, Florida is 6-12 while Georgetown is 11-10. That’s my deciding factor. UNC Greensboro gets in as long as they play Wofford tight in the Southern Conference title game. With an RPI of 32 and ZERO losses outside of the first quadrant, they make sense over Ohio State and Indiana, who have RPIs of 64 and 84.

Conference Breakdown:

ACC                                        9

Big Ten                                   7

Big 12                                     7

SEC                                         6

Big East                                  5

American                                 4

Pac-12                                     2

Mountain West                       2

Ohio Valley                             2

Southern                                  2

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