Sunday, March 16, 2014

2014 Final Bracket Projection

The time has come. In just under an hour the field of 68 will be revealed. Therefore, here is a look at my Final Bracket Projection. I'm lucky enough to be one of the 100+ bracketologists included in The Bracket Matrix.

For the most part, everyone is in agreement about the 67 of the 68 teams in the field. The only real question remains about the last team in the field, and the discussion has mostly centered around BYU and Southern Miss. However, I'm going out on a limb and not putting either team in my bracket. BYU just lost their best player (Kyle Collinsworth - the team's 2nd leading scorer, leading rebounder and leading in assists) to an ACL injury. Southern Miss doesn't have a great non-conference resume and while they have a resume that is similar to the one that got Middle Tennessee and Iona into the last two fields, I'm totally going against the grain of tradition with my Last Team In.

On the surface, most are discarding Green Bay because of their RPI (58). No mid-major has ever earned an At-Large bid with an RPI over 50, but looking at their resume, it stacks up very well. BYU has 4 losses outside the Top 100. Green Bay's worst loss (to Valpo) came without their best player (7-foot center Alec Brown) and the Phoenix have a huge win against Virgina and a pretty good non-conference slate, along with a winning record away from home. Therefore, against historical tradition, I'm putting Green Bay in as my Last Team In.

South Region
1. Florida vs 16. Texas Southern/Cal Poly
8. George Washington vs 9. Gonzaga
San Diego
4. UCLA vs 13. Tulsa
5. North Carolina vs 12. Stephen F Austin
3. Louisville vs 14. Eastern Kentucky
6. VCU vs 11. Xavier/Tennessee
2. Iowa St vs 15. NC Central
7. Ohio St vs 10. Providence

West Region
San Diego
1. Arizona vs 16. Weber St
8. Memphis vs 9. Kansas St
4. Syracuse vs 13. Manhattan
5. San Diego St vs 12. Nebraska/Green Bay
San Antonio
3. Creighton vs 14. New Mexico St
6. Oklahoma vs 11. Southern Methodist
2. Wisconsin vs 15. American
7. UMass vs 10. Colorado

Midwest Region
St Louis
1. Wichita St vs 16. Coastal Carolina/Mt St Mary's
8. Oregon vs 9. Pitt
4. Michigan St vs 13. UL-Lafayette
5. UConn vs 12. North Dakota St
3. Duke vs 14. Mercer
6. Kentucky vs 11. Dayton
St Louis
2. Kansas vs 15. Milwaukee
7. New Mexico vs 10. Iowa

East Region
1. Virginia vs 16. Albany
8. St Joseph's vs 9. Oklahoma St
San Antonio
4. Cincinnati vs 13. Delaware
5. Baylor vs 12. Harvard
3. Villanova vs 14. Western Michigan
6. St Louis vs 11. Arizona St
2. Michigan vs 15. Wofford
7. Texas vs 10. Stanford

First Four - Tuesday in Dayton
Nebraska vs Green Bay (winner to Spokane)
Texas Southern vs Cal Poly (winner to Orlando)
First Four - Wednesday in Dayton
Xavier vs Tennessee (winner to Raleigh)
Coastal Carolina vs Mt St Mary's (winner to St Louis)

Bids by conference: Big XII - 7, Pac-12 - 7, A-10 - 6, Big 10 - 6, ACC - 5, AAC - 5, Big East - 4, SEC - 3, MWC - 2, Horizon - 2
Highest RPI in the field: Iowa (RPI 57)
Lowest RPI left out: BYU (RPI 31)

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