Predicting the Tournament Field One Week Before Selection Sunday

Written by on March 4, 2018

March Madness is officially upon us.

With a week left until Selection Sunday, teams that are comfortably in the field will try to improve their seeding.

Teams that are on the bubble can ill-afford to take a loss, or else they could be watching the NCAA Tournament from their respective campuses.

Murray State clinched the first bid to the tourney yesterday, winning the OVC title over Belmont. Four more tickets have been punched to the big dance Sunday. (Atlantic Sun, Big South, Big Ten, Missouri Valley)

Who else is in the field? Who needs to be worried? Keep reading, my friend.

Terms to know

Quadrant 1 wins: includes a team’s home wins against opponents ranked in the top 30 in RPI; neutral-site wins against teams ranked in the top 50; road wins against teams ranked in the top 75.

RPI (Rating Percentage Index): supplemental data to help select at-large teams and seed all teams.

Quadrant 2 wins: includes a team’s home wins against opponents ranked 31-75 in RPI; neutral-site wins against opponents ranked 51-100 in RPI, and road wins against opponents ranked 76-135 in RPI.

Ranking the #1 seeds

(1) Virginia

They have eight Quadrant 1 wins, they’re 3-0 vs Duke/North Carolina/Clemson, and they don’t have any bad losses.

(2) Xavier

Yes, Xavier got swept by Villanova but the Musketeers have a better resume with six Quadrant 1 wins. All of their losses have come from teams in Quadrant 1.

(3) Kansas

They were the second #1 seed until they got blasted by Oklahoma State. The Jayhawks are 11-4 in Quadrant 1 games and rank 6th in RPI.

(4) Villanova

The Wildcats swept Xavier, and hold key victories over Gonzaga and Tennessee in non-conference play. Losses to Creighton, St. John’s and Providence have opened the door for another team to steal Nova’s spot, though.

South Region Rankings

  1. Virginia
  2. Purdue
  3. West Virginia
  4. Wichita State
  5. Florida
  6. TCU
  7. Nevada
  8. Creighton
  9. Missouri
  10. Alabama
  11. New Mexico State
  12. Middle Tennessee
  13. Vermont
  14. Stephen F. Austin
  15. UC Santa Barbara
  16. Wagner/Radford

South Region Bracket

(16) Wagner/Radford

(1)  Virginia

(9) Missouri

(8) Creighton

(12) Middle Tennessee

(5) Florida

(13) Vermont

(4) Wichita State

(11) New Mexico State

(6) TCU

(14) SF Austin

(3) West Virginia

(10) Alabama

(7) Nevada

(15) UC Santa Barbara

(2) Purdue

Analysis

Virginia would be the deserving favorite to reach the Final Four but it wouldn’t be easy. Potential opponents Wichita State and Florida both loom as dark horse Final Four contenders.

East Region Rankings

  1. Xavier
  2. North Carolina
  3. Tennessee
  4. Texas Tech
  5. Rhode Island
  6. Texas A&M
  7. Oklahoma
  8. North Carolina State
  9. St. Bonaventure
  10. Butler
  11. UCLA
  12. Loyola-Chicago
  13. Murray State
  14. Northeastern
  15. Lipscomb
  16. Rider

East Region Bracket

(16) Rider

(1) Xavier

(9) St. Bona

(8) NC State

(12) Loyola-Chicago

(5) Rhode Island

(13) Murray State

(4) Texas Tech

(11) UCLA

(6) Texas A&M

(14) Northeastern

(3) Tennessee

(10) Butler

(7) Oklahoma

(15) Lipscomb

(2) North Carolina

Analysis

North Carolina would probably be favored in this region but their path would be loaded. If Trae Young can get his groove back, he’s more than capable of having a Steph Curry-like tournament. Tennessee is a dangerous opponent for anybody to face. Oh yeah, Murray State could be this year’s Cinderella too.

Midwest Region Rankings

  1. Kansas
  2. Duke
  3. Cincinnati
  4. Michigan
  5. Kentucky
  6. Ohio State
  7. Arkansas
  8. Seton Hall
  9. Florida State
  10. Texas
  11. Kansas State
  12. Providence/Penn State
  13. South Dakota State
  14. Montana
  15. Penn
  16. Wright State

Midwest Region Bracket

(16) Wright State

(1) Kansas

(9) Florida State

(8) Seton Hall

(12) Providence/Penn State

(5) Kentucky

(13) South Dakota State

(4) Michigan

(11) Kansas State

(6) Ohio State

(14) Montana

(3) Cincinnati

(10) Texas

(7) Arkansas

(15) Penn

(2) Duke

Analysis

In the region filled with great coaches, Duke should be considered the favorite to reach the Final Four. Kansas is known to flame out early as the top seed and I think they’d be ousted by Michigan in the Sweet 16.

West Region Rankings

  1. Villanova
  2. Michigan State
  3. Auburn
  4. Arizona
  5. Clemson
  6. Gonzaga
  7. Houston
  8. Miami
  9. Virginia Tech
  10. Arizona State
  11. Baylor/Louisville
  12. Buffalo
  13. Louisiana-Lafayette
  14. UNC-Greensboro
  15. Bucknell
  16. Savannah State/Texas Southern

West Region Bracket

(16) Savannah State/Texas Southern

(1) Villanova

(9) Virginia Tech

(8) Miami

(12) Buffalo

(5) Clemson

(13) Louisiana-Lafayette

(4) Arizona

(11) Baylor/Louisville

(6) Gonzaga

(14) UNC-Greensboro

(3) Auburn

(10) Arizona State

(7) Houston

(15) Bucknell

(2) Michigan State

Analysis

Michigan State stands out as the favorite in this region. Villanova’s journey could end early in round 2 against either Virginia Tech or Miami. Arizona can’t be forgotten about, as they look to put all the distractions connected to the improper benefits scandal behind them.

Final Take

None of these are final predictions, this is just how I see the field shaped a week before Selection Sunday. All of these picks are subject to change. That’s why the month of March is deemed mad.

Stay tuned for my official predictions next week when the bracket is released!


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