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WAY Too Early Bracketology – Summer 2018

Team

(Photo by Ryan Messier/Paint Touches)

For the past three summers, Paint Touches has put together a WAY Too Early Bracketology as a way to pass the time during the dog days of summer. It was moderately successful the first year, accurately picking 26 out of 36 at large bids, 10 out of 11 automatic qualifiers from major conferences (AAC, ACC, A10, B1G, B12, BE, MVC, MWC, P12, SEC, and WCC), and 4 out of 21 automatic qualifiers from minor conferences. Year two showed slightly better results as we again got 26 out of 36 at larges and 10 out of 11 automatic qualifiers from major conferences but got an improved 7 out of 21 on the automatic qualifiers from minor conferences. Last year stayed pretty consistent with 25 out of 36 at larges, 10 out of 11 automatic qualifies from major conferences and and 7 out of 21 from minor conferences. In our defense, 5 of the 11 at larges we missed had significant injuries/suspensions that were not known over the summer (Louisville, Minnesota, SMU, Notre Dame, and Maryland).

Summer is here again so it is time to tweak our process and take another crack at a summer bracketology. To create this bracketology, a formula was used that looked at KenPom rankings, conference ranking, percentage lost of major categories (points, rebounds, steals, blocks, 3PM), assigned value to incoming players (including freshmen, JUCOs, transfers, graduate transfers, players coming off a redshirt, and players returning from injury suffered during the ’17-’18 season). This formula gave all 351 teams a score that was used to put each team on an s-curve. Teams were then plugged into the bracket and then adjusted to fit as many of the unofficial tournament committee rules as possible.

Important disclaimer! A lot of this is very basic statistics. There are much more accurate advanced stats out there. If you want to pay me or give me an intern who works for free, I would be happy to use them. This is meant to be a fun project to pass the time that gives fans a rough prediction of their team’s prospects going into season.

So, without further ado:

EAST:
1: KENTUCKY
16: NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL/RADFORD
8: WESTERN KENTUCKY
9: Butler
5: Mississippi State
12: Ucla/Byu
4: Texas
13: NORTHEASTERN
6: Clemson
11: Cincinnati
3: MICHIGAN STATE
14: HARVARD
7: Tcu
10: Wisconsin
2: Duke
15: RIDER

MIDWEST:
1: KANSAS
16: TEXAS SOUTHERN/ST. FRANCIS (PA)
8: Nebraska
9: Arizona State
5: Florida State
12: BUFFALO
4: Auburn
13: SOUTH DAKOTA STATE
6: West Virginia
11: Iowa
3: VILLANOVA
14: BELMONT
7: Alabama
10: HOUSTON
2: Virginia
15: NORTHERN KENTUCKY

WEST:
1: GONZAGA
16: LIPSCOMB
8: Miami (FL)
9: Indiana
5: Kansas State
12: LOYOLA (IL)
4: Florida
13: MONTANA
6: OREGON
11: Missouri/St. John’s
3: Virginia Tech
14: NEW MEXICO STATE
7: Michigan
10: Providence
2: NEVADA
15: UC IRVINE

SOUTH:
1: NORTH CAROLINA
16: VERMONT
8: Purdue
9: Texas Tech
5: Marquette
12: SAINT LOUIS
4: Lsu
13: UNC GREENSBORO
6: Maryland
11: Xavier
3: Syracuse
14: UL LAFAYETTE
7: North Carolina State
10: Ohio State
2: Tennesseee
15: STEPHEN F. AUSTIN

LAST FOUR BYES:
Xavier
Cincinnati
Iowa
Providence

LAST FOUR IN:
UCLA
Missouri
BYU
St. John’s

FIRST FOUR OUT:
Penn State
Notre Dame
USC
Washington

NEXT FOUR OUT:
Boston College
Northwestern
San Diego State
Arizona

IN THE HUNT (Alphabetical order):
Baylor
Creighton
Georgetown
Iowa State
Minnesota
Saint Mary’s
South Carolina
Texas A&M
UCF
Vanderbilt

Conference Breakdown:
ACC: 9
Big Ten: 9
SEC: 8
Big 12: 6
Big East: 6
PAC 12: 3
AAC 12: 2
WCC: 2
Atlantic 10: 1
Mountain West: 1

Quick Analysis:

This one felt good to write. In the three years that I have been doing this, I have either had Marquette nowhere near the tournament (15-16), or in the play in game in Dayton (16-17 & 17-18). This is the first year of the Wojo era where making the tournament isn’t just a possibility but an expectation. Year 5 is indeed where the rubber hits the road and if coach cannot deliver this season (assuming no major injuries), it will be time to take a good hard look the rest of Wojo’s contract. I have Marquette ending up at as 5 seed in South region. Losing Andrew Rowsey is a blow but the additions of two talented transfers in Joseph Chartouney and Ed Morrow, as well as two talented freshmen in Joey Hauser and Brendan Bailey should more than make up for Rowsey’s outgoing production.

I swear this was not on purpose, but Marquette’s opponent ends up being fellow Jesuit school and school that people cannot stop speculating on as a candidate for Big East expansion, Saint Louis. This is funny because the fanatics over on MUScoop have a long standing joke about Marquette turning into Saint Louis if the basketball program were ever to slip. I have Saint Louis getting in as the autobid from the A10 and yes, that means the Bilikens are the only representative. I incorrectly picked the A10 as a 1 bid conference last season but Saint Bonaventure’s managed to sneak in (probably shouldn’t have if you look at the KenPom ranking). This season however, I feel more confident in my assertion. The two teams that made the tourney last season were both gutted by graduations. Davidson was the only other team that was close and they lose their best player and their entire bench. The A10 is trending downwards and unless former mid-major powers VCU and Dayton can right the ship, they could be a 1 bid league for the foreseeable future.

One of my early predictions for this tournament is that whatever 5 seed gets paired up with Buffalo is going to get upset. Buffalo has the talent of a top 40 team this season thanks to returning most of their top 75 KenPom rated roster and adding 4-star former Marquette target Jeanathan Williams. Because they play in the MAC, they will not receive an at large bid…unless they can get some big upset victories in non-conference play. Marquette needs to be ready as Buffalo will need that win to prove their worthiness as a tournament team.

Despite sending a team to the national championship, the Big Ten had its most down year in recent conference history, sending only four teams to the Big Dance. At least on paper, the Big 10/11/14 is due for a massive resurgence in the upcoming season. I am projecting 9 B1G teams to make the field, over double their total from last season. Oddly enough, of those 9, I only expect 1 or maybe 2 of them to be top 25 teams (Michigan State and Maryland). The 5 teams that were at the top of the Big 10 last season (Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, and Purdue) are all set to lose large amounts of production while bringing in decent but not great recruiting classes. Meanwhile, the other 9 teams in the conference are all projected to be better thanks to either returning a lot of talent (Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin) or bringing in a lot of new talent (Maryland, Northwestern, Minnesota, Illinois). The result should result in a lot of bids, but also a good old fashion clusterf**k in the middle.

That’s what we have for the summer. What do you think of the bracket? See anyone too high? Too low? Other random thoughts? Share them in the comments below!

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Categories: Analysis, Home, Offseason

Author:Ryan Jackson

Texas A&M Professional, Marquette Fantatic

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3 Comments on “WAY Too Early Bracketology – Summer 2018”

  1. D. Jay
    July 5, 2018 at 6:36 pm #

    In response to your comments about St. Louis, I don’t see them as NCAA tournament material in 2019, even with a weakened A-10 Conference. I totally agree that if Marquette’s program slipped to the level of SLU that would mean almost never appearing in the NCAA tournament, no players making it to the NBA and overall no significant ongoing success and prominence in men’s college basketball. Further, any continued consideration of including them in any Big East expansion would be a huge mistake that would only add a bottom-feeder to the Conference and diminish the ongoing level of success that the BE has built in its new form. If the Big East does decide to expand and increase the number of conference games to maintain a balanced schedule, there are many better teams to consider.

  2. August 6, 2018 at 3:36 pm #

    This is Waay too early…and incorrect as well. You’ve got 6 in including St Johns…. Aaaannnnnt!
    Probably only 5 getting in this season (in order) Prov, Cr8n, Butler, X, Nova. Marquette makes it if 6 get in.

    • Ryan Jackson
      August 19, 2018 at 11:56 pm #

      Correct me if I misunderstand your post, but are you ranking the Big East as:

      1. Providence
      2. Creighton
      3. Butler
      4. Xavier
      5. Villanova
      6. Marquette
      7-10. Depaul, Georgetown, Seton Hall, and St. John’s

      Because if so, that is a BOLD statement there Cotton. I’m sorry but a team that loses four starters, including it’s top scorer and a first round NBA draft pick and replaces them with three freshmen outside the top 100 and a grad transfer from a mid-major that finished 7-24 is not moving up in the conference standings.

      Switch Providence/Creighton with Villanova/Marquette and I think you are on to something.

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