WAY Too Early Bracketology – Summer 2019

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 ’18-’19 season). This formula gave all 353 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: LOUISVILLE
16: NORTH DAKOTA STATE
8: Arizona State
9: Penn State
5: Texas Tech
12: Houston/Ole Miss
4: Marquette
13: VERMONT
6: Seton Hall
11: Minnesota/Dayton
3: North Carolina
14: NORTHEASTERN
7: Purdue
10: Washington
2: Florida
15: IONA

MIDWEST:
1: MICHIGAN STATE
16: LIU/SOUTHERN UTAH
8: Arkansas
9: Creighton
5: North Carolina State
12: HARVARD
4: CINCINNATI
13: WESTERN KENTUCKY
6: UTAH STATE
11: Oklahoma
3: Ohio State
14: BUFFALO
7: COLORADO
10: Tennessee
2: Duke
15: COLGATE

WEST:
1: KANSAS
16: LAMAR
8: Iowa
9: Auburn
5: Texas
12: BELMONT
4: Lsu
13: MISSOURI STATE
6: Florida State
11: Oregon
3: SAINT MARY’S
14: NORTHERN KENTUCKY
7: Wisconsin
10: NEW MEXICO STATE
2: Villanova
15: UC IRVINE

SOUTH:
1: KENTUCKY
16: TEXAS SOUTHERN/BETHUNE COOKMAN
8: Xavier
9: Michigan
5: Gonzaga
12: LIBERTY
4: VCU
13: FURMAN
6: Virginia
11: Mississippi State
3: Baylor
14: GEORGIA SOUTHERN
7: Memphis
10: Arizona
2: Maryland
15: RADFORD

LAST FOUR BYES:
Tennessee
Oregon
Oklahoma
Mississippi State

LAST FOUR IN:
Minnesota
Dayton
Houston
Ole Miss

FIRST FOUR OUT:
Alabama
Providence
USC
Indiana

NEXT FOUR OUT:
Mizzou
Davidson
Butler
Miami (FL)

IN THE HUNT (Alphabetical order):
BYU
Georgetown
Harvard (In as auto-bid)
Illinois
Kansas State
Liberty (In as auto-bid)
Oklahoma State
Rutgers
South Florida
Temple

Conference Breakdown:
Big Ten: 9
SEC: 8
ACC: 6
Big 12: 5
Big East: 5
PAC 12: 5
AAC: 3
WCC: 2
Atlantic 10: 2
Mountain West: 1
WAC: 1

Quick Analysis:

While we don’t always get the field right, we have been pretty dead on projecting where Marquette will end up seeded since we started this project 4 years ago. We correctly picked missing the tournament despite Henry Ellenson’s presence in year 1 (year 2 of the Wojo era), projected a trip to Dayton in year 2 (instead got a 10 seed), projected a trip to Dayton again in year 3 (instead got a 2 seed in NIT) and were right on the money forecasting a 5 seed that summer before last season. This season we are projecting the highest seed of the Wojo era, a 4 seed in the East region. Before Hausergate, many pundits were pegging Marquette as a top 5 team in the country. I was skeptical at first glance but after doing this project and seeing who’s at the top this season, top 5 was not an unreasonable prediction. Since the Brothers Hauser took their talents elsewhere, there has been what I can only describe as a massive overcorrection by many pundits. All seem to think Marquette is still tournament worthy but closer to Team Bubble Watch than a high seed. While the transfers were yuge in impact, Marquette had far to fall and thus won’t fall as far in the rankings as many think. The Golden Eagles only lose 37% of their scoring, well below the NCCA average of 47% and slightly below the Big East average of 39%. Add in an impact transfer like Koby McEwen, instant contributors in newcomers Jayce Johnson and Symir Torrence, and the return of a hopefully healthy Greg Elliott and you have a team set to improve, not recede from last season.

It’s impossible to accurately project auto-bids from low majors this far out, but that doesn’t stop us from trying. In the first round, we have Marquette matching up with NCAA auto-bid regular Vermont. There was no one even close to Vermont’s level in the America East conference last season, with their closest competitor (Stony Brook) being almost 100 points behind them in KenPom rankings. With most of their roster intact, we expect the Catamounts to roll through the America East once again and be a dangerous first round opponent for some unlucky high seed. If Marquette does face the Catamounts it may end up being one of the more popular upset picks in March Madness. The Catamounts have tournament experience, lots of upperclasssmen, and the reigning America East Player of the Year in Anthony Lamb. It would be a brutally tough first round matchup, especially given that they would likely be playing in Vermont’s backyard. It would be a true test to overcome for Wojo to get his first NCAA tournament victory as the man in the big chair.

Last season, we picked Buffalo as the low-major most likely to surprise someone in the first round. We ended up being wrong…because Buffalo was so good that they were the higher seed in the first round so their victory wasn’t an upset. This year, our pick is the Aggies out of New Mexico State. This is a team that finished just a hair outside the top 50 in KenPom rankings and was an open layup away from knocking of Auburn in the first round (you may remember Auburn from the Final Four last season). The Aggies bring back everyone of consequence other than starting forward El Chuha. And they bring in double double machine Jalone Friday as a grad transfer to replace him. They have more than enough firepower to earn an at-large bid, though they will likely steamroll the rest of the WAC and take the auto-bid. Wouldn’t you know it, we have them facing a particular breed of vermin in the first round.

Same names that may be seeded lower on our bracket than they are on others have something in common. A lot of teams who were either bad last season or lost a majority of their roster, also got the best recruiting classes. Duke and Kentucky got theirs like usual but the other top freshman classes belong to teams like Memphis (56 in KenPom, loses 73% of scoring), Arizona (94 in KenPom, loses 49% of scoring), USC (82 in KenPom, loses 58% of scoring), Georgia (132 in KenPom, loses 56% of scoring), Washington (48 in Kenpom loses 80% of scoring) Gonzaga (loses 80% of scoring), Oregon (loses 69% of scoring), and Texas Tech (loses 69% of scoring). Can these talented freshman classes make up for the massive losses that this teams endured this offseason? Time will certainly tell. It could be we see a lot of these teams struggle in non-conference play and then become dangerous as they gain confidence and gel over the season.

Is the PAC 12 back? No, but it may be on its way. After several years of dismal basketball and even more dismal postseason play, the PAC 12 looks set to send five or six teams to the Big Dance this season. The PAC 12 managed to reel in four of the top 14 freshman classes in the country, including 3 in the top 10. We’re project three of those four teams to make the tournament with the fourth (USC) just missing the cut. Joining those three are Arizona State who turned to the JUCO ranks and nabbed 3 of 247sports’ top 10 JUCOs. Despite this monster classes, our pick to win the PAC 12 is Colorado, who returns every rotation player from last season. This is a sneaky good team who is led by former Marquette target McKinley Wright IV. PAC 12 is certainly improved but the two mounds of dead weight known as Cal and Washington State will bring down the whole conference. Utah also has the look of a sub 150 type team this season. So while more PAC 12 teams will make the dense, they will have to wait another year to earn high seeds.

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!

Tags: , , ,

Categories: Analysis, Offseason

Author:Ryan Jackson

Texas A&M Professional, Marquette Fantatic

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