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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2012 Mock Bracket (Pre-Conference Tournaments)

Well , it seems like people are having a great time playing around with the potential for this year's NCAA bracket, so I thought I would take a shot at it too.

After all, I surely can't do any worse than the seeding committee does right?  lol, all kidding aside, this is a very difficult thing to undertake.  How do you separate out the teams who get a shot from the ones who don't?

Well, I chose to focus on a combination of Strength of Schedule, RPI, Conference Winning %, Overall Winning %, and Recent performance.  I note that last one to explain why UConn and Alabama are out despite numbers that would otherwise get them consideration.  After all UConn has the #1 SOS right now and Alabama has a top 40 RPI and a couple quality wins.  BUT, the Huskies have stunk it up late in the year and aren't looking to sniff 20 wins while the Tide just suspended their best player and look to be coming off the rails.

This is all as of 2/20/12 so by the time I publish, it will already be wrong, but still a useful exercise. 

First, here are the number of seeds per conference, and it is important to note that I assumed the best teams would win the tourneys.  That is not likely to be the case against the board, so there is some room for error in that regard.

AMERICA EAST: 1
ATLANTIC 10: 4
ATLANTIC COAST: 5
ATLANTIC SUN: 1
BIG 12: 6
BIG EAST 7
BIG SKY: 1
BIG SOUTH: 1
BIG 10: 6
BIG WEST: 1
COLONIAL 2
CONFERENCE USA: 3
HORIZON: 1
IVY LEAGUE: 1
METRO ATLANTIC: 1
MAC: 1
MID-EASTERN: 1
MISSOURI VALLEY: 2
MOUNTAIN WEST: 3
NORTHEAST: 1
OHIO VALLEY: 1
PAC-12: 4
PATRIOT: 1
SOUTHEASTERN: 4
SOUTHERN: 1
SOUTHLAND: 1
SOUTHWEST ATHLETIC: 1
SUMMIT: 1
SUN BELT: 1
WEST COAST: 3
WESTERN ATHLETIC: 1

It lines up much like normal though there are several "mid-major" leagues that pulled multiple bids.  If there are upsets in conference tournaments, look for the Power Conferences to be the ones to lose bids.  In my review the last 4 at-large teams in were Purdue, UCF, Mississippi State, Arizona.   Don't be surprised to see a third team from either the Colonial or the Missouri Valley sneak in either.  Both are deep conferences with history of success in recent years, and that is the sort of thing that tends to resonate with the tournament committee.

so, enough about the details.

Here are the seeds.

1's
Michigan State
Duke
Kansas
Syracuse

2's
North Carolina
Ohio State
Baylor
Michigan

3's
Florida State
Marquette
Kentucky
Georgetown

4's
Vanderbilt
Memphis
Southern Mississippi
Wisconsin

5's
Wichita State
UNLV
Louisville
Florida

6's
Indiana
Temple
Missouri
Gonzaga

7's
Notre Dame
Saint Louis
West Virginia
New Mexico

8's
California
Long Beach State
St. Mary's
Creighton

9's
South Florida
Iowa State
San Diego State
Washington

10's
Middle Tennessee State
Purdue
Brigham Young
Xavier

11's
St. Joseph's
Texas
North Carolina State
Oregon

12's
Murray State
Harvard
Oral Roberts
Nevada

13's
Iona
Akron
UCF
Kansas State

14's
Arizona
Davidson
Virginia
Belmont

15's
Mississippi State
Bucknell
Virginia Commonwealth
Drexel

16's (Play-in participants)
Weber State
Valparaiso
Texas-Arlington
NC-Asheville
Mississippi Valley State
Stony Brook
Savannah State
Long Island

The Yellow Highlighted teams are the Mid-Majors projected for the field.  That shows 35 of 68 (51.47%) teams being mid-majors.  Admittedly, that include some conference champs which would not be in as At-Large teams.  It is a striking number and says a ton about the parity which makes this time of year so much fun. 

Over under and mid-majors in the sweet sixteen?  I am going with 6.
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