The Most Accurate Bracketology of the 2017-18 Season Returns!
After last year’s bracketology won the award for the most accurate in the world, I’ve been hearing the calls, they ask, “When will this year’s Bracketology be released?” Your calls have been answered. I needed to wait for a little while to get a big enough sample size (remember, this is almost entirely resume-based), and the Christmas holiday break where we had three days with no games gave me the perfect opportunity to get everything calibrated and ready to go. Also, a new addition this year, on some updates we will have a featured team or conference to take a deep dive into, for today, that team is Belmont.
When you look through my bracketology among many others, the name that will jump out at you immediately is Belmont. The Bruins aren’t even projected to win the Ohio Valley according to KenPom, but I have them winning the conference and sitting currently at an eight seed. I think their high tempo style will work to their benefit in the Valley conference tournament, and that they edge out Murray State for that bid to the big dance. Now, however, comes the big question, how could I possibly have Belmont ahead of so many others right now, potentially higher than any other bracketologist? The answer is simple, but very much comes down to the way you look at mid-season bracketologies, do you project or view it as a snapshot?I tend to come down on the latter side, as it helps to take who I personally think the best teams are out of the equation, letting me solely focus on the resume.
Let’s take a look at Belmont’s resume. The Bruins are 9-1 and what might surprise you is that of the 22 teams with zero or one losses right now, Belmont’s strength of schedule ranks 7th. Higher than Virginia Tech, Texas Tech, NC State, Virginia, and more. While the loss to KenPom #200 Green Bay keeps them from actually jumping these teams despite the higher SOS, they have three wins against the KenPom top 68 teams, including two against Lipscomb, my highest ranked one-bid school not considered to be an at-large contender. Let’s compare Belmont to the team ranked right below them on the S-Curve, Butler.
Belmont – 9-1 vs #124 SOS, 2-0 vs top 50*, 0-0 vs 51-100*, bad loss @ #200
Butler – 9-3 vs #152 SOS, 1-2 vs top 50*, 1-1 vs 51-100*, no bad losses
*adjusted for location
This is more or less how I evaluate a team’s resume, I look at their wins, their losses, and where they happened. You can argue for either team here (I have them seperated by just one spot), and while Butler has the best win (Florida) and Belmont has the worst loss, I feel when you evaluate the two resumes as a whole, that the Bruins have the edge. The point stands either way, even if you think that Butler’s resume is slightly better, you can certainly see why Belmont is up at an eight seed rather than the prototypical 12 seed you see many top mid-majors at, it seems to me that too often do bracketologists just pencil in any mid-majors not in the top 25 as 12 seeds and sometimes don’t do the same deep dive into those teams that they would do on a potential 11 seed from a power conference, and with the Pac-12 down this year and plenty of great mid-majors grabbing national headlines, I hope this is the year that we get a few more mid-majors into the field, and it is time to start talking about teams like Belmont as at-large contenders right now.
Talk to me @crazysportdude on twitter with your opinion on the forward-looking vs current status debate and whether you agree or disagree with me on Belmont as a single-digit seed. Also recommend me some more interesting teams to do a deep dive on in these features.
*LAST UPDATED – 12/26*
GREEN – Moved up one or more seed line
RED – Moved down one or more seed line
BLUE – New to bracket
Italicized – Team will play in First Four play-in game
Changes are from: N/a (This is the first bracket of the year)
Note: The furthest left team is considered to be the highest ranked on the seed line and the furthest right is considered to be the lowest ranked
1 Seeds: Duke, Michigan, Kansas, Virginia
2 Seeds: Tennessee, Nevada, Gonzaga, Michigan State
3 Seeds: Wisconsin, Texas Tech, Ohio State, Florida State
4 Seeds: Oklahoma, North Carolina, Auburn, Mississippi State
5 Seeds: Indiana, Virginia Tech, Marquette, Nebraska
6 Seeds: Houston, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Kentucky
7 Seeds: NC State, Arizona State, TCU, Villanova
8 Seeds: Kansas State, Louisville, Iowa, Belmont
9 Seeds: Butler, St. John’s, Iowa State, Purdue
10 Seeds: Minnesota, LSU, Maryland, Texas
11 Seeds: UCF, San Francisco, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Arizona
12 Seeds: Florida, Creighton, Lipscomb, VCU, Furman
13 Seeds: New Mexico State, Charleston, Drake, Penn
14 Seeds: UC Irvine, Old Dominion, Texas State, Vermont
15 Seeds: Radford, Montana, South Dakota State, Northern Kentucky
16 Seeds: Abeline Christian, Lehigh, Rider, Texas Southern, Howard, St. Francis (PA)
Last Four In
First Four Out
Next Four Out
Big Ten – 10 bids (71% of the conference)
Big 12 – 7 bids (70%)
Big East – 6 bids (60%)
ACC – 8 bids (57%)
SEC – 7 bids (50%)
American – 3 bids (25%)
WCC – 2 bids (20%)
Pac-12 – 2 bids (17%)