Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bracketology 2012 is Go

About My Bracketology System
The basis for my picks is the regional ranking projections that I do every week. Usually there are one or two regions that are really hard for me to fit (that is to say, match the committee’s ranking) using my data. The difficulty for me probably comes down assessing common opponents. I don’t adjust the regional rankings to reflect head-to-head and common opponent games (I haven’t found a good way to automate that, and it’s too much work to look through by hand each week), but I’ll try to do some of those adjustments (while still spending a minimal amount of time) for the bracketology updates. I’m guessing that we’ll see a sharp change in both the regional rankings and the bracketology once the NCAA starts ranking the regions (and I can add in results versus regionally ranked opponents).

The main goal of this post isn’t so much to determine exactly who’s in and who’s out, but to give a good general idea of who’s in and who’s on the bubble. It’s also worth noting that the last two years (the only years in which I’ve done bracketology like this) I’ve had the exact same accuracy rates as the “(un)official” d3hoops.com projection put out by Pat Coleman (I think we both hit 16 of 19 Pool C teams two years ago and 16 of 18 last year).

I’ll list the Pool A teams (autobids) first. I’ll award the bid to the team with the best conference record. In the case of a tie, I’ll award it to the team with the best RPI in Division III games.

Pool B gets one bid. These are the teams that don’t have a Pool A bid to compete for (independents and teams from non-AQ conferences). I’ll also list the “next two” possible picks. A few Pool B teams will run into an interesting situation whereby we won’t be 100% certain if they’re eligible for tournament selection. The championship manual stipulates that team must play a minimum of 50% of their games against in-region Div. III competition to be eligible, but there is a waiver that schools can submit to bypass this rule. I’ll mark schools who may fall into this category with an asterisk (*).

Pool C is where the real fun lies. We get 19 bids this year. I’ll list my top 15 in alphabetical order, and then list the “last four in” as well as the “last four out” and “next four out”. This should represent the bubble pretty well.

I’m not sure how often I’ll update the picks (hopefully at least every Thursday and Monday mornings), but I may make a few updates in between those days as well. Check back to the Bracketology page periodically to see if there’s an update (you can find the link in the linkbar at the top of the page, I probably won’t make an official post every time).

Let’s get on with it.

Through games of 2/1/2012



Pool A

AMCC -- Medaille
ASC -- Mary Hardin-Baylor
CAC -- Mary Washington
CC -- Franklin and Marshall
CCC -- Salve Regina
CCIW -- North Central (Ill.)
CSAC -- Cabrini
CUNYAC -- Staten Island
E8 -- Nazareth
GNAC -- Albertus Magnus
HCAC -- Transylvania
IIAC -- Dubuque
LAND -- Scranton
LEC -- Keene State
LL -- Hobart
MACC -- Messiah
MACF -- Eastern
MASCAC -- Salem State
MIAA -- Hope
MIAC -- Gustavus Adolphus
MWC -- Lake Forest
NAC -- Castleton State
NATHC -- Edgewood
NCAC -- Wittenberg
NEAC -- Penn State-Harrisburg
NECC -- Becker
NESCAC -- Middlebury
NEWMAC -- MIT
NJAC -- Richard Stockton
NWC -- Whitworth
OAC -- Capital
ODAC -- Virginia Wesleyan
PrAC -- Thiel
SCAC -- Birmingham-Southern
SCIAC -- Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
SKY -- St. Josephs (L.I.)
SLIAC -- Webster
SUNYAC -- Oswego State
UAA -- Washington U.
UMAC -- Bethany Lutheran
USAC -- Christopher Newport
WIAC -- UW-Stevens Point

Pool B

Nebraska Wesleyan*

First Out
UC Santa Cruz*

Next Out
Maryville (Tenn.)

Pool C

Amherst
Eastern Connecticut
Emory
Grinnell
Hartwick
Keystone
New York University
Randolph-Macon
Rhode Island College
UW-River Falls
UW-Whitewater
Western Connecticut
William Paterson
Wooster
WPI

Last Four In
Hanover
Illinois Wesleyan
St. Mary’s (Md.)
Wheaton (Ill.)

First Four Out
Ohio Wesleyan
New Jersey City
Wabash
Wesleyan

Next Four Out
Bethany
Concordia (Wis.)
Lycoming
Tufts

Bids By Conference
LEC -- 4
CCIW -- 3
UAA -- 3
WIAC -- 3
CAC -- 2
CSAC -- 2
E8 -- 2
HCAC -- 2
MWC -- 2
NCAC -- 2
NESCAC -- 2
NEWMAC -- 2
NJAC -- 2
ODAC -- 2

Bids By Region
NE -- 13
MW -- 10
MA -- 9
WE -- 9
EA -- 6
SO -- 6
GL -- 5
AT -- 4

Discussion
Good luck to the Northeast committee. That region looks to be a mess. You could rightfully rank those teams 100 different ways, and I’m quite sure my formula will have a hard time matching this one. It’s difficult for me to see the Little East getting all four of those teams in, but that’s what the numbers are suggesting at the moment. Thirteen teams in the NE seems like too many.

I’m not quite sure how the Great Lakes Region will play out, but I think there’s more than a small chance that Bethany falls below all four NCAC teams. They really haven’t played any ranked teams, and Wabash and Ohio Wesleyan have, so they’ll likely see a boost there. Five bids from the Great Lakes seems like not enough. We could eventually add OWU, Wabash, and even Bethany in there.

Next week’s release of the first official ranking will be a huge indicator of what the regional committees are thinking. That will provide me lots of data points to try to match and adjust to, so we should see plenty of change come next week.

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