Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bracketology 2/26/2012

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” 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.

Through games of 2/25/2012

Pool A (** - Represents championship game still to play)

AMCC -- Medaille
ASC -- Hardin-Simmons**
CAC -- York (Pa.)
CC -- Franklin and Marshall
CCC -- Salve Regina
CCIW -- North Central (Ill.)
CSAC -- Cabrini
CUNYAC -- Staten Island
E8 -- Ithaca
GNAC -- Albertus Magnus
HCAC -- Transylvania**
IIAC -- Buena Vista
LAND -- Scranton
LEC -- Eastern Connecticut
LL -- Skidmore
MACC -- Messiah
MACF -- Misericordia
MASCAC -- Salem State
MIAA -- Hope
MIAC -- Gustavus Adolphus**
MWC -- Carroll
NAC -- Castleton State
NATHC -- Edgewood
NCAC -- Wooster
NEAC -- Morrisville State**
NECC -- Becker
NESCAC -- Amherst**
NJAC -- William Paterson
NWC -- Whitworth
OAC -- Capital
ODAC -- Virginia Wesleyan**
PrAC -- Bethany
SCAC -- Centre**
SCIAC -- Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
SKY -- Farmingdale State
SLIAC -- Westminster (Mo.)
SUNYAC -- Oswego State
UAA -- Washington U.
UMAC -- Northwestern (Minn.)
USAC -- Christopher Newport**
WIAC -- UW-Whitewater**

Pool B

Maryville (Tenn.)

First Out
St. Joseph's (Bklyn.)

Next Out
UC Santa Cruz*

Pool C

Keene State
Lake Forest
Mary Hardin-Baylor
Rhode Island College
St. Joseph's (L.I.)
UW-River Falls
UW-Stevens Point
Western Connecticut
Wheaton (Ill.)

Last Four In
Ohio Wesleyan
St. Marys (Md.)
St. Thomas

First Four Out
New Jersey City

Next Four Out
Concordia (Wis.)
Illinois Wesleyan
New York University

Bids By Conference
LEC -- 4
NCAC -- 3
WIAC -- 3
ASC -- 2
CAC -- 2
CCIW -- 2
E8 -- 2
LL -- 2
MIAC -- 2
MWC -- 2
ODAC -- 2
SKY -- 2

Bids By Region
NE -- 14
WE -- 9
MW -- 8
EA -- 7
MA -- 7
GL -- 6
SO -- 6
AT -- 4

We have ten league championship games still today, and as many as six of them could affect Pool C. The NESCAC loser will be a Pool C lock, I think the WIAC loser still looks good, the NEAC will only get the one Pool A bid, and the SCAC loser won't be in Pool C discussion either. Other than that, an upset would either push someone off the bubble, or add a new name into the mix.

ASC -- If Hardin-Simmons loses, they'll end up on the bubble, but probably too far on the backside to sneak in. McMuury needs the Pool A bid to get in.

HCAC -- Transylvania would undoubtedly grab a Pool C spot if they lose, Rose-Hulman wouldn't.

NEWMAC -- MIT would be virtually guaranteed an at-large selection, should they lose to Springfield. Fans of the "last four in" teams need to root for the Engineers today.

ODAC -- Virginia Wesleyan is the sure-fire Pool C team here, so a Randolph win would be bad news for the bubble.

MIAC -- St. Thomas is currently on the bubble, but I think a loss would pretty much shove them off. Same might go for Gustavus Adolphus. The loser will be in the discussion, but their prospects won't be terrific. Of the two, St. Thomas would have the better shot at a 'C'.

USAC -- Christopher Newport is the favorite, but they're not a Pool C lock. They'd probably be in the same position as the MIAC loser should they fall in the USA South championship game -- in the discussion, but probably out.

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