Monday, February 6, 2012

Bracketology 2/6/2012

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” 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.

Through games of 2/5/2012



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 -- Hartwick
GNAC -- Albertus Magnus
HCAC -- Transylvania
IIAC -- Dubuque
LAND -- Scranton
LEC -- Keene State
LL -- Hobart
MACC -- Messiah
MACF -- Misericordia
MASCAC -- Bridgewater State
MIAA -- Hope
MIAC -- Gustavus Adolphus
MWC -- Lake Forest
NAC -- Castleton State
NATHC -- Concordia (Wis.)
NCAC -- Wittenberg
NEAC -- Morrisville State
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
Keystone
New York University
Randolph-Macon
Rhode Island College
St. Marys (Md.)
UW-River Falls
UW-Whitewater
Western Connecticut
Wheaton (Ill.)
William Paterson
Wooster
WPI

Last Four In
Bethany
Illinois Wesleyan
Ohio Wesleyan
Wesleyan

First Four Out
Grinnell
Lycoming
New Jersey City
Texas-Dallas

Next Four Out
Luther
Nazareth
St. Thomas
Wabash

Dropped Out
Eastern
Edgewood
Grinnell
Nazareth
Penn State-Harrisburg
Salem State

Bids By Conference
LEC -- 4
CCIW -- 3
UAA -- 3
WIAC -- 3
NCAC -- 3
NESCAC -- 3
CAC -- 2
CSAC -- 2
NEWMAC -- 2
NJAC -- 2
ODAC -- 2
PrAC – 2

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

Discussion
It’s going to be interesting again to see how the National Committee ends up weighing winning percentage versus strength of schedule. For the last few spots they’ll likely have to choose between the good winning percentage of a team like Grinnell, or the stellar strength of schedule of an Illinois Wesleyan. My personal opinion is that tough schedules aren’t given the credit they deserve.

This 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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