Monday, March 2, 2015

Mock Selection and Bracket

In my last post I went about ranking the Pool C candidates in each region. In this post I'm going to take that information to select 19 Pool C teams and (hopefully) try my hand at making a bracket. We'll see how this goes.

First, before I start the actual process, here are the top 19 Pool C teams in terms of RPI (that is winning percentage and strength of schedule only, no other criteria). This usually serves as a quick guide and has picked about 16 correctly the past three or four years. Now, that's not a great record considering how easy 10-12 picks are each year, but it's not horrible either since it requires no thinking. (Numbers are winning percentage / strength of schedule).

1 Bates NE 0.760 / 0.609
2 UW-Stevens Point CE 0.808 / 0.576
3 Washington U. CE 0.800 / 0.565
4 Virginia Wesleyan SO 0.815 / 0.554
5 Amherst NE 0.741 / 0.579
6 Illinois Wesleyan CE 0.704 / 0.590
7 Johns Hopkins MA 0.852 / 0.539
8 Eastern Connecticut NE 0.815 / 0.550
9 Springfield NE 0.704 / 0.584
10 Marietta GL 0.893 / 0.519
11 Wooster GL 0.786 / 0.551
12 William Paterson AT 0.741 / 0.565
13 North Central (Ill.) CE 0.667 / 0.587
14 Ohio Wesleyan GL 0.815 / 0.537
15 Bowdoin NE 0.692 / 0.571
16 Trinity (Conn.) NE 0.792 / 0.535
17 Williams NE 0.600 / 0.599
18 St. Olaf WE 0.808 / 0.527
19 Elmhurst CE 0.731 / 0.551
--------- --------- --- --- ---
20 Rutgers-Newark AT 0.667 / 0.572
21 Bethel WE 0.679 / 0.564
22 Catholic MA 0.846 / 0.506
23 Southern Vermont NE 0.880 / 0.491

Now it seems very clear that Williams isn't going to make it because the committee won't consider their low winning percentage, but the other 18 are reasonable picks. North Central (Ill.) also sticks out as a stretch right now.

Pat Coleman and Dave McHugh went through a mock selection process on Hoopsville on Sunday night. Here were their picks:

Looks like the tweet missed mentioning Marietta and Johns Hopkins, but they're in there. They matched up with the RPI list on 16 of 19 picks. They had Williams, North Central (Ill.), and Bowdoin out, and John Carroll, Catholic, and WPI in. Again, not bad for something that's 100% formula based.

So now I'll start my process using the rankings I came up with in the last post. I'm not going to be particularly concerned with pick order for these first few picks because they're all getting in. Only the top team in each region can be considered at any point in time (so always and only eight teams at any point). When one team is selected, the next team in the region slides onto the discussion table.

Virginia Wesleyan
UW-Stevens Point
Washington U.
Johns Hopkins
Illinois Wesleyan
William Paterson
Ohio Wesleyan
Trinity (Conn.)
Eastern Connecticut

Let me stop here and say these are the teams I think are safe. That's ends up being 13 teams that I consider a slam dunk.


Two more that I feel pretty good about. These last four are on the edge. It all depends on how exactly the regional rankings stack up and who gets to the table first.

John Carroll
North Central (Ill.)

Again, not at all confident in those last few, but I have a reputation for always being higher on the SOS candidates, so what are you going to do?

Left on my board:
AT: Brooklyn
CE: none
EA: Plattsburgh State
GL: Penn State-Behrend
MA: Franklin and Marshall
NE: Bowdoin
SO: Centre
WE: St. Olaf

Things that could change things:

I had Bowdoin ahead of WPI in the Northeast. I don't think WPI is a partiularly great candidate, but if they stay ahead of Bowdoin maybe they match up better and get one of those final three slots.

I ranked Bethel aggressively in the West Region. Dave McHugh apparently got some information during Hoopsville that the West committee ranked them seventh in that region. I don't get that at all. So I stuck to my guns there, but maybe St. Olaf (who Bethel beat three times) gets to the table (and into the tourney) sooner, and maybe Buena Vista or Whitman get to the board as well. Again, don't really get Bethel sixth there if that ends up being the case.

If I had to keep going -- without expending too much effort here -- my next four picks would probably be St. Olaf, Bowdoin, WPI, and Centre.

I didn't kill myself to make a bracket, but here are pods that look reasonable. I tried to make seeding more of a priority than mixing regions, but I did try to keep conferences out of the same pod. Let me know if there's a mistake here. Bracket isn't bracketed, but here are possible pod groupings:

East Texas Baptist and Emory pods were designed out of geographic necessity (reducing the number of flights for distances exceeding 500 miles). I think we only have two first-weekend flights here: Whitworth to Texas and C-M-S to Atlanta. Augustana and Babson were given byes based on merit.

EDIT: Changing some things because I had Wash U. at Marietta which is now than 500 miles. It was late.

East Texas Baptist
Texas Lutheran


Ohio Wesleyan

Concordia (Wis.)
Washington U.

UW-Stevens Point
John Carroll
St. Norbert

Mount Union
Illinois Wesleyan

St. Vincent

North Central (Ill.)
St. Thomas
Northwestern (Minn.)


Albertus Magnus

Richard Stockton

Regis (Mass.)


Johns Hopkins
Oswego State
Eastern Connecticut

William Paterson
Virginia Wesleyan
Keene State

St. John Fisher
Trinity (Conn.)
Westfield State