Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Bracket Project Predictions for 2009

There are nine quintillion ways a 64-team bracket can turn out. This is one of them. This post will be updated as needed during the tournament (meaning I'll probably be wrong a lot and I'll be scribbling out teams and putting new teams in. Hey, I'm good at picking who goes into the tournament, not who's gonna win).

I was right about Morehead State. I'm 1 for 1! Can I stop now?

OK, guess not. Here we go. (Printable version of my original predictions here)

First Round

Louisville over Morehead State (Correct)
Ohio State over Siena (Wrong!)
Utah over Arizona (Wrong!)
Wake Forest over Cleveland State (Wrong!)
West Virginia over Dayton (Wrong!)
Kansas over North Dakota State (Correct)
USC over Boston College (Correct)
Michigan State over Robert Morris (Correct)

Connecticut over Chattanooga (Correct)
BYU over Texas A&M (Wrong!)
Purdue over Northern Iowa (Correct)
Washington over Mississippi State (Correct)
Utah State over Marquette (Wrong!)
Missouri over Cornell (Correct)
California over Maryland (Wrong!)
Memphis over Cal State Northridge (Correct)

Pittsburgh over E. Tennessee State (Correct)
Tennessee over Oklahoma State (Wrong!)
Wisconsin over Florida State (Correct)
Xavier over Portland State (Correct)
UCLA over Virginia Commonwealth (Correct)
Villanova over American (Correct)
Minnesota over Texas (Wrong!)
Duke over Binghamton (Correct)

North Carolina over Radford (Correct)
Butler over LSU (Wrong!)
Illinois over Western Kentucky (Wrong!)
Gonzaga over Akron (Correct)
Arizona State over Temple (Correct)
Syracuse over Stephen F. Austin (Correct)
Michigan over Clemson (Correct)
Oklahoma over Morgan State (Correct)

Second Round

Louisville over Ohio State Siena (Correct)
Utah over Wake Forest over Arizona over Cleveland State (Correct)
West Virginia over Kansas over Dayton (Correct)
Michigan State over USC (Correct)

Connecticut over BYU Texas A&M (Correct)
Purdue over Washington (Correct)
Missouri over Utah State Marquette (Correct)
Memphis over California Maryland (Correct)

Pittsburgh over Tennessee Oklahoma State (Correct)
Xavier over Wisconsin (Correct)
Villanova over UCLA (Correct)
Duke over Minnesota Texas (Correct)

North Carolina over Butler LSU (Correct)
Gonzaga over Illinois Western Kentucky (Correct)
Syracuse over Arizona State (Correct)
Oklahoma over Michigan (Correct)

Sweet 16

Louisville over Utah Arizona (Correct)
Michigan State over West Virginia Kansas (Correct)

Connecticut over Purdue (Correct)
Missouri over Memphis (Correct)

Pittsburgh over Xavier (Correct)
Duke over Villanova (Wrong!)

North Carolina over Gonzaga (Correct)
Syracuse over Oklahoma (Wrong!)

Great Eight

MIDWEST - Louisville over Michigan State (Wrong!)
WEST - Missouri over Connecticut (Wrong!)
EAST - Pittsburgh over Duke Villanova (Wrong!)
SOUTH - North Carolina over Syracuse Oklahoma (Correct)

Final Four

Louisville over Missouri Michigan State over Connecticut
North Carolina over Pittsburgh Villanova


North Carolina over Louisville (I know, not exactly original) Michigan State

An Alternate View

The people at The Quest For 65 have come up with another way to grade how bracketologists fared on Selection Sunday called the QPI. Check it out here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Bracket Project...Projects - 2009

To be honest, I didn't actually see the real bracket until today. I heard Greg Gumbel announce the seed numbers yesterday then moved on to updating the matrix with the rest of the brackets. Some parting thoughts about the bracket before we move on:

San Diego State, Creighton, and St. Mary's were all more deserving than Arizona to be in the bracket but I can understand why they did it. Arizona beat tourney at-large teams Kansas (3), Washington (4), and Gonzaga (4). Creighton beat one at-large team - Dayton, an 11 seed. St. Mary's beat no at-large tourney teams and had 3 cracks at Gonzaga and lost all of them. San Diego State did beat Utah and BYU, but lost head-to-head against St. Mary's and Arizona.

The thing that glares at me about Arizona is something I thought the committee emphasized: who you play and where you play them, and how you are playing down the stretch. They were 2-9 on the road with its only wins against Oregon and Oregon State. They followed up a 7-game win streak by losing 5 of their last 6.

Location will always be a problem for the committee and this year moreso because most of the sites are so far from the schools. Portland, Boise, and Miami barely have any tourney schools near them but all are hosting this year, creating weird travel situations such as Arizona State, Arizona, and Utah traveling to Miami, Florida State traveling to Boise, UCLA to Philadelphia, and so on. The NCAA should limit the far-out destinations to just one or two a year.

Not too many complaints about seeding...Boston College was too high. I thought they were closer to the bubble due to their rocky finish but beating Duke and UNC helps. Wisconsin was too low. I heard they were a true 11 so maybe that's okay. I guess I didn't penalize them enough for the 6-game losing streak during conference play.

My no rhyme or reason, straight from the gut predictions will be out Wednesday and will be updated with new predictions as we move along through the tournament. Except for the Elite Eight round. I will be in Reno/Tahoe with spotty Internet access. Hopefully, I can make it to a sportsbook to catch the games or a hot spot where I can update the blog.

My first prediction: Morehead State over Alabama State in the play-in game. Let's hope I don't start 0 for 1.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The 2009 Bracket Matrix Post-Mortem

Overall, the bracketologists' performance was down from last year as this year's average Paymon score was 303.6, about 5.5 points below last year's average bracket. Here are the highlights:

Bracketologists who were 65 out of 65:
Bracketography, Bryce Durgin, FOX Sports, and Round Table Sports

Top brackets with the most teams seeded correctly:
Rivals, Bracketville, and Bracketology 101 tied with 35. Right behind were Bracketography, Baseline Stats, Jerry Palm, The Bracket Board, and Hofstad at the Online Sports Fanatic with 34.

Top brackets with the most teams seeded within one of their actual seed:
Bracketography and March Madness All Season had 62. VTS follows with 61 and College Sports Fans had 60.

Finally, the highest Paymon scores this year:
Bracketography - 325
Rivals - Mike Huguenin - 318
Baseline Stats - 317
Bracketville - 316
Bracketology 101, Jerry Palm, and The Bracket Board - 315

Bracket - FINAL

This is the most uncomfortable I've ever been after submitting my final bracket. Mississippi State and USC took the spots Creighton and St. Mary's were desperately holding onto. We'll see if I was right to let San Diego State, Maryland, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Dayton, Boston College, and Texas A&M (not in that order) keep their spots.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bracket - March 14

Florida and South Carolina faltered in the SEC tournament and now find themselves out of the field. St. Mary's and Maryland are back in. The Terps' stay may be short-lived depending on today's game vs. Duke and the state of the bubble.

Temple/Duquesne stole a bid with their wins over Xavier and Dayton and I decided to take Penn State's spot away. They suffer from the same problem South Carolina and Providence have: decent conference record but terrible non-conference performance.

Michigan State, with their loss to Ohio State, doesn't really have a shot at the #1 seed. Louisville, Connecticut, and Memphis are now fighting for the last two spots.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Bracket - March 13

It's times like these when it's great to live in California. A 6 OT game late at night on the east coast. Pshh. It ended like at 10:30 here. And boy, was that a great game until the last OT where Syracuse got out to a big enough lead to close out the game. That game pushes UConn to a #2 seed for now and has to wait to see if Louisville, Memphis or Michigan State stumble to try to re-gain the #1 seed.

Arizona lost a must-win game against arch-rival Arizona State and now finds itself outside of the field. New Mexico also lost, but to a comparably weaker Wyoming team, which baffles the mind. I guess it is tough to beat a team three times in a season. Also falling out was UNLV, which lost on its home floor to San Diego State.

For these three spots, one was taken by Cleveland State, which beat Butler to take the Horizon championship and the automatic spot. San Diego State also takes a spot after beating UNLV on its home floor. (Please note that SDSU and Boston College switched spots to conform with bracketing principles.) After that, it was tough. The teams which have games to go haven't done enough as of yet, so I took the best of the teams in the clubhouse, which looks to be Creighton. The Jays still have to dodge USC, Auburn, Maryland, Baylor, and the WAC/Atlantic 10/Mountain West/CUSA teams aiming for an automatic spot.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Today at around 8:30 this morning marked a milestone for The Bracket Project as the site has now been accessed one million times. I started this site as a time killer in 2005 as I was trying to find a job and now people use it everyday to track where their favorite team is in the scheme of things (Cleveland State really messed things up, didn't they?).

Thanks for visiting.

A look at the number of hits by year (April 1-March 31):

2005: 18,201 hits
2006: 122,729 hits
2007: 231,452 hits
2008: 357,919 hits
2009: 269,699 hits and counting

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bracket - March 9

Another varied series of events this past weekend. Let's recap:

Creighton put up two very poor performances in the Missouri Valley tournament last week as they blew a 22-point lead in the second half against Wichita State and needed a last-second jumper to win. They followed that up with a 24-point loss to Illinois State. They are currently the first team out and are at the mercy of the tourney gods as other tournaments get started. It is their hope that an 11-win streak right before the tourney will turn some heads.

Penn State was pushed to last team in as they lost to Iowa. Wins by Penn State, Michigan, and Minnesota may ensure eight bids from the Big Ten.

Rhode Island was rewarded with a bid last Friday but followed that up with a loss against UMass, so they move back to first 4 out joining Creighton, UNLV, and Maryland.

New teams joining the madness include Michigan, with a huge win at Minnesota, and New Mexico, looking better after UNLV lost to SDSU.

For the NIT bracket, Davidson makes its first appearance here as they lost to College of Charleston in the semifinals of the SoCon tournament. A 5th seed may seem low but it's a reflection of the fact that they have little chance at an at-large and the teams above them do with their conference tournaments getting underway. In the end, their seed will probably settle at a 3 or 4.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Bracket - March 6

If you read the blog post prior to this one, you can deduce that if a bubble team won this week, they're in the bracket this week. If you lost, no guarantees.

So: Kentucky. Loss. Out. Maryland. Loss. Out. And Miami. Loss. Out.

On the other hand, Rhode Island. Win. In. They've now won 10 of their last 11.

Penn State. Win. In. They have 10 wins in the Big 10 after a huge last-second win vs. Illinois.

And UNLV. Win. In. Ok, they won against lowly Air Force. But I'm rewarding them moreso for their non-conference schedule rather than their conference play. New Mexico is in a three-way tie for first and is on the cusp of breaking through. UNLV is two games behind. Let's pray that the conference tournament solves this mess.

Arizona and Florida lost this week and are part of the last 4 in, with includes URI and St. Mary's (still unproven with Mills back in the lineup).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

So lemme get this straight...

A check on the teams just fighting to get into the tournament so far this week. (Is fighting the right word for these teams?)

Notre Dame loses to Villanova. Ok, to be expected though the Irish shouldn't have stopped playing with 10 minutes left in the game.

Cincinnati loses to South Florida. Hmm, that's not good. The Bearcats have suddenly lost 4 of 5 and the Bulls were supposed to be the easiest opponent to play of those 5.

Georgetown loses to St. John's. That's not good either. No way the NCAA's will accept a team with a 7-11 conference record. (The Hoyas will beat DePaul, right?)

Kansas State loses to Oklahoma State. One goes up, one goes down. The Cowboys still need a couple of wins to assure themselves a spot in the tourney, but hey, a bubble team that won! It's suddenly an accomplishment! OTOH, Kansas State needs to get to the Big 12 finals just to even get a shot.

Maryland loses to Wake Forest. The Terps go cold for 4 minutes in the 2nd half and loses by 2. They continue bouncing in and out of the tournament projections.

Florida loses to Mississippi State and Kentucky loses to Georgia. HAHAHAHA. Now, this is getting ridiculous. Now the Gators and Cats play what amounts to be an elimination game on Saturday.

Boston College loses to North Carolina State. The Eagles are still in it, mainly because all these teams around them in this blog post have lost.

Virginia Tech loses to North Carolina. Another great effort by the Hokies. They always give great efforts, but rarely get great wins. A road victory against Florida State is now pretty necessary.

Miami (FL) loses to Georgia Tech. Whoa. I wasn't expecting this. A 7-9 ACC mark could make it in, but only with a deep run in the tourney. It won't start out well as they probably get the 8/9 game vs. Maryland or Virginia Tech, both of which will also be desperate teams.

UAB loses to UTEP. The Blazers were the CUSA's best shot at an at-large bid other than Memphis, of course.

New Mexico beats Utah. Ending on a good note. The Lobos move into a first-place tie with the Utes in the Mountain West, though their non-conference schedule keeps them out of an at-large.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Bracket - March 2

Washington was the big winner this week as they swept the Arizona schools en route to at least a share of the Pac-10 championship. They move up to the highest 4 seed on the S-curve.

Turning our attention to the cut line, Oklahoma State finally got a good win on their resume with a home win vs. Texas. No matter what happens against Kansas State on Tuesday however, they really need to win against Oklahoma to get in the NCAAs without a deep run in the Big 12 tourney. Fellow Big 12 member Texas A&M joins the bracket as a 12 seed. They're on a 4-game winning streak and hold wins against Texas, Arizona, and LSU.

From the ACC, Maryland and Miami (FL) re-joins the field of 65. A competitive game against Duke and a road win vs. NC State pushed Maryland into the field. Miami's 6-8 conference record isn't particularly attractive but when those wins include Maryland, Wake Forest, Florida State and a sweep of Boston College, that's better than some teams' entire resumes. Plus, their remaining schedule (@GT and vs. NC St.) sets up well for an 8-8 record heading into the ACC tournament.

Losses by Cincinnati, Michigan, and Virginia Tech dropped them out of today's bracket.