Friday, February 27, 2009

Bracket - February 27

I usually don't update the site on Saturdays but I do answer emails and make corrections when I can. However, tomorrow, I will be completely away from my computer as I head to Berkeley to see ESPN's College Gameday and the game vs. UCLA. As a Cal alum, I must say...Go Bears!

I moved Oklahoma down to the 2 seed. Many bracketologists are giving them the benefit of the doubt with Blake Griffin out of the lineup (though some moved up Kansas because of the win...come on, be consistent guys). I gave them that benefit at Texas. I'm not with a home loss to Kansas. However, based on remaining strength of schedule, Oklahoma is in prime position to re-capture a #1 seed.

Dayton and Temple both lost this week, setting up a huge matchup on Saturday. The winner I think will be in the bracket come Monday.

Teams moving back into the bracket include Virginia Tech, with a great road win vs. Clemson after losing three straight, Cincinnati, spoiling Huggins' return, Michigan, also bouncing back with a win over Purdue, and Oklahoma State. The Cowboys benefit the same way as Kansas State did last Monday...they just keep winning (winners of 4 straight). However, if they can't beat Texas or Oklahoma, it'll move them right back out because they have no wins against any Big 12 teams projected to be in the NCAAs (0-4 against Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri). Just ask last year's VaTech what the lack of wins against ACC teams that went to the NCAAs got them.

St. Mary's moves up to an 11 seed, as a result of a switch with Dayton to satisfy bracket principles. However, with the weak remaining schedule and the continued uncertainty of the availability of Patty Mills, it seems they need to win the conference tournament to get in.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Who can you trust?

Lost in the sea of brackets of The Bracket Matrix lies this question: who can I trust? Just because a national writer is making a bracket doesn't mean it's going to be right. At the same time, you shouldn't always disregard the opinion of a lowly blogger. Being the best at predicting a bracket in any given year is a crapshoot. However, if you consistently produce good brackets year after year, you build trust. After 3 full years of The Bracket Matrix, which sites fit the bill?

Using the final results from each year, every site had a Paymon score calculated. Then the variance was calculated to see how much better each site did compared to the average for that year.

17 sites have submitted a final bracket to the matrix in all three years. The results confirm that Bracketology 101 has been the best, most consistent site out there for the last three years, averaging 15 points higher than the average bracket produced. My site and March Madness All Season are tied for second. It's interesting to note that while 2007 was my best year, it was generally considered to be a poor year for the committee. I guess I just channeled them pretty well that year.

In addition, MAG, The Bracket Board, Bracketography, Bracket Predictions, and Warren Nolan are the other active sites that have, over the course of three years, produced better-than-average brackets.

Everybody's favorite bracketologist, ESPN's Joe Lunardi, comes in tied for 12th.

Of course, just because these sites may not perform well in the final exam doesn't mean they are not valuable sources of information throughout the season. Bracket Express, while 15th, was always a must-read for me. It's too bad it hasn't been updated this year. Plus, with only 3 years, it's a small sample size. Some of these guys have been doing this for a lot longer than 3 years.

The complete results, including sites with less than 3 years in the matrix, can be found in the link below.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Bracket - February 23

First off, thanks to links from Sports Illustrated and the Wall Street Journal, the Bracket Matrix reached 10,000 hits in a single day today. Usually, this occurs in March so thank you for reading and for those here for the first time, welcome.

For today's bracket, we bid farewell to Cincinnati, which suffered a home loss to Louisville, San Diego State, with a 26-point loss to New Mexico, Michigan, which shouldn't be losing to Iowa but they did, and USC, which fell further behind in the Pac-10 race with a loss to Washington.

Who replaces them? Kansas State and 3 mid-majors. KSU has won 8 out of 9 and while I did knock their non-conference schedule in the previous post, at least they're winning, which is more than what I can say for quite a few bubble teams. UNLV got a big win over BYU, albeit by a point. Temple has good non-conference wins against Tennessee and Penn State and they're also in the thick of things in the Atlantic 10 race. The winner of Dayton and Temple on Saturday will stay in the bracket next week (as long as they both win their games against Rhode Island and La Salle this week respectively). Finally, St. Mary's seems to have found its stride as Patrick Mills recovers from his injury with 3 wins in a row over Portland, San Diego, and Utah State. With Mills slated back for the conference tournament, we need to see if they can finish what they started against Gonzaga before Mills got injured.

Maryland has had a topsy-turvy season so far, but with its upset over North Carolina, they are right on the bubble. I still have them out though. One win vs. Duke or Wake Forest greatly reduces the need to perform well in the conference tourney and secure an at-large bid. If their inconsistency continues, they'll be hitting the NIT for the fourth time in 5 years.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bracket - February 20

For this bracket, I had two spots open after Virginia Tech fell to Virginia and UNLV fell to Wyoming. I had three teams in mind: Penn State, Michigan, and Kansas State. Kansas State pretty much lost out with the lack of a quality win in their non-conference schedule. In fact, its only significant win is against Missouri. Instead, it has a bad loss against Oregon. Arguably, Penn State also doesn't have a non-conference quality win (Georgia Tech?), but it doesn't have a bad loss. Thus, the Nittany Lions and Wolverines make it in. (For bracketing purposes, Michigan switched with Davidson on the 11/12 lines to make things fit.)

Georgetown is also at the edge but a simple win over South Florida isn't enough right now. Win 2 of the next 3, and then we'll talk.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Bracket - February 16

No change at the top again as UConn, UNC, OU, and Pitt kept their spots on the top line. As for the bottom, well.

Miami and Georgetown lost again in conference play. With only 4 wins apiece in their respective conferences, it was tough to keep them in even with their stellar computer numbers. Boston College re-joins the dance with a big home win over Duke. UNLV also comes back with two wins to right the ship. With games remaining against all the Mountain West leaders except New Mexico, where everything shakes out will still be a mystery until the end of the conference tourney. (Oh, in Las Vegas.)

The Pac-10 looks to be a muddled mess again as UCLA last week looked to break from the pack but the Arizona schools pulled them right back in. Washington currently tops the standings with Arizona St., UCLA, and Cal one game back, and the red-hot Wildcats of Arizona two back.

The aforementioned Canes and Hoyas join Michigan and Oklahoma State on the top line of the NIT projection.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Bracket - February 13

The only change to the at-larges was the addition of Kentucky, fresh off its much-needed win over Florida. The Wildcats replaced Michigan, which lost to Michigan State at home.

Clemson leaped to a #2 seed after Louisville, Wake Forest, and UCLA lost.

For the NIT, the top seeds currently projected are Oklahoma State, Notre Dame, UNLV, and Boston College.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bracket - February 9

Connecticut, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Pittsburgh constitute the top line of the bracket on this day. Duke had a number one seed before this bracket but a Clemson loss and a close OT win over Miami at home cost them.

Memphis headed to the northwest to face Gonzaga and got out with a convincing victory. The Tigers now have a signature win, on the road no less, and that pushed them into the #2 seed. However, UTEP, UAB, and Houston are still ahead of them, all on the road.

The bubble is quite muddled right now. It's like that every year, but every year, we always seem to forget. Virginia Tech, Michigan, Cincinnati, and Dayton were my last teams in. The Hokies will probably battle BC for the last ACC spot unless Maryland starts getting hot. Michigan got a much-needed win against Penn State and hung tough with UConn. Cincinnati got good wins over floundering Big East teams Notre Dame and Georgetown. And the Flyers need a win over Xavier on Wednesday to stay in the bracket.

Ok State, UNLV, Kentucky and BC were the first teams out (and the #1 seeds in my NIT bracket). Oklahoma State joins a bunch of Big 12 teams that are failing to distance themselves from the pack (Kansas State, Nebraska, Baylor, Texas A&M, and possibly Texas if it doesn't get its act together). UNLV finds itself out after losses to New Mexico and San Diego State. It'll be interesting to see if the Mountain West can settle down just a bit and be able to support 4 bids out of that conference.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bracket - February 6

Yep...just a tad late putting this blog post out. So really it's just a formality for the archive.

Duke kept its #1 seed in this bracket. (It won't on Monday.)

UNLV dropped out of this bracket. (It'll stay out on Monday.)

Same with Kentucky.

Kansas State and Cincinnati are still out. (But they'll be knocking on the door, if not in, on Monday.)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bracket - February 2

Today marks the first day of increased tourney coverage by the Bracket Project. Brackets will be released on Mondays and Fridays and the NIT bracket will also be released. Last year, I tried to cover the CBI tournament as well, but with the tournament poised to make its debut (do we even need a fourth tournament?), I'm just going to list the next 32 teams after the NIT cut line.

Remember the ACC's performance in football this year? No dominant teams but lots of parity. SEC basketball is slowly becoming like ACC football. No SEC team in my bracket is higher than a 7 seed with the likes of Florida, Tennessee, and Kentucky starting to lose. However, in the past weeks, South Carolina and LSU have started to string together some wins and now the SEC has pushed their representation to 5 teams in the bracket when common thinking used to be 3 or 4.

The first teams out this week were Miami, Wisconsin, San Diego State, and UAB.

(Edit: Obviously, I'm a little rusty with placing teams in the NIT. Iowa and Mississippi were switched to avoid a potential conference rematch with Michigan.)