Bracketology 2017: December 5, 2016

With most teams having a sample size of 6-9 games in the books, early December offers us our first chance to reset the field of 68.  Here are some thoughts on this field of 68:

  • I use a "if the season ended today" approach to picking my at-large teams and seeding the field.  Automatic berths are largely taken from who KenPom projects to win the field, with only one exception (I took Bucknell over Lehigh in the Patriot).
  • On the bubble, I choose Dayton, Michigan St, VCU, Providence, SMU and Pitt over Miami, Marquette, Seton Hall and Minnesota.  Strength of schedule was a big factor for whether you are in or out and this point.  Most of the teams out haven't had many quality wins to date. 
  • Speaking of Michigan St, the Spartans almost didn't make the field at only one game over .500 after a gauntlet in November.  I fully expect them to steadily climb as the season wears on and their freshman grow.
  • UCLA's win over Kentucky catapults them all the way up to 1-seed.  They are clearly the class of the Pac-12 right now - and their biggest threat may be cross town rival USC in a bit of a surprise.
  • Indiana has the two best wins of the season, but that loss at Fort Wayne weighs their stock down.  I have the Hoosiers as a high three seed.
  • Baylor and Gonzaga just keep winning and take up two other spots on the top-line, along with #1-overall seed Villanova.  I've had the Wildcats atop my rankings for a couple weeks now.
  • San Diego St's loss to Loyola (IL) has taken them out of the at-large discussion.  With only three opponents left in the KenPom Top 100, they may have to win the MWC to have a shot at the field.
  • Michigan seems safe for now at a 9-seed, but it's a big week for them with Texas and UCLA coming to Ann Arbor coming off a 2-2 stint.
  • Kansas St and Wichita St swapped 9/10 seeds to help avoid a Big 12 rematch in the opening weekend in their pods.

Seed list

  1. Villanova, Baylor, Gonzaga, UCLA
  2. Kansas, Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky
  3. Virginia, Indiana, Butler, Louisville
  4. Saint Mary's, Xavier, West Virginia, Creighton
  5. Wisconsin, Florida, Cincinnati, South Carolina
  6. USC, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Arizona
  7. Florida St, Oregon, Purdue Syracuse
  8. Clemson, Ohio St, Maryland, Oklahoma St
  9. Iowa St, Wichita St, TCU, Michigan
  10. Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Kansas St, Northwestern
  11. Dayton, Michigan St, VCU, Providence, Fort Wayne
  12. Florida Gulf Coast, San Diego St, Valparaiso, SMU, Pitt
  13. Middle Tennessee, UT Arlington, UNC Wilmington, Winthrop
  14. Vermont, Chattanooga, Monmouth, Eastern Michigan
  15. Princeton, Belmont, Bucknell, Cal St Bakersfield
  16. UC Irvine, North Dakota, Stephen F Austin, Wagner, Texas Southern, NC Central

Bids by conference:

Atlantic Coast Conference 10
Big 12 Conference 8
Big Ten Conference 8
Big East Conference 5
Pac-12 Conference 4
Southeastern Conference 4
American Athletic Conference 2
Atlantic 10 Conference 2
West Coast Conference 2
America East Conference 1
Atlantic Sun Conference 1
Big Sky Conference 1
Big South Conference 1
Big West Conference 1
Colonial Athletic Association 1
Conference USA 1
Horizon League 1
Ivy League 1
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference 1
Mid-American Conference 1
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference 1
Missouri Valley Conference 1
Mountain West Conference 1
Northeast Conference 1
Ohio Valley Conference 1
Patriot League 1
Southern Conference 1
Southland Conference 1
Southwestern Athletic Conference 1
Sun Belt Conference 1
Summit League 1
Western Athletic Conference 1