Before we move on to the actual games (starting tomorrow night with the Opening Round!), let's take one more look at this site's bracket projection and how it compared to the real thing. As I always say (which means you'll undoubtedly become tired of hearing it), it's nearly impossible for one person, even while using the highest level of critical thought, to accurately guess what a 10-person committee is going to do. (Trust me on this, I spent many of my grad school days trying to statistically determine the outcomes of Supreme Court cases.)
So, why do I do it? Because I find it a challenge and it's fun, which probably tells you all you need to know about my idea of fun.
Here's a comparison of my overall performance this year to my first three years of projections.
- I correctly selected 33 of 34 at-large teams this year. Last year, I got all 34. In 2006 and 2007, I only got 32 of 34.
- I correctly seeded 31 of the 65 teams, which isn't as good as last year (36), but is far better than the 23 I got in 2007 and 28 in 2006.
- 22 seeds were off by one line, which is the same as last year. That's an improvement over 25 in 2007, but not as good as 19 in 2006.
- 9 teams were off by 2 lines, which is more than double the 4 I missed at this rate last year, but better than the 12 I had in 2007 or the 13 I had in 2006.
- 2 teams were off by 3 lines, better than the 3 that were off two or more last year, the 4 that were off that much in 2007, and the 6 that were off by at least two lines in 2006.
Now, let's take a look at the differences line by line.
My Projected 2 Seeds:
Connecticut, Duke, Michigan State, Oklahoma
The Committee's Differences: Memphis
The only real argument I can make for not making the Huskies a 1 is that they just haven't looked quite the same without Jerome Dyson. I also was a little concerned that the Committee was going to be leery about putting three Big East teams on the top line. Memphis's early season struggles and conference-strength issues are two definite arguments against their selection, making it far easier to understand the Committee's choice.
I obviously have no arguments here, as this is the only line where I was perfect. I thought the Orange would be the team most likely to drop down a line.
I thought the Seminoles would remain here even after their loss to Duke in the ACC Championship. I had the Musketeers as a protected seed for much of the season, but wavered after they dropped consecutive games at Duquesne and Dayton back in February. I figured that losses to Richmond and Temple wouldn't help their case either. Early season wins over a 2 (Memphis) and a 3 (Missouri) obviously helped.
I really wasn't sure what the Committee would do after the Sun Devils and Bruins lost in the Pac-10 tournament. I didn't expect Illinois to be this high after their loss to Purdue in the Big Ten semifinals. Utah, however, was a major surprise. Wins over Gonzaga and LSU, a 12-4 Mountain West record, and a good computer profile certainly helped their case.
My Projected 6 Seeds:
Clemson, Illinois, Marquette, Xavier
The Committee's Differences: Arizona State, UCLA, West Virginia
Three of my four fives ended up down here on line 6. Given that there isn't much of a difference between seed lines, (Remember that the Committee can move a team up or down a line to fulfill bracketing rules.) performances like this can be expected. Who knows how high Marquette would have been had Dominic James remained in the lineup.
As I said, I had the Eagles as a 7 in my early Sunday bracket due to a move based on bracketing principles. I expected the Golden Bears to be lower because of some late season struggles. This is right about where Clemson probably should be after the way they finished the season. Texas certainly has the wins in their profile to justify this seed.
My Projected 8 Seeds: BYU, Ohio State,
Texas, Utah State
The Committee's Differences: LSU, Oklahoma State
I anticipated Utah State getting a higher seedbecause of their computer numbers, but their struggles late in the regular season and lack of non-conference wins (other than Utah) probably made the Committee drop them. LSU is probably here for similar reasons. With Texas moving up a line, it was logical that the Cowboys would be around here.
My Projected 9 Seeds:
California, Oklahoma State, Siena, Temple
The Committee's Differences: Butler, Tennessee, Texas A&M
Siena went 0-3 at the Old Spice Classic and Tennessee went 2-1 in the same tournament (losing the final in OT) and they both end up here. Odd. A&M was far safer than I had anticipated.
I would have pegged Wisconsin to be safer than Minnesota, but then again, the Badgers don't have a win over a 1 seed on their resume. I thought Maryland was safe heading into Sunday, but not this safe.
My Projected 11 Seeds: Dayton,
Maryland, Texas A&M, VCU
The Committee's Differences: Temple, Utah State
Two of the three at-larges that I had on this line ended up higher, with their spots on taken by automatic qualifiers. Understandable, but not necessarily fair.
I'm a bit surprised that the Panthers got the nod here as a 12 over the SEC tournament champions. Then again, UNI has something that MSU doesn't, a win over Auburn. At least they didn't receive the 14 a far poorer Georgia team got for winning as an underdog last season.
My Projected 13 Seeds:
American, Cleveland State, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa
The Committee's Differences: Akron, Mississippi State, Portland State
I didn't think the winner of the MAC mosh pit would end up this high. Do you think LeBron called in some favors with the committee? Portland State definitely deserves a spot here thanks to their win at Gonzaga.
My Projected 14 Seeds:
Akron, Binghamton, Cornell, Portland State
The Committee's Differences: American, North Dakota State, Stephen F. Austin
I was very surprised the Bison fell down to line 14, but I'll chalk that up to the fact the bulk of the Summit League wasn't very good this year. It seems like a lot of teams on these last four lines were rewarded or punished for their league's overall rating.
My Projected 15 Seeds:
East Tennessee State, Morgan State, Robert Morris, Stephen F. Austin
The Committee's Differences: Binghamton, Cal State-Northridge
CSUN is a further example of this. All of the Big West contenders had records that screamed 16 line, but as a group the conference's RPI was higher than you'd expect (18th of 31), so that's why they're probably here.
My Projected 16 Seeds: Alabama State,
Cal State-Northridge, Chattanooga, Morehead State, Radford
The Committee's Differences: East Tennessee State
It was a bit surprising to see Morehead State in the Opening Round game instead of Chattanooga, the team with the second-lowest RPI (32 places below the Eagles) in the field. Again, the Mocs look to have received credit for the relative strength of the SoCon (20th in conference RPI) compared to the OVC (23rd). I also expected to see ETSU a bit higher, but since the A-Sun was 27th in conference rating, they were probably dinged for that.
Since I have to make my way up to Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon, picks will be out one day earlier than I had originally planned. Stay tuned. I look forward to the debate on those.