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Absurdly Early 2011 Bracketology, The Prologue: Looking Back At 2010

Happy November! The wait is almost over, as one week from today, it will finally be Opening Night, with Coaches vs. Cancer "regional round" on-campus matchups getting the season started.

Between Tuesday and Friday, I'll be revealing my 2010-11 preseason bracket region-by-region. (Be glad CBS elects not to do this on Selection Sunday.) But today, I'd like to take a look back at last year's preseason effort, my first ever attempt at coming up with a bracket at such an early stage.

Results after the jump.

Considering that coming up with a preseason bracket is akin to playing darts after a power outage, my projections had a few hits and several misses.

Here's a quick numerical breakdown.

  • 12 of 31 auto bids correctly picked (although these were all laughably obvious)
  • 22 of 34 at-large teams correct 
  • 9 teams' seeds correctly predicted, with 4 auto bid winners also earning the seed I predicted for their conference's incorrectly picked winner--Kansas and Kentucky were correctly picked as 1 seeds, and I had the Jayhawks and 9th seeded Northern Iowa in the same pod. 
  • 7 teams' within one line of their final correct seed, with 4 auto bid winners also within one line of the seed I predicted for their conference's incorrectly picked winner.

Now, thanks to Tableizer, here are a few more specifics.

On the conference side, I overestimated the number of bids for the Big Ten, SEC, and Pac-10, while underestimating everyone else's totals, except for the ACC.

Conference Preseason Actual
Big East 7 8
Big 12 6 7
ACC 6 6
Big Ten 7 5
SEC 6 4
MWC 3 4
A-10 2 3
Pac-10 5 2
C-USA 1 2
WCC 1 2

Here's the list of at-large teams I missed, and their replacements.

Preseason Bracket Actual Bracket
Arizona Baylor
Cincinnati Marquette
Connecticut Missouri
Illinois New Mexico
Michigan New Mexico State*
Mississippi Notre Dame
Mississippi State Pittsburgh
North Carolina* Richmond
Northwestern St. Mary's
Oklahoma UTEP
Oregon State Wake Forest
UCLA Wisconsin


New Mexico State receives an asterisk because I had Utah State, who got in as one of the final at-large entrants, in my preseason bracket as the WAC champion. On the other hand, North Carolina is starred since, during preseason last year, it was unfathomable that they'd miss completely, even if it was very possible that they wouldn't win the ACC Tournament.

Keeping with the in and out theme, these teams were the biggest surprises of the 2009-10 campaign.

Team Preseason Actual
New Mexico out 3
Pittsburgh out 3
Marquette out 6
Wake Forest out 9
St. Mary's out 10
Houston out 13*
Notre Dame First 4 Out 6
Wisconsin Next 4 Out 4
Richmond Next 4 Out 7
UTEP Next 4 Out 12


The lesson here: Don't leave Pitt and Wisconsin out, no matter what the rosters look like. Houston receives an asterisk because they only got in by earning Conference USA's auto bid

On the other hand, these teams were the biggest disappointments. Most of them will look familiar.

Team Preseason Actual
North Carolina 2 out
Connecticut 4 out
Illinois 5 out
Oklahoma 5 out
Michigan 6 out
Mississippi State 6 out
UCLA 7 out
Tulsa 8 out
Mississippi 9 out


On the seeding front, these teams outperformed my expectations.

Team Preseason Actual Seed Lines Higher
Xavier 12 6 6
Georgetown 8 3 5
Texas A&M 10 5 5
UNLV 12 8 4
Oklahoma State 11 7 4
Kansas State 6 2 4


While these teams dropped down the bracket as the season went on.

Team Preseason Actual Seed Lines Lower
Washington 3 11 8
Texas 2 8 6
Siena 8 13 5
Georgia Tech 5 10 5
California 3 8 5
Michigan State 1 5 4


My conclusion: Enjoy these next four posts, but don't read too much into them. Just think of these entries as ways to pass a little more time before the journey begins all over again.