Discussing the Bracket Matrix (2/1/21)

Hello, college basketball fans!

Today I'm discussing the Bracket Matrix which takes my latest bracket as well as many other brackets across the internet including many you might be familiar with including CBS Sports, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, FOX Sports, and others. The update may change daily, the numbers featured in this FanPost are based on the Bracket Matrix update from February 1, 2021. NET Data are from and are accurate as of last night's games (they are different from my bracket yesterday which was accurate as of Sunday's games).

For those who have never seen any of my "Discussing the Bracket Matrix" series before, teams are ranked by "average seed". In the update discussed, a total of 86 brackets were used.

The four #1 seeds are the Gonzaga Bulldogs, the Baylor Bears, the Michigan Wolverines, and the Villanova Wildcats, the same four #1 seeds as my bracket. The Bracket Matrix doesn't track the order of the seeds in individual brackets. I have the order Gonzaga, Baylor, Villanova, and Michigan with Villanova ahead because they have the better win at Texas. Michigan's best road win is at Purdue and their best home win is over Wisconsin. Gonzaga, Baylor, and Michigan are all unanimous #1 seeds. Villanova's average seed is an unusually high 1.45 but it is inflated by one bracket having them as an EIGHT seed!!!

The Houston Cougars (1.70), Alabama Crimson Tide (2.16), Texas Longhorns (2.21), and Iowa Hawkeyes (2.41) are the #2 seeds. Houston and Alabama both received #1 seeds from several bracketologists surveyed. I had Houston and Texas as #2 seeds and Alabama and Iowa as #3 seeds. Brackets in this update are dated between January 26 and February 1 and both Alabama and Iowa lost in the past weekend which explains why I dropped Alabama and Iowa to the #3 line.

The #3 seeds were the Ohio State Buckeyes (2.77), Illinois Fighting Illini (3.21), Virginia Cavaliers (3.45), and Tennessee Volunteers (3.49). I had Ohio State and Illinois as #2 seeds, replacing Alabama and Iowa. Illinois beat Iowa last Friday night and the head to head victory allowed Illinois to jump Iowa as the fourth #2 seed (Ohio State was ahead of Illinois because of the earlier head to head win). I had Tennessee as a #3 seed but I had Virginia as a #4 seed and again not coincidentally they lost Saturday.

The #4 seeds were the Wisconsin Badgers (3.95), the Missouri Tigers (4.24), the West Virginia Mountaineers (4.48), and Florida State Seminoles (4.60). I had Wisconsin as a #4, Missouri and West Virginia as #5's, and Florida State as a #6 (West Virginia and Florida State both lost over the weekend, West Virginia at home). Teams making my Sweet 16 seeds but not the Bracket Matrix Sweet 16 were Bracket Matrix #5 seeds Oklahoma Sooners (who I had as a #3 seed despite being just a #5 in the Matrix), Texas Tech Red Raiders (#4 seed), and Kansas Jayhawks (#4 seed). I finished my bracket before Texas Tech beat Oklahoma on Monday night. Oklahoma beat Alabama on Saturday so some of the brackets did not include that result. There are four brackets dated January 26. The seeds for Oklahoma for those brackets are 6, 9, 9, and 7. Those brackets didn't account for Oklahoma's win over Alabama or their road win at Texas. Oklahoma's NET ranking is 18 (not sure what it was yesterday when I put the bracket together) but Oklahoma has four quad 1 wins including a win over West Virginia. Creighton rounds out the Bracket Matrix's #5 seeds, I had Purdue as a #5 seed instead.

Teams I have seeded 2 or more places higher or lower than their Bracket Matrix seed:

Rutgers (I have them a #6, they have them a #8). Rutgers is #32 in the NET with four Quad 1 wins including a home win over #5 Illinois and only one loss to a team Quad 2 or lower (and it's a Quad 2 loss, at #96 Michigan State, a team they beat by 30 last Thursday).

Boise State (Me #7, Matrix #9): NET #22, two Quad 1 wins, no losses outside of Quad 1, both losses are on the road, one loss is to #4 Houston.

Indiana (Me: #9, Matrix #11): NET #47, two Quad 1 wins including at #7 Iowa.

Oregon (Me #12, last four in, Matrix #9): NET #49, no Quad 1 wins, just two Quad 1 games played, Quad 3 loss at home to #144 Oregon State.

Connecticut (Me #12, last four in, Matrix #10): NET #46, one Quad 1 win, Quad 3 loss at home to #85 St. John's.

Team I have in but the Matrix doesn't have in:

Richmond (Chosen on 33 of 86 brackets, the most number of brackets for any team that didn't make the Bracket Matrix): NET #52, three Quad 1 wins including #14 Loyola Chicago.

Maryland (Chosen on 25 of 86 brackets, the 2nd most number of brackets for any team that didn't make the Matrix): NET #43, three Quad 1 wins including at #5 Illinois and at #17 Wisconsin, only one Quad 2 loss, no Quad 3 or Quad 4 losses. The biggest issue with Maryland is their overall record of 8-8.

Georgia Tech (Chosen on 11 brackets): NET #61 (OK, that's bad). The win over Florida State last Saturday and the win over North Carolina (a fellow bubble team) helped get them into my bracket. North Carolina was chosen on 84 of 86 brackets. Georgia Tech also has two bad Quad 3 losses, both at home. If Georgia Tech stays close to North Carolina, they will be hard to leave out (or it will give me reason to leave the Tar Heels out of future brackets). It's certainly something to look at. Also, their NET was hurt by a Monday game that I didn't have when I did my bracket.

Teams the Bracket Matrix had but I didn't:

Stanford (Chosen on 74 of 86 brackets): NET #56, two Quad 1 wins, no Quad 3 or Quad 4 losses.

St. Louis (Chosen on 72 of 86 brackets): NET #36 (highest NET of any .500 or above team left out of the Schmolik 64 2/1/21 bracket). Problem is they are 0-1 in Quad 1 games and 1-0 in Quad 2 games. Of course the biggest problem with the Billikens is they just haven't played a lot of games.

Seton Hall (Chosen on 43 of 86 brackets, the fewest number of brackets for any at large team that made the bracket): NET #57, two Quad 1 wins, no Quad 3 or Quad 4 losses.

Both Oregon and Seton Hall had low NET rankings and the same issue: they both lost head to head games to Oregon. I'm not sure if Georgia Tech was ahead of Stanford or Seton Hall. Stanford has wins over Alabama (on a neutral court) and UCLA at home. Seton Hall's best wins are at Penn State (counts as a Quad 1 win) and at Xavier.

Obviously the bracket will change every "cycle" so teams that are in this bracket can be out next time and vice versa. It will really only matter who's in the final bracket. I'm sure I'll post at least one if not more than one Bracket Matrix comparison. If you are doing your own bracket, use the Bracket Matrix to give you a guide as to how you are compared to others. Are you picking teams other teams aren't? If so, why? Are you leaving teams out other teams are? If so, why? Are you seeding teams higher/lower than others? Maybe other people are seeing things you aren't. Maybe you missed something. But keep up the bracketing!