clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Bracketology 2022: One Final Look at the Bubble for 2022

Richmond’s win in the Atlantic 10 final relegated someone to the NIT. But who it will end up being is anybody’s guess. I’ve made mine for better or worse.

The final Cut Line picture for the projected Men’s NCAA Tournament bracket for the afternoon of Selection Sunday, March 13, 2022.
Graphic by Chris Dobbertean. Logos from SportsLogos.net.

Acknowledgements: NET rankings and records are accurate as of Sunday, March 13, 2022. Both reflect only games against Division I teams. Selection Sheet info is from WarrenNolan.com. Team logos are from Chris Creamer’s SportsLogos.net.

All times are Eastern.

The Full Final Projected Bracket for 2022

The Cut Line

Last Four Byes

D(41) (42) Indiana, (43) Miami, (44) Wyoming

(41) Davidson, (42), Iowa State, (43) Indiana, (44) Miami

Last Four IN

(45) Wyoming (24-8/13-5 MW/11-6 vs. Q1& Q2/4-5 vs. Q1 only/NET: 50/KenPom: 58)

The Cowboys looked to be safely in just a little more than a week ago, but then they lost at UNLV and needed overtime to defeat Fresno State at home. At least Wyoming won its rapid rematch with the Runnin’ Rebels in the Mountain West Tournament’s 4 vs. 5 game then bravely came back against Boise State before falling short, 68-61, in Friday’s semifinals.

Even though Wyoming has four Q1 wins, just two of those came against teams currently in the field. And both, against Colorado State and Boise State, came in Laramie. A pair of sub-100 losses to Stanford in the Diamond Head Classic and a February 15th defeat against ninth-placed New Mexico don’t help either.

If Wyoming finds itself excluded, it can place the blame on an 0-3 mark in Q1A games.

(46) Texas A&M (22-12/9-9 SEC/9-10 vs. Q1& Q2/4-10 vs. Q1 only/NET: 42/KenPom: 43)

Had the Aggies not followed a 4-0 start to SEC play by losing nine of 10, they wouldn’t have needed to win today’s SEC Tournament title to qualify. Few teams in the country are playing as well as Buzz Williams’ squad right now, despite today’s defeat at the hands of Tennessee. A&M recorded its first three high-quality Quad 1A wins (those against the top 30 at home, top 50 on a neutral floor, and top 75 on the road) in the past 11 days: at Alabama on March 2nd and over Auburn and Arkansas in their second and third games in Tampa. A win over Notre Dame in the Maui Invitational in Las Vegas helps too. A&M has a pair of Quad 3 losses—to South Carolina at home and at Missouri (the bane of Texas-based bubble teams in 2022), but considering how Saturday’s win shifted the Aggies’ selection sheet in comparison to those of the other teams in this list, they may be in even with today’s loss.

If Texas A&M is out, it can place the blame on that long losing streak.

(47) Michigan (17-14/11-9 Big Ten/8-13 vs. Q1& Q2/5-10 vs. Q1 only/NET: 34/KenPom: 33)

Had the Wolverines not managed to stop the bleeding late against Indiana on Thursday afternoon, they might have both done their metrics a bit too much damage and left the Selection Committee with a terrible final impression. However, Michigan’s five-point loss spared some major grief, though it won’t make the wait between now and 6 p.m. Eastern any easier. Five Quad 1 wins, with four now counting as Q1A victories and two sub-100 losses (at home against Minnesota on December 11th and at UCF on December 30th) should be enough—particularly since two of the Q1A victories came late in the season away from home (Iowa and Ohio State). Earlier victories over San Diego State and at Indiana will also help. However, I can’t help but think that this team is going to need to play an extra game one year after falling just short of the Final Four.

If Michigan ends up in the NIT, it can place the blame on Thursday’s collapse against Indiana.

(48) Rutgers (18-13/12-8 Big Ten/9-10 vs. Q1& Q2/6-6 vs. Q1 only/NET: 77/KenPom: 74)

The Scarlet Knights’ profile will be a test of what the Committee really truly valued in 2022. Is it quality wins? If so, Rutgers should be in easily, thanks to six Quad 1 wins, including five Q1A victories. Or, is it metrics? If this is the case, Steve Pikiell’s team’s early struggles and some poorly timed blowouts led to predictive metrics that are well out of at-large range and result-based metrics that are borderline (if I’m being kind).

Given the Committee’s emphasis on quality wins during February’s sneak peek—handing Tennessee a 3 seed in February with a 5-6 record in Quad 1 games, but with three Q1A wins at the time, while leaving a Houston team ranked third in the NET, but without a single Q1 win of any kind, out of the Top 16 entirely—makes me think that the Scarlet Knights will sneak in because of their high-quality wins.

If Rutgers fails to get in, it can place the blame on indifferent non-conference results.

First Four OUT

(47) SMU (23-8/13-4 American/6-6 vs. Q1& Q2/2-2 vs. Q1 only/NET: 44/KenPom: 52)

The Mustangs have been playing a game of in and out all week. They’re back out following Richmond’s win. The best things SMU’s résumé has going for it are a home victory over Houston, a potentially crucial non-conference home win over Dayton, and the regular season sweep of the Tigers. But SMU also has three head-scratching sub-100 losses, one at Temple from conference play and two from an 0-2 trip to the Jacksonville Classic in November—to Missouri and Loyola Marymount. Still, Tim Jankovich’s team has won eight of its last 12, if the Committee wants to consider how a bubble squad finished in its deliberations.

If SMU is not selected, it can place the blame on those two hellacious losses and a failure to defeat Memphis for a third time.

(70) Oklahoma (18-15/7-11 Big 12/10-14 vs. Q1& Q2/4-12 vs. Q1 only/NET: 40/KenPom: 30)

On the other hand, if the Committee wants to show that it values metrics, all while respecting quality wins, the Sooners might find themselves selected instead of Rutgers or SMU. Thursday’s Big 12 quarterfinal win over likely No. 1 seed Baylor was Oklahoma’s third Q1A win, albeit against eight losses. If Porter Moser’s team ends up in the NIT, there may be some regret over Friday’s one-point loss to Texas Tech in the semifinals. However, if you’re going to include Michigan and consider Xavier, you have to keep Oklahoma’s similar résumé. The Sooners have fewer Q2 and Q3 losses (3) than both Michigan (4) and Xavier (5). Plus, the predictive metrics the Committee favors all love Oklahoma, with the Sooners ranking in the Top 35 in each. Results-based metrics, however, favor Michigan over both OU and Xavier.

(71) Xavier (18-13/8-11 Big East/9-11 vs. Q1& Q2/5-8 vs. Q1 only/NET: 40/KenPom: 60)

Wednesday’s overtime loss to Butler in the Big East 8 vs. 9 game was the Musketeers’ eighth in their final 10 games, with the wins coming against UConn (good) and Georgetown (not as helpful). Xavier’s profile will be yet another test for the Committee, as it shows a team that has five Q1 wins against eight losses, but two of those came at home and another came at Oklahoma State, who finished below .500. Plus, unlike both Michigan and Oklahoma, who have otherwise similar profiles, the Musketeers went 0-5 in Q1A games. Making matters worse, Xavier’s Big East Tournament loss was its second Q3 loss of the season, along with an inexplicable four-point home loss to DePaul.

(72) Notre Dame (21-10/15-5 ACC/4-9 vs. Q1& Q2/2-8 vs. Q1 only/NET: 53/KenPom: 54)

The Fighting Irish would have locked up a bid with a win over Virginia Tech in Thursday’s ACC quarterfinals. Instead, the Hokies have now left Mike Brey’s team in the dust and on the way down to the NIT. For Notre Dame, the question that must be asked is “How far can a home win over Kentucky take you in the Committee room?” Sure, the Irish won 15 ACC games, but two of the losses aren’t great (at Boston College and Florida State), while their record against fellow ACC bubble teams now stands at just 2-3. Plus, Texas A&M’s win over Notre Dame in the Maui Invitational in Vegas hurts even more now.

Sure, Notre Dame finished second in the ACC, but unbalanced schedules make that a hollow accomplishment. This isn’t the Champions League after all. In finishing 15-5, the Fighting Irish went 2-3 against ACC members in the field, 2-4 when expanding that out to include Wake Forest.

It’s going to be a long, anxious wait until 6 p.m. in South Bend.

Next Five Out

(73) Wake Forest, (74), North Texas, (75) VCU, (76) Dayton, (77) BYU