West = Southwest
Vote in the poll and then defend your arguments.
--Jason "note: this thread can also be the home for discussion of which #1 seed has the toughest route to the FFour" Evans
West = Southwest
Using my trusty basketball rankings bible (aka kenpom), I added the kenpom rankings of the top twelve teams in each region together. I avoided using the bottom four seeds because the difference between teams the 100th team and the 150th team are minimal but their contribution to the overall score is significant. In addition, the chance that any of these team will have an influence on the tournament after the first weekend is low. For the two play-in games, I averaged the two opponents score and rounded to the nearest whole number before adding their score. Just like golf, lowest score wins the toughest region award:
The East is the clear winner thanks to teams like Kentucky (8) as a four seed, Washington (15) seven seed, and the overall number one, Ohio St. (1).
Like it or not, friends, Duke again has the easiest road to the final four with a whopping timmy c score of 370! You can point to Tennessee (55) a nine seed, and Memphis (85) a 12 seed as the biggest offenders.
Disagree with me… Comment below and let me have it!
I'll talk about the #1 roads. East is tougher b/c UNC/Cuse is a better 2/3 than SD. St/UCONN although the #1 only plays 1 of them. The 8/9 in those brackets are very similar. I'd say Tenn is better than Nova but GMU might be best of the 4. The 4 seeds are pretty even with Texas having a slight nod over UK and possiblity of Zona in California adds another wrinkle.
The SE is obviously the weakest. BYU should be a 4 and Fla. a 3. BYU should switch with UK and Fla. with UCONN. Heck, Duke should probably have a rematch with Purdue as the 4 and Texas should have their 3.
But the West is stronger than the SW. ND is better than SD St. but UCONN might be better than ND and UCONN/SD St. is a wash with ND/Purdue. Texas/Zona (in California) is stronger than Vandy/Louisville and their 8/9 game is a complete joke.
A nice idea, TimmyC... thanks for doing that.
The problem is once you get down to the #10-#12 seeds, you get a lot of variation in how tough those teams are. Getting the #7 vs. #80 team in KenPom is not that big a deal, but carries as much weight as a region getting the #1 team versus getting the #11 team. See my point?
Plus, those lower seeded teams don't really have much of an impact on a region. Sure, the occasional #12 or #13 will rise up and surprise everyone, but how often do teams seeded below about #6 make the Elite Eight? Not often at all.
I would be interested in seeing your same data but only looking at the top 4-6 seeds... or perhaps looking at all the way down to the top 8 seeds. But taking it all the way down to #12 just allows for too much variance in teams that are not significant players in the region.
Know what I mean?
-Jason "again, good research -- I gave you pitchfork points for doing this" Evans
kenpom is great and all but it is incomplete like any stat. Who would you rather play? Tenn or UNLV? UNLV is 22 on Kenpom compared to Tenn at 55. Personally, I'd rather face UNLV. Their compute numbers are great as they are an very efficient team but consistency from an 8 seed won't get you much. 8 seeds that can beat a # 1 seed (Tenn beating Pitt) are a lot scarier than a mid-major team where you know what you are getting from them.
And a lot of mid majors wins come before X-mas when a lot of power conference teams are figuring things out especially with their freshman. (Texas losing to USC, UNC losing to Ill. and Minn., Purdue losing to Richmond) Those games have a great influence on numbers but it is obvious that neither of these teams are the same with the development of their freshmen.
Tournament teams are mostly made up of championship teams, whether it be regular season or tournament. If you break down which teams are in which bracket by championships won you get this:
Big Ten (Season & Tourney)
Atlantic 10 (Season)
Missouri Valley (Tourney)
Northeast (Season & Tourney)
Big XII Champ (Season & Tourney)
American East Champ (Tourney)
Ohio Valley Champ (Tourney)
Metro Atlantic Champ (Tourney)
Mid American Champ (Tourney)
Atlantic 10 (Tourney)
Big East (Season)
Horizon (Season & Tourney)
WAC (Season & Tourney)
Atlantic Sun (Season & Tourney)
WCC (Season & Tourney)
Big West (Tourney)
Summit League (Season & Tourney)
Big East (Tourney)
Patriot League (Season & Tourney)
Big Sky (Season & Tourney)
Also, if you take a look at current AP ranking by bracket you get this:
1 - 6 - 11 - 15 - 18 - 20
2 - 4 - 9 - 14 - 22
3 - 8 - 12 - 13 - 17 - 19 - 23
5 - 7 - 10 - 16 - 21 - 24 - 25
Now, within this breakdown you separate the "big conferences" from the rest and appoint values.
4 BCS (3 Season, 2 Tourney)
5 Non-BCS (3 Season, 3 Tourney)
1 BCS (1 Season, 1 Tourney)
5 Non-BCS (5 Tourney)
2 BCS (2 Season)
7 Non-BCS (5 Season, 6 Tourney)
3 BCS (1 Season, 2 Tourney)
6 Non-BCS (4 Season, 6 Tourney)
5pts for a Non-BCS Championship
10pts for a BCS Championship
1.0 weight for Season Championship
1.5 weight for Tourney Championship
Each bracket then divided by average AP rank.
I might do a variable rating using KenPom rankings rather than AP the next time they are updated.
carolina is toast!
Ozzie, your paradigm of optimism!
Go To Hell carolina, Go To Hell!
9F 9F 9F
I would say the West is the most top-heavy, especially with Texas as a #4 (kenpom's #4 team in the country!), a potential matchup with SDSU in Anaheim (a virtual home game for them), and one of the nation's hottest teams (UConn). Arizona also looks like a tough #5, and they would be playing relatively close to home if they advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
But top-to-bottom, I gotta say the East is a little stronger overall. U-Dub (#7) is talented and capable of going on a tear, and the Syracuse (#3) zone could stifle either or both of UNC and OSU if the outside shots aren't falling. Of course, Barnes could also drop 30 per game while Zeller and Henson dominate inside, so UNC is capable of emerging here as well. And Kentucky is a pretty strong #4 (although not nearly as tough as Texas) and their record is a little deceiving: of their 8 losses, they lost 6 by a total of 13 points, and they were all on the opponents' home court (including @UNC, @UF, @Vandy). They also beat U-Dub and dismantled Notre Dame and Louisville, and they seem to be clicking right now...I would not want to face them in the Sweet Sixteen if I were OSU. Otherwise, all the CBS announcers all seemed to be in love with Xavier (#6), but I don't know much about them. #5 WVU is good, but I could also see Clemson upsetting them as a #12 seed that has been playing pretty well recently (giving us a tough time in Cameron and going to OT with UNC).
But because you’ve asked nicely, here are the top 6 seeds only.
Duke's bracket seems brutal at first, but may not be as bad as it seems. My reasoning:
1. Having the strongest #3 seed doesn't matter whatsoever; if we play them, it will be where we're supposed to play the #2 seed anyway.
2. Texas in the sweet 16 is a little scary, but they're 4-4 in their last 8. I'm not sure if I'd rather have surging Louisville or UK, which is who top 2 overall seeds KU and OSU have; there's just a lot of parity in the top 4 seeds this year.
3. Tennessee in the second round also makes me a little nervous, but while they're very athletic, they're also a whopping 4-7 in their last 11, including home losses to Alabama, Georgia, and Miss St.
I just can't get over Pitt's bracket. Their 2-seed hasn't been a top 10 team all year and just got blown out by a 4-seed, their 3-seed has been awful since losing their center and just got blown out by a 2-seed, and their 4-seed just lost 36-33 to a 10-seed and isn't the same team away from home anyway.
After a quick glance, I'd put it the following way...
1 - Southwest
2 - East
3 - West
4 - Southeast
The Southeast is by far the easiest bracket. You have a Florida team that did well over the season but isn't very talented for a 2 seed. A 3 seed in BYU that just isn't the same without Davies and is susceptible to a bad Jimmer shooting night. 4 seed Wisconsin is a good team but their real strength is at home. 5 seed K-State is a team who underperformed, then made a surge, then lost to NIT team Colorado (three times!); obviously vulnerable. 6 seed St John's is missing one if it's key players to injury. Overall, a surprisingly weak region.
Our region, the West, is OK. We are lucky to have SDSU as our 2 seed; the only other 2 seed I'd rather have is Florida but at least it isn't Notre Dame. UCONN got the 3 on the basis of their strong BE tournament run; this is a dangerous team but like BYU relies on Kemba to have a good game. The winner of SDSU-UCONN would make a worthy Elite Eight match-up. Texas as 4 seed is what sticks out like a sore thumb, a major red flag that everyone is going to circle as "an upset special" in the Sweet 16. This is a team that was ranked #1 before in the regular season and is ranked #4 on KenPom! By far the strongest 4 seed in the tournament, and probably more deserving of a 3 (in place of BYU). All that said, Arizona has a chance of knocking Texas out as the 5 seed. Texas is what makes the West difficult.
The Southwest and East are about even, though I give the edge to the Southwest. Obviously the 1 seeds are the strongest in the tournament, but the 2 and 3 seeds are slightly stronger in the Southwest. UNC is run by a freshman point guard, and those are susceptible to an upset. Contrast that to Notre Dame, a team rich with experience. I'd rather have UNC in my bracket. Purdue has a slightly higher KenPom rating than Syracuse, so in the absence of further information I'll say I'd rather have Syracuse. Similar to UNC, Kentucky may have a lot of talent but much of it is young; they could easily be upset. Louisville on the other hand feels more solid and had a great BE tournament. Both 4s feel strong. The 5s are a wash and while the 6 seed Georgetown looks scary, realize the Hoyas are a different team without Chris Wright.
My final four picks as of right now: OSU, ND, Duke, Pitt.
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I just like that if the chalk holds, unc would have to go against the 'Cuse zone.
As for Duke, well wouldn't we all like a piece of uconn?!