Here's our final bracket for 2017 as we hope for 68/68 perfection!
|LAST FOUR IN: South Carolina, Kansas State, USC, Wake Forest|
FIRST FOUR OUT: Illinois State, Syracuse, California, Iowa
NEXT FOUR OUT: Georgia, TCU, Illinois, Indiana
NO. 1 SEEDS: It's a tough call for the final two one seeds. You can argue about Duke, UNC, Arizona, Gonzaga and even Kentucky. In the end, Gonzaga's overall body of work, 32-1 record with three dominant neutral site wins vs. Florida, Arizona and Iowa State and Duke's # of RPI Top 50 wins (13), espeically the number away from home, was the difference to get both those teams on the top line.
It shifts UNC to the top No. 2 seed, followed by Arizona, Kentucky, and Oregon. Baylor could be a No. 2 seed, moving Oregon to a No. 3, but we'll see how the committee views a 29-5 Oregon team that lost many games without its star player (Brooks).
CUTLINE: It's a mix of quality wins, RPI, and overall body of work. Our last four teams all won enough to get them in the field while avoiding those horrible losses. The only other teams really in considering, in our estimation, were Illinois State and Syracuse. The Redbirds didn't have a notable nonconference schedule and only have one notable win (home vs. Wichita State). Had Illinois State beaten some middle-of-the-pack major conference teams there would be an argument. Much better mid-major resumes have been left home.
Syracuse had plenty of opportunities to notch big wins and took advantage of some occassions at home. On the road or neutral floors, a 2-11 record is a gigantic zit. 'Cuse also has some awful losses (St. Johns, Boston College, etc.) that are impossible to ignore.
This is it. This is our 68. It should be the committee's 68, too.