Sunday, March 17, 2019

Bracketology (March 17, 2019 -- AM)

And the penultimate 2019 bracket is here!

Last Four Byes: Florida, Oklahoma, TCU, Washington
Last Four In: Arizona State, Ohio State, Temple, Belmont
First Four Out: St. John's, NC State, Alabama, Xavier
Next Four Out: Texas, UNC-Greensboro, Indiana, Clemson

Sometimes, it's easy to let your emotions as a fan, a bracketologists, or just a natural human being get in the way of predicting what the committee will do.

Case in point: Last week, the talk was about Duke and Kentucky for the final No. 1 seed. Virginia was a "lock" for the No. 1 overall seed regardless of the ACC Tournament. Well, Duke gets Zion Williamson back and wins three games in three days over Syracuse, North Carolina, and Florida State. Duke as the No. 1 overall seed? That seems to look more and more likely.

With Duke as the No. 1 overall seed, Virginia is the No. 2 overall seed. For me, North Carolina is the easy No. 3 overall seed and, for the moment, Gonzaga is the No. 4 overall seed. Gonzaga has some bigger wins (the one over Duke stands out), but the overall SOS is not great thanks to the lowly WCC. Throw in Gonzaga's loss to a St. Mary's team in the WCC final that wouldn't have made the tournament otherwise and you have an interesting argument to be made.

If Tennessee wins the SEC Tournament, the Vols would be 30-4 in a top-heavy SEC with two wins over likely No. 2 seed Kentucky.

If Michigan State wins the Big Ten Tournament, the Spartans would be 28-6 with a sweep over likely No. 2 seed Michigan. MSU would have the most Q1 wins in the country and have won a share of the Big Ten regular season title and the Big Ten Tournament.

The debate between Gonzaga, Michigan State and Tennessee would be interesting. Based on resume, I'd sort them Michigan State-Gonzaga-Tennessee, but I have no idea what the committee would do. For example, it would be simple to put MSU or Tennessee as the No. 1 seed in the West Region because making Gonzaga the No. 2 seed in the West Regions is the easy fix.

Of course, I'm assuming the ACC has three No. 1 seeds locked up. It should, but it might not get them. There is also the scenario where MSU and Tennessee winning gives one the No. 1 seed in the Midwest and the other the No. 1 seed in the West.

Gonzaga's placement is really what sets the dominoes in motion. If the Zags are the No. 1 seed out West, it's likely the last No. 2 seed (Kentucky?) goes out West. If Gonzaga is a No. 2 seed, it'll be sent out West.

A few scenarios:
Gonzaga (1 West)
EAST: Duke (1) vs. Michigan (2)
SOUTH: Virginia (1) vs. Tennessee (2)
MIDWEST: UNC (1) vs. Michigan State (2)
WEST: Gonzaga (1) vs. Kentucky (2)

Gonzaga (2 West)
EAST: Duke (1) vs. Kentucky (2)
SOUTH: Virginia (1) vs. Tennessee (2)
MIDWEST: UNC (1) vs. Michigan (2)
WEST: Michigan State (1) vs. Gonzaga (2)

Gonzaga (2 West)
EAST: Duke (1) vs. Kentucky (2)
SOUTH: Virginia (1) vs. Michigan (2)
MIDWEST: UNC (1) vs. Michigan State (2)
WEST: Tennessee (1) vs. Gonzaga (2)

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