Beef’s Bracketology, February 4, 2019 Edition

Beef's Bracketology

The newest NCAA basketball bracketology here. From this point on, updates will come every Monday. Thanks to Joel and/or John for finally getting the OPR page up and going again.

First, let’s look at the conference break down.

  • 8, Atlantic Coast
  • 8, Big Ten [down 1 from two weeks ago]
  • 8, Southeastern [up 1]
  • 7, Big XII
  • 3, American
  • 3, Big East [down 1]
  • 2, Atlantic Ten [up 1]
  • 2, West Coast [down 1]
  • 2, Mid-American [up 1]
  • 2, Mountain West
  • 1, Pacific Twelve [down 1]

Six of the projected at-larges are coming from the non-Power Six conferences. This is probably a high point. And if tournament time were actually here, there would be more likely to be three or four. Typically, I get in trouble near the cut line because I always give the “little guy” a chance or the nod.

A few notes from this week…

  • Nebraska(#26 in SKiN), Oklahoma(#31) and Indiana(#40), were all passed on this week. Teams in these spots in the rankings are usually very safe. But I just couldn’t bring myself to picking teams that were 3-8, 3-6 and 4-7 in their own conferences, regardless of how strong those conferences are.
  • The bubble is ultra soft right now. A better term might actually be inclusive, rather than soft. There’s a slew of mid-majors ranked 61-65 in the SKiN, that have very shiny records, but poorer computer numbers. I’m dying to put them in, but I have to keep this a realistic practice and not jumping head first into an empty pool.
  • There seems even more parity than normal in the lower-major conferences. These are the typical one-bid leagues who’s champions regularly hold seeds 12-16. Upsets down the road may be aplenty, but shouldn’t cause any seed poaching chaos unless teams like Lipscomb and/or New Mexico State win out and lose in their conference tourneys. Even then, it may not matter. But the potential is there.

With that said, let’s look at those teams closest to the cut line.

Last four teams in with a bye:

  • Alabama, Florida, Virginia Commonwealth, Minnesota

Last four teams in, play-in:

  • Texas, St. John’s, San Francisco, Temple

First eight teams, missing the cut:

  • Oklahoma, St. Mary’s, Clemson, Nebraska, Indiana, Arizona State, Arkansas, Arizona

Had to create a new metric again this year. It’s still similar to what I’d created before with the RiSK Rankings. But since the NCAA decided to scrap the RPI as a major sorting and seeding component, I did too. So the Ken Pomeroy Efficiency Ratings are still part of my formula, as is the Jeff Sagarin Computer Ratings. The third component now is the NCAA’s NET Ranking Tool. So moving the letters around, my metric is now called SKiN. Again, the “i” is just added in there so the metric has an actual word for its identity.

The SKiN Ratings are derived from equal parts of each team’s Sagarin, KenPom and NCAA NET rankings. It’s not an end-all be-all, as far as selection or seeding goes. But I’m guessing that, like RiSK in the past, it should be a pretty solid indicator.

The SKiN Rankings only include the teams closest to qualifying for at-large bids or those in the immediate hunt for their conference’s automatic bid. At this point, these will just be the teams with the best records in each conference. Each conference will have at least their top two teams included. The SKiN Rankings will be linked below. Also linked will be a mock bracket of how those qualifying teams might look in a season’s end bracket, if the season were to end right now. So there’s no fortune telling here.

SKiN Rankings, February 4

Beef’s Bracket, February 4 Edition