2023-24 Season

Bracket Watch: Championship Week Preview

Hello friends, and welcome to Championship Week. I wish I were here under different circumstances, but, well, for better or for worse, this column is a (mostly) Michigan-free zone. I invite you to allow the madness of March to wash away the pain of February… and January… and December… and half of November. And that madness starts now.

Heck, it started last weekend with four teams already punching their ticket to the big dance next week. For as great as the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament is, some have made the argument that this week is the pinnacle of the college hoops season. And it’s a compelling argument, I must say. For mid-majors and bubble teams, the chase to get a bid is often more frantic and emotionally charged than the invitation itself. The lead-in to Selection Sunday is where bid thieves emerge out of nowhere, where shaky resumes finally crumble like a house of cards, and where NCAA Tournament narratives are forged and darlings are chosen. Let’s get to it.

Big Ten Outlook

We haven’t seen a Big Ten season like this one in some time – 2015 is probably the best comparison for this year’s vintage. That year was a relatively down year for the conference, with the Big Ten finishing fourth in KenPom’s conference rankings after several years of being first or second. That year saw one clear favorite (Wisconsin) run away and hide with the regular season title behind a dominant offense and a good enough defense. And while seven teams made the NCAA Tournament from the Big Ten that year, only two of them earned a protected seed in the top four (Wisconsin and Maryland, in their first year over from the ACC), with the rest slotting in between 7 and 10. But success in March has a way of papering over regular season cracks. The Big Ten sent two teams to the Final Four that year (Wisconsin and Michigan State), and even though the Badgers failed to cut down the nets in Indianapolis, they came away with a great consolation prize when they handed Kentucky their first loss of the season in the national semifinal.

This year, it’s the Boilermakers sitting alone atop the conference mountaintop. But for as dominant as they’ve been in Big Ten play, and for as historically great as their resume is, it’s at least Final Four or bust for Matt Painter’s crew. But after Purdue, we have a handful of teams for whom getting to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament would have to be considered a resounding success. Brad Underwood hopes to exorcise some early-round demons of his own with another top-4 seeded team, and the rest of the projected bids will all need to pull an upset or two to get out of their pods.

Conference Rundown

Note: All stats, records, and metrics are current as of Monday, March 11.

At this point, the Big Ten has three locks, two for-all-intents-and-purposes-locks, three bubble teams, three NIT hopefuls, and three teams… hoping to play spoiler, if we want to put it kindly.


Tony’s projection at Heartbreak City Bracketology: 1 seed, 1 overall

Bracket Matrix projection: 1 seed, 1 overall

Team sheet:

Not a whole lot to say about this other than it’s one of the best team sheets you’ll ever see at the end of the regular season. In most other years, the resumes that Connecticut and Houston have compiled would be plenty good enough for the top overall seed, but this Purdue team is still a cut above. To go 28-3 against a schedule this loaded is hard to fathom, but it speaks to just how smoothly the program is running and how well it’s been built around the soon-to-be two-time national player of the year in Zach Edey.

Work left in Minneapolis?

Just stay healthy. An early exit on Friday or Saturday could slip the Boilers a spot or two on the overall seed line if the aforementioned Huskies or Cougars win their conference tournaments, but it won’t matter much. Purdue is locked in as a 1 seed, locked in to get a geographically convenient first-weekend pod in Indianapolis, and also locked into the Midwest Regional in Detroit, should they make it that far. Purdue has accomplished everything it needs to accomplish, at least resume-wise, ahead of the NCAA Tournament.


Tony’s projection: 4 seed, 15 overall

Bracket Matrix projection: 4 seed, 14 overall

Team sheet:

The Illini let a chance at a 3 seed slip away when they failed to hold onto an 8-point halftime lead at home against Purdue last week, but their wire-to-wire win on the road at Carver-Hawkeye this past Sunday steadied the ship and all but locks up a 4 seed, a seeding that fits very neatly with all of their primary metrics.

That being said, the way the top of the field is shaking out this year means that Illinois’ reward for their 4 seed will likely be either a trip out to Spokane or a trip out to Salt Lake City. Bad luck, I suppose, to be 15th on the S-curve when only one team in my projected top 16 (Arizona) wants to play out west. And as an added bonus? It’s also looking increasingly likely that BYU, as a 5 seed, will grab a west coast spot opposite a 4 seed from the east, south, or midwest. The committee admitted as much a few weeks ago when they confirmed that BYU is eligible to play in Salt Lake City – a leisurely 45-minute drive up I-15 – even if they’re not a top 4 seed.

Work left in Minneapolis?

Cut down the nets and Illinois may be able to avoid a trip out west. Lose early, and the door is open for Illinois to drop to the 5 line if enough dominos fall around them.


Tony’s projection: 6 seed, 24 overall

Bracket Matrix projection: 6 seed, 22 overall

Team sheet:

Wisconsin’s taken a strange route to get to where they are today, but the KenPom preseason 20th-ranked team is now back at 21st after a brief appearance in the top 10. The Badgers got off to a roaring start this season, even flirting with a 1 seed in late January, but water ended up finding its level, and after closing the regular season with eight losses in 11 games, Wisconsin’s back in the middle of the bracket where many figured they’d be.

I’m honestly a little surprised they haven’t slipped any further down the seed list, but their metrics have held pretty firm in the low-20s throughout this losing spell, and with excellent strength of schedule numbers and a marquee non-conference win over a fully healthy Marquette squad, there’s a limit to how far I can bump them.

Work left in Minneapolis?

A Thursday afternoon loss to the winner of the 12/13 game would cost Wisconsin a seed line, potentially two. The Badgers are safely in the field, but a neutral-court loss to a non-tournament, non-bubble team would start to cast some unwanted attention on the fact that Wisconsin really hasn’t done much outside of Madison, not to mention likely bring their metrics a bit more in line with a 7 seed than a 6. It’s a resume that’s starting to look like their 2017 season: great start → shaky finish → 8 seed in a below-average year for the Big Ten.

What would it take for Wisconsin to climb onto the 5 seed line? I think they’d need to win the Big Ten Tournament to get there. Neutral court wins over Northwestern on Friday and Purdue on Saturday would be impressive, but as we’ve seen many times before, wins in the later rounds of the Big Ten Tournament just don’t move the needle for the Selection Committee as much as they probably should if all games are to be treated equally – especially when it’s just for seeding rather than inclusion. Wisconsin’s a low 6 for me, and I doubt I’ll promote them to a 5 seed unless they reach the championship game on Sunday, and even that would require a few teams above them to look bad in their respective conference tourneys.


Tony’s projection: 8 seed, 32 overall

Bracket Matrix projection: 8 seed, 32 overall

Team sheet:

What a wild year it’s been for the Wildcats. The KenPom preseason number 40 team has, much like Wisconsin, arrived at the end of the regular season just about exactly where they started, but boy was it a ride to get there. Early season wins over Dayton and Purdue put some serious wind in Chris Collins’ team’s sails, but Northwestern followed each of those wins with some serious clunkers at home – first a narrow win over Western Michigan (KenPom 297), then a 2-point home loss to Chicago State (KenPom 303).

You’d think a veteran team would be able to avoid home let-down performances like these, but then again, I didn’t think this team would take Purdue to overtime both times they played them, either. The end result is a resume that’s plenty good enough for March. The ‘Cats have protected home court in conference play (9-1), and gotten the handful of road wins they needed to deliver resume metrics right around where I have them seeded at 32 overall.

Work left in Minneapolis?

I don’t really see Northwestern climbing up onto the 7 seed line without a Big Ten Tournament championship. Similar to Wisconsin’s predicament on the 6 line, I just think Northwestern would have to jump one or two too many teams a day or two too late in the Selection Committee’s deliberations. Would BTT wins over Wisconsin and Purdue be impressive? Absolutely. But I doubt that enough teams above Northwestern can do enough damage to their resumes to get the Wildcats off of the 8 line.

If anything, Northwestern’s got a few blemishes that make it much easier for the committee to knock them down to the 9 or even the 10 line than up to an 8. For one, Northwestern’s got one of the worst non-conference strength of schedules in the country. They’re also playing the rest of the way without one of their starting guards in Ty Berry, the team’s best shooter and a key contributor before he went down with a torn meniscus last month. And, yeah, the loss to Chicago State is bad enough that there’s a chance someone on the Selection Committee will pull a 12 Angry Men and just refuse to budge of them. Unlikely, but remotely possible. A loss on Friday to Wisconsin won’t hurt the Wildcats too badly, but a loss to the winner of Rutgers vs. Maryland, should they make it to Friday, would precipitate a swift and certain drop, and if absolutely all hell breaks loose elsewhere, there is a world where Northwestern gets left out. But honestly probably only one world. In the rest of them, the ‘Cats are dancing once again.


Tony’s projection: 9 seed, 36 overall

Bracket Matrix projection: 9 seed, 34 overall

Team sheet:

Copy most of what you just read about Northwestern and paste it here. The similarity is really quite uncanny:

Despite the Huskers having slightly better metrics across the board than the Wildcats, I still prefer Northwestern’s extra Quad-1A and Quad-2 win. The Chicago State loss is atrocious, no doubt about that, but the committee tends to reward good wins more than they penalize bad losses (this is largely why I have Texas A&M in my field right now while many other bracketologists don’t, but that’s a discussion for another time). Nevertheless, Nebraska’s in great shape to make the field, and at this point, I don’t think there’s anything they could do to spoil it. Their trap game was in Ann Arbor against Michigan last weekend, and after brushing aside the Wolverines, I’m ready to call them a virtual lock, much like Northwestern. Nebraska’s got a crummy road record and a lousy non-conference strength of schedule, but they have enough good wins – with one truly great one – and zero bad losses. The “style points” of their home win over Purdue matter a little bit here, too, I think, as it’s the one and only game this season where Purdue’s truly lost control of a game. It’s the ultimate high card.

Work left in Minneapolis?

The Cornhuskers should settle somewhere between an 8 seed and a 10 seed come Selection Sunday. Maybe if they go 3-0 and take home the hardware, they’ll sneak onto the 7 line, especially if they go through Illinois and Purdue to do so. A 1-1 showing should keep them where they are, a 2-1 showing might inch them onto the 8 line, and an immediate exit could knock them down to a 10 seed.

Michigan State

Tony’s projection: 10 seed, 38 overall

Bracket Matrix projection: 10 seed, 37 overall

Team sheet:

As we head into the home stretch leading into Selection Sunday, there are a few odd resumes that bracketologists this year are starting to really wrestle with. There are a bunch in the SEC for some reason – Florida’s a tough nut to crack. South Carolina. Kentucky. Gonzaga’s an interesting one, too. But of all of those team sheets, Michigan State’s is right up there with them.

The Spartans have a “neutral” win over Baylor back in December. And… that’s basically it. Yes, they have two other Quad-1 wins against Illinois and Indiana State (as of Monday night), but as far as wins in the bag go, Michigan State has shockingly few for a team in the top 25 of the NET rankings. Honestly, if MSU does indeed make it into the tournament this year, hats off to whoever put their non-conference schedule together. Getting Baylor to agree to a neutral site game in Detroit coming off 11 days of rust was an absolute masterclass. And all three of their big non-conference home opponents – Indiana State, James Madison, and Butler – all ended up significantly over-performing their preseason expectations. They also beat the Horizon League champions, too, as the cherry on top.

Anyway, that’s what’s keeping the Spartans in the field right now, but things are heating up for them quickly. Beating Indiana this past weekend would have sewn up a bid. Beating either Ohio State or Iowa the week before would have sewn up a bid. But no, Tom Izzo’s got to do it the hard way, and so all eyes will be on them in the early Thursday window as they play a “neutral” court game against Minnesota at the Target Center. I guess these things tend to even out in the end.

Work left in Minneapolis?

Oh yes indeed. While a loss to Minnesota on Thursday wouldn’t necessarily mark the end of Michigan State’s 25-season NCAA Tournament streak, it would mean, as a best-case scenario, a trip to Dayton next week. I have Michigan State as my third-to-last team to avoid the First Four, if you throw another Quad-2 loss on their resume, I don’t see how they’d avoid that fate any longer. And once you’re in one of the four Dayton slots, you’re vulnerable to bid thieves and the whims of the Selection Committee. Thursday is as close to a must-win as non-must-win games get for the Spartans.

And if they find a way past the Gophers, they’re a lock. A loss in the quarters to Purdue can only help them. String multiple wins together next week and Michigan State would find their way up to the 9 line, maybe the 8 line, as their resume starts looking a lot more befitting a team in KenPom’s top 20. Although I guess that begs the question – better to be a 10 seed or an 8 seed? Either way, an easy source of motivation for Tom Izzo.


Tony’s projection: 6th team out

Bracket Matrix projection: 4th team out

Team sheet:

The Hawkeyes rallied back from an 0-3 conference start to get to 10-10 in Big Ten play, no small achievement for a team that looked dead in the water for most of the year. Back to back Quad-1 wins over Wisconsin and Michigan State gave this team some life and brought their metrics back into the bubble picture, but teams just don’t make it into the at-large field with a losing record in Quads-1-3, and that’s where Iowa sits now at 12-13. So the math is simple: it’ll take two wins for me to seriously consider Iowa for a spot in the field of 68. Beat Ohio State, beat Illinois, and Fran’s bunch has a real shot. Fail to make it to Saturday and I think Iowa will be NIT-bound.

Work left in Minneapolis?

Gotta get two wins, maybe three if the bubble starts to shrink.

Ohio State

Tony’s projection: 9th team out

Bracket Matrix projection: 8th team out

Team sheet:

Ohio State is another example of a team with a fairly bewildering team sheet. They’re 3-3 in Quad-1A, including top-10 wins over Purdue and Alabama, but they’re also 2-5 in Quad-2. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. But I guess if you’re going for bang for your buck, Ohio State’s done that. They have the top-end wins to put themselves in the bubble conversation, and they’ve also fattened up on a schedule that’s pretty heavy in Quad-3.

I don’t think the mid-season coaching change plays a huge role in the Selection Committee’s evaluation of the Buckeyes, but I also don’t think they’ll totally ignore it, either. Fact is, they’ve played better down the stretch, particularly on defense, where they’ve strung together four excellent performances. But it’s impossible to erase the middle of OSU’s season, a middle that saw them completely lose the plot and drop 9 of 11 games from early January to mid-February. They’ve also got a resume that’s weak on non-conference accomplishments outside of Alabama.

Work left in Minneapolis?

Ohio State needs two wins just to get a serious look, and three wins to maybe get on the right side of the bubble, but even that seems a little ambitious. While Iowa’s got their lousy Quads-1-3 record to deal with, Ohio State’s carrying a 5-11 record in Quads-1-2 into Minneapolis with them, and at this point, that mark can only get so much better. As fellow bracketologist Shelby Mast likes to say, the Buckeyes are on life-support. If they’re not playing on Sunday, I don’t think they have a chance, and even if they do get three wins in Minneapolis, there’s a 50/50 shot they’ll need the fourth to secure the automatic bid.

NIT Bracketology

I’ll spare you the team sheets for the conference’s bottom six teams and just leave it at this: Indiana, Minnesota, Rutgers, Maryland, Penn State, and Michigan need to win the Big Ten Tournament to receive an NCAA bid. But a few teams do have a path to the NIT:


There’s actually a path to an NIT auto-bid for the Terrapins if either Iowa or Ohio State sneak into the NCAA Tournament. That’s because the NIT’s selection criteria have undergone a massive face-lift since last year. To quote from the article:

“[…] the NIT will guarantee two teams (based on the NET rankings) from each of six conferences (Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern). The top two teams in the NET rankings not qualifying for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament from each conference, regardless of win-loss record, will be selected”

Maryland is currently ninth in the Big Ten by NET ranking, so if seven teams go to the NCAA Tournament, Maryland would get the conference’s second NIT auto-bid. Maryland’s currently 77th, nine spots above Minnesota, the next-closest team. So if either Iowa or Ohio State make a run and find a way into the big dance, the Terps, even with a losing record, could receive a post-season invite.

Indiana and Minnesota

Both at 18-13 heading into the Big Ten Tournament, the Hoosiers and Golden Gophers are within striking distance of an NIT at-large bid. Indiana more so than Minnesota, for a few reasons: (1) much better resume metrics; (2) one more Q1 win; (3) one fewer bad loss; (4) Minnesota somehow has the second-worst non-conference strength of schedule in the entire country!

You know what, let’s all just stare into the abyss together. Here are their resumes side-by-side:

Indiana is also 22 spots higher up in my overall rankings than Minnesota, but Minnesota gets to play some de-facto home games this weekend, so I figure they’ve got a shot, too, albeit a slim one.

National Outlook

Zooming out to take a look at the full Division-I picture, we see that 34 teams from the top conferences have already wrapped up a bid. Add that number to the required conference auto-bids from single-bid leagues (20), and we’re left with, essentially, 54 spots spoken for out of 68. Your mileage may vary here depending on which teams you allow yourself to call a “lock” at this stage – I’m hesitant to write Northwestern and Nebraska in ink, for instance, but they’re both at least 90% of the way there. So, being a little on the conservative side, that leaves 14 spots remaining, and the way I see it, 30 teams still have a reasonable path toward getting one of those golden tickets.

Here’s the national chart:

South Florida, Richmond, and Princeton are odd cases right now in that all three appear in my latest projections and in many others around the bracket-verse as conference auto-bids as a result of hanging regular season conference championship banners. If I were to evaluate these teams as at-large candidates, however, I doubt any of them would remain in my field as of today (although Princeton would be very close). So it’s possible for the American, the A-10, and the Ivy to send two teams to the NCAA Tournament, but the odds of USF, Richmond, or Princeton getting in without an automatic bid are all quite low.

As an aside, this is another example of how much of a disadvantage mid-major bubble teams are compared to their high-major counterparts – a neutral court loss by Princeton to Brown in the Ivy League tourney would be catastrophic, whereas St. John’s losing to Seton Hall or Virginia losing to Clemson is much less damaging.

Potential Bid Thieves

Big 12: Highly unlikely. Kansas State gets a single bye in Kansas City, but I don’t see any of the fringe bubble teams making it through this bracket. The Big 12 is just too deep through the middle of the standings and too talented toward the top. I do, however, think that Cincinnati is well-positioned to make a push at an at-large bid. If they can get past West Virginia later today, they’d face a short-handed Kansas team playing without Kevin McCullar and our old friend Hunter Dickinson. It’s a juicy Quad-1A win for the team sheet that would be ripe for the taking.

SEC: Highly unlikely. LSU and Ole Miss are KenPom top-100 teams who only (“only”) have to win four games in four days in Nashville, but the SEC is a gauntlet this year. Texas A&M could make a run and grab a berth even without winning the whole tournament, but personally, I think the Aggies are a lot closer to “in” than “out” at the moment, so I wouldn’t even consider them a bid thief.

Mountain West: Possible. UNLV is a sneaky, dangerous team – they have a 15-point win over Creighton in the non-conference – and they get to play the MWC Tournament in their home gym with a first-round bye.

Big Ten: Unlikely. The bottom half of the bracket is certainly less scary than the top half, but given the struggles that Nebraska and Northwestern have had away from home this year, if you told me that Indiana, Maryland, or Rutgers (in that order) reached the semifinals, I wouldn’t be shocked. It’s a tough ask to beat Illinois or Purdue on less rest, but at least the crowd this year figures to be a little less partisan towards teams based in Indiana and Illinois.

Big East: Slightly possible. The Big East had a fantastic 2024, and to be honest, I’m sure anyone’s beating UConn this week or next month, but similar to the Big Ten, the door is open for a team to make a run in the non-UConn half of the bracket. Marquette’s still a bit banged up, Creighton’s streakiness makes them somewhat vulnerable, and Providence is desperate for big wins down the stretch. In top-heavy leagues, one upset is all it takes for the floodgates to open in the conference tournament. I’m not saying it’s likely, but it’s possible. These are home games for St. John’s, after all.

ACC: Possible. Pitt and Wake Forest are the teams to keep an eye on here – Pitt because they get the double bye as the 4 seed, and Wake Forest because, analytically, they’re the third or fourth-best team in the conference in terms of raw efficiency. Syracuse also has an outside shot at making some noise here if they can get past Duke in the quarterfinals.

Pac-12: Possible. Arizona’s an elite team, but as we just saw last weekend, they’re beatable. Below the Wildcats, the league’s got a handful of solid but not overwhelming teams. Oregon, Utah, and to a lesser extent Washington all have the talent to make a run in Vegas this week.

West Coast: None. As I’m writing this (10:22 pm Pacific Daylight Time), the Zags are up by 15 points on San Francisco with 4:09 left to play. And with Saint Mary’s win earlier this evening, we can safely remove any potential bid thieves from the WCC.

American: Very possible. Despite finishing the regular season 2 games back of South Florida for the regular season title, the favorite this week in Fort Worth is Florida Atlantic. But FAU isn’t quite as good as we thought they might be earlier in the year (currently 37th to KenPom, down from 10th earlier this year), and that leaves the door open for one of South Florida, SMU, Memphis, or North Texas to pull an upset or two and secure the auto-bid.

Atlantic 10: Possible. Similar story in the A10 – Dayton’s the favorite, but I wouldn’t necessarily make them a huge favorite against the field. Immediately below Dayton, the A10 doesn’t quite have the same level of talent that the AAC has below FAU, but it’s close, and on a neutral court, I could absolutely see the Flyers have to work very hard to put away Richmond, Loyola Chicago, VCU, or UMass.

Ivy: Highly unlikely… but only because I don’t think the committee would give Princeton an at-large bid should they fail to win the conference tournament championship. For as good as the Tigers have been this year, Yale and Cornell have only been a step behind. Whichever of those teams faces Princeton in the final will be a very tough out.

Notable Replies

  1. umhoops

    Obviously not Michigan relevant, but some good bubble discussion in here to set the table for the week.

  2. tony

    I was going to reply to this in the forum, but I figured I’d use this space to address this question instead. From DMB43, which I hope stands for Dave Matthews Band, by the way. Unironically a big fan:

    "I’m curious @tony, say tomorrow you woke up and you were the sole person in charge of making the 68 team field. What would be the things you personally would enjoy or look for in deciding who makes it in from the bubble or what would you tweak or completely blow up from the current system to make it how you’d like? Basically I’d love to hear how someone who dabbles in the bracketology realm, like yourself, would change things if even at all"

    That’s a fun one to think about, DMB43. I have many thoughts. Lots of ways to answer this one.

    Answer if I want to keep things mostly the way they are: I’d just tell the Selection Committee to focus more on resume than efficiency. This would probably hurt teams like Michigan – the high major teams who play tough schedules and only win 17 or 18 games with very good teams. But I mean… as fun as it was to see Michigan make a run to the Sweet 16 a couple of years ago, more often than not, as a fan, I’d rather see some interesting mid-major team like a Princeton or an Indiana State get that shot instead. So maybe I’d amend my guidance to the committee to include the clause “except when it fails to benefit Michigan, in which case ignore this guideline and do something else”. You can honestly just assume that all of my answers include that escape clause from here on in.

    Answer if I want to put myself out of a job: Just get rid of bracketology altogether by using a totally transparent metric to decide who gets into the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team. Bart Torvik’s site sort of has this if you sort by “WAB”, or “wins above bubble”. I’d use this or strength of record or use my own ranking system (which I do have, by the way, I just call it “HBC NET”), publish its inner workings, and boom, you’ve created a definitive national table. It is a little odd that we go through this rigamarole every March, isn’t it? Yes, I enjoy it immensely, but it would have been odd debating between the Steelers, Titans, and Bengals for the final AFC Wild Card spot this past year. I think ultimately I think the NCAA Tournament selection process adds to the charm, adds to the goofiness, adds to the overall appeal of the sport, and so I’d keep it even if it weren’t a bracketologist, but maybe for a year or two I’d get rid of it just to see how things went.

    Answer if I want to have a lot of fun:

    1. I’d form my own committee of bracketologists, for starters. As fun as it would be to wield unlimited and unchecked power to just make the bracket myself, I’d have more fun being part of a group of fellow bracket nerds. And you better believe I’d really open up the budget for the group. I’d have CBS pay for it, I’d livestream it, spare no expense.
    2. Then I’d head down to Mountain View and ask the folks at Google to tell me exactly what’s behind the NET. And then I’d start tinkering with it. I don’t think I’d get rid of it completely, but I feel like it tracks too closely to KenPom and other efficiency metrics right now. I’d balance it out slightly, put more of an emphasis on playing a difficult schedule, on your resume and less on your forward-looking predictives.
    3. I would add in a day or two of buffer between the end of the conference tournaments and the NCAA bracket reveal. Give the regular season a bit more time to breathe, give the NCAA Tournament just a bit more buildup, and allow the committee to properly absorb the chaos of Championship Week. This weekend is always such a sprint, which is fun, but it’s also just so exhausting :slight_smile:
    4. Then I would make it so that any team who wants to be considered for the tournament has to play in two multi-team events. Playing in one is no big deal, most teams already do it, Michigan heads to a resort to play in one pretty much every year, but for the second MTE, I’d push teams and conferences to set up mid-season or even late-season invitationals. Does your conference have a bunch of bubble teams who could use another big win to improve their NCAA Tournament chances? Schedule a crossover day where you send four teams and another conference sends four. How fun would an Indiana State vs. Wake Forest and Drake vs. Virginia doubleheader have been a couple of weeks ago? I’d use whatever power as tournament organizer to push for things like that, for more teams to take more risks and play more meaningful games.
    5. I wouldn’t expand the tournament per se, but I’d keep it flexible. Some years we might only have 64 teams. Some years we might have 72. The decision on where to draw the line is somewhat arbitrary, but I think it’s also true that most years, you can kind of tell who truly did enough to deserve a spot in the field and who the committee had to reach for. Arizona State and Pitt last year just sort of felt uninspired. But a few years ago in 2018, I really would have wanted to see Penn State in Saint Mary’s make it in. So I’d allow for a bit of wiggle room. This would also be a fun test for bracketologists when the final number of teams isn’t set in stone.

  3. DeAngeloVickers

    How much should predictive metrics matter vs actual results / resume? The biggest disparity here is msu which has great predictive numbers, but a resume that would make them a bubble team at best.

  4. BigBoutros

    tony is such a cool guy. one of the coolest guys online

  5. giveansk1

    Thanks for posting. I was trying to remember Tony’s site and was going to ask.

    Curious what thoughts are on Nova. I bet against them making the tournament at plus odds because I think they need to beat DePaul and Marquette to get on bubble (probably in). Does that sound about right with obvious caveats about bid thieves.

    Btw A-10 is a likely bid thieve if you assume 30-40% chance Dayton wins auto bid.

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