It was a good night for projecting the teams that would receive NCAA tournament invites.
It was a fairly weak night for projecting seeds.
That’s the self-evaluation, anyway, gleaned from looking back at the final bracket breakdown (and thank goodness the weeks of doing that are finally over).
The good news was the fact that 64 of the 65 teams in the field were in that projection. Like a lot of people, I missed Arizona. Like a lot of people, I had Saint Mary’s (i.e. the Ultimate Wild Card) in when the Gaels didn’t earn an invite.
So that’s encouraging.
There was one matchup correctly predicted (Arizona State-Temple), though in fairness it was picked as a 5/12 and turned out to be a 6/11. Oh well.
As for the seeding breakdown, 26 teams were the exact seed and 31 more were within one seed. A whopping seven were more than a line off. The breakdown:
Seed hit precisely (26): Alabama State, California, Chattanooga, Clemson, Cleveland State, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana State, Louisville, Memphis, Michigan State, Missouri, Morehead State, North Carolina, North Dakota State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh, Robert Morris, Southern California, UCLA, Villanova, Virginia Commonwealth, Washington, West Virginia, Western Kentucky
Seed within one line (31): Akron, American, Arizona State, Binghamton, Brigham Young, Cal State Northridge, Connecticut, Cornell, Duke, East Tennessee State, Florida State, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Morgan State, Northern Iowa, Portland State, Purdue, Radford, Siena, Stephen F. Austin, Syracuse, Temple, Texas, Texas A&M, Utah, Wake Forest, Wisconsin, Xavier
* Boston College (picked as a 10, proved to be a 7)
* Butler (picked as a 7, proved to be a 9)
* Dayton (picked as a 9, proved to be an 11)
* Marquette (picked as an 8, proved to be a 6)
* Ohio State (picked as a 6, proved to be an 8)
* Tennessee (picked as a 7, proved to be a 9)
* Utah State (picked as a 9, proved to be an 11)
1. Mid-majors overvalued. Three of the misfires were placing too much stock in gaudy mid-major records, plain and simple.
2. Overthinking an injury. I still think Marquette is overseeded; we’ll find out soon enough. Dominic James’ absence clearly didn’t give the committee much pause.
3. Overrating conference tournament runs. Ohio State and Tennessee made their respective league finals but didn’t help themselves much with seeding.
As for Boston College, well, the Eagles are overseeded. Yes, they beat Duke and North Carolina. They also lost to Harvard and Saint Louis. They are a deserving team in terms of inclusion, but a place on the 7 line sure seems a bit high.
An overall grade? Probably a B, maybe a B-. Getting all but one team in is good. But it’s clear there were some evaluation miscues. Those are some lessons to carry into next season.
—- Patrick Stevens