Bracketology (The Hard Way)

“Bracketology” (the “science” of predicting the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament) has become a big business on the web. There are loads of free sites offering opinions on which teams will get into the tournament, what their seeds will be, and in which regions they will be placed. There are also boodles of pay sites out there, where you can give your hard-earned cash to other “experts” who will handicap the field for you.

I’m not sure what the benefit of this approach might be, since (to the best of my knowledge) there’s not a big gambling pool out there before Selection Sunday. But someone must be buying (for reasons mysterious), because if they weren’t, then these dudes (and they are all dudes) would not be selling. Go figure.

When they market their services, most of the free and paid sites will offer stats like “Picked 67 of 68 teams last year!” The thing is, though, that they base those claims on their final picks, made in the hour between the end of the last conference tournament and the announcement of the first pairing in the big tournament. At this point, they knew 31 of the 68 teams, since conference winners get automatic bids. They also know who stepped up in post-season play, and who flaked out. This seems, to me, like easy pickings.

I, on the other hand, like to do it the hard way: before the conference tournaments get going. Which happens later this week, so here are my picks for the 68 teams in this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, by conference (with number of teams in each conference in parentheses):

America East (1): Stony Brook Albany

Atlantic Coast (5): Duke, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia

Atlantic Sun (1): Florida Gulf Coast

Atlantic 10 (5): Butler, Saint Louis, Virginia Commonwealth, LaSalle, Temple

Big East (8): Louisville, Syracuse, Georgetown, Marquette, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Villanova

Big Sky (1): Weber State Montana

Big South (1): Gardner-Webb Liberty

Big Ten (7): Michigan, Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota

Big 12 (5): Kansas, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Iowa State

Big West (1): Long Beach State Pacific

Colonial Athletic (1): Northeastern James Madison

Conference USA (2): Memphis, Southern Mississippi

Horizon (1): Valparaiso

Ivy (1): Harvard

Metro Atlantic Athletic (1): Loyola (Maryland), Iona

Mid-American (1): Akron

Mid-Eastern Athletic (1): Norfolk State North Carolina A&T

Missouri Valley (2): Wichita State, Creighton

Mountain West (4): New Mexico, Nevada-Las Vegas, Colorado State, San Diego State, Boise State

Northeast (1): Robert Morris LIU-Brooklyn

Ohio Valley (1): Belmont

Pac 12 (4): Arizona, Oregon, UCLA, Colorado, California

Patriot (1): Bucknell

Southeastern (4): Florida, Mississippi, Kentucky, Missouri

Southern (1): Davidson

Southland (1): Stephen F. Austin Northwestern State

Southwestern Athletic (1): Southern

Summit (1): South Dakota State

Sun Belt (1): Middle Tennessee State, Western Kentucky

West Coast (2): Gonzaga, St. Mary’s

Western Athletic (1): Louisiana Tech,New Mexico State

Once the brackets are set, I’ll be running my usual hoops pool, where you will have the opportunity to ruthlessly stomp me, because I always over-think my picks.

3 thoughts on “Bracketology (The Hard Way)

  1. Eric You obviously are only looking at the men’s side of Bracketology. LOL Feel free to slot the Lady danes in when you go with your picks from the distaff side. All the best… a Great Dane drummer

    • Lady Danes look FANTASTIC this year . . . I am hoping that they get assigned to Iowa City so I can go see them play live!! We got Tennessee and Baylor in Des Moines last year, which was wonderful to see live! Keep on drumming . . . and I hope I am wrong about my pick for the AEC men’s conference winner!

      • Unfortunately, I think you are right on about the America East pick… But there are still games to be played – so there is always hope 🙂 … Iowa City would be a great landing spot… fingers crossed (the band travelsw/ the team to the NCAAS!!!!) … and All the best!!! Scott

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