Sunday, March 11, 2012

Back Iron Bracketology (NOW with Automatic Qualifiers!)

Why should Joey Brackets get to have all the fun?

Let me share the bracket that the Back Iron Index would turn out if we abandoned the Bilas and Lunardi Rules from the previous posts (disregard conference records and let in conference tournament winners as AQ's).

Click here to examine it yourself. And read the details after the jump.

Some of the big differences:
--Giving the West region the fourth #1 seed, the S-Curve dropped Big Ten teams in each of the top four positions in that region. Obviously, the committee wouldn't roll with that, so neither did I. Ohio State, Michigan State, Indiana and Wisconsin had to be separated. For that matter, so did Syracuse, Marquette and Georgetown. Louisville is fourth on the BII curve, so they could be deposited into Syracuse's region.
--Lunardi has Michigan as a #3, the BII drops the Wolverines to a 5. Perhaps evening that out, the BII put Wichita State as a 3, as opposed to Lunardi's 5.
--Vanderbilt is a #6 on the BII curve, but after they defeated Kentucky, a 5 or even a 4 are not out of the question. And some #13 seed will get very excited by being matched up with the NCAA's kings of choke.
--The most controversial seed in this field will belong to Murray State, and Lunardi slides them in as a 5. The BII is less charitable, placing the Racers as the second 7-seed.
--Notre Dame sits in a cushy 6-seed on Lunardi's bracket, battling what Xavier's been able to salvage of their pride. The BII flips the script and puts the Irish as an 11, facing off with Creighton. Similarly, San Diego State drops from a 7 in Lunardi's projection to a 10 in mine.
--The numbers give the Pac-12 a little more love than mere perception, as Lunardi has California in as an 11, with surprise tourney winner Colorado as a 12. While the BII drops the Buffaloes to a 14, coming in behind the likes of St. Bonaventure, Davidson, Ohio and South Dakota State, I also have Cal holding down the final eight-seed, matching up with a likely superior Long Beach State team in Round 1. Plus, I've got Arizona clinging to the tournament's final spot, facing Miami in a play-in game.
--Perhaps I'm the only one still beating the drum for Iona, but I've got them facing West Virginia in the other non-bottom-feeder play-in. Three of my four play-ins are among Lunardi's first seven out, while he gives WVU a somewhat safe 10 seed.
--At the bottom, the BII has Detroit ranked below UNC-Asheville, allowing the Bulldogs to escape facing a one-seed. I'm sure placing the Big South champion anywhere other than 16th violates some obscure committee rule.

For the record, here's the full S-Curve:

Kentucky N. Carolina Ohio St. Syracuse
Duke Missouri Kansas Michigan St.
Baylor Indiana Marquette Wichita St.
Wisconsin Georgetown Memphis Louisville
New Mexico Michigan Florida Florida St.
Gonzaga St. Louis Creighton Vanderbilt
UNLV Murray St. Temple St. Mary's
California Alabama Iowa St. Kansas St.
Long Beach St. Texas Connecticut Cincinnati
VCU Purdue Virginia San Diego St.
Harvard Belmont Notre Dame Southern Miss
Xavier NC State West Virginia/Iona BYU
S. Dakota St. Miami (FL)/Arizona New Mexico St. Ohio
Montana Colorado St. Bonaventure Davidson
Lehigh Loyola (MD) Lamar UNC Asheville
W. Kentucky/MVSU Vermont/Norfolk St. Long Island Detroit

First Four Out: Seton Hall, Middle Tennessee State, Drexel, Marshall

In the next post, one final update of the true best 68 teams in America.

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