Final Field of 68 Projection: Last 4 In & First 4 Out Has ACC Flavor

SelectionSunday

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Selection Sunday has finally arrived!

Let’s get right to it, my final Field of 68 projection for the 2022-23 season. I have jotted down a few notes after the projection, as well as my track record since I began projecting at-large qualifiers after the 1991-92 season.

Teams in ALL CAPS BOLD denote the automatic qualifier. NET ranking through March 11 games noted in parentheses.

FIELD OF 68 PROJECTION (March 12, 2023)
America East (1): VERMONT (109)

American (2): Houston (1), MEMPHIS (23)

ACC (5): DUKE (16), Virginia (27), Miami (35), Clemson (60), Pitt (67)

ASUN (1): KENNESAW STATE (115)

Atlantic 10 (1): VCU (53)

Big East (5): UConn (8), MARQUETTE (12), Creighton (17), Xavier (22), Providence (56)

Big Sky (1): MONTANA STATE (103)

Big South (1): UNC-ASHEVILLE (140)

Big Ten (9): PURDUE (5), Indiana (30), Maryland (31), Michigan State (33), Illinois (34), Iowa (39), Rutgers (40), Northwestern (41), Penn State (48)

Big XII (7): TEXAS (7), Kansas (9), Baylor (15), Iowa State (20), Kansas State (24), West Virginia (25), TCU (28)

Big West (1): UCSB (100)

Colonial (1): COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON (51)

Conference USA (1): FAU (13)

Horizon (1): NORTHERN KENTUCKY (154)

Ivy (1): PRINCETON (111)

MAAC (1): IONA (58)

MAC (1): KENT STATE (59)

MEAC (1): HOWARD (214)

Missouri Valley (1): DRAKE (55)

Mountain West (3): SAN DIEGO STATE (14), Utah State (18), Boise State (29)

NEC (1): FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON (301)

OVC (1): SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE (242)

Pac 12 (4): UCLA (3), ARIZONA (10), USC (50), Arizona State (66)

Patriot (1): COLGATE (101)

SEC (8): ALABAMA (2), Tennessee (4), Texas A&M (19), Arkansas (21), Kentucky (26), Auburn (32), Missouri (42), Mississippi State (49)

SoCon (1): FURMAN (88)

Southland (1): TEXAS A&M-CORPUS CHRISTI (175)

SWAC (1): TEXAS SOUTHERN (294)

Summit (1): ORAL ROBERTS (36)

Sun Belt (1): LOUISIANA (89)

WCC (2): GONZAGA (6), Saint Mary’s (11)

WAC (1): GRAND CANYON (104)
___________________________
Last 4 In: Rutgers (40), Pitt (67), Clemson (60), (last team in) Providence (56)

First 4 Out: (first team out) NC State (45), Nevada (37), Oklahoma State (43), Wisconsin (80)

Next 4 Out: North Texas (38), North Carolina (46), Oregon (47), Michigan (61)

Non-Power 6 At-Large Bids (4): Houston (1), Saint Mary’s (11), Utah State (18), Boise State (29)

First 4 Automatic Qualifiers: Howard (214), Southeast Missouri (242), Texas Southern (294), Fairleigh Dickinson (301)

BRACKET NOTES
Though there is quite a bit of nuance and “gut feeling” that goes with identifying and ordering the 36 at-large teams (especially for the last few spots in the field), it’s mostly about the numbers. Here are the 9 categories I emphasize to select the at-large teams. Mostly, it mirrors the criteria the Selection Committee uses:

1 Quad 1 wins and winning percentage.
2 Combined Quads 1 & 2 wins and winning percentage.
3 Combined Quads 3 & 4 winning percentage.
4 Winning percentage vs. Quads 1-3 (below .500 is a negative indicator).
5 “Best 3 Wins”: combined NET rank, with added importance given to road and/or neutral site wins.
6 Road/neutral winning percentage.
7 Non-conference SOS (strength of schedule).
8 SOR (strength of record).
9 “Record vs. the Projected Field” – for bubble teams, this is where I turn when it’s crunch time.

With that backdrop, some “Cliffs Notes” scribblings on what swayed me to select or not select teams finishing near my bubble cutline. …

Just Above the Bubble
Mississippi State – 6-9 vs. my projected field. Keeping the Bulldogs out of Dayton (site of First Four) were key non-conference wins over Big East champion Marquette (neutral site) and TCU (home) in the Big XII/SEC Challenge.

USC – 5-5 vs. the projected field. Winning 2 of 3 from rival and fellow bubble team Arizona State + home wins over Auburn and Pac 12 regular season champion UCLA provides the Men of Troy some distance from the First Four.

Arizona State – 4-7 vs. the projected field. The Sun Devils were staunch away from home, going 7-6 in true road games and 12-7 combined in road/neutral games, easily best among all the bubble teams. That included a win @ Pac 12 Tournament champion Arizona on a buzzer-beating shot from beyond half court, as well as a key neutral site non-conference win over Creighton.

Last 4 In
Rutgers – 7-8 vs. the projected field. The Scarlet Knights make the cut on the strength of 5 Quad 1 wins (most among my final bubble teams) and a 10-10 mark vs. Quads 1 & 2 combined. And it’s impossible to ignore three road wins over teams that will play in the NCAA Tournament (Purdue, Northwestern, Penn State). A dreadful #314 non-conference SOS ranking with no non-conference wins of any consequence + a late-season meltdown at The Barn gives me serious pause, but RU’s boatload of quality wins should offset that.

Pitt – 4-7 vs. the projected field. The Panthers sneak into the field buoyed by road wins @ Northwestern (ACC/Big Ten Challenge) and @ ACC regular season champion Miami. Pitt also knocked off Virginia at home.

Clemson – 3-4 vs. the projected field. The Tigers eek into the field on the strength of a 14-6 ACC record that included a home win over ACC Tournament champion Duke. And little did we know at the time that a home win over Penn State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge would look really good in March. That said, more than anything what swayed me to put the Tigers in the field was a 3-game sweep of fellow ACC bubble team NC State.

Providence (LAST TEAM IN) – 3-8 vs. the projected field. I’ll be honest, there’s not a lot I like about their resume. The Friars are the perfect example of a “home-court hero”, with all three wins vs. the projected field coming at home (Marquette, UConn, Creighton). And they did nothing in non-conference play, losing their three key games (vs. Miami, vs. Saint Louis, @ TCU). Let’s see if this resume has just enough to get them to Dayton, what I’m predicting, but not with a lot of confidence.

First 4 Out
NC State (FIRST TEAM OUT) – 3-8 vs. the projected field. Plain and simple, the Wolfpack only have one Quad 1 win, making them the odd man out among my three ACC bubble teams because they were a combined 0-4 vs. Clemson (0-3) and Pitt (0-1). Hard to justify taking NCSU over either one, especially Clemson. Also worth noting, none of the Wolfpack’s wins vs. the projected field came away from home.

Nevada – 4-4 vs. the projected field. Like Providence, this is a home-court hero. The Pack beat each of the 3 top teams in the Mountain West at home (San Diego State, Boise State, Utah State) but had no road/neutral wins vs. the projected field. Still, those all are good wins that had them looking really solid for an at-large bid. But then a season-ending 3-game losing streak to non-tournament teams Wyoming, UNLV, and San Jose State pushed the Pack to the wrong side of the bubble. If the Selection Committee is determined to add another non-Power 6 at-large team to the field, this is the one they’ll select.

Oklahoma State – 5-12 vs. the projected field. The Cowboys finished the season with an 18-15 record. 6 Quad 1 wins (in 18 opportunities) are a lot for a bubble team, but so are 15 overall losses. That’s where the at-large conversation stopped for me.

Wisconsin – 7-9 vs. the projected field. See above (Oklahoma State). The Badgers had as many Quad 1 wins (6) than any of my bubble teams, but a 17-14 record combined with losing on Weakling Wednesday of the Big Ten Tournament is simply too much to overcome.

Projecting the At-Large Qualifiers (1991-92 through 2022-23)
1991-92: 33/34
1992-93: 31/34
1993-94: 30/34
1994-95: 30/34
1995-96: 33/34
1996-97: 31/34
1997-98: 30/34
1998-99: 31/34
1999-00: 32/34
2000-01: 34/34 (perfect)
2001-02: 33/34
2002-03: 33/34
2003-04: 31/34
2004-05: 32/34
2005-06: 31/34
2006-07: 32/34
2007-08: 33/34
2008-09: 34/34 (perfect)
2009-10: 33/34
2010-11: 35/37
2011-12: 36/37
2012-13: 36/37
2013-14: 36/36 (perfect)
2014-15: 33/36
2015-16: 32/36
2016-17: 36/36 (perfect)
2017-18: 33/36
2018-19: 34/36
2019-20: Coronavirus-2020
2020-21: 36/37
2021-22: 34/36
2022-23: TBD
TOTALS: 988/1046 (94.5%)

Projecting the At-Larges Head to Head vs. Jerry Palm and Joe Lunardi
Jerry Palm Since Field Expanded to 68:
386/400 (96.5%)
Joe Lunardi Since Field Expanded to 68: 384/400 (96%)
Buzz King Since Field Expanded to 68: 381/400 (95.3%)

Worst 5 At-Large Rankings since 2019 Switch to NET
#77 Rutgers (2022)
#73 Saint John’s (2019)
#72 Wichita (2021)
#70 Michigan State (2021)
#63 Arizona State (2019)
 
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BleedGopher

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Hodger, amazing work all season as usual! I, and I’m sure many others, REALLY appreciate the work you do every season and it gets better and better! Here’s hoping next year the Gophers are back in the conversation.

Go Hodger!!
 

Drake University Gopher

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Eww, post-Net recency suggests they’ll select someone like (pukes in mouth) Wisconsin over the “Home-court heroes” like Providence. They seem to rely heavily on the Quad-1 wins, which have really helped the HM teams sneak into the tournament. Good for the Gophers (I can dream right) I suppose, but bad news for the mid-majors and March Madness excitement IMHO.
 

Dano564

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Your bracket currently matches the Bracket Matrix Consensus except for NC State vs Clemson.

You have Clemson in and NC State out. Where bracket matrix consensus has it reversed.
91/105 have NC State in on Bracket Matrix
3/105 have Clemson.

You are also higher on Wisconsin than anyone else. Wisconsin is on 0/105 brackets.
 

SelectionSunday

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Your bracket currently matches the Bracket Matrix Consensus except for NC State vs Clemson.

You have Clemson in and NC State out. Where bracket matrix consensus has it reversed.
91/105 have NC State in on Bracket Matrix
3/105 have Clemson.

You are also higher on Wisconsin than anyone else. Wisconsin is on 0/105 brackets.
Especially glad to hear they're all in agreement with me on Wisconsin!

Clemson, NC State, Pitt, Providence, and Rutgers definitely were the teams I spent the most time on. I won't be surprised by any combination of those 5 making or not making the field.
 


Drake University Gopher

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Thank goodness on Wisconsin! I couldn’t understand why 17-14 was even remotely being considered without a big run in the Big Ten tourney. Although it will be interesting to see if Providence ultimately gets in. I’m actually somewhat surprised UNC (NET 46) was written off by everybody.
 

obobo55

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I am not here to argue for UW here, but if Dayton wins the A-10 title it would give them another win vs the field.

They don't belong in the tournament, just too many chances to get another win each ending in excruciating losses. It is hard to see other teams with "weaker" resumes getting in however. Providence, Pitt and Rutgers are all very questionable IMO. Even Illinois has a real ugly resume when you disect it (5-11 vs the field, plus 2 over Bucky).
 

gopherguy15

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Great job as always this season.

Can't wait to see Wisconsin announced for the NIT.
 

SelectionSunday

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Final tally. ...

I missed 2. Clemson & Rutgers didn't make it, Nevada & NC State made it in their place. I don't have a problem with either Clemson or Rutgers missing. They were my only bubble teams with non-conference schedule rankings in the 300s. Not to mention Rutgers lost to the Gophers late in the season.

Jerry Palm missed 1. He took Rutgers, didn't have Arizona State.

Joe Lunardi also missed 1. He took Rutgers, didn't have Nevada.

Thanks for following along!
 




Dano564

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Unfortunate for Rutgers.

A side note, Rutgers was a top 50 NET team, but their RPI was 92, and I don't recall anything lower than a 60-70 RPI getting in as an at large team.

Another note, it's long been the case if you are a top 45-50 RPI team, you will make the tournament (despite the emphasis on NET opponents instead of RPI), and NC State came in at 42, and they got in.

Nevada, a mid-major also had a solid RPI at 25, although mid-majors and small conferences, a good RPI hasn't always equated to a bid.
 

Ope3

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Safe to say the Gophers single-handedly knocked out Rutgers...
Following it up with a loss to Northwestern at home in their regular season finale did them in just as much.
 

stocker08

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Hahahehehohaha

CBS Sports appears to mistakenly reveal Wisconsin Badgers' March Madness fate early


Wisconsin enters Selection Sunday on the NCAA Tournament bubble, but it likely won’t be sweating it out its fate anymore. That’s because, with about an hour until the reveal, CBS Sports seems to have accidentally disclosed that the Badgers have made the bracket, posting a premature scouting report on the team to its website.

“It’s all positive vibes now for the Badgers after they somehow snuck into the field of 68 despite being one the nation’s lowest-scoring teams,” CBS wrote. “They were among the bottom 30 in the country in scoring offense, averaging 64.9 points per game, but they won 17 games thanks to a top-30 scoring defense and a top-two turnover rate. They are a battle-tested team from the Big Ten and will want to get into rock fights, but they’ll need good shooting performances from their young backcourt of Chucky Hepburn and Connor Essegian, their two scoring leaders this season.”

The news that Wisconsin could make the tournament is surprising, as the Badgers (17-14) were listed among the “next four out” in ESPN expert Joe Lunardi’s final rankings. They are coming off of a loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament that would seemed likely to end their March Madness hopes. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case after all.

Along with Wisconsin, Big Ten schools Michigan and Rutgers also enter Selection Sunday on the bubble. If the Badgers truly did make it, that makes things a little more worrisome for the Wolverines and Scarlet Knights. Lunardi predicts nine teams from the conference to make the field.

Although it looks like Wisconsin will be in the tournament, CBS at least didn’t reveal what seed the Badgers will be or who they will face. That information will come when the Selection Sunday Show gets started at 6 p.m. ET.

 



Holy Man

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Following it up with a loss to Northwestern at home in their regular season finale did them in just as much.
More so. That was a quality win opportunity blown.
 




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