CoroNCAAvirus Tournament: How 2020 Could Have Danced

General, Scouting

While coronavirus is taking over everything, including the (lack of) NCAA tournament, we’re not going to let it rob us of selection Sunday. First, a couple of notes:

  1. Virginia Tech’s tournament streak is still alive!
  2. Duke was the first team eliminated from the tournament

If you have been following us all year, we have been ranking the teams using the EVTB prediction model, with the goal of predicting the field. Last year we had great success. This year, we have nothing to compare to, but let’s play make believe to escape from quarantine cabin fever. Let’s go live to my living room to see the bracket!

 

Seed East South Midwest West
1 Dayton Baylor Kansas Gonzaga
2 Florida State Duke Oregon San Diego State
3 Maryland Louisville Creighton Michigan State
4 West Virginia Kentucky Wisconsin Ohio State
5 Villanova Auburn Utah State BYU
6 Rutgers Houston Seton Hall Arizona
7 Iowa Illinois Butler Penn State
8 Colorado East Tenn State Michigan LSU
9 Northern Iowa Texas Tech Wichita State UVA
10 Cincinnati USC Indiana Marquette
11 Miss St/Richmond Oklahoma St. Mary’s Florida
12 Yale/Arkansas Purdue Liberty Providence
13 Stephen F. Austin Akron Memphis New Mexico State
14 Vermont Belmont North Texas North Dakota State
15 Winthrop Hofstra UC Irvine Bradley
16 Robert Morris/NC Central Northern Kentucky Siena Prairie View/Boston University

The 1 Seeds: Clear, Noncontroversial and Two Mid-Majors

The 1 seeds this year are pretty clear, with just about every prediction agreeing on the four. Without the upsets of conference tournaments, there wasn’t an opportunity for this group to be broken up. It’s hard not to think that Dayton doesn’t feel a little robbed this year after getting a 1 seed.

The East: A Top Heavy Bracket with Upset Opportunities

With Dayton, best #2 seed Florida St and a deep #1-6 this is a top heavy bracket. However The likes of Cincinnati, Stephen F. Austin and Yale pose some serious upset threats! I’ll throw the ACC some love and proclaim Florida St. as the winner of this bracket, after Dayton tumbles against Villanova in the Sweet 16.

The South: Big Names and Some Rivalries

The south bracket looks pretty deep as well and presents some fan-favorite match-ups. Right away, the prospect of Kentucky v. Louisville will get any college fan excited. Big name at-large teams like USC, Texas Tech, Purdue and Oklahoma could mean some primetime match-ups at each round. Powerhouse programs of Baylor and Duke will face a hefty task to exit to the Final Four in this bracket. Riding a hot streak, we are moving Kentucky through from this bracket.

The Midwest: Easy Street for the Jayhawks

The weakest bracket of the bunch, the Midwest is lacking a big challenge for Kansas. The #2 seed Oregon is the weakest of the group, however the #3 seed Creighton could step up to the plate. This bracket has 12-5 upset written all over it, as Liberty advances for a second year in a row. Kansas dominates its way through this bracket, like it did most of the season, and awaits its first real challenge in the Final Four.

The West: Mid-Majors Take Over

The top 2 seeds are both mid-major powerhouses, joining the slew of smaller schools finding basketball success this year. Reigning (for another year now) champ UVA seems under seeded given its recent success, and ultimately knocks off #1 Gonzaga in round 2. However, the dream of a repeat flames out after falling to San Diego St. in the region final. It’s worth noting that Michigan St. continues its up-and-down season, with a big let down against a strong New Mexico St. squad. The last team to join our Final Four is San Diego St.

Who Wins 2020?

With a Final Four of #4 Kentucky, #2 Florida St., #1 Kansas and #2 San Diego State, winning it all will be a real challenge. Ultimately, Kansas wins the 2020 national championship (and has it vacated for NCAA violations 3 years from now). This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone following along all year, as Kansas sat on the top of the rankings since January.

Controversial Seeds and Snubs

If you compare to other brackets out there, there are some surprises here. First, let’s start with the snubs. In our ranking the teams just missing out are Stanford, Furman, Arizona St., and Minnesota. North Carolina St. was deserving of some love, but missing out on the chance to rack up another win or 2 in the ACC tournament cost the Wolfpack a spot. The teams we included that Bracketology didn’t are Northern Iowa (our model liked this team all year), Wichita St., Mississippi St., Purdue, Arkansas (fun fact, this team was #1 in our first 2 weeks of the season), and Memphis. Outside of Northern Iowa and Arkansas, the rest were all strong bubble candidates. It would have been fun to see which prediction was closer.

Once we finish debating who is in and out, seeding becomes the next debate. Right away, Oregon sticks out, as almost nowhere else has the Ducks on the 2 line. After that Utah St. has a strong showing in our bracket, but is much lower in other brackets. On the other hand, we have Providence much lower than others.

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