Black & Gold Standard Bracketology March 3

The Black & Gold Standard is a VandyRadio sports blog featuring nuanced commentary and advanced statistical breakdowns following Vanderbilt men’s basketball games and throughout the year. Robbie Weinstein of The Homefield Advantage will be bringing you the best analysis of Commodore basketball as the team looks to build on the success of last season’s NIT appearance. Check out The Black & Gold Standard for all kinds of new content as the Dores fight through the 2015-16 schedule. All stats courtesy of KenPom.com unless otherwise noted.

Come March, it seems like all anyone at ESPN and CBS will talk about is how the NCAA Tournament bracket is shaping up. We tune in to watch a game on tv and instead we get minute-by-minute updates of what the bubble looks like, with ESPN’s Joe Lunardi sometimes even becoming an active part of the broadcast as the announcers bring everyone’s favorite (and pretty average) bracketologist over the phone.

For once, Vanderbilt gets a piece of the Bracketology action as the Commodores will, at the very least, be in the conversation right up until Selection Sunday. As such, I’m bringing back my own Bracketology so as to get an idea of where they stand and where they might get sent for the first and second rounds. Just to rehash things, this is my third year putting together a bracket after a tremendous success in 2014 and a tremendous failure last season. Hopefully I can at least split the difference this time around. Here are my seedings, with discussion and the actual bracket below.

1

KANSAS

VILLANOVA

OREGON

Oklahoma

2

Virginia

Xavier

Michigan State

Miami FL

3

Utah

West Virginia

NORTH CAROLINA

Kentucky

4

Duke

Purdue

Maryland

INDIANA

5

Iowa State

TEXAS A&M

Texas

Iowa

6

Baylor

California

Arizona

Dayton

7

Colorado

St. Joe’s

Texas Tech

Seton Hall

8

Wisconsin

USC

Notre Dame

South Carolina

9

Oregon State

Pitt

Syracuse

UConn

10

Vanderbilt

Providence

WICHITA ST

Butler (bumped to 11 due to First Four)

11

VCU (bumped to 10 due to First Four)

Tulsa

Cincinnati

St. Bonaventure

MONMOUTH

TEMPLE

12

SAINT MARY’S

SAN DIEGO ST

VALPARAISO

ARKANSAS-LITTLE ROCK

13

HAWAII

HOFSTRA

AKRON

CHATTANOOGA

14

YALE

STONY BROOK

UAB

STEPHEN F. AUSTIN

15

IPFW

BELMONT

HIGH POINT

NEW MEXICO ST

16

WEBER STATE

NORTH FLORIDA

BUCKNELL

WAGNER

HAMPTON

TEXAS SOUTHERN

First 4 Out: Michigan, Florida, Gonzaga, GW

One of the most precipitous drop-offs in terms of profile strength came between North Carolina and Kentucky near the top of the bracket. I’m sure fans see Kentucky as a 3 and think I’m crazy, and I thought the same for a few minutes. Once I compared UK to other teams competing for the same spot, I saw a dearth of stand-out résumés around the 3-4 line. Kentucky over Duke and Purdue was a tough decision considering UK’s poor road record and surplus of bad losses, but they also have the best top-50 results out of that group.

Getting back to Vanderbilt, the Dores can make up a ton of ground with a strong showing in the SEC Tournament (and maybe even a win at A&M Sunday). There isn’t a whole lot of difference between Vandy and Seton Hall, the last 7 seed, and two or three high quality neutral court wins at Bridgestone Arena (think South Carolina or Florida followed by UK or A&M with a loss to either the Wildcats or Aggies in the title game) could make up that ground.

With respect to the A&M game, it really does help to have another opportunity for a signature win right when Vanderbilt is playing well and has more or less locked up an NCAA bid. On a similar note, shoutout to the SEC schedule makers for setting up the home-and-home in the first place. “Yeah, I really do [like playing the best SEC teams twice], especially getting the home and away chance,” Luke Kornet said Thursday at practice. “With Texas A&M, we got a good win against them at home but to be able to go on the road, it’s just a much bigger challenge.”

As far as what Vanderbilt’s best case scenario may be, if the Commodores win out to finish either 23-11 or 24-11 I could see them getting up to a 6 or maybe a 5 if teams ahead of them like Iowa and Dayton continue to struggle and Arizona and Cal can’t pick up any good wins in the Pac-12 Tournament. Based on how Vandy is playing and the schedule ahead, I expect the Dores to settle in somewhere between a 7-9 seed. I’ve currently got VU as a 10 playing Seton Hall in Raleigh with Miami FL as the 2 seed; let’s all hope the dreaded “Spokane” doesn’t show up with our name on March 13.

Actual bracket:

MIDWEST

Des Moines

1 KANSAS

16 HAMPTON/TEXAS SOUTHERN

 

8 South Carolina

9 USC

 

Providence

4 Duke

13 HOFSTRA

 

5 Iowa

12 VALPARAISO

 

Des Moines

3 KENTUCKY

14 STEPHEN F. AUSTIN

 

6 California

11 Cincinnati/St. Bonaventure

 

St. Louis

7 Colorado

10 WICHITA ST

 

2 Michigan St

15 IPFW

———————

SOUTH

Oklahoma City

1 Oklahoma

16 NORTH FLORIDA

 

8 Syracuse

9 Oregon State

 

Denver

4 Maryland

13 AKRON

 

5 TEXAS A&M

12 SAN DIEGO ST

 

Providence

3 NORTH CAROLINA

14 STONY BROOK

 

6 Baylor

11 MONMOUTH

 

St. Louis

7 Texas Tech

10 VCU

 

2 Xavier

15 NEW MEXICO ST

———————

EAST

 

Brooklyn

1 VILLANOVA

16 WAGNER/BUCKNELL

 

8 Wisconsin

9 Pitt

 

Spokane

4 INDIANA

13 HAWAII

 

5 Iowa St

12 SAINT MARY’S

 

Brooklyn

3 West Virginia

14 YALE

 

6 Arizona

11 Tulsa/Butler

 

Raleigh

7 Seton Hall

10 Vanderbilt

 

2 Miami FL

15 BELMONT

———————

WEST

 

Spokane

1 Oregon

16 WEBER ST

 

8 Notre Dame

9 UConn

 

Oklahoma City

4 Purdue

13 CHATTANOOGA

 

5 Texas

12 ARKANSAS-LITTLE ROCK

 

Denver

6 Dayton

11 TEMPLE

 

3 Utah

14 UAB

 

Raleigh

7 Saint Joseph’s

10 Providence

 

2 Virginia

15 HIGH POINT

 

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