NCAA Tournament Bracket Prediction

By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff

I did this last year, so I figured I’d do it again. Now that all the conference tournaments are over, we know the final PairWise Rankings and the 16 teams that will make the NCAA tournament. Last year, I got everything right except the 3-seeds. I stuck to bracket integrity when it came to the 3-seeds because I thought attendance at the four regional sites would be fine. The committee, however, moved all the 3-seeds around in an effort to boost attendance and pretty much abandoned bracket integrity in the process.

This year presents pretty much the same dilemma. Sticking to bracket integrity (with just one minor move) gives us pretty good attendance at every site. However, the committee could once again make a few moves to make attendance (at least in theory) even better, but at the cost of bracket integrity.

Here are both possibilities, starting with sticking to bracket integrity as much as possible:

Bridgeport, Conn.
(1) Yale vs. (16) Air Force
(8) Union vs. (9) Minnesota-Duluth

Green Bay, Wis.
(2) North Dakota vs. (15) Rensselaer
(7) Denver vs. (10) Western Michigan

St. Louis, Mo.
(3) Boston College vs. (14) Colorado College
(5) Michigan vs. (12) Nebraska-Omaha

Manchester, N.H.
(4) Miami vs. (13) New Hampshire
(6) Merrimack vs. (11) Notre Dame

But if they want to help attendance even more, you could see this:

Bridgeport, Conn.
(1) Yale vs. (16) Air Force
(8) Union vs. (10) Western Michigan

Green Bay, Wis.
(2) North Dakota vs. (15) Rensselaer
(5) Michigan vs. (9) Minnesota-Duluth

St. Louis, Mo.
(3) Boston College vs. (14) Colorado College
(7) Denver vs. (11) Notre Dame

Manchester, N.H.
(4) Miami vs. (13) New Hampshire
(6) Merrimack vs. (12) Nebraska-Omaha

Personally, I like the first option better. If I were on the committee, that’s the bracket I would submit and argue for. I think attendance would be fine at every site other than St. Louis, which is going to struggle regardless of who’s there. The second bracket might help Green Bay and St. Louis a little bit, but I hate the idea of a 5-9 matchup. The best 2-seed should not have to face the best 3-seed if it can be avoided, which I think it can.

However, that’s the same thing I thought last year, but the committee decided to put 9-seed Yale in Worcester against 5-seed North Dakota to help attendance. So even though I like the first bracket more, I think the second bracket is what we’re more likely to see because the precedent has already been set.

We’ll see what happens when the bracket is announced on the selection show Sunday at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN2.

6 thoughts on “NCAA Tournament Bracket Prediction”

  1. I don’t think your second option actually does help attendance. It picks up Green Bay, but turfs St. Louis (as I don’t think ND can carry that regional).

  2. The committee also might be tempted to put Notre Dame in St. Louis because it saves a flight. Notre Dame and Miami are the only two teams within driving distance of St. Louis and although it would be tough to get both of them there, the committee might try to get at least one of them there.

Comments are closed.