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You need to be in a major conference to participate in KenPom bracketology 12/14

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Mid-majors grab 3 at-large seats at the table this week. Now that Xavier is in the Big East, this seems wise to me.

Welcome back to our weekly look at the bracket as it would appear if populated only by the Pomeroy rankings. As an aside, I hope Ken Pomeroy goes down in history as one of those immortal names like the guy who invented the Fujita scale for classifying the power of tornadoes or Dr. Andrew Horsepower, the first man to measure the output of an internal combustion engine. Whether or not he does I guess will depend on the dedication of people who are insane about tempo-free basketball stats. Anyway, let’s get to the good stuff here.

First the s-curve, just so you can see what that would look like:

The KenPom s-curve 12/14
1 DUKE VILLANOVA KENTUCKY KANSAS
2 WISCONSIN Louisville North Carolina Virginia
3 West Virginia UCLA Baylor Purdue
4 Saint Mary's Florida Indiana GONZAGA
5 Creighton WICHITA ST. Butler Xavier
6 Notre Dame Oregon Arizona CINCINNATI
7 Florida St. Miami FL Syracuse Clemson
8 South Carolina Texas Tech Michigan Iowa St.
9 Kansas St. Ohio St. Texas A&M USC
10 Northwestern DAYTON Marquette Virginia Tech
11 Rhode Island Oklahoma Michigan St. UT ARLINGTON
12 SMU Minnesota Arkansas Seton Hall
12 UNC WILMINGTON PRINCETON
13 SAN DIEGO ST. MIDDLE TENNESSEE CHATTANOOGA MONMOUTH
14 LEHIGH FLORIDA GULF COAST EASTERN MICHIGAN VALPARAISO
15 CAL ST. BAKERSFIELD FORT WAYNE VERMONT BELMONT
16 LONG BEACH ST. SAM HOUSTON ST. NORTH DAKOTA WINTHROP
16 NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL TEXAS SOUTHERN
First 4 out Oklahoma St. VCU California Providence
Next 4 out Wake Forest Houston Colorado TCU

And the bracket itself:

KenPom Bracket: 12-14

I know the NCAA has moved away from the s-curve as an immutable tool for populating the bracket, but I like it here because it shows how the teams stack up in a way that I don't know that just seeing the bracket itself really indicates. The non-caps teams on the curve are at-large bids; you really get an idea of how good some leagues are by taking a look at how stacked the top few lines of the table are with at-large teams.

The at-large math in and of itself is staggering. Of the 36 at-large qualifiers in the KenPom bracket, 33 come from the six major conferences. Mid-major bids from the A-10 (URI), American (Southern Methodist), and WCC (Saint Mary's) account for the other three; in the 2016 tournament, mid-majors grabbed eight at-large bids. The rest of the leagues are one-bid shows, both here and in real life. If you don't want to need to survive the vagaries of a conference tournament to grab your ticket to the dance, basically the only other way in is to enjoy a membership in a major conference.