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KenPom Bracketology: 2-18

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Tempo free numbers aren't as kind to Xavier as bracketologists are. That said, there's nothing wrong with hanging this high in any bracket.

We've pushed this feature from Wednesday to Thursday this week (I'm sure you all were in a dither yesterday afternoon) because Xavier played on Wednesday. It's a good thing we did, because the Muskies' win over Providence rocketed them from 17th to 16th on the s-curve. A one-position leap isn't superficially that significant, but it puts Xavier into what the NCAA refers to as the protected seeds.

Any team on the top four lines is - or is supposed to be - given geographic protection, meaning that Xavier wouldn't have to fly across the country to play Gonzaga in Spokane or head up to Brooklyn to take on Stony Brook. If you find yourself in the top four lines, the NCAA is going to try to put you somewhere where the crowd won't be geographically predisposed to supporting your opponent. Drop below that level and you might end up taking on Dayton at home or in Columbus (just for example). Anyway, here's the s-curve:

The KenPom s-curve 2/18
1 VILLANOVA VIRGINIA MICHIGAN ST. KANSAS
2 North Carolina West Virginia KENTUCKY Oklahoma
3 Iowa Duke ARIZONA Miami FL
4 Iowa St. Xavier Maryland WICHITA ST.
5 Purdue Oregon Indiana Texas A&M
6 VALPARAISO Notre Dame CONNECTICUT Texas
7 USC Cincinnati GONZAGA Vanderbilt
8 Florida SAINT JOSEPH'S California Seton Hall
9 VCU Wisconsin Syracuse Baylor
10 Saint Mary's Dayton Texas Tech Utah
11 Butler ARKANSAS LITTLE ROCK Kansas St. Creighton
12 Michigan Florida St. YALE Tulsa
12 HAWAII Clemson
13 MONMOUTH STONY BROOK UNC WILMINGTON AKRON
14 STEPHEN F. AUSTIN CHATTANOOGA SOUTH DAKOTA ST. SAN DIEGO ST.
15 CAL ST. BAKERSFIELD UAB WEBER ST. BELMONT
16 TEXAS SOUTHERN BUCKNELL NORTH FLORIDA UNC ASHEVILLE
16 WAGNER NORFOLK ST.
First 4 out UCLA Princeton Providence South Carolina
Next 4 out BYU Pittsburgh LSU Colorado

And here's the bracket:

KenPom 2-18

It's more or less what you would expect. With a system like Pomeroy's teams from the big conferences will sort of percolate towards the top as long as they acquit themselves well, even if they're not winning a ton of games. That's why you have your occasional 17-10 Creighton team or 15-11 K State sneaking in here while they're still fighting to get onto the bubble in most other bracketologies. On the flip side, a 21-win team from a mid-major conference (Dayton, for instance) is going to get a solid single-digit in real life but will be starting from behind the eight-ball on our list. Such are the vagaries of tempo-free rankings systems.