NCAA Tournament Projections As of Jan. 24

Every so often, I’m asked how I go about putting together a weekly bracket. In general, fans want to know what I do first, what are the main metrics I focus on and how deeply do I drill down on each team.

I first choose 20 teams and rank them in order. I then look at the schools in groups of four, comparing their team sheets with one another. When I use team sheets, I use Warren Nolan’s. I find this site to be the one that most closely matches what the committee uses, and it contains all the information I need.

I look at the games played, how any Quad One and Quad Two victories a team has and how many, if any, bad losses a team has. I then check their strength of schedule, both non-conference and overall, and I also look at the road/neutral records of the team. I take a deeper dive into the games they have played and look to see how many wins they have accumulated in the various categories. I use four distinct categories (top 10, top 25, top 50 and top 75) to give me an idea of how many high quality wins a team has.

I also look at a team’s quality and predictive rankings and compare them to the others in the group. I will take into consideration injuries or COVID-19 pauses if I feel they adversely impacted a team’s results. Based on this information, I rank the four teams in the group and then do so for the other teams I have selected. Once the first 20 schools are ranked, I pick another 20 teams and repeat the process.

Even though it sounds like a lot of work (and it is), once you have done several brackets, the process moves along quickly. Starting in February, I take a deep dive into a group of four seed lines each week. I basically “scrub” all 16 teams in these groups, looking past the general information on the team sheets and digging deeper into the predictive and quality metrics, then balancing them with their Net ranking, results and strength of schedule. This exercise does not usually change the rankings in a huge way, but I do use it as confirmation of the process.

Once a seed list is put together, I then fill out a bracket, using all the NCAA selection committee procedures. Because I have done these brackets for 25 years, this process goes quickly — and before you know it, I have a completed bracket.

Remember to download my Bracketology by TKBrackets podcast. On each episode we will take a look at the most recent bracket and highlight teams that have made moves. We will also have guests on like the top bracketologists in the country, NCAA staff members who help put the official bracket together, former selection committee members and the biggest names in college basketball.

Check out the latest podcast and get caught up on all the past episodes right here at Buzzsprout or anywhere you go to listen to podcasts.

LAST FOUR IN: Wyoming, Florida, San Diego State, Oregon
FIRST FOUR OUT: Arkansas, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Mississippi State
NEXT FOUR OUT: Texas A&M, SMU, Minnesota, Michigan

Big 12: 8
Big Ten: 7
BE: 7
SEC: 6
ACC: 4
WCC: 4
Pac-12: 4
MW: 4