I just used the wayback machine to look at the Sagarin predictor ratings from early January (games through 1/3). Notice anything?
- Ohio State
Wichita State was 19, Michigan State was 23, Marquette was 54, FGCU was 127.
Marquette was a bad miss, but on the whole these were a better predictor of tournament results than the ratings in March. You'd have done pretty well, filling out a bracket based on these.
Sometime later I'll check to see if this was true in prior years, but in the meantime I'll make a suggestion: is it possible that performance in non-conference games, against the full variety of styles of play that you'll eventually see in the tournament and against teams that you aren't familiar with (nor they with you), is a better predictor than conference play? It's been a while since we've seen M light up a zone like we just saw for a few minutes in the first half against Florida, because except for Northwestern nobody in the B1G plays it.