A non-scientific rooting guide

Submitted by ish on March 5th, 2018 at 2:26 PM

As you can tell from other posts on this board, we're currently a 3 seed in the bracket matrix. That's likely as high as we can go.  Although we'd like to be in Detroit, we'd have to be a 2 seed to get there, but that seems unlikely because the teams in front of us would have to lose, but such loses likely would be to teams currently behind us, making us unlikely to advance.  In my view, the goal is to preserve a 3 seed.  The other current 3 seeds are MSU (no further games), and Tennesee and Auburn (SEC tournament upcoming).  We also have to be careful of being caught from behind by Texas Tech, Witchita St., West Virginia, Gonzaga, Clemson and potentially Florida or Kentucky.  With that in mind:

  • WCC - root against Gonzaga;
  • SEC - we don't want Florida or Kentucky to get on a roll and pass us, and since only one team can win the SEC championiship, that means that either Tennesee or Auburn has the potential to fall back.  It appears to me the best case scenario is Auburn winning the SEC, with Tennesee losing to LSU, which would boost our NCSOS.  TL;DR on the SEC - root for Auburn and LSU, and against Florida, Kentucky and Tennesee
  • ACC - it's unlikely we can catch UNC or Duke, but UNC can boost our NCSOS, so root for them.  Clemson could catch us from behind if they win the championship because that would mean wins over Virginia, and either Duke, UNC or Miami.  TL;DR - root for Virginia and UNC, and against Clemson.
  • Big 12 - if Kansas wins, we can't catch it, and Kansas winning means it beat either WVU or Texas Tech.  We probably can't catch Kansas even if they lose, but if they lose, we want them to lose to Texas.  TL;DR - root for Texas to beat Kansas, but if not for Kansas to win it all, WVU and Texas Tech to lose.
  • Pac 12 - Arizona could pass us by winning it all.  UCLA is a bubble team that we beat.  A Stanford win might pull Penn St. to top 75 RPI and help us.  TL; DR - root against Arizona, for UCLA (but Stanford in the first round).
  • American - Cincinnati could lose thereby opening up a spot for us on the 2 line, but if it does, that likely means it was beat by Witchita State, which then, having beaten Houston and Cincinnati, could catch us from behind.  TL;DR - root for Cincinnati to beat Houston.

It's likely that at least a few of these are wrong, but hey, at least it gets a conversation going.



March 5th, 2018 at 3:30 PM ^

I was a senior in high school in 1993, the year the Fab Five faced UNC in the national championship game.  Some time after that occurred, I drove with some friends down to Myrtle Beach for sping break.  

We were on our way back, and passing through rural North Carolina when we stopped for gas.  None of us was wearing any Michigan shirts or hats or other gear, the only thing I can think of that might have given away our origins was the license plate on the car.  Whatever it was, as we are walking into the gas station (this was before the time of "pay-at-the-pump") some guy rolls out from underneath a truck and starts making the signal: "Tahhhmmm ottt, bowwyyzz, tahhhhmmmm otttt..."

So then we get inside the gas station, and the proprietor is proudly showing off the official UNC national championship Coke cans.  "Y'all need a Coke now, y'all get the Carolina cans."  We kind of nodded, then he said, "Last year when Duke won the champ-in-ship, Duke dinnnt have none-a-dat shit."

So I've always kind of liked UNC a skoche better than their counterparts from Durham.  


March 5th, 2018 at 3:17 PM ^

We don’t know yet which seeds will be where. It’s possible there could be two 2 seeds at a site (such as last year in Indianapolis). It’s also possible that you could get half of a regional—a 2 and a 3 at the same site (like it always used to be years ago).


March 5th, 2018 at 3:19 PM ^

The locations are assigned in preferential order based on the overall S-Curve; first on the S-Curve gets the most advantageous position, etc.  Detroit isn't locked into two 2-seeds; it's just that on that particular S-Curve, Detroit was the best option for those two 2-seeds.

What you need is for Michigan to be ahead of all other teams that would prefer Detroit (save one).  If they're behind both Purdue and MSU, they probably have no shot.  If they're behind only one of those two, then they have to hope that Xavier and/or Cincinnati both get sent to Nashville -- but that's going to depend, in part, on who's already in Nashville.  (e.g., Tennessee and Auburn might have it filled before it even gets to Cincinnati).


March 5th, 2018 at 2:44 PM ^

We can be, it sort of depends on where the committee thinks Purdue, Xavier, and Cincy would want to be. Wichita passing us isn't really a problem in terms of where we play for that reason because there is a Wichita region they would go to.

Right now most people put msu, cincy, and xavier above us in the pecking order. There are two spots in Detroit. MSU obviously would want a detroit spot and if they are above us that leaves one slot. There is also a Nashville region that is about equadistant for the cincinnati schools and purdue as it is to detroit.  If the comittee thinks Cincy and Xavier would prefer Detroit they'd likely get placed there over us.I don't think we can pass either of those schools unless they lose their first game, and maybe not even then so playing in Detroit is likely to come down to whether MSU only having 4 losses and the regular season big ten champ keeps them ahead of us on the s curve so head to head doesn't come into play.


March 5th, 2018 at 5:35 PM ^

That's correct, but they're closer to Dallas, Nashville, and Atlanta than they are to Detroit anyway.  Also, once you're past a certain distance -- I believe it's 500 miles -- the NCAA throws location out of the window because it's considered to be a plane ride no matter where.


March 5th, 2018 at 2:47 PM ^

...our chances are very good.  The #1 overall seed gets to pick where they go.  After that, the selection committee makes the determination.  As long as Xavier is not the #1 seed, the choice is out of their hands.

Nashville is one mile closer to Xavier's campus than Detroit, so the committee could send them there with no harm done.  I would assume UCincinnati, as a 2 or 3-seed, would be in the same situation distance-wise.

Purdue is closer to Detroit than Nashville, but I believe an hour's worth of driving, so the committee could justify them going to either location.

My guess is that either MSU or UM will play in Detroit and there will be two B1G teams there.  Also, if the NCAA is concerned about a full arena all weekend, I can see them slotting both of them in Detroit.  It's not likely, but not impossible.


March 5th, 2018 at 5:38 PM ^

I can imagine the committee liking the idea of UC and XU at the same site--you can bet each team's fans will attend the other team's games (and no doubt root for the opposition). It really depends on how high a seed UC winds up with. They look great in the various objective predictors--#4 in Massey power, #4 in kenpom, #6 in Sagarin predictor--and the SEC doesn't have anybody higher than #10 at any site. When they get behind closed doors an argument might be floated to put them above any SEC team.


March 5th, 2018 at 2:41 PM ^

for the first two games and the site is significant only to the extent that you might enjoy a certain home court advantage. But you have play somewhere and no team usually gets a home crowd advantage in round one and two unless you are Carolina and Duke, which always seem to play in North Carolina the first or second round.

The argument here is whether Michigan can get a posting in Detroit for the first round and obviously enable a huge Michigan audience to see the Wolverines off in their first two games. After that, I think it deoesn't matter, you are playing someone tough and it will be a dogfight  wherever.

For the NCAA, the tournament is always about creating drama based on matchups, hased on past history between teams and coaches. They clearly love to create storylines and so that to a certain extent  reflects why seedings aren't seemingly based on numbers crunching so much as oipinion and storytelling. This, afterall, is how the NCAA makes its money. This tournament is how it earns its keep.


March 5th, 2018 at 4:35 PM ^

I see what you are saying and agree to a certain part. However, UM fans are quite literally everywhere. Obviously, there is a large concentration of fans in the Detroit area, but there are thousands in the SoCal area (and other regions of the country, as evidenced by our "home court advantage" at MSG this past weekend). Given the size of the host facilities for rounds 1 and 2, Michigan will not have any trouble selling their alottment of tickets nor picking up tickets on the secondary markets in the round of 32. 

That's truly one of the major benefits of the Michigan diploma...we exist in every major market in the country (and I've attended many alumni functions globally too); and, the alumni associations in these areas do a phenomenal job of bringing us all together when the team is remotely in the vicinity. Michigan Mafia for life!

Selfishly, because I'm in CA, I'd love to see them play in SD and LA. Tix from SF to both cities are super cheap, and AirBnBs along the beach are - well - amazing. Not only that, there are THOUSANDS of us out here that would love to support the team...


March 5th, 2018 at 2:49 PM ^

I'd say root against Stanford. They're 72nd in RPI so if they lost either their first or second game there's a good chance they fall behind Penn St., who's 76th in RPI, giving us another Q1 win.

Relatedly root against UNCG and Charleston tonight in their tournaments, as they are 74th and 73rd in RPI respectively. Also root against Utah Valley, South Carolina, Miss. St., Old Dominion and UCF so teams around 75th fall and Penn State is more likely to be Q1.


Mike Damone

March 5th, 2018 at 2:56 PM ^

is a damn good analysis.  Might suggest just a few things to simplify:

1) SEC - Unless a #5 seed gets on a roll (which can happen, as we know), just root for Tennessee to win it.  Keeps only one SEC team above us, as opposed to potential of two.

2) American - Root for Cincy, no reason to get cute here, get Wichita St and Houston out of there.  Don't see any but these three teams winning their conf tourney.

3) Big 12 - Root for Kansas.  Texas Tech and WV looking to pass us, and we won't catch Kansas.

4) ACC - Root for Virginia and Duke.  Nothing good comes from anyone else winning.  And get ND out of there early - they would be a dangerous 1st/2nd round low seed...

Just a few suggestions to an already elite deliverable.  Nice work...


March 5th, 2018 at 3:10 PM ^

They play William & Mary (RPI: 91) at 6PM in the CAA semis.  I don't know RPI formulas very well.  Wouldn't a loss to W&M drop them behind PSU and give us back a Q1 win?  


March 5th, 2018 at 3:12 PM ^

We don't have to be a 2 seed to play in Detroit.  There is no particular requirement about that.  We were in Auburn Hills in '13 as a 4 seed.  

The bigger thing is to be ahead of MSU.


March 5th, 2018 at 4:19 PM ^

Can someone explain the site grouping works? Are the sites not attached to a region until selection Sunday?

I know that they’ve had different regions play opening round games at one site.

This could be helpful this week w rooting interests, not that it makes a difference w the outcome


March 5th, 2018 at 5:23 PM ^

When creating the bracket, they first decide the seedings, then regions (matchups) for each team. Once that’s done, they go down the list of top seeds (1s through 4s) and give them the most beneficial site, of the sites remaining. So basically, we want either 0 or 1 team ranked ahead of us whose most beneficial spot is Detroit. Many people are also banking on the committee being generous and putting Xavier/Cinci at a not-Detroit spot since they pretty much don’t care between Nashville or Detroit (or one other: is Pittsburgh a site?).


March 5th, 2018 at 5:24 PM ^

Matchups aren't assigned to sites yet.

In theory, they go in S-Curve order, matching each seed with the best remaining first-round site.  So, suppose Virginia is the #1 overall seed.  They get Pittsburgh as the closest site; that locks in that pod (1-16-8-9, in this case).  Then, if Villanova is the next #1 seed, they get assigned; Pittsburgh is also their closest site, so their pod gets assigned to Pittsburgh too, and now Pittsburgh is full.  The process continues through the 1-4 seeds, although the bottom couple of 4 seeds will get sent out to places like Boise and San Diego, because the west is weak again this year.


March 5th, 2018 at 4:22 PM ^

I'm not sure another win over SMC is enough to put Gonzaga over us, but I guess it's better to be safe than sorry. If SMC loses tonight and Gonzaga beats a different WCC team they definitely won't pass us.


March 5th, 2018 at 5:39 PM ^

...I'm watching San Francisco/Gonzaga tonight.  Go...Dons?

I will be watching (while imbibing)...

6:00PM - William & Mary* vs. College of Charleston (RPI: 73)
7:00PM - Cleveland St.* vs Oakland (RPI: 175)
9:00PM - San Francisco* vs. Gonzaga (RPI: 29)
11:30PM - BYU (RPI: 80)* vs Saint Mary's (RPI: 36)

If the teams with an asterisk win, I believe PSU would get vaulted back to being a Quadrant 1 win for at least one night and MSU would be robbed a chance of a Quadrant 3 win if Oakland loses tonight or tomorrow night.


March 5th, 2018 at 6:02 PM ^

we are a 3 seed playing in Detroit. However I can't beleive MSU only dropped to #4 in the recent AP poll. You know we will get screwed and they definitely put MSU in Detroit. So it comes down to Purdue or Michigan for the second spot. I don't feel good about it based on the initial NCAA projections with purdue being so high. But then again they can't say it is head to head (Purdue winning 2 of 3) when we swept MSU. It will be very interesting. I am more concerned with who our second round opponent would be. Hoping for the 3 seed to get the 6 seed and avoid the #1's. The two #1's that I want to stear clear of is Virginia and Villanova. Would also prefer to stay away from Duke. Looking at the possible #5 & #6's, who would you like to see in our bracket? Arkansas, Nevada, young Kentucky, TCU, Miami, maybe Houston? I think WVU falls to a #5, but I would want to stay away from them with there high pressure and huge potential. I think they are one of the most underachieving teams this season, but could do damage in the tournament.