Women’s Basketball Bracketology: The Pac-12 is loaded at the top, of course

Four Pac-12 teams in the top eight slots

Conference play has arrived and with it, the time to start making reasonable bracket projections. With two months worth of data points, we have some clarity, and the committee probably won’t love it. Mainly, there are four Pac-12 teams worthy of 1 or 2 seeds and five west-coast teams in position to host.

There are going to be a lot of flights — something the committee tries to avoid.

But that’s what you get when you have a conference as top-heavy as the Pac-12. Oregon State has been arguably the most impressive team in the country with a 14-0 record, four quad-1 wins, and five wins away from home. Stanford and UCLA aren’t far behind.

By the numbers, Oregon actually trails those three significantly. If I based these projections solely on resume, like I have in the past, the Ducks would be a 4 seed. They only have one loss, but their best win is against Colorado — a projected 9 seed.

Oregon is also the main reason why I’ve made a change this year. Sure, if today were Selection Monday, I’d guess Oregon would be much lower than the 2 seed that I gave it. Today is not Selection Monday. Based on talent and expectations, you can’t reasonably argue that there are 12-15 better teams in college basketball. Advance stats appear to bear that out. Five of their next six games are against RPI top 51 teams and their resume should improve significantly. So for now, Oregon is a 2 seed, accounting for both talent and resume. They could move up (or down) in the next couple weeks.

Baylor presented a similar issue. Unlike last year, where I started Baylor off at a laughably low seed based on its resume and brought the Bears up as they proved themselves against lower competition, I’ll hedge a little more this year. By resume, I have them as the lowest 4 seed (one slot away from a 5). Talent-wise, they should probably fall on the 2 line. For now, they are a 3 seed. Beat UConn on Thursday and they’ll skyrocket.

The bracket:

Screenshot. (Russ Steinberg)

Bracket math:

Bids by conference:

Big Ten: 10
Pac-12: 7
SEC: 6
ACC: 5
Big 12: 5
Big East: 2
Conference USA: 2
MVC: 2

Procedural Bumps:

Georgia Tech 7 to 8
Iowa 8 to 7
Princeton 7 to 8
Minnesota 8 to 7
Nebraska 11 to 12
Charlotte 12 to 11

Last Four In:

Arizona
TCU
Oklahoma
Old Dominion

First Four Out:

Old Dominion
Georgia
Western Kentucky
Washington

Next Four Out:

Villanova
Marquette
Syracuse
Vanderbilt

Next Update: Mid-January

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