Brack8ology: Can NC State Sneak In?


by Jon Pence

Let’s play a common bracketology game, we’ll call it “Team 1 vs Team 2”.  This information comes from this helpful team comparison tool.

Team 1

  Home Away Neutral SOS SOS Rank RPI RPI Rank
All Division I games (15-7) 12-2 2-3 1-2 0.5527 64 0.5707 62
Non-conference D-1 games (10-3) 9-1 0-0 1-2 0.4659 268 0.5126 153

Has wins over the 4th, 6th, 11th, and 14th ranked RPI teams.

Is 0-2 against Teams ranked 51-100 in the RPI, 11-1 against teams 100+

Team 2

  Home Away Neutral SOS SOS Rank RPI RPI Rank
All Division I games (14-7) 10-1 1-4 3-2 0.6024 10 0.6085 29
Non-conference D-1 games (9-4) 6-1 0-1 3-2 0.5941 10 0.5956 30

Has wins over the 5th, 9th, 10th ranked RPI teams

Is 5-4 against Teams ranked 51-100 in the RPI, 5-1 against teams 100+

These are two teams with similar overall records and similar conference records.  Team 1 has a slightly lower RPI and strength of schedule, but some impressive victories against highly ranked teams.  Team 2 has a much higher RPI and non-conference strength of schedule.

Team 1: NC State (not selected)

Team 2: Alabama (one of the last at large teams selected)

The NCAA selection committee has a lot of details at their fingertips.  In fact, they are publishing these team sheets for public consumption daily (1/27/2018 linked).  

Here is Duke’s team sheet as of 1/27/2018:

These sheets have a wealth of information including several rankings including RPI, KPI, BPI (ESPN), POM (, and SAG (Sagarin).  Wins, losses, and locations are all color coded for quick assessment.

Each of the team’s wins are broken into a new system called Quadrants this year where the location of the game is taken into account.  A Quadrant 1 game includes games against a Top 30 opponent at home, Top 50 Neutral court games, and road game against the Top 75 teams.  Quadrant 2 includes home against opponents ranked 31-75, neutral games against 51-100, road games against 76-135, and so on.

In case you were wondering, let’s see how Alabama and NC State schedules break down into Quadrants.  As you can NC State’s weak non-conference schedule may end up being their downfall.

NC State: Q1 (4-4), Q2 (0-1), Q3 (4-2), Q4 (7-0)

Alabama:  Q1 (3-2), Q2 (5-5), Q3 (4-0), Q4 (2-0)

As you can see when the NCAA Selection committee gets together in March, they have a wealth of information to review.  This information makes it easier to compare two teams against each other, the key is to not get lost in the details.

Final Four: East vs West & Midwest vs South

ALL CAPS/conference indicates an automatic bid


(1) VIRGINIA/ACC vs. (16) WAGNER/Northeast

(8) SAINT MARY’S/WCC vs. (9) Kansas State

(5) Oklahoma vs. (12) OLD DOMINION/Conference USA

(4) Wichita State vs. (13) MURRAY STATE/Ohio Valley

(3) Tennessee vs. (14) MONTANA/Big Sky

(6) Arizona State vs. (11) Providence/Western Kentucky

(7) TCU vs. (10) Syracuse

(2) Xavier vs. (15) BUCKNELL/Patriot League

  • -Virginia has moved up to the top overall 1 seed thanks in large part to a big win at Duke on Saturday.
  • -Xavier has won 4 straight games with 3 of those wins coming against tournament teams.
  • -Oklahoma drops to a 5 seed as they continue to be an enigma losing 3 of their last 4 including a game at Alabama on Saturday in the SEC/Big12 Challenge.  That loss came after a big win at home against Kansas.



(8) Seton Hall vs. (9) Arkansas

(5) Michigan vs. (12) EAST TENNESSEE STATE/Southern

(4) Clemson vs. (13) SOUTH DAKOTA/Summit

(3) West Virginia vs. (14) BUFFALO/Mid-American

(6) Gonzaga vs. (11) USC

(7) Kentucky vs. (10) Virginia Tech

(2) Duke vs. (15) FLORIDA GULF COAST/Atlantic Sun

  • -Kansas is the 4th overall seed and the Jayhawks stay on the top line despite a loss at Oklahoma in the past week.
  • -Duke is the 5th overall seed for the 2nd straight week.
  • -Kentucky picked up a big win at West Virginia yesterday and are likely to improve their seed if they can play consistently like they did on Saturday.



(8) Nevada vs. (9) Miami

(5) FSU vs. (12) UL LAFAYETTE/Sun Belt

(4) AUBURN/SEC vs. (13) LOYOLA-CHICAGO/Missouri Valley


(6) Florida vs. (11) BOISE STATE/Mountain West/UCLA

(7) Butler vs. (10) Houston

(2) TEXAS TECH/Big 12 vs. (15) WINTHROP/Big South

  • -Villanova drops to the #2 overall seed despite a perfect week.
  • -Cincinnati is the 3 seed and has won 12 straight games.  The Bearcats only two losses on the season are to 2 seed Xavier and 6 seed Florida.
  • -Texas Tech claims the 2 seed after wins against Oklahoma State and a tough road win at South Carolina on Saturday in the SEC/Big12 Challenge.


(1) PURDUE/Big Ten vs. (16) SFA/Southland

(8) Texas vs. (9) SMU

(5) Louisville vs. (12) NEW MEXICO STATE/WAC

(4) ARIZONA/Pac-12 vs. (13) VERMONT/America East

(3) Ohio State vs. (14) PENN/Ivy League

(6) UNC vs. (11) Alabama

(7) Creighton vs. (10) RHODE ISLAND/Atlantic 10

(2) Michigan State vs. (15) WRIGHT STATE/Horizon

  • -Purdue is the 3rd overall seed and the Boilermakers continue to impress (although as I write this they trail Indiana by 2 in Bloomington).  Even despite a loss today, Purdue has done enough to remain a 1 seed for the moment.
  • -Michigan State went on the road today and picked up an impressive come from behind win at Maryland.  The Spartans trailed by 13 before coming back to pick up a tough victory.  They stay a 2 seed as a result.
  • -North Carolina took a loss in a rivalry game against NC State on Saturday, so the Heels are a 6 seed this week.  The Heels travel to Clemson and host Pitt this week.

Last Four In

Western Kentucky

First Four Out

Texas A&M
Notre Dame

Next Four Out

Penn State

Multiple Bid Conferences

Conference Teams
Big 12 7
Big East 6
Pac-12 4
Big Ten 4
Conference USA 2
Mountain West 2


Here’s where the fun begins and where we set the Sports Channel 8 bracketology apart from everyone else.  You can simulate the bracket above using  Enjoy!