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Bracketology (v3.0)

For I am Snowzymandias, destroyer of brackets

Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair

Fairfield's Sam Snow and Hobart's Peter Zonino make up this week's Most Wanted list. By beating Denver and Syracuse, respectively, the Stags and Statesmen gave the world of bracketology another week of chaos, leading into a week in which the schedule (ACC and Patriot League tournaments, Notre Dame-Syracuse, Cornell-Princeton, and Johns Hopkins-Loyola) virtually guarantees more movement next week.

As we get closer to the end of the season, the stats the selection committee supposedly uses (RPI and SOS) are starting to diverge from the alternative stats in ways that are hard to fathom. For example, Hopkins and Loyola have much better PWEs than they have RPIs; Conversely, Denver and North Carolina have much better RPIs than PWEs. Someday, I will rent a house in the Outer Banks for a month, take nothing with me but three laptops and ten cases of Diet Coke, and come back with an explanation. For now, my hypothetical selection committee is heavily influenced by the contending teams' answers to this simple question:

Who did you beat, and who did you lose to?

There is only one change in the composition of the field this week. Ohio State comes in, and exeunt Yale. The Buckeyes have quietly amassed an admirable body of work. I understand the argument that it should have been exeunt Bucknell: the Bison have arguably the single worst loss of any team in the field (Mt. St. Mary's), but they have two signature wins (Cornell and Albany) to the Bulldogs' one.

As bad losses are given increasing scrutiny, the teams that take the biggest hit for bad losses, other than Bucknell, are Denver, Syracuse, and Princeton. Teams that keep winning-Duke, Penn State, and Albany-are rewarded with seeding bumps. Maryland moves back to the number two seed for one simple reason: there are only two two-loss teams, and they are one of them. For the first time in three iterations of the bracket, I have taken into account the selection committee's historic practice of trying to avoid rematches of regular season games in the first round; I flipped Duke and Cornell at 4 and 5, and rearranged Ohio State, Princeton, Lehigh, and Bucknell at 11 through 14, to avoid a plethora of potential rematches.

Here's this week's updated bracket:

Notre Dame (1) vs. Bryant (16)

Albany (8) vs. Loyola (9)

Cornell (5) vs. Ohio State (12)

Duke (4) vs. Lehigh (13)

North Carolina (3) vs. Bucknell (14)

Penn State (6) vs. Princeton (11)

Denver (7) vs. Syracuse (10)

Maryland (2) vs. Marist (15)

Last four in: Bucknell, Princeton, Ohio State, Syracuse

First four out: Johns Hopkins, Drexel, Yale, Penn

Next four out: Army, Villanova, Hofstra, St. John's

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