Bilas Index: Ranking bracket 1-68
How does the tournament field stack up in the eyes of the Bilastrator?
The Selection Committee's Seed List was a revelation. It revealed that the selection committee wastes far too much time looking at the RPI and using RPI numbers to balance out regions and to group teams together. The other revealing thing is the clear need for selection and seeding evaluation criteria, because the individual committee members need to be guided, and need to be more accountable to certain, set principles.
The final thing that is completely clear is that there is really no need to listen to any conference call, press event or interview that includes members of the selection committee. They are all really nice people and do an admirable job, but if the answers are going to be so general, vanilla and devoid of any information, why bother? Of course, it's probably not easy to explain why they send Michigan State, a 4-seed, to a part of the East Region that plays its first two games in Spokane, Wash.
And here's another question: Rather than use the seed lines based upon RPI, a flawed measure, why not use The Bilas Index to fill out your bracket, to impress your friends, and to win a billion dollars? While The Bilastrator has concerns about The Bilas Index being used to collapse the world economy by making perfect brackets available to all, it's a risk The Bilastrator is willing to take.
Important note: Higher-ranked teams from The Bilas Index don't always advance deep into The Bilastrator's certified-perfect bracket. The latter incorporates specific matchup information mined from the gray matter of The Bilastrator's cerebral cortex that will almost certainly affect the outcome of that specific tournament game. But one can use The Bilas Index as yet another valuable tool when filling out your bracket.
To be clear, The Bilas Index is fail-safe, foolproof and the definitive statement on basketball accomplishment. As always, you're welcome.
Biggest NCAA snubs from the previous Index: SMU; Louisiana Tech; Utah; Green Bay; Minnesota; Maryland; Clemson; St. John's; Florida State.
1. Florida Gators (Previous ranking: 1)
The Gators have won 26 straight games and have depth and balance. Like several other teams, Florida is not a great shooting unit, but the Gators defend at a high level and have Michael Frazier II, who can hit multiple 3-point shots in a game. This is a fun team to watch because it plays the right way, five as one.
2. Wichita State Shockers (Previous ranking: 2)
Wichita State is legit and is a relentless rebounding and defensive team. With a point guard who knows how to play in Fred VanVleet, the Shockers can beat anyone. A key guy to watch is Tekele Cotton, an elite defender who can now consistently make shots from 3-point range.
To read Jay Bilas' full ranking and analysis of the 68 teams in the NCAA tournament, you must be an ESPN Insider.
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As power conference teams are eliminated from the NCAA tournament, ESPN's team of recruiting experts will look at who's coming back, and who's coming in.