/Talk to the Palm: Bracketology mailbag explores the race to No. 1 seeds in 2021 NCAA Tournament
Talk to the Palm: Bracketology mailbag explores the race to No. 1 seeds in 2021 NCAA Tournament

Talk to the Palm: Bracketology mailbag explores the race to No. 1 seeds in 2021 NCAA Tournament

It is time for another edition of the Talk to the Palm Bracketology mailbag. Once the college basketball season really gets rolling, I tend to get a lot of questions about my brackets and the selection process in general. This will give me a chance to answer some common questions, or better yet, uncommon ones. You submit your questions on Twitter, and every Wednesday I’ll answer the best ones here in the much beloved Q&A format.

I’ll start with the FAQs.

Q: What does [insert your team here] need to do to get in the tournament?

Talk to the Palm: Win the conference tournament. Less that that may be enough, but it is impossible to assess bubble teams in a vacuum. It always depends on what other teams do. Sorry, but it’s not all about you. Unless you win the league — then it is. In general, beat the good teams left on your schedule and don’t lose to any bad ones. This applies to seeding as well in that it can’t be analyzed in a vacuum.

Q: “Why is [insert your team here] seeded in your bracket much lower than its metrics?”

Talk to the Palm: Because metrics aren’t that important. To see what is important, read this link here.

But here is a relatively recent example. In 2017, Wichita State fans were killing me because I had them squarely on the bubble while it was in the top 10 in KenPom. The Shockers won the MVC Tournament, ended up 8th in KenPom’s rankings and earned a 10-seed in the bracket. If all you have is metrics, you have nothing. The resume has to back it up.

Even Ken Pomeroy thinks using his metrics in the selection process is a bad idea. At a meeting we attended when the NCAA was exploring replacing the RPI, he told the NCAA folks that they should not use his ratings because he is not measuring what they are trying to reward.

Now, let’s move on to this week’s submissions.

Q: Are the 1-seeds essentially locked? Or could Alabama, Iowa, or OSU make a run at them? — @ CubHawk1985

Talk to the Palm: No. Too many games left. Illinois and Ohio State still have a regular season game against each other, and at least two of Iowa, Illinois and OSU will lose in their conference tournament. I wouldn’t even rule out a Big 12 team making a run at it.

Q: Is Navy in regardless of how they do in the Patriot League tourney? — @jwasports

Talk to the Palm: No because the Patriot is a one-bid league. That means if current NET No. 9 Colgate does not win the tournament, it will set a record for the highest-rated team ever left out. Of course, that gets an asterisk since Patriot League team rankings do not mean anything due to a lack of nonconference games.

Q: For bubble teams that lose in their conference tourney this week can they schedule games for next week to improve their resume since most schools aren’t at the 27 game limit for the season? — @DaveWainwright_

Talk to the Palm: Yes, it’s allowed, and I seem to remember some years ago a West Coast Conference team either doing so or exploring the option. I would be surprised if anyone tried it this season because of the COVID-19 risks.

Q: How much does “brand name” come into play in tournament seeding from the committee? — @DylanRitchie250

Talk to the Palm: Zero. Maybe less. Let me take you back to 2013 when Kentucky was the No. 1 seed in the NIT. If brand name mattered, there is no way that ever happens. Brand names have to earn selection like everyone else. You could maybe make a case that the tournament is better if Duke, for example, is in the Final Four (not to me though), but there is no case to be made that the tournament is better with Duke in the First Four.