Colorado will make their first NCAA Tournament appearance in five years regardless of the outcome against Oregon State in the Pac-12 Championship on Saturday night. And the Buffaloes will earn a top-7 seed for the first time in program history thanks to strong metrics, six road wins, and 10 combined Quadrant 1 and Quadrant 2 wins.
Tad Boyle’s team, a 5-seed in Bracketology, also has three Quadrant 3 losses, equaling the combined total of the 10 teams above them in the NET Rankings. And all three are squarely in Quadrant 3; none of the three games will move into Quadrant 2 with last-minute updates before the Selection Show:
vs. NET-87 Utah
at NET-165 Cal
at NET-201 Washington
Elsewhere, Colorado ranks in the top 25 in Quadrant 2 wins (4th), NET (11th), BPI (16th), KenPom (17th), KenPom AdjO (18th), SOR (19th), and Sagarin (23th). And they’re 26th in KenPom AdjD, 32nd in Quadrant 1 wins, and 33rd in road wins.
How will the committee balance Colorado’s favorable numbers reflective of a 4- or 5-seed with three Quadrant 3 losses reflective of a bubble or non-tournament team? We don’t know, nor do we know how the committee will balance Creighton’s similarly strong metrics with three Quadrant 3 losses. And the NET-17 Bluejays are in an odd position facing Georgetown in the Big East Championship.
Georgetown beat Creighton in Omaha in early February. In reaching the Big East Championship, the Hoyas have climbed to No. 76 in the NET Rankings, one spot away from moving into a Quadrant 2 home loss for Creighton. If Creighton wins the Big East Championship, they’ll earn a second Quadrant 2 win and have a conference championship on their résumé. In doing so, however, they’ll likely keep Georgetown outside the top 75.
Would Creighton prefer another Quadrant 2 win and a conference championship over a loss? Yes, obviously, but it’s still a strange résumé situation to monitor as they fight for a 4-seed.
Another strange situation making for a tough evaluation: The NET has been infatuated with Colgate since the first rankings were released in early January. Two games into their season, the Raiders debuted at No. 16 on Jan. 4 and have spent all but six days over the last 10 weeks ranked inside the top 25. And one day before facing Loyola Maryland in the Patriot League Championship, they’re No. 8, one spot ahead of projected 2-seed Ohio State.
Colgate has zero Quadrant 1 wins, two Quadrant 2 wins, and one Quadrant 3 loss (their only loss of the season). They’re undefeated on the road (6-0) and haven’t lost in 10 weeks but rank outside the top 50 in most metrics, including Sagarin (64) and KenPom (84), and outside the top 200 in other areas, including all SOS metrics. Their NET sits among 2-, 3-, and 4-seeds, Sagarin and KenPom sit among 11-, 12-, and 13-seeds, and SOS sits among teams you didn’t know existed.
Elsewhere: Nineteen of Winthrop’s 23 wins are in Quadrant 4 but the Eagles are beloved by most metrics and boast a 10-0 road record. Everyone loves Loyola Chicago except for SOS metrics, Syracuse’s road record (2-7) and Quadrant 1 record (1-7) are conflicting with strong metrics, and San Diego State hasn’t beat anyone of consequence.
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Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM and host of High Motor by BetMGM, an NFL and college football podcast available on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else. He has written for Sports Illustrated, HERO Sports, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter: @DoughtyBetMGM