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NCAA bracket 2015: Reacting to the snubs, surprises and more

As is his annual tradition, our resident bracketologist looks at his results and those of the selection committee before moving on to the NCAA Tournament itself.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

SB Nation 2015 March Madness Bracket

That was an interesting selection show, wasn't it? The selection committee certainly gave us a lot to digest and discuss before the First Four tips off in Dayton on Tuesday night, with the Dayton Flyers hitting their own floor in this round for the first time one night later.

And believe me, that seeding was more than a bit unexpected. As Russell Steinberg's seed list post explains, Dayton would have been left out had Connecticut won the American Tournament.  With Basketball State ($) ranking the Flyers 28th, they would have been the highest RPI ranking excluded since Air Force was left out in 2007 at 30th.

Before we get to the other controversies surrounding this bracket, I'm going to open with a review of my own performance. This season, I missed two at-large selections -- choosing Colorado State and Temple, both ranked in the RPI top 40, over Ole Miss and UCLA, both of whom were rated lower -- an increase of one from 2015. In terms of seeds, I pegged 39 exactly, a decline from last year's 42, and I missed 24 by a single line, an increase from 19. My total of 63 teams within one line is an improvement of two over last season's total of 61. The fact I only missed three teams by more than one line helped after I whiffed on six such instances last year.

Now that I've broken my arm patting myself on the back, it's time to turn our attention to the committee. One of the things I strive to do every year is work some inconsistencies into my decision making to reflect the fact that sometimes a group of 10 people will come to conclusions together that one person would not make on their own (it's the political scientist in me). This plan of attack is not perfect, as tonight's results illustrated.

While I anticipated that the committee would jump Wisconsin past Virginia for the final spot on the top line and scrambled to make the change following the Big Ten final, I don't really agree with the decision for the reasons I laid out in my Sunday morning post. But after considering what happened further down the seed list, Badgers over Cavaliers is a minor quibble.

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In terms of the protected seeds, the committee threw everyone a curve ball by placing Georgetown -- ranked 24th in the RPI with a 4-10 record against the top 50 -- as a four seed in the South region, over numerous worthy candidates like Northern Iowa, Arkansas and West Virginia. It appears that the Hoyas' strength of schedule, bolstered by a home win over Villanova and losses to Kansas and Wisconsin, might have pushed them ahead of the rest. Yes, the Hoyas own a better single win than any of the other teams I named, and don't have a single loss to a non-top 50 team on their profile. However, given the way they stumbled to a 7-5 record in their last 12 (more on this metric shortly), it appears the committee rewarded Georgetown's schedule more than their actual performance. That's something typically expected for selection, but not necessarily seeding.

That statement is most likely why Georgia, Ole Miss and Texas are all in the field when Colorado State and Temple find themselves on the top line of the NIT bracket. The Bulldogs -- with an RPI ranking of 39 -- will enter the tournament without a single top-50 win, probably because of non-league games against Gonzaga, Kansas State, Seton Hall and Minnesota, all of whom are in the top 100, but only one of whom is joining UGA in the field.

The other SEC team on this list -- Ole Miss -- was swept by the Bulldogs (a factor that also likely helped Georgia), but did manage to win at Arkansas, defeat Oregon in Eugene and topple Cincinnati at a holiday tournament in Florida. Those results obviously outweighed some questionable losses, including one to South Carolina (who took two of three from Georgia!) in the SEC Tournament. Texas, meanwhile, went 3-12 against the top 50, thanks to a stacked Big 12. But considering that Georgetown got a four seed after going 4-10 in similar games, maybe I should be surprised that the 11th-seeded Longhorns aren't wearing white uniforms in the Round of 64.

Colorado State and Temple have to make other plans, despite being ranked 33rd and 34th in the RPI. It appears that the Owls' 2-8 record against the top 50 -- highlighted by a home win over Kansas -- didn't carry them into the field after all. And I have to suspect that a road win would have helped the Rams' cause a bit, because their three best wins -- over Boise State, San Diego State, and Georgia State -- all came in Fort Collins. That's trouble, even with a 5-5 mark against the top 100.

As I figured, Indiana's body of work got them in, and rather safely as a 10 seed. Their early wins helped cover up their late struggles.

However, the unexpected inclusion of UCLA appeared to generate the most ire on social media during the show. The consternation only increased when selection committee chair Scott Barnes, athletic director at Utah State, gave his explanation as for why the Bruins were selected. He simply stated that a selection factor officially said to be buried (though one I've long figured was still in play) was actually very much alive, as my friend Aubrey Bloom explained.

While the Bruins did go 8-4 in its final 12 games -- a total that included wins at Stanford and over Utah -- that span also includes six wins against teams from outside of the top 100 and losses at California and Arizona State. I wouldn't exactly say that's "gaining steam." Yes, UCLA was far improved from November and December when it lost to pretty much any team with a pulse. Kentucky famously blew the Bruins out in Chicago; Gonzaga, North Carolina and Oklahoma defeated them comfortably; and even Alabama (which just fired its coach) grabbed a win. However, Steve Alford's squad still didn't appear to have an at-large worthy profile. Much like Georgetown, Georgia and Texas, it appears the Bruins' scheduling intent may have played a much larger role than their actual results.

Or, UCLA is basically Bizarro Indiana.

Even though there are many problems with how we got to this particular bracket, the result itself will, as always, provide plenty of intriguing matchups and storylines. Might former Kentucky player Steve Masiello get to lead his Manhattan against the Wildcats in the Round of 64, one year after the Jaspers pushed Louisville to the limit? We'll know after the MAAC champs take on Hampton on Tuesday night in Dayton.

Will we see a potentially epic in-state matchup between Kansas and Wichita State, one state north in Omaha? Tune in on Friday to see if they can get past New Mexico State and Indiana, respectively.

Speaking of the Hoosier State, Butler might get to play Notre Dame for the title of best team in Indiana in the Round of 32 in Pittsburgh -- provided the Bulldogs survive Texas and the Irish get by CAA champ Northeastern.

There's even the potential for third-seeded Iowa State to meet seven seed Iowa in the regional semifinal in Houston, though the Hawkeyes would have to get past Gonzaga to get there.

How many 12-over-five upsets will we see? Stephen F. Austin, victors over VCU last year, might be able to do it again when the Lumberjacks face Utah in Portland on Thursday. The last time Wofford played in Jacksonville as a double-digit seed, it fell to Wisconsin by just four points as a 13 seed. The Terriers are back in the Bold City, taking on an Arkansas squad that, while better away from Fayetteville than normal, is always an upset threat away from home. Buffalo -- in its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance -- will try to solve West Virginia's defense, while that side of the ball will also be on display when Larry Nance Jr. and Wyoming take on Northern Iowa.

Could there be an even bigger upset in the cards? Georgetown may be a popular pick to go down, given its recent history and a matchup with Eastern Washington, led by the nation's top scorer in Tyler Harvey. Belmont might give Virginia a game in their 2 vs. 15 matchup, a year after Coastal Carolina battled the top-seeded Cavaliers for 30 minutes. Third-seeded Baylor could be tested by Georgia State, who are capable of doing a lot more damage than the 38 points Georgia Southern limited them to in Sunday's Sun Belt final. The Panthers feature Kentucky transfer Ryan Harrow, Louisville transfer Kevin Ware and R.J. Hunter, who is a legitimate star.

Am I picking any of these upsets? Well, you'll just have to come back to this space on Tuesday, when I release my annual picks post. All will be revealed then (though you can probably guess who I'm taking to win it all).