I guess it makes sense and isn't a surprise, but we already have some Bracketology posts making their way online. I get preseason rankings and I get trying to guess the season results and All-Americans, but I feel like Bracketology before the season is always weird, mainly for two reasons. First, a good chunk of the tourney will be automatic bids from mid-majors, meaning over a third of the predictions are essentially irrelevant. Then you have something, unlike rankings, that will ultimately be extremely varied until things start to solidify in early 2015. But nonetheless, CBS writer Jerry Palm posted his initial preseason Bracketology yesterday so let's have a look.
Starting off with the obvious, Palm has Wisconsin at a top seed alongside Kentucky, Arizona and Duke. Per Jerry Palm's initial projections, he currently has Wisconsin as the third of the four one seeds. Palm had the following to say on the Badgers heading into the season:
Almost all of Bo Ryan's first Final Four team returns. In an era when one-and-done kids dominate the news, it's refreshing to have a team like the Badgers that is talented and experienced. Even though Wisconsin always finishes in the top three in the Big Ten, they're rarely favored to win it. That is not the case this season, because the Badgers are everyone's pick.
Overall Jerry Palm currently has eight Big Ten teams listed as making the tournament, which would be just over half the league. It's not quite the Big East in it's prime, but its getting there. Palm had the following teams listed:
- #1 Wisconsin
- #4 Ohio State
- #5 Michigan State
- #5 Nebraska
- #6 Michigan
- #9 Iowa
- #10 Maryland
- #12 Illinois
A few things that I find interesting about his initial offering. First is I'm not surprised at teams like Indiana and Purdue being left out, but I think it's a toss-up to slot in squads like Maryland and Illinois over a team like Minnesota. Also, with no other team outside of Wisconsin picking up a top three seed, it looks like Palm either thinks the Big Ten will beat up on each other or it's a balanced league with few standouts besides the Badgers. Considering the departures effecting both Michigan schools and Ohio State, the later make a lot of sense. Of course there's a ton of talented freshmen joining that could have an immediate impact and bump these teams up.
The two things that surprised me the most was the inclusion of Maryland and having Nebraska so high up. I like Maryland (and they were my favorite ACC school when in the conference), but their inconsistency under Turgeon has been straight up maddening if you're a Terp fan. While I think the talent is there, I'm finding it hard to back Maryland right now because I can see them already knocking off Wisconsin and then following it up with a loss to Rutgers a week later. As for Nebraska, we're still putting a lot of weight on their end of season surge last season and I think it's hard to call for them to be better this season when their conference opposition will only get better from last season (not so much at the top, but the lower to mid level Big Ten teams are all pretty much improving).
Nonetheless, what do you guys think? Is Nebraska too high? Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, etc. too low? Boo for the lack of Minnesota? It's going to be a long season regardless and it looks like we already have our national sites stirring the pot and creating plenty of room for debate and discussion on a selection process that won't occur for about four months. It's officially basketball season, that's for sure.