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BracketBluster’s 2018 Introduction and Initial Bracket

Photo Courtesy of James Snook-USA TODAY Sports.

Welcome to year two of BracketBluster on firstandfan.com. For those of you new to BracketBluster, I’ll share a little of the methodology that we use. The brackets that we present here are designed purely with data from several collection sites. Each year a new formula is devised such that if you applied the formula to last year’s data that you would have a close approximation to last year’s bracket. Then we apply the new formula to current data and, using the NCAA’s rules of bracketology, we produce a bracket. For the 32 conferences, we use the highest rated team in the bracket – which is not necessarily the first place in the standings nor the number one seed. We then fill the bracket with the next 36 highest rated at-large teams.

Early season brackets may seem a little wonky. The reason is we use no preconceived strength of schedule statistic. So early in the season, mid-majors who play a difficult non-conference schedule will see more of a benefit than power conference teams who played the weak non-conference schedule. As the season goes along, the strength of schedule component matures and power conference teams tend to rise in our rankings.

This bracket is based on games played through Monday, December 4. You will see some oddities, but that makes the conversation fun. Starting in January, we will release new brackets every week or so. I encourage you to send questions to @BracketBluster on Twitter. Enjoy the season!