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Inaugural Frogs O' War Bracketology!

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Welcome to the first edition of Frogs O' War Bracketology! Let's determine the postseason fate for the TCU Horned Frogs. Embrace the Madness.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the first edition of Frogs O' War Bracketology! This marks the beginning of a tremendously fun stretch of college basketball that will ultimately determine the postseason fate for the TCU Horned Frogs.

As the regular season draws to a close, TCU is putting the finishing touches on their postseason resume. As it stands right now, the Frogs have likely earned a bid to participate in the College Basketball Invitational, at the very least. TCU is guaranteed to finish the season with a winning record overall, and recent history with the CBI suggests that a winning record from a power conference team should be good enough to get in.

The Frogs still have a shot to enter the NIT, but there are a lot of factors at play. Let's start with a little bit of technical details surrounding the NCAA Tournament. As you know, 68 teams are invited to the Big Dance every year. Of those 68 teams, 32 are awarded automatic bids by virtue of winning their conference's postseason tournament (except for the Ivy League, where the regular season champion is given an automatic bid), while the other 36 are awarded at-large bids.

Assuming that the Frogs don't get hot at exactly the right time and win the Big 12 Conference Tournament, the NIT could be a destination for TCU. The NIT consists of 32 teams, with a fluctuating number of automatic bids and at-large bids. Why does the number fluctuate? It all depends on the aforementioned conference tournaments. The NIT awards automatic bids to teams who win their regular season conference championship but fail to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning their conference tournament. This often happens with small conferences.

Take the Southwestern Athletic Conference, for example. In 2014, the Southern Jaguars were crowned SWAC Regular Season Champions and were awarded the #1 seed in the SWAC Tournament. However, the Jaguars were upset by the #8 seed Prairie View A&M Panthers in the Quarterfinals. Texas Southern would go on to win the SWAC Tournament and receive the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Southern's consolation prize was an automatic bid to the NIT. Make sense?

Therefore, TCU's odds of receiving an NIT bid are contingent on how many of these small conference regular season champions go on to win their automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. TCU fans should be rooting for all of the top seeds in these small conference tournaments, so that there are less automatic bids in the NIT. If each small conference regular season champion also won their conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA tournament, there could be 32 at-large bids for the NIT. This ideal scenario for TCU would be highly unlikely, but could happen in theory. Each year there is a different number of automatic bids in the NIT. Last year there were 13, the year before that there were 10, and in 2012 there were 11.

So, let's get down to it! Starting with the NCAA Tournament... Since it is unlikely that TCU wins the Big 12 Tournament and earns a bid to the Big Dance, let's (somewhat unscientifically) fill out the field of 68.

Let's start with the 32 automatic bids for conference champions. This is a pretty difficult task, as March is unpredictable and any team theoretically can win their conference tournament, especially in the smaller conferences. For the sake of argument, let's say that the teams that are leading their conference standings right now all win their conference tournaments. (I know - this is highly unlikely, if not impossible, but that's beyond the point.) Information is current as of March 2, 2015.

Conference

Champion

America East Conference

Albany

American Athletic Conference

Tulsa*

Atlantic 10 Conference

Dayton*

Atlantic Coast Conference

Virginia*

Atlantic Sun Conference

North Florida

Big 12 Conference

Kansas*

Big East Conference

Villanova

Big Sky Conference

Sacramento State*

Big South Conference

Charleston Southern

Big Ten Conference

Wisconsin

Big West Conference

UC Davis*

Colonial Athletic Association

William & Mary

Conference USA

Louisiana Tech*

Horizon League

Valparaiso

Ivy League

Harvard*

Mid-American Athletic Conference

Iona

Mid-American Conference

Central Michigan*

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

North Carolina Central

Missouri Valley Conference

Wichita State

Mountain West Conference

Boise State*

Northeast Conference

Saint Francis (NY)

Ohio Valley Conference

Murray State

Pac-12 Conference

Arizona

Patriot League

Bucknell

Southeastern Conference

Kentucky

Southern Conference

Wofford

Southland Conference

Stephen F. Austin*

Southwestern Athletic Conference

Texas Southern*

Summit League

South Dakota State

Sun Belt Conference

Georgia Southern*

West Coast Conference

Gonzaga

Western Athletic Conference

New Mexico State

* denotes current standings leader

That leaves us with 36 at-large bids to distribute out. Let's start with teams that should be a lock to get in. These are the teams that aren't conference champions or currently leading their conference but should get into the NCAA Tournament no matter what. After that, let's look at everybody else - teams that are somewhere between locked and on the bubble.

Locked

Everybody Else

Arkansas

BYU

Baylor

Cincinnati

Butler

Georgia

Colorado State

Indiana

Duke

Iowa

Georgetown

LSU

Iowa State

Michigan State

Louisville

Mississippi

Maryland

North Carolina State

North Carolina

Ohio State

Northern Iowa

Oklahoma State

Notre Dame

Oregon

Oklahoma

Purdue

Providence

San Diego State

SMU

St. John's

Utah

Temple

Virginia Commonwealth

Texas A&M

West Virginia

Xavier

Every year there are teams "snubbed" from the NCAA Tournament. These teams usually highlight the NIT field. Now it's time to take a look at the 32 teams that could receive invitations to the NIT. But first, we need to make another important assumption. Remember those small conference teams that win their conference in the regular season but not the postseason tournament? Since 2007 when the NIT contracted from 40 to 32 teams, 77 small conference schools have received an automatic bid, an average of about nine per season. For argument's sake, let's assume that 10 teams will receive automatic bids to the NIT this season. That leaves 22 at-large bids for everyone else, including TCU.

After removing the 68 NCAA Tournament teams, let's assign these 22 remaining spots to the next best teams. I used a combination of overall record, RPI, strength of schedule, quality wins, quality losses, and conference strength to assign seeds to these 22 at-large teams, based on how they stand right now.


Team

D-1 Record

RPI

SOS

Conference

Record

1 Seed

Davidson

20-6

36

131

A-10

12-4

Pittsburgh

18-11

49

38

ACC

8-8

UCLA

18-12

52

25

Pac-12

10-7

Texas

17-12

46

9

Big 12

6-10

2 Seed

Old Dominion

22-6

44

129

C-USA

11-5

Stanford

18-10

56

68

Pac-12

9-7

Illinois

18-11

58

57

Big Ten

8-8

Miami (FL)

18-11

70

66

ACC

8-8

3 Seed

Connecticut

17-11

69

44

AAC

10-6

Buffalo

19-9

34

60

MAC

10-6

Minnesota

16-12

78

64

Big Ten

6-10

Alabama

16-12

81

71

SEC

7-9

4 Seed

Yale

19-8

71

155

Ivy

10-2

Seton Hall

16-12

72

62

Big East

6-10

UTEP

19-9

74

117

C-USA

11-5

Richmond

17-12

65

34

A-10

10-6

5 Seed

Saint Mary's

20-8

62

106

WCC

13-5

Rhode Island

19-7

67

180

A-10

12-4

Massachusetts

17-12

61

44

A-10

10-6

California

17-12

97

70

Pac-12

7-9

6 Seed

Clemson

16-12

85

69

ACC

8-8

Green Bay

21-7

63

177

Horizon

12-4

Automatic Bid






Automatic Bid






7 Seed

Automatic Bid






Automatic Bid






Automatic Bid






Automatic Bid






8 Seed

Automatic Bid






Automatic Bid






Automatic Bid






Automatic Bid






Outside

Memphis

17-12

92

48

AAC

9-7

Illinois St

18-11

77

91

MVC

11-7

Vanderbilt

16-12

96

101

SEC

7-9

Oregon St

16-12

106

125

Pac-12

8-9

Arizona St

15-14

91

42

Pac-12

7-9

Kansas St

15-15

76

12

Big 12

8-9

Washington

15-13

105

94

Pac-12

4-12

Penn State

15-14

118

96

Big Ten

3-13

Florida St

15-15

121

75

ACC

7-10

TCU

17-12

122

130

Big 12

4-12

As it stands right now, the Frogs are slightly on the outside looking in. TCU's RPI and strength of schedule measures just aren't high enough to legitimately put the Frogs in the field right now. But, a lot can change between now and Selection Sunday. TCU has two chances more to pick up quality wins in the regular season before heading to the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City. If the Frogs can find a way to win two or three more games this season, they could very well find themselves with an NIT invitation.

It is also important to note that these projections account for 10 automatic bids. That number can change drastically depending on the outcome of the conference tournaments. (Speaking of conference tournaments, the first few tipoff tonight. Watch for a TCU-centric rooting guide shortly.) If there were no automatic bids, the Frogs would be in the field of 32. A lot can and will change between now and Selection Sunday, but it's not entirely out of the question to see TCU make a return to the NIT for the first time since 2005.

Editor's Note: This is the first time I've ever done something like this, and it is quite difficult to predict so many moving parts all at once. I wouldn't go running to Las Vegas with this information.