Welcome to the kenpom.com Bracket Breakdown, a Boeheim-free zone. Log5 analysis is treated as gospel here, but I acknowledge that it’s not the answer to all of your bracket issues.

First up the Midwest Region:

                 2nd Rd Sweet16   Elite8   Final4   Finals  Champs
1   Florida      99.72%  78.61%   56.54%   37.69%   21.07%  10.85%
2   Wisconsin    95.91%  68.27%   48.17%   25.15%   12.31%   5.45%
4   Maryland     86.42%  62.76%   26.04%   13.59%    5.64%   2.07%
6   Notre Dame   80.30%  47.69%   18.95%    6.86%    2.29%   0.66%
10  Georgia Tech 69.95%  25.14%   13.87%    5.07%    1.72%   0.50%
3   Oregon       86.02%  44.35%   15.76%    5.08%    1.51%   0.38%
5   Butler       72.39%  27.39%    7.13%    2.48%    0.65%   0.14%
9   Purdue       50.52%  10.89%    4.67%    1.70%    0.47%   0.11%
8   Arizona      49.48%  10.50%    4.45%    1.61%    0.44%   0.10%
7   UNLV         30.05%   6.16%    2.17%    0.45%    0.09%   0.01%
12  Old Dominion 27.61%   5.63%    0.70%    0.12%    0.02%   0.00%
11  Winthrop     19.70%   5.66%    0.84%    0.11%    0.01%   0.00%
13  Davidson     13.58%   4.21%    0.47%    0.07%    0.01%   0.00%
14  Miami (OH)   13.98%   2.31%    0.21%    0.02%    0.00%   0.00%
15  TAMU - CC     4.09%   0.43%    0.04%    0.00%    0.00%   0.00%
16  Jackson State 0.28%   0.00%    0.00%    0.00%    0.00%   0.00%

As we’ll come to see, this is the most wide open of the four regions, with six teams having at least a 5% chance to get to Atlanta, including an interesting oddball.

Florida’s path to a repeat is potentially quite a bit tougher than last season. Florida getting to the Final Four last season wasn’t a mammoth surprise. Last year at this time, I said:

Some would use Florida’s tournament history to disqualify them from a run to Indy. But don’t hold last season against them – they got the shaft by drawing a (then-)highly-underrated Villanova in the second round. With questions about the first and third picks in this region – the health of Villanova’s Allan Ray and the complete loss of shooting touch by Ohio State’s Je’Kel Foster – this is a good opportunity for Billy Donovan to restore his post-season image.

(Note: I actually said something like this about every team just to cover myself.)

Draw is so important, and the Gators were the second choice to get to the Final Four from their region according to log5. And once they got there, they had the good fortune to draw an 11-seed. A nice draw combined with great play is the formula for a national title.

The draw is not so bad this time around either, the 3- and 5-seeds are relatively weak and the 2-seed has a serious injury to deal with. You have to go to the 4-, 6-, and 10-seeds to find teams that could cause problems for the Gators. With that said, just based on numbers alone, they’re the least likely #1 seed to win it all.

Wisconsin has had major offensive problems since losing Brian Butch. But 2.93 of those 4.93 games have been against either Ohio State (10th best adjusted DE) or Illinois (3rd best AdjDE), so there’s reason for uncertainty about how much Brian Butch’s elbow has impacted the Badgers. Florida and Maryland have the best defenses in this region, and the Badgers would avoid them until the Elite 8.

Most folks know my feelings on Oregon. It started with the Maarty post, but for a while there have been signs that the defense is not top quality. The Ducks have a 1-in-20 shot of getting to the Final Four, and their defense has been better over the last four games, but one of those was against an Arizona team that is notorious for Pac-10 tournament flops.

Maryland gets a tough draw in the first round against Davidson. Davidson is 2nd in the nation in defensive rebounding and Maryland’s offense has been pretty dependent on offensive boards. If Davidson can take care of the ball against Maryland’s press, this game would get interesting.

While the selection committee has its principles, it seems to make arbitrary decisions more often lately. They gave more weight to what Butler did in November that February and March. But Butler has an explosive offense and was the victim of circumstance in its conference championship – a one-point loss on the road in which the opponent shot (eFG) 62.5% while attempting only four lay-ups. The Bulldogs had that luck returned by drawing ODU as a 12-seed, when they could have had to deal with Illinois or Arkansas. ODU is a poor three-point shooting team and they’ll be taking a lot of them against Butler.

As we get into the Cinderella seeds, two teams stand out – Notre Dame and Georgia Tech. Most folks would say it’s crazy to think one of them would make the Elite 8, and the odds are heavily against each doing so, but each is team is better than their seed would indicate. If they can get by serious first-round tests, watch out for these two. When you have Luke Harangody, anything is possible.

Now for the West:

                 2nd Rd  Sweet16   Elite8   Final4   Finals   Champs
1   Kansas       99.19%   78.52%   66.68%   48.48%   32.32%   18.89%
2   UCLA         98.08%   67.22%   38.23%   16.59%    8.01%    3.18%
6   Duke         86.21%   51.88%   27.54%   11.37%    5.22%    1.95%
3   Pittsburgh   89.71%   43.85%   20.50%    7.35%    2.93%    0.93%
7   Indiana      71.17%   26.83%   11.68%    3.76%    1.34%    0.37%
8   Kentucky     50.09%   10.76%    6.46%    2.69%    0.97%    0.28%
9   Villanova    49.91%   10.69%    6.41%    2.67%    0.96%    0.27%
12  Illinois     50.70%   30.03%    6.59%    2.29%    0.68%    0.16%
5   Va. Tech     49.30%   28.88%    6.21%    2.12%    0.62%    0.14%
4   S. Illinois  82.89%   38.49%    7.52%    2.36%    0.63%    0.13%
10  Gonzaga      28.83%    5.86%    1.43%    0.25%    0.05%    0.01%
11  VCU          13.79%    3.05%    0.49%    0.06%    0.01%    0.00%
13  Holy Cross   17.11%    2.60%    0.13%    0.01%    0.00%    0.00%
14  Wright St.   10.29%    1.22%    0.12%    0.01%    0.00%    0.00%
15  Weber St.     1.92%    0.09%    0.00%    0.00%    0.00%    0.00%
16  Play-In       0.81%    0.02%    0.00%    0.00%    0.00%    0.00%

The first thing that jumps out at me is how much easier Kansas’ side of the bracket is. The 2nd round game is no picnic, but the Sweet 16 game should be an easier test by going against one of [Virginia Tech, Illinois, Southern Illinois], although it that game should be very ugly in the points department. Putting that second game in perspective, the Jayhawks have the worst chance of all the No. 1’s to get to the Sweet 16, but the 2nd best to win the championship.

On the other side, while UCLA has a mini-home court advantage, they have to try to fend off some combination of [Indiana, Gonzaga] and [Pitt, Duke] to get to a potential game with Kansas.

The rep for Pitt is that they win with D, but they’ve given up more than a point per possession in eight of their last nine. Getting Aaron Gray over the 30 minute mark will be a key to their effectiveness.

The chances for miracle runs by Southern Illinois and Virginia Tech are severely stunted by having to face Kansas in the second round.

Duke and Indiana are given a real chance to advance deep. Another case of “I don’t see it”, but do you ever see a 6+ seed getting to the Final Four?

Kentucky and Villanova are looked at as underachieving power conference teams. Villanova has been playing better over the past month, while Kentucky’s defense has continued to regress. But Kentucky’s schedule has been the toughest in the land. The health of Mike Nardi could be crucial in deciding this one.

Finally, keep an eye on Illinois…only if you’re wistful for Dick Bennett’s days in the Big Ten. A great defense (3rd in adjusted DE) and a brutal pace (300th in adjusted tempo) have meant that the loser of an Illinois game has scored less than 50 in 7 of their last 13 games. You’ll be lucky to see either team get out of the 50’s in a dream Illini/Saluki 2nd round game.