NCAA Tournament Seeding: The Cases For and Against Loyola Chicago

Anyone who tells you with 100% confidence they know where Loyola will be seeded is full of crap. In the Bracket Matrix, the Ramblers are seeded as high as a No. 4 seed and as low as a No. 11 seed. I have my own opinions — which I’ll get to in a second — but I’ll say up front that Loyola could be given any seed within that range on Selection Sunday and I wouldn’t be shocked.

The committee could show unusual respect for a mid-major and seed them high. Or maybe, for once, Jerry Palm will be right and we’ll learn that Loyola was at risk of getting snubbed altogether had it lost in the MVC title game to Drake. The more likely result is somewhere in the middle.

If I were in the room with the selection committee, I’d be stumping for a No. 5 seed for Loyola. But as you can see in my bracket projections, I think they will get a No. 7 seed as of today.

Below is a brief breakdown of the arguments someone could make in either direction regarding Loyola.

Why Loyola should be at least a No. 5 seed

CBS Sports’ Garry Parrish made a good point on the Eye on College Basketball podcast earlier this week that Loyola’s resume is very similar to Houston’s. And Houston is a consensus No. 3 seed or better.

Whose resume is better?

vs. Quadrant 12-12-2
vs. Quadrant 25-14-2
vs. Quadrant 38-14-0
vs. Quadrant 45-012-0
NETNo. 6No. 10
KenPomNo. 6No. 9
SagarinNo. 6No. 37
BPINo. 3No. 20
KPINo. 9No. 30
SORNo. 20No. 41
SOS (NET)No. 128No. 141

It’s clear Houston has the better resume. But, as Parrish pointed out on his podcast, is it really several seed lines better than Loyola’s?

While Loyola took an extra loss in Q1 and Q2, Houston has a Q3 loss, so that’s pretty much a draw. And then they’re separated by only a few spots in NET, KenPom, and Strength of Schedule.

So if you focus on NET — the Selection Committee’s hallmark resume metric — and KenPom — the most widely used quality metric — it’s hard to justify putting Loyola any lower than a No. 5 seed if Houston is going to be at least a No. 3 seed.

Why Loyola should be a double-digit seed

If you want to argue that Loyola should be a No. 10 seed or worse, you can use all the teamsheet data other than KenPom and NET (including NET quadrant records) to make a decent argument.

Here are those numbers again on their own. This time, let’s compare them to Houston and Rutgers, which is currently a No. 10 seed.

SagarinNo. 6No. 37No. 30
BPINo. 3No. 20No. 39
KPINo. 9No. 30No. 44
SORNo. 20No. 41No. 29

Loyola is clearly closer to Rutgers than it is to Houston based on these numbers. I don’t think this case is as strong as the one above. But it’s there, and someone could make it if they wanted to.

We’ve seen mid-majors get snubbed or under-seeded without much of a legitimate case against them. So you can’t rule out the same happening for Loyola when there’s an existent case, even if it’s weak.

Where do you think Loyola will be on Selection Sunday? Let me know on Twitter @catch_n_shoot.

Author: Jesse Kramer

Jesse Kramer is the founder of The Catch and Shoot. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He has had work featured on, College Insider, The Comeback/Awful Announcing, and 247Sports.

Leave a Reply