<
>
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
Get ESPN+

Your BPI-influenced NCAA tournament draft

Can Marial Shayok and Iowa State make noise in March? It appears possible, with the Cyclones ranked a Big 12-leading 12th in BPI. Jay Biggerstaff/USA TODAY Sports

Everyone loves a draft.

Unfortunately, the NFL and NBA drafts are months away, so we need to fill the void. And so it was decided: Let's do a college basketball projections categories draft.

What is that? Glad you asked.

We created and battled in a two-man snake draft of 12 college hoops teams based on how well we think each will do in the NCAA tournament. We get 1 point for a team reaching the tournament, and then another point for every win in the tournament (First Four doesn't count).

The twist?

This isn't just the 12 best teams in the country. The person who is drafting second in each round sets the category parameters: can be geographical, stylistic, mascot type -- whatever. Only teams in that category are eligible. So let's draft!

Oh, and stick around to the end to see why we don't need to wait until March to crown a winner.


Category 1: A Big 12 team

Paul Sabin: I'm going to take Kan ... actually, (and I can't believe I'm doing this) I'm drafting Iowa State as the first Big 12 team. It's 12th in ESPN's College Basketball Power Index (BPI), tops in the Big 12, and its five best games per our game score metric have come in January, meaning that Iowa State is playing its best basketball right now. Despite five losses, we give the Cyclones a 93 percent chance to reach the tournament and a sneaky good 44 percent chance to reach the Sweet 16.

Seth Walder: Wow. I was debating between Texas Tech and Kansas and figured the choice would be made for me! I will go Kansas, despite the Jayhawks' back-to-back losses. Am I worried that the Udoka Azubuike injury really did just end their season? Certainly. But I also know that there's at least some chance Silvio De Sousa can return and (maybe?) help fill the void Azubuike left. That's a factor that BPI -- which has Kansas and Texas Tech very close -- isn't considering.


Category 2: A Mountain or Pacific time zone team not named Gonzaga or Nevada