Duke earns overall No. 1 seed in first 68-team bracket …
Defending champion Duke sits atop our first 68-team NCAA Tournament bracket for 2011. The other teams on the top line: Purdue, Kentucky, and Michigan State. With the Wildcats moving up (from our April look-ahead), Kansas now headlines a strong group of No. 2-seeds that include Ohio State, Texas, and Villanova.
UPDATE (8/3): Since this look-ahead was first published on July 24, Northwestern’s Kevin Coble has decided not to return to the Wildcats for the 2010-2011 season. With that information, I have updated the bracket, moving NC State into the Opening Round and Northwestern into the First Five out.
The first real question, however, is … which teams face off in the new Opening Round (considered the First Four). These four games will be played in Dayton, with winners moving into the traditional 64-team bracket design. The last four at-large teams are paired, along with teams seeded 65-68 on the S-curve. Our initial projection looks like this … St. John’s vs. NC State | St. Louis vs. Miami-FL | Lehigh vs. Vermont | Jackson State vs. SF Austin.
As I have time, I’ll be working on a graphic to showcase these pairings. For now, these teams are listed in the bracket with a “/” in between; the winner goes on the seed line indicated. The St. John’s-St.Louis winner becomes a 12-seed in the East, playing Missouri in Tampa. The Northwestern-Miami winner gets a 12-seed opposite national runner-up Butler (game in Tucson, Southeast Region). The other winners earn 16-seeds in the Southwest and West.
Enough talk for now. Several teams moved one seed line to accommodate bracketing issues. BYU always creates some chaos because the Cougars cannot be placed in Friday-Sunday sites. Have a different opinion? Send a rebound. The breakdown by conference and other teams considered are listed below the bracket.
Continue reading to see the bracket …
Couple of quick reminders … the NCAA has renamed a couple of regions for 2011. We will have the East (Newark), Southeast (New Orleans), Southwest (San Antonio), and West (Anaheim). As usual, teams listed in CAPS are projected league champions unless a school typically goes by an abbreviation (BYU, UCLA, etc).
68-TEAM BRACKET PROJECTION for 2011 | Posted: July 24, 2010
|EAST – Newark||SOUTHWEST – San Antonio|
|1) DUKE||1) PURDUE|
|16) MORGAN STATE||16) JACKSON ST/SF AUSTIN|
|8) Wisconsin||8) Texas A&M|
|9) WICHITA STATE||9) Richmond|
|5) Missouri||5) Tennessee|
|12) St. John’s/NC State||12) Louisville|
|4) Florida||4) North Carolina|
|13) OLD DOMINION||13) MURRAY STATE|
|6) XAVIER||6) Georgetown|
|11) Arizona||11) Mississippi State|
|3) Kansas State||3) MEMPHIS|
|14) WEBER STATE||14) CHARLESTON|
|7) Illinois||7) SAN DIEGO ST|
|10) Virginia Tech||10) Minnesota|
|2) VILLANOVA||2) Texas|
|15) E. TENNESSEE ST.||15) HARVARD|
|SOUTHEAST – New Orleans||WEST – Anaheim|
|1) KENTUCKY||1) Michigan State|
|16) WINTHROP||16) LEHIGH/VERMONT|
|8) Connecticut||8) Temple|
|9) Florida State||9) Georgia Tech|
|5) BUTLER||5) WASHINGTON|
|12) St.Louis/Miami-FL||12) UTAH STATE|
|4) Baylor||4) Syracuse|
|13) OHIO||13) OAKLAND|
|6) Wake Forest||6) GONZAGA|
|11) New Mexico||11) BYU|
|3) Pittsburgh||3) West Virginia|
|14) FAIRFIELD||14) PACIFIC|
|7) California||7) Maryland|
|10) Mississippi||10) Georgia|
|2) Ohio State||2) KANSAS|
|15) ROBERT MORRIS||15) NORTH TEXAS|
NOTES on the BRACKET: Duke is the No. 1 overall seed in this projection, followed by Purdue, Kentucky, and Michigan State. Next in line (No. 2 seeds): Kansas, Ohio State, Texas, Villanova
Last Five teams in (at large): Arizona, St. John’s, Miami-FL, St. Louis, NC State
First Five teams out (at large): Washington State, Dayton, VCU, UCLA, Northwestern
Also considered (not listed in any order): UNLV, Northern Iowa, Rhode Island, Cincinnati, Cleveland State, Creighton, South Florida, George Mason, Texas Tech, Nevada, Arizona State, UTEP, UAB, Virginia, Oregon
Conference Breakdown: ACC (9), Big East (8), Big Ten (6), SEC (6), Big 12 (6), Atlantic 10 (4), Pac-10 (3), Mountain West (3)