Kentucky will be the No. 1 overall seed. The only question – for weeks now, really – is whether the Wildcats will be in the South or Midwest. Geographically, St. Louis (Midwest) is a few miles closer, but it’s a small enough margin not to matter much. The South is UK’s more natural region. This is where North Carolina comes into play. Winning the outright ACC title and reaching the ACC tournament final means the Tar Heels should be the third No. 1 seed. UNC is an obvious fit for the South Region.
Here are the other considerations: If the committee has decided that the Michigan State – Ohio State winner today (Big Ten championship) will be a No. 1 seed, this affects the bracket. Either MSU or OSU will be No. 4 on the s-curve and be fourth in the Region pecking order – meaning a trip West. If, however, the committee has decided that Kansas/Missouri will be the fourth No. 1 seed regardless of the Big Ten outcome, then MSU or OSU will be two seeds. In this case, one of Missouri/Kansas will be West and one will be in the St. Louis location. The committee can balance the regions with the three or four seeds.
How will it shake out?
Missouri’s weak non-conference strength-of-schedule (No. 294 at collegerpi.com) will probably keep the Tigers as a two-seed. Kansas, the Big 12 regular season champ, lost to Baylor in the Big 12 semifinals. Normally, not a big deal. But both Michigan State and Ohio State have been projected as top seeds this season – and the Big Ten is a deeper league overall.
Will the starting time of the Big Ten title game be a factor? We may not know until 5:30 (or after) today whether Michigan State or Ohio State wins. From a bracketing standpoint, this isn’t a huge deal as both are from the same conference. It becomes an either-or scenario, and the winner is just plugged into the appropriate slot.
Here’s our take in order: Kentucky (Midwest), Syracuse (East), North Carolina (South), Michigan State/Ohio State (West). The two line: Kansas (West), Missouri (Midwest), Michigan State/Ohio State (South), Duke (East).
Enjoy Selection Sunday. Our final bracket projection will be posted later this afternoon. Then the debate ends and the Madness begins.
Kentucky has locked in the overall No. 1 seed with Syracuse losing to Cincinnati. The other top seeds remain the same, but North Carolina moves ahead of Kansas on the s-curve. The Jayhawks are now slotted West, with UK moving to the Midwest – a slightly closer location. Carolina goes South. That’s the fun news.
March 10 Bracket Projection – Bracketology
UPDATED EDITOR NOTE: With all the rapid-fire changes into the early morning hours, the original update posted at 3:30 a.m. (ET ) mentioned but did not account for (in the bracket) the automatic bid from the Pac-12. I have corrected this now (9:40 a.m. ET). Sorry for that miscue. Here’s how it plays out. NC State moves to the first team out and Texas plays Drexel in the First Four. For now, Arizona grabs the Pac-12’s auto bid slot as the highest remaining seed in the tournament.
The bubble remains a strange and ever-moving target. We’ll be reviewing everything thoroughly again, so things could change. We also have some potential bid stealers alive in the Atlantic 10, Conference USA, and Pac-12. Just another crazy night. Marshall and Texas join the First Four. Colorado and Arizona play for the Pac-12 title. In the SEC, Ole Miss remains alive thanks to a win over Tennessee. That drops the Volunteers among those just out.
What will Saturday hold? Who knows. But if it’s like Thursday and Friday, we’re in for another bumpy ride.
After losing to Louisville on Wednesday, Seton Hall joins Drexel, Iona, Oral Roberts, and Middle Tennessee State as nervous at-large hopefuls. West Virginia is in that group, too, but is a little more secure heading into action on Thursday and Friday. Connecticut helped its case by beating the Mountaineers. With 10 Top 100 RPI wins, it’s looking more and more likely that the Huskies will be able to defend their NCAA title. South Florida kept its at-large hopes alive by beating Villanova. USF matches up with Notre Dame tonight (Thursday).
March 8 Bracket Projection – Bracketology
Not a lot has changed since Monday’s bracket. Seton Hall remains in the field as a First Four participant in Dayton. They are matched against Xavier. St. Joseph’s and Drexel are the other First Four at-large teams. With this grouping, regular-season rematches were unavoidable. The First Four could look much different come Saturday morning. The next two days will be critical for teams like Northwestern, Texas, South Florida, Dayton, St. Joseph’s, Miami-Fla, NC State, and Oregon.
Enjoy two full days of great March hoops!
Our current NCAA tournament bubble isn’t necessarily any weaker, but it certainly isn’t shrinking. Games this weekend should help clear up a few spots – although it hasn’t happened yet. Right now, there are 25 teams listed as projected locks, with another seven teams in strong position to claim a bid (Should Be In). When you add in the 31 automatic qualifers (minus projected locks), that leaves us with about 16 spots. Some of the bubble teams are in stronger position than others.
March 3 Bubble Banter update.
A few quick thoughts about the weekend …
- Connecticut and Mississippi State are the two BCS teams currently in our bracket that most need victories this weekend. Connecticut hosts Pittsburgh and Mississippi State hosts Arkansas.
- Cincinnati should punch its ticket by winning at Villanova. A loss would make the Bearcats’ Big East tournament opener more important.
- Northwestern needs to win its game at Iowa, but that won’t be easy. The Hawkeyes have been a tough out at home.
- Washington can wrap up a Pac-12 title by winning at UCLA. That won’t guarantee the Huskies a spot, but it would certainly help.
- Virginia travels to Maryland with a two-game losing streak. A loss would drop the Cavaliers to 8-8 in the ACC and make UVA’s opening round ACC tournament game much more intense.
Enjoy a weekend of college hoops. Several teams will punch NCAA dance tickets.
Welcome to March. Three new teams have joined the bracket: Colorado State, South Florida, and VCU. Sliding out: Northwestern, Dayton, and St. Joseph’s. It’s going to be an interesting nine days until Selection Sunday.
Fresh off a week of great games, here’s your lates update:
March 2 Bracket Projection – Bracketology
The race for No. 1 seeds continues with Goliath matchups this weekend. Michigan State hosts Ohio State, and the Spartans can wrap up an outright Big Ten championship by beating the Buckeyes. There’s also Round 2 of the Duke and North Carolina rivalry. Results from those games will have a direct impact on the No. 1 seed line as we head into Championship Week. Kentucky and Syracuse continue to lead the field, and that’s unlikely to change. Kansas now has the inside track for the Midwest Regional in St. Louis, but it’s not locked in place. The No. 4 overall seed will be shipped West. In essence, there are five teams fighting for two spots on the top line. Ohio State could re-enter the discussion if the Buckeyes beat MSU this weekend and win the Big Ten conference tournament.
After a somewhat bumpy weekend, not a lot has changed from Saturday. Kentucky (South), Syracuse (East), Michigan State (Midwest), and Kansas (West) remain No. 1 seeds. Ohio State’s home loss to Wisconsin drops the Buckeyes to No. 8 on the s-curve. That means the Buckeyes are one spot from falling to a No. 3 seed. Baylor, Marquette, and Georgetown are all in play for OSU’s spot heading into the final two weeks of the season.
Duke is next in line for a one-seed and does hold tie-breaker advantages over both MSU and KU thanks to head-to-head victories. As we noted Saturday, however, the Spartans and Jayhawks both have outright leads in the Big Ten and Big 12. Although Duke won the its initial matchup with North Carolina, the Blue Devils and Tar Heels are tied for the ACC lead.
February 27 Bracket Projection – Bracketology
Overall, we have just two changes to today’s bracket – plus some minor seeding adjustments. Colorado State and Arizona slide out. St. Joseph’s and Northwestern move in and join the First Four groupings in Dayton. In Arizona’s case, the Wildcats were simply passed on the s-curve. Barely beating UCLA at home wasn’t enough t0 help UA hold its final at-large position. Colorado State lost at San Diego State. Not a bad loss, but it drops the Rams to 2-9 on the road. St. Joseph’s (Creighton) and Northwestern (Seton Hall) also have better out-of-conference wins than CSU.
The margins separating these teams – along with several others – are very thin. Expect the give and take to continue until someone plays their way in, or more likely, out. Among those considered for the final spots, Northwestern was the only team without a sub-100 RPI loss. In fact, all but two of the Wildcats’ losses have come to Top 40 RPI teams. That alone won’t carry NW into the NCAAs, but it’s enough to give them a slight edge today. Compared side-by-side, Northwestern has six (6) Top 100 wins while Miami has three (3). That and a higher strength of schedule gives the Wildcats a small edge on the Hurricanes.
You’ll notice that both First Four winners are slotted into 11-seed locations. As one at-large First Four game will be played Tuesday and one Wednesday, the Selection Committee will try to locate one to a Thursday-Saturday site and one to a Friday-Sunday site. That is replicated here. The only way that could be accomplished within the current bracket was to send them to Louisville and Columbus (plus both are close for travel from Dayton). Washington and Southern Mississippi fall to the 12-seed line by virtue of the procedural bump.
March is three days away. Enjoy the hoops.
We are two weeks from Selection Sunday and only two of four No. 1 seeds appear to be locked in place: Kentucky and Syracuse. Six teams are wrangling for those final two spots – most likely in the Midwest and West Regions. While the South Region appears to be a more natural fit for Kentucky, it’s possible the Wildcats could be routed through St. Louis, which is a few miles closer to Lexington than Atlanta. With Kansas and Missouri among the teams in contention for that region, however, it seems more plausible that UK will feed through the South. Just something to keep in mind.
Duke, North Carolina, Michigan State, and Ohio State join KU and Mizzou as potential No. 1 seeds. Both Duke and North Carolina and Michigan State and Ohio State play each other again in the regular season. We could easily see a third matchup in the ACC and Big Ten conference tournaments. So the race is far from over. Conference championships (regular season and/or conference tourney) will likely prove decisive.
February 25 Bracket Projection – Bracketology
In today’s bracket, Michigan State (Midwest) and Kansas (West) grab the final No. 1 seed positions. A quick note of explanation: Duke beat both the Spartans and Jayhawks on neutral courts in November. Those are important victories that could ultimately work in the Blue Devils’ favor. As of this bracket, however, Michigan State and Kansas have outright leads in their respective conferences. That’s why MSU and KU have been slotted just ahead of Duke on the s-curve. Safe to say, we have a lot of basketball left. For those wondering, spots 5-8 on the s-curve are listed like this: Duke, Missouri, Ohio State, North Carolina.
Today’s update also features a unique situation in the First Four. Dayton is among those teams – slotted against Texas in an opening round game. There is no bracketing provision that excludes Dayton from playing on its home floor if the Flyers are indeed a First Four participant. This was covered by the NCAA during the Mock Selection exercise in Indianapolis. The winner of the Dayton-Texas game heads to Nashville for a matchup with Louisville. The other at-large First Four game is Colorado State and Arizona. That winner heads to Portland to battle Wisconsin. As a point of reference, the Selection Committee will try to route one at-large matchup winner to a Thursday/Saturday site and one to a Friday/Sunday site unless no options are available. One of the at-large games will be played Tuesday and one Wednesday.
Enjoy a great weekend of hoops.