One quick note before diving into the bracket:
It came down to eight teams (Boise St., BYU, Colorado St., Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Temple, Texas) for the last seven spots. I wouldn’t be surprised to see any of those teams left out when the bracket is revealed.
Below are my final projections. I’ve also listed my last four in and first four out, along with my reasoning for those selections.
|MIDWEST (CLEVELAND)||EAST (SYRACUSE)|
|Louisville – March 19/21||Pittsburgh – March 19/21|
|1) Kentucky (34-0)||1) Villanova (32-2)|
|16) Hampton (16-17)/R. Morris (19-14)||16) Manhattan(19-13)/N. Florida(23-11)|
|8) St. John’s (21-11)
||8) Iowa (21-11)|
|9) Dayton (25-8)||9) North Carolina St. (20-13)|
|Seattle – March 20/22||Louisville – March 19/21|
|5) Louisville (24-8)
||5) Wichita St. (28-4)|
|12) Wyoming (25-9)||12) Wofford (28-6)
|4) West Virginia (23-9)||4) Oklahoma (22-10)|
|13) Valparaiso (28-5)||13) Harvard (21-7)|
|Columbus – March 20/22||Pittsburgh – March 19/21|
|6) Georgetown (21-10)||6) Utah (24-8)|
|11) Indiana (20-13)/Mississippi (20-12)||11) Texas (20-13)|
|3) Notre Dame (29-5)||3) Maryland (27-6)|
|14) North Dakota St. (23-9)||14) Northeastern (23-11)|
|Omaha – March 20/22||Charlotte – March 20/22|
|7) VCU (26-9)||7) Butler (22-10)|
|10) Purdue (21-12)||10) Colorado St. (27-6)|
|2) Kansas (26-8)||2) Virginia (29-3)|
|15) Belmont (22-10)
||15) Albany (23-8)|
|SOUTH (HOUSTON)||WEST (LOS ANGELES)|
|Charlotte – March 20/22||Columbus – March 20/22|
|1) Duke (29-4)||1) Wisconsin (31-3)|
|16) Lafayette (20-12)||16) Coastal Carolina (24-9)|
|8) Cincinnati (22-10)||8) Xavier (21-13)|
|9) Ohio St. (23-10)||9) Oklahoma St. (18-13)|
|Portland – March 19/21||Jacksonville – March 19/21|
|5) Arkansas (26-8)||5) SMU (27-6)|
|12) Stephen F. Austin (29-4)||12) Buffalo (23-9)|
|4) Northern Iowa (30-3)||4) North Carolina (24-11)|
|13) Eastern Washington (26-8)||13) Georgia St. (24-9)|
|Omaha – March 20/22||Jacksonville – March 19/21|
|6) Michigan St. (23-11)||6) Providence (22-11)|
|11) Boise St. (25-8)/Temple (23-10)
||11) Georgia (21-11)|
|3) Iowa St. (25-8)||3) Baylor (24-9)|
|14) UC Irvine (21-12)||14) New Mexico St. (23-10)|
|Seattle – March 20/22||Portland – March 19/21|
|7) Oregon (25-9)||7) San Diego St. (26-8)|
|10) Davidson (24-7)||10) LSU (22-10)|
|2) Gonzaga (32-2)||2) Arizona (31-3)|
|15) UAB (19-15)||15) Texas Southern (22-12)|
Last Four In
While I think you could see a team like Texas, Georgia, or Colorado State miss the field, these four are the ones I think have the best chance of missing the field at this point.
When compared to the other eight teams in contention for the last seven spots, IU has more top-end wins, and they’ve lost just one game to a team that won’t be in the field.
The issue is a relatively low RPI due to playing too many sub-300 teams and a poor record away from home. The Hoosiers also played poorly down the stretch but showed improvement in the Big Ten Tournament.
Earlier today, Jerod wrote about the reality of the Selection Sunday predicament Indiana currently finds itself in.
The Rebels dropped their first SEC Tournament game to South Carolina, which gave them five losses against teams ranked 85th or lower in the RPI. They do have three Top-50 wins, although the last one came nearly two months ago.
Ole Miss is now just 13-12 against the Top 200 thanks to sub-100 losses to non-conference foes Charleston Southern, TCU, and Western Kentucky.
The good news for the Broncos is that they won the MWC regular season crown, which included a road win over San Diego State. The bad news is that they have three sub-100 losses, a poor non-conference strength of schedule, and a 4-5 mark against the Top 100.
The Owls have a 9-10 mark against the Top 200, and Jerry Palm pointed out this week that there have been few (if any) teams to make the field when under .500 against the Top 200. They don’t have a bad loss since their roster has been intact, but they have just two wins over tournament teams, both of which came at home.
First Four Out
There’s really just one team that warrants more than a few words here.
I spent a lot of time breaking down BYU’s case with earlier this week, but one thing to add is that the past teams they compare most favorably with all won their league’s regular season title. The Cougars finished four games back of Gonzaga thanks to three sub-100 losses.
Ultimately the lack of quality wins is the reason I pushed BYU out of the field, but again, I wouldn’t be shocked to see them in the field. They have a strong non-con strength of schedule and a solid RPI.
There really isn’t much (if any) precedent for the Racers getting in the tournament. They have just one Top-100 win and were blown out by Xavier and Valparaiso. However, they reeled off 25 wins in a row before losing on a last-second three-pointer in the OVC Championship Game.
With so many other bubble teams crumbling, does the committee give a shot to a team that dominated its league in the regular season and has one loss since late November? You never know.
Other teams considered: Connecticut, Texas A&M, Old Dominion
Here is how the bids broke down by conference:
Big Ten (7): Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin*
Big 12 (7): Baylor, Iowa State*, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, West Virginia
ACC (6): Duke, Louisville, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Notre Dame*, Virginia
Big East (6): Butler, Georgetown, Providence, St. John’s, Villanova*, Xavier
SEC (5): Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky*, LSU, Mississippi
Mountain West (4): Boise State, Colorado State, San Diego State, Wyoming*
American (3): Cincinnati, SMU*, Temple
Atlantic 10 (3): Davidson, Dayton, VCU*
Pac-12 (3): Arizona*, Oregon, Utah
Missouri Valley (2): Northern Iowa*, Wichita State
West Coast: Gonzaga*
America East: Albany*
Atlantic Sun: North Florida*
Big Sky: Eastern Washington*
Big South: Coastal Carolina*
Big West: UC Irvine*
Conference USA: UAB*
Northeast: Robert Morris*
Ohio Valley: Belmont*
Southland: Stephen F. Austin*
Summit: North Dakota State*
Sun Belt: Georgia State*
SWAC: Texas Southern*
WAC: New Mexico State*
* – Earned automatic bid
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