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Note: Italic represents projected conference winner, automatic bid. Bold represents teams that have already clinched NCAA Tournament bids
NCAA Tournament Bracketology Updated As Of Games Completed On 3/17/13 3:00 PM
1 Seeds – Gonzaga Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, Indiana Hoosiers, Kansas Jayhawks
We think that Gonzaga, Indiana, and Louisville have all done enough to ensure the fact that they are going to be on the top line come Selection Sunday at this point. The Hoosiers might have put themselves in a bit of peril after losing to the Badgers, but there really should be no doubt about IU’s safety on the top line. The Dookies were here on the top line for quite some time, but we think that winning the Big XII title was enough to get the Jayhawks here on the top line instead. It wouldn’t be a huge shock to see Duke here come Selection Sunday, but KU is the right choice that the Selection Committee should be making. Louisville won the Big East Tournament, and the argument could be made that they are the best team in the country once again. Though we think that Gonzaga should be the No. 1 overall seed in the dance, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Cards get that nod instead.
2 Seeds – Miami Hurricanes, Duke Blue Devils, Ohio State Buckeyes, Florida Gators
We really think that the No. 2 line is pretty much cut and dry at this point. The Hurricanes won the ACC title by knocking off North Carolina, but that isn’t going to be enough to put them all the way up on the No. 1 line. Florida meanwhile, was beaten at the death in shocking fashion by Ole Miss, and that is going to keep the orange and blue on the No. 2 line as well. No one was really able to capitalize to take its No. 2 seed. Ohio State is going to be on the No. 2 line whether it wins the Big Ten title or not.
3 Seeds – New Mexico Lobos, Georgetown Hoyas, Michigan State Spartans, Syracuse Orange
The Lobos captured the Mountain West title, and the way that things are shaking out, they could be in for a great bracket when things are released on Sunday. They’ll be playing at home in the West Bracket and will be the only West Coast based team at the top of that bracket. Georgetown has fallen down after not playing for a couple of days after bowing out of the Big East Tournament in the quarters. Syracuse has made it to the No. 3 line by getting to the Big East Tournament Final. They couldn’t lock down the automatic bid to the dance though, as Louisville proved to be just too strong. Michigan State couldn’t get to the Big Ten title game, but the Spartans have done enough in our eyes to stay on the No. 3 line.
Note: Syracuse would move down to a No. 4 seed if Wisconsin wins the Big Ten Championship Game
4 Seeds – Michigan Wolverines, Kansas State Wildcats, Wisconsin Badgers, Oklahoma State Cowboys
Some moving and some shaking here on the No. 4 line as we go into the second to last day of the regular season. Michigan’s loss to Wisconsin really hurts any case that the Wolverines have of being in the Top 3 lines, and we think that there is nowhere to go but down from here for Big Blue. Okie State’s loss to Kansas State might ultimately see it down a line, but not necessarily. The Wildcats didn’t win the Big XII, but they shouldn’t be punished for it. Losing to Kansas, even if it was for the third time this year, isn’t the end of the world. Wisconsin’s win over Indiana was a huge step in the right direction for the Badgers, as they are most certainly going to be in the top four lines in the NCAA Tournament.
Note: Wisconsin would move up to a No. 3 seed if it wins the Big Ten Championship Game
5 Seeds – UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Marquette Golden Eagles, Saint Louis Billikens
Notre Dame bowed out of the semifinals of the Big East Tournament, but there is nothing to worry about for Head Coach Mike Bray’s team. The Fighting Irish have earned a Top 5 slot in the dance. The Runnin’ Rebels didn’t really do anything wrong to fall down to the No. 5 line, but losing in the MWC title game kept them from moving back up to the Top 4 lines. After winning the A-10 title winning a combined five games this year against VCU and Butler, there is no reason for the Billikens to not be at least on the No. 5 line, if not even a tad higher than this.
6 Seeds – Arizona Wildcats, Pittsburgh Panthers, Memphis Tigers, Creighton Blue Jays
Arizona lost a spot on our line when Saint Louis won the Atlantic 10 title on Sunday. It took two overtimes, but Memphis was able to close out Southern Miss in Tulsa on Saturday morning. The Tigers aren’t moving up any, but they aren’t moving down any either. Pittsburgh is the fourth team on this line, as it lost out on its chance to get any higher on the bracket when it was beaten early at Madison Square Garden.
7 Seeds – Oregon Ducks, North Carolina Tar Heels, UCLA Bruins, NC State Wolfpack
The No. 7 line seems to be just about complete as we see it. The Tar Heels really weren’t hurt by the fact that they were beaten by Miami on the final day of the regular season, as the good that they did by getting to the ACC Tournament Final did more to help than the loss to “The U” hurt. Oregon won the Pac-12 Tournament, and we think that this is about as high as it could ultimately go. Meanwhile, the loss to UCLA killed the hopes that the Bruins had of moving up to the No. 6 line. NC State’s ACC Tournament didn’t turn out to be all that bad. The win over Virginia was nice, and the loss to the Hurricanes was expected.
8 Seeds – VCU Rams, Butler Bulldogs, Colorado State Rams, Illinois Fighting Illini
VCU was a winner on Friday and Saturday, but it was beaten on Sunday in the Atlantic 10 Final. HAVOC might be on this dreaded 8 line, and if that’s the case, there is going to be a bitter No. 1 seed somewhere that has to know that it could be in for a real fight. Colorado State was beaten in the MWC Semifinals by UNLV, hardly a disqualifying loss. Illinois was beaten by Indiana, but because it suffered a better beating than some of these teams did below it, we actually have the Illini moving up as a result of their defeat. Butler falls down to the No. 8 line on Saturday after losing for the third time this year to Saint Louis.
9 Seeds – Missouri Tigers, San Diego State Aztecs, Wichita State Shockers, Colorado Buffaloes
Not a heck of a lot to report here on the No. 9 line. Missouri and San Diego State both lost opportunities to move up when they were beaten on Friday night. Wichita State is still holding firm as a No. 9 on our line, though others have the Shockers a lot lower than we do. Colorado is finished in the Pac-12 Tournament and will likely be sitting right around here as a result.
10 Seeds – Villanova Wildcats, Iowa State Cyclones, St. Mary’s Gaels, Cincinnati Bearcats
No one on the No. 10 line really has done all that much over the course of the last few days. Villanova and Iowa State both lasted just two rounds in their conference tournament before ultimately crashing out. Cincinnati is okay in spite of the fact that it really dropped down the stretch. St. Mary’s should be okay as well, knowing that it made it to the WCC Final. Some will think that the lack of RPI Top 50 victories will hurt the Gaels, but the rest of the bubble teams really are in terrible shape.
11 Seeds – Temple Owls, Oklahoma Sooners, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Ole Miss Rebels
Temple was beaten by UMass in a loss that could ultimately send it to Dayton. We think that the Owls will be okay. Oklahoma and Minnesota are teams that should still be sweating just a bit about the prospects of having to go to Dayton, but both of these teams are comfortably in the field at this point. Ole Miss has won the SEC Tournament, and as a result, it can’t play in the First Four in Dayton. The quality victory was good enough to move the Rebs up all the way to the No. 11 line as we see it though, and that would have been good enough to avoid the First Four anyway.
12 Seeds – California Golden Bears, La Salle Explorers, Belmont Bruins, Davidson Wildcats, Valparaiso Crusaders
There is pretty much a consensus at this point that La Salle’s loss to Butler really puts the Explorers in a lot of trouble. Many still have them in the field, and we’re no exception for that, but the A-10 reps are by no means totally safe. California is the big loser as we see it from Ole Miss winning the SEC title. Instead of staying on the main bracket and getting into the second round without having to play, the boys from Berkeley are going to have to take the long trip to Dayton for the First Four. Belmont has been firmly on the No. 12 line as the OVC champs. Because of all of the bubble chaos, Davidson is moving up a line after winning the SoCon. This will be a No. 12 seed not to mess with for sure. We move Valpo up to the No. 12 line as the Horizon League champs, and there are going to be some No. 5 seeds that hope they don’t see the Crusaders in their bracket.
13 Seeds – Boise State Broncos, Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders, Akron Zips, South Dakota State Jackrabbits, Northwestern State Demons
South Dakota State remain locked into the No. 13 line right now after winning the Summit League crown. Akron won the MAC in spite of the fact that it was brutalized at the end of the regular season with G Alex Abreu getting suspended after getting picked up for drug trafficking. Northwestern State stole the bid from the Southland Conference from the favored Stephen F. Austin team, and now, the Demons are dancing. Notice that we dropped the last two teams in the field down to the No. 13 line? The Broncos and the Blue Raiders seem to be the perfect two teams to match up here in Dayton for the First Four. Both were inadequate in their respective conference tournaments. They’re going to both be sweating it out for the next few hours until the brackets are released, but we have to think that both are going to be on the line. We think that both resumes are significantly better than those of the teams from the ACC or the SEC that are also fighting for spots in the dance.
14 Seeds – Bucknell Bison, New Mexico State Aggies, Montana Grizzlies, Harvard Crimson
Montana had to hold off a tremendous Weber State team in the Big Sky final to get into the NCAA Tournament, but in the end, the hosts for the championship game were able to get the job done and clinch a bid on their home court. Bucknell and Harvard have been automatic entries into the dance for quite some time at this point. New Mexico State wrapped up the bid to the dance out of the WAC after a crazy conference tournament that saw all of the best teams, save for the Aggies, bow out prematurely.
15 Seeds – Iona Gaels, Albany Great Danes, LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
With the fall of another prospective 15 seed, we’ve moved Western Kentucky out of the Sun Belt off of the bottom line. LIU Brooklyn and Iona are both awfully fun teams to watch, and they have a ton of NCAA Tournament experience. No one is going to want to see these two teams on their schedule in the first round of the dance. The Great Danes are in the dance after going on the road and beating the Catamounts on Saturday, and they are going to be in a tough spot as either a 15 or a 16 in the dance.
16 Seeds – Florida Gulf Coast Eagles, James Madison Dukes, Pacific Tigers, Southern Jaguars, North Carolina A&T Aggies, Liberty Flames
We’re bumping some teams all around in the No. 16 line after another relatively wild day in conference tournament play. Long Beach State was expected to win the Big West this year, but after a wild set of semifinals, it was Pacific that ended up beating UC Irvine for the right to dance. We’re not all that sure that it’ll be good enough to keep the Tigers from going to Dayton, but at least they’re on their way to the NCAA Tournament Liberty, North Carolina A&T, and Southern are all going to be headed to Dayton for sure. The question is which ones of these other teams in the bottom two lines will be joining these three.
Bubbles Busted – Tennessee Volunteers, Virginia Cavaliers, Maryland Terrapins, Kentucky Wildcats, Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles
And what’s left are just a few teams, and we’re not even so sure that Tennessee or Virginia really has a way to get into the field. The Cavaliers are probably in slightly better shape right now, but both teams need a ton of help, and they have no one to blame but themselves. The Vols lost to Alabama. The Cavvies lost to NC State. Neither team did enough in non-conference play. See you both in the NIT.
2:30 PM Update: Southern Miss really put forth a great effort against Memphis on Saturday, but the loss, even though it came in two overtimes, really wasn’t good enough to get the job done. We now know that the Golden Eagles should be in the NIT, though they are going to likely have the highest RPI amongst teams that aren’t going to get into the NCAA Tournament. No Top 50 RPI wins will be the killer for this squad.
4:00 PM Update: Alabama falls off of the bubble line on Saturday after getting beaten by Florida in the SEC Tournament semifinals. It’s off to the NIT for the Crimson Tide for sure.
5:30 PM Update: Definitely a mixed bag of results here for bubble teams. Ole Miss was able to beat Vanderbilt, which puts it in the NCAA Tournament for the time being, and we think that that moves Kentucky out of the dance. The Wildcats do have the name recognition to get into the field of 68, but geez… Their resume really isn’t all that great, and they have some terrible losses. Maryland, playing at the same time, couldn’t quite get the job done against North Carolina in spite of the fact that it pushed the Tar Heels to the brink in the ACC Semifinals.
6:15 PM Update: Maryland is probably finished at this point. The team had a nice run through the ACC Tournament, beat the Blue Devils but losing to the Tar Heels on Saturday. Is it enough to keep the team in the field? Unfortunately for the Terps, two wins over the Dookies just isn’t enough to get into the NCAA Tournament.
9:15 PM Update: We feel as though the at large bids are all said and done with at this point, and we would be shocked if the 68 that we have in the field aren’t the 68 that are playing starting on Tuesday. Kentucky and Southern Miss are probably the first two teams left out of the field, followed by Virginia and Tennessee. We really don’t feel as though there is any argument to put these last teams out in the field at this point.
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