With the Super Bowl behind us, it’s time to start focusing on March Madness. Given the action we’ve witness the past couple of weeks, the upcoming NCAA Tournament should be full of surprises.
If you need any other evidence, check out the teams listed around the bubble in today’s bracket. They’re moving around faster than the Seahawks’ defense at MetLife Stadium. We have some very interesting resumes. Like recent weather forecasts, they change quickly, and often.
After 12 straight wins – and a loss by an injured Michigan State squad – the Florida Gators move to the line. Wichita State is another team pushing for region supremacy. The aforementioned Spartans, along with Villanova and San Diego State round out the two-seed line today. Following its thrilling overtime victory over Duke on Saturday, and Arizona’s loss at California, the Orange now sit atop the bracket as the No. 1 overall seed. Arizona and Kansas remain as the other projected No. 1 seeds based on games played through Sunday, February 2. Yes, the Jayhawks lost at Texas, but their resume is filled with 12 Top 100 wins, a No. 1 strength of schedule, and the top spot in the RPI. Kansas also leads arguably one of the best two conferences (Big 12) in the nation.
Memphis absorbed the biggest seeding drop. It’s not so much the loss at SMU as much as the behind-the-scenes resume numbers. The Tigers are a concerning 2-5 against the RPI Top 50 and they have just three Top 100 RPI victories. Fortunately, opportunities for seed-building wins remain: Gonzaga, Connecticut, Louisville, Cincinnati, and SMU are still on the schedule.
If you’re returning to hoops with a football hangover, several new bracketing principles were introduced after last year’s tournament. You can read them for yourself at http://www.ncaa.com. For example: teams from the same conference may now meet before a Regional final, even if fewer than eight teams are selected. The goal is to keep as many teams as possible on their actual seed line. You will see several examples of that in today’s bracket.
Enjoy a fun week of hoops. We’re on the final push toward Selection Sunday.
UPDATED: February 3, 2014
Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid based on current standings with RPI as a tiebreaker for teams with the same number of losses. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (UCLA, BYU, etc).
FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)
- Florida State vs. Arizona State | West Region
- Oregon vs. Baylor | Midwest Region
- SOUTHERN vs. COASTAL CAROLINA | Midwest Region
- ROBERT MORRIS vs. CHATTANOOGA | East Region
BRACKET PROJECTION …
|EAST – New York||WEST – Anaheim|
|1) SYRACUSE||1) ARIZONA|
|16) ROB MORRIS / CHATTANOOGA||16) UTAH VALLEY|
|8) VCU||8) Memphis|
|9) California||9) Kansas State|
|5) Oklahoma State||5) Kentucky|
|12) HARVARD||12) Florida State / Arizona State|
|4) Iowa||4) Iowa State|
|13) CANISIUS||13) S.F. AUSTIN|
|6) Wisconsin||6) GONZAGA|
|11) SOUTHERN MISS||11) Colorado|
|3) CINCINNATI||3) CREIGHTON|
|14) OHIO||14) UC-IRVINE|
|7) Massachusetts||7) Ohio State|
|10) Minnesota||10) Tennessee|
|2) Villanova||2) SAN DIEGO STATE|
|15) STONY BROOK||15) NC-CENTRAL|
|SOUTH – Memphis||MIDWEST – Indianapolis|
|1) FLORIDA||1) KANSAS|
|16) WEBER STATE||16) CO. CAROLINA / SOUTHERN|
|8) North Carolina||8) UCLA|
|9) George Washington||9) Xavier|
|5) SAINT LOUIS||5) Texas|
|12) GREEN BAY||12) Oregon / Baylor|
|4) Oklahoma||4) Virginia|
|13) MERCER||13) DELAWARE|
|6) Connecticut||6) Louisville|
|11) LSU||11) Stanford|
|3) Duke||3) MICHIGAN|
|14) GEORGIA STATE||14) MURRAY STATE|
|7) New Mexico||7) Pittsburgh|
|10) Missouri||10) Providence|
|2) Michigan State||2) WICHITA STATE|
|15) AMERICAN||15) IPFW|
NOTES on the BRACKET: Syracuse is the overall No. 1 seed followed by Arizona, Kansas, and Florida.
Last Five teams in (at large): LSU, Florida State, Arizona State, Oregon, Baylor
First Five teams out (at large): Georgetown, Ole Miss, SMU, Indiana, BYU
Next five teams out (at large): Clemson, St. Joseph’s, Dayton, Maryland, Richmond
Breakdown by Conference …
Big 12 (7): Kansas, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas
Pac 12 (7): Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, UCLA, California, Stanford, Arizona State
Big Ten (6): Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota
ACC (6): Duke, Syracuse, North Carolina, Florida State, Pittsburgh, Virginia
SEC (5): Kentucky, Florida, Missouri, Tennessee, LSU
American (4): Louisville, Memphis, Connecticut, Cincinnati
Atlantic 10 (4): Massachusetts, VCU, Saint Louis, Geo Washington
Big East (4): Creighton, Villanova, Xavier, Providence
Mountain West (2): New Mexico, San Diego State
West Coast (1): Gonzaga
Missouri Valley (1): Wichita State
Conference Automatic Qualifiers … Southern Miss (C-USA), Murray State (Ohio Valley), Georgia State (Sun Belt), American (Patriot), IPFW (Summit), Green Bay (Horizon), Chattanooga (Southern), Utah Valley (WAC), Canisius (MAAC), Stephen F. Austin (Southland), Ohio (MAC), Mercer (A-Sun), Harvard (IVY), UC-Irvine (Big West), Delaware (Colonial), Stony Brook (American East), Weber State (Big Sky), NC-Central (MEAC), UNC-Asheville (Big South), Robert Morris (NEC), Southern (SWAC)