Bracketology: Will we have a bid thief?

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It’s the Saturday before Selection Sunday and teams hovering at the cutline will be watching to see what happens in the Atlantic 10, Atlantic Coast (ACC), and Southeastern (SEC) conference tournaments.  The reasons: St. Bonaventure, North Carolina State, and Georgia.  Should any of the three win two more games, a potential at-large berth disappears.

In other words, a team currently headed to Dayton for the First Four, could be headed to the NIT, instead.

RELATED: How did the teams on the bubble do on Friday?

As additional resumes complete, the Selection Committee in Indianapolis will also be dissecting and comparing resumes from teams such as Green Bay, Southern Mississippi, and perhaps Toledo or Louisiana Tech – if either of those loses in their conference tournament final.  We have one day to go, but all is not settled.

Teams most concerned about what happens today and Sunday: BYU, SMU, Nebraska, and Xavier.  They are among the Last 5 IN and all four have completed their profiles.  Providence (slotted in the First Four) and Tennessee (just above it) are still playing.

MORE: Are we overlooking Arizona right now?

Here’s what we do know … Florida, Arizona, and Wichita State should be locked-in as No. 1 seeds.  With Villanova idle, Michigan and Wisconsin are the next challengers for the final No. 1 slot.  Virginia is also in the mix, but probably has to win the ACC tournament and have Michigan and/or Wisconsin lose.    That seems about it – unless the Committee has a collective viewpoint that Louisville, ranked highly in both polls and routing teams left and right, is the fourth best team.  Assuming the Cardinals capture the American Conference tourney, we’ll see how it plays out.

UPDATED: March 15, 2014

Teams in CAPS represent the AUTOMATIC bid based on tournament results. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (UCLA, BYU, etc).

MORE: At what point does Kansas’ defense become a major red flag?

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.

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • Nebraska vs. Providence | South Region
  • SMU vs. BYU | West Region
  • Texas Southern vs. CS Northridge | Midwest Region
  • MOUNT ST. MARY’S vs. COASTAL CAROLINA | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

SOUTH – Memphis WEST Anaheim
Orlando San Diego
1) Florida 1) Arizona
16) WOFFORD 16) Weber State
8) Kansas State 8) George Washington
9) Colorado 9) Pittsburgh
San Diego Spokane
5) New Mexico 5) Oklahoma
12) Louisiana Tech 12) BYU / SMU
4) Michigan State 4) San Diego State
13) S.F. Austin 13) NORTH DAKOTA ST
San Antonio San Antonio
6) UCLA 6) Connecticut
11) Nebraska / Providence 11) Xavier
3) Creighton 3) Iowa State
14) NC-Central 14) MERCER
St. Louis Raleigh
7) VCU 7) Kentucky
10) Iowa 10) Saint Joseph’s
2) Kansas 2) Virginia
15) MILWAUKEE 15) New Mexico State
EAST – New York MIDWEST – Indianapolis
Buffalo St. Louis
1) Villanova 1) WICHITA STATE
16) CO CAROLINA / MT ST MARY’S 16) Texas Southern / CS Northridge
8) Oklahoma State 8) Memphis
9) GONZAGA 9) Oregon
Orlando Spokane
5) Ohio State 5) Baylor
12) HARVARD 12) Toledo
4) Cincinnati 4) Duke
13) DELAWARE 13) MANHATTAN
Buffalo Raleigh
6) North Carolina 6) Texas
11) Tennessee 11) Dayton
3) Syracuse 3) Louisville
14) Georgia State 14) EASTERN KENTUCKY
Milwaukee Milwaukee
7) Saint Louis 7) Massachusetts
10) Stanford 10) Arizona State
2) Michigan 2) Wisconsin
15) Stony Brook 15) AMERICAN

NOTES on the BRACKET: Florida remains the overall No. 1 seed followed by Arizona, Wichita State, and Villanova.

Last Five teams in (at large): Xavier, Nebraska, SMU, BYU, Providence

First Five teams out (at large): Florida State, Minnesota, Arkansas, California, Missouri

Next five teams out (at large): NC State, Green Bay, Georgia, Southern Miss, Illinois

Breakdown by Conference …

Big 12 (7): Kansas, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma State

Pac 12 (6): Arizona, UCLA, Stanford, Arizona State, Oregon, Colorado

Atlantic 10 (6): Massachusetts, VCU, Saint Louis, George Washington, Saint Joseph’s, Dayton

Big Ten (6): Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska

ACC (5): Duke, Virginia, Syracuse, North Carolina, Pittsburgh

American (5): Louisville, Memphis, Connecticut, Cincinnati, SMU

Big East (4): Creighton, Villanova, Xavier, Providence

SEC (3): Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee

Mountain West (2): New Mexico, San Diego State

West Coast (2): Gonzaga, BYU

Missouri Valley (1): Wichita State

Conference Automatic Qualifiers … Louisiana Tech (C-USA), EASTERN KENTUCKY (Ohio Valley), Georgia State (Sun Belt), AMERICAN (Patriot), NORTH DAKOTA STATE (Summit), MILWAUKEE (Horizon), WOFFORD (Southern), New Mexico State (WAC), MANHATTAN (MAAC), Stephen F. Austin (Southland), Toledo (MAC), MERCER (A-Sun), HARVARD (IVY), Cal-Northridge (Big West), DELAWARE (Colonial), Stony Brook (American East), Weber State (Big Sky), NC-Central (MEAC), COASTAL CAROLINA (Big South), MOUNT ST. MARY’S (NEC), Texas Southern (SWAC)

Grand Canyon lands Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson

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Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.

The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.

Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.

With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

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Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.

A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.

The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averaged 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.

Oral Roberts to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

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Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.

Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.

“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”

Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.

 

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

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Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.

Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.

McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.

Butler, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

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Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.

“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”

Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.

“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”

Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.