Author: Dave Ommen

Lon Kruger
(AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

NBC SPORTS BRACKETOLOGY: Oklahoma leads final push toward Selection Sunday

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With the Super Bowl in our rear-view mirror, eyes turn toward Selection Sunday – apologies to the diehard baseball fans who toss in the start of Spring Training ahead of March Madness.  Anyway, we’re a month away from the annual NCAA Tournament Selection Show and few bracket positions have been secured.  If you’re just joining the college hoops landscape, it’s been that type of season.  Welcome, by the way.

Oklahoma continues to lead the Field of 68, but the No. 1 seed line is far from certain.  At this point a year ago, we pretty much knew that Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Duke would be No. 1 seeds.  This year, we can’t lock anyone into place. Positioning along the top three lines is very much in flux, even if we have a good idea about the contenders.  The bubble is no different.  Strap on your seatbelt; it could be a bumpy ride to the finish.

As a reminder, Louisville self-imposed a post-season ban last Friday, which eliminates the Cardinals from bracket consideration.  SMU did the same before the season.  Thus, two at-large teams will be Dancing on Selection Sunday courtesy of the Cards and Mustangs.  Today, those two teams are Clemson and Saint Joseph’s.  In the Tigers’ case, a solid group of ACC wins (mostly at home) is lifting up non-conference schedule ranked No. 341.  Ultimately, that could cost Clemson a month from now – we’ve seen it before.  When a team goes 7-5 against one of the worst non-conference schedules in the nation, it takes an exceptional conference season to overcome the disparity.

Enjoy your week of college hoops.  You can find the complete Seed List at Bracketville.

UPDATED: February 8, 2016

Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid. In the event of a tie in the loss column, RPI is first tiebreaker. Notes: To simulate actual bracket conditions, we’ve used current conference leaders to receive the automatic bid. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (ex: UCLA)

Several new bracketing principles were introduced a couple of years ago. 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)

  • Cincinnati vs. Saint Joseph’s | Midwest Region
  • Clemson vs. George Washington | East Region
  • BUCKNELL vs. WAGNER | Midwest Region
  • HAMPTON vs. TEXAS-SOUTHERN | South Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

SOUTH – Louisville MIDWEST – Chicago                            
Oklahoma City Des Moines
1) OKLAHOMA 1) Kansas
16) TX-SOUTHERN / HAMPTON 16) BUCKNELL / WAGNER
8) WICHITA STATE 8) VCU
9) Colorado 9) Syracuse
Raleigh Denver
5) DAYTON 5) Arizona
12) VALPARAISO 12) MONMOUTH
4) Miami-FL 4) Texas AM
13) AKRON 13) ARK-LITTLE ROCK
Spokane St. Louis
6) Providence 6) Baylor
11) SAINT MARY’S 11) Cincinnati / St. Joseph’s
3) OREGON 3) Michigan State
14) UAB 14) NC-WILMINGTON
Brooklyn St. Louis
7) Duke 7) Pittsburgh
10) Seton Hall 10) Washington
2) Maryland 2) Xavier
15) BELMONT 15) NEW MEXICO ST
EAST – Philadelphia         WEST – Anaheim
Brooklyn Des Moines
1) VILLANOVA 1) IOWA
16) NORTH FLORIDA 16) MONTANA
8) CONNECTICUT 8) Florida State
9) Florida 9) SAN DIEGO ST
Providence Spokane
5) Kentucky 5) USC
12) Clemson / Geo Washington 12) CHATTANOOGA
4) Purdue 4) Texas
13) STONY BROOK 13) UC-IRVINE
Providence Denver
6) Notre Dame 6) Utah
11) LSU 11) Gonzaga
3) WEST VIRGINIA 3) Iowa State
14) YALE 14) SO. DAKOTA ST
Raleigh Raleigh
7) Indiana 7) South Carolina
10) California 10) Michigan
2) Virginia 2) NORTH CAROLINA
15) NC-ASHEVILLE 15) S.F. AUSTIN

NOTES on the BRACKET: Oklahoma is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Kansas, Iowa, and Villanova.  Next in line: Virginia, North Carolina, Xavier, Maryland

Last Four Byes (at large): California, Seton Hall, Michigan, Gonzaga

Last Four IN (at large): Cincinnati, George Washington, Clemson, Saint Joseph’s

First Four OUT (at large): Oregon State, Butler, UCLA, Wisconsin

Next four teams OUT (at large): Georgia, Kansas State, Vanderbilt, Temple

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (9): NORTH CAROLINA, Virginia, Miami-FL, Notre Dame, Duke, Pittsburgh, Florida State, Syracuse, Clemson

Pac 12 (7): OREGON, USC, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Washington, California

Big 12 (6): WEST VIRGINIA, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa State, Texas, Baylor

Big 10 (6): IOWA, Maryland, Michigan State, Purdue, Indiana, Michigan

SEC (5): LSU, Texas AM, Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida

Big East (4): VILLANOVA, Xavier, Providence, Seton Hall

Atlantic 10 (4): DAYTON, VCU, George Washington, Saint Joseph’s

American (2): CONNECTICUT, Cincinnati

West Coast (2): SAINT MARY’S, Gonzaga

Mountain West (1): SAN DIEGO STATE

MAAC (1): MONMOUTH

Missouri Valley (1): WICHITA STATE

ONE BID LEAGUES: UAB (C-USA), Ark-Little Rock (SBELT), Yale (IVY), Montana (BSKY), Valparaiso (HORIZON), Stephen F. Austin (SLND), Chattanooga (STHN), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Akron (MAC), North Florida (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), UNC-Asheville (BSO), Hampton (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Stony Brook (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Wagner (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)

Bracket Update: Sooners keep hold of No. 1 overall seed

Lon Kruger
(AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
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The Oklahoma Sooners are nothing if not exciting.  After a triple-overtime gem with Kansas in early January, OU provided us a thrilling come-from-behind victory Saturday evening at LSU.  In terms of today’s bracket update, the latter result keeps the Sooners atop the Field of 68 as the No. 1 overall seed.  Joining Oklahoma on the top line: North Carolina, Kansas, and Iowa.

At the other end of the bracket, LSU is the first team out.  There’s no shame in losing to Oklahoma, even at home.  The challenge for LSU is overcoming a 7-6 non-conference effort that featured zero wins against Top 100 RPI opponents.  That’s why Saturday’s loss stings even more.  It would have been non-conference victory over one of the nation’s best teams.  The good news: February provides the Tigers and several other bubble teams the chance to make a final impression on the Selection Committee.

In general, we open February with a foggy bubble.  Winning away from home is a theme for several teams trying to climb the seed list or stay on the right side of the bubble.  We also have traditional NCAA regulars with work to do.  As surprising as it sounds, teams like Gonzaga and Duke are not locks for March Madness.  In Duke’s case, the Blue Devils are an average 7-5 without Amile Jefferson.  If he is unable to return before Selection Sunday, the Committee will have to evaluate the team’s resume without him.  And Duke’s upcoming stretch includes a four-game gauntlet that looks like this: Virginia, Louisville, at North Carolina, at Louisville.  It’s both an opportunity and potential pitfall.  We’ll see how it plays out.

Enjoy your week of college hoops.  After the Super Bowl, all eyes turn toward March.

UPDATED: February 1, 2016

Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid. In the event of a tie in the loss column, RPI is first tiebreaker. Notes: To simulate actual bracket conditions, we’ve used current conference leaders to receive the automatic bid. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (ex: UCLA)

Several new bracketing principles were introduced a couple of years ago. 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)

  • UCLA vs. Florida State | Midwest Region
  • Saint Joseph’s vs. Seton Hall | South Region
  • HAMPTON vs. WAGNER | East Region
  • BUCKNELL vs. TEXAS-SOUTHERN | South Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

SOUTH – Louisville  EAST Philadelphia                 
Oklahoma City Raleigh
1) OKLAHOMA 1) NORTH CAROLINA
16) TX-SOUTH / BUCKNELL 16) HAMPTON / WAGNER
8) WICHITA STATE 8) VCU
9) Washington 9) South Carolina
Providence Brooklyn
5) Kentucky 5) Baylor
12) VALPARAISO 12) MONMOUTH
4) Miami-FL 4) Providence
13) AKRON 13) HOFSTRA
St. Louis Denver
6) USC 6) Louisville
11) Seton Hall / St.  Joseph’s 11) Gonzaga
3) Michigan State 3) Iowa State
14) BELMONT 14) NORTH FLORIDA
Oklahoma City St. Louis
7) Notre Dame 7) Indiana
10) California 10) Florida
2) TEXAS AM 2) Xavier
15) SOUTH DAKOTA ST 15) S.F. AUSTIN
WEST – Anaheim         MIDWEST – Chicago
Des Moines Des Moines
1) IOWA 1) Kansas
16) NEW MEXICO ST 16) MONTANA
8) Duke 8) Colorado
9) SAINT MARY’S 9) SAN DIEGO ST
Spokane Denver
5) Utah 5) Texas
12) CHATTANOOGA 12) UCLA / Florida State
4) West Virginia 4) Purdue
13) UC-IRVINE 13) ARK-LITTLE ROCK
Spokane Providence
6) Michigan 6) Dayton
11) Clemson 11) Syracuse
3) OREGON 3) Maryland
14) UAB 14) STONY BROOK
Brooklyn Raleigh
7) Pittsburgh 7) Arizona
10) Connecticut 10) CINCINNATI
2) VILLANOVA 2) Virginia
15) YALE 15) NC-ASHEVILLE

NOTES on the BRACKET: Oklahoma is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by North Carolina, Kansas, and Iowa.  Next in line: Villanova, Xavier, Virginia, Texas AM

Last Four Byes (at large): California, Clemson, Gonzaga, Syracuse

Last Four IN (at large): Saint Joseph’s, UCLA, Florida State, Seton Hall

First Four OUT (at large): LSU, George Washington, Butler, Georgetown

Next four teams OUT (at large): Vanderbilt, Kansas State, Oregon State, Wisconsin

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (9): NORTH CAROLINA, Virginia, Miami-FL, Louisville, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Duke, Syracuse, Florida State, Clemson

Pac 12 (8): OREGON, Utah, Arizona, USC, Colorado, Washington, California, UCLA

Big 12 (6): OKLAHOMA, Kansas, Iowa State, West Virginia, Baylor, Texas

Big 10 (6): IOWA, Michigan State, Maryland, Purdue, Michigan, Indiana

Big East (4): VILLANOVA, Xavier, Providence, Seton Hall

SEC (4): TEXAS AM, Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida

Atlantic 10 (3): VCU, Dayton, Saint Joseph’s

American (2): CINCINNATI, Connecticut

West Coast (2): SAINT MARY’S, Gonzaga

Mountain West (1): SAN DIEGO STATE

MAAC (1): MONMOUTH

Missouri Valley (1): WICHITA STATE

ONE BID LEAGUES: UAB (C-USA), Ark-Little Rock (SBELT), Yale (IVY), Montana (BSKY), Valparaiso (HORIZON), Stephen F. Austin (SLND), Chattanooga (STHN), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Akron (MAC), North Florida (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), Hofstra (CAA), UNC-Asheville (BSO), Hampton (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Stony Brook (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Wagner (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)

NEW BRACKETOLOGY UPDATE: Hawkeyes surge to top line

Iowa forward Jarrod Uthoff (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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A bit quietly, at least on the national scene, the Iowa Hawkeyes are putting together a resume worthy of No. 1 seed consideration.  Their last loss was a one-point decision at Iowa State.  Since then, the Hawkeyes have beaten both Michigan State and Purdue twice, and also taken down a pretty good Michigan squad.  As such, Iowa joins the top seed line in today’s bracket update – alongside Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Kansas.

Elsewhere, teams like Butler, Gonzaga, and UCLA are struggling to hold onto bracket spots, each is among the final teams with a bye – meaning they are just above the First Four grouping.  Clemson is in that group too, trying to overcome a non-conference scheduled ranked above 300. It’s a tall order, for sure.

Although the pool of at-large candidates is starting to dwindle a bit, the movement among teams remains very much a work in progress.  Even at this late January date, there isn’t much room between seed lines and teams just in the field and those just out.  Enjoy your week of college hoops.

UPDATED: January 25, 2016

Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid. In the event of a tie in the loss column, RPI is first tiebreaker. Notes: To simulate actual bracket conditions, we’ve used current conference leaders to receive the automatic bid. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (ex: UCLA)

Several new bracketing principles were introduced a couple of years ago. 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)

  • Florida vs. George Washington | Midwest Region
  • Boise State vs. Saint Joseph’s | South Region
  • HAMPTON vs. NAVY | East Region
  • MOUNT ST. MARY’S vs. TEXAS-SOUTHERN | South Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

SOUTH – Louisville EAST Philadelphia                        
Oklahoma City Raleigh
1) OKLAHOMA 1) NORTH CAROLINA
16) TX-SOUTH / MT. ST. MARY’S 16) HAMPTON / NAVY
8) Colorado 8) Connecticut
9) South Carolina 9) VCU
Providence Spokane
5) Kentucky 5) Utah
12) MONMOUTH 12) CHATTANOOGA
4) Miami-FL 4) Purdue
13) BELMONT 13) UC-IRVINE
St. Louis Providence
6) USC 6) Dayton
11) Boise St / St.  Joseph’s 11) Gonzaga
3) Michigan State 3) West Virginia
14) NORTH FLORIDA 14) HOFSTRA
Raleigh St. Louis
7) Indiana 7) Pittsburgh
10) Butler 10) UCLA
2) Virginia 2) Xavier
15) NC-ASHEVILLE 15) TEXAS AM-CC
WEST – Anaheim MIDWEST – Chicago
Des Moines Des Moines
1) KANSAS 1) IOWA
16) CSU-BAKERSFIELD 16) MONTANA
8) WICHITA STATE 8) Texas
9) SAINT MARY’S 9) California
Spokane Denver
5) Louisville 5) Baylor
12) ARK-LITTLE ROCK 12) VALPARAISO
4) OREGON 4) Providence
13) TULSA 13) UAB
Brooklyn Denver
6) Arizona 6) Michigan
11) Clemson 11) Florida / Geo Washington
3) Maryland 3) Iowa State
14) STONY BROOK 14) KENT STATE
Brooklyn Oklahoma City
7) Notre Dame 7) Duke
10) SAN DIEGO STATE 10) Washington
2) VILLANOVA 2) TEXAS AM
15) PRINCETON 15) OMAHA

NOTES on the BRACKET: Oklahoma is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by North Carolina, Iowa, and Kansas.  Next in line: Villanova, Texas AM, Xavier, Virginia

Last Four Byes (at large): Clemson, UCLA, Butler, Gonzaga

Last Four IN (at large): George Washington, Boise State, Florida, Saint Joseph’s

First Four OUT (at large): Seton Hall, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Oregon State

Next four teams OUT (at large): Stanford, Florida State, Texas Tech, LSU

Breakdown by Conference …

Pac 12 (8): OREGON, Utah, Arizona, USC, Colorado, California, Washington, UCLA

ACC (7): NORTH CAROLINA, Virginia, Miami-FL, Louisville, Duke, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame

Big 12 (6): OKLAHOMA, Kansas, Iowa State, West Virginia, Baylor, Texas

Big 10 (6): IOWA, Michigan State, Maryland, Purdue, Michigan, Indiana

Big East (4): VILLANOVA, Xavier, Providence, Butler

SEC (4): TEXAS AM, Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida

Atlantic 10 (4): VCU, Dayton, George Washington, Saint Joseph’s

American (2): TULSA, Connecticut

West Coast (2): SAINT MARY’S, Gonzaga

Mountain West (2): SAN DIEGO STATE, Boise State

MAAC (1): MONMOUTH

Missouri Valley (1): WICHITA STATE

ONE BID LEAGUES: UAB (C-USA), Ark-Little Rock (SBELT), Princeton (IVY), Montana (BSKY), Valparaiso (HORIZON), Texas AM-CC (SLND), Chattanooga (STHN), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Kent State (MAC), North Florida (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), Hofstra (CAA), UNC-Asheville (BSO), Hampton (MEAC), Omaha (SUM), Cal-Bakersfield (WAC), Stony Brook (AEAST), Navy (PAT), Mount St. Mary’s (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)