Dave Ommen

Duke's Grayson Allen (3) and Marshall Plumlee (40) react during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville in Durham, N.C., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Duke won 72-65. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
AP Photo/Gerry Broome

Preseason Bracket Projection: Duke, Kansas lead preseason Field of 68

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As we begin another journey toward Selection Sunday, a pair of familiar names headline the preseason Bracket: Duke and Kansas. Both the Blue Devils and Jayhawks are loaded with talent and experience. Duke opens as the No. 1 seed in the East, Kansas as No. 1 in the Midwest.

Although Kentucky (No. 1 / South) and Villanova (No. 1 / West) occupy spots three and four on the Seed List, keep an eye on Oregon. The Ducks are going to be good again – and if Dillon Brooks were healthy, they would have been slotted just ahead of Villanova for the top spot in San Jose. We’ll see how it plays out.

Opinions vary greatly in November, as do expectations – especially once you meander past the top few teams. Projections are a starting point, not an ending one. The road to March will be filled with twists, turns, and speed bumps. Expect a few surprises and a few disappointments. That’s the way it works. It’s why they play the games.

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is a juggernaut. While I’m skeptical that double-digit teams will make the actual Field of 68, it’s not impossible. It should be quite a race atop the Big Ten, and the Big East will be heard from too – defending champ Villanova could easily make another push for the Final Four. Count aforementioned Oregon in the discussion. Who knows? Maybe this is the year that Gonzaga breaks through. Regardless, it should be an incredible ride.

Regarding bracketing principles, 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)

  • Michigan vs. Washington | East Region
  • SMU vs. Butler | Midwest Region
  • WINTHROP vs. HOWARD | East Region
  • JACKSON STATE vs. FLA GULF COAST | Midwest Region

PRESEASON BRACKET PROJECTION …

EAST New York                             MIDWEST – Kansas City
Greenville Tulsa
1) DUKE 1) KANSAS
16) WINTHROP / HOWARD 16) JACKSON ST / FLA GULF CST
8) Florida 8) California
9) Georgetown 9) Texas AM
Salt Lake City Orlando
5) CONNECTICUT 5) Syracuse
12) Washington / Michigan 12) SMU / Butler
4) GONZAGA 4) Michigan State
13) NC-WILMINGTON 13) VALPARAISO
Milwaukee Salt Lake City
6) Florida State 6) Creighton
11) Colorado 11) PRINCETON
3) INDIANA 3) Arizona
14) VERMONT 14) LONG BEACH ST
Indianapolis Buffalo
7) NC State 7) Iowa State
10) VCU 10) Ohio State
2) Xavier 2) Virginia
15) FORT WAYNE 15) NEW MEXICO ST
WEST – San Jose SOUTH – Memphis
Buffalo Indianapolis
1) VILLANOVA 1) KENTUCKY
16) FAIR-DICKINSON 16) LEHIGH
8) Oklahoma 8) Dayton
9) SAN DIEGO ST 9) Virginia Tech
Tulsa Sacramento
5) Cincinnati 5) West Virginia
12) OHIO 12) UAB
4) Purdue 4) UCLA
13) MONMOUTH 13) CHATTANOOGA
Milwaukee Orlando
6) Saint Mary’s 6) RHODE ISLAND
11) Maryland 11) Seton Hall
3) Louisville 3) Wisconsin
14) UT-ARLINGTON 14) BELMONT
Sacramento Greenville
7) Miami-FL 7) Texas
10) Baylor 10) WICHITA STATE
2) OREGON 2) North Carolina
15) WEBER STATE 15) SAM HOUSTON ST

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

Last Four Byes (at large): Ohio State, Colorado, Seton Hall, Maryland

Last Four IN (at large): Michigan, SMU, Butler, Washington

First Four OUT (at large): Notre Dame, Marquette, Nevada, Georgia

Next four teams OUT (at large): Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt, BYU

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (9): DUKE, North Carolina, Virginia, Louisville, Syracuse, Florida State, NC State, Miami, Virginia Tech

Big 10 (7): INDIANA, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Purdue, Ohio State, Maryland, Michigan

Pac 12 (6): OREGON, Arizona, UCLA, California, Colorado, Washington

Big East (6): VILLANOVA, Xavier, Creighton, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Butler

Big 12 (6): KANSAS, West Virginia, Iowa State, Texas, Oklahoma, Baylor

Atlantic 10 (3): RHODE ISLAND, Dayton, VCU

American (3): CONNECTICUT, Cincinnati, SMU

SEC (3): KENTUCKY, Florida, Texas AM

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Missouri Valley (1): WICHITA STATE

Mountain West (1): SAN DIEGO STATE

ONE BID LEAGUES: Monmouth (MAAC), UAB (C-USA), UT-Arlington (SBELT), Princeton (IVY), Weber State (BSKY), Valparaiso (HORIZON), Sam Houston St (SLND), Chattanooga (STHN), Long Beach St (BWEST), Ohio (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), Winthrop (BSO), Howard (MEAC), Fort Wayne (SUM), New Mexico St (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Lehigh (PAT), Fairleigh-Dickinson (NEC), Jackson State (SWAC)

CBT BRACKETOLOGY: JAYHAWKS LEAD FIELD OF 68

Kansas forward Carlton Bragg Jr. (15) celebrates a teammate's three-point basket during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 conference tournament in Kansas City, Mo., Thursday, March 10, 2016. Kansas defeated Kansas State 85-63. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
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It’s remarkable how consistent Kansas has been under coach Bill Self: another Big 12 title in arguably the toughest league in college basketball. Kudos to the Jayhawks who will lead the Madness when the actual 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Bracket is announced this afternoon.  With its ACC tournament victory last night, North Carolina sits atop the East Region. Michigan State and Virginia complete the top line.

We still have uncertainty along the bubble.  Those final slots could go a multitude of ways, made even more complicated by San Diego State losing in the Mountain West final Saturday night.  Today, Memphis plays Connecticut for the AAC title; a win by the Tigers would bump one current at-large team from the Field of 68. The Selection Committee will be building a contingency bracket.

One final update this afternoon ahead of the bracket announcement. Enjoy Selection Sunday.

Bracket Update: March 13, 2016

Now that we’ve reached Championship Week, teams in CAPS represent the AUTOMATIC bid. The other automatic bids are noted by the highest remaining seed in the conference tournament (as eligible). 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)

  • Monmouth vs. Saint Mary’s | Midwest Region
  • Temple vs. South Carolina | East Region
  • HOLY CROSS vs. SOUTHERN | Midwest Region
  • FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON vs. FLA GULF COAST | South Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

MIDWESTChicago EAST – Philadelphia                      
Des Moines Raleigh
1) KANSAS 1) NORTH CAROLINA
16) HOLY CROSS / SOUTHERN 16) HAMPTON
8) USC 8) Oregon State
9) Cincinnati 9) Saint Joseph’s
Denver Denver
5) Duke 5) Maryland
12) NORTHERN IOWA 12) STONY BROOK
4) California 4) Texas AM
13) SOUTH DAKOTA ST 13) IONA
Des Moines St. Louis
6) Baylor 6) Notre Dame
11) Monmouth / Saint Mary’s 11) South Carolina / Temple
3) Purdue 3) Xavier
14) S.F. AUSTIN 14) MIDDLE TENNESSEE
Brooklyn Brooklyn
7) Dayton 7) Providence
10) Pittsburgh 10) VCU
2) Villanova 2) West Virginia
15) BUFFALO 15) UNC-ASHEVILLE
WEST – Anaheim SOUTH – Louisville
Raleigh St. Louis
1) Virginia 1) Michigan State
16) AUSTIN PEAY 16) FDU / FLA GULF CST
8) Wisconsin 8) Texas Tech
9) Connecticut 9) Butler
Oklahoma City Providence
5) Iowa State 5) Arizona
12) Ark-Little Rock 12) YALE
4) Indiana 4) Kentucky
13) HAWAII 13) UNC-WILMINGTON
Providence Spokane
6) Texas 6) SETON HALL
11) Wichita State 11) CHATTANOOGA
3) Miami-FL 3) Utah
14) GREEN BAY 14) FRESNO STATE
Spokane Oklahoma City
7) Iowa 7) Colorado
10) St. Bonaventure 10) GONZAGA
2) OREGON 2) Oklahoma
15) WEBER STATE 15) CSU-BAKERSFIELD

NOTES on the BRACKET: Kansas is the No. 1 overall seed followed by North Carolina, Michigan State, Virginia. Next in line: Villanova, Oklahoma, Oregon, West Virginia

Last Four Byes (at large): VCU, St. Bonaventure, Pittsburgh, Wichita State

Last Four IN (at large): Monmouth, Temple, South Carolina, Saint Mary’s

First Four OUT (at large): Michigan, San Diego State, Syracuse, Vanderbilt

Next four teams OUT (at large): Florida, Valparaiso, George Washington, Georgia

Breakdown by Conference …

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

Big 12 (7): KANSAS, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Iowa State, Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech

ACC (6): NORTH CAROLINA, Virginia, Miami, Duke, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh

Big 10 (6): MICHIGAN STATE, Purdue, Indiana, Maryland, Iowa, Wisconsin

Big East (5): SETON HALL, Villanova, Xavier, Providence, Butler

Atlantic 10 (4): VCU, Dayton, Saint Joseph’s, St. Bonaventure

American (3): CONNECTICUT, Cincinnati, Temple

SEC (3): TEXAS AM, Kentucky, South Carolina

Missouri Valley (2): NORTHERN IOWA, Wichita State

MAAC (2): IONA, Monmouth

West Coast (1): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Mountain West (1): FRESNO STATE

ONE BID LEAGUES: Iona (MAAC), Middle Tennessee (C-USA), Ark-Little Rock (SBELT), Yale (IVY), Weber State (BSKY), Green Bay (HORIZON), Stephen F. Austin (SLND), Chattanooga (STHN), Hawaii (BWEST), Buffalo (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Austin Peay (OVC), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), UNC-Asheville (BSO), Hampton (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), CSU-Bakersfield (WAC), Stony Brook (AEAST), Holy Cross (PAT), Fairleigh-Dickinson (NEC), Southern (SWAC)

CBT BRACKETOLOGY: SPARTY MOVES UP, BID THIEVES LURK

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo talks with Denzel Valentine during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Wisconsin, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, in East Lansing, Mich. Michigan State won 69-57. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
(AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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After one of the wildest days in a wild season of college hoops, the bubble remains a mess, the top line in question, and five bid thieves have gathered like vultures awaiting a meal on an unsuspecting bubble team that could be kicked to the curb.  We even have a new No. 1 Seed: Michigan State. With one day to go, welcome to Chaos Central.

The makeup of the final eight or so teams in the field could easily change between now and Sunday afternoon.  That’s where the bid thieves come into play.  Either Memphis or Tulane will play for the American Conference’s automatic bid on Sunday.  Davidson knocked off St. Bonaventure Friday and is a win over VCU away from doing the same in the Atlantic 10. We also have LSU and Georgia playing in the semifinals of the SEC after the Bulldogs toppled South Carolina for a third time.

However unlikely, there are three potential at-large bids that could be taken away.  That thought won’t calm any nerves among those anxiously awaiting the Selection Committee’s final decisions tomorrow evening.

Among the biggest questions: Will the Committee reward Saint Mary’s for a WCC regular-season title despite a schedule heavy on RPI lightweights?  Will the Committee extend courtesy to Wichita State for a dominant four-game margin in the Missouri Valley?  And what about Monmouth?  The Hawks did everything right except lose three games to sub-200 RPI teams.  And those questions don’t account for remaining uncertainties about teams like Michigan, Syracuse, or Vanderbilt.

Bracket Update: March 12, 2016

Now that we’ve reached Championship Week, teams in CAPS represent the AUTOMATIC bid. The other automatic bids are noted by the highest remaining seed in the conference tournament (as eligible). 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)

  • Wichita State vs. Saint Mary’s | East Region
  • VCU vs. Monmouth | South Region
  • HOLY CROSS vs. FLA GULF COAST | Midwest Region
  • FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON vs. JACKSON STATE | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

MIDWESTChicago SOUTH Louisville                           
Des Moines Raleigh
1) Kansas 1) Virginia
16) HOLY CROSS / FLA GULF CST 16) AUSTIN PEAY
8) USC 8) Oregon State
9) Saint Joseph’s 9) Butler
Oklahoma City Providence
5) Duke 5) Maryland
12) Ark-Little Rock 12) CHATTANOOGA
4) Purdue 4) Kentucky
13) IONA 13) Stony Brook
Providence St. Louis
6) Iowa 6) Baylor
11) GONZAGA 11) VCU / Monmouth
3) Miami-FL 3) Xavier
14) Middle Tennessee 14) S.F. Austin
Spokane Brooklyn
7) Providence 7) Colorado
10) South Carolina 10) Pittsburgh
2) Oregon 2) West Virginia
15) Weber State 15) GREEN BAY
WEST – Anaheim EAST – Philadelphia
St. Louis Brooklyn
1) Michigan State 1) Villanova
16) Hampton 16) FDU / JACKSON ST
8) Texas Tech 8) Wisconsin
9) Cincinnati 9) St. Bonaventure
Denver Denver
5) Arizona 5) Iowa State
12) NORTHERN IOWA 12) Akron
4) Texas AM 4) California
13) NC-WILMINGTON 13) YALE
Spokane Des Moines
6) Notre Dame 6) Texas
11) San Diego State 11) Wichita St / Saint Mary’s
3) Utah 3) Indiana
14) Hawaii 14) SOUTH DAKOTA ST
Oklahoma City Raleigh
7) Dayton 7) Seton Hall
10) Temple 10) Connecticut
2) Oklahoma 2) North Carolina
15) New Mexico State 15) UNC-ASHEVILLE

NOTES on the BRACKET: Kansas is the No. 1 overall seed followed by Virginia, Villanova, Michigan State. Next in line: Oklahoma, North Carolina, Oregon, West Virginia

Last Four Byes (at large): Cincinnati, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, South Carolina

Last Four IN (at large): Wichita State, VCU, Monmouth, Saint Mary’s

First Four OUT (at large): Michigan, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Florida

Next four teams OUT (at large): Valparaiso, George Washington, Georgia, Tulsa

Breakdown by Conference …

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

Big 12 (7): KANSAS, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Iowa State, Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech

ACC (6): NORTH CAROLINA, Virginia, Miami, Duke, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh

Big 10 (6): INDIANA, Michigan State, Purdue, Maryland, Iowa, Wisconsin

Big East (5): VILLANOVA, Xavier, Seton Hall, Providence, Butler

Atlantic 10 (4): DAYTON, Saint Joseph’s, St. Bonaventure, VCU

American (3): TEMPLE, Cincinnati, Connecticut

SEC (3): KENTUCKY, Texas AM, South Carolina

Missouri Valley (2): NORTHERN IOWA, Wichita State

MAAC (2): IONA, Monmouth

West Coast (1): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Mountain West (1): SAN DIEGO STATE

ONE BID LEAGUES: Iona (MAAC), Middle Tennessee (C-USA), Ark-Little Rock (SBELT), Yale (IVY), Weber State (BSKY), Green Bay (HORIZON), Stephen F. Austin (SLND), Chattanooga (STHN), Hawaii (BWEST), Akron (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Austin Peay (OVC), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), UNC-Asheville (BSO), Hampton (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Stony Brook (AEAST), Holy Cross (PAT), Fairleigh-Dickinson (NEC), Jackson State (SWAC)

CBT BRACKETOLOGY: FINAL SPRINT FOR NO. 1 SEEDS

North Carolina's Brice Johnson (11) reacts following a basket against Wake Forest during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016. North Carolina won 83-68. North Carolina's Marcus Paige (5) and Kennedy Meeks (3) look on at rear. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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It’s Friday before Selection Sunday. Let’s talk about something positive: the final sprint for No. 1 seeds.

Kansas should be the No. 1 overall seed.  The next three slots?  We still have questions with two days to go.  Unless the Selection Committee has already made its decisions – which is doubtful at this time on Friday – closing results in the ACC, Big 10, and Big East could very well decide how those positions unfold.  And if Oregon wins the Pac-12, it’s possible the Committee could reward the Ducks with a No. 1 seed in the West Region, especially if Oklahoma, Michigan State, North Carolina, Virginia, Villanova, and Xavier miss on conference championships.  However it ends up, those eight teams are the leading contenders for No. 1 and No. 2 seeds.  If Indiana wins the Big 10, the Hoosiers could also reach the two-line.

Today is the day we’ll know more from the Atlantic 10 and American groupings. As for the bubble, Thursday was a less-than-ideal day for Vanderbilt.  After losing to Tennessee, the Commodores must now grab a spot on the waiting list, hoping there’s a Dance ticket left on Sunday night.

If there’s a potential bid thief left – other than a team like Illinois or Nebraska (highly unlikely) – it could be San Diego State.  Should the Aztecs lose in the Mountain West championship, they’ll join the at-large discussion and see how their resume stacks up against the others.

Bracket Update: March 11, 2016

Now that we’ve reached Championship Week, teams in CAPS represent the AUTOMATIC bid. The other automatic bids are noted by the highest remaining seed in the conference tournament (as eligible). 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)

  • Tulsa vs. Monmouth | Midwest Region
  • VCU vs. Connecticut East Region
  • HOLY CROSS vs. AUSTIN PEAY | Midwest Region
  • FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON vs. FLA GULF COAST | South Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

MIDWEST – Chicago  EAST – Philadelphia                            
Des Moines Raleigh
1) Kansas 1) Virginia
16) HOLY CROSS / AUSTIN PEAY 16) Hampton
8) Wisconsin 8) Texas Tech
9) USC 9) Oregon State
Oklahoma City Providence
5) Duke 5) Maryland
12) Ark-Little Rock 12) Akron
4) Purdue 4) Kentucky
13) IONA 13) Stony Brook
Brooklyn Des Moines
6) Iowa 6) Texas
11) Tulsa / Monmouth 11) UConn / VCU
3) Miami-FL 3) Indiana
14) Middle Tennessee 14) SOUTH DAKOTA ST
Spokane St. Louis
7) Dayton 7) Colorado
10) Cincinnati 10) Wichita State
2) Oregon 2) Xavier
15) Weber State 15) New Mexico State
SOUTH – Louisville       WEST – Anaheim
Brooklyn Oklahoma City
1) Villanova 1) Oklahoma
16) FDU / FLA GULF CST 16) Texas-Southern
8) South Carolina 8) Butler
9) Saint Joseph’s 9) Pittsburgh
Denver Denver
5) Iowa State 5) Arizona
12) CHATTANOOGA 12) NORTHERN IOWA
4) California 4) Texas AM
13) YALE 13) UNC-WILMINGTON
Providence Spokane
6) Notre Dame 6) Baylor
11) Temple 11) San Diego State
3) West Virginia 3) Utah
14) S.F. Austin 14) Hawaii
St. Louis Raleigh
7) Providence 7) Seton Hall
10) GONZAGA 10) St. Bonaventure
2) Michigan State 2) North Carolina
15) GREEN BAY 15) UNC-ASHEVILLE

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

Last Four Byes (at large): Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Bonaventure, Wichita State

Last Four IN (at large): Monmouth, Connecticut, VCU, Tulsa

First Four OUT (at large): Saint Mary’s, Vanderbilt, Syracuse, Florida

Next four teams OUT (at large): Michigan, Valparaiso, George Washington, Houston

Breakdown by Conference …

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

Big 12 (7): KANSAS, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Iowa State, Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech

ACC (6): NORTH CAROLINA, Virginia, Miami, Duke, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh

Big 10 (6): INDIANA, Michigan State, Purdue, Maryland, Iowa, Wisconsin

Big East (5): VILLANOVA, Xavier, Seton Hall, Providence, Butler

Atlantic 10 (4): DAYTON, Saint Joseph’s, St. Bonaventure, VCU

American (4): TEMPLE, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Tulsa

SEC (3): KENTUCKY, Texas AM, South Carolina

Missouri Valley (2): NORTHERN IOWA, Wichita State

MAAC (2): IONA, Monmouth

West Coast (1): GONZAGA

Mountain West (1): SAN DIEGO STATE

ONE BID LEAGUES: Iona (MAAC), Middle Tennessee (C-USA), Ark-Little Rock (SBELT), Yale (IVY), Weber State (BSKY), Green Bay (HORIZON), Stephen F. Austin (SLND), Chattanooga (STHN), Hawaii (BWEST), Akron (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Austin Peay (OVC), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), UNC-Asheville (BSO), Hampton (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Stony Brook (AEAST), Holy Cross (PAT), Fairleigh-Dickinson (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)

CBT BRACKETOLOGY: WATCHING A-10, AMERICAN TOURNEYS

Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie has a word with guard Rodney Purvis (44) during an NCAA college basketball game against Michigan on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, in Paradise Island, Bahamas. (Brad Horrigan/The Courant via AP)
(Brad Horrigan/The Courant via AP)
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The NCAA Men’s Basketball Selection Committee will be closely watching developments in the Atlantic 10 and American conference tournaments.  If you include Houston, there are 10 teams from those two leagues with a lot at stake between now and Saturday night.  When you factor in an additional group from the SEC, it’s going to be an important couple of days.

As for Syracuse, the Orange are simply hoping that it all works out; that the Committee gives them consideration for games played in Jim Boeheim’s absence, that their top-level wins outweigh a volume of losses, and that a 3-8 road record is a evaluated against an unbalanced ACC schedule.  They will also hope that losing five of six games down the stretch (with Boeheim on the sideline) isn’t that big a deal.  When put together, it’s another reason why what happens in the A-10, American and SEC could greatly impact where Syracuse ultimately ends up.

This morning, we have about 10 available at-large spots, a significant number this close to Selection Sunday.  The race for those positions is far from over.

UPDATED: March 10, 2016

Now that we’ve reached Championship Week, teams in CAPS represent the AUTOMATIC bid. The other automatic bids are noted by the highest remaining seed in the conference tournament (as eligible). 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)

  • Wichita State vs. Monmouth | South Region
  • VCU vs. Connecticut South Region
  • HOLY CROSS vs. AUSTIN PEAY | Midwest Region
  • FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON vs. FLA GULF COAST | South Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

MIDWEST – Chicago  EAST – Philadelphia                                
Des Moines Raleigh
1) Kansas 1) Virginia
16) HOLY CROSS / AUSTIN PEAY 16) Hampton
8) Providence 8) Butler
9) Pittsburgh 9) South Carolina
Providence Denver
5) Texas AM 5) Maryland
12) CHATTANOOGA 12) Ark-Little Rock
4) Purdue 4) Iowa State
13) IONA 13) YALE
Brooklyn Des Moines
6) Baylor 6) California
11) Temple 11) GONZAGA
3) Miami-FL 3) Indiana
14) UAB 14) S.F. Austin
Spokane St. Louis
7) Dayton 7) Notre Dame
10) Cincinnati 10) Vanderbilt
2) Oregon 2) Xavier
15) Weber State 15) New Mexico State
SOUTH – Louisville       WEST – Anaheim
Brooklyn Oklahoma City
1) Villanova 1) Oklahoma
16) FDU / FLA GULF CST 16) Texas-Southern
8) USC 8) Oregon State
9) Texas Tech 9) Saint Joseph’s
Denver Oklahoma City
5) Texas 5) Iowa
12) NORTHERN IOWA 12) Akron
4) Duke 4) Kentucky
13) Stony Brook 13) UNC-WILMINGTON
Providence Spokane
6) Arizona 6) Wisconsin
11) UConn / VCU 11) San Diego State
3) West Virginia 3) Utah
14) SOUTH DAKOTA ST 14) Hawaii
St. Louis Raleigh
7) Colorado 7) Seton Hall
10) Wichita St / Monmouth 10) St. Bonaventure
2) Michigan State 2) North Carolina
15) GREEN BAY 15) UNC-ASHEVILLE

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

Last Four Byes (at large): Saint Joseph’s, Vanderbilt, Cincinnati, St. Bonaventure

Last Four IN (at large): Wichita State, Monmouth, Connecticut, VCU

First Four OUT (at large): Syracuse, Tulsa, Saint Mary’s, Florida

Next four teams OUT (at large): Michigan, Valparaiso, George Washington, Houston

Breakdown by Conference …

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

Big 12 (7): KANSAS, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Iowa State, Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech

ACC (6): NORTH CAROLINA, Virginia, Miami, Duke, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh

Big 10 (6): INDIANA, Michigan State, Purdue, Maryland, Iowa, Wisconsin

Big East (5): VILLANOVA, Xavier, Seton Hall, Providence, Butler

SEC (4): KENTUCKY, Texas AM, South Carolina, Vanderbilt

Atlantic 10 (4): DAYTON, Saint Joseph’s, St. Bonaventure, VCU

American (3): TEMPLE, Cincinnati, Connecticut

Missouri Valley (2): NORTHERN IOWA, Wichita State

MAAC (2): IONA, Monmouth

West Coast (1): GONZAGA

Mountain West (1): SAN DIEGO STATE

ONE BID LEAGUES: Iona (MAAC), UAB (C-USA), Ark-Little Rock (SBELT), Yale (IVY), Weber State (BSKY), Green Bay (HORIZON), Stephen F. Austin (SLND), Chattanooga (STHN), Hawaii (BWEST), Akron (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Austin Peay (OVC), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), UNC-Asheville (BSO), Hampton (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Stony Brook (AEAST), Holy Cross (PAT), Fairleigh-Dickinson (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)

CBT Bracketology: The Zags are Dancing again

Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer celebrates after receiving the tournament MVP prize following the team's NCAA college basketball game against Saint Mary's for the West Coast Conference men's tournament championship Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Las Vegas. Gonzaga won 85-75. (AP Photo/John Locher)
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Sleep well, Spokane, Gonzaga is Dancing again.

Meanwhile, Saint Mary’s joins a growing list of at-large teams hoping there’s a ticket left when they reach the front of the line.  That list includes teams like Monmouth, Wichita State, and Valparaiso.  Their resumes are complete.  All they can do is wait and watch what unfolds around them.

It could be an important day for Syracuse and Pittsburgh at the ACC tournament.  Florida State needs to win a few there as well.  USC and Oregon State will try to hold their positions via the Pac-12.  All-in-all, a busy day to hold serve or build momentum.  And it’s only Wednesday.

Enjoy the Madness.

UPDATED: March 9, 2016

Now that we’ve reached Championship Week, teams in CAPS represent the AUTOMATIC bid. The other automatic bids are noted by the highest remaining seed in the conference tournament (as eligible). 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)

  • Wichita State vs. Monmouth | East Region
  • St. Bonaventure vs. Connecticut Midwest Region
  • Texas-Southern vs. AUSTIN PEAY | Midwest Region
  • FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON vs. FLA GULF COAST | South Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

MIDWEST – Chicago  EAST – Philadelphia                            
Des Moines Raleigh
1) Kansas 1) Virginia
16) Tx-Southern / AUSTIN PEAY 16) Lehigh
8) Providence 8) Seton Hall
9) Pittsburgh 9) USC
Providence Denver
5) Texas AM 5) Maryland
12) CHATTANOOGA 12) Ark-Little Rock
4) Purdue 4) Iowa State
13) IONA 13) YALE
Brooklyn Des Moines
6) Baylor 6) California
11) Temple 11) GONZAGA
3) Miami-FL 3) Indiana
14) UAB 14) S.F. Austin
Spokane St. Louis
7) Dayton 7) Notre Dame
10) Syracuse 10) Wichita State / Monmouth
2) Oregon 2) Xavier
15) Weber State 15) New Mexico State
SOUTH – Louisville       WEST – Anaheim
Brooklyn Oklahoma City
1) Villanova 1) Oklahoma
16) FDU / FLA GULF CST 16) Hampton
8) Saint Joseph’s 8) Butler
9) South Carolina 9) Oregon State
Denver Oklahoma City
5) Texas 5) Iowa
12) NORTHERN IOWA 12) Akron
4) Duke 4) Kentucky
13) Stony Brook 13) UNC-WILMINGTON
Providence Spokane
6) Arizona 6) Wisconsin
11) UConn / St. Bonaventure 11) San Diego State
3) West Virginia 3) Utah
14) SOUTH DAKOTA ST 14) Hawaii
St. Louis Raleigh
7) Colorado 7) Texas Tech
10) Cincinnati 10) Vanderbilt
2) Michigan State 2) North Carolina
15) GREEN BAY 15) UNC-ASHEVILLE

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

Last Four Byes (at large): USC, Vanderbilt, Syracuse, Cincinnati

Last Four IN (at large): Wichita State, St. Bonaventure, Monmouth, Connecticut

First Four OUT (at large): VCU, Tulsa, Saint Mary’s, Florida

Next four teams OUT (at large): Michigan, Valparaiso, Florida State, Houston

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (7): NORTH CAROLINA, Virginia, Miami, Duke, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse

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

Big 12 (7): KANSAS, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Iowa State, Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech

Big 10 (6): INDIANA, Michigan State, Purdue, Maryland, Iowa, Wisconsin

Big East (5): VILLANOVA, Xavier, Seton Hall, Providence, Butler

SEC (4): KENTUCKY, Texas AM, South Carolina, Vanderbilt

Atlantic 10 (3): DAYTON, Saint Joseph’s, St. Bonaventure

American (3): TEMPLE, Cincinnati, Connecticut

Missouri Valley (2): NORTHERN IOWA, Wichita State

MAAC (2): IONA, Monmouth

West Coast (1): GONZAGA

Mountain West (1): SAN DIEGO STATE

ONE BID LEAGUES: Iona (MAAC), UAB (C-USA), Ark-Little Rock (SBELT), Yale (IVY), Weber State (BSKY), Green Bay (HORIZON), Stephen F. Austin (SLND), Chattanooga (STHN), Hawaii (BWEST), Akron (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Austin Peay (OVC), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), UNC-Asheville (BSO), Hampton (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Stony Brook (AEAST), Lehigh (PAT), Fairleigh-Dickinson (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)