Dave Ommen

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 9: #5 Nigel Williams-Goss of the Gonzaga Bulldogs drives past #10 Brandon Brown and #15 Stefan Jovanovic of the Loyola Marymount Lions, on his way to the basket at Gersten Pavilion on February 9, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)
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Bracketology: Gonzaga holds on to No. 1 Seed

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Yes, Gonzaga lost a home game to BYU.  Although somewhat surprising, it doesn’t yet knock the once-beaten Bulldogs from their No. 1 Seed in the West Region.  What it does do, however, is open to door for the Pac-12 champion (or someone else) to overtake the Zags,  especially if they slip again in the West Coast Conference tournament.  As an example … should Oregon win out and claim the Pac-12 tournament, the Committee would have to determine the hierarchy between the Ducks and the Zags.

Championship Week is upon us.  The next two weeks are important for both the top and bottom of the bracket.

Bubble Notes:

By sheer volume, the number of teams in play for at-large berths with double-digit losses is quite rare.  Thus, the math for several bubble teams is becoming increasingly tough to manage.  On the flip side, it’s potentially good news for teams like Wichita State, Illinois State, and Middle Tennessee State should they fall a game short in their conference tournaments.  We’ll just have to see where we stand on selection weekend.

UPDATED:  February 27, 2017

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.

RELATED: Player of the Week | Team of the Week | Takeaways | Top 25

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Audioboom

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • Seton Hall vs. USC | South Region
  • Rhode Island vs. California Midwest Region
  • MT. ST. MARY’S vs. NC-CENTRAL | East Region
  • UC-IRVINE vs. NEW ORLEANS | Midwest Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

MIDWEST – Kansas City            EAST New York 
Tulsa Buffalo
1) KANSAS 1) VILLANOVA
16) NEW ORLEANS / UC-IRVINE 16) NC CENTRAL / MT ST. MARY’S
8) South Carolina 8) DAYTON
9) Northwestern 9) Michigan State
Milwaukee Orlando
5) Virginia 5) Notre Dame
12) ILLINOIS STATE 12) NC-WILMINGTON
4) PURDUE 4) Florida
13) VALPARAISO 13) MONMOUTH
Orlando Tulsa
6) Wisconsin 6) SMU
11) California / Rhode Island 11) Syracuse
3) Florida State 3) Baylor
14) EAST TENNESSEE ST 14) WINTHROP
Salt Lake City Indianapolis
7) Creighton 7) Maryland
10) Wichita State 10) Xavier
2) Arizona 2) Louisville
15) SOUTH DAKOTA 15) FLA GULF COAST
WEST – San Jose SOUTH – Memphis
Salt Lake City Greenville
1) GONZAGA 1) NORTH CAROLINA
16) NORTH DAKOTA 16) TX-SOUTHERN
8) Virginia Tech 8) Michigan 
9) VCU 9) Arkansas
Greenville Buffalo
5) Minnesota 5) Cincinnati
12) NEVADA 12) UT-ARLINGTON
4) Duke 4) West Virginia
13) PRINCETON 13) VERMONT
Milwaukee Indianapolis
6) Iowa State 6) Oklahoma State
11) MID TENNESSEE ST 11) USC / Seton Hall
3) Butler 3) KENTUCKY
14) AKRON 14) BELMONT
Sacramento Sacramento
7) Miami-FL 7) Saint Mary’s
10) Marquette 10) Providence
2) OREGON 2) UCLA
15) CSU-BAKERSFIELD 15) BUCKNELL

NOTES on the BRACKET: Kansas is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Villanova, North Carolina, and Gonzaga.

Last Four Byes (at large): Wichita State, Providence, Marquette, Syracuse

Last Four IN (at large): USC, Seton Hall, California, Rhode Island

First Four OUT (at large): Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Kansas State, Illinois

Next four teams OUT (at large): TCU, Houston, Indiana, Georgia

Breakdown by Conference …

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

Big 10 (7): PURDUE, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern

Big East (7): VILLANOVA, Butler, Creighton, Xavier, Providence, Marquette, Seton Hall

Big 12 (5): KANSAS, Baylor, West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma State

Pac 12 (5): OREGON, Arizona, UCLA, USC, California

SEC (4): FLORIDA, Kentucky, South Carolina, Arkansas

Atlantic 10 (2): DAYTON, VCU, Rhode Island

American (2): SMU, Cincinnati

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Missouri Valley (1): ILLINOIS STATE, Wichita State

Mountain West (1): NEVADA

ONE BID LEAGUES: Monmouth (MAAC), Middle Tennessee State (C-USA), UT-Arlington (SBELT), Princeton (IVY), North Dakota (BSKY), Valparaiso (HORIZON), New Orleans (SLND), East Tennessee State (STHN), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Akron (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), Winthrop (BSO), NC-Central (MEAC), North Dakota State (SUM), CSU-Bakersfield (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Mount St. Mary’s (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)

Bracketology: Syracuse banks in a little Madness

SYRACUSE, NY - FEBRUARY 22:  John Gillon #4 of the Syracuse Orange celebrates tying the game with little time left on the clock during the second half against the Duke Blue Devils on February 22, 2017 at The Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York. Syracuse upsets Duke 78-75.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
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The bank was open Wednesday night in Syracuse. John Gillon’s three-pointer at the buzzer lifted Syracuse over Duke at the Carrier Dome and back (again) into the bracket.

It’s been a wild month for the Orange who now need to close the deal.  It was also a big night for Providence, who used a Kyron Cartwright trey to knock off Creighton in Omaha.  And then Dillon Brooks nailed a long-distance dagger to beat California, leaving the Bears teetering for bracket survival as February comes to a close.  Are we ready for March?

No changes on the No. 1 seed line. By a whisker, Villanova holds onto the overall No. 1 seed after its second loss to Butler, a team whose profile is far better than its AP ranking. Kansas, North Carolina, and Gonzaga round out the group.  UNC moves up to No. 3 after dispatching Louisville.

If last night was any indication, it’s going to be fun ride toward Selection Sunday.

UPDATED: February 23, 2017

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Audioboom

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)

  • Seton Hall vs. Kansas State | East Region
  • Providence vs. California Midwest Region
  • MT. ST. MARY’S vs. NC-CENTRAL | East Region
  • UC-IRVINE vs. NEW ORLEANS | Midwest Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EAST New York MIDWEST Kansas City              
Buffalo Tulsa
1) VILLANOVA 1) KANSAS
16) NC-CENTRAL / M.S. MARY’S 16) NEW ORLEANS / UC-IRVINE
8) South Carolina 8) Northwestern
9) VCU 9) Xavier
Milwaukee Milwaukee
5) Virginia 5) Notre Dame
12) UNC-WILMINGTON 12) ILLINOIS STATE
4) PURDUE 4) Butler
13) PRINCETON 13) VALPARAISO
Indianapolis Orlando
6) Saint Mary’s 6) SMU
11) Seton Hall / Kansas State 11) Providence / California
3) Kentucky 3) Florida State
14) AKRON 14) BELMONT
Indianapolis Salt Lake City
7) Maryland 7) Iowa State
10) Marquette 10) Wichita State
2) Louisville 2) ARIZONA
15) BUCKNELL 15) NO. DAKOTA ST
WEST – San Jose SOUTH – Memphis
Salt Lake City Greenville
1) GONZAGA 1) NORTH CAROLINA
16) NORTH DAKOTA 16) TX-SOUTHERN
8) Miami-FL 8) Dayton
9) Michigan 9) Arkansas
Buffalo Sacramento
5) CINCINNATI 5) Wisconsin
12) MONMOUTH 12) UT-ARLINGTON
4) West Virginia 4) UCLA
13) VERMONT 13) NEVADA
Greenville Orlando
6) Creighton 6) Minnesota
11) MID TENNESSEE ST 11) Syracuse
3) Duke 3) FLORIDA
14) FLA GULF COAST 14) E. TENNESSEE ST
Sacramento Tulsa
7) Oklahoma State 7) Virginia Tech
10) Michigan State 10) USC
2) Oregon 2) Baylor
15) CSU-BAKERSFIELD 15) UNC-ASHEVILLE

NOTES on the BRACKET: Villanova is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Kansas, North Carolina, and Gonzaga.

Last Four Byes (at large): Michigan State, Wichita State, Marquette, Syracuse

Last Four IN (at large): Seton Hall, California, Providence, Kansas State

First Four OUT (at large): Wake Forest, TCU, Georgia Tech, Rhode Island

Next four teams OUT (at large): Vanderbilt, Clemson, Alabama, Houston

Breakdown by Conference …

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

Big 10 (7): PURDUE, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Maryland, Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State

Big East (7): VILLANOVA, Butler, Creighton, Xavier, Marquette, Seton Hall, Providence

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

Pac 12 (5): OREGON, Arizona, UCLA, USC, California

SEC (4): FLORIDA, Kentucky, South Carolina, Arkansas

Atlantic 10 (2): VCU, Dayton

American (2): CINCINNATI, SMU

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Missouri Valley (1): ILLINOIS STATE, Wichita State

Mountain West (1): NEVADA

ONE BID LEAGUES: Monmouth (MAAC), Middle Tennessee State (C-USA), UT-Arlington (SBELT), Princeton (IVY), North Dakota (BSKY), Valparaiso (HORIZON), New Orleans (SLND), East Tennessee State (STHN), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Akron (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), Winthrop (BSO), NC-Central (MEAC), North Dakota State (SUM), CSU-Bakersfield (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Mt. St. Mary’s (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)

Bracketology: Tar Heels vault to top line

WINSTON-SALEM, NC - JANUARY 11:  Justin Jackson #44 of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts after a shot against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during their game at LJVM Coliseum Complex on January 11, 2017 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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If today were Selection Sunday, and North Carolina was the ACC champion, the Selection Committee would likely be inclined to reward the Tar Heels with a No. 1 seed over a very strong Baylor team whose profile is equally impressive but lacks a conference title. In the world of splitting hairs, we just did.  On that note, two interesting twists await.  First, UNC hosts Louisville on Wednesday, and the Cardinals are No. 6 on the Seed List.  If Louisville wins in Chapel Hill, the Cards could make a strong case for the top line on Thursday.  Second, the Tar Heels close with an incredibly tough slate, going to Pittsburgh and Virginia before finishing at home with Duke.  Baylor can easily play its way back up.

In the race for No. 1 seeds, Villanova and Kansas are sitting in strong positions as the regular season comes to a close. Should Gonzaga finish unbeaten, it would hard to drop the Zags from their No. 1 perch in the West.  Which leaves, at least for now, one top seed up for grabs, and it could go any number of ways.

Another meh and blah weekend along the cutline.  Should we lose solid mid-major programs like Middle Tennessee State, UNC Wilmington, and say, Monmouth or Illinois State during their conference championships, the Committee will have to heavily weigh a bunch of mediocre power teams versus some solid programs who have fewer chances for marquee wins.

UPDATED: February 20, 2017

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.

RELATED: Player of the Week | Team of the Week | Takeaways | Top 25

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Audioboom

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • Georgia Tech vs. Marquette | South Region
  • Seton Hall vs. TCU East Region
  • NORTH DAKOTA vs. UC-IRVINE | Midwest Region
  • MT. ST. MARY’S vs. NEW ORLEANSE | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EAST New York MIDWEST Kansas City                   
Buffalo Tulsa
1) VILLANOVA 1) KANSAS
16) NEW ORLEANS / M.S. MARY’S 16) NO. DAKOTA / UC-IRVINE
8) Dayton 8) Minnesota
9) Miami-FL 9) Arkansas
Milwaukee Milwaukee
5) Virginia 5) Notre Dame
12) UNC-WILMINGTON 12) ILLINOIS STATE
4) PURDUE 4) Butler
13) AKRON 13) UT-ARLINGTON
Indianapolis Orlando
6) Saint Mary’s 6) Wisconsin
11) Seton Hall / TCU 11) Kansas State
3) Kentucky 3) Florida State
14) PRINCETON 14) BELMONT
Indianapolis Salt Lake City
7) Northwestern 7) Iowa State
10) Wichita State 10) Michigan
2) Louisville 2) ARIZONA
15) BUCKNELL 15) NO. DAKOTA ST
SOUTH – Memphis WEST – San Jose
Greenville Salt Lake City
1) NORTH CAROLINA 1) GONZAGA
16) NC-CENTRAL 16) TX-SOUTHERN
8) Xavier 8) Virginia Tech
9) VCU 9) USC
Sacramento Buffalo
5) Creighton 5) CINCINNATI
12) VALPARAISO 12) MONMOUTH
4) UCLA 4) West Virginia
13) NEVADA 13) VERMONT
Orlando Greenville
6) SMU 6) Maryland
11) Georgia Tech / Marquette 11) MID TENNESSEE ST
3) FLORIDA 3) Duke
14) UNC-ASHEVILLE 14) FLA GULF COAST
Tulsa Sacramento
7) South Carolina 7) Oklahoma State
10) California 10) Michigan State
2) Baylor 2) Oregon
15) FURMAN 15) CSU-BAKERSFIELD

NOTES on the BRACKET: Villanova is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Kansas, Gonzaga, and North Carolina.

Last Four Byes (at large): California, Michigan State, Wichita State, Kansas State

Last Four IN (at large): Seton Hall, TCU, Marquette, Georgia Tech

First Four OUT (at large): Providence, Syracuse, Clemson, Tennessee

Next four teams OUT (at large): Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Indiana, Texas Tech

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (9): NORTH CAROLINA, Louisville, Duke, Florida State, Virginia, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Miami-FL, Georgia Tech

Big 10 (7): PURDUE, Wisconsin, Maryland, Northwestern, Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State

Big 12 (7): KANSAS, Baylor, West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, TCU

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

Pac 12 (5): OREGON, Arizona, UCLA, USC, California

SEC (4): FLORIDA, Kentucky, South Carolina, Arkansas

Atlantic 10 (2): VCU, Dayton

American (2): CINCINNATI, SMU

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Missouri Valley (1): ILLINOIS STATE, Wichita State

Mountain West (1): NEVADA

ONE BID LEAGUES: Monmouth (MAAC), Middle Tennessee State (C-USA), UT-Arlington (SBELT), Princeton (IVY), North Dakota (BSKY), Valparaiso (HORIZON), New Orleans (SLND), Furman (STHN), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Akron (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), Winthrop (BSO), NC-Central (MEAC), North Dakota State (SUM), CSU-Bakersfield (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Mt. St. Mary’s (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)

Bracketology: Don’t sleep on Duke

DURHAM, NC - DECEMBER 19:  Luke Kennard #5 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after a play against the Tennessee State Tigers during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on December 19, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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After a home loss to NC State in late January, it was fair to wonder if this year’s talented group of Duke Blue Devils were ever going to reach the pinnacles set before them in November.  Most preseason bracket projections established Duke as the No. 1 overall seed, a prohibitive favorite to win another National Championship.  Then the injuries mounted, on the court and on the bench. Following the NC State defeat, Duke had lost three of four games and looked more like a middle-of-the-pack ACC group than a title contender.

Now, turn the page. Since that loss to the Wolfpack, the Blue Devils have reeled off six straight ACC wins, including three on the road – at Wake Forest, at Notre Dame, and last night at Virginia.  In less than a month, Duke has risen to 9-4 in the ACC, back among league contenders.  They’ve also taken a climb on today’s Seed List – claiming a No. 3 seed in the bracket, opening in Greenville.  If you fell asleep on the Blue Devils, it might be time to wake up.  It looks like Duke is back in play for a top-three seed on Selection Sunday.

Bubble Picture …

In the absence of distinct separating factors along the cutline, it was time to reconvene some advanced metrics.  Those models continue to favor the likes of Clemson, Wichita State, and Kansas State – despite the Wildcats’ recent streak of Big 12 losses.  For now, take your pick among the final 8 teams (Last IN, First OUT).  You can make cases for and against each of them.  Championship Week could well turn into a series of play-in games unless two or three teams from the group (or elsewhere) separate themselves in the next couple of weeks.

UPDATED: February 16, 2017

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)

  • Wichita State vs. TCU | West Region
  • Kansas State vs. Clemson | Midwest Region
  • WEBER STATE vs. UC-DAVIS | Midwest Region
  • MT. ST. MARY’S vs. NC CENTRAL | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EAST New York MIDWEST Kansas City             
Buffalo Tulsa
1) VILLANOVA 1) KANSAS
16) NC-CENTRAL / M.S. MARY’S 16) WEBER ST / UC-DAVIS
8) Dayton 8) USC
9) Michigan State 9) Virginia Tech
Milwaukee Milwaukee
5) CINCINNATI 5) Purdue
12) AKRON 12) ILLINOIS STATE
4) Virginia 4) Butler
13) MONMOUTH 13) UT-ARLINGTON
Indianapolis Salt Lake City
6) Maryland 6) Creighton
11) Miami-FL 11) Kansas State / Clemson
3) Kentucky 3) ARIZONA
14) FLA GULF COAST 14) PRINCETON
Indianapolis Orlando
7) Xavier 7) South Carolina
10) Arkansas 10) Michigan
2) Louisville 2) Florida State
15) NO DAKOTA ST 15) FURMAN
WEST – San Jose South – Memphis
Salt Lake City Tulsa
1) GONZAGA 1) Baylor
16) TX-SOUTHERN 16) NEW ORLEANS
8) Oklahoma State 8) Minnesota
9) California 9) VCU
Buffalo Sacramento
5) WISCONSIN 5) Notre Dame
12) NC-WILMINGTON 12) VALPARAISO
4) West Virginia 4) UCLA
13) VERMONT 13) NEVADA
Greenville Orlando
6) Saint Mary’s 6) SMU
11) Wichita State / TCU 11) MID TENNESSEE ST
3) Duke 3) FLORIDA
14) NC-ASHEVILLE 14) BELMONT
Sacramento Greenville
7) Iowa State 7) Northwestern
10) Syracuse 10) Seton Hall
2) Oregon 2) NORTH CAROLINA
15) CSU-BAKERSFIELD 15) BUCKNELL

NOTES on the BRACKET: Villanova is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Kansas, Baylor, and Gonzaga.

Last Four Byes (at large): Syracuse, Miami-FL, Arkansas, Seton Hall

Last Four IN (at large): TCU, Wichita State, Clemson, Kansas State

First Four OUT (at large): Georgia Tech, Providence, Georgetown, Marquette

Next four teams OUT (at large): Texas Tech, Wake Forest, Indiana, Georgia

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (10): NORTH CAROLINA, Louisville, Florida State, Duke, Virginia, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Miami-FL, Clemson

Big 10 (7): WISCONSIN, Purdue, Maryland, Northwestern, Minnesota, Michigan State, Michigan

Big 12 (7): KANSAS, Baylor, West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Kansas State

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

Pac 12 (5): OREGON, Arizona, UCLA, USC, California

SEC (4): FLORIDA, Kentucky, South Carolina, Arkansas

Atlantic 10 (2): VCU, Dayton

American (2): CINCINNATI, SMU

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Missouri Valley (1): ILLINOIS STATE, Wichita State

Mountain West (1): BOISE STATE

ONE BID LEAGUES: Monmouth (MAAC), Middle Tennessee State (C-USA), UT-Arlington (SBELT), Princeton (IVY), Weber State (BSKY), Valparaiso (HORIZON), New Orleans (SLND), Furman (STHN), UC-Davis (BWEST), Akron (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), Winthrop (BSO), NC-Central (MEAC), North Dakota State (SUM), CSU-Bakersfield (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Mt. St. Mary’s (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)

Bracketology: Committee delivers ACC message

DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 09:  Justin Jackson #44 of the North Carolina Tar Heels throws the ball in against the Duke Blue Devils during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 9, 2017 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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If we learned anything after Saturday’s sneak peak into the 2017 Selection Committee’s thinking – at least in mid-February – it’s this: Quality RPI wins still matter and the Atlantic Coast Conference is the top game in town.  The road to Selection Sunday is far from over, but as of Noon this past Saturday, ACC teams gobbled up five of the 16 seed lines released (31 percent).  The Big 12 and Pac-12 each took three (19 percent each).  The Big East and SEC two each (12.5 percent).  The Big Ten?  A discussion point, but not worthy, and that was before Wisconsin lost at home Sunday night to Northwestern; a huge win for the Wildcats, by the way, who are poised to make their first-ever appearance in March Madness.  Cincinnati and SMU (American) were also on the outside looking in at the top four lines.

Now, take a breath.  If college basketball has taught us anything, it’s too expect the unexpected.  Although the very top of the bracket is certainly taking shape, nothing is set in stone.  Based upon the Committee’s seeding, three ACC teams (North Carolina, Louisville, Florida State) are still in play for a No. 1 seed.  One could say the same for an eventual Pac-12 champion, especially if say Oregon or Arizona wins the regular season and P12 tourney titles.  As for Gonzaga?  With their trip to Saint Mary’s in the rearview mirror, it’s looking more and more likely the Bulldogs will wrap-up a perfect season.  If they do, a No. 1 seed awaits.  If they were to stumble, we’ll see.  The Committee is not as enamored with their perfect record as compared to the number of power wins by say teams like Kansas or Baylor.

There’s nothing new to report along the bubble.  It’s as messy as ever.  Stay tuned.

UPDATED: February 13, 2017

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)

  • Wichita State vs. Seton Hall | East Region
  • Arkansas vs. Georgia Tech | Midwest Region
  • WEBER STATE vs. UC-DAVIS | Midwest Region
  • MT. ST. MARY’S vs. NC CENTRAL | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EAST New York MIDWEST Kansas City             
Buffalo Tulsa
1) VILLANOVA 1) KANSAS
16) NC-CENTRAL / M.S. MARY’S 16) WEBER ST / UC-DAVIS
8) Iowa State 8) USC
9) Virginia Tech 9) Minnesota
Sacramento Milwaukee
5) WISCONSIN 5) CINCINNATI
12) VALPARAISO 12) ILLINOIS STATE
4) UCLA 4) Duke
13) BOISE STATE 13) VERMONT
Indianapolis Salt Lake City
6) Maryland 6) Creighton
11) Wichita State / Seton Hall 11) Arkansas / Georgia Tech
3) Kentucky 3) ARIZONA
14) PRINCETON 14) ARKANSAS STATE
Indianapolis Orlando
7) Dayton 7) Northwestern
10) Michigan State 10) TCU
2) Louisville 2) Florida State
15) NO DAKOTA ST 15) NC-ASHEVILLE
WEST – San Jose South – Memphis
Salt Lake City Tulsa
1) GONZAGA 1) Baylor
16) TX-SOUTHERN 16) NEW ORLEANS
8) Oklahoma State 8) VCU
9) California 9) Syracuse
Buffalo Milwaukee
5) Notre Dame 5) Purdue
12) AKRON 12) NC-WILMINGTON
4) West Virginia 4) Butler
13) MONMOUTH 13) BELMONT
Greenville Orlando
6) South Carolina 6) SMU
11) MID TENNESSEE ST 11) Kansas State
3) Virginia 3) FLORIDA
14) FLA GULF COAST 14) BUCKNELL
Sacramento Greenville
7) Saint Mary’s 7) Xavier
10) Miami-FL 10) Michigan
2) Oregon 2) NORTH CAROLINA
15) CSU-BAKERSFIELD 15) FURMAN

NOTES on the BRACKET: Villanova is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Kansas, Baylor, and Gonzaga.

Last Four Byes (at large): TCU, Michigan, Miami-FL, Kansas State

Last Four IN (at large): Wichita State, Arkansas, Seton Hall, Georgia Tech

First Four OUT (at large): Wake Forest, Georgetown, Marquette, Clemson

Next four teams OUT (at large): Rhode Island, Indiana, Providence, Tennessee

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (10): NORTH CAROLINA, Louisville, Florida State, Virginia, Duke, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Miami-FL, Georgia Tech

Big 10 (7): WISCONSIN, Purdue, Maryland, Northwestern, Minnesota, Michigan State, Michigan

Big 12 (7): KANSAS, Baylor, West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Kansas State

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

Pac 12 (5): OREGON, Arizona, UCLA, USC, California

SEC (4): FLORIDA, Kentucky, South Carolina, Arkansas

Atlantic 10 (2): VCU, Dayton

American (2): CINCINNATI, SMU

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Missouri Valley (2): ILLINOIS STATE, Wichita State

Mountain West (1): BOISE STATE

ONE BID LEAGUES: Monmouth (MAAC), Middle Tennessee State (C-USA), Arkansas State (SBELT), Princeton (IVY), Weber State (BSKY), Valparaiso (HORIZON), New Orleans (SLND), Furman (STHN), UC-Davis (BWEST), Akron (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), Winthrop (BSO), NC-Central (MEAC), North Dakota State (SUM), CSU-Bakersfield (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Mt. St. Mary’s (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)

Bracketology: Syracuse keeps climbing

SYRACUSE, NY - JANUARY 28:  Tyler Roberson #21 of the Syracuse Orange dunks the ball against the Florida State Seminoles during the first half at the Carrier Dome on January 28, 2017 in Syracuse, New York. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
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As we ushered in 2017, Syracuse could easily have been asking, what happened? A preseason Top 25 team, the Orange were mired in a streak that produced loses to Connecticut, St. John’s, and Boston College.  Early January wasn’t much better, as the Orange’s early league road schedule took a toll. Fast forward to February. It’s amazing what a five-game winning streak in the ACC can do for a team’s resume, especially when the field around them remains quite average.  Syracuse’s last-second heroics at Clemson have the Orange at 8-4 in the league and, at least for the moment, a few slots above the cutline.  We’ll see how the final month plays out.

No changes on the No. 1 seed line today. Kansas and Baylor bounced back with road wins .  Come Saturday, we’ll all get a sneak peak at how the actual Selection Committee views the Top 16 teams (on their Seed List), noted as the top four seeds in each region.  Every Committee is a little different, so it will be interesting to see how they view things.  Some of us would prefer to see their look at the bubble, too.  Then again, deciphering and explaining those concepts would require a show that’s too long for network television.  Come Monday, the middle and lower half of the bracket could look quite different – again.

UPDATED: February 9, 2017

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. Seton Hall | South Region
  • Wichita State vs. Marquette | East Region
  • WEBER STATE vs. UC-DAVIS | Midwest Region
  • MT. ST. MARY’S vs. NC CENTRAL | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EAST New York WEST San Jose                         
Buffalo Salt Lake City
1) VILLANOVA 1) GONZAGA
16) NC-CENTRAL / M.S. MARY’S 16) TX-SOUTHERN
8) VCU 8) California
9) Oklahoma State 9) Iowa State
Orlando Milwaukee
5) Butler 5) Duke
12) UNC-WILMINGTON 12) VALPARAISO
4) FLORIDA 4) WISCONSIN
13) MONMOUTH 13) NEW MEXICO ST
Buffalo Indianapolis
6) Notre Dame 6) Maryland
11) Wichita St / Marquette 11) MID TENNESSEE ST
3) West Virginia 3) Louisville
14) WINTHROP 14) BELMONT
Greenville Sacramento
7) USC 7) SMU
10) Indiana 10) Virginia Tech
2) NORTH CAROLINA 2) OREGON
15) PRINCETON 15) NO DAKOTA ST
SOUTH – Memphis MIDWEST – Kansas City
Tulsa Tulsa
1) Baylor 1) KANSAS
16) SAM HOUSTON ST 16) WEBER ST / UC-DAVIS
8) Northwestern 8) Syracuse
9) Miami-FL 9) Minnesota
Indianapolis Milwaukee
5) Creighton 5) Purdue
12) AKRON 12) ILLINOIS STATE
4) Kentucky 4) CINCINNATI
13) VERMONT 13) NEVADA
Sacramento Greenville
6) Saint Mary’s 6) South Carolina
11) Michigan / Seton Hall 11) Michigan State
3) UCLA 3) Virginia
14) ARKANSAS STATE 14) FLA GULF COAST
Orlando Salt Lake City
7) Xavier 7) Dayton
10) Kansas State 10) TCU
2) Florida State 2) Arizona
15) BUCKNELL 15) FURMAN

NOTES on the BRACKET: Villanova is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Gonzaga, Kansas, and Baylor.

Last Four Byes (at large): Miami-FL, Virginia Tech, Indiana, Michigan State

Last Four IN (at large): Seton Hall, Wichita State, Marquette, Michigan

First Four OUT (at large): Tennessee, Rhode Island, Georgia Tech, Arkansas

Next four teams OUT (at large): Wake Forest, Clemson, Ohio State, Georgetown

Breakdown by Conference …

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

Big 10 (8): WISCONSIN, Purdue, Maryland, Northwestern, Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan State, Michigan

Big 12 (7): KANSAS, Baylor, West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Kansas State

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

Pac 12 (5): OREGON, Arizona, UCLA, USC, California

SEC (3): FLORIDA, Kentucky, South Carolina

Atlantic 10 (2): VCU, Dayton

American (2): CINCINNATI, SMU

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Missouri Valley (2): ILLINOIS STATE, Wichita State

Mountain West (1): NEVADA

ONE BID LEAGUES: Monmouth (MAAC), Middle Tennessee State (C-USA), Arkansas State (SBELT), Princeton (IVY), Weber State (BSKY), Valparaiso (HORIZON), Sam Houston State (SLND), Furman (STHN), UC-Davis (BWEST), Akron (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), Winthrop (BSO), NC-Central (MEAC), North Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Mt. St. Mary’s (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)