Conference play is moving forward – a good chance to see how teams fare in hostile environments and true road games. No changes on the top line for the latest Bracket Projection – Duke, Ohio State, Kansas, and Syracuse. We do have one newcomer to the two-line: Purdue replaces Kentucky.
There is a record number of Big East teams (10) in our current projection. Two reasons for this … 1) Depth of good teams … 2)Less qualified candidates in other BCS and non-BCS leagues. While it’s certainly possible for the Big East to earn 10 bids (a record), we are still early in conference play and have a mid-season snapshot of data. It’s hard to decipher which – if any – additional teams from the ACC, SEC, Big 12, and even the PAC-10 may emerge as bid contenders. We can also expect a few surprises during Championship Week – resulting in one or two fewer at-large spots (even with 37 now available).
Our bracket projection will truly begin to take shape in February. We use both current results and some future projecting at this point. Take for example, a team like Minnesota. The Gophers have already made road trips to Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Ohio State. The fact that the Gophers lost all three is perhaps disappointing to some extent, but not unexpected, either. Thus, an early 1-3 mark in conference play doesn’t necessarily suggest Minnesota is headed for trouble. Rebounds welcome here and at Bracketville.
UPDATED: Monday, January 10 | Records reflect Division I games only – through January 9.
Teams in CAPS represent the projected conference champion for this bracket. Exceptions are made for those teams that traditionally use an abbreviation (UTEP, BYU, etc).
NOTE: This is the second of our weekly projections in the new 68-team format. You will notice two pairing games that represent the First Four pairings. In this bracket the First Four games in Dayton would be … Miami-FL vs. Wichita State | Memphis vs. Richmond | Jackson State vs. Sam Houston | American vs. Quinnipiac. The final four at-large teams are paired along with the teams seeded 65-68 on the S-curve. The matchups are indicated in the bracket below.
Next Update: Monday, January 17.
BRACKET PROJECTION …
|EAST – Newark||SOUTHEAST – New Orleans|
|1) DUKE (15-0)||1) OHIO STATE (16-0)|
|16) JACKSONVILLE (9-3)||16) HAMPTON (11-3)|
|8 St. John’s (10-4)||8 Georgia (12-2)|
|9) Baylor (11-3)||9) West Virginia (10-4)|
|5) TEMPLE (11-3)||5) Georgetown (12-4)|
|12) USC (10-6)||12) Miami-FL vs. Wichita State|
|4) Illinois (13-3)||4) Texas A-M (13-1)|
|13) FAIRFIELD (12-3)||13) CHARLESTON (11-5)|
|6) Michigan State (9-5)||6) Louisville (13-2)|
|11) Boston College (12-4)||11) Oklahoma State (13-2)|
|3) KENTUCKY (12-3)||3) BYU (15-1)|
|14) MURRAY STATE (8-5)||14) MONTANA (9-5)|
|7) CENTRAL FLORIDA (12-1)||7) Minnesota (12-4)|
|10) Arizona (14-3)||10) Tennessee (10-5)|
|2) Connecticut (12-2)||2) Pittsburgh (15-1)|
|15) COASTAL CAROLINA (10-2)||15) VERMONT (11-4)|
|SOUTHWEST – San Antonio||WEST – Anaheim|
|1) KANSAS (15-0)||1) SYRACUSE (16-0)|
|16) JACKSON ST / SAM HOUSTON||16) AMERICAN / QUINNIPIAC|
|8 UNLV (13-3)||8 GONZAGA (10-5)|
|9) St. Mary’s (11-2)||9) BUTLER (11-5)|
|5) North Carolina (11-4)||5) WASHINGTON (11-3)|
|12) OLD DOMINION (12-3)||12) Memphis vs. Richmond|
|4) Villanova (14-1)||4) Missouri (13-2)|
|13) OAKLAND (10-8)||13) UTAH STATE (14-2)|
|6) Kansas State (11-4)||6) Wisconsin (12-3)|
|11) Virginia Tech (10-4)||11) MISSOURI STATE (13-3)|
|3) Notre Dame (14-2)||3) Texas (12-3)|
|14) PRINCETON (11-4)||14) NORTH TEXAS (11-3)|
|7) Vanderbilt (11-3)||7) Florida (12-3)|
|10) Washington State (12-4)||10) Cincinnati (15-1)|
|2) Purdue (15-1)||2) SAN DIEGO STATE (15-0)|
|15) AKRON (9-5)||15) LONG BEACH (7-8)|
NOTES on the BRACKET: Duke is the No. 1 overall seed followed by Ohio State, Kansas, and Syracuse. The two seeds in order are Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Purdue, and San Diego State.
Last Five teams in (at large): USC, Memphis, Wichita State, Miami-FL, Richmond
First Five teams out (at large): Florida State, Cleveland State, Mississippi, Clemson, South Carolina
Also Considered: Colorado, Marquette, Michigan, Maryland, Drexel, Arkansas, NC State, UCLA, UAB, Northwestern, Xavier, Colorado State, Southern Mississippi, Dayton, New Mexico, Virginia, VCU, Penn State
Bracket adjustments: Cincinnati drops one line and Butler moves up one line for procedural reasons.
Here is the team breakdown by Conference …
Big East (10): SYRACUSE, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Villanova, Louisville, Cincinnati, St. John’s, West Virginia
Big 12 (7): KANSAS, Texas, Missouri, Kansas State, Texas A-M, Baylor, Oklahoma State
Big Ten (6): OHIO STATE, Purdue, Michigan State, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin
ACC (5): DUKE, North Carolina, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Miami-FL
SEC (5): KENTUCKY, Vanderbilt, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia
Pac 10 (4): WASHINGTON, Arizona, Washington State, USC
Mountain West (3): SAN DIEGO STATE, BYU, UNLV
Atlantic 10 (2): TEMPLE, Richmond
Missouri Valley (2): MISSOURI STATE, Wichita State
Conference USA (2): CENTRAL FLORIDA, Memphis
West Coast (2): GONZAGA, St. Mary’s
Colonial (1): OLD DOMINION
Horizon (1): BUTLER
Auto Bid conference champions … Utah State (WAC), Murray State (OVC), Fairfield (MAAC), Akron (MAC), Montana (Big Sky), Charleston (Southern), Oakland (Summit), Long Beach (Big West), Quinnipiac (NEC), Jacksonville (Atlantic Sun), North Texas (Sun Belt), Princeton (Ivy), Coastal Carolina (Big South), Hampton (MEAC), American (Patriot), Vermont (America East), Sam Houston (Southland), Jackson State (SWAC)