Big-name teams dropped from latest NCAA tourney projections

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Now that the National Football League has crowned its champion, we look forward to March Madness.  Selection Sunday is just over a month away.  With that in mind, two quick observations about our bracket update.  First, the No. 1 seeds remain solid – Ohio StateKansas, Pittsburgh, and Texas.  Second,  the bottom half of the bracket is a mess.  Bubble Banter opened last with an incredible 41 teams on bubble.  Not much has changed.  See a team seeded eight or lower in the bracket?  An NCAA future is far from certain.  Thankfully, we have another month for teams to play their way in or out.

Notable changes this week are the inclusion of three teams from the Colonial – George Mason, Old Dominion and VCU.   Plus, the departure of Michigan State and Penn State from the Big 10.  Then, there’s Alabama.  If we set up the bracket as … if the season ended today … the Crimson Tide would be designated with the SEC automatic bid.  Although we don’t use that formula directly, we’ve include Alabama as one of the last teams in the field.  Alabama is 7-1 in a BCS conference, and despite early struggles, they have won 10 of 12 games, including wins over Kentucky and at Tennessee.  Certainly, ‘Bama still has work to do, but so do a large number of other teams with underwhelming profiles.  Whether the Crimson Tide stay very long remains to be seen.  You’ll find more in our Bubble Banter update on Tuesday. 

Have a different take? Rebounds welcome.  More at Bracketville.  Follow me on Twitter @BracketguyDave.

UPDATED: Monday, February 7 | Records reflect Division I games only – through February 6.

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: 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 … Kansas State vs. Colorado State | Baylor vs. VCU | Texas Southern vs. Northwestern State | Northern Colorado vs. Long Beach. 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.

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EASTNewark   SOUTHEASTNew Orleans
Cleveland   Cleveland
1) OHIO STATE (23-0)   1) PITTSBURGH (21-2)
16) HAMPTON (17-5)     16) MURRAY STATE (15-6)
8 GEORGE MASON (19-5)   8 UNLV (17-6)
9) Boston College (15-8)   9) Illinois (15-8)
     
Tampa   Tampa
5) Tennessee (15-8)   5) North Carolina (17-5)
12) Kansas St / Colorado St   12) Baylor / VCU
4) Louisville (18-5)   4) FLORIDA (18-5)
13) OAKLAND (16-9)   13) CHARLESTON (17-7)
     
Washington, DC   Washington, DC
6) Vanderbilt (16-6)   6) Texas AM (16-5)
11) MEMPHIS (17-6)   11) WICHITA STATE (19-4)
3) Connecticut (18-4)   3) Villanova (19-4)
14) BUCKNELL (16-8)   14) PRINCETON (15-4)
     
Charlotte   Denver
7) UCLA (16-7)   7) Cincinnati (18-5)
10) Marquette (14-9)   10) Florida State (16-7)
2) DUKE (21-2)   2) BYU (21-2)
15) LONG ISLAND (18-5)   15) FLORIDA ATLANTIC (16-7)
     
SOUTHWEST – San Antonio   WEST – Anaheim
Tulsa   Tulsa
1) KANSAS (22-1)   1) Texas (20-3)
16) N. COLORADO / LONG BEACH   16) TX SOUTHERN / N’WESTRN ST
8 Georgia (16-6)   8 ST. MARY’S (18-4)
9) Washington (15-7)   9) Minnesota (16-7)
     
Denver   Tucson
5) West Virginia (15-7)   5) Kentucky (16-6)
12) Old Dominion (18-6)   12) Richmond (18-6)
4) Wisconsin (17-5)   4) Syracuse (20-4)
13) CLEVELAND STATE (19-4)   13) FAIRFIELD (18-4)
     
Chicago   Charlotte
6) Missouri (17-5)   6) ARIZONA (20-4)
11) St. John’s (13-9)   11) Alabama (15-7)
3) Purdue (18-5)   3) Georgetown (18-5)
14) BELMONT (22-4)   14) CO. CAROLINA (18-2)
     
Chicago   Tucson
7) XAVIER (16-6)   7) Temple (17-5)
10) Virginia Tech (15-7)   10) UTAH STATE (22-2)
2) Notre Dame (19-4)   2) SAN DIEGO STATE (21-1)
15) VERMONT (19-5)   15) KENT STATE (14-7)

NOTES on the BRACKET: Ohio State is the No. 1 overall seed followed by Kansas, Pittsburgh, and Texas. The two seeds in order are Duke, San Diego State, BYU, Notre Dame

Last Five teams in (at large): Alabama, VCU, Kansas State, Baylor, Colorado State

First Five teams out (at large): Washington State, Oklahoma State, Missouri State, Southern Mississippi, Duquesne

Also Considered: Michigan State, Penn State, Gonzaga, Maryland, Clemson, UAB, Colorado, UAB, UTEP

Bracket adjustments: Alabama and Memphis move up a line and Cleveland State and Old Dominion move down one line to adhere to bracketing procedures.

Here is the team breakdown by Conference …

Big East (11): PITTSBURGH, Connecticut, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Villanova, West Virginia, Louisville, Cincinnati, St. John’s, Marquette

Big 12 (6): KANSAS, Texas, Texas AM, Missouri, Kansas State, Baylor

Big Ten (5): OHIO STATE, Purdue, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota

SEC (5): FLORIDA, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Georgia

ACC (5): DUKE, North Carolina, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Florida State

Mountain West (4): SAN DIEGO STATE, BYU, UNLV, Colorado State

Pac 10 (3): ARIZONA, UCLA, Washington

Atlantic 10 (3): XAVIER, Temple, Richmond

Colonial (3): GEORGE MASON, Old Dominion, VCU

Missouri Valley (1): WICHITA STATE

West Coast (1): ST. MARY’S

Conference USA (1): MEMPHIS

Horizon (1): CLEVELAND STATE

Auto Bid conference champions … Utah State (WAC), Murray State (OVC), Fairfield (MAAC), Kent State (MAC), Northern Colorado (Big Sky), Charleston (Southern), Oakland (Summit), Long Beach (Big West), Long Island (NEC), Belmont (Atlantic Sun), Florida Atlantic (Sun Belt), Princeton (Ivy), Coastal Carolina (Big South), Hampton (MEAC), Bucknell (Patriot), Vermont (America East), Northwestern State(Southland), Texas Southern (SWAC)