Can Duke grab a 1 seed from Michigan St. in latest bracket?

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Fresh off road wins at Ohio State and Purdue, the Michigan State Spartans have not only grabbed first place in the Big Ten but also a No. 1 seed in this week’s bracket projection. MSU is 7-3 vs. teams currently ranked in the Top 25 of the RPI, which is two more such victories than Duke or Kansas. The Spartans also own the nation’s second best overall strength of schedule and haven’t lost in the month of February. Kansas falls in at No. 5 on the s-curve, follwed by Duke, Ohio State, and North Carolina. Kentucky, Syracuse, and Missouri are the other No. 1 seeds today.

The middle and bottom portions of the bracket remain very unsettled. Other than New Mexico, it was an interesting week in the Mountain West, as both UNLV and San Diego State lost multiple games. The Lobos are now alone in first place. As for the bubble, it’s as weak as ever. If teams like Long Beach State, Middle Tennessee State, Oral Roberts, and Iona don’t win automatic bids, it will interesting to see how many (if any) of those schools might grab an at-large. Championship Week is shaping up as a week that could shake-up the bracket .

Bubble Banter will be updated later in the week, and it will provide a better glimpse into where we stand. Most teams currently on the 8-seed line or below have potential issues with their at-large resumes. Some cases are stronger than others, but there’s a reason they are located in those spots on the s-curve. We could still see a lot of fluctuation.

Here are a few final thoughts from the Mock Selection exercise last week in Indianapolis. A team’s entire body of work is evaluated. Games in November count the same as February or March … Head-to-head results are considered, but only as one part of a team’s profile. Just because Team A beat Team B doesn’t necessarily mean Team A has a better overall profile … One good win or one bad loss doesn’t define a team’s season … During our evaluations, a team’s league record was rarely discussed … Strength of schedule (particularly out of conference) was a significant consideration for teams whose overall body of work was somewhat questionnable … Teams did receive consideration for players who missed part of the season (not brawl/fight related) … Sometimes the “eye test” is important, which is why Selection Committee members watch so many games … Discussions can be very insightful. While voting is private, open debate about particular teams is beneficial duing the evaluation process.

Enjoy a great week of hoops. We’re just three weeks away from Selection Sunday.

UPDATED: Monday, February 20

Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (UTEP, BYU, etc). Records are for games against Division I teams only.

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • Northwestern (16-10) vs. Texas (17-10) | South Region
  • St. Joseph’s (18-10) vs. Miami-FL (16-9) | Midwest Region
  • MISS VALLEY ST (15-11) vs. SAVANNAH ST (15-10) | East Region
  • STONY BROOK (17-8) vs. UT-ARLINGTON (19-6) | West Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EASTBoston   SOUTHAtlanta
Pittsburgh   Louisville
1) SYRACUSE (27-1)   1) KENTUCKY (26-1)
16) SAVANNAH ST / MS VALLEY ST   16) UNC-ASHEVILLE (16-9)
8) St. Louis (21-5)   8) Virginia (20-6)
9) Iowa State (19-8)   9) Purdue (17-10)
     
Portland   Albuquerque
5) FLORIDA STATE (19-7)   5) UNLV (20-6)
12) LONG BEACH (17-7)   12) Cincinnati (19-8)
4) Indiana (20-7)   4) WICHITA STATE (23-4)
13) IONA (22-6)   13) Northwestern / Texas
     
Albuquerque   Nashville
6) Vanderbilt (18-8)   6) MURRAY STATE (23-1)
11) Washington (19-8)   11) Alabama (17-9)
3) Baylor (21-5)   3) Georgetown (19-5)
14) DREXEL (23-5)   14) DAVIDSON (19-7)
     
Pittsburgh   Greensboro
7) Gonzaga (21-5)   7) Kansas State (18-8)
10) Connecticut (16-10)   10) SO. MISSISSIPPI (20-5)
2) Ohio State (21-5)   2) North Carolina (23-4)
15) BUCKNELL (19-8)   15) BELMONT (20-7)
     
MIDWEST – St. Louis   WEST – Phoenix
Omaha   Columbus
1) MISSOURI (25-2)   1) MICHIGAN STATE (21-5)
16) LONG ISLAND (21-7)   16) UT-ARLINGTON / STONY BROOK
8) West Virginia (17-10)   8) ST. MARY’S (21-5)
9) HARVARD (21-3)   9) Mississippi State (19-8)
     
Nashville   Portland
5) Florida (21-6)   5) TEMPLE (21-5)
12) Seton Hall (18-9)   12) ORAL ROBERTS (25-5)
4) Wisconsin (19-7)   4) Louisville (21-6)
13) Miami-FL / St. Joseph’s   13) MID TENNESSEE ST (23-4)
     
Columbus   Louisville
6) Notre Dame (19-8)   6) NEW MEXICO (21-4)
11) Xavier (17-9)   11) BYU (21-6)
3) Michigan (19-7)   3) Marquette (22-5)
14) NEVADA (20-5)   14) AKRON (18-8)
     
Greensboro   Omaha
7) Creighton (23-5)   7) San Diego State (18-6)
10) CALIFORNIA (22-6)   10) Memphis (19-8)
2) Duke (22-4)   2) Kansas (22-5)
15) VALPARAISO (17-10)   15) WEBER STATE (20-4)

NOTES on the BRACKET: Kentucky is the No. 1 overall seed followed by Syracuse, Missouri and Michigan State. Next in line are Kansas, Duke, Ohio State, and North Carolina.

Last Five teams in (at large): Seton Hall, Northwestern, Texas, Miami-FL, St. Joseph’s

First Five teams out (at large): NC State, South Florida, UCF, Dayton, Arizona

Next Five teams out (at large): Oregon, VCU, Illinois, Colorado State, LSU

Bracket adjustments: Several one-line adjustments were made to accommodate bracket principles and procedures.

Here is the team breakdown by Conference …

Big East (9): Syracuse, Georgetown, Louisville, Connecticut, Marquette, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Seton Hall

Big Ten (7): Ohio State, Michigan State, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Purdue, Northwestern

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

SEC (5): Kentucky, Florida, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Alabama

ACC (5): North Carolina, Duke, Virginia, Florida State, Miami (Fla)

Atlantic 10 (4): Xavier, St. Louis, Temple, St. Joseph’s

Conference USA (2): Memphis, Southern Mississippi

Mountain West (3): UNLV, San Diego State, New Mexico

West Coast (3): Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, BYU

Pac 12 (2): Washingon, California

Missouri Valley (2): Creighton, Wichita State

Conference leaders/champions … Middle Tennessee State (Sun Belt), Valparaiso (Horizon), Akron (MAC), Drexel (CAA), Nevada (WAC), Murray State (OVC), Iona (MAAC), Weber State (Big Sky), Davidson (Southern), Oral Roberts (Summit), Long Beach State (Big West), Long Island (NEC), Belmont (Atlantic Sun), Harvard (Ivy), NC-Asheville (Big South), Savannah State (MEAC), Bucknell (Patriot), Stony Brook (America East), UT-Arlington(Southland), Mississippi Valley State (SWAC)