As we begin the march toward Selection Sunday, Virginia has again put itself in position to compete for a No.1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Cavaliers completed an unbeaten non-conference slate and have all the resume numbers firmly intact. Only a tough Atlantic Coast Conference docket, which includes projected ACC champion Duke, is keeping UVA off the top line in today’s bracket. Who are the No. 1 seeds? The same four teams who opened the season atop the Field of 68 – Kentucky, Duke, Wisconsin, and Arizona.
As noted in the New Year’s Day update, we have some quirky resumes on the at-large board. Take for example, Providence. The Friars have quality wins over Notre Dame and Butler and own a solid 7-2 mark vs. the current RPI Top 100. Those same Friars also own losses to Boston College and Brown (at home). It’s been one of those years.
Then we have a team like Wyoming – which could ultimately be bogged down by weak non-conference schedule. The Cowboys look like an NCAA team but will need a strong Mountain West effort to overcome a non-conference SOS ranked No. 343 (out of 351 teams).
The Seed List for today’s bracket remains quite fluid. If you don’t like the final at-large projections, check back soon. It’s likely to change. Keep in mind, a team’s entire resume matters, and since we’re still early in league play, close losses to quality teams – especially on the road – isn’t a huge issue, even if it means a losing conference record.
On a final note … league record isn’t the only factor used to determine a projected automatic bid. The further we advance through conference play, the more weight will be given to overall league standings. DePaul is a perfect example. The Blue Demons currently lead the Big East, but it seems a bit premature to project that DePaul is more likely than Villanova to win the league title.
Enjoy the latest update. Another huge weekend of college hoops awaits.
UPDATED: January 9, 2015
Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (UCLA, BYU, etc).
Several new bracketing principles were introduced last year. 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)
Georgia vs. Colorado State | West Region
Alabama vs. Georgia Tech | South Region
ST. FRANCIS (NY) vs. AMERICAN | East Region
NORTH DAKOTA ST vs. TX-SOUTHERN | Midwest Region
BRACKET PROJECTION …
MIDWEST – Cleveland
EAST – Syracuse
16) N. DAKOTA ST / TX-STHERN
16) AMERICAN / ST. FRAN (NY)
8) St. John’s
9) Michigan State
5) WICHITA STATE
5) OLD DOMINION
12) GREEN BAY
12) Alabama / Georgia Tech
4) Iowa State
13) S.F. AUSTIN
6) Seton Hall
6) Northern Iowa
14) MURRAY STATE
7) Ohio State
WEST – Los Angeles
SOUTH – Houston
16) NEW MEXICO ST
16) COASTAL CAROLINA
8) SAN DIEGO STATE
5) North Carolina
12) Colorado State / Georgia
12) EASTERN WASHINGTON
4) Notre Dame
3) West Virginia
10) George Washington
15) STONY BROOK
NOTES on the BRACKET: Kentucky is the overall No. 1 seed followed by Duke, Wisconsin, Arizona. Next four (2-seeds in order): Virginia, Gonzaga, Villanova, Kansas.
Last Five teams in (at large): Wyoming, Colorado State, Georgia, Alabama, Georgia Tech
First Five teams out (at large): Oklahoma State, Connecticut, Tennessee, Illinois, Minnesota
Next five teams out (at large): South Carolina, BYU, Oregon, Michigan, Miami-FL
Mountain West (3): San Diego State, Wyoming, Colorado State
Missouri Valley (2): Wichita State, Northern Iowa
West Coast (1): Gonzaga
ONE BID LEAGUES: Old Dominion (C-USA), Louisiana-Lafayette (SBELT), Harvard (IVY), Eastern Washington (BSKY), Green Bay (HZN), S.F. Austin (SLND), Wofford (STHN), Hawaii (BWEST), Buffalo (MAC), Iona (MAAC), South Carolina Upstate (ASUN), Murray State (OVC), Northeastern (CAA), Coastal Carolina (BSO), NC-Central (MEAC), North Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Stony Brook (AEAST), American (PAT), St. Francis-Brooklyn (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)