Bracket: Kentucky leads eight-team race for top seed line

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Headlined by unbeaten Kentucky, eight teams enter the stretch run toward Selection Sunday as No. 1 seed contenders.  Based on the Seed List for today’s bracket, those contenders in order are: Kentucky, Virginia, Gonzaga, Kansas, Duke, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Villanova.

Notre Dame and Louisville could potentially enter the mix, although the Irish, in particular, have a major hurdle to overcome: a non-conference schedule ranked among the worst in college basketball (No. 326).  That type of non-league schedule likely won’t be rewarded by the Selection Committee unless the Irish win the Atlantic Coast Conference (season and tourney).

With the Super Bowl behind us, March Madness begins to grab headlines.  So if you’re just settling back into college hoops, here’s one other thing you need to know about the bracket and overall landscape of the projected NCAA tournament field, as of today.  There’s a lot of mediocre teams and resumes.  The proverbial bubble?  It basically includes teams seeded 8th or lower, and some of the 7-seeds have question marks.  Which means that much of the bracket will ebb and flow over the next month.  Much like the weather, if you’re not satisfied, wait a couple of days – it’s likely to change.

You can find the complete Seed List at Bracketville.

UPDATED: February 6, 2015

Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid.  In the event of a tie in the loss column, RPI is the first tiebreaker used. 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)

  • Xavier vs. Wyoming Midwest Region
  • Colorado State vs. St. John’s West Region
  • ALBANY vs. ST. FRANCIS (NY) East Region
  • BUCKNELL vs. NEW MEXICO ST Midwest Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

MIDWEST – Cleveland                     EAST Syracuse                                  
Louisville Charlotte
1) KENTUCKY 1) VIRGINIA
16) BUCKNELL / N. MEXICO ST 16) ALBANY / ST. FRANCIS (NY)
8) Oklahoma State 8) Georgia
9) Michigan State 9) Purdue
Seattle Portland
5) Butler 5) West Virginia
12) WESTERN KENTUCKY 12) WOFFORD
4) Baylor 4) Utah
13) EASTERN WASHINGTON 13) IONA
Columbus Louisville
6) Northern Iowa 6) Indiana
11) Xavier / Wyoming 11) Miami-FL
3) Notre Dame 3) Iowa State
14) BUFFALO 14) YALE
Omaha Pittsburgh
7) SAN DIEGO ST 7) Cincinnati
10) Stanford 10) LSU
2) WISCONSIN 2) VILLANOVA
15) GA. SOUTHERN 15) WILLIAM & MARY
SOUTH – Houston WEST – Los Angeles                        
Omaha Seattle
1) KANSAS 1) GONZAGA
16) TEXAS-SOUTHERN 16) NO DAKOTA ST
8) Iowa 8) Dayton
9) Seton Hall 9) SMU
Jacksonville Jacksonville
5) VCU 5) WICHITA STATE
12) S.F. AUSTIN 12) St. John’s / Colorado State
4) North Carolina 4) Oklahoma
13) GREEN BAY 13) MURRAY STATE
Pittsburgh Columbus
6) Providence 6) Arkansas
11) Texas 11) Old Dominion
3) Maryland 3) Louisville
14) LONG BEACH ST 14) NC CENTRAL
Charlotte Portland
7) Georgetown 7) Ohio State
10) Ole Miss 10) TULSA
2) Duke 2) ARIZONA
15) HIGH POINT 15) FLA GULF COAST

NOTES on the BRACKET: Kentucky is the overall No. 1 seed followed by Virginia, Gonzaga, and Kansas. Next in line: Duke, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Villanova

Last Five teams in (at large): Old Dominion, Xavier, Wyoming, Colorado State, St. John’s

First Five teams out (at large): Texas AM, Illinois, NC State, Temple, Oregon

Next five teams out (at large): UCLA, George Washington, Boise State, Rhode Island, Saint Mary’s

Breakdown by Conference …

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

Big East (7): Villanova, Butler, Providence, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Xavier, St. John’s

Big 10 (7): Wisconsin, Maryland, Indiana, Ohio State, Iowa, Michigan State, Purdue

ACC (6): Virginia, Duke, Notre Dame, Louisville, North Carolina, Miami-FL

SEC (4): Kentucky, Arkansas, Georgia, LSU

Pac 12 (3): Arizona, Utah, Stanford

American (3): Tulsa, Cincinnati, SMU

Mountain West (3): San Diego State, Wyoming, Colorado State

Atlantic 10 (2): VCU, Dayton

Missouri Valley (2): Wichita State, Northern Iowa

Conference USA (2): Western Kentucky, Old Dominion

West Coast (1): Gonzaga

ONE BID LEAGUES: Georgia Southern (SBELT), Yale (IVY), Eastern Washington (BSKY), Green Bay (HZN), S.F. Austin (SLND), Wofford (STHN), Long Beach State (BWEST), Buffalo (MAC), Iona (MAAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Murray State (OVC), William & Mary (CAA), High Point (BSO), NC-Central (MEAC), North Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Albany (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), St. Francis – NY (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)