Bracket Update: Tournament bubble a revolving door

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Welcome to the Revolving Door – otherwise known as this year’s NCAA tournament bubble.  Teams come and go, enter and leave.  It reminds one of Black Friday shoppers, moving in and out of stores at a brisk pace.  They’re in search of a victory with the right shape and size.  Finding those gifts can be elusive, and in the bustle of the moment, they stumble.  Between Monday and today, a variety of teams passed through the bracket.  A few others had the opportunity and missed the gate.  If it gives you a better idea, most teams seeded on the 8-line or lower are a part of the bubble; to varying degrees.  Buckle up, another weekend awaits.

What we do have is stability at the top of the bracket.  Kentucky may have used up another of its lives this week, but the Cats survived at Florida.  In search of a perfect season, it’s a good thing UK has nine.  Virginia, Gonzaga, and Duke remain entrenched as top seeds – with Kansas, Wisconsin, Villanova, and Arizona next in line.

There will be 68 teams announced on Selection Sunday.  That much we know.  Which 68?  We have a pretty good idea about 15 to 20 at this point.  After that?  There’s a lot of uncertainty.  It’s shaping up to be a wild Championship Week – one in which the Selection Committee may use (or need) results to separate teams with similar profiles.

You can find the complete Seed List for today’s bracket at Bracketville.

UPDATED: February 13, 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)

  • Temple vs. St. John’s Midwest Region
  • Miami-FL vs. Oregon East Region
  • TX-SOUTHERN vs. BUCKNELL Midwest Region
  • ST. FRANCIS-BROOKLYN vs. ALBANY East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

MIDWEST – Cleveland                     EAST Syracuse                                  
Louisville Charlotte
1) KENTUCKY 1) VIRGINIA
16) BUCKNELL / TX-STHERN 16) SFBK / BUCKNELL
8) Cincinnati 8) Georgia
9) Dayton 9) Texas
Seattle Pittsburgh
5) Northern Iowa 5) Butler
12) GREEN BAY 12) Miami-FL / Oregon
4) Baylor 4) Maryland
13) LOUISIANA TECH 13) IONA
Columbus Louisville
6) West Virginia 6) Ohio State
11) Temple / St. John’s 11) Stanford
3) Notre Dame 3) Oklahoma
14) BOWLING GREEN 14) HARVARD
Omaha Pittsburgh
7) Georgetown 7) VCU
10) LSU 10) Michigan State
2) WISCONSIN 2) VILLANOVA
15) GA. SOUTHERN 15) WILLIAM & MARY
SOUTH – Houston WEST – Los Angeles                        
Charlotte Seattle
1) Duke 1) GONZAGA
16) NEW MEXICO ST 16) NORTH DAKOTA ST
8) Ole Miss 8) SMU
9) Illinois 9) SAN DIEGO ST
Portland Jacksonville
5) Oklahoma State 5) WICHITA STATE
12) S.F. Austin 12) WOFFORD
4) Utah 4) Iowa State
13) E. WASHINGTON 13) MURRAY STATE
Jacksonville Columbus
6) Arkansas 6) Indiana
11) Purdue 11) Texas AM
3) North Carolina 3) Louisville
14) HIGH POINT 14) NC CENTRAL
Omaha Portland
7) Iowa 7) Providence
10) Xavier 10) Colorado State
2) KANSAS 2) ARIZONA
15) FGCU 15) UC DAVIS

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

Last Five teams in (at large): Purdue, Temple, St. John’s, Miami-FL, Oregon

First Five teams out (at large): Seton Hall, Boise State, UCLA, Tulsa, Old Dominion

Next five teams out (at large): NC State, Rhode Island, Davidson, Massachusetts, George Washington

Breakdown by Conference …

Big 10 (8): Wisconsin, Maryland, Indiana, Ohio State, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan State, Purdue

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

Big East (6): Villanova, Butler, Providence, Georgetown, Xavier, St. John’s

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

SEC (6): Kentucky, Arkansas, Georgia, Ole Miss, LSU, Texas AM

Pac 12 (4): Arizona, Utah, Stanford, Oregon

American (2): SMU, Cincinnati

Mountain West (2): San Diego State, Colorado State

Atlantic 10 (2): VCU, Dayton

Missouri Valley (2): Wichita State, Northern Iowa

Conference USA (1): Louisiana Tech

West Coast (1): Gonzaga

ONE BID LEAGUES: Georgia Southern (SBELT), Harvard (IVY), Eastern Washington (BSKY), Green Bay (HZN), S.F. Austin (SLND), Wofford (STHN), UC-Davis (BWEST), Bowling Green (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)

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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INDIANAPOLIS — With the coronavirus pandemic already forcing changes for college basketball, a bubble may be brewing in Indianapolis.

Indiana Sports Corp. released a 16-page proposal Friday that calls for turning the city convention center’s exhibition halls and meeting rooms into basketball courts and locker rooms. There would be expansive safety measures and daily COVID-19 testing.

The all-inclusive price starts at $90,000 per team and would cover 20 hotel rooms per traveling party, testing, daily food vouchers ranging from $30-$50 and the cost of game officials. Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn said the price depends on what offerings teams or leagues choose.

“The interest has been high,” Vaughn said. “I think as conferences figure out what conference and non-conference schedules are going to look like, we’re we’re a very good option for folks. I would tell you we’ve had conversations with the power six conferences, mid-majors, it’s really kind of all over the Division I spectrum.”

Small wonder: The NCAA this week announced teams could start ramping up workouts Monday, with preseason practices set to begin Oct. 14. Season openers, however, were pushed back to Nov. 25 amid wide-ranging uncertainty about campus safety and team travel in the pandemic.

There is already scrambling going on and some of the marquee early-season tournaments have already been impacted.

The Maui Invitational will be moved from Hawaii to Asheville, North Carolina, with dates still to be determined and organizers clear that everyone involved “will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.” The Batttle 4 Atlantis has been canceled. The Cancun Challenge will be held in Melbourne, Florida, not Mexico.

More changes almost certainly will be coming, including what to do with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

“I think we’re past the guesswork on whether we play 20 conference games or more than that,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said Friday. “We’re trying to get everybody set like in terms of MTEs (multi-team events), figuring out when to play the ACC-Big Ten challenge.”

Painter, who was part of the NCAA committee that recommended how to start the season, noted part of the uncertainty stems from differing protocols imposed by campus, city and state officials.

In Indianapolis, Vaughn believes the convention center, nearby hotels, restaurants and downtown businesses, many within walking distance of the venue, could safely accommodate up to 24 teams. The 745,000-square foot facility would feature six basketball courts and two competition courts.

Anyone entering the convention center would undergo saliva-based rapid response testing, which would be sent to a third-party lab for results. Others venues could be added, too, potentially with more fans, if the case numbers decline.

If there is a taker, the event also could serve as a dry run for the 2021 Final Four, also slated for Indy.

“It’s not going to hurt,” Vaughn said. “I can tell you all the planning we’re doing right now is the same for a Final Four that’s been scheduled here for any other year. But it would be nice to have this experience under our belt to see if it can be done.”

Maui Invitational moving to North Carolina during pandemic

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Maui Invitational is moving to the mainland during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the premier preseason tournaments on the college basketball schedule, the Maui Invitational will be played at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Dates for the tournament announced Friday have yet to be finalized. The NCAA announced Wednesday that the college basketball season will begin Nov. 25.

This year’s Maui Invitational field includes Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV.

All teams, staff, officials, and personnel will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.

Burton eligible at Texas Tech after 2 seasons at Wichita State

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
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LUBBOCK, Texas — Junior guard Jamarius Burton has been granted a waiver from the NCAA that makes him eligible to play this season for Texas Tech after starting 52 games the past two seasons for Wichita State.

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard announced the waiver Thursday, which came five months after Burton signed with the Big 12 team.

Burton has two seasons of eligibility remaining, as well as a redshirt season he could utilize. He averaged 10.3 points and 3.4 assists per game as a sophomore at Wichita State, where he played 67 games overall.

Burton is from Charlotte. He helped lead Independence High School to a 31-1 record and the North Carolina Class 4A state championship as a senior there.

NCAA season set to open day before Thanksgiving

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The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball season will begin on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

The Division I Council voted Wednesday to push the start date back from the originally scheduled Nov. 10 as one of several precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

The later start date coincides with the decision most schools made to send students home from Thanksgiving until January out of concern about a potential late-fall and early-winter flareup of COVID-19. Closed campuses could serve as a quasi bubble for players and provide a window for non-conference games.

The maximum number of regular-season games has been reduced from 31 to 27. The minimum number of games for consideration for the NCAA Tournament was cut from 25 to 13.

Teams can start preseason practices Oct. 14 but will be allowed to work out 12 hours per week beginning Monday.

No scrimmages against other teams or exhibitions are allowed.

In other action, the council voted to extend the recruiting dead period for all sports through Dec. 31. In-person recruiting is not allowed during a dead period, though phone calls and other correspondence are allowed.

The men’s and women’s basketball oversight committees had jointly recommended a start date of Nov. 21, which would have allowed for games to be played on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The council opted not to do that to avoid a conflict with regular-season football games.

The council is scheduled to meet again Oct. 13-14 and could delay the start date and change other pieces of the basketball framework if circumstances surrounding the virus warrant.

UConn’s Tyrese Martin granted waiver to play this season

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
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STORRS, Conn. — UConn swingman Tyrese Martin, who transferred from Rhode Island in April, has been granted a waiver that will allow him to play for the Huskies this season.

The 6-foot-6 junior averaged 12.8 points and 7.1 rebounds and started every game last season for URI, where he was recruited by current UConn coach Dan Hurley.

NCAA rules require undergraduate transfers to sit out a season, but the organization has been more lenient in granting waivers during the pandemic.

Martin, 21, is expected to compete for playing time at UConn on the wing as both a guard and small forward.