February 20 Bracket: Big Ten benefitting from weak bubble

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This year’s Big Ten is not last year’s Big Ten.  Wisconsin is just as good, but quality throughout the league isn’t the same – even with solid contributions by newcomer Maryland.  All of which would suggest that fewer Big Ten teams would be participating in this year’s NCAA tournament.  Not necessarily so.

Given the current status of bubble teams – those hanging around the proverbial 68-team cutline – as many as eight Big Ten teams have realistic hopes of hearing their name called on Selection Sunday.  Case in point: there are eight teams in today’s updated bracket projection – further buoyed by Purdue’s victory last night at Indiana.  The Boilermakers had some issues in December, but they’ve been a different basketball team the past three weeks.  We’ll see if they can finish the task at hand.  We’ll also find out soon if Illinois and Iowa can stay the course.  Will all eight teams make it?  Probably not.  But the door is open.

The only other notable change from Monday is Duke passing Gonzaga for the No. 3 spot on the Seed List.  It only changes the Regions in this sense:  As the No. 4 overall seed, Gonzaga is now opposite Kentucky (West vs. East) in Final Four pairings; Duke and Virginia (South vs. East) would be on the other side.  Will the ‘Zags end up a No. 1 seed?  If they win out – and finish with just one loss – I believe the Selection Committee will reward the Bulldogs with the top seed out west.  If not, a spot could open up for those next in line: Villanova, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Arizona.

Enjoy a weekend of hoops.  Selection Sunday is closing in.  To view the complete Seed List for today’s bracket, visit Bracketville.

UPDATED: February 20, 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)

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

BRACKET PROJECTION …

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

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

Last Five teams in (at large): Georgia, NC State, St. John’s, Miami-FL, Oregon

First Five teams out (at large): UCLA, Stanford, Tulsa, Davidson, Boise State

Next five teams out (at large): Rhode Island, BYU, Massachusetts, Old Dominion, Saint Mary’s

Breakdown by Conference …

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

ACC (7): Virginia, Duke, Notre Dame, Louisville, North Carolina, NC State, Miami-FL

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

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

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

Pac 12 (3): Arizona, Utah, Oregon

American (3): SMU, Temple, 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: UL-Monroe (SBELT), Harvard (IVY), Eastern Washington (BSKY), Valparaiso (HZN), S.F. Austin (SLND), Wofford (STHN), UC-Davis (BWEST), Toledo (MAC), Iona (MAAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Murray State (OVC), Northeastern (CAA), High Point (BSO), NC-Central (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Albany (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), St. Francis – NY (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)