NCAA Tournament Bracketology: Gonzaga fighting for a No. 1 seed

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source: AP
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The bubble continues to ebb and flow with a collection of pedestrian resumes maneuvering toward Championship Week.  So instead of discussing a revolving door, let’s address perhaps the most-debated question regarding current bracket projections: Should Gonzaga be a No. 1 seed?

Let’s start here: the Selection Committee would prefer to have a “West-based” team atop the West Region.  Gonzaga – and Arizona, obviously – both fit that description and both teams have resumes that would put them in the discussion.  Which brings us to the finer points of the ‘Zags resume.  The numbers are pretty strong … Gonzaga is 8-1 against both RPI/BPI top 100 teams.  Here’s how the Bulldogs rank on various power ratings: RPI (8), BPI (4) and KenPom (5).   Gonzaga has non-conference wins over these current NCAA-projected teams: SMU, St. John’s, and Georgia.  The ‘Zags only loss was by three points at Arizona.

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Those on the other side of the equation will argue that Gonzaga has played only two Top 100 teams (BYU and Saint Mary’s) since beginning West Coast Conference play, and that the league hasn’t challenged them enough to be a No. 1 seed.  They will argue that Gonzaga’s non-conference schedule wasn’t as strong as past years.  Both of those arguments are – at least to a certain point on the latter – true.  Of course, schedules are often made in advance, and Memphis and UCLA (as examples) haven’t been as good as expected.

Whichever side of the argument you fall on, it’s a healthy debate that will continue in Indianapolis prior to Selection Sunday.  But if Gonzaga wins out, and finishes with just one loss, odds would place the Bulldogs as favorites to be a No. 1 seed in the West.  We’ll see how it plays out.  If Gonzaga loses, the door will certainly be open for the four teams currently residing on the two-line: Villanova, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Arizona.

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

UPDATED: February 23, 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. Stanford | Midwest Region
  • Texas vs. Texas AM | South Region
  • TX-SOUTHERN vs. ALBANY | Midwest Region
  • ST. FRANCIS (NY) vs. BUCKNELL | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

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

First Five teams out (at large): Tulsa, Miami-FL, Boise State, Old Dominion, Pittsburgh

Next five teams out (at large): UCLA, Davidson, Rhode Island, BYU, Massachusetts

Breakdown by Conference …

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

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

ACC (6): Virginia, Duke, Notre Dame, Louisville, North Carolina, NC State

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

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

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

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): UTEP

West Coast (1): Gonzaga

ONE BID LEAGUES: Georgia State (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)