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.
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 …
MIDWEST – Cleveland
EAST – Syracuse
16) ALBANY / TX-STHERN
16) ST. FRANCIS / BUCKNELL
8) Ohio State
5) Northern Iowa
5) West Virginia
12) Texas AM / Stanford
13) S.F. AUSTIN
3) Iowa State
14) GEORGIA STATE
14) EASTERN WASHINGTON
7) SAN DIEGO STATE
10) St. John’s
15) HIGH POINT
WEST – Los Angeles
SOUTH – Houston
16) NEW MEXICO ST
8) Oklahoma State
5) WICHITA STATE
12) MURRAY STATE
4) North Carolina
11) NC State / Texas
3) Notre Dame
7) Michigan State
10) Colorado State
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
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)