Bracketology: Kentucky reigns and March arrives

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As the calendar turns to March, Kentucky has entrenched itself as the No. 1 overall seed. Unless the Wildcats lose multiple times between now and Selection Sunday – which is highly unlikely – they will stand atop the bracket when the official Field of 68 is unveiled on March 15. UK’s proverbial “march” will begin in Louisville and head through Cleveland in the Midwest Region.

As for the remaining No. 1 seeds, Virginia has a firm grasp on the East. After that, there’s still a bit of a race. If Gonzaga loses, Villanova is next in line to ascend to the top line. We also can’t exclude Wisconsin, Arizona, or even Kansas – although the Jayhawks will need help from the others in front of them. While winning both Big 12 regular season and tournament titles (if it happens) would be mighty impressive, the Jayhawks’ loss total might be too great to push KU ahead of the other three if those teams continue to win.

The bubble/cutline remains a hodge-podge of rotating resumes. The week ahead – leading into conference tournaments – figures to be huge. And it might be Friday or Saturday of Championship Week before the final Field comes into focus.

The complete Seed List used for today’s bracket can be found at Bracketville.

UPDATED: February 27, 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)

  • Boise State vs. Davidson Midwest Region
  • Tulsa vs. Texas AM South Region
  • TEXAS SOUTHERN vs. ST. FRANCIS-BROOKLYN Midwest Region
  • UL-MONROE vs. BUCKNELL East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

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

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

Last Five teams in (at large): Temple, Texas AM, Tulsa, Davidson, Boise State

First Five teams out (at large): Illinois, Stanford, Miami-FL, Texas, Pittsburgh

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

Breakdown by Conference …

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

Big 12 (6): Kansas, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Baylor, West Virginia, Oklahoma State

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

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

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

American (4): SMU, Temple, Cincinnati, Tulsa

Pac 12 (3): Arizona, Utah, Oregon

Mountain West (3): San Diego State, Colorado State, Boise 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), Central Michigan (MAC), Iona (MAAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Murray State (OVC), Northeastern (CAA), High Point (BSO), North Carolina Central (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Albany (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), St. Francis – Brooklyn (NEC), Texas Southern (SWAC)