Bracketology: No. 1 seed line remains unsettled

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With just over a week until Selection Sunday, the No. 1 seed line remains unsettled.  Kentucky will be the No. 1 overall seed; that much is clear.  We’re also confident that some combination of these teams will comprise the other three spots on the top line: Virginia, Duke, Villanova, Wisconsin, Arizona, or Gonzaga.  That’s six teams for three spots.

Virginia also looks pretty locked-in as a one-seed; it would take a loss Saturday at Louisville, and an earlier-than-expected exit from the ACC tournament, to create the potential for a slip.  Which leaves us, more realistically, with five teams for two spots.  In today’s bracket, Duke and Villanova hold spots three and four on the Seed List, with Wisconsin and Arizona next in line.  Gonzaga will be discussed, but the Bulldogs likely need every team ahead of them to lose in order to move back up.

Order of the final Seed List is also uncertain – after you get past Kentucky.  It matters because it helps determine which team(s) end up in which regions.  Virginia has second choice today, so the Cavaliers slot East.  Duke (South) and Villanova (West) are next.  Arizona would stay West regardless of which No. 1 seed position they might obtain, but if the Tucson version of the Wildcats remains a two-seed, slots three and four will determine which of those teams remains closer to home.

Championship Week begins tomorrow.  Our next bracket update is Monday.  For the complete Seed List regarding today’s bracket, visit Bracketville.

UPDATED: March 6, 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).

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • Boise State vs. BYU West Region
  • Texas AM vs. Illinois West Region
  • BUCKNELL vs. ST. FRANCIS (NY) Midwest Region
  • NORTH FLORIDA vs. GA SOUTHERN East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

MIDWEST – Cleveland                      EAST Syracuse                                  
Louisville Charlotte
1) KENTUCKY 1) VIRGINIA
16) ST. FRANCIS / BUCKNELL 16) NO FLORIDA / GA SOUTH
8) DAYTON 8) VCU
9) Xavier 9) Mississippi
Seattle Jacksonville
5) North Carolina 5) West Virginia
12) S.F. Austin 12) WOFFORD
4) WICHITA STATE 4) Arkansas
13) HARVARD 13) IONA
Columbus Pittsburgh
6) Georgetown 6) Providence
11) LSU 11) Davidson
3) Iowa State 3) Maryland
14) CENTRAL MICHIGAN 14) NC-CENTRAL
Columbus Omaha
7) SAN DIEGO ST 7) Butler
10) NC State 10) Purdue
2) WISCONSIN 2) KANSAS
15) NORTHEASTERN 15) SO DAKOTA ST
WEST – Los Angeles SOUTH – Houston                        
Pittsburgh Charlotte
1) VILLANOVA 1) Duke
16) TEXAS-SOUTHERN 16) ALBANY
8) Georgia 8) Ohio State
9) Oregon 9) Oklahoma State
Jacksonville Portland
5) Louisville 5) Northern Iowa
12) Texas AM / Illinois 12) MURRAY STATE
4) Baylor 4) Utah
13) LOUISIANA TECH 13) VALPARAISO
Louisville Omaha
6) Iowa 6) SMU
11) Boise State / BYU 11) Colorado State
3) Notre Dame 3) Oklahoma
14) HIGH POINT 14) UC-DAVIS
Portland Seattle
7) St. John’s 7) Michigan State
10) Indiana 10) Cincinnati
2) ARIZONA 2) GONZAGA
15) NEW MEXICO ST 15) EASTERN WASHINGTON

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

Last Five teams in (at large): Davidson, Boise State, BYU, Texas AM, Illinois

First Five teams out (at large): Tulsa, Temple, Texas, UCLA, Miami-FL

Next five teams out (at large): Old Dominion, Stanford, Richmond, Pittsburgh, Rhode Island

Breakdown by Conference …

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

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, St. John’s, Xavier

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

Pac 12 (3): Arizona, Utah, Oregon

Mountain West (3): San Diego State, Colorado State, Boise State

Atlantic 10 (3): Dayton, VCU, Davidson

American (2): SMU, Cincinnati

Missouri Valley (2): Wichita State, Northern Iowa

West Coast (2): Gonzaga, BYU

Conference USA (1): Louisiana Tech

ONE BID LEAGUES: Georgia Southern (SBELT), Harvard (IVY), Eastern Washingotn (BSKY), Valparaiso (HZN), S.F. Austin (SLND), Wofford (STHN), UC-Davis (BWEST), Central Michigan (MAC), Iona (MAAC), North Florida (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)

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.