Bracketology: Bubble teams can thank Northern Iowa

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Seth Tuttle (AP Photo)

When the First Four is revealed on Sunday, one of those teams might want to send a thank-you card to Northern Iowa.  Trailing Illinois State at halftime in the Missouri Valley Conference finale, UNI rallied to beat the Redbirds and grab the Valley’s automatic bid. That saved at least one at-large position in the Field of 68.

Today, that team would be Texas; the Longhorns are paired with BYU in a First Four contest; with Indiana and Temple also slotted for a trip to Dayton.

The No. 1 seed line remains in tact: Kentucky, Virginia, Duke, and Villanova.  Wisconsin and Arizona are next in line; the Badgers looked quite impressive Sunday in Columbus.  It appears we have five teams for three spots.  That noted, it’s hard to see both Duke and Virginia losing spots on the top line.  We’ll see how the ACC tournament goes.

The middle of the bracket remains fluid in terms of final seed position; we could see teams move 1-3 lines over the next several days. And Championship Week will, as it turns out, be a decisive week for several bubble teams.

Housekeeping notes:  Now that we’ve reached Championship Week, teams in CAPS represent the  AUTOMATIC bid earned in conference tournaments.  Exceptions are still made for certain teams that use an abbreviation (UCLA, BYU, etc).  During conference tournament play, the highest remaining seed will earn the teams auto bid for the bracket until the tournament is completed.

Today’s bracket has a potential regular-season rematch between Indiana and Butler (if IU were to beat Temple in its First Four game).  With all of the other bracketing principles in play, other six-seeds paired with IU/Temple would create the same scenario (Georgetown/SMU).  BYU requires Thursday-Saturday sites for both pods and regions; so there are limited options (West/Midwest), and Committee would avoid sending a First Four team far away (Seattle/Portland) if at all possible, to reduce travel.

UPDATED: March 9, 2015

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • Texas vs. BYU Midwest Region
  • Indiana vs. Temple Midwest Region
  • Lafayette vs. St. Francis (NY) East Region
  • NORTH FLORIDA vs. Montana Midwest Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

MIDWEST – Cleveland                    EAST Syracuse                                  
Louisville Charlotte
1) Kentucky 1) Virginia
16) NO FLORIDA / Montana 16) Lafayette / St. Francis
8) Dayton 8) Xavier
9) NC State 9) Oregon
Jacksonville Portland
5) Utah 5) Arkansas
12) Texas / BYU 12) Wofford
4) Louisville 4) NORTHERN IOWA
13) Central Michigan 13) Iona
Columbus Pittsburgh
6) Butler 6) Georgetown
11) Indiana / Temple 11) Davidson
3) Iowa State 3) Maryland
14) Georgia State 14) NC-Central
Columbus Omaha
7) San Diego State 7) Providence
10) Mississippi 10) Purdue
2) Wisconsin 2) Kansas
15) William & Mary 15) Albany
WEST – Los Angeles SOUTH – Houston                        
Pittsburgh Charlotte
1) Villanova 1) Duke
16) Texas-Southern 16) COASTAL CAROLINA
8) Ohio State 8) VCU
9) Cincinnati 9) Georgia
Jacksonville Seattle
5) North Carolina 5) Wichita State
12) Valparaiso 12) Stephen F. Austin
4) Baylor 4) West Virginia
13) Louisiana Tech 13) Harvard
Louisville Omaha
6) Iowa 6) SMU
11) Colorado State 11) Boise State
3) Notre Dame 3) Oklahoma
14) UC-Davis 14) New Mexico State
Portland Seattle
7) St. John’s 7) Michigan State
10) Oklahoma State 10) LSU
2) Arizona 2) Gonzaga
15) South Dakota State 15) BELMONT

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): Colorado State, Indiana, BYU, Temple, Texas

First Five teams out (at large): Texas AM, Miami-FL, Illinois, Tulsa, Old Dominion

Next five teams out (at large): UCLA, Richmond, Green Bay, Murray State, Rhode Island

Breakdown by Conference …

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

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

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

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

SEC (5): Kentucky, Arkansas, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss

Pac 12 (3): Arizona, Utah, Oregon

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

Atlantic 10 (3): Davidson, VCU, Dayton

American (3): SMU, Cincinnati, Temple

Missouri Valley (2): NORTHERN IOWA, Wichita State

West Coast (2): Gonzaga, BYU

Conference USA (1): Louisiana Tech

ONE BID LEAGUES: Georgia State (SBELT), Harvard (IVY), Montana (BSKY), Valparaiso (HZN), S.F. Austin (SLND), Wofford (STHN), UC-Davis (BWEST), Central Michigan (MAC), Iona (MAAC), NORTH FLORIDA (ASUN), BELMONT (OVC), William & Mary (CAA), COASTAL CAROLINA(BSO), NC-Central (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Albany (AEAST), Lafayette (PAT), St. Francis – NY (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)