Bracket Update: Sooners keep hold of No. 1 overall seed

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The Oklahoma Sooners are nothing if not exciting.  After a triple-overtime gem with Kansas in early January, OU provided us a thrilling come-from-behind victory Saturday evening at LSU.  In terms of today’s bracket update, the latter result keeps the Sooners atop the Field of 68 as the No. 1 overall seed.  Joining Oklahoma on the top line: North Carolina, Kansas, and Iowa.

At the other end of the bracket, LSU is the first team out.  There’s no shame in losing to Oklahoma, even at home.  The challenge for LSU is overcoming a 7-6 non-conference effort that featured zero wins against Top 100 RPI opponents.  That’s why Saturday’s loss stings even more.  It would have been non-conference victory over one of the nation’s best teams.  The good news: February provides the Tigers and several other bubble teams the chance to make a final impression on the Selection Committee.

In general, we open February with a foggy bubble.  Winning away from home is a theme for several teams trying to climb the seed list or stay on the right side of the bubble.  We also have traditional NCAA regulars with work to do.  As surprising as it sounds, teams like Gonzaga and Duke are not locks for March Madness.  In Duke’s case, the Blue Devils are an average 7-5 without Amile Jefferson.  If he is unable to return before Selection Sunday, the Committee will have to evaluate the team’s resume without him.  And Duke’s upcoming stretch includes a four-game gauntlet that looks like this: Virginia, Louisville, at North Carolina, at Louisville.  It’s both an opportunity and potential pitfall.  We’ll see how it plays out.

Enjoy your week of college hoops.  After the Super Bowl, all eyes turn toward March.

UPDATED: February 1, 2016

Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid. In the event of a tie in the loss column, RPI is first tiebreaker. Notes: To simulate actual bracket conditions, we’ve used current conference leaders to receive the automatic bid. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (ex: UCLA)

Several new bracketing principles were introduced a couple of years ago. 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)

  • UCLA vs. Florida State | Midwest Region
  • Saint Joseph’s vs. Seton Hall | South Region
  • HAMPTON vs. WAGNER | East Region
  • BUCKNELL vs. TEXAS-SOUTHERN | South Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

SOUTH – Louisville  EAST Philadelphia                 
Oklahoma City Raleigh
1) OKLAHOMA 1) NORTH CAROLINA
16) TX-SOUTH / BUCKNELL 16) HAMPTON / WAGNER
8) WICHITA STATE 8) VCU
9) Washington 9) South Carolina
Providence Brooklyn
5) Kentucky 5) Baylor
12) VALPARAISO 12) MONMOUTH
4) Miami-FL 4) Providence
13) AKRON 13) HOFSTRA
St. Louis Denver
6) USC 6) Louisville
11) Seton Hall / St.  Joseph’s 11) Gonzaga
3) Michigan State 3) Iowa State
14) BELMONT 14) NORTH FLORIDA
Oklahoma City St. Louis
7) Notre Dame 7) Indiana
10) California 10) Florida
2) TEXAS AM 2) Xavier
15) SOUTH DAKOTA ST 15) S.F. AUSTIN
WEST – Anaheim         MIDWEST – Chicago
Des Moines Des Moines
1) IOWA 1) Kansas
16) NEW MEXICO ST 16) MONTANA
8) Duke 8) Colorado
9) SAINT MARY’S 9) SAN DIEGO ST
Spokane Denver
5) Utah 5) Texas
12) CHATTANOOGA 12) UCLA / Florida State
4) West Virginia 4) Purdue
13) UC-IRVINE 13) ARK-LITTLE ROCK
Spokane Providence
6) Michigan 6) Dayton
11) Clemson 11) Syracuse
3) OREGON 3) Maryland
14) UAB 14) STONY BROOK
Brooklyn Raleigh
7) Pittsburgh 7) Arizona
10) Connecticut 10) CINCINNATI
2) VILLANOVA 2) Virginia
15) YALE 15) NC-ASHEVILLE

NOTES on the BRACKET: Oklahoma is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by North Carolina, Kansas, and Iowa.  Next in line: Villanova, Xavier, Virginia, Texas AM

Last Four Byes (at large): California, Clemson, Gonzaga, Syracuse

Last Four IN (at large): Saint Joseph’s, UCLA, Florida State, Seton Hall

First Four OUT (at large): LSU, George Washington, Butler, Georgetown

Next four teams OUT (at large): Vanderbilt, Kansas State, Oregon State, Wisconsin

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (9): NORTH CAROLINA, Virginia, Miami-FL, Louisville, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Duke, Syracuse, Florida State, Clemson

Pac 12 (8): OREGON, Utah, Arizona, USC, Colorado, Washington, California, UCLA

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

Big 10 (6): IOWA, Michigan State, Maryland, Purdue, Michigan, Indiana

Big East (4): VILLANOVA, Xavier, Providence, Seton Hall

SEC (4): TEXAS AM, Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida

Atlantic 10 (3): VCU, Dayton, Saint Joseph’s

American (2): CINCINNATI, Connecticut

West Coast (2): SAINT MARY’S, Gonzaga

Mountain West (1): SAN DIEGO STATE

MAAC (1): MONMOUTH

Missouri Valley (1): WICHITA STATE

ONE BID LEAGUES: UAB (C-USA), Ark-Little Rock (SBELT), Yale (IVY), Montana (BSKY), Valparaiso (HORIZON), Stephen F. Austin (SLND), Chattanooga (STHN), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Akron (MAC), North Florida (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), Hofstra (CAA), UNC-Asheville (BSO), Hampton (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Stony Brook (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Wagner (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)