CBT BRACKETOLOGY: Kansas leads race for No. 1 seeds

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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As we settle in for the final push toward Selection Sunday, the race for No. 1 seeds is as open as it’s been in several years.  With its victory at Oklahoma on Saturday, Kansas resides in today’s Pole Position.  The aforementioned Sooners are close behind, followed by Villanova and North Carolina.

Within that group of four, Villanova has the easiest path to retain a No. 1 seed.  If you look at the Wildcats’ remaining schedule, they should be favored in every game – with the exception of their trip to Xavier.  As such, Nova could be 27-4 (assuming just one more loss – which is a dangerous thing this season) heading into the Big East Tournament.  Given the likelihood that a few of the other No. 1 contenders will also lose another game or two, it leaves Villanova in prime position to be a top seed next month.  It may or may not be in the East Region.

Who are the other No. 1 seed contenders?  Today’s two-line includes Virginia, Xavier, Iowa, and West Virginia.  We would also have to include Maryland, Michigan State, and Miami-FL.  Could someone else sneak in?  It’s possible, but not as likely – given the teams ahead of them.  Even so, the fact that we have 11 teams in play at this point in February is quite remarkable.

The bubble remains an on-going merry-go-round that’s unlikely to change. Championship Week is shaping up to be an important separator for the final at-large positions.

UPDATED: February 15, 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)

  • Cincinnati vs. Florida State | Midwest Region
  • VCU vs. Alabama South Region
  • BUCKNELL vs. WAGNER | Midwest Region
  • HAMPTON vs. TEXAS-SOUTHERN | South Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

MIDWEST – Chicago  SOUTH – Louisville                   
Des Moines Oklahoma City
1) KANSAS 1) Oklahoma
16) MONTANA 16) BUCKNELL / WAGNER
8) California 8) Colorado
9) Michigan 9) Saint Joseph’s
Spokane Denver
5) Utah 5) Purdue
12) ARK-LITTLE ROCK 12) WICHITA STATE
4) DAYTON 4) KENTUCKY
13) VALPARAISO 13) AKRON
Providence Spokane
6) South Carolina 6) Indiana
11) TEMPLE 11) VCU / Alabama
3) Miami-FL 3) OREGON
14) YALE 14) SOUTH DAKOTA ST
Des Moines St. Louis
7) USC 7) Syracuse
10) Florida St / Cincinnati 10) Florida
2) IOWA 2) Xavier
15) S.F. AUSTIN 15) NEW MEXICO ST
WEST- Anaheim         EAST- Philadelphia
Raleigh Brooklyn
1) NORTH CAROLINA 1) VILLANOVA
16) Tx-Southern / Hampton 16) NORTH FLORIDA
8) Pittsburgh 8) Connecticut
9) Wisconsin 9) LSU
Denver Oklahoma City
5) Texas 5) Notre Dame
12) SAN DIEGO STATE 12) CHATTANOOGA
4) Arizona 4) Iowa State
13) HAWAII 13) STONY BROOK
Providence St. Louis
6) Duke 6) Texas AM
11) GONZAGA 11) MONMOUTH
3) Maryland 3) Michigan State
14) NC-WILMINGTON 14) UAB
Brooklyn Raleigh
7) Providence 7) Baylor
10) Oregon State 10) Seton Hall
2) West Virginia 2) Virginia
15) NC-ASHEVILLE 15) BELMONT

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

Last Four Byes (at large): Wisconsin, Florida, Seton Hall, Oregon State

Last Four IN (at large): Florida State, VCU, Cincinnati, Alabama

First Four OUT (at large): Saint Mary’s, Vanderbilt, Texas Tech, Washington

Next four teams OUT (at large): Clemson, George Washington, Butler, St. Bonaventure

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (8): NORTH CAROLINA, Virginia, Miami-FL, Notre Dame, Duke, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Florida State

Pac 12 (7): OREGON, Arizona, Utah, USC, Colorado, California, Oregon State

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

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

SEC (6): KENTUCKY, Texas AM, South Carolina, LSU, Florida, Alabama

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

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

American (3): TEMPLE, Connecticut, Cincinnati

West Coast (1): 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), Hawaii (BWEST), Akron (MAC), North Florida (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), UNC-Asheville (BSO), Hampton (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Stony Brook (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Wagner (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)