CBT BRACKETOLOGY: Spartans pushing for a No. 1 seed

(AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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It’s not easy being green, but it has its benefits.  Tom Izzo pushes, prods, and produces tournament-ready teams.  And his current collection of cast members in East Lansing is no exception. The Spartans are pushing the top line – hard.  When you factor in injuries to Denzel Valentine and others, it took a while for Izzo’s full unit to develop.  As of today – with March knocking on the door – not only is MSU healthy, they are playing like one of the best teams in the country.

Kansas remains the No. 1 overall seed, with Virginia, Oklahoma, and Villanova closing out the group. The Jayhawks are likely to stay; the other three lines remain open for debate.  Aforementioned MSU is next, with Miami-FL, Xavier, and North Carolina still in the mix. We’ll see if any additional teams emerge.

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At the other end of the bracket, Florida and Michigan are running on fumes.  If the Gators fail to beat Kentucky and Michigan loses to Iowa, both will likely be on the outside looking in as Championship Week begins.  The depth of the bubble is thin outside the bracket, but most of the teams seeded on the seven line or lower today still has work to do.  Of course, the cutline could change if teams like Wichita State, Monmouth, Valparaiso, San Diego State, or even Little Rock lose in their conference tourneys.  Such scenarios would send those teams into the at-large pool.

On a final note, Wisconsin has engineered one of the best turnarounds in recent history.  In December, the Badgers were dropped on the curb, hoping that maybe an NIT bid would be forthcoming.  They have now won 10 of 11 games and are squarely in the Field of 68.  Assuming they don’t lose to Minnesota, Purdue, and a Big Ten tourney opener to another triple-digit RPI team, the Badgers should be safe.

UPDATED: February 29, 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. Michigan | South Region
  • Florida vs. Butler | Midwest Region
  • BUCKNELL vs. WAGNER | West Region
  • HAMPTON vs. TEXAS-SOUTHERN | Midwest Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

MIDWEST – Chicago  EAST – Philadelphia                                
Des Moines Raleigh
1) KANSAS 1) Virginia
16) TX-SOUTHERN / HAMPTON 16) WINTHROP
8) Pittsburgh 8) Seton Hall
9) WICHITA STATE 9) Vanderbilt
Denver Oklahoma City
5) INDIANA 5) Purdue
12) VALPARAISO 12) TEMPLE
4) KENTUCKY 4) Iowa State
13) AKRON 13) STONY BROOK
Spokane Providence
6) Wisconsin 6) Arizona
11) Florida / Butler 11) Connecticut
3) Utah 3) Maryland
14) S.F. AUSTIN 14) PRINCETON
Brooklyn St. Louis
7) SAINT JOSEPH’S 7) Notre Dame
10) Providence 10) USC
2) MIAMI-FL 2) Xavier
15) SO DAKOTA ST 15) BELMONT
SOUTH – Louisville       WEST – Anaheim
Brooklyn Oklahoma City
1) VILLANOVA 1) Oklahoma
16) WAGNER / BUCKNELL 16) NORTH FLORDA
8) South Carolina 8) Colorado
9) Oregon State 9) Syracuse
Denver Des Moines
5) Duke 5) Baylor
12) MONMOUTH 12) SAN DIEGO STATE
4) Texas 4) Iowa
13) CHATTANOOGA 13) HOFSTRA
Providence Spokane
6) California 6) Texas AM
11) Cincinnati / Michigan 11) ARK-LITTLE ROCK
3) West Virginia 3) OREGON
14) UAB 14) HAWAII
St. Louis Raleigh
7) Dayton 7) Texas Tech
10) SAINT MARY’S 10) Alabama
2) Michigan State 2) North Carolina
15) NEW MEXICO ST 15) WEBER STATE

NOTES on the BRACKET: Kansas is the No. 1 overall seed followed by Virginia, Oklahoma, Villanova. Next in line: Michigan State, North Carolina, Xavier, Miami-FL

Last Four Byes (at large): Providence, Alabama, USC, Connecticut

Last Four IN (at large): Cincinnati, Florida, Michigan, Butler

First Four OUT (at large): Tulsa, VCU, St. Bonaventure, Gonzaga

Next four teams OUT (at large): George Washington, LSU, Ohio State, Florida State

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (7): MIAMI-FL, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse

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

Big 12 (7): KANSAS, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Iowa State, Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech

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

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

Big East (5): VILLANOVA, Xavier, Seton Hall, Providence, Butler

American (3): TEMPLE, Connecticut, Cincinnati

Atlantic 10 (2): SAINT JOSEPH’S, Dayton

West Coast (1): SAINT MARY’S

Mountain West (1): SAN DIEGO STATE

Missouri Valley (1): WICHITA STATE

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