CBT BRACKETOLOGY: A lot at stake during Championship Week

(AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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For more than a few teams, Championship Week will likely define their seasons.  Simply put: there’s a lot at stake.  The lower half of today’s bracket reads like an open book.  Who will settle into those final slots?  That’s what we’re about to find out.

The American Conference provides a quick glimpse at the unsettled nature of the bracket.  Temple holds today’s automatic bid as the league leader (SMU is ineligible). We then have Connecticut and Tulsa playing in the First Four. Cincinnati is right there, and Houston is making a late push.  That’s five teams from one league vying for precious invitations.

Once you move past Kentucky and Texas AM, the SEC is equally unsettled.  South Carolina is sliding, holding onto one of the last four byes.  Alabama and Florida are now on the outside looking in.  As for the Atlantic 10? There’s a similar scenario among VCU, St. Bonaventure, George Washington, and even Saint Joseph’s.

If you enjoy March Madness, it’s about to unfold – before Selection Sunday.

BRACKET UPDATE: March 4, 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)

  • Tulsa vs. Michigan | Midwest Region
  • St. Bonaventure vs. Connecticut | South Region
  • TEXAS-SOUTHERN vs. WAGNER | Midwest Region
  • HAMPTON vs. FLORIDA GULF COAST | South Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

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

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

Last Four Byes (at large): USC, South Carolina, Oregon State, Butler

Last Four IN (at large): Michigan, St. Bonaventure, Connecticut, Tulsa

First Four OUT (at large): Cincinnati, Gonzaga, Alabama, Florida

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

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, Purdue, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan

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

SEC (4): KENTUCKY, Texas AM, Vanderbilt, South Carolina

Atlantic 10 (4): VCU, Dayton, Saint Joseph’s, St. Bonaventure

American (3): TEMPLE, Connecticut, Tulsa

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), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), Hofstra (CAA), High Point (BSO), Hampton (MEAC), IPFW (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Stony Brook (AEAST), Lehigh (PAT), Wagner (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)