Bracketology: Making sense of a wild week of college hoops

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You probably don’t remember the last time Northwestern made the NCAA tournament.  That’s because the Wildcats have never enjoyed the Madness of March.  This year’s team could change that, dancing into history in the process.  Entering today, the Wildcats are 5-2 in the Big Ten and look poised to make a run at finally hearing their name called on Selection Sunday.  February is going to be a fun month in Evanston.

Top Seeds 

It was a rocky two days for the top two seed lines, but other than a little re-ordering, the No. 1 seeds remain in tact; that’s what happens when everyone in the group loses (except for Gonzaga, of course).  Also, keep an eye on Arizona.  Those Wildcats look awfully good at full strength.

The Bubble

It’s a tangled mess around the cutline.  The number of teams under at-large consideration with losing conference records (even as bad as 1-6) is rather incredible, really.  It’ll be interested to see how all of these bubble teams perform down the stretch, especially in the ACC, Big Ten, and Big 12.  Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of mid-major at-large contenders. The clubhouse leaders would be Middle Tennessee State, UNC-Wilmington, Illinois State, and Wichita State.  We’ll see how they navigate the next month.

UPDATED: January 26, 2017

Regarding bracketing principles, 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)

  • TCU vs. VCU | East Region
  • Wake Forest vs. Michigan West Region
  • NEW ORLEANS vs. WEBER STATE | Midwest Region
  • MT. ST. MARY’S vs. NC CENTRAL | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

SOUTH Memphis                    EAST – New York
Tulsa Buffalo
1) BAYLOR 1) VILLANOVA
16) NEW ORLEANS / WEBER STATE 16) NC-CENTRAL / MT ST MARY’S
8) DAYTON 8) Virginia Tech
9) Minnesota 9) MID TENNESSEE ST
Orlando Sacramento
5) Duke 5) MARYLAND
12) NEVADA 12) VCU / TCU
4) Purdue 4) Oregon
13) MONMOUTH 13) NEW MEXICO ST
Indianapolis Milwaukee
6) Creighton 6) Florida
11) Texas Tech 11) Georgia Tech
3) Louisville 3) Butler
14) WINTHROP 14) FLA GULF COAST
Indianapolis Greenville
7) Xavier 7) USC
10) ILLINOIS STATE 10) Michigan State
2) KENTUCKY 2) NORTH CAROLINA
15) PRINCETON 15) BUCKNELL
MIDWEST – Kansas City WEST – San Jose
Tulsa Salt Lake City
1) Kansas 1) GONZAGA
16) UC-IRVINE 16) TX-SOUTHERN
8) Northwestern 8) Arkansas
9) Marquette 9) Iowa State
Milwaukee Buffalo
5) Wisconsin 5) CINCINNATI
12) AKRON 12) Wake Forest / Michigan
4) Notre Dame 4) West Virginia
13) VALPARAISO 13) VERMONT
Sacramento Greenville
6) Saint Mary’s 6) South Carolina
11) NC State 11) Seton Hall
3) UCLA 3) Virginia
14) BELMONT 14) CHATTANOOGA
Orlando Salt Lake City
7) Indiana 7) SMU
10) NC-WILMINGTON 10) Kansas State
2) Florida State 2) ARIZONA
15) GA-SOUTHERN 15) NORTH DAKOTA ST

NOTES on the BRACKET: Baylor is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Villanova, Gonzaga, and Kansas.

Last Four Byes (at large): Texas Tech, Georgia Tech, NC State, Seton Hall

Last Four IN (at large): TCU, Michigan, Wake Forest, VCU

First Four OUT (at large): California, Wichita State, Miami-FL, Clemson

Next four teams OUT (at large): Pittsburgh, Illinois, Tennessee, Oklahoma State

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (10): NORTH CAROLINA, Florida State, Louisville, Virginia, Notre Dame, Duke, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, NC State, Wake Forest

Big 10 (8): MARYLAND, Purdue, Wisconsin, Indiana, Northwestern, Minnesota, Michigan State, Michigan

Big 12 (7): BAYLOR, Kansas, West Virginia, Iowa State, Kansas State, Texas Tech, TCU

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

SEC (4): KENTUCKY, Florida, South Carolina, Arkansas

Pac 12 (4): ARIZONA, UCLA, Oregon, USC

Atlantic 10 (2): DAYTON, VCU

American (2): CINCINNATI, SMU

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Missouri Valley (1): ILLINOIS STATE

Mountain West (1): NEVADA

ONE BID LEAGUES: Monmouth (MAAC), Middle Tennessee State (C-USA), Georgia-Southern (SBELT), Princeton (IVY), Weber State (BSKY), Valparaiso (HORIZON), New Orleans (SLND), Chattanooga (STHN), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Akron (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), Winthrop (BSO), NC-Central (MEAC), North Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Mt. St. Mary’s (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)