Bracketology: A big day in the Valley

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It’s a big day in the Valley.  The Missouri Valley, that is.  Illinois State and Wichita State square off for the MVC championship under the Arch in St. Louis.  The winner punches its dance ticket.  The loser figures to have an anxiously long wait until Selection Sunday.  As of this morning, Wichita State retains its at-large spot in the bracket.  Illinois State is in as the auto bid due to its No. 1 seed in the league tourney.

The questions are easy. The answers not so much.  Both Wichita State and Illinois State have put together outstanding seasons.  Unfortunately, the rest of the MVC was along for the ride; no other team cracked the Top 100 of the RPI.  Which leaves this year’s Selection Committee with an intriguing debate.  How to weigh consistency on the court over a full season versus the opportunities to collect notable wins in a more accomplished conference?  We’ll have to see how it plays out.

UPDATED: March 5, 2017

Note: Now that conference tournaments have begun, teams in ALL CAPS will represent automatic bids as they are earned.

Regarding bracketing principles, 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)

  • Wake Forest vs. USC | South Region
  • Vanderbilt vs. Xavier | West Region
  • Mount St. Mary’s vs. New Orleans | East Region
  • JACKSONVILLE STATE vs. NC Central | Midwest Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

MIDWEST Kansas City                  EAST New York
Tulsa Buffalo
1) Kansas 1) Villanova
16) North Dakota 16) Mt St. Mary’s / New Orleans
8) Northwestern 8) Miami
9) Arkansas 9) Michigan
Milwaukee Orlando
5) Notre Dame 5) West Virginia
12) Illinois State 12) Monmouth
4) Butler 4) Florida
13) Princeton 13) Vermont
Greenville Salt Lake City
6) Maryland 6) Iowa State
11) Mid Tennessee State 11) Syracuse
3) Duke 3) Arizona
14) Bucknell 14) Florida Gulf Coast
Sacramento Indianapolis
7) Creighton 7) Wisconsin
10) Wichita State 10) VCU
2) UCLA 2) Louisville
15) South Dakota 15) Green Bay
WEST – San Jose SOUTH – Memphis
Salt Lake City Greenville
1) Gonzaga 1) North Carolina
16) UC-Irvine 16) JACKSONVILLE ST / NC Central
8) South Carolina 8) Dayton
9) Michigan State 9) Marquette
Buffalo Milwaukee
5) Minnesota 5) Cincinnati
12) Nevada 12) UNC-Wilmington
4) Virginia 4) Purdue
13) Akron 13) UT-Arlington
Orlando Tulsa
6) SMU 6) Saint Mary’s
11) Vanderbilt / Xavier 11) Wake Forest / USC
3) Florida State 3) Baylor
14) UNC-Greensboro 14) Winthrop
Sacramento Indianapolis
7) Oklahoma State 7) Virginia Tech
10) Seton Hall 10) Providence
2) Oregon 2) Kentucky
15) CSU-Bakersfield 15) Texas-Southern

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

Last Four Byes (at large): Providence, Wichita State, Seton Hall, Syracuse

Last Four IN (at large): Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Xavier, USC

First Four OUT (at large): Kansas State, Rhode Island, Illinois, Iowa

Next four teams OUT (at large): Houston, Georgia, Ole Miss, California

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (10): NORTH CAROLINA, Louisville, Duke, Florida State, Virginia, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Miami-FL, Syracuse, Wake Forest

Big 10 (7): PURDUE, Minnesota, Maryland, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State

Big East (7): VILLANOVA, Butler, Creighton, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, Xavier

Big 12 (5): KANSAS, Baylor, West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma State

SEC (5): FLORIDA, Kentucky, South Carolina, Arkansas, Vanderbilt

Pac 12 (4): OREGON, Arizona, UCLA, USC

Atlantic 10 (2): DAYTON, VCU

American (2): SMU, Cincinnati

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Missouri Valley (1): ILLINOIS STATE, Wichita State

Mountain West (1): NEVADA

ONE BID LEAGUES: Monmouth (MAAC), Middle Tennessee State (C-USA), UT-Arlington (SBELT), Princeton (IVY), North Dakota (BSKY), Green Bay (HORIZON), New Orleans (SLND), UNC-Greensboro (STHN), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Akron (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), JACKSONVILLE STATE (OVC), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), Winthrop (BSO), NC-Central (MEAC), South Dakota (SUM), CSU-Bakersfield (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Mount St. Mary’s (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)