Bracketology: Big weekend for SEC/Big 12 bubble teams

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It’s a big weekend for currently positioned SEC and Big 12 bubble teams.  In particular, the SEC race is “bunched” in the middle right now, so potentially separating wins – like those available in the SEC / Big 12 challenge this weekend – could prove critically important down the road.

Exhibit A: This morning, six SEC teams fall within 12 seed list positions of each other, and those positions happen to fall along the cutline.  There’s no question the SEC is a stronger, deeper league than its been in recent years.  And that will ultimately help send additional teams to the tournament.  But where that break-line ends up, and how future results coincide with seeding, remains an unanswered question.  Thus, the opportunity for quality non-conference wins looms additionally large.

UPDATED: January 26, 2018

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • South Carolina vs. Boise State | Midwest Region
  • SMU vs. Missouri West Region
  • NICHOLLS ST vs. BETH-COOKMAN | East Region
  • FLA GULF COAST vs. ARK-PINE BLUFF | Midwest Region

BRACKET PROJECTION 

EAST Boston    MIDWEST – Omaha                          
Pittsburgh Detroit
1) VILLANOVA 1) PURDUE
16) NICHOLLS ST / B-COOKMAN 16) FL GULF CST / ARK-PB
8) Florida State 8) TCU
9) Texas 9) Arkansas
Boise San Diego
5) RHODE ISLAND 5) Gonzaga
12) BUFFALO 12) So Carolina / Boise St
4) Ohio State 4) Clemson
13) E TENNESSEE ST 13) BELMONT
Nashville Dallas
6) Kentucky 6) Seton Hall
11) Houston 11) Alabama
3) North Carolina 3) CINCINNATI
14) VERMONT 14) NORTHEASTERN
Pittsburgh Wichita
7) Creighton 7) Arizona State
10) Washington 10) Marquette
2) West Virginia 2) Oklahoma
15) CANISIUS 15) PENNSYLVANNIA
WEST – Los Angeles SOUTH – Atlanta
Charlotte Charlotte
1) Duke 1) VIRGINIA
16) WAGNER 16) RADFORD
8) NEVADA 8) Michigan
9) Butler 9) Providence
Boise Dallas
5) Florida 5) Tennessee
12) NEW MEXICO ST 12) LOYOLA-CHI
4) Michigan State 4) Texas Tech
13) SOUTH DAKOTA ST 13) LOUISIANA
San Diego Nashville
6) SAINT MARY’S 6) Wichita State
11) Missouri / SMU 11) MIDDLE TENNESSEE
3) ARIZONA 3) AUBURN
14) MONTANA 14) WRIGHT STATE
Wichita Detroit
7) Miami-FL 7) Louisville
10) USC 10) Kansas State
2) KANSAS 2) Xavier
15) HAWAII 15) BUCKNELL

NOTES on the BRACKET: Villanova is the No. 1 overall seed – followed by Purdue, Virginia, and Duke

Last Four Byes (at large): Marquette, Washington, Alabama, Houston

Last Four IN (at large): SMU, Missouri, South Carolina, Boise State

First Four OUT (at large): Texas AM, NC State, Syracuse, Georgia

Next four teams OUT (at large): Notre Dame, LSU, Virginia Tech, Western Kentucky

Breakdown by Conference …

SEC (8): AUBURN, Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky, Arkansas, Alabama, Missouri, South Carolina

ACC (7): VIRGINIA, Duke, North Carolina, Clemson, Louisville, Miami-FL, Florida State

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

BIG 12 (7): KANSAS, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Texas Tech, TCU, Texas, Kansas State

Big 10 (4): PURDUE, Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan

American (4): CINCINNATI, Wichita State, Houston, SMU

Pac 12 (4): ARIZONA, Arizona State, USC, Washington

West Coast (2): SAINT MARY’S, Gonzaga

Mountain West (1): NEVADA, Boise State

Atlantic 10 (1): RHODE ISLAND

ONE BID LEAGUES: Loyola-Chicago (MVC), Canisius (MAAC), Middle Tennessee (C-USA), Louisiana (SBELT), Penn (IVY), Montana (BSKY), Wright State (HORIZON), Nicholls State (SLND), East Tennessee State (STHN), Hawaii (BWEST), Buffalo (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), Northeastern (CAA), Radford (BSO), Bethune-Cookman (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Wagner (NEC), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (SWAC)

Bracketing principles: read them for yourself at http://www.ncaa.com.