Bracketology: Showdowns ahead in No. 1 seed race

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The developing bubble is a garbled mess, so let’s stay positive and focus on the No. 1 seed race, which has seven serious contenders at the moment: Duke, Tennessee, Virginia, Michigan, Michigan State, Gonzaga, and Kentucky.

Between now and Selection Sunday, battles will rage.

Virginia and Duke play again on February 9 (Duke was the first meeting by two points in Durham).

Kentucky and Tennessee play twice – February 16 and March 2.

Same for Michigan State and Michigan – February 24 and March 9.

Which brings us to Gonzaga.

The Bulldogs are expected to cruise through their West Coast Conference campaign; another 30-win season a realistic outcome.

Should that occur, it will be difficult for the Selection Committee to keep Gonzaga off the No. 1 seed line out West (especially given their high NET rating).

If that’s the case, it becomes a six team race for three No.1 seed positions with showdowns ahead. Feels like March is right around the corner.

BRACKET UPDATED: January 31, 2019

FIRST FOUR – DAYTON
EAST REGION Temple vs. Florida
SOUTH REGION VCU vs. Nebraska
EAST REGION Norfolk State vs. Prairie View
MIDWEST REGION Sam Houston vs. Robert Morris

EAST Washington, DC             SOUTH – Louisville
Columbia Columbia
1) DUKE 1) TENNESSEE
16) NORFOLK ST / PV-AM  16) RIDER
8) Missisippi State 8) WASHINGTON
9) BAYLOR 9) Syracuse
Salt Lake City San Jose
5) Wisconsin 5) Virginia Tech
12) Temple / Florida 12) DAVIDSON
4) VILLANOVA 4) Maryland
13) VERMONT 13) MURRAY STATE
Des Moines Des Moines
6) BUFFALO 6) LSU
11) St. John’s 11) VCU / Nebraska
3) Purdue 3) Marquette
14) TEXAS STATE 14) NORTH TEXAS
Jacksonville Jacksonville
7) NC State 7) Minnesota
10) Ohio State 10) TCU
2) Kentucky 2) North Carolina
15) LOYOLA-CHICAGO 15) RADFORD
WEST – Anaheim MIDWEST – Kansas City
Columbus Hartford
1) MICHIGAN 1) Virginia
16) LEHIGH 16) ROB MORRIS / SAM HOUSTON
8) Oklahoma 8) Ole Miss
9) Auburn 9) Texas
San Jose Tulsa
5) Texas Tech 5) Iowa State
12) LIPSCOMB 12) HOFSTRA
4) NEVADA 4) HOUSTON
13) NEW MEXICO ST 13) YALE
Hartford Tulsa
6) Iowa 6) Florida State
11) WOFFORD 11) Seton Hall
3) Louisville 3) Kansas
14) NORTHERN KENTUCKY 14) UC-IRVINE
Salt Lake City Columbus
7) Kansas State 7) Cincinnati
10) Arizona State 10) Alabama
2) GONZAGA 2) Michigan State
15) SOUTH DAKOTA ST 15) MONTANA

BUBBLE NOTES
Last 4 Byes Last 4 IN      First 4 OUT Next 4 OUT
TCU Nebraska UCF Butler
Ohio State VCU Indiana Creighton
St. John’s Temple Arizona Pittsburgh
Seton Hall Florida Clemson Providence

TOP SEED LINE: Duke is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Tennessee, Virginia, and Michigan

Breakdown by Conference …

Big 10 (9): MICHIGAN, Michigan State, Purdue, Maryland, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio State, Nebraska

BIG 12 (8): BAYLOR, Kansas, Iowa State, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas, TCU

ACC (8): DUKE, Virginia, North Carolina, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Florida State, NC State, Syracuse

SEC (8): TENNESSEE, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Auburn, Alabama, Florida

Big East (4): VILLANOVA, Marquette, St. John’s, Seton Hall

American (3): HOUSTON, Cincinnati, Temple

Pac 12 (2): WASHINGTON, Arizona State

Atlantic 10 (2): DAVIDSON, VCU

Mid American (1): BUFFALO

Mountain West (1): NEVADA

West Coast (1): GONZAGA

ONE BID LEAGUES: Loyola-Chicago (MVC), Rider (MAAC), North Texas (C-USA), Texas State (SBELT), Yale (IVY), Montana (BSKY), Northern Kentucky (HORIZON), Sam Houston (SLND), Wofford (STHN), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Lipscomb (ASUN), Murray State (OVC), Hofstra (CAA), Radford (BSO), Norfolk State (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Lehigh (PAT), Robert Morris (NEC), Prairie View (SWAC)