2011 Bracket Projection

Duke tops field in first bracket projection

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No surprise that Duke is the No. 1 overall seed in our first in-season bracket projection.  The Blue Devils are joined on the top line by Ohio State, Pittsburgh, and Kansas.  A strong group of No. 2 seeds includes Michigan State, Kansas State, Georgetown and Connecticut.   Few teams have elevated their outlook more than the Huskies. 

Keep in mind a couple of things.  First, records reflect Division I games only (through games played Sunday, December 5).  Games played against non-Division I teams are not considered part of a team’s NCAA resume.  Second, it’s still very early.  The bracket projection is based on both current results and future expectations.  Some teams have yet to leave their home building, or play a quality opponent.  It’s also important not to place too much importance on one win or loss.  It’s safe to assume that the bracket will change and evolve as we head into conference play in January.  For more bracket-related news, visit Bracketville.

Teams in CAPS reflect the those projected as conference champion (auto bid) for this bracket.  Exceptions are made for those teams that traditionally use an abbreviation (UTEP, BYU, etc).

FIRST FOUR: In the new 68-team format, you will notice two games that represent the First Four pairings. In our opening bracket, the First Four games in Dayton would be … Georgia vs. VCU | Cleveland State vs. St. Mary’s | Jackson State vs. Stephen F. Austin | Morgan State vs. Quinnipiac. The final four at-large teams are paired along with the teams seeded 65-68 on the S-curve. The matchups are indicated in the bracket below. 


EASTNewark   SOUTHEASTNew Orleans
Charlotte   Cleveland
1) DUKE (8-0)   1) OHIO STATE (6-0)
8 Arizona (7-1)   8 Richmond (7-2)
9) OLD DOMINION (5-2)   9) Louisville (6-0)
Chicago   Denver
5) Baylor (6-0)   5) Missouri (6-1)
12) West Virgina (5-2)   12) New Mexico (5-1)
4) Illinois (8-1)   4) Kentucky (5-2)
13) KENT STATE (6-2)   13) CHARLESTON (6-3)
Tampa   Tampa
6) Minnesota (7-1)   6) BYU (8-0)
11) Florida State (6-2)   11) Georgia / VCU
3) TENNESSEE (6-0)   3) MEMPHIS (7-0)
14) OAKLAND (5-3)   14) MURRAY STATE (3-4)
Washington, DC   Charlotte
7) GONZAGA (4-3)   7) North Carolina (5-3)
10) BUTLER (3-3)   10) Washington State (5-1)
2) Connecticut (7-0)   2) Georgetown (8-0)
15) COASTAL CAROLINA (4-2)   15) VERMONT (6-1)
SOUTHWEST – San Antonio   WEST – Anaheim
Cleveland   Tulsa
1) PITTSBURGH (9-0)   1) KANSAS (7-0)
8 TEMPLE (5-2)   8 Wisconsin (6-2)
9) Northwestern (5-0)   9) Miami-FL (6-2)
Tucson   Denver
5) Texas (6-2)   5) WASHINGTON (5-2)
12) Virginia (5-3)   12) Cleveland State / St. Mary’s
4) UNLV (8-0)   4) Villanova (6-1)
13) NORTH TEXAS (6-1)   13) UTAH STATE (5-2)
Washington, DC   Tucson
6) Purdue (7-1)   6) Notre Dame (8-0)
11) Boston College (6-2)   11) California (5-2)
3) Syracuse (8-0)   3) SAN DIEGO STATE (7-0)
14) FAIRFIELD (4-3)   14) WEBER STATE (2-3)
Tulsa   Chicago
7) Vanderbilt (7-1)   7) Florida (6-2)
10) WICHITA STATE (4-2)   10) Texas A-M (6-1)
2) Kansas State (6-1)   2) Michigan State (5-2)
15) UC-SANTA BARBARA (4-3)   15) HARVARD (5-2)



NOTES on the BRACKET: Duke is the No. 1 overall seed followed by Ohio State, Pittsburgh, and Kansas. The two seeds in order are Michigan State, Kansas State, Georgetown, and Connecticut.

Last Five teams in (at large): Virginia, VCU, St. Mary’s, Georgia, Cleveland State

First Five teams out (at large): Maryland, Xavier, Cincinnati, Marquette, Central Florida

Also Considered: Virginia Tech, NC State, Mississippi, UCLA, USC, Missouri State, St. John’s, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Northern Iowa, Tulsa, Rhode Island, Oklahoma State, Clemson, Indiana, Dayton, Akron, Southern Mississippi, Wofford, Appalachian State

Bracket adjustments: Texas AM, Louisville, West Virginia moved seed lines to avoid conference conflicts. BYU must be placed in Thursday-Saturday locations for all rounds.

Here is the team breakdown by Conference …

Big East (8): PITTSBURGH, Georgetown, Connecticut, Syracuse, Villanova, Notre Dame, Louisville, West Virginia

Big Ten (7): OHIO STATE, Michigan State, Purdue, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Northwestern

ACC (6): DUKE, North Carolina, Florida State, Miami-FL, Boston College, Virginia

Big 12 (6): KANSAS, Kansas State, Missouri, Texas, Baylor, Texas A-M

SEC (5): TENNESSEE, Kentucky, Florida, Vanderbilt, Georgia

Mountain West (4): SAN DIEGO STATE, UNLV, BYU, New Mexico

Pac 10 (4): WASHINGTON, Arizona, Washington State, California

Atlantic 10 (2): TEMPLE, Richmond

Colonial (2): OLD DOMINION, VCU

Conference USA (2): MEMPHIS, Central Florida

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, St. Mary’s

Horizon (2): BUTLER, Cleveland State

Missouri Valley (1): WICHITA STATE

Auto Bid conference champions … Utah State (WAC), Murray State (OVC), Fairfield (MAAC), Kent State (MAC), Weber State (Big Sky), Charleston (Southern), Oakland (Summit), UC-Santa Barbara (Big West), Quinnipiac (NEC), Jacksonville (Atlantic Sun), North Texas (Sun Belt), Harvard (Ivy), Coastal Carolina (Big South), Morgan State (MEAC), American (Patriot), Vermont (America East), Stephen F. Austin (Southland), Jackson State (SWAC)

2011 Pre-season Bracket Projection: Midnight Madness edition

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Time for a little pre-season fun, Midnight Madness style.

After a rather interesting off-season – my Top 5 story lines here – let’s take an updated look the new 68-team bracket.  Quick note of caution … selecting and seeding teams for a bracket projection in March is easier than estimating what might happen over the next five months. So consider this effort what it is: a mix of what we know, what we expect, and a lot of guesswork.

Midnight Madness Bracket Projection (2010-2011)

NEW – Power 24 | Midnight Madness edition.

If there is common ground, it’s that defending champ Duke should open the season as the No. 1 team.  No exception here as the Blue Devils remain the overall top seed.  From there, we start tweaking.  Joining Duke on the top line are: Purdue, Michigan State and Pittsburgh.  The Panthers made the biggest leap from August, but coach Jamie Dixon is bullish on his team and we’ll buy it.  The uncertainty surrounding star recruits at Kentucky (Enes Kanter) and Kansas (Josh Selby) are also considerations.  Both the Wildcats and Jayhawks lead a group of solid No. 2 seeds along with Ohio State and Kansas State.  Syracuse, Villanova, Florida and Memphis fall into the three-line.  Talk about powerhouse names.

First Four:  The new format begins with four games in Dayton.   Projected matchups … New Mexico vs. Dayton | Louisville vs. USC | Lehigh vs. Vermont | Jackson State vs. S.F. Austin.  In this scenario, New Mexico, Dayton, Louisville and USC are the last four at-large teams in the field.  Lehigh, Vermont, Jackson State and S.F. Austin are projected as the lowest four ranked teams on the S-curve.

Last 5 IN: Northwestern, New Mexico, USC, Louisville, Dayton.  First 5 OUT: Maryland, Connecticut, Northern Iowa, St. Louis, Notre Dame.

Several others teams under consideration are listed with the bracket projection under Bracketology.  We all know there will be a surprise or two along the way – especially in conference tournaments.  One could easily argue that Illinois and Virginia Tech missed last year’s tournament because New Mexico State (WAC) and Houston (C-USA) won their league tournaments.  It happens almost every year and teams on the bubble this March will face the same fate – even with the expanded field.  Someone will always be the first team out.

If you want to know how we did last season, check out 2010 Projection Results.

Take a look.  Send a rebound.  Differences of opinion are part of the fun.