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Big East rules our updated NCAA tournament projections

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This Valentine’s Day some teams are feeling the love more than others.  If you’re Colorado State, Baylor, Richmond, Washington State, and Wichita State you are the final invitees to this week’s Dance.  Congratulations.  For now.  Our bubble remains as big as ever.  We’re also seeing a late push by Butler and even Gonzaga to get back in the at-large picture.  And then there’s Colorado, which now owns a sweep of K-State thanks to a heart-swelling close-up replay that saved the Buffaloes from a last-second loss in Boulder.  On the flip side, few cities have a bigger heartache this year than Manhattan, Kansas.

More news and updates at Bracketville.  As always, rebounds are welcome.  Hope you’re ready for an exciting finish.  No reason to think these next couple of weeks won’t be wild.  Just image Championship Week if we get a couple of upsets.

UPDATED: Monday, February 14 | Records reflect Division I games only – through February 13.

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

NOTE: In the new 68-team format you will notice two pairing games that represent the First Four pairings. In this bracket the First Four games in Dayton would be … Baylor vs. Richmond | Wichita State vs. Washington State | Texas Southern vs. McNeese State | Murray State vs. Long Beach. 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.

Next Update: Monday, February 21.

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EASTNewark   SOUTHEASTNew Orleans
Cleveland   Cleveland
1) OHIO STATE (24-1)   1) PITTSBURGH (23-2)
16) LONG BEACH / MURRAY ST     16) HAMPTON (18-5)
8  Washington (17-7)   8  GEORGE MASON (21-5)
9) Virginia Tech (16-7)   9) Illinois (16-9)
     
Tucson   Washington, DC
5) Missouri (18-6)   5) Syracuse (20-6)
12) Alabama (16-8)   12) Baylor / Richmond
4) Louisville (19-6)   4) North Carolina (18-6)
13) CLEVELAND STATE (20-5)   13) OAKLAND (17-9)
     
Tampa   Denver
6) West Virginia (16-8)   6) Texas AM (18-5)
11) MISSOURI STATE (20-6)   11) MEMPHIS (19-6)
3) FLORIDA (20-5)   3) Wisconsin (19-5)
14) COASTAL CAROLINA (20-2)   14) BELMONT (23-4)
     
Charlotte   Denver
7) Temple (19-5)   7) St. John’s (15-9)
10) Minnesota (17-8)   10) Georgia (17-7)
2) DUKE (23-2)   2) BYU (23-2)
15) VERMONT (21-5)   15) FLORIDA ATLANTIC (16-9)
     
SOUTHWEST – San Antonio   WEST – Anaheim
Tulsa   Tulsa
1) KANSAS (24-1)   1) Texas (22-3)
16) TX SOUTHERN / McNEESE ST   16) MONTANA (16-7)
8  Florida State (18-7)   8  ST. MARY’S (20-4)
9) UNLV (18-7)   9) Cincinnati (19-6)
     
Washington, DC   Tampa
5) Kentucky (17-7)   5) Vanderbilt (18-6)
12) Wichita St / Washington St   12) Colorado State (16-7)
4) Villanova (19-6)   4) Connecticut (19-5)
13) CHARLESTON (19-7)   13) FAIRFIELD (19-5)
     
Chicago   Charlotte
6) XAVIER (18-6)   6) ARIZONA (21-4)
11) Marquette (15-10)   11) Boston College (16-9)
3) Purdue (20-5)   3) Georgetown (20-5)
14) KENT STATE (16-7)   14) PRINCETON (18-4)
     
Chicago   Tucson
7) UCLA (18-7)   7) Tennessee (15-10)
10) Old Dominion (20-6)   10) UTAH STATE (23-3)
2) Notre Dame (21-4)   2) SAN DIEGO STATE (23-1)
15) BUCKNELL (18-8)   15) LONG ISLAND (20-5)

 

NOTES on the BRACKET: Ohio State is the No. 1 overall seed followed by Kansas, Pittsburgh, and Texas. The two seeds in order are Duke, San Diego State, BYU, Notre Dame

Last Five teams in (at large): Colorado State, Baylor, Richmond, Washington State, Wichita State

First Five teams out (at large): Kansas State, VCU, New Mexico, Michigan State, Duquesne

Also Considered: Oklahoma State, Southern Mississippi, UAB, Gonzaga, Clemson, Butler, Colorado

Bracket adjustments: Vanderbilt moves up a line (5) and West Virginia falls one line (6) due to Big East conficts/restrictions.

Here is the team breakdown by Conference …

Big East (11): PITTSBURGH, Connecticut, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Villanova, West Virginia, Louisville, Cincinnati, St. John’s, Marquette

SEC (6): FLORIDA, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama

Big 12 (5): KANSAS, Texas, Texas AM, Missouri, Baylor

Big Ten (5): OHIO STATE, Purdue, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota

ACC (5): DUKE, North Carolina, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Florida State

Mountain West (4): SAN DIEGO STATE, BYU, UNLV, Colorado State

Pac 10 (4): ARIZONA, UCLA, Washington, Washington State

Atlantic 10 (3): XAVIER, Temple, Richmond

Colonial (2): GEORGE MASON, Old Dominion

Missouri Valley (2): MISSOURI STATE, Wichita State

West Coast (1): ST. MARY’S

Conference USA (1): MEMPHIS

Horizon (1): CLEVELAND STATE

Auto Bid conference champions … Utah State (WAC), Murray State (OVC), Fairfield (MAAC), Kent State (MAC), Montana (Big Sky), Charleston (Southern), Oakland (Summit), Long Beach (Big West), Long Island (NEC), Belmont (Atlantic Sun), Florida Atlantic (Sun Belt), Princeton (Ivy), Coastal Carolina (Big South), Hampton (MEAC), Bucknell (Patriot), Vermont (America East), McNeese State(Southland), Texas Southern (SWAC)

With 10 teams, Big East crowns latest bracket projection

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Conference play is moving forward – a good chance to see how teams fare in hostile environments and true road games.  No changes on the top line for the latest Bracket Projection – Duke, Ohio State, Kansas, and Syracuse.  We do have one newcomer to the two-line: Purdue replaces Kentucky. 

There is a record number of Big East teams (10) in our current projection.  Two reasons for this … 1) Depth of good teams … 2)Less qualified candidates in other BCS and non-BCS leagues.  While it’s certainly possible for the Big East to earn 10 bids (a record), we are still early in conference play and have a mid-season snapshot of data.  It’s hard to decipher which – if any – additional teams from the ACC, SEC, Big 12, and even the PAC-10 may emerge as bid contenders.  We can also expect a few surprises during Championship Week – resulting in one or two fewer at-large spots (even with 37 now available).

Our bracket projection will truly begin to take shape in February.  We use both current results and some future projecting at this point.  Take for example, a team like Minnesota.  The Gophers have already made road trips to Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Ohio State.  The fact that the Gophers lost all three is perhaps disappointing to some extent, but not unexpected, either.  Thus, an early 1-3 mark in conference play doesn’t necessarily suggest Minnesota is headed for trouble.  Rebounds welcome here and at Bracketville.

UPDATED: Monday, January 10 | Records reflect Division I games only – through January 9.

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

NOTE: This is the second of our weekly projections in the new 68-team format. You will notice two pairing games that represent the First Four pairings. In this bracket the First Four games in Dayton would be … Miami-FL vs. Wichita State | Memphis vs. Richmond | Jackson State vs. Sam Houston | American 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.

Next Update: Monday, January 17.

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EASTNewark   SOUTHEASTNew Orleans
Charlotte   Cleveland
1) DUKE (15-0)   1) OHIO STATE (16-0)
16) JACKSONVILLE (9-3)   16) HAMPTON (11-3)   
8 St. John’s (10-4)   8 Georgia (12-2)
9) Baylor (11-3)   9) West Virginia (10-4)
     
Tampa   Tucson
5) TEMPLE (11-3)   5) Georgetown (12-4)
12) USC (10-6)   12) Miami-FL vs. Wichita State
4) Illinois (13-3)   4) Texas A-M (13-1)
13) FAIRFIELD (12-3)   13) CHARLESTON (11-5)
     
Charlotte   Denver
6) Michigan State (9-5)   6) Louisville (13-2)
11) Boston College (12-4)   11) Oklahoma State (13-2)
3) KENTUCKY (12-3)   3) BYU (15-1)
14) MURRAY STATE (8-5)   14) MONTANA (9-5)
     
Washington   Cleveland
7) CENTRAL FLORIDA (12-1)   7) Minnesota (12-4)
10) Arizona (14-3)   10) Tennessee (10-5)
2) Connecticut (12-2)   2) Pittsburgh (15-1)
15) COASTAL CAROLINA (10-2)   15) VERMONT (11-4)
     
SOUTHWEST – San Antonio   WEST – Anaheim
Tulsa   Washington
1) KANSAS (15-0)   1) SYRACUSE (16-0)
16) JACKSON ST / SAM HOUSTON   16) AMERICAN / QUINNIPIAC
8 UNLV (13-3)   8 GONZAGA (10-5)
9) St. Mary’s (11-2)   9) BUTLER (11-5)
     
Tampa   Denver
5) North Carolina (11-4)   5) WASHINGTON (11-3)
12) OLD DOMINION (12-3)   12) Memphis vs. Richmond
4) Villanova (14-1)   4) Missouri (13-2)
13) OAKLAND (10-8)   13) UTAH STATE (14-2)
     
Chicago   Tulsa
6) Kansas State (11-4)   6) Wisconsin (12-3)
11) Virginia Tech (10-4)   11) MISSOURI STATE (13-3)
3) Notre Dame (14-2)   3) Texas (12-3)
14) PRINCETON (11-4)   14) NORTH TEXAS (11-3)
     
Chicago   Tucson
7) Vanderbilt (11-3)   7) Florida (12-3)
10) Washington State (12-4)   10) Cincinnati (15-1)
2) Purdue (15-1)   2) SAN DIEGO STATE (15-0)
15) AKRON (9-5)   15) LONG BEACH (7-8)

 

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

Last Five teams in (at large): USC, Memphis, Wichita State, Miami-FL, Richmond

First Five teams out (at large): Florida State, Cleveland State, Mississippi, Clemson, South Carolina

Also Considered: Colorado, Marquette, Michigan, Maryland, Drexel, Arkansas, NC State, UCLA, UAB, Northwestern, Xavier, Colorado State, Southern Mississippi, Dayton, New Mexico, Virginia, VCU, Penn State

Bracket adjustments: Cincinnati drops one line and Butler moves up one line for procedural reasons.

Here is the team breakdown by Conference …

Big East (10): SYRACUSE, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Villanova, Louisville, Cincinnati, St. John’s, West Virginia

Big 12 (7): KANSAS, Texas, Missouri, Kansas State, Texas A-M, Baylor, Oklahoma State

Big Ten (6): OHIO STATE, Purdue, Michigan State, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin

ACC (5): DUKE, North Carolina, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Miami-FL

SEC (5): KENTUCKY, Vanderbilt, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia

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

Mountain West (3): SAN DIEGO STATE, BYU, UNLV

Atlantic 10 (2): TEMPLE, Richmond

Missouri Valley (2): MISSOURI STATE, Wichita State

Conference USA (2): CENTRAL FLORIDA, Memphis

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, St. Mary’s

Colonial (1): OLD DOMINION

Horizon (1): BUTLER

Auto Bid conference champions … Utah State (WAC), Murray State (OVC), Fairfield (MAAC), Akron (MAC), Montana (Big Sky), Charleston (Southern), Oakland (Summit), Long Beach (Big West), Quinnipiac (NEC), Jacksonville (Atlantic Sun), North Texas (Sun Belt), Princeton (Ivy), Coastal Carolina (Big South), Hampton (MEAC), American (Patriot), Vermont (America East), Sam Houston (Southland), Jackson State (SWAC)

First bracket countdown: Observations and notes

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Our first in-season bracket projection at Bracketville is due out Monday evening (Dec. 6).  With it will come a lot of debate (and some complaints).  Time to fire away with some notes and observations from a great first month of college hoops.

 The first note is to remind ourselves that a lot of meaningful basketball remains.  Things don’t necessarily end like they start.  Flashback: Georgetown opened the ’08-’09 season 11-1, including a win at Connecticut – an eventual No. 1 seed.  From there, the Hoyas stumbled through the Big East – finishing 7-11 in conference play and 16-14 overall – missing the NCAAs.   With that, here we go …

  • San Diego State and UNLV lead a quadrant of teams (BYU and New Mexico) from the Mountain West that could impact our final bracket in March.  SDSU opened with three true road games and two neutral-court affairs – including a win at Gonzaga.  It’s the type of schedule that should pay big dividends.  UNLV has already beaten Wisconsin (home) and Virginia Tech (neutral court).   BYU has victories over WAC-favorite Utah State and St. Mary’s.  If there’s a bubble team, it’s likely New Mexico.  The Lobos beat Arizona State, but lost a lopsided tilt at Cal. 
  • If Connecticut continues to get production from Alex Oriakhi, Shabazz Napier, and others, the Huskies are in line for a very good season.  Kemba Walker is a front-runner for Player-of-the-Year, and UConn already has three wins over NCAA-level teams: Wichita State, Michigan State, and Kentucky (Maui Invitational).
  • Who thought Notre Dame would win the Old Spice Classic in Orlando?  While beating Georgia, California, and Wisconsin isn’t quite like UConn’s feat in Maui, the Irish have certainly improved expectations – at least outside South Bend.
  • Georgetown is also off to a great start.  The Hoyas 111-102 OT win over Missouri ranks as the season’s best game to date.  The season-opening road win at Old Dominion is looking better all the time.
  • Pittsburgh is solid again – beating Maryland and Pittsburgh in New York.  A No. 1-seed hopeful, the Panthers’ real questions won’t begin until March.  Can they reach a Final Four?
  • Overall, the Big East is 17-6 vs. fellow BCS teams.
  • The Big Ten – fresh off its second straight ACC-Big Ten title – is 14-10 vs. BCS teams and 9-5 vs. the ACC overall.  In our preseason Power 24, we suggested that Ohio State would challenge Michigan State for league supremacy.  No team has two bigger true road wins (Florida, Florida State) than the Buckeyes.  That said, MSU was 4-2 at this juncture last season and the Spartans ended up in the Final Four.  Don’t quit on Tom Izzo’s bunch just because they lost to UConn and at Duke. 
  • Will Duke lose to anyone?  That will be the question given the Blue Devils’ talent, depth, and incredible start.  Duke powered through Marquette and Kansas State in Kansas City before wiping out Oregon on the West Coast and the above-mentioned Spartans in Durham.  Even so, an undefeated regular-season is unlikely.  Trips to Maryland and North Carolina are always tricky – even if the Tar Heels have spun their wheels a bit.
  • Hard to imagine North Carolina having another down year from start to finish.  The Tar Heels are loaded with talent and you have to figure they’ll figure it out at some point.  A Top 10 preseason ranking simply wasn’t justified – then again, preseason rankings mean nothing anyway.  An exercise in fun (futility) nothing else.
  • Overall the ACC is just 14-18 vs. BCS teams. 
  • Virginia Tech could be one team that wishes it had a first-month do-over.  While the Hokies have played a much better non-conference slate, they are 0-3 in big-win games – falling at Kansas State, to UNLV on a neutral floor, and dropping a home game to Purdue in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.  Could be another testy Selection Sunday if the Hokies stumble in the ACC.
  • What’s going on the Atlantic 10Richmond has the best win (Purdue) while Temple has struggled more than expected.  The Owls were favored to win the Old Spice Classic but lost to California and Texas A&M.  Hampered by injuries, Xavier has been mostly unimpressive and Dayton was blown out by Cincinnati and lost at home to East Tennessee State.
  • The Pac-10 isn’t much better – thus far.  Washington is the league’s best, yet the Huskies missed chances with both Kentucky and Michigan State in Maui.  Neither is a bad loss, but outside a trip to Texas A&M (Dec. 11), UW now has little chance to make a non-conference impression.  A Top 4 seed will be hard to achieve.  Ironically, California has the league’s best wins (New Mexico and Temple) even though they lost games to Notre Dame and Boston College in Orlando.  The good news is that Arizona and UCLA seem on track to be in the NCAA discussion, along with Washington State.  Better quality wins should be available in conference play.
  • As noted in an earlier Bracket Bits column, the Missouri Valley will be challenged by another poor start.  Wichita State really hurt its opportunities in Maui by giving up a second-half lead to Connecticut.  Missouri State lost at Tennessee and Tulsa in its two best non-league tilts to date. 
  • By comparison, Colonial teams Old Dominion and VCU would both be in the NCAA discussion today – with ODU pushing for a single-digit seed.  The Monarchs gave Georgetown a great battle and have beaten Clemson, Xavier, and Richmond.  A win at Missouri on Dec. 30 would really leave a good impression.
  • Kansas State will battle Kansas for supremacy in the Big 12.  The Jayhawks know that Josh Selby will be eligible this month (Dec. 18) – another piece to an already good puzzle.  If Selby plays anywhere near the level of Kyrie Irving at Duke, KU will be in play for a No. 1 seed.
  • Not sure what to make of Missouri.  An NCAA team for sure, but the Tigers lost a virtual home game in Kansas City to their only quality opponent to date (G’Town).  They also struggled with several mid-range teams in Cancun and nearly coughed up a big lead at Oregon before winning.
  • Texas was impressive in New York, beating Illinois in OT and losing a tight game to Pittsburgh.  The Longhorns appear well on their way to a turn-around type season.
  • Gonzaga has played well, but not great.  The health of Elias Harris will be a determining factor for the Zags.  St. Mary’s is probably a bubble team – the one-point loss to BYU on a neutral court is encouraging.
  • So far, Tennessee isn’t letting all the off-court Bruce Pearl distractions effect its on-court performance.  How long will that continue, and what lies ahead for the Vols?  Pearl says his eight-game SEC suspension won’t matter – we’ll see.  Kentucky is loaded, but dealing with severe youth – as witnessed by a lopsided loss to UConn in Maui.  Still, I’ll take UK to win the SEC in March – especially if Enes Kanter wins his appeal/resubmission regarding NCAA eligibility.
  • Paging Florida.  Who are the real Gators?  Nice win at Florida State.  Bad loss to Central Florida.  Okay first half against Ohio State at home. That’s the type of formula that earns you a 7-10 seed in the NCAAs.
  • The SEC West is working hard for the NIT.  Favorite Mississippi State lost at home to Florida Atlantic and scheduled its first 11 games at home.  Sounds like a recipe for a very poor non-conference SOS – same as last year.
  • Minnesota looked very good in Puerto Rico – beating North Carolina and West Virginia.  Not sure what happened in the second half against Virgina, but the Gophers are well on their way to wearing a home jersey in the NCAA’s first round (Top 8 seed).  Wisconsin is, well, Wisconsin.  The Badgers aren’t likely to win the Big 10, but they are likely to make another trip to the NCAAs.
  • Illinois has avoided the bad losses it had last year.  Thus, an NCAA trip looks promising.  If the Illini improve rebounding and free-throw performance, they could prove dangerous.  They have good wins over Maryland and North Carolina, and an OT loss to Texas.

I’m sure there’s numerous notes and observations we’ve missed.  We can’t go through every team.  Can’t wait to get the first real bracket together. If you have thoughts, please send a rebound.  Comment below or send an e-mail to bracketville.hoops@gmail.com.  I’m also on Twitter: BracketguyDave.

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. 

Duke earns top spot in our first 68-team bracket

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Defending champion Duke sits atop our first 68-team NCAA Tournament bracket for 2011. The other teams on the top line: Purdue, Kentucky, and Michigan State.  With the Wildcats moving up (from our April look-ahead), Kansas now headlines a strong group of No. 2-seeds that include Ohio State, Texas, and Villanova.

The first real question, however, is … which teams face off in the new Opening Round (considered the First Four).  These four games will be played in Dayton, with winners moving into the traditional 64-team bracket design.  The last four at-large teams are paired, along with teams seeded 65-68 on the S-curve.  Our initial projection looks like this … St. John’s vs. NC State | St. Louis vs. Miami-FL | Lehigh vs. Vermont | Jackson State vs. SF AustinNote: I originally projected Northwestern as one of the final four teams “in” but Kevin Coble has since decided not to return to the Wildcats for the 2010-2011 season.

As I have time, I’ll be working on a graphic to showcase these pairings.  For now, these teams are listed in the bracket with a “/” in between; the winner goes on the seed line indicated.  The St. John’s-NC State winner becomes a 12-seed in the East, playing Missouri in Tampa.  The St.Louis-Miami winner gets a 12-seed opposite national runner-up Butler (game in Tucson, Southeast Region).  The other winners earn 16-seeds in the Southwest and West.

Enough talk for now.  Several teams moved one seed line to accommodate bracketing issues.  BYU always creates some chaos because the Cougars cannot be placed in Friday-Sunday sites.  Have a different opinion?  Send a rebound.  The breakdown by conference and other teams considered are listed below the bracket.

68-TEAM BRACKET PROJECTION for 2011

EAST — Newark Southwest — San Antonio
Charlotte Chicago
1) DUKE 1) PURDUE
16) MORGAN STATE 16) JACKSON ST/SF AUSTIN
8) Wisconsin 8) Texas A&M
9) WICHITA STATE 9) Richmond
Tampa Charlotte
5) Missouri 5) Tennessee
12) St. John’s/NC State 12) Louisville
4) Florida 4) North Carolina
13) OLD DOMINION 13) MURRAY STATE
Denver Tampa
6) XAVIER 6) Georgetown
11) Arizona 11) Mississippi State
3) Kansas State 3) MEMPHIS
14) WEBER STATE 14) CHARLESTON
Washington, DC Tulsa
7) Illinois 7) SAN DIEGO ST
10) Virginia Tech 10) Minnesota
2) VILLANOVA 2) Texas
15) E. TENNESSEE ST. 15) HARVARD
SOUTHEAST — New Orleans WEST– Anaheim
Cleveland Chicago
1) KENTUCKY 1) Michigan State
16) WINTHROP 16) LEHIGH/VERMONT
8) Connecticut 8) Temple
9) Florida State 9) Georgia Tech
Tucson Denver
5) BUTLER 5) WASHINGTON
12) St.Louis/Miami-FL 12) UTAH STATE
4) Baylor 4) Syracuse
13) OHIO 13) OAKLAND
Washington, DC Tucson
6) Wake Forest 6) GONZAGA
11) New Mexico 11) BYU
3) Pittsburgh 3) West Virginia
14) FAIRFIELD 14) PACIFIC
Cleveland Tulsa
7) California 7) Maryland
10) Mississippi 10) Georgia
2) Ohio State 2) KANSAS
15) ROBERT MORRIS 15) NORTH TEXAS

NOTES on the BRACKET: Duke is the No. 1 overall seed in this projection, followed by Purdue, Kentucky, and Michigan State.  Next in line (No. 2 seeds): Kansas, Ohio State, Texas, Villanova

Last Five teams in (at large): Arizona, St. John’s, Miami-FL, St. Louis, NC State

First Five teams out (at large): Washington State, Dayton, VCU, UCLA, Northwestern

Also considered (not listed in any order): UNLV, Northern Iowa, Rhode Island, Cincinnati, Cleveland State, Creighton, South Florida, George Mason, Texas Tech, Nevada, Arizona State, UTEP, UAB, Virginia, Oregon

Conference Breakdown: ACC (8), Big East (8), Big  Ten (7), SEC (6), Big 12 (6), Atlantic 10 (4), Pac-10 (3), Mountain West (3)

For more, follow my blog at Bracketville.  I’m also on Twitter at BracketguyDave.