This is one of the best times of the year if you're a fan of college basketball. Every game has a chance to affect your team's chances of going dancing come March. So I decided to try predict the field for the next few weeks and I was then reminded of how much goes into drawing up a bracket. Needless to say, I don't want to hear the phrase "NET Rankings" until next Monday when I revisit this bracket. Unfortunately, I don't have a convenient graphic I can post with all these teams in it so here's the longhand version.
(1) Duke+ vs. winner of (16) South Dakota St.+/(16)North Carolina A&T
(8) Baylor vs. (9) Ohio State
(5) Virginia Tech vs. (12) New Mexico State+
(4) Texas Tech vs. (13) Texas State+
(6) Iowa State vs. (11) Alabama
(3) LSU+ vs. (14) Bucknell+
(7) Cincinnati vs. (10) Seton Hall
(2) Michigan State vs. (15) Montana+
(1) Gonzaga + vs. winner of (16) St. Francis (PA)+/(16)Prarie View A&M+
(8) St. John's vs. (9) NC State
(5) Kansas State vs. (12) Clemson
(4) Iowa vs. (13) Old Dominion+
(6) Wisconsin vs. (11) Temple
(3) Houston+ vs. (14) Harvard+
(7) Ole Miss vs. (10) TCU
(2) Michigan+ vs. (15) Northern Kentucky+
(1) Tennessee vs. (16) Vermont+
(8) Buffalo+ vs. (9) Texas
(5) Maryland vs. winner of (12) Utah State/(12)Florida
(4) Marquette vs. (13) Hofstra+
(6) Villanova+ vs. (11) UCF
(3) Purdue vs. (14) Radford+
(7) Washington+ vs. (10) VCU+
(2) North Carolina vs. (15) UC Irvine+
(1) Virginia vs. (16) Sam Houston State+
(8) Auburn vs. (9) Syracuse
(5) Louisville vs. winner of (12) Lipscomb/(12)Arizona State
(4) Nevada+ vs. (13) Murray State+
(6) Florida State vs. (11) Wofford+
(3) Kansas+ vs. (14) Liberty+
(7) Mississippi State vs. (10) Minnesota
(2) Kentucky vs. (15) Loyola-Chicago+
+ = conference champion auto-bid
Last Four In
- Utah State
- Arizona State
First Four Out
- San Francisco
A few notes to round this out...
- Unfortunately, the carousel that has been the three-way dance of Buffalo/Toledo/Bowling Green has basically torpedoed the MAC's chances for an at-large bid. The bubble is looking particularly soft this year and Toledo will suffer a lack of a signature win and Bowling Green will be brought down by the losses to Miami and UT.
- I can't see tomorrow night's Duke/UNC showdown changing the seed lines that much. Obviously, nothing changes with a Blue Devils win. But I don't think a Heels win would be enough alone to jump Tennessee, Virginia or Gonzaga. Now, any of those three could slip up and warrant some reshuffling. But if one of them slip, I would think Michigan would be the first pick to slide up to the one line.
- The ACC continues to dominate, getting nine teams into my field. Big Ten right behind them with 8.
- How far has the Pac-12 fallen? The only solid team in will be the champions and it's hard to see Washington slipping up in LA. Oregon was on my bubble and quickly moved to the NIT/CBI side.
- I have a couple of teams from the smaller conferences in that aren't being picked by too many others. But I'm all for March chaos, as we well know is guaranteed to happen in Cleveland with the MAC. But, Yale (Ivy), Norfolk State (MEAC), Drake (MVC), and Belmont (OVC) will be taking the NIT auto-bids as regular season champions that were not selected for the NCAA Tournament.
If you think this is a ridiculous endeavor, come back Thursday afternoon when I'll do the same thing for the NCAA Hockey tournament bracket...