Deep Thoughts

Barnes Bracketology - Feb. 20

Well, my goal of writing a mid-week update was not reached. Apologies for that. But from here on out, pending something crazy, there will be a Thursday/Friday update to the projections. That is so you can really see the movement that takes place as we get closer to Selection Sunday.

Speaking of that, plenty of movement after this past week’s games. Teams moving around the bracket, getting higher or lower seeds. Others find themselves in or out of the bracket. And we’re still 3 weeks away from Selection Sunday! So these next two weeks of the regular season are going to be just as huge as Championship Week, in terms of improving the resume and impressing the committee at this late stage.

MY PROJECTED FIELD OF 68


(changes from previous projection in italics)

LOCKS: After a week’s worth of games, just one addition here as Notre Dame won two games this past week to firm up its spot in the field. Other teams had their chances to also join this group. Indiana though lost at Iowa, Gonzaga lost to San Fran and Southern Miss lost to Houston. All are in great shape to get in the tournament but to call them a LOCK right now still seems a bit premature to me without at least another victory to prove the previous loss was nothing more than a fluke. So we’re up to 24 teams safely in.

LOCKS (24): Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Missouri, Kansas, Baylor, Syracuse, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida State, Creighton, Wichita State, San Diego State, UNLV, Kentucky, Florida, St. Mary’s, Murray State, Indiana AUTOS: Some subtle changes here as some of the games this past week made me change my mind about who might win the conference tournaments in the next few weeks. Look for those changes in the italics. Again, this is the toughest group to predict because I’m simply not going to extensive research on a lot of these teams that are highly unlikely to win more than 2 games in the tournament or receive higher than a 12 seed come Selection Sunday.

Teams that have clinched their automatic bid will appear in bold.

AUTOS (22): America East - Vermont, Atlantic-10 - Temple, Atlantic Sun - Belmont, Big Sky - Weber State, Big South - UNC-Asheville, Big West - Long Beach State, Colonial - Drexel, Conference USA - Southern Miss, Horizon - Valparaiso, Ivy - Harvard, MAAC - Iona, MAC - Akron, MEAC - Savannah State, , Northeast -LIU-Brooklyn, Pac-12 - California, Patriot - Bucknell, Southern - Davidson, Southland - UT-Arlington, SWAC - Miss. Valley State, Summit - Oral Roberts, Sun Belt - Middle Tennessee, WAC - Nevada AT-LARGE: Lots of movement here as lots of teams had bad weeks. I mentioned a few up top as teams that are still in good standing suffered some pretty bad losses. But others like NC State, Illinois, and Miss. State really hurt themselves with two losses last week. Others though had great weeks like New Mexico, who had 2 wins over teams in the LOCKS category. So they moved up considerably from where they were and are very close to becoming a LOCK themselves.

Reminder that the last four teams in this category will compete in the “First Four” games.

AT-LARGE (22): Vanderbilt, New Mexico, Indiana, Gonzaga, West Virginia, Saint Louis, Kansas State, Seton Hall, Memphis, Purdue, Iowa State, Miss. State, Xavier, Alabama, BYU, Miami (FL), UConn, Cincinnati, Washington, Arizona, Northwestern, Texas

BUBBLE WATCH

A lot of bubbles burst this past week. Teams like Ole Miss, VCU, Wyoming, Pittsburgh and Minnesota are gone from the watch list due to losses suffered last week. Now that’s not to say they can’t re-enter but for now, consider them as good as gone from the field unless they win their conference tournament. There was one new entry in St. Joseph’s, who is still not that close but worthy of inclusion in this list. This time, this in in order. Again, you will see teams from the AUTO category in here. That is because they are BUBBLE teams if they do not win their conference tourney.

BUBBLE (39): Temple, Vanderbilt, New Mexico, Indiana, Gonzaga, Southern Miss, West Virginia, Harvard, Saint Louis, Kansas State, California, Seton Hall, Memphis, Purdue, Iowa State, Miss. State, Xavier, Alabama, BYU, Miami (FL), Long Beach State, UConn, Cincinnati, Washington, Arizona, Northwestern, Texas, NC State, Colorado State, Illinois, Drexel, Sotuh Florida, UCF, Arkansas, Colorado, UMass, Oregon, St. Joseph’s, George Mason

SEEDING

The seeding is always a bit easier after the first post. The first one took me about 90 minutes. This time, it took about 25 minutes. Once you get a feel of where teams should be, you can easily raise or drop them one or two spots with a win or loss. Plus, you start to remember what teams can;t play others because of regular season matchups earlier in the year. No real drastic changes. Ohio State falls out of the 1 seed and fellow Big Ten team Michigan State jumps in. Wichita State is up to a 4 seed. New Mexico jumped up to a 7 seed after its impressive week, beating UNLV and San Diego State, who both fell from a 4 seed to a 5 seed.

CONFERENCE BREAKDOWN

Big East (9), Big Ten (7), Big 12 (6), ACC (5), SEC (5), A-10 (3), MWC (3), Pac-10 (3), WCC (3), C-USA (2), MVC (2),

(click on bracket to enlarge)

SOUTH vs. WEST
EAST vs. MIDWEST

**Kentucky is the overall top seed

Now in future posts, I will post the records of the teams here but this time, just the bracket.

GAMES TO WATCH

MONDAY
Baylor @ Texas
- The ‘Horns could really use this win to pad their weak resume. It’s on their home court too, so this is the best chance they may get at a signature victory.
UConn @ Villanova - This is not a good Villanova team so UConn cannot afford to trip up here. Need to get back to winning and soon.


TUESDAY
Kentucky @ Mississippi State
- The Wildcats have mastered these road tests all year except Indiana. The Bulldogs would do wonders for their chances with an upset here.
Kansas State @ Missouri - If Kansas State pulls off this upset, put them in the field after beating Baylor on Saturday in Waco. Tigers just trying to hold on that 1 seed.
Illinois @ Ohio State - The Illini are trying to stop a freefall from somewhat safe to not in the field at all. The Bucks hope to stay in the race for that final 1 seed.
North Carolina @ NC State - NC State had two chances for signature wins last week and blew them both, especially at Duke. They get a third chance on this night.
Georgetown @ Seton Hall - Seton Hall really needs this one. Their resume isn’t great so one more quality win could do a lot of good for the Pirates.
Michigan @ Northwestern - Is this a must-win at home for the Wildcats? I’d say so with only Ohio State left on the schedule to give them a quality win after this.
Xavier @ UMass - UMass is really living on a prayer whereas Xavier is in…for now. A good road win here would help ease some fears in Cincy.
Miami (FL) @ Maryland - When making a run at the tourney field like the Hurricanes, losing to a team like Maryland, home or away, is not acceptable. Plain and simple.
New Mexico @ Colorado State - If New Mexico can make if 3 for 3 against the best teams in the Mountain West, they are a LOCK for sure. Colorado State may see their bubble burst with a loss.

WEDNESDAY
South Florida @ Syracuse - I don’t expect USF to win but if they happen to, they finally get that huge win they need to get some respect and possibly, get into the field.
Michigan State @ Minnesota - Beware the Gophers at the barn. They are playing for their tournament lives and MSU is playing to keep that 1 seed.
West Virginia @ Notre Dame - Love when these two teams meet up. Notre Dame has been hot and it shows in the projections. WV could lock up their spot with a good win.
Nebraska @ Purdue - The Boilers are the better team and with this being at Mackey Arena, there’s no way they lose. But if they do, yikes.
Temple @ LaSalle - LaSalle is a good team so if Temple can go on the road and beat them, they’ll be a LOCK next time I post.
Southern Miss @ UTEP - UTEP took down Memphis last week so they are no pushover. Southern Miss is coming off a loss and need to stop the bleeding.

THURSDAY
Duke @ Florida State
- Seminoles won the first matchup in Durham. Wouldn’t be surprised to see the same result in Tallahassee. It would end the 1-seed hopes for the Devils.
Murray State @ Tennessee State - Murray State goes on the road to avenge its only loss of the season. A loss brings more worry to their camp.
Louisville @ Cincinnati - The Bearcats need this one bad. Their non-conference schedule is what’s keeping them back right now, not their talent.
BYU @ Gonzaga - BYU really could use this victory to feel better about its chances. The Zags could all but lock up their spot with a big win at home.
Alabama @ Arkansas - This SEC bubble matchup has real disappointment written all over it for one squad. Lots of eyes will be on this one.

That’s all for now. I’ll update this hopefully Thursday night. If not, look for it Friday night. Lots of great games so enjoy the week ahead and make sure you check back to see where your favorite team(s) lands in Barnes Bracketology!

MB

Posted by on 02/20 at 03:09 PM
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