Barnes Bracketology - Feb. 24
As expected, a great 4 days of games on paper turned into great games on the court. A lot of big wins for teams that were really craving them as well as some bad losses by teams that couldn’t afford them. It’s all apart of the February Frenzy before the March Madness.
From here on, I plan to do mid-week updates like this one. This way, you can really see the movement a team goes through with just one win or loss. You’ll notice that in this post as we have a new #1 seed and a new team in the field of 68 thanks to a quality victory. So here we go.
(changes from previous projection in italics)
LOCKS: I mentioned in the last post that there was an opportunity for a good amount of teams to move into this section. Well that has occurred. Kansas State beat projected #1 seed Missouri. Temple and Vanderbilt avoided adding an embarrassing loss to an impressive resume. Gonzaga beat a good BYU squad. And while Indiana beat a real cupcake in North Carolina Central and New Mexico lost to Colorado State, after going through the AT-LARGE teams, those 2 are simply just a cut above. So 6 new names in this category, meaning these 30 teams are free to schedule their NCAA watch parties on Selection Sunday.
LOCKS (30): 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, Notre Dame, Temple, Vanderbilt, Kansas State, Gonzaga, Indiana, New Mexico AUTOS: With Temple moving into the LOCK category, they are no longer here so we’re down to 21 teams getting into their field by just their conference championship alone. I did make one change among this group though, which is Memphis replacing Southern Miss. The Eagles have lost 2 bad ones in a row, so for now, they have to worry about getting in the AT-LARGE route. This time next week, we may have a few of these teams in bold, meaning they have won their conference tournament and are in for sure.
Teams that have clinched their automatic bid will appear in bold.
AUTOS (21): America East - Vermont, Atlantic Sun - Belmont, Big Sky - Weber State, Big South - UNC-Asheville, Big West - Long Beach State, Colonial - Drexel, Conference USA - Memphis, 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: These past 4 days have really helped and really hurt some teams. For example, Seton Hall is very close now to becoming a LOCK after an 18-point home victory over Georgetown and Colorado State jumps in thanks to that big home win over New Mexico. On the flip side, Texas’ loss to Baylor, Northwestern’s loss to Michigan and Miami (FL) loss to Maryland have them falling further from the projected field. We’re down to just 15 spots here and it will only get smaller if one of the AUTO teams like Harvard or Memphis don’t win their conference tourney, stealing a bid from one of these teams.
Reminder that the last four teams in this category will compete in the “First Four” games.
AT-LARGE (17): Seton Hall, Saint Louis, Southern Miss, Purdue, Iowa State, West Virginia, Alabama, Cincinnati, Miss. State, BYU, UConn, Xavier, Arizona, Washington, Colorado State, Northwestern, Miami (FL)
I really hate bursting bubbles but teams are forcing my hand with terrible losses when it matters the most. Arkansas has now dropped 4 of its last 5 and is out. Colorado was hanging on but then lost by 24 at home to Stanford. Yikes. George Mason lost to Northeastern and St. Joseph’s lost to Richmond. Ouch. So consider them gone too. They could resurface but for now, we’re down to 30 in this group when you consider the teams promoted to LOCKS and the teams demoted to well, the NIT. Again, these are in order from safe to not so safe.
BUBBLE (30): Seton Hall, Harvard, Saint Louis, California, Memphis, Southern Miss, Purdue, Iowa State, West Virginia, Alabama, Cincinnati, Miss. State, Long Beach State, BYU, UConn, Xavier, Arizona, Washington, Colorado State, Northwestern, Miami (FL), Texas, South Florida, NC State, UMass, Drexel, Illinois, Oregon, Iona, UCF
Not too many drastic shifts in the seeding. Maybe a move up or down one seed becaus eof a win or loss or just for the sake of putting the bracket together. The biggest move is moving Duke to a #1 seed and dropping Missouri to a #2. The other “big” move is moving Michigan up to a #3 seed, which is well-deserved for the third best team in the tough Big Ten. Georgetown drops to a #4 seed after that lopsided loss at Seton Hall. Long Beach State jumps up to a #11 seed as these other bubble teams prove they aren’t worthy of being than the 49ers.
Big East (9), Big Ten (7), ACC (5), Big 12 (5), SEC (5), A-10 (3), MWC (4), 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
Duke (2 to 1), Michigan (3 to 2), Temple (7 to 6), Gonzaga (8 to 7), Kansas State (9 to 8), California (9 to 8), Seton Hall (10 to 9), Iowa State (10 to 9), Purdue (11 to 10), Alabama (11 to 10), Long Beach State (13 to 11), Cincinnati (12 to 11), Middle Tennessee (15 to 14)
Missouri (1 to 2), Georgetown (3 to 4), St. Mary’s (7 to 6), New Mexico (7 to 8), Southern Miss (8 to 10), West Virginia (8 to 10), Miss. State (10 to 11), BYU (10 to 11), Xavier (11 to 12), Miami (FL) (11 to 12), UConn (11 to 12), Northwestern (12 to 13), Valparaiso (14 to 15)
Marquette @ West Virginia - The Mountaineers need this win badly to stop the bleeding. Their strength of schedule can only get them so far. Wins go much further.
Vanderbilt @ Kentucky - Both teams are safely in but if Vandy could pull off the upset, we’d see a move in the top overall seed.
Syracuse @ UConn - The more and more I watch UConn, they don’t look like a tournament team. A win here would change my mind.
Missouri @ Kansas - Winner here moves into that prime spot of best #2 seed and will claim the next #1 seed should one fall anytime soon.
North Carolina @ Virginia - The #1 seed dreams for UNC are not gone but could be with this loss.
Purdue @ Michigan - Not a must-have for the Boilers but if they can get the road win at Ann Arbor, they may just lock up their spot.
Colorado State @ San Diego State - SDSU is fine but Colo. State is not. They could pull off what New Mexico did last week in getting 2 huge wins and propelling themselves into the field.
Iowa State @ Kansas State - Much bigger game for ISU than KSU. I think the Wildcats are a LOCK now. Iowa State might be with a road win.
Saint Louis @ Rhode Island - The kind of game a team like Saint Louis can’t lose if they want to feel comfortable come Selection Sunday.
NC State @ Clemson - NC State had to play Duke, FSU and UNC and came up 0-3. This is not a big win for them but they just need a win in general right now.
Memphis @ Marshall - Memphis is close to being a LOCK. Marshall is a good team too so a win in Huntington moves them even closer.
Mississippi State @ Alabama - Is this one of those dreaded play-out games? Might just be. Gotta think this means more for Alabama than Miss. State.
Richmond @ Xavier - Richmond just took down St. Joseph’s and burst their bubble. They could do the same to Xavier if they win at the Cintas Center.
Northwestern @ Penn State - The Wildcats cannot, I repeat, CANNOT, lose to the Nittany Lions if they want to keep their AT-LARGE hopes alive.
Wisconsin @ Ohio State - OSU is still looking to get back to that #1 seed line. Gotta win here to keep pace with MSU.
Florida State @ Miami (FL) - The ‘Canes have to add more than just a win at Duke on their resume. This win at home would do wonders for their chances.
Cincinnati @ South Florida - The Bearcats are safer but not safe after beating Louisville Thursday. USF still lacks a great win. This is a good win that would help their cause.
California @ Colorado - Might be safe to say that with a road win against what will be a desperate Colorado team may be enough to lock up a spot for the Bears.
Iowa @ Illinois - Iowa has been a giant killer all year long. They could kill any tourney hopes for Illinois with a win in Champaign Sunday.
That’s it for this latest edition of Barnes Bracketology. I’ll have this updated after the weekend’s action so look for the update on Monday. Enjoy the basketball this weekend as well as the Daytona 500 and the Oscars! And because I can, don’t forget Ohio takes on Akron in a crucial MAC contest on Sunday at 8pm. GO BOBCATS!