Deep Thoughts

Barnes Bracketology - Feb. 27

I can’t believe it but we are now less than 2 weeks from Selection Sunday. And that means just 2 weeks left for a good number of teams to state their case to the committee that they are worthy of an at-large selection or take their fate out of the committee’s hands and just win their conference tournament. either way, makes my job easier.

As of now, a lot of the teams are making my job tougher by actually losing instead of winning. If some of these teams on the bubble would just get a quality win, it would be great but alas, not to be this past weekend for many of them.

Championship Week is not officially until next week but this week, a few conferences do begin their conference tournaments so these next two weeks are going to be a lot of fun. Hope you keep checking back here for my latest projections!

MY PROJECTED FIELD OF 68


(changes from previous projection in italics)

LOCKS: I gave about 4 teams the chance to move into this category with some kind of signature victory. Well, 2 teams took advantage of that, adding that quality win onto what was already a pretty solid resume. Purdue is now a LOCK after a pretty dominating road win at Michigan. Also, Iowa State is now a LOCK thanks to their win at Kansas State. The Cyclones were simply lacking that one win that could turn heads and this qualifies.

LOCKS (32): 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, Purdue, Iowa State

AUTOS: As I stated above, with the conference tournaments tipping off this week, expect numerous changes to this section as some of my projected winners of these smaller conferences to be upset and be replaced by either the champion or someone I think will eventually win the tournament. I did not make one switch to the teams here, replacing Akron with Ohio in the MAC. Simply put, Ohio is playing great basketball right now and after beating Akron by 24 Sunday night, I think Ohio is now the team to beat in the MAC tournament next week. And that’s with no bias (but plenty of hope and love for the Bobcats)

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 - Ohio, 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: Good for Purdue and Iowa State in seizing the opportunity to escape this group and moving up to the LOCKS category. Other than those 2, 7 of the other 17 teams in this group last week lost their games, which again, is not the best way to prove you are worthy of this spot. South Florida does join this group after an important win against Cincinnati over the weekend. It’s not a signature win but it’s one that at least gets them in the field….for now. The team that dropped out is Mississippi State, who has now lost 5 games in a row. Typical Miss. State Bulldog collapse in February.

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

AT-LARGE (15): Southern Miss, Seton Hall, Alabama, Saint Louis, Washington, Cincinnati, BYU, Xavier, Arizona, Miami (FL), South Florida, West Virginia, Northwestern, UConn, Colorado State

BUBBLE WATCH

No bubbles burst this week. In fact, I’ve added three teams into the Bubble Watch. St. Joseph’s is back in after their upset of Temple, breathing back some life into their resume. Also, added VCU to the list after beating George Mason and Colorado for a good home win against California. No real quality wins for VCU but who knows how things will turn out. Teams like Saint Louis (L vs. Rhode Island), West Virginia (L vs. Marquette), UConn (L vs. Syracuse), and Colorado State (L vs. San Diego State) all continue to miss opportunities to either get off the bubble or at least feel better about their place. Instead, they are still here and that’s not a good thing.

Again, these are in order so the teams near the end are barely hanging on to hope as of now.

BUBBLE (31): Memphis, Southern Miss, Seton Hall, Alabama, Harvard, Saint Louis, California, Long Beach State, Washington, Cincinnati, BYU, Xavier, Arizona, Miami (FL), South Florida, West Virginia, Northwestern, UConn, Colorado State, Mississippi State, Texas, St. Joseph’s, Iona, Drexel, VCU, Colorado, UCF, Oregon, NC State, Illinois, UMass

SEEDING

The 1 seeds are the same from the Thursday update but the 2 seeds are not. Marquette moves up while Ohio State moves down. Meanwhile, Georgetown moves back up to a 3 seed while Michigan falls to a 4 seed. Other than that, not too much moving and shaking as far as seeding. Lots of shifting with teams in regions to accommodate other moves but all in all, nothing too crazy.

CONFERENCE BREAKDOWN

Big East (10), Big Ten (7), ACC (5), Big 12 (5), MWC (4), SEC (4), A-10 (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

MOVING IN
South Florida, Ohio

MOVING OUT
Mississippi State, Akron

MOVING UP
Marquette (3 to 2), Georgetown (4 to 3), Indiana (7 to 6), Purdue (10 to 8), Iowa State (9 to 8), Southern Miss (10 to 9), Washington (12 to 10), Xavier (12 to 11), Colorado State (13 to 12)

MOVING DOWN
Ohio State (2 to 3), Michigan (3 to 4), Harvard (8 to 9), California (8 to 9), Seton Hall (9 to 10), West Virginia (10 to 12), UConn (12 to 13)

GAMES TO WATCH

MONDAY
Kansas @ Oklahoma State - KU should roll in this one but if they don’t, forget the 1 seed that they have in their sights with just one loss by anyone on that top line.
Notre Dame @ Georgetown - The Irish need to recover from that stumble to St. John’s. Georgetown’s high water mark is a 3 seed I think for now.

TUESDAY
Duke @ Wake Forest - Duke should win this game easily. An upset though sees them fall to a 2 seed.
Michigan State @ Indiana - If MSU loses, they could lose the 1 seed they are in now. All depends on the nature of the loss. A win clinches Big Ten Tourney top seed.
Florida @ Vanderbilt - Still shocked the Gators got beat by 14 to Georgia. Yikes. Vandy won’t be easy. Could have an impact on seeding for both teams.
DePaul @ West Virginia - Memo for the Mountaineers: You simply CANNOT lose this game and feel good on Selection Sunday. That is all.
UConn @ Providence - Providence is scrappy and won’t fall over for UConn. Too bad cause the Huskies can’t afford to lose anymore, especially to an inferior team.
Xavier @ Saint Louis - A good ‘ol bubble battle in late February. Love it. Winner does themselves a lot of good. Loser keeps biting those nails.
UCF @ Memphis - With a Memphis win, they’ll be a LOCK. UCF beat the Tigers in Orlando. A sweep would do them some good for their chances.

WEDNESDAY
Iowa State @ Missouri - Mizzou’s losing streak needs to end at 2 but Iowa State will come in with guns-a-blazing as they try to solidify that spot I think they have earned.
Ohio State @ Northwestern - Northwestern had their chance last week vs. Michigan and lost it in OT. They probably have to win this one and still win 2 in the Big Ten tourney.
Marquette @ Cincinnati - If Cincinnati can pull off this win at home, they’ll be a LOCK. The only reason they aren’t now is that awful non-conference strength of schedule.
South Florida @ Louisville - The Cardinals have proven they are capable of losing at home. Good news for USF, who needs another big win to add to that resume.
UNLV @ Colorado State - Colorado State beat New Mexico but not San Diego State. That’s okay. Beat UNLV and as they say, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.
UMass @ Temple - Whatever hope UMass has at getting in the tournament hinges on this game with Temple. Lose and the bubble is burst.
St. Joseph’s @ St. Bonaventure - St. Joe’s would move to 4th in the A-10 with this win. That’s big considering the 3 teams in front of them are in my bracket currently.
Auburn @ Alabama - Not the same rivalry on the hardwood unfortunately. Alabama can’t lose this game. It would 3 steps backwards.
Mississippi State @ South Carolina - MSU has lost 5 games in a row. When will it stop? Better stop here or else…
Miami (FL) @ NC State - Another bubble battle. A win for Miami (FL) may be enough as we head down the stretch. NC State needs this win to just keep bubble floating.
Oklahoma @ Texas - The Longhorns held on to beat Texas Tech barely. Now they must avoid another bad loss against the Sooners.

THURSDAY
Michigan @ Illinois
- The Illini are livin’ on a prayer. They just won their first game in the month of February on Sunday. That’s pathetic.
Florida State @ Virginia - Nothing but seeding implications here as both teams look to get as high a seed as possible.
Washington @ USC - The Huskies are trending upwards. A loss at USC would end that trend quickly.
Colorado @ Oregon - Both teams need this win and then need a couple more in the tournament to really have a shot for an at-large I think.

Alright everyone, that’s the latest update. As you can see above, lots of big games over the next 4 days that will have some sort of impact on the bracket. Again, if you have any comments, let me know. If you see any mistakes, let me know. I appreciate you reading this and because it worked well last week, I will end the post the same way I ended the last one: GO BOBCATS!

MB

Posted by on 02/27 at 01:14 PM
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