Deep Thoughts

Barnes Bracketology - Mar. 5

Well, that was a fun weekend huh? Championship week is in full swing and teams that are on the bubble are doing everything they can to either stay there or lock up their spot. It only gets better from here though as more conference tournaments get going and more teams punch their ticket to the Big Dance.
The good news for you is that starting today, this blog will get updated daily! That’s right, with the countdown clock less than a week until Selection Sunday, you deserve the best so I will give you the best I have. I mean, who needs sleep anyways!
MY PROJECTED FIELD OF 68


(changes from previous projection in italics)

LOCKS: I am adding two more names to this list after the weekend. The first is Cincinnati. The Bearcats avoided a bad loss against Villanova and when looking at the rest of the AT-LARGE teams, they just seem like a cut above. So they are in. The other is West Virginia. The Mountaineers had some quality wins already. Beating South Florida in Tampa this past weekend made it one more. That’s enough I think for them to feel safe come Sunday.

LOCKS (38): 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, Memphis, Southern Miss, Saint Louis, Alabama, Cincinnati, West Virginia

AUTOS: For the first time, I can put some teams in bold on the blog. 4 teams punched their ticket to the dance via the conference tournament. Only 2 though really needed to do that though: UNC-Asheville and Belmont. Other changes here are because of upsets in conference tourneys that have made me switch my projection of who will get the bid.

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

AUTOS (20): America East - Vermont, Atlantic Sun - Belmont, Big Sky - Weber State, Big South - UNC-Asheville, Big West - Long Beach State, Colonial - Drexel, Horizon - Valparaiso, Ivy - Harvard, MAAC - Loyola (MD), 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 - Denver, WAC - Nevada

AT-LARGE: As usual, after a weekend’s worth of games, this group had some shifting. Only one team dropped out. That was Texas, who lost at Kansas. Not a bad loss by any means but when on the bubble, every loss hurts. UConn is back in after beating Pittsburgh. Having Jim Calhoun on the sideline should help them as they move forward. Just 10 spots left here now. Could have been less if Murray State and/or Creighton would have lost in their conference tournament championship game. But luckily for these teams, their chances of getting in the Dance are still pretty good.

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

AT-LARGE (10): Colorado State, Seton Hall, Miami (FL), BYU, Xavier, South Florida, Mississippi State, Northwestern, Washington, UConn

BUBBLE WATCH
Last time, we had 24 BUBBLE teams fighting for 12 AT-LARGE spots. Now, we have 21 BUBBLE teams fighting for just 10 AT-LARGE spots. 2 teams were promoted to a LOCK. 2 teams (Colorado, St. Joseph’s) had their bubbles burst. I did add one team in Tennessee after the Vols knocked off Vandy. Out of nowhere, they have become a team to watch to possibly get a bid. Their record is ugly but the resume is pretty solid with 4 top-50 RPI wins. Still work to do but better to be on the BUBBLE than not at all.
Again, these are in order so the teams near the end are barely hanging on to hope as of now.
BUBBLE (21): Colorado State, Harvard, California, Seton Hall, Miami (FL), BYU, Xavier, Long Beach State, South Florida, Mississippi State, Northwestern, Washington, UConn, Texas, VCU, Drexel, NC State, Tennessee, Arizona, Oregon, Iona

SEEDING

With one week left, some teams are truly locked in their seeds. I think Kentucky and Syracuse are #1 seeds no matter what now. The other two #1 seeds are still in play in my mind. For now, UNC is up to a #1 seed after that win at Duke. Beyond that, no other movement in the top 4 seeds. Kentucky moved back to the South region as Kansas makes more sense in the Midwest region.
CONFERENCE BREAKDOWN

Big East (10), Big Ten (7), ACC (5), Big 12 (5), SEC (5), MWC (4), A-10 (3), WCC (3), C-USA (2), MVC (2), Pac-10 (2)

(click on bracket to enlarge)

SOUTH vs. WEST
EAST vs. MIDWEST

**Kentucky is the overall top seed

MOVING IN
UConn, Loyola (MD), Denver

MOVING OUT
Texas, Iona, Middle Tennessee

MOVING UP
North Carolina (2 to 1), Creighton (6 to 5), Notre Dame (7 to 6), Iowa State (8 to 7), West Virginia (12 to 10), Miami (FL) (12 to 11), Nevada (14 to 13), Weber State (15 to 14), Belmont (15 to 14)

MOVING DOWN
Duke (1 to 2), San Diego State (5 to 6), Murray State (6 to 7), Virginia (7 to 8), Seton Hall (10 to 11), South Florida (11 to 12), Long Beach State (11 to 12)

GAMES TO WATCH

MONDAY
VCU vs. Drexel (Colonial Championship) - Winner can breathe easy and celebrate until Sunday. The loser will sit firmly on the bubble, hoping and waiting to hear their name called on Sunday.

Loyola (MD)vs. Fairfield (MAAC Championship) - This was supposed to be Iona’s title to lose. Now one of these two will be in the Big Dance.
Western Carolina vs. Davidson (Southern Championship) - No doubt, Davidson is the favorite here. If they win, I don’t wanna be that 3 or 4 seed playing them in the second round.
Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary’s (West Coast Championship) - Yawn…these two teams again playing for the WCC title. At least this time, only thing on the line is bragging rights. Both teams are firmly in the field.

So there’s your Monday update. Check back tomorrow for the next update as we get closer to the bracket being revealed and yours truly seeing how good or bad I did compared to those who get paid to do this nonsense. Enjoy the games!

MB

Posted by on 03/05 at 02:23 PM
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