Barnes Bracketology - Mar. 7
And then there were 5…days that is until Selection Sunday. And the trend that began over the weekend continued yesterday as bubble teams continue to be spared by bid-stealers. That makes my job harder as a “bracketologist” but hey, I’m a big boy. I can deal with it.
Today, there are 6 games that will have an impact on the bracket, including 3 in the Big East tournament so going to be another night of chances for teams to lock up their spot…or not.
(changes from previous projection in italics)
LOCKS: Nothing new to report here again sadly. The more names here, the easier it is for me but Seton Hall and UConn’s wins over the bottom-feeders of the Big East aren’t enough to have them ascend here yet.
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: Congrats to 15-18 Western Kentucky for turning around what was an awful season into a trip to the Big Dance. With that said, you’ve also clinched a trip to Dayton and the First Four. Have fun. Congrats also goes out to Harvard, who backed into its automatic bid thanks to a Penn loss last night, South Dakota State, who took down Western Illinois to win the Summit, and Detroit, who beat Valpo on their home court to give the Titans a spot in the Big Dance.
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 - VCU, Horizon - Detroit, 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 - South Dakota State, Sun Belt - Western Kentucky, WAC - Nevada
AT-LARGE: Seton Hall and UConn won yesterday in the Big East tournament. But the wins came against no one special. UConn did move up one spot just because they looked impressive. If they win today or at least look competitive vs. West Virginia, they’ll be in decent shape to get in.
Reminder that the last four teams in this category will compete in the “First Four” games.
Well, Harvard is no longer a BUBBLE team thanks to their automatic bid so we now have 19 teams fighting for what I think is 10 spots still up for grabs in the field. This will be a fluid situation as we get into these conference tournaments.
BUBBLE (19): Colorado State, California, Seton Hall, Miami (FL), BYU, Xavier, Long Beach State, South Florida, Mississippi State, Northwestern, UConn, Washington, Texas, Drexel, NC State, Tennessee, Arizona, Oregon, Iona
Only changes made involve replacing teams with the team that actually won that conference. Look for more drastic changes tomorrow after the games tonight and I do my annual Bubble Watch post that tends to make me re-think the entire field and shuffle things around a bit.
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)
**Kentucky is the overall top seed
Western Kentucky, Detroit
North Texas, Valparaiso
UConn vs. West Virginia (Big East Quarterfinals) - UConn gets in the tournament with this win. They may even get in with a loss, but they must look good losing.
Seton Hall vs. Louisville (Big East Quarterfinals) - Seton Hall may be in already but I’m not so sure yet. A win over the Cardinals would do it.
Villanova vs. South Florida (Big East Quarterfinals) - This does not qualify as a good win for USF. It does qualify as a bad loss, and one thatmay keep them out of the tourney.
Robert Morris vs. LIU-Brooklyn (Northeast Championship) - LIU-Brooklyn is the better team but Robert Morris has been in this position more recently.
Lehigh vs. Bucknell (Patriot Championship) - Bucknell has been there, done that. I expect to win and then promptly lose in the NCAA tournament again.
Weber State vs. Montana (Big Sky Championship) - Weber State should win and if they do, that’s not a 13-15 seed I want to face in the second round.
Again, look for a bubble watch special either later today or Thursday as I break down what makes each worthy or unworthy of making the field. Until then, enjoy the games today and tonight and check back here soon!