January 20, 2014 – Bracket

Here’s our second bracket here on The Nickel Dimer. The plan for these brackets is going to change a bit. Originally, I planned on just doing one a week. That’ll change to two, I’ll stick to releasing one on Sunday night/Monday, but I’m going to add a second update on Thursday night/Friday as well.

Let’s take a look at a few teams from a stock up/stock down perspective since last week before the bracket reveal.

  • Stock Up
    • Iowa – The Hawkeyes rose from a low 4 seed to a high 3 seed after a solid home win over Minnesota. They probably should have been a bit higher last week after their road win over Ohio State, which is another reason for the boost in today’s bracket.
    • Michigan – The Wolverines had the second best week in the nation. After a necessary home win over Penn State, Michigan followed that up with an outstanding road win at Wisconsin on Saturday. Wisconsin rarely, if ever, loses at home in the Big Ten, which makes this one of the best wins by any team so far this season.
    • Oklahoma – The Sooners had a frustrating road loss on Wednesday at Kansas State, but they followed it up with a good road win in Waco against Baylor. Yes, Baylor is probably not as good as we all thought, but Lon Kruger’s team is safely in the tournament field right now and on the rise.
    • Kansas – What a week for Bill Self and the Jayhawks. Kansas won at Iowa State on Monday and is the only team to beat the Cyclones in Ames the last two seasons. Then on Saturday, Kansas defeated their key counterpart in the race to win the Big 12, Oklahoma State. Kansas rose to the 2-line this week and were in contention with Villanova and Wichita State for the final 1-seed spot.
  • Stock Down
    • Baylor – What an awful, awful week for Scott Drew and the Bears. Two losses, one a road blowout to Texas Tech, the other a home defeat to Oklahoma, and Baylor falls from the 4-line to a 7-seed. They have a big opportunity tonight on the road at Kansas.
    • Oregon – This team is in a major slump. The Ducks dropped their 4th straight on Sunday at lowly Oregon State to fall to 1-4 in the Pac-12. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt a bit. Most teams who start 13-0 are tournament teams, and they are still in the bracket as a 7-seed. It’s entirely possible that this is just a rough 4-game stretch, and that they’ll recover. However, they don’t have a ton of room to spare and, if they drop either game this week on their Washington road trip, they’ll be fast approaching bubble status.
    • Ohio State and Iowa State – I’m also giving these two teams the benefit of the doubt. Both teams started undefeated, won their first two games in conference play, and then followed that up by losing three straight. However, unlike Baylor, none of these six losses would qualify as “bad” or “totally unexpected” defeats. Ohio State lost on the road to (current bracket projections about to be used) a 1-seed in Michigan State, at home to 3-seed Iowa, and at 8-seed Minnesota. Iowa State lost on the road to 6-seed Oklahoma, at home to 2-seed Kansas, and at 11-seed Texas. The Big Ten and Big 12 are absolutely brutal this year (especially the Big 12 with its double round-robin format), and we should expect a lot of quality teams to lose tough, close games on the road. Because of that, both teams fell just one seed line, from 2 to 3. Ohio State is at Nebraska and home for Illinois this week. Iowa State is home for Kansas State. Expect both to get back on track.

Alright, no more suspense. Here’s the bracket.

West – Anaheim East – New York
  San Diego   Buffalo
 1) Arizona  1) Syracuse
 16) Davidson/Radford  16) Vermont/Southern
 8) Minnesota  8) Kansas State
 9) VCU  9) UCLA
 Spokane   Spokane
 5) Louisville  5) Michigan
 12) Providence/Stanford  12) SMU/Tennessee
 4) San Diego State  4) UMass
 13) UC-Santa Barbara  13) Stephen F. Austin
  San Antonio   Raleigh
6) Creighton  6) Oklahoma
11) New Mexico  11) Dayton
3) Iowa State  3) Ohio State
14) North Dakota State  14) Belmont
  Milwaukee   Orlando
 7) Gonzaga  7) Baylor
 10) Missouri  10) Harvard
 2) Wisconsin  2) Florida
 15) Northern Colorado  15) Georgia State
South – Memphis Midwest – Indianapolis
  Buffalo   Milwaukee
 1) Villanova  1) Michigan State
 16) Bryant  16) North Carolina Central
 8) California  8) Virginia
 9) UConn  9) Colorado
  Orlando   San Diego
 5) Pittsburgh  5) Duke
 12) Green Bay  12) Southern Miss
 4) Kentucky  4) Cincinnati
 13) Toledo  13) Manhattan
  Raleigh   San Antonio
 6) St. Louis  6) Memphis
 11) Texas  11) UNC
 3) Iowa  3) Oklahoma State
 14) Delaware  14) New Mexico State
  St. Louis   St. Louis
 7) Oregon  7) Xavier
 10) Florida State  10) George Washington
 2) Kansas  2) Wichita State
 15) Mercer  15) Boston University
  • Last 4 In: Tennessee, SMU, Stanford, Providence
  • First 4 Out: Georgetown, Clemson, Boise State, Arkansas

Breakdown by Conference

  • Big 12: 7
  • Big Ten: 6
  • Pac-12: 6
  • ACC: 6
  • A-10: 5
  • AAC: 5
  • SEC: 4
  • Big East: 4
  • Mountain West: 2

And as always, check out The Bracket Matrix to see what projected NCAA Tournament fields look like elsewhere.

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