Here is our final Bracketology before the brackets our revealed on CBS in under an hour. This is my first year doing this, and my one lesson is to start bracketing much earlier on Sunday. I had two final versions, one where Michigan wins the Big Ten title and one where they lost to Michigan State. It was a lot more work than I expected building both. I give props to the committee for the work they do in the selection process.
You’ll see the big change in my bracket from yesterday is the final 1-seed. I’ve got Virginia taking that spot, as the 1-seed in the East region. I’m not sure I necessarily agree with that placement, but after winning the ACC regular season and tournament title, combined with other contenders dropping games in the last week, I think this is what the committee will do. The other big difference between my bracket and others is the inclusion of Green Bay over SMU. This is a bit of a risk, but the committee has shown a tendency to take a liking to one mid-major every week to send to Dayton. I think Green Bay is that pet team this season. And I think SMU, with their terrible non-conference schedule and lack of Top-100 wins on their resume, will be the surprise team left out of the field this season.
Okay, onto the final bracket. See below for a PDF and PNG link to our final bracket. Below those links is our final 1-to-68 seed list, Last 4 IN, First 4 OUT, and Next 4 OUT. Bids by conference are also below.
4 – Syracuse, San Diego State, Michigan State, Cincinnati
5 – UCLA, Ohio State, Oklahoma, North Carolina
6 – UConn, New Mexico, VCU, Baylor
7 – Kentucky, Texas, St. Louis, UMass
8 – Oregon, Memphis, George Washington, Oklahoma State
9 – Gonzaga, Colorado, Kansas State, Stanford
10 – Pittsburgh, Arizona State, St. Joseph’s, Iowa
11 – Harvard, Nebraska, Tennessee, Providence
12 – BYU, Dayton, Xavier, Green Bay, North Dakota State, Stephen F. Austin
13 – Tulsa, Delaware, Manhattan, Western Michigan
14 – Mercer, New Mexico State, UL-Lafayette, North Carolina Central
15 – Eastern Kentucky, American, Milwaukee, Weber State
16 – Coastal Carolina, Wofford, Albany, Texas Southern, Mount St. Mary’s, Cal Poly
Last 4 IN: BYU, Dayton, Xavier, Green Bay
First 4 OUT: SMU, Minnesota, California, Arkansas
Next 4 OUT: NC State, Southern Miss, Florida State, Toledo
Breakdown by Conference:
Big 12: 7
Big Ten: 6
Big East: 4
Mountain West: 2
West Coast: 2
As always, check out The Bracket Matrix. He’ll have his grading system posted later tonight or early tomorrow morning I believe. It’ll be interested to see where we fall in our first year of doing this.
We are officially just five weeks away from Selection Sunday. Get excited folks. With that, you would think the bracket would start to get a little clearer. Yeah, not so much. Especially when quite a few teams who were on the back-end of the bracket have been losing, while those on the bubble have recorded some W’s. This creates quite the muddled bubble. And to be honest, I really struggled even filling up the last 4-5 spots of today’s bracket projection. Hopefully, some of these teams start to get some big wins to separate themselves from the pack a bit.
Before we get into the bracket, let’s look at our Stock Up/Stock Down report from this past week.
Wichita State – I had the Shockers as a 1-seed last week and still have them as a 1-seed this week, so choosing them for Stock Up might seem confusing. But before this week, it was assumed that if Wichita State dropped one of their two road games at Indiana State or at Northern Iowa, they would drop off the 1-line. Instead, they won both, and it seems impossible to imagine them not running the table and finishing the regular season unbeaten. They’ll still have the Missouri Valley conference tournament in St. Louis, but if they drop one there, it won’t matter. This team will be a 1-seed if they win their last 6, and it’s looking more and more like they will.
Ohio State – After dropping 5 out of 6 games, including puzzling losses to Nebraska and Penn State, the Buckeyes are back on track and have won 3 straight, including a road win at Wisconsin and a road win at Iowa. That’s impressive. The schedule clears up down the stretch as well. Their two toughest games remaining are Michigan on Tuesday and Michigan State to close out the regular season, but both of those are at home. Do not be surprised to see Ohio State grab a 3 or 4 seed on Selection Sunday.
SMU – What a terrific win for Larry Brown and his program on Saturday night in Dallas over Cincinnati. The Mustangs are now 8-3 in the American with home wins over UConn, Memphis, and now Cincinnati. Even if they don’t pick up a signature road win, if they continue to take care of business at home, they’ll be dancing in March with ease.
Oklahoma State – Oh boy oh boy oh boy. Not only did the Cowboys drop two heartbreakers this week, a triple OT defeat to Iowa State and a road loss at Texas Tech, but they had to deal with the unfortunate Marcus Smart situation which also resulted in a 3-game suspension for Smart. I’m not going to get into that whole ordeal, it’s had its fill on the Internet and ESPN over the last day or so. But I am going to talk about how Oklahoma State is dangerously approaching the bubble and will be doing so without Smart for the next 3 games. Those 3 are at Texas, home against Oklahoma, and at Baylor, all while Oklahoma State are 4-6 already in the Big 12. A week ago, I had Oklahoma State as a 4-seed. This week, I have them as an 8-seed. If they drop all 3 of those, they’ll likely be out of the following bracket.
Providence – The Friars went 0-2 this week, with a home loss to St. John’s and a road loss at Xavier. I still have them in the field of 68 as the final at-large team to receive a berth. Providence is in a perfect glass half-full, half-empty. Their remaining schedule is difficult, with road games at Georgetown and Creighton and home games against Villanova and Marquette. But, that also provides opportunity for the Friars to boost their resume, which is nothing to complain about. The committee loves big wins. They can get some.
Missouri – Mizzou is essentially the exact opposite of Providence right now. When you look at their remaining schedule, there’s not a lot out there for quality wins. The Tigers still have a home-and-home with Tennessee and a home game against Arkansas. And that’s about it. That’s not much. If they win those two home games, is that really something the committee will value? Missouri fans should hope for a chance to play Florida and/or Kentucky in the SEC Tournament. It’ll provide some of those chances that they are lacking, chances that Providence already has.
Alright, here is this week’s bracket. Click on the PDF link below.