I’ve been doing brackets for years and don’t ever remember a more up in the air bubble than this. But, choices must be made. Here are my final picks for at-larges:
Syracuse – It seems most have them out, but they have some GREAT wins at Duke and over Texas A&M on a neutral floor. 5 top 50 wins against this kind of bubble is very good, even though the bad losses and high RPI (70) are killers.
Michigan – I don’t like putting a team in with only four top 100 wins, but they did beat four very good teams (and two were on neutral floors over Indiana and Texas). A huge plus? No bad losses, which every other bubble team has.
Temple – They swept UConn and Cincy during the regular season and they also have a win over SMU. Most think they’re safe, but I have them in the First Four. They could easily be snubbed.
Florida – They were swept by Vandy, but they had the fourth toughest non-conference schedule and that destruction of West Virginia left an impression. By avoiding bad losses (for the most part), they’ve distinguished themselves just enough. Like I’ve been saying this week, I think they are this year’s UCLA.
Wichita State – I entered the day planning on putting Vandy in, but my gut is telling me Wichita will get in and head to the First Four because the committee buys the Fred Van Vleet factor and the tough out of conference schedule. Here’s hoping my gut is better than my head.
Vanderbilt – They’re my first team out because of the three bad losses and a gut that says the committee will want to recognize a great mid-major (Wichita State). All they had to do was beat Tennessee on a neutral floor and they couldn’t do it. They will be very close, though. There’s a reason I had them in entering today, and it’s because my head likes all the wins against tournament teams.
St. Mary’s – It’s a decent profile, but challenge yourselves out of conference! You can do that, and they have nobody to blame but themselves.
Monmouth – Yes, they scheduled true road games against UCLA, Georgetown, and USC. But only USC is a top 100 team. For me, the losses are just too bad. Their three losses aren’t to bad teams; they are to terrible teams.
South Carolina – One win at Texas A&M is all that pops out positively. Most seem to have them in, but the bad losses and horrible out of conference schedule should spell doom.