Tournament Locks

These 57 teams are locks to play in the NCAA tournament:

A-10 (3) – Dayton, VCU, St Joe’s

ACC (6) – North Carolina, Miami, Duke, Virginia, Notre Dame

Big XII (7) – Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Texas, Iowa St, Baylor, Texas Tech

Big East (5) – Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall, Providence

Big Ten (6) – Michigan State, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Maryland, Purdue

Pac-12 (7) – Oregon, Utah, Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon State, USC

SEC (2) – Kentucky, Texas A&M

Others (21) – UNC-Asheville, Yale, Northern Iowa, Florida Gulf Coast, Austin Peay, UNC-Wilmington, Iona, Chattanooga, Fairleigh Dickinson, Green Bay, South Dakota State, Gonzaga, Holy Cross, Stony Brook, Fresno St, Buffalo, Southern, Hampton, Weber St, Middle Tennessee, Hampton

3/12 Bracket Projection

MIDWEST

1 Kansas
16 Southern / FGCU

8 Wisconsin
9 Butler

5 Texas
12 Northern Iowa

4 Texas A&M
13 S Dakota St

6 Iowa St
11 Gonzaga

3 Utah
14 Mid Tennessee

7 Oregon State
10 St Joe’s

2 Michigan St
15 Green Bay

WEST

1 UNC
16 Austin Peay

8 Colorado
9 Temple

5 Cal
12 Chattanooga

4 Purdue
13 Yale

6 Arizona
11 Michigan

3 Kentucky
14 Hawaii

7 Dayton
10 San Diego St

2 Oregon
15 N Mexico St

EAST

1 UVA
16 FDU / Holy Cross

8 USC
9 Pitt

5 Duke
12 Akron

4 Indiana
13 Iona

6 Notre Dame
11 VCU / Wichita St

3 Xavier
14 Stony Brook

7 Providence
10 Syracuse

2 WVU
15 UNC-Asheville

SOUTH

1 Villanova
16 Hampton

8 Texas Tech
9 UConn

5 Baylor
12 Little Rock

4 Maryland
13 UNCW

6 Seton Hall
11 St Bonaventure / Vanderbilt

3 Miami
14 SF Austin

7 Iowa
10 Cincinnati

2 Oklahoma
15 Weber St

 

First Four Out – Florida, St Mary’s, Monmouth, Tulsa

Bubble Picture

SHOULD BE IN

Butler – Despite the loss to Providence, they should be dancing. But it isn’t a 100 percent thing, so I won’t lock them.

Pitt – Beating Syracuse for the third time should do it, but only two top 50 wins keeps the Panthers from locking a bid.

Cincinnati – Losing the way they did to UConn shouldn’t do much damage. They’re looking at a ten seed at best, but they’ll likely get in (even if it is the First Four).

UConn – They had to beat Cincinnati, and they got it done in one of the games of the year. They then beat Temple to probably seal a bid. They wI’ll get in, but the only reason I’m not locking them is the highly unlikely event of a blowout loss to Memphis and a surprisingly tough judgment from the committee.

TRUE BUBBLE

Vanderbilt – The Commodores are in serious trouble. All they needed was a win over Tennessee to make the field. Instead, they are squarely on the bubble. This could go either way, but I have them just barely in right now.

South Carolina – With only one win against the RPI top 40, a horrid non-SEC schedule, three bad losses, and three losses to Georgia,  South Carolina is in serious trouble.  Never underestimate the committee’s desire to punish bad non-conference schedules.

St Bonaventure – Losing in the A-10 quarters will likely prevent a bid,  but they will have a chance. A lot of other bubble competitors her themselves, too.

Little Rock – Make the conference tournament finals and it might happen. Lose before that and I can’t see it.

St Mary’s – They lost to Gonzaga and they will be right on the cut line. That’s what happens when you play eighteen home games out of the WCC. Schedule tougher, St. Mary’s. You’ve known this for years. And it’s looking like they’ll just miss.

Wichita State – Losing before the MVC final really hurts. The resume simply doesn’t stack up. Their fate will be determined by how other bubble teams perform this week. They enter Friday as my first team to miss the field, but would at least temporarily make it if Florida loses to Texas A&M.

Syracuse – They would’ve been in with a win over Pitt, but they lost by one. They will be right on the edge of the bubble. This one could go either way. I am keeping them in for now because of four good wins holding more weight than three bad losses. But they have a lot of losses for a SOS that isn’t great.

Florida – The Gators were in my First Four before falling to Texas A&M. That romp over West Virginia isn’t likely enough to get it done.

Temple – They have a chance to lose on Saturday and still make it. It may take beating UConn. Win that, and they’ll be in.

Michigan – Beating Indiana was needed to be in the competition, but they still find themselves squarely on the bubble after losing to Purdue.

Monmouth – Those wins over Notre Dame, UCLA, USC, and Georgetown are looking worse, but the ambitious scheduling and non-conference performance help. Losing to Iona leaves them cheering against bubble teams. But despite many talking heads saying they will be in the tournament, I simply don’t see it. They are really leaning hard on wins over Notre Dame and USC, which are good but not great wins. And they have three horrible losses on the resume that aren’t going away (Canisius, Army and Manhattan). It’s close.

LONGSHOTS

Georgia Tech – The Jackets were on a roll until UVA cooled them off. They have three top 50 wins and a strong SOS. They are likely out, but they could be this year’s UCLA, shocking the world with a bid.

Valparaiso – The Crusaders couldn’t take a loss to Green Bay in the semis and expect to have a strong chance. They will certainly merit a lot of consideration, but a road win at Oregon State is the only really strong selling point. That’s just not quite enough.

San Diego State – Making the Mountain West final before losing to Fresno State likely won’t work but… maybe? They do have a fourteen-point win over Cal on a neutral court.

3/11 Bracket Projection

MIDWEST

1 Kansas
16 Austin Peay / Fla Gulf Coast

8 Dayton
9 Butler

5 Purdue
12 Northern Iowa

4 Maryland
13 S Dakota St

6 Iowa St
11 Gonzaga

3 Miami
14 Green Bay

7 Iowa
10 UConn

2 Xavier
15 Weber St

WEST

1 Oklahoma
16 TX Southern

8 Colorado
9 Cincinnati

5 Texas
12 Chattanooga

4 Texas A&M
13 Yale

6 Arizona
11 San Diego St

3 Indiana
14 Hawaii

7 Texas Tech
10 Tulsa

2 Oregon
15 New Mexico St

EAST

1 Virginia
16 FDU / Holy Cross

8 USC
9 Pitt

5 Duke
12 Akron

4 Cal
13 Iona

6 Seton Hall
11 Vanderbilt / Syracuse

3 W Virginia
14 Stony Brook

7 Providence
10 St Bonaventure

2 Michigan St
15 Asheville

SOUTH

1 Villanova
16 Hampton

8 Wisconsin
9 South Carolina

5 Baylor
12 Little Rock

4 Kentucky
13 UNC-Wilmington

6 Notre Dame
11 Florida / St Joe’s

3 Utah
14 SF Austin

7 Oregon State
10 Temple

2 UNC
15 Middle Tennessee

 
Last Four Out – Wichita State, St. Mary’s, Alabama, Monmouth

Kansas is the overall one

Following a destruction of Kansas State, Kansas clinches my overall number one seed of the tournament.

They could lose by 30 to Baylor and it wouldn’t matter. They have had by far the best season in college hoops.

Tournament Locks

These 46 teams are locks to play in the NCAA tournament:

A-10 (1) – Dayton

ACC (6) – North Carolina, Miami, Duke, Virginia, Notre Dame

Big XII (7) – Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Texas, Iowa St, Baylor, Texas Tech

Big East (4) – Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall, Providence

Big Ten (6) – Michigan State, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Maryland, Purdue

Pac-12 (7) – Oregon, Utah, Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon State, USC

SEC (2) – Kentucky, Texas A&M

Others (13) – UNC-Asheville, Yale, Northern Iowa, Florida Gulf Coast, Austin Peay, UNC-Wilmington, Iona, Chattanooga, Fairleigh Dickinson, Green Bay, South Dakota State, Gonzaga, Holy Cross

3/10 Bracket Projection

MIDWEST

1 Kansas – 16 Austin Peay / FCGU

8 Notre Dame – 9 Vanderbilt

5 Purdue – 12 No. Iowa

4 Texas A&M – 13 S Dakota St

6 Iowa – 11 San Diego St

3 Miami – 14 SF Austin

7 Colorado – 10 Cincinnati

2 Michigan St – 15 Green Bay

WEST

1 Oklahoma – 16 TX Southern

8 Providence – 9 St Bonaventure

5 Iowa St – 12 Akron

4 Duke – 13 Yale

6 Arizona – 11 UConn/Syracuse

3 Indiana – 14 Hawaii

7 Wisconsin – 10 Gonzaga

2 Oregon – 15 New Mex St

EAST

1 Virginia – 16 Holy Cross/F. Dickinson

8 USC – 9 Butler

5 Maryland – 12 Chattanooga

4 Cal – 13 Iona

6 Seton Hall – 11 Temple

3 W Virginia – 14 Stony Brook

7 Oregon State – 10 St Joe’s

2 Xavier – 15 UNC Asheville

SOUTH

1 Villanova – 16 Hampton

8 Texas Tech – 9 Pitt

5 Texas – 12 Little Rock

4 Kentucky – 13 UNC Wilmington

6 Baylor – 11 Tulsa / Florida

3 Utah – 14 UAB

7 Dayton – 10 South Carolina

2 UNC – 15 Weber State

 

Up to Date Last 4 In / First 4 Out

Last Four In – Florida, Tulsa, Vanderbilt, Syracuse

First Four Out – Wichita State, St. Mary’s, Monmouth, VCU

 

Vanderbilt takes a bad loss to Tennessee and moves to the last four in. Anything but losing to Tennessee would’ve put them in good shape, but this is a very bad loss for a team that entered the game with just two top 50 wins and three bad losses. It will be close and the committee will really spend some time with them.

Bracket Rabble Tonight

Join USA Today bracketologist Shelby Mast and I for a new, live episode of Bracket Rabble at 8 ET tonight.  As always, you can leave your questions in the episode’s comments section or tweet @bracketWAG on Twitter.  If you can’t listen live, you can listen to the episode later.

Tonight we will be discussing Monmouth, Wichita State, Valparaiso, and other teams right on the bubble, as well as giving our picks for the winners of the “bigger” conference tournaments.

Monmouth and Valparaiso

As a fan of college basketball, I want to see powerful mid-majors make the tournament.  As a bracketologist, I just don’t see Monmouth and Valpo getting in.

Granted, some of their bubble competitors could lose bad games in their conference tournaments and change the tournament outlooks for Monmouth and Valpo, but here’s why I don’t think it will happen for either team:

Monmouth – They have two top 50 wins (USC and Notre Dame). A month ago, those were two great wins.  Now, those are wins over two projected eight seeds and those wins at UCLA and Georgetown aren’t looking so hot.  And let’s not forget, losing to Iona in the MAAC final wasn’t a big upset. Iona actually won the season series, 2-1. Monmouth will be really hurt by three really bad losses (Army, Canisius, and Manhattan). Monmouth is a good team, but even the eye test isn’t doing it for me.  I expect them to be one of the first four teams to miss the tournament.

Valpo – The Crusaders are in even worse shape than Monmouth.  Whereas Monmouth has two noteworthy wins, Valpo has just one (at Oregon State). In addition, they have four losses to RPI 101+ teams. Valpo is a very good team, but they will likely fall short of a bid.