The day has come my friends. I have completed my first projected bracket. After days of just giving you my field of 65, I have seeded them and placed them in regionals. It took about 2 hours, which may sound extreme but considering all that goes into the bracket, that's not too bad. In fact, I would have been done 10 minutes but I found a mistake on the last team, which caused me to shuffle teams again.
All in all though, I'm satisfied with it for now. Of course, there will be numerous changes to it from now until Selection Sunday so make sure you keep checking back as the days go by.
MY PROJECTED FIELD OF 65LOCKS:
(changes in italics)
No games yesterday really had any impact on this category. This weekend though could see teams like Maryland, Missouri, Richmond, and Northern Iowa clinch spots in the field.LOCKS (25):
Duke, Wake Forest, Georgetown, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Villanova, West Virginia, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Texas A+M, Texas, Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, New Mexico, BYU, Temple, Xavier, Gonzaga and Butler.
There actually was a change here. Jacksonville and Kent State join the group while Campbell and Akron leave. Again, this is simply my prediction of who will ultimately win the conference tournament so most teams here should not really feel all that safe.AUTOS (22):
America East - Stony Brook, Atlantic Sun - Jacksonville
, Big Sky - Weber State, Big South - Coastal Carolina, Big West - UC Santa Barbara, Colonial - Old Dominion, Conference USA - UTEP, Ivy - Cornell, MAAC - Siena, MAC - Kent State
, MEAC - Morgan State, MVC - Northern Iowa, Northeast - Robert Morris, Ohio Valley - Murray State, Pac-10 - California, Patriot - Lehigh, Southern - Wofford, Southland - Sam Houston State, SWAC - Jackson State, Summit - Oakland, Sun Belt - Middle Tennessee State, WAC - Utah StateAT-LARGE:
Even when teams aren't playing, I'm checking the numbers. After checking them even more closely, I've made a few adjustments to this. A major adjustment comes in the form of a mistake. UTEP was on this list yesterday. Thing is, they are in the AUTO category, so I had them in the field twice. Hence, only having 64 teams in the field. I have corrected the mistake today and added Dayton to the field.AT-LARGE (18):
Richmond, Missouri, Maryland, Louisville, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, UNLV, Florida, UTEP, Marquette, UConn, Illinois, Washington, St. Mary's, Rhode Island, Virginia Tech, and Dayton
The group is still the same. In fact, all teams in this category won yesterday so no one hurt themselves. Arizona State and Utah State won road games while St. Mary's and California defended their homecourt. The wins did little though in terms of movement as all were expected victories.BUBBLE (39):
Richmond, Northern Iowa, Missouri, Maryland, Louisville, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, UNLV, Florida, UTEP, Marquette, UConn, Illinois, Old Dominion, Washington, St. Mary's, Rhode Island, Virginia Tech, California, Utah State, Dayton, Siena, San Diego State, Charlotte, Cincinnati, UAB, Seton Hall, Ole Miss, Notre Dame, Arizona State, William & Mary, Mississippi State, South Florida, Northeastern, Wichita State, and Cornell.
That's the field. Now for the seeding..
As I said in the intro, making the bracket was not easy. There are just so many factors to be considered. Things like making sure the 8 Big East teams I have in the field do not meet until the Sweet 16 at the earliest or better yet, the Elite Eight (which I almost did). Also had to avoid a replay of a game in the regular season until at least the Sweet 16, which I think I also did successfully. So without further adieu, here is the bracket:
(click on bracket to enlarge)
MIDWEST vs. WEST
EAST vs. SOUTHMIDWEST REGION - St. Louis
#1 Kansas* (27-1) vs. #16 Robert Morris (20-10) - Oklahoma City
#2 West Virginia (21-6) vs. #15 Jacksonville (18-10) - New Orleans
#3 Michigan State (21-7) vs. #14 Murray State (26-4) - Buffalo
#4 Vanderbilt (26-3) vs. #13 Kent State (21-8) - San Jose
#5 BYU (26-3) vs. #12 Rhode Island (20-6) - San Jose
#6 Butler (25-4) vs. #11 Virginia Tech (21-6) - Buffalo
#7 Missouri (21-7) vs. #10 Siena (22-6) - New Orleans
#8 Florida State (22-7) vs. #9 Louisville (18-10) - Oklahoma CityEAST REGION - Syracuse
#1 Kentucky (27-1) vs. #16 Coastal Carolina (25-5) - New Orleans
#2 Kansas State (23-4) vs. #15 Middle Tenn. St. (18-12) - Oklahoma City
#3 Georgetown (19-7) vs. #14 Oakland (22-8) - Jacksonville
#4 Wisconsin (21-7) vs. #13 Cornell (23-4) - Spokane
#5 Temple (23-5) vs. #12 Washington (18-9) - Spokane
#6 Wake Forest (18-7) vs. #11 Utah State (23-6) - Jacksonville
#7 Richmond (22-6) vs. #10 Marquette (18-9) - Oklahoma City
#8 Oklahoma State (19-8) vs. #9 Georgia Tech (18-9) - New OrleansSOUTH REGION - Houston
#1 Syracuse (26-2) vs. #16 Lehigh (18-10)/Jackson State (15-11) - Buffalo
#2 Duke (24-4) vs. #15 UC-Santa Barbara (17-8) - Jacksonville
#3 Pittsburgh (21-7) vs. #14 Sam Houston State (20-6) - Providence
#4 New Mexico (26-3) vs. #13 St. Mary's (23-5) - San Jose
#5 Tennessee (20-7) vs. #12 Old Dominion (22-8) - San Jose
#6 Texas A&M (19-8) vs. #11 Illinois (18-10) - Providence
#7 Xavier (20-7) vs. #10 UTEP (21-5) - Jacksonville
#8 Northern Iowa (24-4) vs. #9 Clemson (19-8) - BuffaloWEST REGION - Salt Lake City
#1 Purdue (24-3) vs. #16 Stony Brook (21-7) - Milwaukee
#2 Villanova (23-4) vs. #15 Morgan State (21-9) - Providence
#3 Ohio State (22-7) vs. #14 Wofford (22-8) - Milwaukee
#4 Gonzaga (23-5) vs. #13 Weber State (18-8) - Spokane
#5 Baylor (21-6) vs. #12 UConn (17-11) - Spokane
#6 Texas (22-6) vs. #11 Dayton (18-9) - Milwaukee
#7 Maryland (20-7) vs. #10 Florida (20-8) - Providence
#8 Califonia (19-9) vs. #9 UNLV (21-7) - Milwaukee
*Top overall seed
FRIDAY'S GAMES TO WATCHPrinceton @ Cornell
- The Big Red would all but lock up the conference regular season title with a victorySiena @ Niagara
- If the Saints have any chance of getting an at-large spot, they can't afford to lose this game. Of course, they could just win the conference tourney.
SATURDAY'S GAMES TO WATCHKansas @ Oklahoma State
- OK State could lock up their spot in the tourney with a win. Kansas just looking to hold on to the top overall seed.Kentucky @ Tennessee
- Huge game for both. UK could grab the top seed in the tourney while Tennessee would love to move up in the seeding.Villanova @ Syracuse
- Winner is a #1 seed and loser a #2 seed? That kind of stakes possibly in this game.Missouri @ Kansas State
- The Tigers would be a lock with a victory. Kansas State would still be in the hunt for a #1 seed with a victory.Cincinnati @ West Virginia
- Cincy needs a big win badly. This would qualify.Michigan @ Ohio State
- There's no hope for Michigan but for OSU, a #2 seed is attainable if they can finish strong and get some help.New Mexico @ BYU
- Besides Syracuse-Nove, this is the game of the day. Winner gets the #4 seed that New Mexico currently holds. New Mexico won the first matchup.Notre Dame @ Georgetown
- The Irish stayed in the bubble conversation with their win over Pitt. If they can beat Georgetown in DC, they may find themselves in the tournament.Vanderbilt @ Arkansas
- Vandy seems to always be skating on thin ice. They barely beat Georgia at home. Now, they face a tough Arkansas squad on the road.Texas @ Texas A&M
- The Aggies would love another marquee win. Texas is just hoping their recent good play doesn't end here. Both could really improve seeding with a win.Illinois State @ Northern Iowa
- Pretty simple for UNI. Lose and stay on the bubble. Win and you're in. That was also the case against 7-win Evansville earlier in the week.Rice @ UTEP
- With a win, the Miners would have a 12-game win streak. That screams near-lock status.
Boston College @ Georgia Tech
- GT just needs to worry about winning so they don't need to worry come Selection SundayArizona State @ California
- Huge Pac-10 battle. Winner really helps their case for an at-large in case they trip up in the tournament.Florida @ Georgia
- Gators are in good shape...for now. But a loss at lowly Georgia would not look good, even though the Dawgs are playing great against good teams.Maryland @ Virginia Tech
- Neither team is a lock but VT needs this much more than MD. If MD wins, they're in no doubt.Minnesota @ Illinois
- Illinois has no wiggle room. They must win this game or count on a deep run in the conference tournament.Mississippi State @ South Carolina
- The Bulldogs are barely in the discussion already. A loss takes them completely out of it.Loyola-Marymount @ St. Mary's
- Loyola just beat Gonzaga so the Gaels better come ready to play. They can't afford one misstep.
SUNDAY'S GAMES TO WATCH
Michigan State @ Purdue - Big Ten title on the line. #1 seed on the line too. Bad time for Purdue to lose star Robbie Hummel for the season.
Richmond @ Xavier - With a loss, Richmond is still in good shape. But with a win, they can breathe easy cause they'll be a lock for the tournament.
Marquette @ Seton Hall - A battle of bubble teams. Seton Hall needs every win and a good conference tourney run. Marquette will do themselves a lot of good with this solid road victory.
Louisville @ Connecticut - You hate to say elimination game here but it may just be. L'Ville needs a solid road win and UConn just can't afford more losses.
Clemson @ Florida State - Both teams are safe for now but the loser of this game may have to start worrying a bit.
Yeah, a lot of great games to comes this weekend. Hope you find time to watch them all, even with the Olympics going on.
I will not be posting over the weekend. I'll come back with a new post and new bracket on Monday after all these great games. Don't forget though, you can share your opinion in the comments section below, on Twitter @MattBarnesWRDW
, or my Facebook page. I'll be tweeting about the great games and more all weekend for sure.