Barnes Bracketology - March 1, 2010

By: Matt Barnes
By: Matt Barnes

3 hours. That's how long it took me to put this latest bracket together. Normally, once I make an initial bracket, the time it takes me to make a new one drops drastically. But this past weekend's games made that quite difficult. In case you missed any of it, 3 of my top seeds lost (Kansas, Kentucky and Purdue) and 11 bubble teams lost (among them were Missouri, Florida, Illinois, UConn). That meant lots of shifting from the top of the bracket to the bottom. It also meant a long night but hey, that's bracketology.

MY PROJECTED FIELD OF 65
(changes in italics)

LOCKS: For the first time, we have some changes in this category. Thanks to their win over a quality Illinois State team, Northern Iowa has finally joined this group. Also new are Maryland and Oklahoma State. The Terps have won 5 in a row, including wins over projected tourney teams in the last 3. Meanwhile, OK State locked up their spot with a resounding win at home over Kansas. Finally, I added Richmond to the list. The Spiders actually lost over the weekend but the way they competed with Xavier on the road was enough for me and should be with the committee too for a team with their resume.

LOCKS (29): 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, Butler, Northern Iowa, Maryland, Oklahoma State, and Richmond.


AUTOS:
A couple changes here as well. In the Atlantic Sun, there's a 4-way tie for first place. For now, I'm going with Belmont. Also, in the Northeast, I'm replacing Robert Morris with Quinnipiac. We're also very close to putting Cornell in bold to signify they have won the automatic bid. The Big Red are just one win away from winning the Ivy League.

AUTOS (21): America East - Stony Brook, Atlantic Sun - Belmont, 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, Northeast - Quinnipiac, 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 State

AT-LARGE: No doubt with 11BUBBLE teams losing, this section saw some momement. For one thing, the number of spots in the group fell to 15. Some teams did themselves good by just winning while others are really hurting now. The biggest move was made by Marquette who jumpedup in this group with a big road win against Seton Hall, a fellow BUBBLE team. Also new is San Diego State, who benefited despite not playing a game.

Of course, some teams fell too. Florida, Illinois, Virginia Tech and UConn all lost but thanks to not many wins from teams below them, they didn't fall far if at all. Rhode Island though was not so lucky. The Rams have now lost 4 of their last 5, including Saturday;s inexplicable loss at St. Bonaventure. They are now out of this group and in need of a big win to get back in

AT-LARGE (15): Clemson, Georgia Tech, Marquette, Louisville, Missouri, Florida State, UNLV, Florida, UConn, Illinois, St. Mary's, Washington, Dayton Virginia Tech, and San Diego State.



BUBBLE WATCH

This group got a bit smaller, thanks to 4 teams locking up their spots over the weekend. At the same time, I added two teams to the fray just because I think it's a bit premature to say they don't have a shot to make the field. The big movers include Cal, who beat fellow bubble team Arizona State, Old Dominion, UTEP and Marquette. Also among the big movers is Notre Dame. The Irish are playing like a desperate team and it's working. They beat Pitt and Georgetown on the road. That leaves them about one or two big wins from cracking the AT-LARGE group.

Meanwhile, teams like Charlotte, Cincinnati, Seton Hall and Arizona State may be running out of time. For all of them, it may take a long conference tournament run or win to get their spot in the field. As for the new additions, welcome back Saint Louis and say hello to Minnesota, who won at Illinois to jump into this group.

BUBBLE (36): Clemson, Georgia Tech, Marquette, Louisville, Missouri, Old Dominion, California, Florida State, UNLV, UTEP, Florida, UConn, Illinois, St. Mary's, Washington, Dayton, Virginia Tech, Siena, Utah State, San Diego State, UAB, Rhode Island, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Cincinnati, Mississippi State, Seton Hall, William & Mary, Charlotte, Cornell, Minnesota, South Florida, Northeastern, Arizona State, Wichita State, and Saint Louis.

So there's the field and the bubble teams. On to the craziness that is seeding.

SEEDING

This was not easy at all. Again, all the upsets really made it tough as teams jumped and fell from the seeds I gave them just 3 days ago. Among the major changes, Duke replaces Purdue as a #1 seed. Syracuse takes over as top overall seed. New Mexico moves up to a #3 seed while Georgetown falls to a #4. Also, Tennessee's win over Kentucky moved them up to a #4 while Gonzaga fell to a #5. Losses by Wake Forest, Texas, Richmond and Florida State moved their seeding down a spot while wins by Maryland, Oklahoma State, Marquette, and Northern Iowa improved their seeds by 1 or 2 spots.

I really like this bracket as it keeps any of the 8 Big East teams from meeting each other until the Elite Eight. Also, the other conference are spread out rather evenly among the regions such as the 4 A-10 teams, who can be all be found in a different region.

Also, in an effort to improve this series everyday, I will begin to color-code the teams so you know whether they moved up or down. Green means moved up while red means they moved down. Black means they stayed neutral. For now, it will only be on the blog. I will work it onto the bracket later.

(click on bracket to enlarge)

MIDWEST vs. WEST
SOUTH vs. EAST

MIDWEST REGION - St. Louis
#1 Syracuse* (27-2) vs. #16 Lehigh (19-10)/Jackson State (16-11) - Buffalo
#2 Purdue (24-4) vs. #15 Morgan State (22-9) - Milwaukee
#3 Pittsburgh (22-7) vs. #14 Oakland (23-8) - Providence
#4 Tennessee (21-7) vs. #13 San Diego State (20-8) - Spokane
#5 Gonzaga (24-5) vs. #12 Washington (19-9) - Spokane
#6 Texas A+M (20-8) vs. #11 Utah State (23-6) - Providence
#7 Northern Iowa (25-4) vs. #10 Florida State (20-8) - Milwaukee
#8 Richmond (22-7) vs. #9 Georgia Tech (19-9) - Buffalo

SOUTH REGION - Houston
#1 Kansas (27-2) vs. #16 Quinnipiac (21-8) - Oklahoma City
#2 West Virginia (22-6) vs. #15 Middle Tenn. St. (19-12) - New Orleans
#3 Michigan State (22-7) vs. #14 Murray State (27-4) - Buffalo
#4 Wisconsin (21-7) vs. #13 Kent State (22-8) - San Jose
#5 BYU (26-4) vs. #12 St. Mary's (24-5) - San Jose
#6 Xavier (21-7) vs. #11 Virginia Tech (21-7) - Buffalo
#7 Oklahoma State (20-8) vs. #10 Florida (20-9) - New Orleans
#8 Clemson (20-8) vs. #9 Louisville (19-10) - Oklahoma City

EAST REGION - Syracuse
#1 Kentucky (27-2) vs. #16 Coastal Carolina (26-5) - New Orleans
#2 Villanova (23-5) vs. #15 UC-Santa Barbara (17-9) - Providence
#3 Ohio State (23-7) vs. #14 Wofford (23-8) - Milwaukee
#4 Georgetown (19-8) vs. #Weber State (19-9) - Jacksonville
#5 Baylor (22-6) vs. #12 Dayton (19-9) - Jacksonville
#6 Maryland (21-7) vs. #11 Old Dominion (23-8) - Milwaukee
#7 Texas (22-7) vs. #10 Siena (24-6) - Providence
#8 California (20-9) vs. #9 UNLV (22-7) - New Orleans

WEST REGION - Salt Lake City
#1 Duke (25-4) vs. #16 Stony Brook (21-8) - Jacksonville
#2 Kansas State (24-4) vs. #15 Belmont (19-11) - Oklahoma City
#3 New Mexico (27-3) vs. #14 Sam Houston State (21-6) - San Jose
#4 Vanderbilt (22-6) vs. #13 Cornell (25-4) - Spokane
#5 Temple (24-5) vs. #12 Illinois (18-11) - Spokane
#6 Butler (26-4) vs. #11 UConn (17-12) - San Jose
#7 Wake Forest (18-8) vs. #10 UTEP (22-5) - Oklahoma City
#8 Marquette (19-9) vs. #9 Missouri (21-8) - Jacksonville

*Top overall seed


MONDAY'S GAMES TO WATCH
Georgetown @ West Virginia - The Hoyas can make up some ground that they lost with a win here. WVU seems pretty safe in the #2 seed no matter what.
Oklahoma @ Texas - The Longhorns should win this game. If they don't, their freefall in the seeding may continue.

Alright, that's all for now. I'll have another update for you tomorrow, though it won't be much considering the two games above are about the only ones worth watching. I probably wouldn't expect much movement until after Tuesday night. Don't forget though, you can share your opinion in the comments section below, on Twitter @MattBarnesWRDW, or my Facebook page.

MB
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