Barnes Bracketology - March 4, 2010

By: Matt Barnes
By: Matt Barnes

There's a reason they call it "March Madness". Not only does it refer to the great games that take place, but also to the selection process. It's not easy, especially when there are so many teams vying for so few spots. With each night, it's actually getting tougher to put the bracket together and choose the teams that make the field. That's because the number of available spots continue to shrink. But I will finish what I started. Don't worry.

(changes in italics)

LOCKS: With another day comes another new team locking up their spot in the tournament. This time, it's Florida State, who beat Wake Forest. That win should be enough for a team that probably had done enough already. For Wake though, they are in danger of actually losing lock status, something I would hate to do. But they've lost 4 in a row and if they lose their final 2, they may not make the field of 65.

LOCKS (33): 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, Richmond, Clemson, Marquette, Missouri, and Florida State.

Nothing new here. But expect some changes soon as some of these conferences have begun their conference tourneys and upsets are bound to happen.

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: Finally seeing some action here. First, we're down to just 11 spots up for grabs. Second, we have some new teams joining the fray. Rhode Island rejoins this group after a break, thanks to their win over Charlotte. And then joining the group for the first time is Notre Dame, after a big win over UConn. That loss took UConn out of this group and Rhode Island's win knocked out San Diego State, who had a less meaningful win against Colorado State.

AT-LARGE (11): Georgia Tech, Louisville, UNLV, St. Mary's, Florida, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Washington, Dayton, Illinois, and Rhode Island.

Yet again, some bubbles have been burst. Today, it's Charlotte and Saint Louis. Both teams needed to win to really make some sort of splash but both lost, all but ending their chances are getting in the tournament via an at-large bid. There was a bit of shuffling among the bubble teams though. Losses by UConn, UAB, and Mississippi State didn't help their chances while wins by Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, and Rhode Island have them in great shape. Also, welcome Memphis to the discussion. After beating UAB, they have slim, slim chances.

BUBBLE (28): UTEP, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Old Dominion, California, UNLV, St. Mary's, Florida, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Washington, Dayton, Siena, Utah State, Illinois, Rhode Island, San Diego State, UConn, Ole Miss, Seton Hall, UAB, William & Mary, Cornell, Mississippi State, Cincinnati, South Florida, Arizona State, Memphis and Arizona State.

Now on to the fun that is seeding.

No changes among the top 4 seeds, though Duke's loss makes that 4th 1 seed a little bit more vulnerable as we approach conference tourney time. Texas A+M moved up to a 5 seed as Gonzaga dropped to a 6 seed. Missouri was also on the rise to an 8 seed, moving Wake down to a 9 seed.

This is not my favorite bracket. Thankfully, I have plenty of days to tweak it before the final one.

(click on bracket to enlarge)


#1 Syracuse* (28-2) vs. #16 Lehigh (19-10)/Jackson State (16-11) - Buffalo #2 Ohio State (24-7) vs. #15 Morgan State (23-9) - Milwaukee
#3 Pittsburgh (22-7) vs. #14 Oakland (23-8) - Providence

Vanderbilt (23-6) vs. #13 Weber State (19-9) - Spokane
Texas A+M (21-8) vs. #12 Dayton (19-9) - Spokane
#6 Gonzaga (25-5) vs. #11 Utah State (24-6) - Providence

Texas (23-7) vs. #10 UNLV (22-7) - Milwaukee
Richmond (22-7) vs. #9 Georgia Tech (19-10) - Buffalo

#1 Kansas (28-2) vs. #16 Quinnipiac (21-8) - Oklahoma City
#2 West Virginia (23-6) vs. #15 Middle Tenn. St. (19-12) - Buffalo

#3 New Mexico (28-3) vs. #14 Sam Houston State (21-6) - San Jose

#4 Wisconsin (22-7) vs. #13 Kent State (22-8) - Spokane
#5 Temple (25-5) vs. #12
Washington (19-9) - Spokane
Maryland (22-7) vs. #11 Florida (20-10) - San Jose
Oklahoma State (20-9) vs. #10 Siena (24-6) - Buffalo
Marquette (20-9) vs. #9 Wake Forest (18-9) - Oklahoma City

EAST REGION - Syracuse
#1 Kentucky (28-2) vs. #16 Coastal Carolina (27-5) - New Orleans
#2 Villanova (24-5) vs. #15 UC-Santa Barbara (17-9) - Providence

#3 Purdue (25-4) vs. #14 Wofford (23-8) - Milwaukee

Baylor (23-6) vs. #13 Rhode Island (21-7) - San Jose
#5 BYU (27-4) vs. #12 Notre Dame (20-10) - San Jose
Xavier (22-7) vs. #11 St. Mary's (24-5) - Milwaukee
#7 Clemson (21-8) vs. #10 Old Dominion (23-8) - Providence
#8 California (20-9) vs. #9 Florida State (21-8) - New Orleans

WEST REGION - Salt Lake City
#1 Duke (25-5) vs. #16 Stony Brook (21-8) - Jacksonville
#2 Kansas State (24-5) vs. #15
Belmont (19-11) - Oklahoma City
Michigan State (22-7) vs. #14 Murray State (28-4) - San Jose
#4 Tennessee (22-7) vs. #13 Cornell (25-4) - Jacksonville

#5 Georgetown (19-9) vs. #12
Illinois (18-12) - Jacksonville
#6 Butler (26-4) vs. #11
Virginia Tech (22-7) - San Jose
Northern Iowa (25-4) vs. #10 Louisville (19-11) - Oklahoma City
Missouri (22-8) vs. #9 UTEP (23-5) - Jacksonville

*Top overall seed

Penn State @ Michigan State - The Spartans should win easily but the Nittany Lions are dangerous when they want to be.
Providence @ Pittsburgh - Pitt should be fine too but this time of the year, desperate teams like Providence do weird things.
Seton Hall @ Rutgers - Pretty simple for the Hall. Lose and kiss your at-large dreams goodbye for now.
Dayton @ Richmond - HUGE game for both teams. Richmond could bump up in seeding with this win while Dayton could strengthen their chances of getting an at-large.
USC @ Arizona State - The Sun Devils may be at the end of the bubble watch but they are still alive. That is, if they win this game.
LSU @ Ole Miss - The Rebels need win out in the regular season and make some noise in the SEC tournament.
Washington @ Oregon - The Huskies lost to the Ducks earlier at home. They can't afford to lose to them on the road.

Another day, another post. Hope you'll check back tomorrow. Don't forget, you can share your opinion in the comments section below, on Twitter @MattBarnesWRDW, or my Facebook page.

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