Barnes Bracketology - March 5, 2010

By: Matt Barnes
By: Matt Barnes

For a bracketologist in training like myself, I could spend hours upon hours agonizing about who should make the field. I could compare numbers and weigh resumes all day. But in the end, I have to just go with my gut. Unlike in the selection committee's room, there's no one to convince one way or another. Instead, I have to convince myself, and sometimes, that isn't easy. For example, I have to convince myself all the time that Washington will be an at-large. I don't want to believe it but I do. Will that belief end up being true? We shall see...

MY PROJECTED FIELD OF 65
(changes in italics)

LOCKS: There weren't any really teams that were in position to lock up their spot in the field. Dayton had the best chance with a win over Richmond but even I don't think that would have been enough.

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.


AUTOS:
The conference tournaments have begun and that means the upsets are underway. In the Atlantic Sun, it was upset central. The 5, 6 and 8 seed all won first round matchups. Among the casualties was Belmont, who are out of this group. Returning to the group is Jacksonville.

AUTOS (21): 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, 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: Despite a small amount of games, there was one game that really impacted this group. That game being the Dayton @ Richmond game. Dayton lost a close one and while it's not a "bad loss", it's bad timing for a team that really needed to add another signature win to its resume. So for now, they are out and San Diego State is back in. Washington also won at Oregon but that's not worthy of moving up anywhere.

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



BUBBLE WATCH
No bubbles were burst yesterday so we stick with the same group of 28 but there has been some slight movement. Of course, Dayton moves down a bit after their loss to Richmond. They now need a good run in the A-10 tournament, which is possible. Moving up though is Arizona State, who beat a decent USC team and keeps their hopes alive. with a deep run in the Pac-10 tourney, they may crack the field.

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

That's the field. Let's move to the the seeding.

SEEDING
As expected, minimal changes to the bracket. Just inserted San Diego State back into the bracket as a 12 seed and replaced Belmont with Jacksonville. Other then that, yesterday's game didn't sway me enough to change any other seedings, though if Providence and Penn State could have pulled off big upsets over Pitt and Michigan State respectively, I would have been busy switching some teams around again.

(click on bracket to enlarge)

MIDWEST vs. WEST
SOUTH vs. EAST

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

#4
Vanderbilt (23-6) vs. #13 Weber State (19-9) - Spokane
#5
Texas A+M (21-8) vs. #12 San Diego State (20-8) - Spokane
#6
Gonzaga (25-5) vs. #11 Utah State (24-6) - Providence

#7
Texas (23-7) vs. #10 UNLV (22-7) - Milwaukee
#8
Richmond (23-7) vs. #9 Georgia Tech (19-10) - Buffalo

SOUTH REGION - Houston
#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 (20-9) - Spokane
#6
Maryland (22-7) vs. #11 Florida (20-10) - San Jose
#7
Oklahoma State (20-9) vs. #10 Siena (24-6) - Buffalo
#8
Marquette (20-9) vs. #9 Wake Forest (18-9) - Oklahoma City

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

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

#4
Baylor (23-6) vs. #13 Rhode Island (21-7) - San Jose
#5 BYU (27-4) vs. #12 Notre Dame (20-10) - San Jose
#6
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
Jacksonville (19-11) - Oklahoma City
#3
Michigan State (23-7) 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
#7
Northern Iowa (25-4) vs. #10 Louisville (19-11) - Oklahoma City
#8
Missouri (22-8) vs. #9 UTEP (23-5) - Jacksonville

*Top overall seed

FRIDAY'S GAMES TO WATCH
Cornell @ Brown - With a victory, Cornell wins the Ivy League title and officially earns the first spot in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
Kent State @ Akron - The two best teams in the MAC battle before the tournament. The winner here gets the momentum and the top seed.

SATURDAY'S GAMES TO WATCH
Syracuse @ Louisville - If Louisville pulls off this victory, they will assure themselves a spot in the field. A 'Cuse loss may put the top overall seed back in play.
Kansas @ Missouri - If Kansas wants that top overall seed, they win this game. Missouri could improve seeding though with a clutch victory.
North Carolina @ Duke - Strictly a game for pride for UNC. Duke though is fighting for a 1 seed and can't afford to trip up to their rival.
Purdue @ Penn State - Penn State nearly beat Michigan State in East Lansing. So Purdue better be ready. They are fighting for a 2 seed and Big Ten title.
West Virginia @ Villanova - The winner can continue to dream of a 1 seed. The loser will be no better than a 2 seed, and possibly fall to a 3 seed later.
Tennessee @ Mississippi State - After losing to Auburn, MSU has to win this game. Meanwhile, Tennessee could use a quality road victory.
South Carolina @ Vanderbilt - Vandy has done well to avoid the huge upset. Losing at home though to South Carolina is possible and would hurt their seeding.
Cincinnati @ Georgetown - A must-win for the Bearcats, who are skating on thin ice. For the Hoyas, this game gives them a chance to stop their slide from a 2 seed to a 5 seed.
UAB @ UTEP - A UTEP win locks up their spot in the tournament. A UAB win improves their chances of an at-large spot but it still might not be enough.
Texas @ Baylor - One of those games that could really throw my bracket a twist. Depending on who wins could really shake up some seedings.
Maryland @ Virginia - If the Terps avoid the upset, they put themselves in great shape to move up a seed or two, especially with all the other action over the weekend.
Texas A+M @ Oklahoma - The Aggies are safely in the field but a 5 seed is surely nicer than a 6 seed. A loss on senior day in Norman could mean a fall from that 5 seed.
Florida State @ Miami (FL) - The 'Noles should be fine after Wednesday's win at Wake but to be safe, avoid this upset on the road and get to the ACC tourney.
Richmond @ Charlotte - I think the 49ers are toast now but who knows? With a win here and a run to the A-10 tourney finals, they could change my mind.
UConn @ South Florida - Two bubble teams on the outside looking in. South Florida must have it. UConn probably must have it too. 17-14 overall and 7-11 in conference play is not attractive.
Notre Dame @ Marquette - The Irish are doing everything right this time of year. Winnig big games against great teams. They win this one and a Big East tourney game, they will find themselves in great shape to make the field.
Ole Miss @ Arkansas - The Rebels still need more victories and more losses form other teams to feel good. Losing at Arkansas is just simply not an option.
Virginia Tech @ Georgia Tech - The Hokies could really use this road win. They have struggled to win meaningful games all year.
Rhode Island @ UMass - Should be an easy victory for the Rams but they've lost games like this already this year. They have to win this game to stay in consideration for an at-large spot.
California @ Stanford - One last road hurdle for the Bears before the Pac-10 tourney. They still may need to win that tourney to get in but every win helps their chances in case they don't.
Saint Louis @ Dayton - Dayton must win this game to stay in the discussion. A loss all but puts all the pressure on them to win the conference tournament.
Seton Hall @ Providence - The Pirates probably don't have any real chance of getting in but depending on who loses down the stretch, they just may be the lucky one.
Washington @ Oregon State - A dangerous game for the Huskies. They survived Eugene but now, must survive Corvallis. Huskies lose and they lose their projected at-large spot.
San Diego State @ Air Force - This shouldn't even be close. But if the Aztecs do get upset, they'll find themselves back on the outside looking in.

SUNDAY'S GAMES TO WATCH
Florida @ Kentucky - Florida may feel safely in but losing this game means a 3-game losing streak going into the SEC tournament. Lose early there and they will probably be NIT bound
Michigan @ Michigan State - After seeing the Spartans struggle against Penn State, one has to wonder just how good this team is. 2 seed could be on the line.
Wisconsin @ Illinois - I think a must-win for an Illinois team with a subpar RPI and SOS and on a losing streak. With a loss, it will take a deep Big Ten tourney run to make the NCAA tourney.
Clemson @ Wake Forest - Clemson can lose this game and feel fine. If Wake loses, that's 5 losses in a row. They may move from lock to bubble, which is NOT GOOD by any means.

As you can see, a ton of games to watch over the weekend. That also means my next post won't be up until Monday. When the post is up, expect a lot of changes. Starting Monday, I will be posting daily as conference tournaments get underway and even including some special posts.

As always, you can share your opinion in the comments section below, on Twitter @MattBarnesWRDW, or my Facebook page.

MB
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