We’re now less than two months from Selection Sunday, so it’s time for another set of bracket projections.
I hope to start doing these weekly soon, because the landscape can change pretty quickly as conference play continues.
The projections below take into account all games played through Monday, January 21st.
|EAST (WASHINGTON, DC)||SOUTH (DALLAS)|
|Philadelphia – March 22nd/24th||Kansas City – March 22nd/24th|
|1) Duke (16-1)||1) Kansas (16-1)|
|16) NC Central (11-7)/Mercer (12-8)||16) Southern (14-6)/Charleston So. (10-6)|
|8) Oklahoma (13-4)||8) Illinois (14-5)|
|9) Colorado State (15-3)||9) Pittsburgh (15-4)|
|San Jose – March 21st/23rd||Austin – March 22nd/24th|
|5) Wichita State (17-2)||5) Cincinnati (16-4)|
|12) Middle Tennessee (16-4)||12) Indiana State (12-6)/Iowa (13-5)|
|4) Oregon (16-2)||4) North Carolina State (15-3)|
|13) Bucknell (16-3)||13) Stephen F. Austin (16-1)|
|Dayton – March 22nd/24th||Auburn Hills – March 21st/23rd|
|6) San Diego State (14-4)||6) UNLV (15-4)|
|11) Memphis (14-3)||11) Temple (12-5)|
|3) Indiana (16-2)||3) Minnesota (15-3)|
|14) Davidson (11-7)||14) Valparaiso (15-5)|
|Dayton – March 22nd/24th||Lexington – March 21st/23rd|
|7) Missouri (13-4)||7) UCLA (15-4)|
|10) Georgetown (13-4)||10) Oklahoma State (12-5)|
|2) Butler (16-2)||2) Florida (14-2)|
|15) Stony Brook (13-5)||15) Long Beach State (10-8)|
|MIDWEST (INDIANAPOLIS)||WEST (LOS ANGELES)|
|Auburn Hills – March 21st/23rd||Philadelphia – March 22nd/24th|
|1) Michigan (17-1)||1) Syracuse (18-1)|
|16) Niagara (11-8)||16) Bryant (13-4)|
|8) Notre Dame (15-4)||8) Mississippi (15-2)|
|9) Baylor (13-5)||9) Colorado (12-6)|
|Austin – March 22nd/24th||San Jose – March 21st/23rd|
|5) Miami, FL (13-3)||5) Kansas State (15-2)|
|12) Iowa State (13-4)/Kentucky (12-5)||12) Belmont (15-4)|
|4) Creighton (17-2)||4) New Mexico (16-2)|
|13) Louisiana Tech (16-3)||13) Ohio (13-5)|
|Salt Lake City – March 21st/23rd||Kansas City – March 22nd/24th|
|6) Ohio State (13-4)||6) VCU (16-3)|
|11) North Carolina (12-5)||11) Maryland (14-4)|
|3) Gonzaga (17-2)||3) Michigan State (16-3)|
|14) Harvard (9-6)||14) North Dakota State (16-4)|
|Lexington – March 21st/23rd||Salt Lake City – March 21st/23rd|
|7) Wisconsin (13-5)||7) Marquette (13-4)|
|10) Boise State (13-4)||10) Wyoming (15-2)|
|2) Louisville (16-2)||2) Arizona (16-1)|
|15) Montana (12-4)||15) Northeastern (11-7)|
Last Four In
The Sycamores are hanging on thanks to nonconference wins over Ole Miss and Miami. Losses to Morehead State and Southern Illinois don’t help their case, but they are still just inside the RPI top 50. ISU already has lost at Creighton in the Valley, and it can’t afford to get swept by both Creighton and Wichita State.
After beating Wisconsin on Saturday, the Hawkeyes are barely in the field. They also have a win over Iowa State, but the loss at Virginia Tech looks worse by the week. Iowa has two chances to pick up a key league road win with games at Ohio State and Purdue this week.
The Cyclones let one slip away at Kansas but have bounced back to win three straight (albeit against some of the worst teams in the Big 12). ISU’s RPI is solid, and the win over BYU helps for bubble purposes. But the Cyclones have to start putting some meat on their profile in the Big 12, and the next chance to do that comes on Saturday against Kansas State.
The season-opening win over Maryland is UK’s only RPI top-100 victory so far, but the Wildcats have managed to maintain a respectable RPI. Outside of the home loss to Texas A&M, the Wildcats’ losses aren’t egregious, but they have to start winning games against decent opponents. Unfortunately, those are few and far between in a down SEC.
First Four Out
The Gaels have three top-100 wins, and they just picked up a key road victory at fellow bubble-dweller BYU. They do have a couple of bad losses, and the WCC doesn’t provide many more chances to improve their profile. The good news is that their toughest remaining games are all at home.
Elston Turner blew up for 40 points in a win at Kentucky, but the Aggies lost twice last week, one in blowout fashion to Florida and the other on the road at struggling Alabama. At this point, A&M has no top-50 wins, and it needs to hold serve in the SEC leading up to a key early February stretch when it hosts Kentucky, Missouri and Ole Miss in a four-game span.
Their RPI is still in the top 50, but at this point the Cougars’ best RPI wins are against Santa Clara and Tennessee State. That just isn’t going to get it done, which means BYU needs to take two of its remaining three games against Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s to move the needle.
Aside from a season-opening loss to Saint Peter’s, the Scarlet Knights don’t have a bad loss, and they’ve picked up wins over Pitt and St. John’s in Big East play. Their RPI is just inside the top 50, but the next five games are critical as they play St. John’s, at Connecticut, at Cincinnati, Louisville and Georgetown.
Here is how the bids broke out by conference:
Big Ten (8): Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Wisconsin
Big East (7): Cincinnati, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse
Big 12 (6): Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State
Mountain West (6): Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV, Wyoming
ACC (5): Duke, Maryland, Miami (FL), North Carolina, North Carolina State
Pac-12 (4): Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, UCLA
SEC (4): Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri
Atlantic 10 (3): Butler, Temple, VCU
Missouri Valley (3): Creighton, Indiana State, Wichita State
America East: Stony Brook
Atlantic Sun: Mercer
Big Sky: Montana
Big South: Charleston Southern
Big West: Long Beach State
Conference USA: Memphis
MEAC: North Carolina Central
Ohio Valley: Belmont
Southland: Stephen F. Austin
Summit: North Dakota State
Sun Belt: Middle Tennessee
WAC: Louisiana Tech
West Coast: Gonzaga
Follow me on Twitter (@andybottoms) for more thoughts on college hoops.