Here are my final projections for the bracket, which will be revealed at 6:00 EST on CBS. Thanks for following along this week, enjoy March Madness!
Please note one of the First Four games was moved to the 11 line based on scheduling and proximity to Dayton.
|MIDWEST (INDIANAPOLIS)||SOUTH (DALLAS)|
|Dayton – March 22nd/24th||Philadelphia – March 22nd/24th|
|1) Indiana (27-6)||1) Duke (27-5)|
|16) Liberty (15-20)/N. Carolina A&T (19-16)||16) Western Kentucky (20-15)|
|8) North Carolina State (24-10)||8) Memphis (30-4)|
|9) Temple (23-9)||9) Missouri (23-10)|
|San Jose – March 21st/23rd||Austin – March 22nd/24th|
|5) UNLV (25-9)
||5) Marquette (23-8)|
|12) Belmont (26-6)||12) Ole Miss (26-8)
|4) Syracuse (26-9)||4) Kansas State (27-7)|
|13) Akron (26-6)||13) Davidson (26-7)|
|Austin – March 22nd/24th||Salt Lake City – March 21st/23rd|
|6) Notre Dame (25-9)||6) Pittsburgh (24-8)|
|11) Minnesota (20-12)||11) Oklahoma (20-11)|
|3) Florida (26-7)||3) New Mexico (29-5)|
|14) Valparaiso (26-7)||14) Montana (25-6)|
|Lexington – March 21st/23rd||Dayton – March 22nd/24th|
|7) Oregon (26-8)||7) Butler (25-8)|
|10) Wichita State (26-8)||10) Colorado (21-11)|
|2) Miami, FL (27-6)||2) Ohio State (26-7)|
|15) Albany (24-10)||15) Florida Gulf Coast (24-10)|
|EAST (WASHINGTON, DC)||WEST (LOS ANGELES)|
|Lexington – March 21st/23rd||Salt Lake City – March 21st/23rd|
|1) Louisville (28-5)||1) Gonzaga (31-2)|
|16) LIU Brooklyn (20-13)/Southern (23-9)||16) James Madison (20-14)|
|8) Illinois (22-12)||8) Colorado State (25-8)|
|9) San Diego State (22-10)||9) Cincinnati (22-11)|
|Kansas City – March 22nd/24th||San Jose – March 21st/23rd|
|5) Oklahoma State (24-8)||5) Arizona (25-7)|
|12) Saint Mary’s (27-6)/Tennessee (20-12)||12) Bucknell (28-5)|
|4) Saint Louis (27-6)||4) Wisconsin (23-11)|
|13) New Mexico State (24-10)||13) South Dakota State (25-9)|
|Auburn Hills – March 21st/23rd||Auburn Hills – March 21st/23rd|
|6) UCLA (25-9)||6) VCU (26-8)|
|11) Boise State (21-10)/La Salle (21-9)
||11) California (20-11)|
|3) Michigan (26-7)||3) Michigan State (25-8)|
|14) Northwestern State (23-8)||14) Harvard (19-9)|
|Kansas City – March 22nd/24th||Philadelphia – March 22nd/24th|
|7) North Carolina (24-10)||7) Creighton (27-7)|
|10) Villanova (20-13)||10) Iowa State (22-11)|
|2) Kansas (28-5)||2) Georgetown (25-6)|
|15) Pacific (22-12)||15) Iona (20-13)|
Last Four In
Ole Miss’ win in the SEC title game pushes the Broncos into the First Four in Dayton.
The Gaels gained ground by simply sitting back and watching other bubble teams lose. With just four top-100 wins and a mediocre strength of schedule, they shouldn’t get too comfortable.
I mentioned last night I wanted to take another look at the Explorers’ profile, and I am glad that I did. They have just one sub-100 loss and wins over Butler and Villanova at home as well as VCU on the road. La Salle also has a winning record in road and neutral games, which should help its case.
Despite a quarterfinal loss to Alabama, I still have the Vols in the field. They played a solid non-conference schedule and are 9-10 against the Top 100.
First Five Out
As much as I would love to see the Blue Raiders get in, Mississippi’s win over Florida pushes them outside of the field. They played an extremely strong non-conference, but that doesn’t stand out over Tennessee in the same way it did against Ole Miss.
MTSU did schedule far better than Saint Mary’s, but the Gaels have seven top-100 wins compared to just one for the Blue Raiders.
The rest of these teams are in no particular order, and quite frankly I would be surprised to see any of them make it. The Cavaliers have some solid top-end wins, but seven sub-100 losses will be their undoing.
The Minutemen played well against VCU in stretches but came up short in the Atlantic-10 semifinals. A winning record away from home helps, but they have no top-25 wins and finished just 9-7 in the A-10 regular season.
Once again, Alabama was able to hang with Florida for a good portion of the game, but the Tide failed to pick up their first top-50 win of the season, which leaves them on the outside looking in. Four sub-100 losses don’t help either.
A late comeback fell short against North Carolina and will mean a trip to the NIT for the Terps. They have two wins over Duke, but Maryland was just 3-7 in true road games and played an extremely weak non-conference schedule.
Here is how the bids broke out by conference (Note: Teams that have earned an automatic bid are denoted with a *):
Big East (8): Cincinnati, Georgetown, Louisville*, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Villanova
Big Ten (7): Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Wisconsin
Atlantic 10 (5): Butler, La Salle, Saint Louis*, Temple, VCU
Big 12 (5): Iowa State, Kansas*, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State
Mountain West (5): Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico*, San Diego State, UNLV
Pac-12 (5): Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon*, UCLA
ACC (4): Duke, Miami (FL)*, North Carolina, North Carolina State
SEC (4): Florida, Missouri, Ole Miss*, Tennessee
Missouri Valley (2): Creighton*, Wichita State
Sun Belt (2): Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky*
West Coast (2): Gonzaga*, Saint Mary’s
America East: Albany*
Atlantic Sun: Florida Gulf Coast*
Big Sky: Montana*
Big South: Liberty*
Big West: Pacific*
Colonial: James Madison*
Conference USA: Memphis*
MEAC: North Carolina A&T*
Northeast: LIU Brooklyn*
Ohio Valley: Belmont*
Southland: Northwestern State*
Summit: South Dakota State*
WAC: New Mexico State*
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