Final NCAA Tournament Bracket Projections: March 17

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

Boise State

Ole Miss’ win in the SEC title game pushes the Broncos into the First Four in Dayton.

Saint Mary’s

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.

La Salle

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.

Tennessee

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

Middle Tennessee

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.

Virginia

 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.

Massachusetts

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.

Alabama

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.

Maryland

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*

Horizon: Valparaiso*

Ivy: Harvard*

MAAC: Iona*

MAC: Akron*

MEAC: North Carolina A&T*

Northeast: LIU Brooklyn*

Ohio Valley: Belmont*

Patriot: Bucknell*

Southern: Davidson*

Southland: Northwestern State*

Summit: South Dakota State*

SWAC: Southern*

WAC: New Mexico State*

**********

Follow me on Twitter (@andybottoms) for more thoughts on college hoops.



About Andy Bottoms

While Andy was born and raised in Indiana, he would like to point out that he grew up shooting hoops in his driveway and not against the side of a barn like you see in all the March Madness promos or in the middle of a field like Jimmy Chitwood. Andy ranks among the top bracketologists according to the Bracket Matrix and has provided his projections to Fox Sports for the past three seasons. When not compiling excuses for missing work during the NCAA Tournament, Andy enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. He is a proud IU graduate and co-hosts The Assembly Call postgame show following every IU game. Twitter: @AndyBottoms

Comments

  1. Give me a break Villanova? Weak schedule, weak wins.

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      If you want to argue their schedule, I can buy that even though their non-con SOS is in the 130s. However, you cannot say that they don’t have good wins. They have 3 victories over the RPI Top 15 (Syracuse, Louisville, Marquette), which is something the vast majority of bubble teams can’t claim.

  2. Give me a bigger break. Only 1 top 10 team in the West? That bracket is a joke…

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      Keep in mind that the committee has said no “S curve” exists anymore and their main goal is to keep teams close to home. I bracketed the top few seeds that way, and at times other bracketing rules played a factor. So while I don’t disagree it looks weak, if the committee sticks to their word it could very well end up that way.

  3. All 4 of the first out are better that your last 4 in! Virginia has 7 losses to sub 100 teams, nuff said! 1 win vs Duke doesn’t change that. And if Missouri is an 8 seed then UK is a 9 at worst.

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      Take that up with all the Virginia fans who couldn’t believe I had them out last week.

      In all seriousness, they have more than just the Duke win. They have 4 Top 50 wins and 7 Top 100 wins. I agree the quantity of bad losses is awful, but the vast majority of other bubble teams haven’t beaten anyone. So for me at least, UVA’s high end wins got them in.

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      As for the comment about the last four out being better. Who have they really beaten? They are a combined 5-14 against the Top 50.

  4. everyone must be tired of sec football dominance and uk basketball championship to only have 2 teams in top 68…alabama, tennessee, arkansas, and the defending natl. champs uk would be a tough out for anyone…

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      The SEC is the eighth-ranked conference in RPI, just a really down year for the league. So consequently, the opportunities for high quality wins is nearly non-existent. It has nothing to do with football or UK, it’s just not a very good league this year. I would not be shocked to see another team play its way in (somebody has to win games in the SEC Tournament), but I would be surprised if more than 3 got in.

  5. I’m beyond perplexed….You have UNC 21-8 as a NINE seed…and they are 8-2 down the stretch and clearly a better team than in January and beyond…YET you have Colorado State at a 8 seed, with 3 losses in last 4, and a HORRIBLE loss to UIC earlier…That’s not logical, as they have played a FAR weaker schedule. Give UNC that schedule and we run table, but you reward CSU…Also…you have NC State, 21-8 as an 8, though UNC thumped them lately and have 4 losses in last 10 and UNC is ahead of them in Conference. Do you hate UNC, or what? All but 1 of their losses were with different lineup AND they only lost AT Cameron…yet somehow you penalize them STILL, yet STILL have ‘Cuse with one less loss at 4…Why? I get it, you don’t like Roy, or UNC..but the logic of this is non-existent…

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      You got me, I just hate UNC.

      As I replied in the comments last week, the committee has stated that the last 10 or 12 games no longer carry extra weight. Colorado State is 9-6 vs. the RPI top 100. UNC is 7-7, and both have a sub-100 loss. CSU is 7-6 road/neutral. UNC is 6-7.

      As for NC State, does the NC State win over UNC not matter? And unfortunately with unbalanced schedules in so many leagues, it’s hard to use the standings as a tie breaker. That said, I had the two teams one spot apart on my list with NC State’s win over Duke giving them a slight edge.

  6. WHO in the TOP 100 did CSU play, compared to UNC. Pulling that stat is BS, as Colorado’s schedule is a JOKE comparartively, non-conference and total. My gosh, based on that thought process, UNC should play a schedule like CSU, avoid TOP tier teams and roll through. You apply that logic to Syracuse, who played loads of LOW top 100 teams, but intentionally avoid the teams UNC, Duke, Kentucky are willing to play. They beat them all, walk into conference play and people like you reward them. Same with Cincy, horrible schedule, when you look at TOP teams, ditto to PITT, Ditto to Villanova…avoid top tier teams, win a boat load vs. low top 100 and even a .500 schedule gets you in.

    Let’s see…Colordat State..that “powerhouse” played Montana, Chadron State, Denver, Washington, Northern Colorado, Evansville, Colorado, UIC, N. Florida, CSU Bakersfield, Portland Va Tech, Adams State, UTEP, St. Bonaventure. OH…they LOST to that “powerhouse” UIC.

    UNC played…Gardner-Webb, Florida Atlantic, LBSU, Miss State, Butler, Chaminade, Indiana, UAB, ETSU, E. Carolina, Texas, McNeese State, UNLV…PLUS a significantly harder conference schedule that included 2 games vs. Miami, Duke, NC State, Maryland, UVA and FSU…hardest schedule in ACC, BETTER than NC State’s schedule.

    So please, compare the 2 schedules…UNC possibly runs the table with that schedule…and you’d have them as a 1 seed and they’d stink…Heck, give us Pitt’s schedule…’Cuse schedule…Marquette’s…

    Sorry, so please, you use that stuff to validate, but somehow closed your eyes when looking at WHO they played. CSU’s “BIG WIN”….was it SDSU, UNLV or Va Tech? UNC has wins vs. NC State, UNLV, UVA, Maryland..yes…WE lost in mid-December @TEXAS…AND…you penalize us for that…please…You state the last 10 or 12 carry no additional weight…but they carry weight, and YOU know as well as I that the Texas loss for UNC carried “extra” weight, and if you say otherwise, it’s crazy. Yet, somehow Cincy can lose 6 of last 10…’Cuse loses 3 straight and you barely touch them. I get it, UNC get’s penalized for NOT being dominate…IF UNC loses to Maryland and/or Duke they’ll be dumped to “bubble” and you’ll put another Big East team in, that way more teams exit in 1st 2 rounds. Hey, how about Providence…I mean you already have a 12 loss ‘Nova and a Cincy team that is horrible. Seriously…Do you watch games? The Committee chair (Xavier AD) stated they will use the “eye” test a lot. You didn’t, did you? No way…as you have St Louis, UNLV(LOST TO UNC) and Wisconsin at FIVE, Pitt and Minnesota at SIX, Illinois and Notre Dame at SEVEN, and NC State, San Diego State, Missouri and Colorado State at EIGHT, ahead of UNC…If you did an EYE chest, you should give Ray Charles back his glasses…they aren’t working any better for you than they do for him. So…Andy…how say you that you eye test and say those teams ALL with similar records are ahead of UNC. AH…Like always you media guys look for the “smirk” type games in 2nd round, and attempt to justify it…Kansas vs. UNC…really? Way to be Captain Obvious…

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      I can certainly appreciate your passion for your team, but a few points to consider:

      The Mountain West is the top conference in terms of RPI. The ACC is 4th.

      Top 100 RPI Wins for each team:
      – Colorado State: UNLV (13), SDSU (33), Boise St. (45), Denver (66), Wyoming (67), @ Washington (84), Air Force – twice (89) Montana (99)
      – North Carolina: UNLV (13), NC State (24), Virginia (63), Maryland (78), FSU – twice (89), East Carolina (100)
      Each team has 3 wins over teams I have in the field in that bunch. And you can’t have it both ways and tout UNC for beating UNLV then mock whether that would be CSU’s biggest win. I also don’t consider Maryland a marquee win given how the Terps have played away from home this year.

      Also, you seem to indicate that the loss against Texas shouldn’t be a big deal, but CSU’s bad loss (UIC) should be. Again, can’t have it both ways.

      I will say CSU has done a great job of “working the RPI” over the last couple seasons. Eustachy did the same at Southern Miss.

      Finally, UNC is safely in. No one is putting them on the bubble if they lose their last 2 games. As far as why UNC is with Kansas, they can’t be in Duke’s pod, they can’t be in NC State’s pod, and the committee attempts to avoid rematches early on so I didn’t put them with IU. Kansas is who was left at that point.

      For now, we’ll have to agree to disagree. These are bracket projections that will change 20 times between now and Selection Sunday. I do use the “eye test” and watch a lot of basketball. UNC is absolutely playing better than it did earlier in the season, but this process evaluates the entire body of work. You have to balance the accomplishments of the teams with the eye test when looking at teams. As always I appreciate the debate.

  7. Think Saint Mary’s should be ranked higher than a 12th seed; then again really don’t want them being an 8 or 9 seed either ( that means they woud have to play the #1 seed in round 2). . I do like the fact you have them playing against Syracuse and in San Jose. Be nice seeing Dellavedova and his team playing close to home

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      I had Saint Mary’s as an 11 but needed to bump them a seed line in order A) comply with bracketing rules and B) make sure the First 4 games were playing their second games close to Dayton.

  8. Was this made before or after Indiana got beat at home by Ohio State? They were ranked 14th before the game making them no worse than a 4 seed. They beat your Hoosiers so does that put them up to a 3 seed? Are you going to stand by the 5 seed and if so, what’s the wager? :)

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      It was made through Monday night’s game so that result would not be included. Not sure if OSU would be up to a 3 based on that but a 4 is a definite possibility. Next update is planned for Friday morning.

      That was easily the best I have seen OSU this season. Defense was locked in, and a number of guys stepped up to help Deshaun Thomas. OSU definitely deserved the victory.

  9. Spinnaker says:

    My God man you have teams in there who have never played before a thousand people.

  10. How does Austin, TX hold two different brackets in different regions on the same weekend? You show a West and Midwest regional braket there, both 22 and 24 March.

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      Each site hosts two different “pods,” so there will be two sets of games at each of the eight sites.

  11. how does Nova make it over PC…same Big East record…and PC swept them this year? Providence should clearly be in the mix

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      So I do have Providence on the list of teams I am keeping an eye on, but they don’t have any wins in the Top 45 teams at this point, which makes it tough to offset their 4 sub-100 losses. Definitely have a shot if they can win at UConn and make a decent run in the Big East Tourney.

      You may also want to discuss their candidacy with the commenter earlier who joked about me putting Providence in the field!

  12. Add georgetown to that list of wins.. LOCK THEM IN.

  13. VCU WITH ONE DOUBLE DIGIT LOSS IN REGULATION ALL SEASON… TIED ATOP A10 AND THEY’RE ONLY A SEVEN….BEAT BUTLER BY 32 ALSO A SEVEN SEED…FIVE OF SIX LOSSES TO TEAMS IN THE FIELD….

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      Butler has 4 Top 20 wins and no sub-100 losses. Definitely not playing well lately but overall profile is pretty solid. VCU has 1 Top 50 win since Dec. 1, so while they have looked good and lead the A10, the schedule hasn’t worked in their favor with so few chances for marquee wins.

  14. VCU’S LONE SUB 100 LOSS TO CROSSTOWN RIVAL RICHMOND IN OVERTIME… YOU CAN THROW THAT OUT BASED ON GEOGRAPHY ALONE…. ASK BRAD STEVENS ABOUT VCU… THEY LEAD THE COUNTRY IN FORCING TURNOVERS… LEAD THE COUNTRY IN POINTS OFF TURNOVERS….AND THEIR OFFENSE… WHILE A WORK IN PROGRESS IN THE HALF COURT SET….IS PUTTING UP POINTS THIS SEASON….. IF THEY HIT THEIR THREES… (A BIG IF)… THEY CAN BEAT ANYONE IN THE COUNTRY…. CERTAINLY DESERVING OF SOMETHING HIGHER THAN A MIDDLING SEVEN SEED… MORE LIKE A FIVE…AT WORST A SIX….ALL FOUR OF YOUR SIX SEEDS HAVE BAD LOSSES THIS SEASON… HECK UCLA LOST TO CAL POLY… BUT IF THEY USE THE FORMULA YOU REFER TO I WOULDN’T BE SURPRISED TO SEE THE RAMS RIGHT WHERE YOU SAY THEY WILL BE… NO MATTER… BRING IT ON…

  15. lionhart says:

    Why is the Big Ten selling out Iowa. They finished 6th in the conference, beat Illinois and Minnesota in the last two week of the season, and finished the year 4-2 against the Big Ten. Sure they played an easy early schedule but started two freshmen. The Big Ten experts won’t give then any hype. Why?

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      I picked Iowa to make the tournament before the season so I would like nothing better than to have that happen. They have a couple things working against them though. First, they were just 2-8 in true road games with the only wins over Northwestern and Penn State. Second, their Big Ten schedule featured single games against Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Illinois so their final place in the standings is somewhat a byproduct of that. The non-con schedule is also an issue as you mentioned, and in total 13 of their 20 wins came against teams outside of the RPI Top 150.

      So all that said, I don’t have them out of it and think their draw in the Big Ten Tournament isn’t all that bad. Sounds like Gesell might be back too which would help.

  16. I want to preface my statement with the fact that I live in Durham, NC and have lived in North Carolina my whole life, so I might be slightly biased. But, I am having a lot of difficulties swallowing the fact that typically smaller conferences, such as the Atlantic 10 and Mountain West are getting more teams into the tournament and are considered to have higher RPIs in their respective conferences than the ACC and even the SEC. I’m beginning to wonder how accurate the RPI ranking system is and whether the selection committee should even use it any longer. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, the ACC has been weak for the last couple of years and the Big Ten is the hot spot for great basketball now. But here is my issue, if the Big Ten is so good and the ACC is so bad then tell me why is it that they tied in the ACC/BIG 10 challenge? Yes, you can use the argument, “Well, that was early in the season when teams were still developing”, but the truth of the matter is that a wins a win and I think that the ACC has proved to be a legit conference once again. (P.S. Can’t wait till next year!) You can’t sit there and tell me with a straight face that 8 teams from the Big East, 7 teams from the Big 10 and 5 teams from the Mountain West deserve to make the tournament more than Virginia or Maryland from the ACC. Not to tout the ACC any more than I already have but the conference has arguably two of the best teams in the country in Duke and Miami, and several other teams that could easily make it to the Sweet 16. Could someone please tell me whether I am alone or not in my theory that the RPI ranking is flawed?

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      On the RPI front, I am right there with you and certainly agreed that it’s a flawed metric. Unfortunately, that doesn’t keep the committee from using it in some capacity – typically to categorize wins.

      As for the conference stuff, I think both Maryland and Virginia are plagued by different issues when compared to other conferences. I think the MWC does a pretty good job as a league in terms of “playing the RPI.” Very few of the top teams have played many sub-200 RPI teams which is what really drags down the SOS. The other thing in their favor is that none of the five tournament teams have more than 2 sub-100 losses. That definitely helps when compared to UVA. The RPI also responds well to road wins, and the worst of the 5 MWC teams I have in is Boise State who is 7-10 in road/neutral games but also have a win at Creighton. Both UVA and Maryland have not played well away from home. Hopefully that gives you some idea of how things shake out the way they do.

      For the two specific ACC teams you brought up, Virginia has the craziest profile I can recall. The issue is that there is really no precedent for a team with so many bad losses combined with a poor non-con SOS getting in. On Maryland, they also had a poor non-con SOS and outside of beating Duke and NC State, they really haven’t done anything. Poor road record hurts too. Can both beat good teams? Absolutely, but the committee looks at accomplishments vs. potential, which in their cases doesn’t work out well.

      All that being said, the top end teams in the ACC are clearly better than the top end teams in the MWC or A-10. Definitely no argument there.

      • Well, now that Maryland has beaten #1 seed Duke TWICE in the past month, and today came within a missed 3 of having a regulation tie with North Carolina…shouldn’t they be in? They are a young team starting4/5 fresh and sophs.

        • Andy Bottoms says:

          The wins over Duke are great, but they are just 4-10 against the RPI Top 100. Terps were 3-7 in true road games and the non-con schedule ranks outside the Top 300. I would be shocked if they get in.

  17. Andy….well done. Good bracket and an excellent job validating your positions in the discussions.

  18. bornonbike says:

    Glad to see that Oregon’s still in the mix, even though they’ve really stunk up the court in their last two games. Andy, do you think the Ducks will still be in the tournament if they have a poor showing in the PAC-12 championship? Assuming they somehow still get in, I have to believe they’re going to be a “one and done” team if they don’t get their act together… and quick!

    My other team is Montana, and I am really psyched to see them playing better ever since that loss to Davidson. Assuming the brackets stay the same, I believe they’d be playing New Mexico. If that’s correct, how would you see that game playing out?

    Thanks!

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      I don’t think Oregon is in jeopardy at all despite their recent struggles. The true bubble teams are just not good enough. I really thought they would take a step forward once Artis came back but so far not really the case.

      As for Montana, obviously the injury to Mathias Ward is a huge issue for them, although it’s obviously good that Cherry is ok after a scare in the Davidson game. While I do like the Grizzlies, it’s not a great matchup based on the size of New Mexico with Alex Kirk. UNM has certainly struggled to make shots at times on offense, and if Montana could slow them down they would have a shot. Definitely a tall order without Ward though.

  19. To all you ACC homers, quit your whining. You sound pathetic. As the folks out west, YES Mountain West, would say- shut up, lace up, ball up. Can’t wait to see what excuses JC in his powder blue N/C jersey comes up with when the Heals walk their sorry arses off the court.

  20. PQ has a valid point. The RPI is flawed in saying the mountain west is a better conference than the ACC and or the SEC. Anybody want to bet their paycheck on a final four without an ACC or SEC team? I don’t think you will. You put Gonzaga in the ACC or SEC and they go 12-5 or 11-6.Even the bottom tier teams have athletes and the play is much more physical than out west. We will see when the tournament starts and who is left at the end. I am not saying that Gonzaga can’t beat these teams in a one game take all situation, merely that over the course of a season a team like Kentucky which finished 2nd in the SEC and is on the bubble? Or UNC which could beat any team on a given night are being down played for not dominating their leagues. Who wants to play either of these teams in the first or second round….I will answer for you…..nobody.

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      You can’t only look at the top end teams though. So while Florida, Duke, and Miami are all among the better teams in the country, I’m not sure the overall strength of the league should be measured only on the top teams.

      As for UNC, they have absolutely improved, but they still have just 2 wins over Top 65 teams (UNLV, NC State). So while they are playing better, the committee is left to look at what they have actually accomplished over the course of the season. Same deal with Kentucky. You can argue they are better than their seed would indicate (and maybe they are), but what have they done to prove it?

      • I think you are missing the point. How does Missouri make the tourney, when they finished beneath UK in the reg season and Uk beat them? I guess when one of the A-10 teams or Mountain West teams wins it all I migh be convined. However, if you think VCU vs Colorado St. is basketball you want to watch then you might see empty seats on Championship night. A watered down tourney is just that…………..watered down.

        • Joshua McKenzie says:

          cant just based it on ky should be in before missouri just bc they beat them…..missouri has a much better resume than ky…..bc u are comparing it to every team…..ky only has 2 quality wins both at home and both conference wins…and missouri played a much tougher overall non-conference schedule with wins against Illinois and VCU

          • Illinois and VCU are no better than Tennessee. The only reason the SEC is not getting any RPI love this year is because UK is not top five. Period. Mizzou won’t go far.

          • Andy Bottoms says:

            The rankings have nothing to do with it. The reality is that outside of the Florida, no one in the league beat anyone of note out of conference.

  21. Ohio State should be projected as a two seed. They finished the season with five wins; Minnesota, MSU, @NW, @Indiana, Illinois. They are the only Big Ten team that beat every other Big Ten team. Also, Michigan is over rated.

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      The Buckeyes have been outstanding down the stretch, but the committee looks at the entire body of work. Obviously missing out on the Marquette game hurt their non-con slate, but their best non-con win is over Washington. The road win at IU was huge for a number of reasons, but up to that point their league road wins were against PSU, NW, NEB, and PUR. The IU win bumped them up for me, and I could see them getting a 2 with a deep B10 tourney run. Just not quite there yet for me.

      Which 2 seed would you drop in favor of OSU?

  22. I agree MN, bunch of whiners every year. How about the default preferential treatment Duke gets based solely on their historic reputation. Last year as the prime example. Big East by far the powerhouse year after year. Can’t wait to see what happens withy Pitt and SU in the ACC next year.

  23. I would replace MSU. Ohio State beat them down the stretch and I think OSU will go deeper in the B10 tourny since they’re playing their best ball of the season. And that has been their m.o. under Matta.

  24. I would replace MSU. Ohio State beat them down the stretch and I think OSU will go deeper in the B10 tourny since they’re playing their best ball of the season. And that has been their m.o. under Matta

  25. If Minn. loses today I think they’re out. They have some huge wins including most recently vs. IU but they have choked massivly. And you can’t put Iowa there either, unless they make it to Sunday, since they have a very thin resume. That leaves 6 from the B10. You may have to look at Baylor.

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      Minnesota has struggled of late, but the other bubble teams are just so much worse, I just can’t see them getting left out.

  26. How can Tennesse be included instead of Alabama. These two teams played twice in the regular season. Alabama won the first one by 3 at home and lost by 1 at Tennesse on a very controversal no call on the last shot of the game. Alabama beat Tennesse by 10 in the SEC Tournament. Alabama also has a 22 point win at Villanova (neutral court) and a 2 point loss at Cinncinati on a last second 3-point basket. Most of Alabama’s bad losses came in December when they had injuries to two prominent players. Alabama had wins against top 50 teams who have fallen out of the top 50, including Kentucky when they still had Noel. I know this is only your projection, but there seems to be a lot of discrimination against teams that don’t have a strong basketball tradition, and favoritism for teams with stronger traditions that some people prematurely have decided should be “in”. And, I know, Alabama gets this type of favoritism in football.

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      To me the difference was the quality of each team’s best wins and the fact that Tennessee played a tougher non-conference schedule. The Vols have 3 Top 50 wins (Florida, Missouri, Wichita St.), while Alabama’s 4 best RPI wins are Villanova, Kentucky, and Tennessee (twice). The wins over Tennessee obviously help for bubble purposes, but to me there is a disparity in the quality of each team’s top wins. Tennessee also beat UMass out of conference, which helps their strength of schedule.

      All that said, if Alabama wins today I would likely have them in tomorrow.

      • The 3 top 50 wins by Tennessee were all home games, and the win against Florida were without injured Florida players Yeguette and Michael Frazier. Alabama had to play Florida at Florida with these two players back. When choosing between two teams, the most important factor is head to head competition. Alabama beat Tennessee by 10 points on a neutral court (in the state of Tennessee) in a conference championship game. This is very much like a play-in game. I’m not necessarily writing that Alabama should be included in the tournament, but certainly should be “in” before Tennessee.

        • Andy Bottoms says:

          First off, I appreciate you giving your logic and can certainly see your side of the discussion. Neither team really did much away from home, so it’s hard to delineate them in that regard. And while Tennessee did pick up those wins at home, Alabama just doesn’t have wins that rival those either at home or on the road. Losses to Dayton, Mercer, Tulane, and Auburn also really hurt their case. All of those are probably worse than Tennessee’s worst losses (twice to Georgia, at Arkansas). It’s sad to think that comparing bad losses is a factor, but the committee does consider that.

  27. jerry graeber says:

    Are you telling me Ole Miss is in regardless of the outcome of the Vandy game today, or do you show them having to beat Vandy today to get in? Regardless, that was the biggest win in AK’s career at Ole Miss considering the circumstances and what was at stake.

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      I don’t think Ole Miss is safe if they lose today, since it would give them another ugly loss. Losing to both South Carolina and Mississippi State hasn’t left them much room for error.

      Millinghaus was unreal last night though, huge win for the program!

  28. Keith Bressie says:

    How does Duke get a 1 seed nod at this juncture when they have not won their league title nor have they won their league tournament title? Sounds homer to me.

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      I can’t say I’ve ever been called a Duke homer before, but there’s a first time for everything I guess. They have 7 wins against the Top 30, played a really tough non-con schedule and have lost just once at full strength. Not sure how they would not be a 1 seed.

  29. Why don’t yo think Iowa will make it. They have been playing very well, With some big win and some close loses to very good oponents.

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      A couple things are few factors for me: 1) They are 2-8 in true road games with the only wins over Penn State and NW. 2) Their non-con Strength of Schedule is in the 300s. 3) This is not their fault, but their Big Ten schedule was not as strong – they played MSU, Michigan, OSU, and Illinois just once – so their 9-9 mark in the league winds up looking a little less impressive. 4) The losses to Va Tech and Nebraska are pretty ugly.

      I really thought they were going to win last night, which would have put them in.

  30. Michigan in the top 5 is a joke they haven’t won a road gme against a ranked opponent and barely won at home. The talking heads have killed themselves this year to keep mich in a high spot but they can’t do it anymore. 6th in the country and 5th in their conference. Come on. Get real. I’m sick of the love affair between the sports networks and michigan. If you took their name off their schedule and had anyone look at their opponents and the record you’d hink a mid major school at best.

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      I definitely think less of them than I did earlier in the year, but they still have seven Top 40 wins for the season, which most teams don’t have. The PSU loss is ugly, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see them drop a seed by tomorrow based on what other teams do.

  31. Goldy Gopher says:

    I’m a Big Ten fan, and even I have to agree that the conference is getting too much respect this year. Minnesota (my team) is projected to make the field, and they clearly shouldn’t. There are teams like Southern Mississippi, 2nd in C-USA and playing for the C-USA championship, that should be in instead. There should be a standing rule that you need to win half of your conference games (including tourney) to make it.

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      Definitely an interesting idea, but I think this year’s bubble is so weak that more sub-.500 teams are in the discussion. Minnesota benefits a lot from their non-con SOS, and the win over IU definitely helps. That said, I don’t see them hanging around long in the tournament.

  32. You can’t say they don’t have horrible losses either.

  33. Give me a break, teh Duke Devilettes lost to the lowly Terps twice, they aren’t a number 1 seed! Miami Fla is the 1 seed, they earned ikt!

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      So losses to Maryland mean Duke can’t get a 1 seed. Do Miami’s losses to Wake (by 15) and Georgia Tech not count? Both of those are worse than losing to Maryland.

      • Chris Mulgrew says:

        How does Duke get a No.1 seed if they aren’t the No.1 team in their conference?

        • Andy Bottoms says:

          To summarize some of my previous replies on the topic: A) It’s the entire body of work, not just the conference season. Duke played the toughest non-con schedule and went undefeated against it. 2) Ryan Kelly injury is a factor. Just one loss with him in the lineup.

          • Chris Mulgrew says:

            Duke and Miami were supposed to meet in the ACC tournament to settle who was No.1 in the ACC. Duke didn’t make it.

  34. Duh! They lost to lowly Maryland twice, most recently yeserday at best they are two seed and probably don’t deserve that, they should be three seed!

  35. Duke also was blown out the first meeting by Miami and the rematch was close. I stand by what I said, Maimi Fl is a number one seed, they did win the ACC not Duke!

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      Miami has had a great season, but you cannot ignore the bad losses they had. And while the Florida Gulf Coast and Indiana State ones came while players were out, the same can’t be said of losing to Wake and GT.

  36. AJ Kaufman says:

    Tired of Duke failing and remaining on the #1 line. They did not win their subpar conference, then lost in round 1 of the tourney, yet get a 1 seed b/c of a few wins in November? Blue Devils have ONE win over a top 25 team since November (barely hanging on with help of Kelly’s 7 threes), and NO road wins over ranked teams all season. I figured they’d have to win or make the finals of the ACC tourney to keep their 1 seed, but a first round loss (scond to awful Twerps in 4 weeks) should take them to a 2 or 3. Kansas is a no doubt 1 seed in their place if KU beats KSU tonight. WAY better wins throughout the year, better conference, road triumphs, etc. Duke just has louder alumni in the media, sadly. What a coup. I’d also make OSU or MSU a 1 seed if they keep winning in the Big Ten tourney. And at least Gtown lost to a good team in the conf tourney and play in a brutal conference. More deserving than Duke, as is New Mexico, SLU, Miami and even K-State or Michigan.

  37. Hawkeye Pierce says:

    You should be a weatherman–at least you would be correct once and a while. The record is the record. Iowa finished ahead of Minnesota and Illinois. Beat both of the teams in the final stretch and finished .500 in the best conference in basketball this year. The other bantered about stats are giberish to give the ESPN clowns something to justify their constant mistakes.

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      Well my “forecast” of Iowa being left out will be right tomorrow. They played a really bad non-con schedule and were poor in true road games. Those aren’t predictions, those are facts. I actually think Iowa has a tournament caliber team and picked them to make it before the season. Unfortunately, their entire body of work doesn’t back that up.

  38. Aaron Yah says:

    So Kansas just won the Big 12 Championship. Do you think that’s enough to for it to bump Duke off for the 1 seed? If so, is there any way Duke could be a 1 seed still?

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      Much to the chagrin of other commenters, I think Duke will still end up with a 1 seed. If Louisville wins the Big East, then I suppose there is a chance. Planning to look over things again once the MWC game is done.

  39. You’ve done a phenomenal job here, impressed at you’re responses as well; wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Lunardi is taking a peek at your work.

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      Much appreciated, tough to keep up with the replies at times but that’s one of the things that makes it fun. Going to make some updates to the bracket now though while I setle in for today’s last few games.

  40. Getarmda says:

    No way Duke is still a #1 seed, i’d definitely give that to Kansas now.

    • Aaron Yah says:

      I know I’m pretty biased, but that TCU loss really hurts Kansas I think.

      • Andy Bottoms says:

        That certainly stands out, and I believe I recall reading earlier in the season that no 1 seed ever had a loss to a team ranked that low in the RPI. This year has been odd though, so I wouldn’t be shocked. KU has a lot of high-end wins though, fairly certain no one has more vs. the Top 50.

        • Aaron Yah says:

          Could you quickly summarize a few things that Duke has that really works in their favor? Thanks!

          • Andy Bottoms says:

            Their non-conference schedule was the toughest in the country and they went through it undefeated, picking up wins over Minnesota, VCU, Louisville, Ohio State, and Temple in the process. With Ryan Kelly healthy, their only loss was to Maryland in the ACC Tournament. Those are the couple things that stick out to me at least.

  41. Aaron Yah says:

    You finished 2nd or 3rd place last year in the bracket matrix, correct?

  42. Tennessee out of of conference losses were an away game at Georgetown( one point), Oklahoma State( neutral ), UVA(A), Memphis (H). OLE MISS and Bama had weak schedules and lost to some really bad teams. I think it is close between TN and LA Salle but give Vols because of the really bad loss La Salle had early. I don’t know what you do with MTSU. I can see a case either way.

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      Tennessee’s non-con is definitely a huge factor in them being in the tournament. Alabama has 4 “bad” losses, and Ole Miss somehow lost to both Mississippi State and South Carolina.

      MTSU is the biggest challenge for me. Want to think the committee will reward them for scheduling tough and dominating their league. History not necessarily on their side though, and I think if Ole Miss beats Florida, the Blue Raiders are out.

  43. I saw Tennessee play in person two weeks ago against Georgia. If they belong in the field of 64, the tournament has been diminished. Minnesota forfeited their chance to get in; Iowa is more deserving.
    Villanova and Cincinnati are shaky entries from the Big East. This is another example of the favortism the selection committe shows the major conferences. My four #1 seeds: Gonzaga, Louisville, Kansas, Ohio St. OSU will defeat Wisconsin to take the Big 10. Kansas rules the Big 12. Louisville looks like men playing with boys in the Big East and Gonzaga has climbed the mountain from mid-major to the major leagues.

  44. tarheelsforever says:

    if unc pulls off the win in acc title game, you think there seed improves?

  45. tarheelsforever says:

    also, how much higher seed if unc wins, how much lower if they lose? if unc gets everyone back next season, with strickland being gone, sr. and mcadoo back, hicks, britt, meeks, hopefuly wiggins, where do you think unc rank will be next season?also, do you think wiggins comes to unc??heard he a jordan fan, and heard he liked unc visit, just wondering your thoughts? go heels

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      If they win, probably a shot at a 6, but unless they get blown out I doubt their seed would fall.

      I haven’t really looked much at all at next season. Would be surprised if Wiggins goes to UNC but you never know.

  46. this bracket has louisville getting hosed..indiana has a cake walk. no sir i dont like it

  47. I’m sorry but a Memphis team that goes 30-4 deserves better than an 8 seed. It’s funny how Southern Miss has an RPI in the Top 30, but those Top 50 wins don’t count for Memphis because Southern Miss doesn’t play in a power conference. That is the same crap people were saying about our Final Four and Elite Eight teams a few years back.

    If the Miami Heat went 34-0 and played in the MAAC, but had no “good wins” what seed would you give them? Does what you actually see on the court mean anything to you. Or do people of your ilk just punch numbers in a computer and see what comes out.

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      For what it’s worth, I have them as the highest 8 seed. The issue for me at least is that the quality wins just aren’t there. Their 3 Top 50 wins are all against Southern Miss, who really wasn’t in the at-large conversation. Memphis has just 2 other wins against the Top 80 (Ohio, at Tennessee), and Tennessee is the only team they beat who has the potential to get an at-large.

  48. i hate to be the Devils advocate but has it been considered that there just might be some oversights in those complimented perceptions well thought out? like, maybe a 180* or 360* turn around?

  49. The only thing with Duke is they can only beat good teams at home. They can’t beat anybody of importance on the road. The tournament does not go through Cameron.

  50. Yep, Duke basically wins at home & did horrible in it’s conference & Tourney.
    Surprised you didn’t change your Duke 1 when Kansas won it’s tourney easily over a #11 ranked team.They also won Their conference & had moe wins than anyone against top 50 teams.
    Kansas record better than Duke’s in many ways.

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      I really don’t feel good about the amount of time I have spent defending Duke these last couple days. If you compare the 2 in true road games, Duke was 5-4 and KU was 7-3, while in neutral court games Duke was 6-1 and KU was 5-1. So combined Duke was 11-5 and KU was 12-4. Assuming the game at Iowa State didn’t get so screwy at the end of regulation, they are both pretty much the same there.

      That said, I think KU’s loss to TCU is pretty damning, and when you also consider the fact that Duke lost just 1 game at full strength, that’s why I gave them the nod. I would have no issue whatsoever with KU getting a 1 seed though but wanted to at least share my rationale.

  51. Duke a #1? Miami Fl won the ACC and the are playing for the conference tournament championship today…Duke got beat in the qtr finals and did not win the conference…Miami should be a #1 not Duke

  52. I don’t think I see a team from Texas at all. Has that ever happened?

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      I saw someone else point that out on Twitter yesterday. Not sure on the answer, but I can’t recall any in recent memory.

  53. I understand the committee looks at a team’s entire schedule, however I have heard many times “how a team is playing going into the NCAA tournament” is also strongly considered. With that said, I find it hard to understand how IU can be a #1 ‘lock’ when they’ve gone 3-3 since late February. This is the worst record of any of the top 16 teams seeded above….and BARELY beating Michigan to win the Big 10 out-right. Compare this to #2 seed Ohio State who is 6-0 since late February beating 3 Top 10 ranked teams, and playing today for Big 10 Conference Tournament Championship. One of these 6 wins was against IU at IU on Senior night. My opinion OSU and IU should swap seeds!!!

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      I can appreciate your logic, but to me it isn’t that close. OSU is 5-5 in true road games, while IU was 7-2. OSU is 4-5 vs. the RPI Top 25, while IU is 7-2. IU played a tougher non-con schedule (not getting to play Marquette was obviously not OSU’s fault but it would have helped), and IU won the regular season outright.

      Don’t get me wrong, I have been very impressed with OSU lately and having Craft step up to consistently produce alongside Thomas has been huge. Definitely not a team anyone will be happy to draw.

  54. Andy Bottoms says:

    All, I am traveling for a large chunk of today, so I am not sure I will be able to respond to many other comments. I’ll try to get to some later, but thanks for all the feedback and interaction throughout the week. It’s always fun to talk hoops as we lead up to the tournament.

    And I got called a Duke homer for the first time, so we’ll always have that.

  55. AJ Kaufman says:

    The Duke formula amazes. Win a few home and neutral games in November with your veteran-laden team, then when you lose your THIRD best player, talk about it daily in the media, so whatever happens during that 2 months stretch is erased. Win two games on national TV latein season when he returns, suffer a terrible first round ACC tourney loss to a non-tourney team — and still remain a 1 seed?!

    But Kansas has one very bad loss 6 weeks ago and it haunts them every day of the season, despite having a ton more good wins than Duke, including many down the stretch.

    I actually think Duke is a 3 seed based upon he entire body of work. Second place in a subpar league, lost in first round of tourney, three losses to non tourney teams the past month.

    Gonzaga, IU, KU, Louisvlle, OSU, Gtown, Miami, New Mexico, Florida (and perhaps MSU, SLU and Michigan) all have better resumes. The MWC, Big 10, Big 12, Big East and A10 are superior to the ACC with the Pac-12 and SEC being close. The ACC top is VERY weak after Duke/Miami and the bottom is awful. (Yes, the Big 12 bottom is awful too, but the top is WAY better than the ACC: KU/KSU/OSU/OU/ISU vs Miami/Duke/NCST/UNC and Maryland/UVA? ROFL.)

    And I still can’t understand how Cincy and Minnesota are tourney locks, but that’s not nearly as important.

  56. I don’t understand all the talk about kenlucky even being a bubble team. Even with noel they were an average team in a below average league. Louisville proved in a hostile environment that they have something few teams do. The ability to defend and use that defense to propel their offense. They might just win it all!

  57. AJ Kaufman says:

    BTW, Indiana is no lock for the 1 seed. They cant keep losing to inferior schools down the stretch (Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, et al) and keep the 1 seed. Miami and OSU if both win today have a claim for a 1 seed, as does SLU, who’s playing as well as anyone in America.

  58. mr.tarter says:

    This is my full analysis go to this blog and scroll through for my humble opinion http://notchinc.blogspot.com/

  59. tarheelsforever says:

    first, as a tarheel fan, let me say congrads to the canes and there fans, on being 2013 acc champions. i was really proud of my heels, they loss, but showed fight and heart till the end.WANT TO ASK ANDY with the way the heels are playing lately, not counting the last home game,lol. do you think, unc team ,maybe one of the best 7-10 seed ,in ncaa tourney history, saying that keep playing at top level???? with the guys coming next year, and this group back( not counting–strickland-sr) you’ll have to say unc, has to be one of top 3 fav. for ncaa title next year, dont you agree andy?????if everyone back

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      Not sure I would say one of the best 7-10 in NCAA history. Certainly playing better, but the reality is they have 2 wins over at-large teams (UNLV, NC State) so not ready to go that far.

      As for next year, I honestly haven’t paid attention, and it depends so much on who comes back and who doesn’t.

      • AJ Kaufman says:

        UNC is lucky to be in the tournament. They have 2 “good” wins all season and were crushed by Butler, Texas (!), IU, UVA, Miami, Duke etc. How are they hot? Becqause they beat up on bad ACC teams, then lost in Chapel Hill to overrated Duke. I don’t see UNC as “hot” nor do I think they should be an 8 seed. They are lucky to be in the tourney and will go nowhere.

  60. bornonbike says:

    Seriously? Oregon wins the PAC-12 Tournament, beating UCLA handily and after beating them during conference play at UCLA, and finishes tied for second in the PAC-12 with a 26-8 record. And yet UCLA (25-9 — one less win and one more loss than Oregon) is a 6th seed while Oregon is a 12th seed? And Arizona’s a 6th seed while Oregon’s a 12th seed? Colorado a 10th seed while Oregon’s a 12th seed? And Cal is a 12th seed, the same as Oregon?

    Sure, Cal and Colorado beat Oregon twice during the regular season but they (Cal) got beat by Utah (whom Oregon then beat) in the tournament, and they have a 20-11 record. Colorado finishes 5th in the PAC-12, loses to Arizona in the tournament, and has a 21-11 record, and they still get a higher seeing than the Ducks? Why have a damn PAC-12 tournament if little-to-nothing factors into the seeding?

    I have no idea how the NCAA committee figures this sh*t out, but they must’ve had their heads firmly up their butts when they “analyzed all of the data.”

    Seems seriously FUBAR to me.

    Yeah, Middle Tennessee State or St. Mary’s is a #11 seed? Cincinnati @ 22-11 and a 9th place finish in the for-the-most-part overrated Big East? Give me a friggin’ break!

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