NCAA Tournament Bracket – 3/11 FINAL BRACKET
Selection Sunday is here, with just a little housekeeping in order for the Committee before releasing the bracket at 6pm tonight. With Ohio State and Michigan State battling in the Big Ten final late this afternoon with a potential 1-seed on the line, their work may take them up until the final hour. It does take mine until the final minutes when I won’t be at my computer, so I’ll post the contingency within my bracket. The winner of Ohio State and Michigan State this evening will get the one seed as both the regular season champion and tournament champion, while the loser gets the 2 seed.
Three other conference finals are taking place as I type this: North Carolina versus Florida State for the ACC crown, Kentucky and Vanderbilt in the SEC, and Xavier against St Bonaventure in the Atlantic 10. While the first two may have helped FSU or Vandy’s seed, they were played mostly for conference bragging rights. The final game, however, had huge implications for teams on the bubble. If St Bonaventure could pull the upset, the bubble would shrink by one additional spot (Colorado winning the Pac 12 took one last night), and the last team in would miss the tournament. Right now, it’s 50-45 Bonnies with 8:02 to play. A final update will appear later in this post.
This morning I took part in a podcast with the creators of 68&16 Sportscast to debate the merits of each team on each line of the tournament bracket. Other than listening to a hilarious 5 minute rant about how Oral Roberts will be the last team selected as an at-large (5 minutes I’ll never get back), there was a lot of agreement at least about which teams fall within what bands on the tournament ladder. At the bottom of the bracket, there was also a lot of agreement about the weakness of the teams around the bubble. Washington, Cal, Drexel, and BYU each have zero or 1 win over teams that were in consideration for at-large bids. Miami and Mississippi State each had two. Seton Hall, USF, Colorado State, and Marshall each had multiple wins, but also all had a number of bad losses, including down the stretch for Seton Hall, that significantly weaken the case of each of these teams.
My last six teams, from most likely to make it to the final team in are: California, South Florida, Colorado State, Seton Hall, NC State, and Drexel is my last team in the field by basically a coin flip over BYU, based on winning 25 of their last 27 games and winning the CAA regular season title outright before losing to VCU in their conference final. I hope I don’t regret that one later, but if Drexel misses out, it could well be due to St Bonaventure holding off Xavier and earning an automatic bid today. In any case, I’m hoping Drexel does take the place of one of BYU, Seton Hall, and NC State, as I value winning and winning often over playing a slightly more difficult schedule when the top wins are about the same. More to the point, I believe the Committee, made up of 6 mid-major representatives on the 10 person committee will see things the same way.
On just the wrong side of the bubble are the following 8 teams: from the first team to miss the field through teams on the periphery of the discussion: BYU, Miami (FL), Marshall, Mississippi St, Washington, Northwestern, Iona, and Arizona.
So finally, here is the updated bracket, seeded according to bracket principles set forth by the NCAA. With the exception of the last bubble team that’s presenting me with some cognitive dissonance, I feel very good about it. Check out how my bracket compared to other bracketologists on the Bracket Project. In addition, check in a couple days to see how mine fared as scored by the Paymon scoring system.
|1||Kentucky||Syracuse||North Carolina||OSU/MSU Winner|
|5||Murray St.||Wichita St.||Vanderbilt||New Mexico|
|6||Nevada Las Vegas||Temple||Florida||Memphis|
|7||Creighton||Cincinnati||St. Mary’s||San Diego St.|
|8||Kansas St.||Iowa St.||Notre Dame||Gonzaga|
|10||West Virginia||Southern Mississippi||Xavier||Harvard|
|12||Seton Hall/Drexel||South Florida||Long Beach St.||Colorado St/NCSU|
|14||Montana||Davidson||South Dakota St.||New Mexico St.|
|15||Lehigh||Loyola MD||Detroit||Long Island|
|16||Vermont||Lamar||Norfolk St.||NC Asheville|
|16||Mississippi Valley St.||Western Kentucky|
|Next Four||Second Four Out|
In addition, the conference breakout is included below.
|Current||Proj||Lock/Close||Proj. IN||Bubble In||Bubble Out||In Contention|
|Note: Conferences listed above with zero projected bids are included in auto bids.|