All four teams projected for a #1 seed lost this week on the road, which has opened up the race for the #1 seeds. I’m moving BYU up for now (they rank #2 in the RPI), but I think the combination of losses this week means that the Mountain West champ now has a legitimate shot at getting a #1, because it would be more likely than not that we will still have some losses coming in conference tournaments, if not the rest of the regular season. I think seven teams-Ohio State, Texas, Kansas, BYU, Pitt, San Diego State, and Duke – are in the running for a #1 seed with three weeks left.
Several teams with tournament aspirations suffered bad losses this week, throwing them off the bubble. I reduced the Big East projection to 10 with Marquette’s home loss to St. John’s just knocking them out for now. St. John’s though, has solidified that the Big East will have nine for sure, and most likely at least one more. Cincinnati and Marquette still have a head to head matchup that could be decisive.
The results of Bracket Busters actually may have helped major conference teams this year. George Mason and Old Dominion were probably in already. The Missouri Valley teams going 0-3 and Wichita State losing at home to the third team from the Colonial Athletic (Virginia Commonwealth) greatly reduced the likelihood that league will get anymore than one bid. St. Mary’s bad loss mid week in conference followed by a loss at home to Utah State has also put their candidacy in jeopardy.
Here are my projections based on where I think teams are going to end up with three weeks left, combined with looking at the current RPI.
BY SEED (*=auto bid, currently assigned to highest projected finisher in each conference; += First Four participant)
#1 Seeds: Ohio State*, Texas*, Kansas, BYU*
#2 Seeds: Pittsburgh*, Duke*, San Diego State, Purdue
#3 Seeds: Georgetown, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Arizona*
#4 Seeds: Kentucky, Florida*, Wisconsin, Connecticut
#5 Seeds: Villanova, St. John’s, Syracuse, Vanderbilt
#6 Seeds: George Mason*, Missouri, West Virginia, Louisville
#7 Seeds: Texas A&M, Xavier*, Utah State*, Washington
#8 Seeds: Temple, UNLV, Kansas State, Old Dominion
#9 Seeds: Tennessee, Illinois, Florida State, Georgia
#10 Seeds: UCLA, Cincinnati, Memphis*, Minnesota
#11 Seeds: St. Mary’s*, UAB, Cleveland State*, Michigan State
#12 Seeds: Southern Miss, Boston College, Wichita State*, Butler+, Colorado State+
#13 Seeds: Harvard*, Belmont*, Charleston*, Valparaiso+, Nebraska+
#14 Seeds: Oakland*, Coastal Carolina*, Fairfield*, Bucknell*
#15 Seeds: Vermont*, Buffalo*, Montana*, Long Beach State*
#16 Seeds: Long Island*, Morehead State*, Hampton*+, Florida Atlantic*+, McNeese State*+, Texas Southern*+
BY CONFERENCE (for all conferences with at least one team seeded 12 or higher):
Big East: Pittsburgh (2), Notre Dame (3), Georgetown (3), Connecticut (4), Villanova (5), Syracuse (5), St. John’s (5), Louisville (6), West Virginia (6), Cincinnati (10)
Big Ten: Ohio State (1), Purdue (2), Wisconsin (4), Illinois (9), Minnesota (10), Michigan State (11)
Big XII: Kansas (1), Texas (1), Missouri (6), Texas A&M (7), Kansas State (8), Nebraska (13)
Mountain West: BYU (1), San Diego State (2), UNLV (8), Colorado State (12)
Atlantic Coast: Duke (2), North Carolina (3), Florida State (9), Boston College (12)
Pac-10: Arizona (3), Washington (7), UCLA (10)
Southeastern: Florida (4), Kentucky (4), Vanderbilt (5), Tennessee (9), Georgia (9)
Western Athletic: Utah State (7)
Colonial Athletic: George Mason (6), Old Dominion (8)
Atlantic 10: Xavier (7), Temple (8)
West Coast: St. Mary’s (11)
Missouri Valley: Wichita State (12)
Conference USA: Memphis (10), UAB (11), Southern Miss (12)
Horizon: Cleveland State (11), Butler (12), Valparaiso (13)
NOTABLES ON THE OUTSIDE:
First five out: Michigan, Marquette, Virginia Tech, UTEP, Alabama
Big East: Marquette; ACC: Virginia Tech, Maryland, Clemson; Pac-10: USC, Washington State; Big XII: Oklahoma State, Baylor; Conference USA: UTEP; Atlantic 10: Richmond, Duquesne, Dayton; Colonial: Virginia Commonwealth; Mountain West: New Mexico; Big Ten: Michigan, Penn State; West Coast: Gonzaga; SEC: Alabama; IVY: Princeton; Missouri Valley: Missouri State.
[photo via Getty]