Miscellany

NCAA Tournament Bracket and Bubble Watch: Oregon, Washington, Mississippi State and Northwestern in Trouble

Late last night, Oregon lost by a point to Colorado, joining Washington among the Pac-12 bubble teams in taking a costly quarterfinal loss that they probably could not afford. California was in the best position entering the tournament, and added a win over Stanford. The Bears may get the automatic bid anyway, going against Colorado then either Arizona or Oregon State. Meanwhile, I am projecting that Arizona and Colorado both need to win the tournament. An Arizona win over Oregon State doesn’t do much to help their profile, and Colorado needs a little more. Both would likely finish among the last 5 cut on Selection Sunday if they lose in the championship game.

Meanwhile, the dream in Evanston, Illinois likely died yesterday in overtime against Minnesota. Northwestern is only 2-10 against teams that could be in the tournament as at-larges (and one of those is against very much on the bubble line Seton Hall) and they likely could not afford a loss to Minnesota.

Among other teams, Texas sealed its trip to the tournament with an inspired second half effort by J’Covan Brown in beating Iowa State in the Big XII tournament. A week ago, I thought that Colorado State might need to beat San Diego State, but the way things have shaken out, combined with their convincing win over TCU, I think they assured their spot. In addition, while their profile does not blow you away, South Florida likely did enough to get in, with a close loss to Notre Dame, and I think they are ahead of the other “eliminated” teams in the pecking order and safe.

So where does that leave us? With about 6 spots, and maybe 5 remaining, with several teams eliminated and teams remaining in the ACC, Atlantic-10, and SEC able to add to their profile and move into those spots.

Here are the last 6 spots, with asterisk marking teams already finished playing:

  1. Iona*
  2. BYU*
  3. Xavier
  4. Miami
  5. Seton Hall*
  6. Drexel*

JUST OUTSIDE

  1. Tennessee
  2. Washington*
  3. NC State
  4. Dayton
  5. Northwestern*
  6. St. Joseph’s
  7. Central Florida
  8. Ole Miss
  9. Oregon*
  10. Mississippi State*

A couple of quick notes. I saw someone on Twitter ask why people act like teams change so much off one game when it is based on the whole body of work. In the scheme of things, though, there are over 300 teams. We’ve whittled it down to about 10-15 (less than 5%) who are roughly equal on the cut line, and it’s not surprising that amount is basically equal at this point, with one event swinging the order. Second, these are educated guesses, not of what I would do, but what I am guessing the committee will do. When I say Iona over Drexel in the order, it’s not because I necessarily think one is better than the other. It’s because I think that based on past precedent Iona’s schedule strength and better RPI will matter to the committee.

Just because I temporarily moved Seton Hall and Drexel back in doesn’t mean I think they stay there. NC State, Miami, Tennessee, and Dayton versus Xavier are all big games that could move someone up. I will also re-evaluate everyone close to the cut line on Sunday morning, to make a final projection on what I think the field will be.

As for the important stuff, like the teams actually in, here are the seeding projections right now. After the action tonight, I’ll take a closer look at actual venues and slotting in specific regionals.

#1 seeds: Kentucky+, Syracuse+, Kansas+, North Carolina+

#2 seeds: Missouri, Duke, Michigan State+, Ohio State

#3 seeds: Baylor, Michigan, Indiana, Marquette

#4 seeds: Wisconsin, Georgetown, Louisville, Wichita State

#5 seeds: Florida State, UNLV+, Murray State+, Memphis+

#6 seeds: Temple, Notre Dame, Creighton+, Florida

#7 seeds: St. Mary’s+, Gonzaga, Iowa State, San Diego State

#8 seeds: St. Louis+, New Mexico, Kansas State, Vanderbilt

#9 seeds: Cincinnati, Purdue, Virginia, Alabama

#10 seeds: Connecticut, California+, Texas, Southern Miss

#11 seeds: VCU+, Harvard+, West Virginia, Colorado State

#12 seeds: Long Beach State+, South Florida, Iona, BYU

#13 seeds: Xavier vs. Miami, Seton Hall vs. Drexel, , South Dakota State+, Belmont+

#14 seeds: Davidson+, New Mexico State+, Ohio+, Montana+

#15 seeds: Loyola (MD)+, Long Island+, Lehigh+, Lamar+

#16 seeds: UNC-Asheville+, Detroit+, Stony Brook+ vs. Mississippi Valley State+, Norfolk State+ vs. Western Kentucky+

KEY: + = auto bid. If a team is in italics, it means they have not clinched the auto bid, and are not projected for an at-large with a loss, but are the highest rated team by Ken Pomeroy remaining in their tournament.

[photo via US Presswire]

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