The Bracketology projections return and will be a weekly staple from here on it. Two weeks ago, I took a first stab at projecting the field, not only based on year to date results at the time, but also by looking at future schedules, probability of adding big wins or bad losses, and based on a projection of what the profile would look like after the conference tournaments.
After two more weeks of games, the board generally looks the same. There has been some shuffling among the top ten teams, as Syracuse went on the road and won at Louisville, flipping the Big East race. Indiana lost at home to Wisconsin. Most notably, Duke was beaten twice on the road, first by NC State, and then destroyed by Miami. As of right now, I still have Duke projected as a #1 seed on the basis of all of their tournament caliber wins earlier this season. Unless they start playing better, though, they will drop, and the beneficiary will be the 2nd team in the Big Ten (Indiana) or Florida, who has looked like one of the best teams in the country recently.
I had Miami ahead of NC State, and as a #5 seed, in the last projection, and now the win over Duke, coupled with an earlier victory over Michigan State, has them looking like they could be a top 3 seed in the tournament. Minnesota has faltered, but I also have them just ahead of Michigan State and Ohio State on the seed line.
The Mountain West is an interesting conference this year. In the first projection, I had five teams between 8 and 10 seed. Two have emerged now. New Mexico has gotten to 17-2 with home wins over UNLV and Colorado State, and an OT win on the road at Boise State. I actually have UNLV projected higher, despite close road losses at New Mexico and Colorado State, because they got a key road win at San Diego State, and will get New Mexico at home later in the year.
Here are the projections (asterisks are teams assigned as auto bids):
#1 Seeds: Kansas*, Michigan*, Syracuse*, Duke*
#2 Seeds: Florida*, Indiana, Louisville, Arizona*
#3 seeds: Miami, Gonzaga*, Minnesota, Oregon
#4 seeds: Michigan State, Butler*, Creighton*, Ohio State
#5 seeds: Wichita State, UNLV*, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh
#6 seeds: VCU, New Mexico, UCLA, Mississippi
#7 seeds: Marquette, NC State, Kansas State, Missouri
#8 seeds: Colorado, San Diego State, Baylor, Wisconsin
#9 seeds: Colorado State, Oklahoma State, North Carolina, St. Mary’s
#10 seeds: Wyoming, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Georgetown
#11 seeds: Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Memphis*
#12 seeds: Southern Miss vs. Iowa State, Iowa vs. Temple, Middle Tennessee State*, Belmont*
#13 seeds: Bucknell*, North Dakota State*, Akron*, Stephen F. Austin*
BIGGEST RISERS: Marquette (#11 to #7), Ole Miss (#10 to #6), New Mexico (#9 to #6), UNLV (#8 to #5),
BIGGEST FALLERS: Notre Dame (#4 to #10), Illinois (#6 to #11), Kentucky (#7 to #11) Temple (#8 to #12),
OUT last projection, IN this one: Oklahoma, Southern Miss, Iowa, Iowa State
IN last projection, OUT this one: Arizona State, St. Louis, Maryland, Boise State
FIRST FOUR OUT: Maryland, Boise State, BYU, Alabama
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