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Conference Tournament Brackets and Bubble Breakdown, Part II: Big XII, Big Ten, Atlantic Ten and ACC

On Monday, I previewed the Big East, SEC, Pac-12 and Mountain West, and what teams needed to do this week. Today, we turn to the other four conferences that will produce multiple at-larges, three of which begin tomorrow (the Big XII is underway today).

BIG XII TOURNAMENT (March 13-16)

Bracket: Opening Round: #8 West Virginia vs. #9 Texas Tech, #7 Texas vs. #10 TCU; #1 Kansas vs. #8/#9, #2 Kansas State vs. #7/#10, #3 Oklahoma State vs. #6 Baylor, #4 Oklahoma vs. #5 Iowa State

Locks for the NCAA Tournament: Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State

Most Likely In, Need One Win to Be Safe: Oklahoma

On the Bubble: Iowa State, Baylor

Outside Chance, But Likely Need to Win Tourney: None

Analysis: Kansas has an outside shot at a #1 seed, pending other results in the Big Ten, ACC, and Big East tournaments, and it would require three wins in Kansas City. Kansas State and Oklahoma State are both playing to secure a top four seed. Oklahoma is likely in, but the loss to TCU didn’t help. A win over Iowa State would guarantee it, and even with a loss, they have a better than average chance. Iowa State is very much on the cut line; they don’t want to put it in the committee’s hands with a loss to Oklahoma. Baylor needed that win over Kansas. It had been since January (7 losses) since they had defeated a conference team in the Top 6 of the standings. They still have work to do, though, and must beat Oklahoma State, and then probably need to win the semifinal to earn a bid.

 

BIG TEN TOURNAMENT (March 14-17)

Bracket: Byes: #1 Indiana, #2 Ohio State, #3 Michigan State, #4 Wisconsin; First Round- #5 Michigan vs. #12 Penn State, #6 Iowa vs. #11 Northwestern, #7 Purdue vs. #10 Nebraska, #8 Illinois vs. #9 Minnesota.

Locks for the NCAA Tournament: Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota

Most Likely In, Need One Win to Be Safe: None

On the Bubble: Iowa

Outside Chance, But Likely Need to Win Tourney: None

Analysis: Most of the Big Ten tournament teams are set. Indiana probably just needs to win the quarterfinal to secure a #1 seed after the win at Michigan on Sunday. Michigan State and Michigan could get in that mix with a tourney title, and Ohio State can get as high as a #2. Michigan opens with Penn State, who has played them very tough twice this year and beat the Wolverines in Happy Valley. The Wolverines probably need to show well for seeding purposes. Illinois and Minnesota face off, and the loser could be looking at dropping to the 11 seed line, but I don’t see anyway either are excluded. Iowa is the lone true bubble team. They must beat Northwestern and Michigan State. If they do that, I think they jump into the field, because the committee will then see the 9-9 record in the best power conference and a quality win over a high seed (plus a win over fellow bubbler Iowa State). The RPI will move into the low 60′s, and the profile will be very similar to Marquette in 2010 and NC State in 2005, two sub-60 RPI at-large choices who made Sweet Sixteen runs.

ATLANTIC 10 TOURNAMENT (March 14-17)

Bracket: Byes: #1 St. Louis, #2 Virginia Commonwealth, #3 Temple, #4 La Salle; #5 Butler vs. #12 Dayton, #6 Massachusetts vs. #11 George Washington, #7 Xavier vs. #10 St. Joseph’s, #8 Richmond vs. #9 Charlotte

Locks for the NCAA Tournament: St. Louis, Virginia Commonwealth, Butler, Temple

Most Likely In, Need One Win to Be Safe: None

On the Bubble: La Salle

Outside Chance, But Likely Need to Win Tourney: Massachusetts

Analysis: Yes, I am putting Temple down as a lock after the victory over VCU, and securing the opening round bye in the conference tournament. Had they been the fifth seed with a loss to VCU, then yes, they would have still been needing more. St. Louis, VCU, and Butler are all playing to rise as high as a 5 seed with a tournament title. La Salle is on the positive side of the bubble. A win over Butler would clinch a spot. If they lose that game, expect CBS cameras to have La Salle’s team in their sights as a team of interest on Selection Sunday. They still could get in, but it will be a nervous two days. Massachusetts is a long shot, and no, I’m not putting 9-seed Charlotte on my first four out list or even with an at-large chance at this point.

ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE (March 14-17)

Bracket: Byes: #1 Miami, #2 Duke, #3 North Carolina, #4 Virginia; #5 NC State vs. #12 Virginia Tech, #6 Florida State vs. #11 Clemson, #7 Maryland vs. #10 Wake Forest, #8 Boston College vs. #9 Georgia Tech

Locks for the NCAA Tournament: Miami, Duke, North Carolina, NC State

Most Likely In, Need One Win to Be Safe: None

On the Bubble: Virginia

Outside Chance, But Likely Need to Win Tourney: Maryland

Analysis: Duke might be able to get a #1 seed without winning the tourney, and of course, Miami can get in the mix by winning both the regular season and conference tournament. North Carolina’s upside is probably a low-5, but they could see that range affected dramatically by how far they advance. NC State is in, but needs results to stay off the 8/9 line. Virginia must beat NC State. A win over the Wolfpack puts them in the more likely in category. Maryland probably needs to win the tournament, but wins over Miami and North Carolina before the final would at least have them in the discussion.

[photo via USA Today Sports Images]


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