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NCAA Tournament Bracket Projection: Virginia Playing for One Seed, Louisville Jumps Kansas

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Here is the (almost) final projection, pending the results of the ACC, Big Ten, SEC, Atlantic 10, and Sun Belt tournaments. A few results could change the outcome of seeding. The last No. 1 seed is wide open, and I have Virginia as able to claim it with a top 10 win over Duke. Michigan also has a shot with a win over Michigan State. Villanova waits for both games.

[RELATED: NCAA Tournament Projections: Why Louisville and Virginia Will Be Seeded Higher Than You Think]

Michigan State is right on the cut line for a 3/4 seed with a win over Michigan. I think the committee will take into account the injuries and seed them up a line, especially with the final 3rd seed being available (Syracuse has struggled down the stretch, San Diego State and Creighton both lost in conference finals in upsets, with a chance to claim it).

The other area that is really close is the 5 to 6 seed range. Not much is separating those teams. Meanwhile, at the bubble, things settled down. I’ve got Nebraska, Xavier, BYU, SMU, Iowa, and Dayton as my last six in. I have Southern Miss as out, though they will be the selection if the committee is over-reliant on RPI. My guess: that blowout loss to Louisiana Tech cost them a chance, and had they played close, they would have gotten a better look. A blowout when the committee is watching and no wins over other tournament at-larges (best win is North Dakota State, likely a 12 seed as an auto bid). Minnesota is my highest rated big conference team to miss, and I don’t think much separates them and Iowa (though many have Iowa safely in, I have them right on the line). After that, I have NC State and Florida State among the first four out.

Providence Stole an NCAA Tournament Bid, Probably From Minnesota or Xavier

Seeding notes: Ohio State and VCU were swapped on the 5/6 line because of conference seeding principles, to balance Big Ten in bracket. Kansas State and Stanford were swapped on the 9/10 line for the same reason.

These should stay the same, subject to slight adjustments (Virginia, Michigan, Michigan State, or whether Georgia State wins the Sun Belt, for example) which would then require checking seeding principles.

Bracket 2014 Sunday March 16

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