Field of 68 – March 10

Here is my Field of 68, through games of March 10, broken down by conference.  Note that the winner of the conference is the team that I feel is the best team in the conference, which may at times not be the first place team.

America East (1): Vermont
ACC (4): Miami, North Carolina State, Duke, North Carolina
Atlantic Sun (1): Florida Gulf Coast
Atlantic Ten (5): Butler, Virginia Commonwealth, La Salle, Saint Louis, Temple
Big East (8): Syracuse, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Cincinnati, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Villanova
Big Sky (1): Montana
Big South (1): Liberty
Big Ten (7): Michigan, Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois
Big Twelve (5): Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Iowa State
Big West (1): Pacific
Colonial (1): Northeastern
Conference USA (1): Memphis
Horizon (1): Valparaiso
Ivy (1): Harvard
Metro Atlantic (1): Iona
MAC (1): Ohio University
MEAC (1): Norfolk State
Missouri Valley (2): Creighton, Wichita State
Mountain West (5): New Mexico, UNLV, Colorado State, San Diego State, Boise State
Northeast (1): Long Island University
Ohio Valley (1): Belmont
Pac 12 (5): Oregon, Arizona, UCLA, Colorado, California
Patriot (1): Bucknell
SEC (3): Florida, Missouri, Tennessee
Southern (1): Davidson
Southland (1): Stephen F Austin
SWAC (1): Southern
Summit (1): South Dakota State
Sun Belt (2): Middle Tennessee, Florida International
West Coast (2): Gonzaga, St. Mary’s
WAC (1): Denver

Last four in: Iowa State, Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, St. Mary’s
First four out: Iowa, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Ole Miss
Others considered: Maryland, Virginia, Charlotte, Providence, Baylor, Southern Miss, Stanford, Arizona State, Washington, Alabama, Louisiana Tech

A few notes about this week’s field:

The first of the two biggest changes from last week is the deletion of Virginia, a team that has proven it can beat some of the best in the nation while at the same time proviing it can lose to some of the worst, and their replacement with Iowa State that scored a pair of wins this week including one over a very good Oklahoma State team.

The second change was the deletion of Kentucky, despite their win over Florida.  This was not because Kentucky is not very close to being in the field, but rather due to the team that knocked them out.  Middle Tennessee lost Sunday night in the Sun Belt semifinals.  While MTSU has not really beaten anyone of note, the fact is they won 28 games this season.  If they get left out, it would set an all-time record for most wins left out of the field.  Iona received a somewhat perplexing spot in the First Four last season, and I can see MTSU receiving a similar bid this year.

Despite Kentucky falling out of the field this week, I believe the Wildcats are very close to making it in, and if they take care of business in the SEC quarterfinals, it may be enough to get in.  Tennessee just barely nosed out Kentucky for the final spot and if I re-did this field half a dozen times I would probably switch those two teams around every other time.  I also saw Ole Miss move back closer to being in the field after holding off Alabama this week.  The Rebels have a lot of work to do still, starting with a potential SEC quarterfinal against Missouri.

As for the single bid leagues, I have switched Pacific in for the Big West champion after they beat Long Beach fairly easily this weekend to tie for the league’s top spot (though Long Beach is still the #1 seed).  I also moved Denver in as the WAC champions, though Louisiana Tech is still on my board as an at-large possibility.  I don’t think they will be able to get in without the automatic bid, though if they beat Denver in the WAC finals, Joe Scott’s Pioneers may get a serious look.  Finally, I am now picking Ohio U to win the MAC and did not even put Akron under consideration.  Akron recently suspended their starting point guard indefinitely due to an arrest for some serious drug-related allegations, and then lost to Kent State.  While the Zips do have a bye into the MAC semifinals, right now I do not see them winning even that game, and they just are not the team they were a few weeks ago.

Finally, here is my S-Curve of the 68 teams:

1. Duke
2. Gonzaga
3. Indiana
4. Louisville
5. Georgetown
6. Kansas
7. Michigan
8. Michigan State
9. Miami
10. Ohio State
11. New Mexico
12. Marquette
13. Oklahoma State
14. Florida
15. Kansas State
16. Syracuse
17. Wisconsin
18. Arizona
19. Pittsburgh
20. Saint Louis
21. Minnesota
22. UNLV
23. VCU
24. Notre Dame
25. Butler
26. UCLA
27. North Carolina
28. Oklahoma
29. Colorado State
30. Creighton
31. Memphis
32. Temple
33. Illinois
34. North Carolina State
35. California
36. Cincinnati
37. Missouri
38. Oregon
39. Villanova
40. Wichita State
41. Boise State
42. San Diego State
43. Colorado
44. Belmont
45. La Salle
46. Saint Mary’s
47. Iowa State
48. Denver
49. Bucknell
50. Middle Tennessee
51. Tennessee
52. Ohio University
53. Davidson
54. Stephen F. Austin
55. Montana
56. South Dakota State
57. Valparaiso
58. Northeastern
59. Harvard
60. Pacific
61. Iona
62. Norfolk State
63. Florida Gulf Coast
64. Vermont
65. Florida International
66. Long Island University
67. Southern
68. Liberty

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