Chad’s Monday Morning Bracketology – January 27

It is time for some Monday Morning Bracketology.  Here is my draft bracket through games of January 26, followed by some notes on the field.  Note that I project the best team in one-bid conferences as the winner, not necessarily the team currently in first place:

San Diego
(1) Arizona vs (16) Northern Colorado
(8) George Washington vs (9) Gonzaga

(5) Louisville vs (12) Baylor/Stanford
(4) Michigan vs (13) Toledo

San Antonio
(6) Ohio State vs (11) Southern Miss
(3) Oklahoma St vs (14) New Mexico State

(7) UCLA vs (10) Green Bay
(2) San Diego State vs (15) Hawai’i

St. Louis
(1) Wichita State vs (16) Winthrop/Southern
(8) Oklahoma vs (9) Memphis

San Antonio
(5) Kentucky vs (12) North Dakota State
(4) Iowa State vs (13) Tennessee/Colorado

(6) Saint Louis vs (11) North Carolina
(3) Creighton vs (14) Manhattan

(7) Xavier vs (10) Minnesota
(2) Michigan State vs (15) Belmont

(1) Syracuse vs (16) Stony Brook
(8) Kansas State vs (9) Oregon

(5) Massachusetts vs (12) Harvard
(4) Cincinnati vs (13) Georgia State

(6) Virginia vs (11) Richmond
(3) Wisconsin vs (14) Delaware

(7) Connecticut vs (10) New Mexico
(2) Villanova vs (15) American

St. Louis
(1) Kansas vs (16) Davidson/Bryant
(8) California vs (9) VCU

San Diego
(5) Texas vs (12) Arizona State
(4) Duke vs (13) Stephen F. Austin

(6) Pittsburgh vs (11) SMU
(3) Iowa vs (14) Mercer

(7) Florida State vs (10) Providence
(2) Florida vs (15) North Carolina Central

National Semifinals: West vs Midwest, East vs South

Last four in: Baylor, Stanford, Tennessee, Colorado
First four out: Dayton, Wake Forest, Indiana, Arkansas
Others considered: La Salle, St. Joseph’s, Clemson, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Marquette, Illinois, Louisiana Tech, Utah, Washington, LSU, Missouri, Ole Miss, BYU, St. Mary’s

A few notes about this week’s bracket:
The bracket is once again dominated this week by the “power conferences”.  The Pac-12 and Big 12 both led the way with 7 teams, the Big Ten and ACC have 6 each, and the American has 5.  The Big East put 4 teams in, and the SEC has 3.  The only other conferences with multiple bids were the A-10 (5 teams) and the Mountain West (2).  The matchups I get in these brackets are never intentional, but I always get a kick out of some of them.  This week’s bracket has, among other things, round of 64 games between Harvard and UMass, and between Virginia and Richmond — both non-conference series that should be played in the regular season and are not.

The A-10 actually took a bit of a slip this week as Dayton has fallen to the first four out and needs to turn things around quickly to even stay under consideration.  However, Richmond continues to surge and has moved up to the 11 seed line.

The Big 12 continues to look like a 7 bid league, something I laughed at the notion of just a month ago.  However, Baylor is in some trouble and does need to score a few more big wins or they could slip right off the board.  On the other end, Texas is looking more and more impressive and came in this week as a 5 seed (and I know many of you will disagree with that high of a seed for the Longhorns)!

The Pac 12 provided one of my biggest movers this week as Arizona State slid from simply Under Consideration all the way into the field, and even narrowly avoided being in the First Four.  Herb Sendek’s team had a solid but not spectacular week with wins over Utah and Colorado, but with so many others near the bottom slipping, the Sun Devils slid right on up.  Colorado was my toughest choice to include in the field and I do not think they will be there much longer — I just felt even dirtier putting any of my last four teams out in instead of them…for now.  Additionally, I am starting to keep half an eye on Washington.  It may only last a few days, but at 5-3 in conference (with four of those five wins coming over teams also on the board), the Huskies may deserve a little consideration..though not too much yet.

Finally, amongst the smaller conferences (not including the A-10 or MWC), only three non-automatic qualifiers even got a look this week.  Louisiana Tech, BYU and St. Mary’s are all on my board still, but none of these teams has any margin for error left.  Odds are winning out to the conference finals may not even be enough for them at this point, especially Louisiana Tech who does not have a top 100 opponent left on their schedule.

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