Monday Morning Bracketology – February 17

It is time for some more Monday Morning Bracketology.  Here is my projected bracket through games of February 16, plus some notes on this week’s field.  Please note that I am predicting what the committee will do as of today:

(1) Syracuse vs (16) Southern/Coastal Carolina
(8) California vs (9) George Washington

San Diego
(5) Kentucky vs (12) Green Bay
(4) Texas vs (13) Belmont

(6) Connecticut vs (11) Tennessee
(3) Villanova vs (14) Mercer

(7) Massachusetts vs (10) Gonzaga
(2) Michigan vs (15) Boston University

St. Louis
(1) Wichita State vs (16) Weber State/Robert Morris
(8) Arizona State vs (9) Minnesota

(5) Iowa vs (12) West Virginia/Providence
(4)Cincinnati vs (13) Stephen F. Austin

San Antonio
(6) Oklahoma vs (11) SMU
(3) Creighton vs (14) New Mexico State

(7) Memphis vs (10) Baylor
(2) Michigan State vs (15) North Carolina Central

(1) Florida vs (16) Davidson
(8) Kansas State vs (9) Colorado

San Antonio
(5) Iowa State vs (12) Missouri/Xavier
(4) Virginia vs (13) Harvard

(6) Louisville vs (11) Louisiana Tech
(3) Wisconsin vs (14) Delaware

St. Louis
(7) North Carolina vs (10) Stanford
(2) Kansas vs (15) Georgia State

San Diego
(1) Arizona vs (16) Vermont
(8) New Mexico vs (9) Pittsburgh

(5) Ohio State vs (12) Toledo
(4) Saint Louis vs (13) North Dakota State

(6) UCLA vs (11) Georgetown
(3) San Diego State vs (14) UC-Santa Barbara

(7) VCU vs (10) Oklahoma State
(2) Duke vs (15) Iona

National Semifinals: East vs Midwest, South vs West

Last four in: Xavier, Missouri, West Virginia, Providence
First four out: Nebraska, Richmond, Dayton, Florida State
Others considered: St. John’s, NC State, St. Joseph’s, Utah, Arkansas, BYU

A few notes about this week’s bracket:
There are ten teams in the Big 12.  Eight of those teams made this week’s bracket.  I don’t see how that can possibly hold up, but right now, that is how I am calling it.  After the Big 12, the Big Ten and Pac-12 have six each, the American, ACC and Big East have five each, the A-10 and SEC have four each and the Mountain West has two.

The Big Ten continues to suffer from having a pile of really good teams at the top that not only keep knocking each other off, but keep finding ways to get upset by the rest of the conference as well.  I still think that if one team can assert itself and win the regular season title outright, following that up with a conference tournament championship, they may be in play for a #1 seed.  Right now, I am still giving both Michigan and Michigan State 2 seeds, but neither team can afford to keep losing games.  Nebraska is now seriously in the bubble talk as well, in fact being right there among my first teams out.  If they can just hold form against the teams they should beat, it would not shock me at all to hear their named called on Selection Sunday.

In the A-10, I really like the way VCU is playing right now and despite the loss at Saint Louis, still have them rising in my bracket.  Richmond and Dayton and still in the picture as well, though both teams sit among the first four out.  St. Joe’s has very quietly put together a solid season and if they can pick things up the next few weeks may find a way in.

In Conference USA, Southern Miss has lost two straight to not only fall out of the field, but off the board entirely.  They simply cannot put together a good enogh resume for an at-large bid now, especially given that they will have one more loss at least if they need one.  Louisiana tech, on the other hand, is still in at-large contention should they win out until the conference tournament.  Right now they are my pick for the auto bid.

Among other one bid leagues, Toledo has moved up my S-Curve enough that I believe the committee will take a long hard look at them should they falter in the MAC tournament.  Georgia State, on the other hand, suffered a bad loss on national televsion at Troy over the weekend.  I had probably been seeding them higher in my bracket than they deserved because of how they had been playing before that game.  I took a long look at their profile this week and have dropped them all the way down to the 15 line.  Their profile just is not very good overall.

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