Monday Morning Bracketology – March 3

It is time for some more Monday Morning Bracketology.  Here is my projected bracket through games of March 2, plus some notes on this week’s field.  Please note that I am predicting what the committee will do as of today:

San Diego
(1) Arizona vs (16) Davidson
(8) Kansas State vs (9) George Washington

(5) San Diego State vs (12) Toledo
(4) Cincinnati vs (13) Stephen F. Austin

San Antonio
(6) UCLA vs (11) Nebraska
(3) Iowa State vs (14) UC-Irvine

(7) Massachusetts vs (10) Xavier
(2) Syracuse vs (15) Boston University

St. Louis
(1) Kansas vs (16) High Point/Texas Southern
(8) SMU vs (9) Arizona State

San Antonio
(5) Ohio State vs (12) Oregon/Florida State
(4) Wisconsin vs (13) Harvard

(6) Connecticut vs (11) Arkansas
(3) Duke vs (14) Manhattan

(7) Iowa vs (10) Pittsburgh
(2) Villanova vs (15) North Carolina Central

(1) Florida vs (16) Georgia State
(8) VCU vs (9) California

San Diego
(5) Kentucky vs (12) Louisiana Tech
(4) Texas vs (13) Belmont

(6) North Carolina vs (11) Minnesota/BYU
(3) Michigan State vs (14) New Mexico State

(7) New Mexico vs (10) St. Joseph’s
(2) Virginia vs (15) Mercer

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

(5) Oklahoma vs (12) Green Bay
(4) Louisville vs (13) North Dakota State

(6) Saint Louis vs (11) Gonzaga
(3) Creighton vs (14) Towson

(7) Memphis vs (10) Baylor
(2) Michigan vs (15) Vermont

National Semifinals: West vs East, South vs Midwest

Last four in: Oregon, Florida State, BYU, Minnesota
First four out: Providence, Colorado, Dayton, St. John’s
Others considered: Georgetown, Missouri, Utah, Clemson, West Virginia, Marquette, Illinois, Indiana, Southern Miss, Tennessee

A few notes about this week’s bracket:
The Big Ten and Big 12 tied for the lead with 7 teams each.  The ACC and Pac-12 each had 6, while the American and Atlantic Ten each had 5.  The SEC and Big East only had three teams each in, while the Mountain West and West Coast had 2 apiece.

You may notice that I have Kansas State and George Washington meeting in the Round of 64.  These two teams did play during the regular season and the committee attempts to avoid such rematches.  However, having this rematch was the only way to avoid having to move a 9 seed down to the 10 line, and I do not believe the committee would make such a move just to avoid a regular season non-conference game rematch.

In the world of crazy matchups, Kansas and SMU are a potential Round of 32 game — pitting Larry Brown against the Jayhawks.  Ohio State and Wisconsin are a potential Round of 32 game as well, which is perfectly legal unless they play a second time in the Big Ten tournament.  Finally, the Spokane Midwest Regional games look to be thrillers, as two of the most dangerous 12/13 seed teams, Green Bay and North Dakota State, are both headed there.

In the ACC, Virginia has clinched the regular seaon title.  Despite not having the non-conference wins of Syracuse or Duke, their performance in ACC play has been incredible and I have a tough time seeing the committee seeding them behind anyone else from their conference.  That is why I have them on the 2 line, with Syracuse joining them and Duke just slightly behind as a 3 seed.  At the bottom of the ACC, Florida State is barely back in my field.  I have been unimpressed with the ‘noles every time I watch them this season, but two top 15 wins away from home and overall three top 50 wins away from home are more impressive than anyone else in the first four out or last four in.

Oklahoma State has also stormed back into my field this week, landing rather safely on the 9 line.  Colorado did not suffer an awful loss this week at Utah…but it was a game they really needed to win.  The Buffs best win away from home was at Colorado State and a bubble team cannot survive without doing better than that.  Dayton also slipped from my field after the loss to St. Joe’s but is close enough to get back in if they can score a few more wins.

The Big East put 7 teams on my board, but only three of them made it in.  Providence was the very last team I left out, and St. John’s and Georgetown are both within striking distance.  Finally, I am still keeping an eye on Marquette.  And when it comes to teams that I am keeping an eye on, both Illinois and Indiana were actually considered this week, albeit only very briefly.  Illinois is home to Michigan and at Iowa this week, while Indiana hosts Nebraska and then travels to Michigan.  If either team can find a way to sweep both of their games this week, they will be very seriously back on the Bubble.

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