Field of 68 – March 3

Here is my Field of 68, through games of March 3, 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): Stony Brook
ACC (5): Miami, North Carolina State, Duke, North Carolina, Virginia
Atlantic Sun (1): Mercer
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): Weber State
Big South (1): Gardner-Webb
Big Ten (7): Michigan, Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois
Big Twelve (4): Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma
Big West (1): Long Beach State
Colonial (1): Northeastern
Conference USA (1): Memphis
Horizon (1): Valparaiso
Ivy (1): Princeton
Metro Atlantic (1): Loyola
MAC (1): Akron
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): Robert Morris
Ohio Valley (1): Belmont
Pac 12 (5): Oregon, Arizona, UCLA, Colorado, California
Patriot (1): Bucknell
SEC (4): Florida, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee
Southern (1): Davidson
Southland (1): Stephen F Austin
SWAC (1): Southern
Summit (1): South Dakota State
Sun Belt (1): Middle Tennessee
West Coast (2): Gonzaga, St. Mary’s
WAC (1): Louisiana Tech

Last four in: Virginia, Kentucky, Villanova, Tennessee
First four out: Iowa State, Massachusetts, Iowa, Arkansas
Others considered: Maryland, Xavier, Baylor, Southern Miss, Arizona State, Alabama, Ole Miss, Denver

A few notes about this week’s field:

While there were very few changes in the end from last week’s bracket (in fact other than a few changes among my picks for the champions of single bid conferences, the only change was Iowa State moving out and Tennessee moving in), this was actually an incredibly difficult field to choose my last few teams in.  In the end, I begrudgingly let Kentucky and Villanova in (after Virginia, Boise State and St. Mary’s had made it in fairly easily), and was left with one spot and three teams battling for it.  Iowa State, Tennessee and UMass were those three teams and it was almost impossible for me to find a way to separate them.  Tennessee’s head-to-head win over UMass finally was the clincher for me taking the Minutemen off the list, leaving a pair of almost identical profiles in Tennessee and Iowa State.  In the end, non-conference SOS was the tie-breaker and I gave the Vols the final spot.

The only other team I will take a moment to note as having made its first appearance of the season on my prediction page is Joe Scott’s Denver Pioneers.  In the end, I don’t think Denver will have enough on its resume to merit an at-large bid, though with Louisiana Tech at home this week, they have a chance to pick up a solid win.  I think the thing I liked most about them is that they do not have any really bad losses on the season to date, though 8 losses already out of the WAC, and one more if they need an at-large, is probably too many.

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

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

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