Feb 26, 2013, 8:54 AM EDT
This probably isn’t a surprise: Indiana and Duke are one-two on the s-curve and are the strongest No. 1 seed candidates as we move toward March. Since a last-second loss at Illinois, the Hoosiers have reclaimed the outright Big Ten lead by winning at both Ohio State and Michigan State. A victory at Minnesota tonight puts IU in the driver’s seat for the league’s regular season crown and top seed in the Big Ten tournament. That scenario would also give the Hoosiers the inside track toward the top spot in the Midwest Region – which flows through Indianapolis. Duke has steadily worked its way through the absence of Ryan Kelly. The Blue Devils are No. 1 in the RPI and have played the nation’s second toughest schedule.
Miami-FL and Florida are the final No. 1 seeds. It’s hard to know if either will hold those positions in two weeks. A second Big Team is likely to grab a No. 1 seed on Selection Sunday. And if Gonzaga closes out a perfect West Coast Conference season and wins its conference tournament, it might be hard for the Committee to deny the Bulldogs a top seed. Regardless, there’s enough parity among the top three or four seed lines to make the Sweet 16 very entertaining.
Every Selection Committee member has his or her own personal views on which resume items are most important. Just take a look at some of today’s bubble teams. Arizona State, Mississippi, Baylor, and Kentucky all have obvious flaws. If RPI and schedule strength – particularly out of conference – are sticking points, than the Sun Devils are probably out. At the same time, ASU has two wins over Colorado to go along with victories over UCLA and California. That’s four wins against three teams currently projected in the Field of 68 – which is more than any of the other three. Safe to say, the next two weeks will be critical for all of the above.
UPDATED: February 26, 2013
Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid based on current standings. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (UTEP, BYU, etc). Records are for games against Division I teams only.
FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)
- Kentucky vs. Saint Mary’s | Midwest Region
- Virginia vs. Arizona State | West Region
- NORFOLK STATE vs. SOUTHERN | East Region
- CHARLESTON SO vs. ROBERT MORRIS | Midwest Region
BRACKET PROJECTION …
|EAST – Washington, DC||MIDWEST- Indianapolis|
|1) Duke||1) INDIANA|
|16) NORFOLK ST / SOUTHERN||16) ROB MORRIS / CHARLESTON-SO|
|8) San Diego State||8) NC State|
|9) Missouri||9) Oklahoma|
|Kansas City||Salt Lake|
|5) Notre Dame||5) Butler|
|12) Iowa State||12) Kentucky / Saint Mary’s|
|4) Wisconsin||4) Syracuse|
|13) BUCKNELL||13) DAVIDSON|
|6) MEMPHIS||6) OREGON|
|11) La Salle||11) Villanova|
|3) GEORGETOWN||3) NEW MEXICO|
|14) STONY BROOK||14) SF AUSTIN|
|Auburn Hills||Kansas City|
|7) UCLA||7) Illinois|
|10) North Carolina||10) Creighton|
|2) Michigan State||2) KANSAS|
|15) HARVARD||15) SOUTH DAKOTA ST|
|SOUTH – Dallas||WEST – Los Angeles|
|1) MIAMI-FL||1) FLORIDA|
|16) NORTHEASTERN||16) MERCER|
|8) VCU||8) WICHITA STATE|
|9) Colorado||9) Cincinnati|
|5) Marquette||5) Ohio State|
|12) AKRON||12) Virginia / Arizona State|
|4) Kansas State||4) Oklahoma State|
|13) BELMONT||13) LOUISIANA TECH|
|6) SAINT LOUIS||6) UNLV|
|11) MID TENNESSEE ST||11) Temple|
|3) Louisville||3) Arizona|
|14) VALPARAISO||14) MONTANA|
|Auburn Hills||San Jose|
|7) Colorado State||7) Pittsburgh|
|10) California||10) Minnesota|
|2) Michigan||2) GONZAGA|
|15) NIAGARA||15) LONG BEACH|
NOTES on the BRACKET: Indiana is the No. 1 overall seed followed by Duke, Miami-FL, and Florida. Next in line are Gonzaga, Michigan State, Michigan, and Kansas.
Last Five teams in (at large): Iowa State, Virginia, Saint Mary’s, Kentucky, Arizona State
First Five teams out (at large): Baylor, Mississippi, Tennessee, Maryland, Alabama
Next Five teams out (at large): Arkansas, St. John’s, Charlotte, Boise State, Indiana State
Breakdown by Conference …
Big East (8): Louisville, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Villanova
Big Ten (7): Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Illinois
Pac 12 (6): Arizona, Colorado, UCLA, Oregon, California, Arizona State
Big 12 (5): Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Iowa State
Atlantic 10 (5): Butler, VCU, Temple, La Salle, Saint Louis
ACC (5): Duke, NC State, North Carolina, Miami-FL, Virginia
SEC (3): Missouri, Florida, Kentucky
Mountain West (4): San Diego State, UNLV, New Mexico, Colorado State
Missouri Valley (2): Creighton, Wichita State
West Coast (2): Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s
Conference USA (1): Memphis
Conference Automatic Qualifiers … BELMONT (Ohio Valley), BUCKNELL (Patriot), MIDDLE TENNESSE ST (Sunbelt), SOUTH DAKOTA STATE(Summit), VALPARAISO (Horizon), DAVIDSON (Southern), LOUISIANA TECH (WAC), NIAGARA (MAAC), STEPHEN F. AUSTIN (Southland), AKRON (MAC), MERCER (A-Sun), HARVARD (IVY), LONG BEACH (Big West), NORTHEASTERN (Colonial), STONY BROOK (American East), MONTANA (Big Sky), NORFOLK STATE (MEAC), CHARLESTON-SOUTHERN (Big South), ROBERT MORRIS (NEC), SOUTHERN (SWAC)
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