Mar 11, 2013, 12:58 PM EDT
In November, the Louisville Cardinals were projected to be a No. 1 seed when the NCAA tournament began. Now, less than a week until Selection Sunday, the Cardinals have reclaimed their spot on the top line. Louisville sits as the fourth No. 1 seed, heading to the South Region. Duke (East), Indiana (Midwest), and Gonzaga (West) are in front of the Cards. The race isn’t over, though. Kansas, Georgetown, New Mexico, and a second Big Ten team could still claim one of the top spots. It’s going to be an important week for both the top and bottom of the bracket.
Speaking of the bubble, Kentucky is the final at-large team on the board today. They are joined in the First Four by Saint Mary’s, La Salle, and Iowa State. The margin between these teams, and those around them, is minimal. If we see an upset or two this week, the last few spots could change several times between now and Sunday. Which conference tournaments are most likely to produce a surprise winner? On the surface, it looks like the Atlantic 10, SEC, or the Pac-12. While Memphis has dominated Conference USA, the Tigers haven’t wrapped up the automatic berth. Any stumble would likely claim an at-large spot.
As for seeding, the middle of the bracket is an interesting adventure. One could almost throw names in a hat (for say, seeds 7-10) and line them up that way. Again, we could see some shifting on those lines, both due to resume adjustments and for geography. For all practical purposes, teams in the 8/9 games are essentially the same. Enjoy the final ride to March Madness.
UPDATED: March 11, 2013 | 12:00 pm ET
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)
- La Salle vs. Kentucky | South Region
- Iowa State vs. Saint Mary’s | East Region
- Norfolk State vs. LIBERTY | Midwest Region
- Southern vs. LIU-Brooklyn | South Region
BRACKET PROJECTION …
|EAST – Washington, DC||MIDWEST– Indianapolis|
|1) Duke||1) Indiana|
|16) Northeastern||16) LIBERTY / Norfolk State|
|8) Memphis||8) Missouri|
|9) Illinois||9) Cincinnati|
|5) UNLV||5) Saint Louis|
|12) Saint Mary’s / Iowa State||12) BELMONT|
|4) Marquette||4) Oklahoma State|
|13) Valparaiso||13) Akron|
|6) Butler||6) UCLA|
|11) Oklahoma||11) Temple|
|3) Florida||3) Miami-FL|
|14) HARVARD||14) S.F. Austin|
|7) CREIGHTON||7) Colorado State|
|10) Villanova||10) Minnesota|
|2) Michigan State||2) Georgetown|
|15) Vermont||15) Iona|
|SOUTH – Dallas||WEST – Los Angeles|
|1) Louisville||1) Gonzaga|
|16) Southern / LIU-Brooklyn||16) Western Kentucky|
|8) Oregon||8) NC State|
|9) Wichita State||9) San Diego State|
|Kansas City||San Jose|
|5) Wisconsin||5) Syracuse|
|12) La Salle / Kentucky||12) Louisiana Tech|
|4) Kansas State||4) Arizona|
|13) Bucknell||13) Davidson|
|6) Pittsburgh||6) Notre Dame|
|11) Tennessee||11) Boise State|
|3) Ohio State||3) Michigan|
|14) FLA GULF COAST||14) South Dakota State|
|Salt Lake||Kansas City|
|7) VCU||7) North Carolina|
|10) California||10) Colorado|
|2) New Mexico||2) Kansas|
|15) Long Beach||15) Montana|
NOTES on the BRACKET: Duke is the No. 1 overall seed followed by Indiana, Gonzaga, and Louisville. Next in line: Kansas, Georgetown, New Mexico, and Michigan State.
Last Five teams in (at large): Boise State, Iowa State, Saint Mary’s, La Salle, Kentucky
First Five teams out (at large): Virginia, Baylor, Middle Tennessee, Alabama, Iowa
Next Five teams out (at large): Massachusetts, Arkansas, Xavier, Southern Miss, Air Force
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
Mountain West (5): San Diego State, UNLV, New Mexico, Colorado State, Boise State
Pac 12 (5): Arizona, Colorado, UCLA, Oregon, California
Big 12 (5): Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Iowa State
Atlantic 10 (5): Butler, VCU, Temple, La Salle, Saint Louis
ACC (4): Duke, NC State, North Carolina, Miami-FL
SEC (4): Missouri, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky
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), Western Kentucky (Sunbelt), South Dakota State(Summit), Valparaiso (Horizon), Davidson (Southern), Louisiana Tech (WAC), Niagara (MAAC), Stephen F. Austin (Southland), Akron (MAC), FLORIDA GULF COAST (A-Sun), HARVARD (IVY), Long Beach (Big West), Northeastern (Colonial), Vermont (American East), Montana (Big Sky), Norfolk State (MEAC), LIBERTY (Big South), LIU-Brooklyn (NEC), Southern (SWAC)
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