Jan 6, 2014, 5:59 PM EST
The countdown to March Madness has officially arrived. We begin the trek toward Selection Sunday with Arizona and Syracuse as the top two seeds in the opening bracket of 2014. Joining the Wildcats and Orange on the top line … two teams from the Big Ten: Wisconsin and Michigan State. Villanova and Ohio State are close behind.
If you’re new to bracket watching or are returning for the new year, a couple of quick housekeeping notes:
- The NCAA Selection Committee implemented new bracketing procedures designed to keep more teams on their true seed line (from the seed list or s-curve). If you want all the details, visit http://www.ncaa.com. Today’s bracket is a fitting example. In the South Region, Saint Louis is the No. 8 seed – which puts the Billikens in the same half of the bracket as Massachusetts, the No. 5 seed. Both reside in the Atlantic 10 conference. In previous years, Saint Louis would have had been bumped a seed line higher or lower – or moved out of its geographic region – to avoid two teams from the same conference (unless more than eight were selected) meeting before a Regional Final. That bump would have affected more than Saint Louis, perhaps dropping another team from a seven seed to an eight. The new configuration is allowable in part because SLU and UMass are scheduled to meet only once during the A10 regular season. Without going into detail, you’ll also notice Florida and Tennessee engaged in a similar scenario. If those two happened to meet in the SEC tourney (which would be their third meeting), the set-up in this bracket would not be possible. But since we don’t know whether that will occur, it’s accurate for today.
- Teams are selected and seeded based on their overall body of work (now and moving forward). Just because Team A beat Teams B doesn’t necessarily mean Team A’s overall body of work – such as quality wins, strength of schedule – is superior to Team B’s. Teams lose games. If overall accomplishments weren’t considered, we would rank Belmont ahead of North Carolina and Northern Colorado ahead of Kansas State. But that would not be an accurate way to assess either team’s overall performance.
- It’s too early to be overly concerned about the bubble or cutline. Conference play us just beginning. Try not to overreact to a team being one of the last few in or first few out. We have a long way to go. Some teams currently in the bracket will miss the tournament and others will climb into the bracket come March.
- Teams earn bids, not conferences. Although it’s unlikely the Big 12 will earn seven bids on Selection Sunday, it worked out that way through games played on January 5. Next week, it could be different.
College hoops is entering its annual March to Madness. Enjoy the journey to Selection Sunday.
UPDATED: January 6, 2014
Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid based on current standings. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (UCLA, BYU, etc). While conference play has begun, not all teams have yet played conference games. You may see a few “projected” champions that have not played a game, or that team remains favored to win the automatic bid at this point. We will adjust as the standings progress.
Several new bracketing principles were introduced after last year’s tournament. You can read them for yourself at http://www.ncaa.com. For example: teams from the same conference may now meet before a Regional final, even if fewer than eight teams are selected. The goal is to keep as many teams as possible on their actual seed line.
FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)
- Virginia vs. Texas | Midwest Region
- Oklahoma vs. California | South Region
- E. TENNESSEE ST vs. UNC-ASHEVILLE | Midwest Region
- NO COLORADO vs. SOUTHERN | West Region
|WEST – Anaheim||EAST - New York|
|1) ARIZONA||1) SYRACUSE|
|16) NO COLORADO / SOUTHERN||16) ALBANY|
|8) Florida State||8) Illinois|
|9) GONZAGA||9) Xavier|
|5) LOUISVILLE||5) Memphis|
|12) UAB||12) TOLEDO|
|4) Kansas||4) Kentucky|
|13) UC-SANTA BARBARA||13) MANHATTAN|
|6) Michigan||6) Missouri|
|11) Notre Dame||11) HARVARD|
|3) WICHITA STATE||3) Oregon|
|14) BELMONT||14) NEW MEXICO ST|
|7) New Mexico||7) Pittsburgh|
|10) Connecticut||10) Kansas State|
|2) BAYLOR||2) Ohio State|
|15) DREXEL||15) BOSTON UNIVERSITY|
|SOUTH – Memphis||MIDWEST – Indianapolis|
|1) MICHIGAN STATE||1) WISCONSIN|
|16) DAVIDSON||16) E. TENN ST / NC-ASHEVILLE|
|8) Saint Louis||8) UCLA|
|9) Georgetown||9) Dayton|
|5) MASSACHUSETTS||5) SAN DIEGO ST|
|12) Oklahoma / California||12) Virginia / Texas|
|4) Duke||4) Colorado|
|13) GREEN BAY||13) NORTH DAKOTA ST|
|St. Louis||St. Louis|
|6) Iowa||6) North Carolina|
|11) Tennessee||11) Minnesota|
|3) Oklahoma State||3) Iowa State|
|14) S.F. AUSTIN||14) WESTERN KENTUCKY|
|7) Creighton||7) Cincinnati|
|10) VCU||10) Arkansas|
|2) FLORIDA||2) VILLANOVA|
|15) NC-CENTRAL||15) BRYANT|
NOTES on the BRACKET: Arizona is the overall No. 1 seed followed by Syracuse, Wisconsin, and Michigan State.
Last Five teams in (at large): Tennessee, Virginia, California, Oklahoma, Texas
First Five teams out (at large): George Washington, LSU, Stanford, Boise State, Butler
Next five teams out (at large): SMU, Arizona State, Purdue, BYU, Saint Mary’s
Breakdown by Conference …
Big Ten (7): Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota
Big 12 (7): Kansas, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas
ACC (7): Duke, Syracuse, North Carolina, Florida State, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Virginia
Pac 12 (5): Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, UCLA, California
SEC (5): Kentucky, Florida, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee
Atlantic 10 (4): Massachusetts, VCU, Saint Louis, Dayton
American (4): Louisville, Memphis, Connecticut, Cincinnati
Big East (4): Creighton, Georgetown, Villanova, Xavier
Mountain West (2): New Mexico, San Diego State
Missouri Valley (1): Wichita State
West Coast (1): Gonzaga
Conference Automatic Qualifiers … UAB (C-USA), Belmont (Ohio Valley), Western Kentucky (Sun Belt), Boston University (Patriot), North Dakota State (Summit), Green Bay (Horizon), Davidson (Southern), New Mexico State (WAC), Manhattan (MAAC), Stephen F. Austin (Southland), Toledo (MAC), East Tennessee State (A-Sun), Harvard (IVY), UC-Santa Barbara (Big West), Drexel (Colonial), Albany (American East), Northern Colorado (Big Sky), NC-Central (MEAC), UNC-Asheville (Big South), Bryant (NEC), Southern (SWAC)
Nov 28, 2014, 4:54 PM EST
Butler, picked seventh in the Big East, left the Battle 4 Atlantis with a pair of important victories.
Nov 28, 2014, 2:55 PM EST
Kansas scored 82 points in their win over Tennessee but they also committed 16 turnovers as they continue to figure each other out offensively.
Nov 28, 2014, 1:07 PM EST
Aaron Thomas and Devon Bookert both suffered injuries last weekend that have kept them sidelined.
Nov 28, 2014, 11:25 AM EST
Dez Wells made just five of his 20 field goal attempts against Iowa State. This injury may be the reason why.
Nov 28, 2014, 10:24 AM EST
Providence better focus on Yale and not get caught looking forward to their game at No. 1 Kentucky on Sunday.
Nov 28, 2014, 2:01 AM EST
North Carolina did a better job on the boards while also forcing 23 turnovers in their win over UCLA.
Nov 27, 2014, 9:53 PM EST
Penn State will return to the school’s original colors- black and pink- for their next two games.
Nov 27, 2014, 6:34 PM EST
This is hilarious.
Nov 27, 2014, 6:08 PM EST
Koenig and Dukan combined to score 18 points in the second half for the second-ranked Badgers.
Nov 27, 2014, 5:24 PM EST
Khwan Fore’s averaging 7.5 minutes per game in two appearances this season.
Nov 27, 2014, 3:54 PM EST
This might have been the best feast week game of all time.
Nov 27, 2014, 12:56 PM EST
Perkins was kicked in the face by a Georgia player.
Nov 27, 2014, 11:19 AM EST
It’s not just football that’s on today.
Nov 27, 2014, 3:14 AM EST
A lot is riding on this season for St. John’s. Can they consistently be the ‘grown up’ team they claimed to be on Wednesday night?
Nov 27, 2014, 3:07 AM EST
Two Big East teams made statements in the Bahamas, and No. 3 Arizona won the Maui Invitational.
Nov 27, 2014, 2:07 AM EST
Arizona scored 22 points off of 14 San Diego State turnovers, and that along with good foul shooting proved to be the difference.
Nov 27, 2014, 12:56 AM EST
Georgetown committed 19 turnovers, but they shot 49 percent from the field and earned another quality win for the Big East.
Nov 26, 2014, 10:22 PM EST
Through five games Louisville is shooting 24-for-105 from three. They’ll need to shoot better than that when Ohio State visits next Tuesday.
Nov 26, 2014, 9:11 PM EST
Sir’Dominic Pointer picked off Minnesota center Elliot Eliason’s outlet pass and made the big man pay for his mistake.
Nov 26, 2014, 8:05 PM EST
Justin Reed was one of America East’s best guards in each of his first two seasons, but that hasn’t been the case in 2014-15.
- Right wrist injury to sideline Maryland senior wing four weeks 0
- Bronson Koenig, Duje Dukan step forward in No. 2 Wisconsin’s win over Georgetown 0
- St. John’s seniors say they ‘grew up’ against Minnesota, but have they? 1
- The little things made a big difference in No. 3 Arizona’s win over No. 15 San Diego State 1
- Butler upsets No. 5 North Carolina in Battle 4 Atlantis opener 2
- If No. 12 Villanova doesn’t have a star on their roster, no one told JayVaughn Pinkston 0
- JayVaughn Pinkston’s block gives No. 12 Villanova a win over No. 19 Michigan (VIDEO) 2
- Villanova’s win is evidence of why VCU may have peaked as a basketball program (14)
- Rick Pitino on blow out win: ‘We played four white guys and an Egyptian’ (14)
- Michigan’s John Beilein rips ESPN for late tip time during Tuesday’s loss (13)
- Penn State unveils new uniforms for next two games (6)
- College Basketball Talk’s latest top 25: Kentucky reigns, but how far will Kansas, Florida slide? (5)