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Bracketology: Florida, Arizona battle for No. 1 overall seed

Mar 3, 2014, 8:11 AM EDT

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AP Photo/Phil Sandlin

We’re two weeks from Selection Sunday and we’ve got a long way to go.

Championship Week is going to be fun and tension-filled.  As this juncture, as many as 15 at-large spots remain uncertain.  That’s a high number entering March.  Here’s what we do know.  Barring an unexpected turn of events, Florida and Arizona will be No. 1 seeds.  Although the Gators retain their overall No. 1 seed today, the Wildcats may pass them soon.  Either way, it’s about time to lock them in to the South and West regions.

Today’s bracket is also quite unsettled when it comes to the seed list.  The first four lines (s-curve spots 1-16) are pretty solid.  The middle tier could fluctuate greatly depending on conference tournament results.  Teams are that tightly bunched.  As for the bubble, it continues to move and shift.  Depending on which resume criteria or metrics you prefer, the final teams in and first teams out could be ranked in a variety of orders.  Every Selection Committee member will have his or her own viewpoint.  Hopefully, a few things will clear between now and March 16.

It’s also worth mentioning the potential for bid thieves – a surprise team winning its conference tournament.  For example, if Wichita State were to lose in the Missouri Valley tourney, there would be one less at-large bid available.  We saw this happen at the SEC tournament a year ago.

Buckle up, it’s going to be a fun ride.

UPDATED: March 3, 2014

Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid based on current standings with RPI as a tiebreaker for teams with the same number of losses. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (UCLA, BYU, etc).

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)

  • Missouri vs. Oregon | Midwest Region
  • Colorado vs. Tennessee | West Region
  • ALABAMA STATE vs. FLA GULF COAST | South Region
  • WEBER STATE vs. HIGH POINT | Midwest Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

SOUTH – Memphis WEST - Anaheim                                  
Orlando San Diego
1) FLORIDA 1) ARIZONA
16) FLA GULF COAST / ALABAMA ST 16) UTAH VALLEY
8) SMU 8) VCU
9) Stanford 9) Baylor
Spokane San Diego
5) Oklahoma 5) Louisville
12) SOUTHERN MISS 12) HARVARD
4) North Carolina 4) Michigan State
13) DELAWARE 13) NORTH DAKOTA ST
Buffalo San Antonio
6) Connecticut 6) NEW MEXICO
11) BYU 11) Colorado / Tennessee
3) VILLANOVA 3) Iowa State
14) S.F. AUSTIN 14) BOSTON UNIVERSITY
Milwaukee Raleigh
7) Kansas State 7) Massachusetts
10) Pittsburgh 10) GONZAGA
2) MICHIGAN 2) VIRGINIA
15) DAVIDSON 15) UC-IRVINE
EAST – New York MIDWEST – Indianapolis
St. Louis St. Louis
1) KANSAS 1) WICHITA STATE
16) ROBERT MORRIS 16) WEBER ST / HIGH POINT
8) Iowa 8) Arizona State
9) George Washington 9) Xavier
Orlando Spokane
5) UCLA 5) Texas
12) GREEN BAY 12) Missouri / Oregon
4) CINCINNATI 4) San Diego State
13) TOLEDO 13) BELMONT
San Antonio Raleigh
6) Kentucky 6) SAINT LOUIS
11) Oklahoma State 11) California
3) Creighton 3) Duke
14) IONA 14) GEORGIA STATE
Buffalo Milwaukee
7) Ohio State 7) Memphis
10) Saint Joseph’s 10) Arkansas
2) Syracuse 2) Wisconsin
15) VERMONT 15) NC-CENTRAL

NOTES on the BRACKET: Florida remains the overall No. 1 seed followed by Arizona, Wichita State, and Kansas.

Last Five teams in (at large): BYU, Colorado, Missouri, Oregon, Tennessee

First Five teams out (at large): Dayton, Providence, Georgetown, Nebraska, Minnesota

Next five teams out (at large): Florida State, St. John’s, LSU, Clemson, Marquette

Breakdown by Conference …

Big 12 (7): Kansas, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma State

Pac 12 (7): Arizona, UCLA, California, Stanford, Arizona State, Oregon, Colorado

Big Ten (5): Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin

Atlantic 10 (5): Massachusetts, VCU, Saint Louis, George Washington, Saint Joseph’s

ACC (5): Duke, Virginia, Syracuse, North Carolina, Pittsburgh

American (5): Louisville, Memphis, Connecticut, Cincinnati, SMU

SEC (5): Kentucky, Florida, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee

Big East (3): Creighton, Villanova, Xavier

Mountain West (2): New Mexico, San Diego State

West Coast (2): Gonzaga, BYU

Missouri Valley (1): Wichita State

Conference Automatic Qualifiers … Southern Miss (C-USA), Belmont (Ohio Valley), Georgia State (Sun Belt), Boston University (Patriot), North Dakota State (Summit), Green Bay (Horizon), Davidson (Southern), Utah Valley (WAC), Iona (MAAC), Stephen F. Austin (Southland), Toledo (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (A-Sun), Harvard (IVY), UC-Irvine (Big West), Delaware (Colonial), Vermont (American East), Weber State (Big Sky), NC-Central (MEAC), High Point (Big South), Robert Morris (NEC), Alabama State (SWAC)

  1. shockertalk - Mar 3, 2014 at 4:20 PM

    How do you seed Wichita State University?

    1. Coaches opinion – No. 2 in the country (ESPN rankings) so, no. 1 seed, eh?
    2. History – Final Four last year
    3. Quality of players THIS year – 7 of 9 players in last year’s Final Four are back. Added no. 4 spot Juco Transfer that is now starting. Point guard is better this year and go 3-deep in point guards!
    4. Stats – One of only two teams in the country that are “top 15″ in BOTH defense and offense.
    5. Point guard – Fred VanVleet has better stats than Wilbeken, Arizona’s (forget his name), or Ennis. Also a top 25 candidate for Robertson and Cousy awards.
    6. Record this year – UNDEFEATED
    7. Teams beat – 5 (maybe 6) NCAA bound teams. 1979 Larry Bird team only beat one NCAA bound team (twice).
    8. Cool opinions – Bobby Knight says there is no team with a better defense than WSU.
    9. Record away from home – Best record in “road victories” in NCAA over the last three years.

    So, yes, it is PARTIALLY a matter of WHO you played, but it is equally (and in the end probably more) a matter of HOW you played. How have they played? 31-0

    • packergator - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:21 AM

      1.) College stats don’t mean as much when the schedules aren’t even;
      2.) Last year, or the record over the last three years, has no bearing on this year;
      3.) Who cares what Bobby Knight thinks?
      4.) St. Josephs went undefeated in 2004; did they get to the Final 4?

      That said, I’d give WSU a #1 seed, but that won’t help them win games in the Sweet 16 or Elite 8. They’ve controlled just about every game they’ve played; what will happen when they have to play a tight, high-pressure game against teams with more athleticism and NBA-level talent than they have?

      • antaresrex - Mar 5, 2014 at 2:28 PM

        They were fine against Louisville last year. No reason to believe they can’t handle the pressure.

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