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NCAA Tournament Bracket Breakdown: Projected Field 2.0

February 17, 2011 Columns No Comments

There’s no doubt that the beast of college hoops this season is the Big East Conference.

The best example of that is the conference’s projected 11 teams in this year’s NCAA Tournament. But what makes that record-setting number of NCAA Tournament teams even more impressive is that the conference would get that many even if the field didn’t expand to 68 teams.

Starting at the bottom, Marquette figures to earn a No. 11 seed if the selection committee did its business today. The Golden Eagles are the closest Big East team to the bubble, and without expansion, Marquette would probably need to feel nervous as one of the last eight teams in the field. However, with expansion and a crop of weak bubble teams, the Golden Eagles have an excellent shot at making the tournament as long as they keep beating the teams they’re supposed to.

Cincinnati is the next shakiest Big East team. But the Bearcats might have done enough to legitimize a weak non-conference schedule by beating Louisville Wednesday night. They have 20 wins, including three against the RPI top 25. That’s a far more impressive résumé than most bubble teams’, and the Bearcats are on pace for a No. 9 seed.

From there, the other nine Big East teams all rank as a No. 6 seed or better, with West Virginia closer to being a No. 5 seed than a No. 7 seed. That’s ridiculously impressive.

Let’s get to the brackets. As always, please share your thoughts.

Previous brackets:

1

Pittsburgh 

Ohio State

Notre Dame

Texas

2

Kansas 

Duke

BYU

Connecticut

3

Georgetown 

San Diego State

Florida

Wisconsin

4

Purdue 

Syracuse

Kentucky

Villanova

5

Louisville 

North Carolina

St. John’s

Vanderbilt

6

Arizona 

West Virginia

Texas A&M

Tennessee

7

Missouri 

George Mason (CAA)

Xavier (Atlantic 10)

UCLA

8

Old Dominion 

Temple

Minnesota

UNLV

9

Illinois 

Florida State

Cincinnati

Washington

10

Utah State (WAC) 

Kansas State

Memphis (Conference USA)

Saint Mary’s (West Coast)

11

Marquette 

Georgia

Virginia Tech

Cleveland State (Horizon)

12

Colorado State 

Baylor

Michigan State vs. New Mexico

Boston College vs. Penn State

13

Missouri State (Missouri Valley) 

Princeton (Ivy)

Belmont (Atlantic Sun)

Oakland (Summit)

14

Charleston (Southern) 

Coastal Carolina (Big South)

Fairfield (Metro Atlantic)

Bucknell (Patriot)

15

Vermont (America East) 

Long Beach State (Big West)

Miami, Ohio (MAC)

Long Island (NEC)

16

Montana (Big Sky) 

Morehead State (Ohio Valley)

Florida Atlantic (Sun Belt) vs. Hampton (MEAC)

Texas Southern (SWAC) vs. Texas State (Southland)


 

Last Eight In:

Virginia Tech 

Cleveland State (if needed)

Colorado State

Baylor

Michigan State

Boston College

New Mexico

Penn State

First Eight Out:

Richmond 

Oklahoma State

Butler

Southern Miss

Clemson

Mississippi

Valparaiso

Wichita State

Conference
Breakdown:

Big East: 11 

Big Ten: 7

Big 12: 6

ACC: 5

Mountain West: 5

SEC: 5

Pac-10: 3

Atlantic 10: 2

CAA: 2

22 one-bid conferences

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