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Bracket Breakdown: Final Mock Tournament of 2010

by - Published March 14, 2010 in Columns

Here are the Mock Tournament’s final picks, as of 5:15 p.m. on Selection Sunday — barring a miraculous comeback by Minnesota.

Teams in bold have won an automatic bid.

Midwest

(St. Louis)

(1) Kansas vs. (16) East Tennessee State (Oklahoma City)

(8) Notre Dame vs. (9) Northern Iowa (Oklahoma City)

(4) Temple vs. (13) Oakland (Spokane)

(5) Tennessee vs. (12) Minnesota (Spokane)

(2) Georgetown vs. (15) Vermont (Providence)

(7) Butler vs. (10) Texas (Providence)

(3) Purdue vs. (14) Houston (New Orleans)

(6) UNLV vs. (11) Wake Forest (New Orleans)

West

(Salt Lake City)

(1) Syracuse vs. (16) Lehigh (Buffalo)

(8) Old Dominion vs. (9) Washington (Buffalo)

(4) Baylor vs. (13) Florida (San Jose)

(5) Maryland vs. (12) New Mexico State (San Jose)

(2) Duke vs. (15) Morgan State (Jacksonville)

(7) Louisville vs. (10) UTEP (Jacksonville)

(3) New Mexico vs. (14) Ohio (San Jose)

(6) Michigan State vs. (11) Utah State (San Jose)

East

(Syracuse)

(1) Kentucky vs. (16) Winthrop/Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Milwaukee)

(8) Gonzaga vs. (9) Georgia Tech (Milwaukee)

(4) Villanova vs. (13) Murray State (Jacksonville)

(5) Richmond vs. (12) Missouri (Jacksonville)

(2) Ohio State vs. (15) UC Santa Barbara (Milwaukee)

(7) Oklahoma State vs. (10) Cornell (Milwaukee)

(3) Pittsburgh vs. (14) Wofford (Providence)

(6) BYU vs. (11) Siena (Providence)

South

(Houston)

(1) West Virginia vs. (16) Robert Morris (Buffalo)

(8) Clemson vs. (9) Saint Mary’s (Buffalo)

(4) Texas A&M vs. (13) Montana (Spokane)

(5) Xavier vs. (12) Illinois (Spokane)

(2) Kansas State vs. (15) North Texas (Oklahoma City)

(7) Marquette vs. (10) San Diego State (Oklahoma City)

(3) Wisconsin vs. (14) Sam Houston State (New Orleans)

(6) Vanderbilt vs. (11) Florida State (New Orleans)


Last Eight In:

Texas

Georgia Tech

UTEP

Wake Forest

Illinois

Florida State

Missouri

Minnesota

Florida

First Eight Out:

Mississippi State

Mississippi

Virginia Tech

Rhode Island

South Florida

Dayton

California

UAB

Conference
Breakdown:

Big East: 8

Big 12: 7

ACC: 6

Big Ten: 6

Mountain West: 4

SEC: 4

Atlantic 10: 3

Conference USA: 2

WAC: 2

West Coast: 2

21 one-bid conferences

Bracket Breakdown: Mock Tournament 10.0

by - Published March 14, 2010 in Columns

In mere hours, the selection committee will lift the mystery on the 2010 NCAA Tournament, unleashing bracket madness throughout the country.

As Selection Sunday arrives, the Mock Tournament has once again undergone significant changes. We have a new No. 1 seed, West Virginia, and fewer major conference bubble teams thanks to upset victories by Houston and New Mexico State. UTEP and Utah State take two at-large bids, turning the Conference USA and WAC into two-bid conferences.

The bubble could contract further today if Mississippi State wins the SEC championship. Today’s action could produce other changes to the brackets.

  • Temple and Richmond could swap spots as No. 4 and No. 5 seeds if the Spiders beat the Owls.
  • Florida would be the first team out if the Bulldogs win.

We have only four more games to go before all automatic bids are accounted for. Enjoy the games, and check back later to see how closely the Mock Tournament comes to predicting the field.

Here are the latest brackets and links to previous projections.

Teams in bold have won an automatic bid.

Midwest

(St. Louis)

(1) Kansas vs. (16) North Texas (Oklahoma City)

(8) Notre Dame vs. (9) Georgia Tech (Oklahoma City)

(4) Temple vs. (13) Oakland (Spokane)

(5) Tennessee vs. (12) Minnesota (Spokane)

(2) Georgetown vs. (15) Vermont (Providence)

(7) Butler vs. (10) San Diego State (Providence)

(3) Purdue vs. (14) Houston (Jacksonville)

(6) Vanderbilt vs. (11) Cornell (Providence)

West

(Salt Lake City)

(1) West Virginia vs. (16) Robert Morris (Buffalo)

(8) Gonzaga vs. (9) Northern Iowa (Buffalo)

(4) Baylor vs. (13) Florida (San Jose)

(5) Maryland vs. (12) New Mexico State (San Jose)

(2) Kansas State vs. (15) Sam Houston State (Oklahoma City)

(7) Marquette vs. (10) UTEP (Oklahoma City)

(3) New Mexico vs. (14) UC Santa Barbara (San Jose)

(6) Michigan State vs. (11) Florida State (San Jose)

East

(Syracuse)

(1) Kentucky vs. (16) Winthrop/Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Milwaukee)

(8) Clemson vs. (9) Utah State (Milwaukee)

(4) Villanova vs. (13) Murray State (New Orleans)

(5) Richmond vs. (12) Missouri (New Orleans)

(2) Ohio State vs. (15) Morgan State (Milwaukee)

(7) Louisville vs. (10) Texas (Milwaukee)

(3) Pittsburgh vs. (14) Ohio (Providence)

(6) BYU vs. (11) Siena (Providence)

South

(Houston)

(1) Syracuse vs. (16) Lehigh (Buffalo)

(8) Old Dominion vs. (9) Saint Mary’s (Buffalo)

(4) Texas A&M vs. (13) Montana (Spokane)

(5) Xavier vs. (12) Illinois (Spokane)

(2) Duke vs. (15) East Tennessee State (Jacksonville)

(7) UNLV vs. (10) Washington (Jacksonville)

(3) Wisconsin vs. (14) Wofford (New Orleans)

(6) Oklahoma State vs. (11) Wake Forest (New Orleans)


Last Eight In:

Texas

Georgia Tech

UTEP

Wake Forest

Illinois

Florida State

Missouri

Minnesota

Florida

First Eight Out:

Mississippi State

Mississippi

Virginia Tech

Rhode Island

South Florida

Dayton

California

UAB

Conference
Breakdown:

Big East: 8

Big 12: 7

ACC: 6

Big Ten: 6

Mountain West: 4

SEC: 4

Atlantic 10: 3

Conference USA: 2

WAC: 2

West Coast: 2

21 one-bid conferences

Bracket Breakdown: Mock Tournament 9.0

by - Published March 13, 2010 in Columns

Less than 36 hours remain until the selection committee unveils the 2010 brackets, and most of the field looks fairly solid. However, upsets in the ACC, Atlantic 10, Big Ten and SEC could lead to trouble for the teams on the precipice of falling out of the field.

A couple of teams out west, namely Washington and San Diego State, have benefited from the failure of Atlantic 10 and Big East bubble teams to solidify their résumés. In the Mountain West semifinals, the Aztecs scored an important second win against New Mexico. They can avoid the need for at-large bid at all if they beat UNLV in the championship game today. Meanwhile, the Huskies simply continue to win, dispatching Stanford in the Pac-10 semifinals. Win or lose against California in the championship game, Washington should be in.

With the late addition of Washington and San Diego State to the field, teams like Rhode Island, South Florida and Dayton are on the outside looking in. And only the Rams can do anything about it because the Bulls and Flyers have already lost in their conference tournaments. Rhode Island can make a stronger case for the NCAA Tournament with a win against Temple in the Atlantic 10 semifinals. The Rams have only one win against the RPI top 50, so even an upset against the Owls might not be enough to make the field.

A slew of automatic bids are on the line today. Check out the bracket as the stand Saturday morning, and let us know if they look right to you or totally out of whack.

Here are the latest brackets and links to previous projections.

Teams in bold have won an automatic bid.

Midwest

(St. Louis)

(1) Kansas vs. (16) North Texas (Oklahoma City)

(8) Gonzaga vs. (9) Northern Iowa (Oklahoma City)

(4) Temple vs. (13) Montana (Spokane)

(5) Vanderbilt vs. (12) Cornell (Spokane)

(2) Wisconsin vs. (15) Sam Houston State (New Orleans)

(7) UNLV vs. (10) UTEP (New Orleans)

(3) Georgetown vs. (14) Morgan State (Providence)

(6) Richmond vs. (11) Florida State (Providence)

West

(Salt Lake City)

(1) Duke vs. (16) East Tennessee State (Jacksonville)

(8) Old Dominion vs. (9) Utah State (Jacksonville)

(4) Villanova vs. (13) California (Spokane)

(5) Texas A&M vs. (12) Mississippi (Spokane)

(2) Purdue vs. (15) Robert Morris (Milwaukee)

(7) Louisville vs. (10) Florida (Milwaukee)

(3) New Mexico vs. (14) Oakland (San Jose)

(6) Oklahoma State vs. (11) Washington (San Jose)

East

(Syracuse)

(1) Kentucky vs. (16) Lehigh (Milwaukee)

(8) Notre Dame vs. (9) Saint Mary’s (Milwaukee)

(4) Baylor vs. (13) Virginia Tech (San Jose)

(5) Maryland vs. (12) San Diego State (San Jose)

(2) West Virginia vs. (15) Vermont (Buffalo)

(7) Butler vs. (10) Georgia Tech (Buffalo)

(3) Ohio State vs. (14) Wofford (Jacksonville)

(6) BYU vs. (11) Missouri (Jacksonville)

South

(Houston)

(1) Syracuse vs. (16) Winthrop/Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Buffalo)

(8) Clemson vs. (9) Texas (Buffalo)

(4) Tennessee vs. (13) Murray State (New Orleans)

(5) Xavier vs. (12) Siena (New Orleans)

(2) Kansas State vs. (15) UC Santa Barbara (Oklahoma City)

(7) Marquette vs. (10) Illinois (Oklahoma City)

(3) Pittsburgh vs. (14) Akron (Providence)

(6) Michigan State vs. (11) Wake Forest (Providence)


Last Eight In:

Georgia Tech

Illinois

Florida State

Washington

Missouri

Florida

San Diego State

Mississippi

Virginia Tech

First Eight Out:

Rhode Island

South Florida

Minnesota

Dayton

California

UAB

Cincinnati

Seton Hall

Conference
Breakdown:

Big East: 8

ACC: 7

Big 12: 7

Big Ten: 5

SEC: 5

Mountain West: 4

Atlantic 10: 3

Pac-10: 2

West Coast: 2

22 one-bid conferences

Bracket Breakdown: Mock Tournament 8.0

by - Published March 12, 2010 in Columns

Does anyone actually want to be in the tournament this year? Several teams that couldn’t afford to lose Thursday did. A few others hurt their seeding by dropping opening round games.

Here are a few of the notable losses:

  • Memphis and UAB lost in the Conference USA semifinals to Houston and Southern Miss, respectively.
  • Kent State got blown out by Ohio in the MAC quarterfinals.
  • Clemson and Wake Forest lost in the opening round of the ACC tournament to North Carolina State and Miami, respectively.
  • Arizona State lost to Stanford in the Pac-10 quarterfinals.

As a result of the chaos, teams like Illinois, Florida, Mississippi and Washington look like they’ll be in the field right now. Of course, check the Mock Tournament again tomorrow to see how today’s actions affects the projected field. We’re down to only two days until Selection Sunday.

Here are the latest brackets and links to previous projections.

Teams in bold have won an automatic bid.

Midwest

(St. Louis)

(1) Kansas vs. (16) North Texas (Oklahoma City)

(8) Gonzaga vs. (9) Northern Iowa (Oklahoma City)

(4) Tennessee vs. (13) Washington (Spokane)

(5) Maryland vs. (12) Siena (Spokane)

(2) Wisconsin vs. (15) UC Santa Barbara (Oklahoma City)

(7) Marquette vs. (10) Missouri (Oklahoma City)

(3) Pittsburgh vs. (14) Wofford (Providence)

(6) Richmond vs. (11) Georgia Tech (Providence)

West

(Salt Lake City)

(1) Duke vs. (16) Lehigh (Jacksonville)

(8) Old Dominion vs. (9) Utah State (Jacksonville)

(4) Georgetown vs. (13) Murray State (New Orleans)

(5) Baylor vs. (12) Mississippi (New Orleans)

(2) Purdue vs. (15) Robert Morris (Milwaukee)

(7) UNLV vs. (10) Wake Forest (Milwaukee)

(3) Villanova vs. (14) Akron (Providence)

(6) BYU vs. (11) Florida (Providence)

East

(Syracuse)

(1) Kentucky vs. (16) Vermont (Milwaukee)

(8) Notre Dame vs. (9) Texas (Milwaukee)

(4) Temple vs. (13) Oakland (Spokane)

(5) Michigan State vs. (12) California (Spokane)

(2) West Virginia vs. (15) Morgan State (Buffalo)

(7) Butler vs. (10) Virginia Tech (Buffalo)

(3) Ohio State vs. (14) Sam Houston State (Jacksonville)

(6) Oklahoma State vs. (11) UTEP (Jacksonville)

South

(Houston)

(1) Syracuse vs. (16) Winthrop/Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Buffalo)

(8) Clemson vs. (9) Saint Mary’s (Buffalo)

(4) Texas A&M vs. (13) South Florida (San Jose)

(5) Xavier vs. (12) Cornell (San Jose)

(2) Kansas State vs. (15) East Tennessee State (New Orleans)

(7) Louisville vs. (10) Florida State (New Orleans)

(3) New Mexico vs. (14) Montana (Spokane)

(6) Vanderbilt vs. (11) Illinois (Spokane)


Last Eight In:

Virginia Tech

Georgia Tech

UTEP (if needed)

Illinois

Florida

Mississippi

Washington

South Florida

First Eight Out:

Dayton

Rhode Island

San Diego State

UAB

Cincinnati

California

Seton Hall

Minnesota

Conference
Breakdown:

Big East: 9

ACC: 7

Big 12: 7

Big Ten: 5

SEC: 5

Atlantic 10: 3

Mountain West: 3

Pac-10: 2

West Coast: 2

22 one-bid conferences

Bracket Breakdown: Mock Tournament 7.0

by - Published March 11, 2010 in Columns

We’re halfway through championship week, and 14 teams have punched their ticket to the Big Dance. From Robert Morris to Weber State, fans and players are celebrating conference championships and automatic bids. For many, a mere invitation to the NCAA Tournament is worthy of an all-night party.

But for bubble teams in power conferences, coaches’ livelihoods depend on their ability to regularly lead their team to the promised land of the NCAA Tournament. With second-round losses in the Big East tournament, Seton Hall and South Florida can only return home and wait anxiously for Selection Sunday. With a blowout loss to St. John’s in the opening round, Connecticut almost certainly will be looking at an NIT invitation rather than an NCAA Tournament bid.

The inability of Big East bubble teams to make a deep run helps the likes of Illinois, Minnesota, San Diego State and Washington. As those teams’ conference tournaments kick into full gear Thursday and Friday, they will look to accomplish what their bubble brethren could not: earn their way into the NCAA Tournament. And opportunities abound thanks to surprisingly few upsets in conference tournaments so far.

The dominant mid-major teams have done the power conference bubble teams a favor during the past week by winning their conference tournaments. Northern Iowa, Old Dominion and Butler would have likely received at-large invitations to the NCAA Tournament if they needed one. But all three won their conferences’ automatic bids, likely rendering the Missouri Valley Conference, Colonial Athletic Association and Horizon League one-bid conferences.

Because no team from outside the bubble has earned its way into the field, the latest Mock Tournament projected field remains the same. However, the shape of the bubble is shifting, with Dayton, Rhode Island, Washington, Memphis and San Diego State poised to play their way into the field. South Florida is eminently vulnerable after losing to Georgetown Wednesday. Illinois, Florida and Mississippi also figure to be replaced by one of the teams on the wrong side of the bubble if they falter in their conference tournament openers.

The light at the end of the tunnel is within view, but for nearly a dozen teams on the cusp of reaching the tournament, there’s plenty of work still to go.

Here are the latest brackets and links to previous projections.

Teams in bold have won an automatic bid.

Midwest

(St. Louis)

(1) Kansas vs. (16) North Texas (Oklahoma City)

(8) Utah State vs. (9) Marquette (Oklahoma City)

(4) Georgetown vs. (13) Mississippi (Spokane)

(5) Maryland vs. (12) Siena (Spokane)

(2) West Virginia vs. (15) Robert Morris (Buffalo)

(7) Butler vs. (10) Virginia Tech (Buffalo)

(3) Ohio State vs. (14) Wofford (Jacksonville)

(6) Vanderbilt vs. (11) UAB (Jacksonville)

South

(Houston)

(1) Duke vs. (16) Winthrop (Jacksonville)

(8) Old Dominion vs. (9) Texas (Jacksonville)

(4) Tennessee vs. (13) Kent State (New Orleans)

(5) Baylor vs. (12) South Florida (New Orleans)

(2) Purdue vs. (15) Oakland (Milwaukee)

(7) UNLV vs. (10) Florida State (Milwaukee)

(3) Villanova vs. (14) Morgan State (Providence)

(6) Richmond vs. (11) Georgia Tech (Providence)

West

(Salt Lake City)

(1) Syracuse vs. (16) Lehigh/Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Buffalo)

(8) Clemson vs. (9) Gonzaga (Buffalo)

(4) Texas A&M vs. (13) Florida (San Jose)

(5) Xavier vs. (12) Cornell (San Jose)

(2) Wisconsin vs. (15) Montana (Oklahoma City)

(7) Louisville vs. (10) Missouri (Oklahoma City)

(3) New Mexico vs. (14) Santa Barbara (San Jose)

(6) Michigan State vs. (11) UTEP (San Jose)

East

(Syracuse)

(1) Kentucky vs. (16) East Tennessee State (Milwaukee)

(8) Northern Iowa vs. (9) Notre Dame (Milwaukee)

(4) Temple vs. (13) Sam Houston State (Spokane)

(5) Oklahoma State vs. (12) California (Spokane)

(2) Pittsburgh vs. (15) Vermont (Providence)

(7) Wake Forest vs. (10) Saint Mary’s (Providence)

(3) Kansas State vs. (14) Murray State (New Orleans)

(6) BYU vs. (11) Illinois (New Orleans)


Last Eight In:

Virginia Tech

Georgia Tech

UTEP (if needed)

UAB

Illinois

Florida

Mississippi

South Florida

First Eight Out:

Dayton

Rhode Island

Washington

Seton Hall

Cincinnati

Memphis

San Diego State

California

Conference
Breakdown:

Big East: 9

ACC: 7

Big 12: 7

Big Ten: 5

SEC: 5

Atlantic 10: 3

Mountain West: 3

Conference USA: 2

West Coast: 2

22 one-bid conferences

Bracket Breakdown: Mock Tournament 6.0

by - Published March 8, 2010 in Columns

We’re down to the final week before Selection Sunday, and the field is starting to take shape with five teams already in the field: Cornell, East Tennessee State, Murray State, Northern Iowa and Winthrop. While those teams played their way into the field, others appear intent on playing their way out.

For the second consecutive weekend, big losses were rampant throughout the basketball nation. Connecticut’s loss to South Florida gives the Huskies 14 losses, meaning that they would need to become the first at-large team with 15 losses to make the NCAA Tournament unless they find a way to win the Big East tournament this week. Cincinnati finds itself in the same boat after losing its third straight game and fifth in six tries.

In the Big Ten, Illinois paralleled the Bearcats’ poor finish with its third straight defeat Sunday, a 72-57 loss in Champaign to Wisconsin. Illinois has a more compelling case for an at-large bid than Cincinnati does thanks to three wins against the RPI top 25. However, the Illini have 13 losses and an RPI of 73. Illinois will get another crack at the Badgers in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament, and the Illini might need to win that game to avoid getting bounced off the bubble.

Besides the bubble teams, several others lost big games that affect their seeding in the latest version of the Mock Tournament.

  • Kansas State drops to a No. 3 seed after inexplicably losing at home in overtime to Iowa State, ranked No. 113 in the RPI.
  • Villanova also drops to the No. 3 line after losing at home in overtime. However, these Wildcats shouldn’t be as ashamed to lose because West Virginia is finishing the season strongly.
  • Vanderbilt also suffered a home loss — to South Carolina — and falls to the No. 6 line.

Here are the latest brackets and links to previous projections.

Teams in bold have won an automatic bid.

Midwest

(St. Louis)

(1) Kansas vs. (16) Troy (Oklahoma City)

(8) Gonzaga vs. (9) Marquette (Oklahoma City)

(4) Georgetown vs. (13) Siena (Spokane)

(5) Maryland vs. (12) California (Spokane)

(2) West Virginia vs. (15) Quinnipiac (Buffalo)

(7) Butler vs. (10) Virginia Tech (Buffalo)

(3) Ohio State vs. (14) Wofford (Jacksonville)

(6) Vanderbilt vs. (11) South Florida (Jacksonville)

South

(Houston)

(1) Duke vs. (16) Winthrop (Jacksonville)

(8) Texas vs. (9) Old Dominion (Jacksonville)

(4) Tennessee vs. (13) Kent State (New Orleans)

(5) Baylor vs. (12) Illinois (New Orleans)

(2) Purdue vs. (15) Oakland (Milwaukee)

(7) UNLV vs. (10) Notre Dame (Milwaukee)

(3) Villanova vs. (14) Morgan State (Providence)

(6) Richmond vs. (11) Georgia Tech (Providence)

West

(Salt Lake City)

(1) Syracuse vs. (16) Lehigh/Jackson State (Buffalo)

(8) Clemson vs. (9) Utah State (Buffalo)

(4) Texas A&M vs. (13) Cornell (San Jose)

(5) Xavier vs. (12) Florida (San Jose)

(2) Wisconsin vs. (15) Sam Houston State (Oklahoma City)

(7) Louisville vs. (10) Florida State (Oklahoma City)

(3) New Mexico vs. (14) Santa Barbara (San Jose)

(6) Michigan State vs. (11) UTEP (San Jose)

East

(Syracuse)

(1) Kentucky vs. (16) East Tennessee State (Milwaukee)

(8) Missouri vs. (9) Northern Iowa (Milwaukee)

(4) Temple vs. (13) Weber State (Spokane)

(5) Oklahoma State vs. (12) Mississippi (Spokane)

(2) Pittsburgh vs. (15) Vermont (Providence)

(7) Wake Forest vs. (10) Saint Mary’s (Providence)

(3) Kansas State vs. (14) Murray State (New Orleans)

(6) BYU vs. (11) UAB (New Orleans)


Last Eight In:

Notre Dame

Georgia Tech

UTEP (if needed)

UAB

South Florida

Illinois

Florida

Mississippi

First Eight Out:

Seton Hall

Dayton

Rhode Island

Connecticut

Washington

Memphis

San Diego State

California

Conference
Breakdown:

Big East: 9

ACC: 7

Big 12: 7

Big Ten: 5

SEC: 5

Atlantic 10: 3

Mountain West: 3

Conference USA: 2

West Coast: 2

22 one-bid conferences

Bracket Breakdown: Mock Tournament 5.0

by - Published March 5, 2010 in Columns

With several bubbles near bursting, fans from coast to coast just want some more wins in the final nine days before Selection Sunday. Entering the final weekend of the regular season, Huskies, Illini, Gators and Bearcats are sweating their teams’ fading profiles.

While some fans nervously await their conference tournaments, other fans will celebrate their invitation to the Big Dance when the Atlantic Sun, Big South, Missouri Valley and Ohio Valley conferences crown a 2010 champion. We have a great weekend of basketball ahead, with teams like Purdue, Duke and Kansas State slugging it out against other opponents while competing with one another for the final No. 1 seed. The urgency of bubble teams from the Big East and SEC will come close to matching the pure joy felt by several newly crowned conference champions.

In Version 5.0 of the Mock Tournament, I take the predictions a step further by assigning first-round match ups. In creating match ups, I occasionally deviate from the 1-65 rankings. For example, in the interest of putting Utah State closer to home, I bumped the Aggies from a No. 10 seed to No. 11 seed. Rhode Island benefited by moving up to a No. 10 seed even though the Rams are one of the last few teams to make the tournament.

Perhaps most controversial, I have nine Big East teams in the field with the inclusion of Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish’s late surge is undeniably impressive. However, many readers — especially those Gator fans — might protest leaving Connecticut in the field given that the Huskies lost at Notre Dame Monday and now have 13 losses. Within a week, the Huskies might be out of the field. But as of March 5, they’re in thanks to marquee wins against West Virginia and at Villanova. However, Connecticut would be wise to avoid losing at South Florida Saturday. It would be the Huskies’ 14th loss, and unless they win the Big East Tournament, they would enter Selection Sunday with 15 losses. No team has received an at-large invitation with 15 losses.

Let’s get to the brackets. Compare this field to previous Mock Tournaments, and leave a comment to share your thoughts about the projected field.

Mock Tournament 4.0

Mock Tournament 3.0

Mock Tournament 2.0

Mock Tournament 1.0

Midwest

(St. Louis)

(1) Kansas vs.  (16) North Texas  (Oklahoma City)

(8) UNLV vs. (9) Saint Mary’s (Oklahoma City)

(4) Temple vs. (13) Weber State (Spokane)

(5) Maryland vs. (12) California (Spokane)

(2) Pittsburgh vs. (7) (Buffalo)

(7) Wake Forest vs. (10) Rhode Island (Buffalo)

(3) Ohio State vs. (14) Wofford (Jacksonville)

(6) Xavier vs. (11) Connecticut (Jacksonville)

South

(Houston)

(1) Duke vs. (16) Coastal Carolina (Jacksonville)

(8) Gonzaga vs. (9) Marquette (Jacksonville)

(4) Tennessee vs. (13) Cornell (New Orleans)

(5) Baylor vs. (12) Notre Dame (New Orleans)

(2) Kansas State vs. (15) Sam Houston State (Oklahoma City)

(7) BYU vs. (10) UAB (Oklahoma City)

(3) West Virginia vs. (14) Oakland (Providence)

(6) Michigan State vs. (11) Virginia Tech (Providence)

West

(Salt Lake City)

(1) Syracuse vs. (16) Lehigh/Jackson State (Buffalo)

(8) Old Dominion vs. (9) Northern Iowa (Buffalo)

(4) Texas A&M vs. (13) Kent State (San Jose)

(5) Vanderbilt vs. (12) UTEP (San Jose)

(2) Purdue vs. (15) Murray State (Milwaukee)

(7) Butler vs. (10) Georgia Tech (Milwaukee)

(3) New Mexico vs. (14) Santa Barbara (San Jose)

(6) Texas vs. (11) Utah State (San Jose)

East

(Syracuse)

(1) Kentucky vs. (16) Robert Morris (Milwaukee)

(8) Missouri vs. (9) Louisville (Milwaukee)

(4) Georgetown vs. (13) Siena (Spokane)

(5) Oklahoma State vs. (12) Illinois (Spokane)

(2) Villanova vs. (15) Stony Brook (Providence)

(7) Clemson vs. (10) Dayton (Providence)

(3) Wisconsin vs. (14) Jacksonville (New Orleans)

(6) Richmond vs. (11) Florida State (New Orleans)


Last Eight In:

Dayton

UAB

Connecticut

Florida State

Rhode Island

Illinois

Notre Dame

First Eight Out:

Florida

UTEP (if needed)

South Florida

Cincinnati

Mississippi

Seton Hall

San Diego State

Washington

Conference
Breakdown:

Big East: 9

ACC: 7

Big 12: 7

Atlantic 10: 5

Big Ten: 5

SEC: 3

Mountain West: 3

Conference USA: 2

West Coast: 2

22 one-bid conferences

Bracket Breakdown: Mock Tournament 4.0

by - Published March 1, 2010 in Columns

College basketball nation didn’t wait for the calendar to flip to March to start the madness. A little insanity seeped into February, as this past weekend delivered a few major upsets and several incredible games. Many teams already seem to be playing as if they’re in elimination games. And for some of our bubble teams, that might just be true.

During the final weekend of February, the top three teams in the polls lost. Upsets and inconsistency wreaked havoc among the teams in the projected field, causing upheaval in the fourth installment of the Mock Tournament brackets.

For the first time, we have movement at every seed level that involves at-large teams. That includes a new No. 1 seed in Duke, which simply keeps winning — something that most of the Blue Devils’ elite compatriots can’t claim. Purdue fizzled in its first game without Robbie Hummel, who is done for the year with a torn ACL. The Boilermakers have games remaining against Indiana and Penn State, which they should win. If they falter against two of the Big Ten’s weakest opponents, the team could slip as low as a No. 3 or 4 seed.

The weekend’s big winner was the Big 12. Specifically, Baylor, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State notched chest-puffing wins against tough conference opponents and subsequently inched higher in projected seeding. Oklahoma State made the biggest leap, vaulting the Bears and Aggies to claim a No. 4 seed. The Cowboys looked impressive in dismantling Kansas Saturday.

However, Oklahoma State’s place among the top 16 teams is tenuous, especially with a midweek game at Texas A&M looming. The Aggies have not lost to any team not nicknamed the Jayhawks in College Station this season. And projected to be a No. 5 seed, Texas A&M is probably itching for an opportunity to pick up another high-quality win and take Oklahoma State’s spot among the top four seeds.

Among the teams just making or missing the tournament, Rhode Island fell the hardest after losing at St. Bonaventure, which benefited Florida. The Gators are making their debut in the Mock Tournament’s field. Here’s some more bubble talk.

  • Cincinnati remains in the field but can probably afford to lose only one more game between now and Selection Sunday.
  • A few Atlantic 10 teams, specifically Charlotte, Dayton and Rhode Island, have picked a bad time to lose their mojo.
  • Don’t look now, but Washington is starting to make a case for a second bid out of the Pac-10.
  • Notre Dame might want to keep Luke Harangody sidelined for a while longer if the Fighting Irish continue to win. They are one more high-quality win away from entering the field.

Check out the first three Mock Tournaments to see the evolution of the projected field.

Mock Tournament 1.0
Mock Tournament 2.0
Mock Tournament 3.0

As always, share your thoughts by leaving a comment. Starting Friday, the Mock Tournament will extend its projections to include regions and pod assignments.

1

Kansas

Syracuse

Kentucky

Duke

2

Kansas State

Purdue

Villanova

Pittsburgh

3

Georgetown

Wisconsin

Tennessee

New Mexico (Mountain West)

4

West Virginia

Ohio State

Temple (Atlantic 10)

Oklahoma State

5

Baylor

Texas A&M

Vanderbilt

Butler (Horizon)

6

Richmond

Xavier

Michigan State

Wake Forest

7

Texas

Maryland

BYU

Missouri

8

Georgia Tech

Old Dominion (CAA)

UNLV

Gonzaga (West Coast)

9

Connecticut

Louisville

Clemson

Dayton

10

Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley)

Marquette

Illinois

UAB

11

Saint Mary’s

Utah State (WAC)

Florida State

Virginia Tech

12

Cincinnati

Florida

UTEP (Conference USA)

California (Pac-10)

13

Siena (Metro Atlantic)

Kent State (MAC)

Cornell (Ivy)

Weber State (Big Sky)

14

Oakland (Summit)

Wofford (Southern)

Murray State (Ohio Valley)

Sam Houston State (Southland)

15

Santa Barbara (Big West)

Jacksonville (Atlantic Sun)

Morgan State (MEAC)

North Texas (Sun Belt)

16

Stony Brook (America East)

Coastal Carolina (Big South)

Robert Morris (Northeast)

Lehigh (Patriot)

Jackson State (SWAC)


Last Eight In:

Illinois

UAB

Saint Mary’s

Utah State (if needed)

Florida State

Virginia Tech

Cincinnati

Florida

First Eight Out:

Rhode Island

Notre Dame

South Florida

Mississippi

UTEP (if needed)

Seton Hall

San Diego State

Washington

Conference
Breakdown:

Big East: 9

ACC: 7

Big 12: 7

Big Ten: 5

Atlantic 10: 4

SEC: 4

Mountain West: 3

Conference USA: 2

West Coast: 2

22 one-bid conferences

Bracket Breakdown: You Be the Judge, Big East Style

by - Published February 27, 2010 in Columns

With the addition of Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette and South Florida in 2005, the Big East evolved into a super-conference. Seven of the 16 members have national championship banners hanging in the rafters, and the conference’s teams have collectively been to 43 Final Fours. South Florida is the only member that has never reached the Final Four.

This season, the Big East is once again poised to have a fantastic NCAA Tournament and will likely put more teams in the tournament than any other conference. Entering the final weekend of February, Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia, Georgetown and Pittsburgh are locks to make the tournament. In addition to those five powerhouses, eight other Big East teams have a legitimate shot at reaching the NCAA Tournament. But the bubble will invariably burst for some of those teams.

The eight teams competing NCAA Tournament bids are:

  • Cincinnati
  • Connecticut
  • Louisville
  • Marquette
  • Notre Dame
  • Seton Hall
  • South Florida
  • St. John’s

Check out their profiles below, and pick four teams to reach the NCAA Tournament. Then check out the latest Mock Tournament to see which teams we project to reach the field as of Feb. 26. The answer key for the team profiles is below.

Team A (Overall: 17-11, Big East: 7-8)

RPI: 40
Strength of schedule:  2, non-conference SOS: 5, conference SOS: 32
Record vs. RPI top 50: 3-6
Losses to teams outside RPI top 100: 2
Record in neutral/road games: 3-8
Best wins (teams listed by RPI): vs. 5, at 8, vs. 22, vs. 52, vs. 57
Worst losses (teams listed by RPI): at 148, at 109, twice vs. and at 59, vs. 55

Team B (Overall: 18-9, Big East: 9-6)

RPI: 55
Strength of schedule:  65, non-conference SOS: 203, conference SOS: 44
Record vs. RPI top 50: 3-7
Losses to teams outside RPI top 100: 2
Record in neutral/road games: 6-6
Best wins (teams listed by RPI): vs. 9, vs. 14 (neutral), at 40, at 59, vs. 66
Worst losses (teams listed by RPI): at 185, vs. 122

Team C (Overall: 18-10, Big East: 7-8)

RPI: 72
Strength of schedule: 61, non-conference SOS: 196, conference SOS: 37
Record vs. RPI top 50: 2-4
Losses to teams outside RPI top 100: 2
Record in neutral/road games: 2-7
Best wins (teams listed by RPI): vs. 10, vs. 59, twice vs. and at 66
Worst losses (teams listed by RPI): at 127, vs. 93 (neutral) vs. 75, at 59, at 52

Team D (Overall: 16-11, Big East: 6-9)

RPI: 66
Strength of schedule: 43, non-conference SOS: 246, conference SOS: 20
Record vs. RPI top 50: 3-4
Losses to teams outside RPI top 100: 1
Record in neutral/road games: 6-7
Best wins (teams listed by RPI): at 9, vs. 10, vs. 49, vs. 52, vs. 59
Worst losses (teams listed by RPI): vs. 209, at 75, twice vs. and at 72, at 59

Team E (Overall: 16-11, Big East: 7-8)

RPI: 59
Strength of schedule: 29, non-conference SOS: 53, conference SOS: 72
Record vs. RPI top 50: 4-6
Losses to teams outside RPI top 100: 0
Record in neutral/road games: 4-8
Best wins (teams listed by RPI): vs. 15 (neutral), vs. 28 (neutral), twice vs. and at 40,
Worst losses (teams listed by RPI): at 75, at 72, at 66, vs. 55

Team F (Overall: 15-12, Big East: 5-10)

RPI: 75
Strength of schedule: 33, non-conference SOS: 73, conference SOS: 46
Record vs. RPI top 50: 3-8
Losses to teams outside RPI top 100: 2
Record in neutral/road games: 6-6
Best wins (teams listed by RPI): vs. 13 (neutral), vs. 36 (neutral), vs. 41, vs. 59, at 66
Worst losses (teams listed by RPI): at 127, vs. 109, vs. 55, vs. 52

Team G (Overall: 18-10, Big East: 9-6)

RPI: 41
Strength of schedule:  6, non-conference SOS: 21, conference SOS: 34
Record vs. RPI top 50: 2-6
Losses to teams outside RPI top 100: 1
Record in neutral/road games: 4-6
Best wins (teams listed by RPI): at 4, vs. 40, vs. 59, vs. 66
Worst losses (teams listed by RPI): vs. 119, at 75, vs. 56, at 52

Team H (Overall: 16-10, Big East: 7-8)

RPI: 52
Strength of schedule: 18, non-conference SOS: 162, conference SOS: 17
Record vs. RPI top 50: 3-9
Losses to teams outside RPI top 100: 0
Record in neutral/road games: 3-7
Best wins (teams listed by RPI): vs. 10, vs. 41, at 48, vs. 59
Worst losses (teams listed by RPI): at 66

Team A: Connecticut
Team B: Marquette
Team C: Notre Dame
Team D: South Florida
Team E: Cincinnati
Team F: St. John’s
Team G: Louisville
Team H: Seton Hall

Bracket Breakdown: Mock Tournament 3.0

by - Published February 26, 2010 in Columns

What a difference two weeks can make. Less than 14 days ago, Connecticut was left for dead after Cincinnati completed a season sweep of the Huskies with a 60-48 win in Storrs. But just when everyone was ready to relegate Connecticut to the NIT, the Huskies flipped the switch and started beating the Big East’s beasts.

Almost two weeks later, Connecticut has wins against Villanova and West Virginia — two marquee wins to brag about, in addition to the No. 2 toughest schedule. As a result of the Huskies’ recent hot streak, Connecticut makes its debut in the tournament as a No. 8 seed. Yes, teams can go from the wrong side of the bubble to a solid middle-of-the-road seed in less than two weeks. With remaining games against Louisville, Notre Dame and South Florida, Connecticut has an opportunity to build a six-game winning streak heading into the Big East Tournament and move up the seed chart.

While Connecticut rises, William & Mary continues to falter. After dropping a must-win BracketBusters game at Iona, the Tribe returned home to lose to Towson, ranked No. 273 in the RPI. That loss gives William & Mary three losses to teams in the bottom 150 of the RPI. That’s just too many losses to bad teams, which neutralizes the strength of quality wins against Wake Forest, Richmond and Maryland. Unless the Tribe make a run to capture the Colonial Athletic Association’s automatic bid, the Tribe will once again fail to reach the NCAA Tournament. The team has never gone to the Big Dance since it started in 1939.

Here are some of the other highlights of Mock Tournament 3.0.

  • The No. 1 seeds remain the same, but watch Purdue’s performance without Robbie Hummel.
  • Baylor and Missouri inch higher in seeding, which reflects the strength of the Big 12 Conference this season.
  • Florida State and Virginia Tech are entering bubble trouble, while Louisville can start to feel a little more secure.
  • Florida is coming on strong at the right time of year, and Utah State and UTEP are getting closer to earning an at-large bid if they don’t win their conferences’ automatic bids.

Without further ado, here are the Mock Tournament 3.0 seeds. UAB and Cincinnati in the tournament? Florida and Charlotte out? Am I crazy or right on point? Submit a comment to share your thoughts and opinions.

For comparison, also check out Mock Tournament 1.0 and Mock Tournament 2.0. Also, check out a map of NCAA Tournament sites and the schedule for all rounds of the tournament.

1

Kansas

Syracuse

Purdue

Kentucky

2

Georgetown

Duke

Villanova

Kansas State

3

Wisconsin

Pittsburgh

West Virginia

Temple

4

Ohio State

New Mexico

Texas

Tennessee

5

Wake Forest

Richmond

Vanderbilt

Michigan State

6

Baylor

Xavier

Butler (Horizon)

Texas A&M

7

BYU

Georgia Tech

Oklahoma State

Missouri

8

Old Dominion (CAA)

UNLV

Gonzaga (West Coast)

Connecticut

9

Maryland

Dayton

Clemson

Illinois

10

Louisville

Florida State

Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley)

Virginia Tech

11

Rhode Island

UAB

Marquette

Saint Mary’s

12

Cincinnati

California (Pac-10)

Utah State (WAC)

UTEP (Conference USA)

13

Siena (Metro Atlantic)

Kent State (MAC)

Cornell (Ivy)

Weber State (Big Sky)

14

Oakland (Summit)

Murray State (Ohio Valley)

Sam Houston State (Southland)

Wofford (Southern)

15

Santa Barbara (Big West)

Jacksonville (Atlantic Sun)

Morgan State (MEAC)

North Texas (Sun Belt)

16

Stony Brook (America East)

Coastal Carolina (Big South)

Robert Morris (Northeast)

Lehigh (Patriot)

Jackson State (SWAC)


Last Eight In:

Florida State

Northern Iowa (if needed)

Virginia Tech

Rhode Island

UAB

Marquette

Saint Mary’s

Cincinnati

First Eight Out:

Utah State (if needed)

Florida

Charlotte

South Florida

Seton Hall

William & Mary

Mississippi

UTEP (if needed)

Conference
Breakdown:

Big East: 9
ACC: 7

Big 12: 7

Atlantic 10: 5

Big Ten: 5

Mountain West: 3

SEC: 3

Conference USA: 2

West Coast: 2

22 one-bid conferences

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Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
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