Bracketology 2017: Final Bracket Prediction

Final bracket, posted 4:20 ET on Sunday, March 12.

Final Seed List

1: Villanova, Kansas, Gonzaga, Duke
2: North Carolina, Kentucky, Arizona, Baylor
3: Oregon, Louisville, UCLA, Florida St.
4: Butler, Notre Dame, Florida, Iowa St.
5: West Virginia, SMU, Purdue, Wisconsin
6: Cincinnati, Michigan, Minnesota, Virginia
7: Creighton, Northwestern, Oklahoma St., Virginia Tech
8: Arkansas, Maryland, Saint Mary's, Miami FL
9: South Carolina, Dayton, VCU, Seton Hall
10: Marquette, Vanderbilt, Wichita St., Rhode Island
11: Middle Tennessee, Xavier, Michigan St., Providence, Kansas St.
12: Wake Forest, USC, UNC Wilmington, Nevada, Vermont
13: Princeton, East Tennessee St., Winthrop, Bucknell
14: Florida Gulf Coast, Iona, New Mexico St., Kent St.
15: Northern Kentucky, North Dakota, Texas Southern, South Dakota St.
16: Jacksonville St., UC Davis, New Orleans, Troy, North Carolina Central, Mount St. Mary's

Last 4 Byes Last 4 IN First 4 OUT
Marquette Kansas St. Syracuse
Vanderbilt Providence Illinois St.
Xavier Wake Forest California
Michigan St. USC TCU

 

The one final one seed was a very close call.  In the end, I took Duke over UNC.  The Committee's previewed showed us they care a lot more about who you beat than who you lose to.  The Devils have 8 RPI Top 25 wins, 2 more than anyone else.  I think the committee will reward them while keeping in mind much of their losses came with injuries, suspensions and a rehabbing coach.

Rhode Island winning the A10 killed the bubble drama a bit.  I think USC is clearly in over Syracuse, leaving a noticeable drop from the Trojans to the next four out.  The Rams jumped to a 10 seed with the win.

I list Michigan and SMU as the auto-bids for the late tips, though that's mostly because they're both winning at the time the bracket is finished.  I don't think they're seeds will change regardless because of the late tips.

In the end, bids by conference breaks down as below.  The ACC end up with 8 teams in, just one ahead of the Big Ten and Big 12's 7.  The Pac-12 has 4, with three final four contenders and another (USC) headed for Dayton.  The A10 got three bids, while Illinois State will get shut out leaving the Missouri Valley with just conference champ Wichita St.

Atlantic Coast Conference: 8
Big 12 Conference: 7
Big Ten Conference: 7
Big East Conference: 7
Pac-12 Conference: 4
Southeastern Conference: 5
American Athletic Conference: 2
Atlantic 10 Conference: 3
West Coast Conference: 2
America East Conference: 1
Atlantic Sun Conference: 1
Big Sky Conference: 1
Big South Conference: 1
Big West Conference: 1
Colonial Athletic Association: 1
Conference USA: 1
Horizon League: 1
Ivy League: 1
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference: 1
Mid-American Conference: 1
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference: 1
Missouri Valley Conference: 1
Mountain West Conference: 1
Northeast Conference: 1
Ohio Valley Conference: 1
Patriot League: 1
Southern Conference: 1
Southland Conference: 1
Southwestern Athletic Conference: 1
Sun Belt Conference: 1
Summit League: 1
Western Athletic Conference: 1


Bracketology 2017: March 11

Behold - out next to lat bracket.  The Final Bracket Prediction will be posted tomorrow afternoon right about at the conclusion of the Big Ten Championship Game

True Seed List

1: Villanova, Kansas, North Carolina, Gonzaga
2: Oregon, Kentucky, Arizona, Duke
3: Baylor, Louisville, UCLA, Florida St.
4: Butler, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Florida
5: SMU, Purdue, Minnesota, Iowa St.
6: Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Virginia, Northwestern
7: Creighton, Oklahoma St., Virginia Tech, Michigan
8: Maryland, Seton Hall, VCU, Miami Fl
9: Saint Mary's, Arkansas, South Carolina, Dayton
10: Marquette, Vanderbilt, Wichita St., Xavier
11: Middle Tennessee, Michigan St., Kansas St., Providence, Wake Forest
12: USC, Rhode Island, UNC Wilmington, Nevada, Vermont
13: UT Arlington, Princeton, Akron, East Tennessee St.
14: Winthrop, Bucknell, Florida Gulf Coast, Iona
15: Northern Kentucky, Cal St. Bakersfield, North Dakota, New Orleans
16: Texas Southern, South Dakota St., Jacksonville St., North Carolina Central, UC Irvine, Mount St. Mary's

In this bracket: None

Out this bracket: None

Last 4 Byes Last 4 IN First 4 OUT
Vanerbilt Providence Syracuse
Xavier Wake Forest Illinois St.
Michigan St. USC California
Kansas St. Rhode Island TCU

The last weekend shake-up is in full swing.  I think our top 4 seeds are locked in, though Oregon could definitely make a run at the final one seed with a win over Arizona.

On the bubble, I continue to take Rhode Island over Syraucse.  The RPI rankings aren't even close between the two.  

The Big Ten's only hope to get a a top-4 seed is Minnesota, who play's Michigan in the semifinal today.

The bubble has definitely shrunk.  I feel confident that every team I have in not named Rhode Island is safe.  I think it's a toss up right now between Rhode Island and Syracuse - of which RPI favors the Rams.

Next Bracket: Tomorrow, March 12 by 5:15pm


Bracketology 2017: March 10

The next Sunday is Selection Sunday! We'll post daily brackets from here on out...

True Seed List

1: Villanova, North Carolina, Kansas, Gonzaga
2: Oregon, Kentucky, UCLA, Baylor
3: Louisville, Duke, Arizona, Florida St.
4: Butler, Florida, West Virginia, Purdue
5: Notre Dame, SMU, Cincinnati, Iowa St.
6: Virginia, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Miami FL
7: Maryland, Creighton, Northwestern, Oklahoma St.
8: Dayton, Virginia Tech, Seton Hall, VCU
9: South Carolina, Saint Mary's, Arkansas, Michigan
10: Marquette, Wichita St., Xavier, Michigan St.
11: Middle Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Kansas St., Providence, USC
12: Wake Forest, Rhode Island, UNC Wilmington, Nevada, Vermont
13: UT Arlington, Princeton, Akron, East Tennessee St.
14: Winthrop, BUCKNELL, Florida Gulf Coast, Siena
15: Northern Kentucky, Cal St. Bakersfield, North Dakota, New Orleans
16: Texas Southern, South Dakota St., JACKSONVILLE ST., North Carolina Central, UC Irvine, Mount St. Mary's

In this bracket: Kansas St.

Out this bracket: Syracuse

Last 4 Byes Last 4 IN First 4 OUT
Xavier Providence Syracuse
Michigan St. USC Illinois St.
Vanderbilt Wake Forest California
Kansas St. Rhode Island TCU

A lot more shakeup yesterday as the major college tournaments got in full swing.  The most action took place at the Big 12 tourney, where K-State played their way in with a must-win victory over Baylor and TCU is back in the conversation after beating Kansas.  The Horned Frogs still need help to make the cut.

Syracuse slips just out and should be rooting hard for Rhode Island to lose in the A10 tournament to someone not named VCU or Dayton.  Wake Forest falls to the last 4 in, mostly because other teams passed them yesterday with strong wins. Xavier is now pretty safe after beating Butler.

Next Bracket: Tomorrow, March 11.


Bracketology 2017: March 9

The next Sunday is Selection Sunday! We'll post daily brackets from here on out...

True Seed List

1: Kansas, Villanova, North Carolina, Gonzaga
2: Oregon, Baylor, Louisville, Kentucky
3: UCLA, Arizona, Butler, Duke
4: Florida St., Florida, West Virginia, Purdue
5: Virginia, Notre Dame, SMU, Cincinnati
6: Iowa St., Minnesota, Wisconsin, Miami FL
7: Oklahoma St., Maryland, Northwestern, Creighton
8: Dayton, Virginia Tech, VCU, Marquette
9: Saint Mary's, Seton Hall, Arkansas, Wichita St.
10: South Carolina, Michigan, Middle Tennessee, Michigan St.
11: Providence, Vanderbilt, Xavier, USC, Wake Forest
12: Syracuse, Rhode Island, UNC Wilmington, Nevada, Vermont
13: UT Arlington, Princeton, Akron, East Tennessee St.
14: Winthrop, BUCKNELL, Florida Gulf Coast, Siena
15: Northern Kentucky, Cal St. Bakersfield, North Dakota, New Orleans
16: Texas Southern, South Dakota St., JACKSONVILLE ST., North Carolina Central, UC Irvine, Mt. Saint Mary's

In this bracket: South Dakota St

Out this bracket: Nebraska Omaha

Last 4 Byes Last 4 IN First 4 OUT
Michigan St. Wake Forest Kansas St.
Providence USC Iowa
Vanderbilt Syracuse Illinois St.
Xavier Rhode Island California

 

I was badly under the weather yesterday, so the quest for daily brackets this week took a brief hiatus.  It would've been a slow day anyway, as all the magic happens in the next couple days as bubble teams play themselves in and out.

Speaking of which, Syracuse is in major trouble.  The Orange lost to Miami yesterday and fell to my next-to-last-team-in.  Here's the problem: Everyone else around them in that bubble picture (sans Illinois St.) is still playing.  There are going to be a lot of opportunities for other teams to pass them, or the bubble to shrink if/when someone steals a bubble bid with a conference tournament run. 

I dropped Saint Mary's to the 9 seed after their third loss of the season to Gonzaga, again not in competitive fashion. Wake Forest lives in the last four in at this point after their loss to Va Tech.  They should make it, but it may get interesting depending on how things shape up.

Next Bracket: Tomorrow, March 10.


Bracketology 2017: March 7

The next Sunday is Selection Sunday! We'll post daily brackets from here on out...

True Seed List

1: Kansas, Villanova, North Carolina, Gonzaga
2: Oregon, Baylor, Louisville, Kentucky
3: UCLA, Arizona, Butler, Duke
4: Florida St., Florida, West Virginia, Purdue
5: Virginia, Notre Dame, SMU, Cincinnati
6: Iowa St., Minnesota, Northwestern, Wisconsin
7: Oklahoma St., Maryland, Miami FL, Saint Mary's
8: Creighton, Dayton, Virginia Tech, VCU
9: Marquette, Seton Hall, Arkansas, Wichita St.
10: South Carolina, Michigan, Middle Tennessee, Michigan St.
11: Syracuse, Providence, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Xavier
12: USC, Rhode Island, UNC Wilmington, Nevada, Vermont
13: UT Arlington, Princeton, Akron, East Tennessee St.
14: Winthrop, Bucknell, Florida Gulf Coast, Iona
15: Northern Kentucky, Cal St. Bakersfield, North Dakota, Nebraska-Omaha
16: New Orleans, Texas Southern, JACKSONVILLE ST., North Carolina Central, UC Irvine, Mount St. Mary's

In this bracket: East Tennessee St., Nebraska-Omaha, Iona
Out this bracket: UNC Greensboro, South Dakota, Saint Peter's

Last 4 Byes Last 4 IN First 4 OUT
Michigan St. Wake Forest Kansas St.
Syracuse USC Iowa
Providence Xavier Illinois St.
Vanderbilt Rhode Island California

 

The biggest news since yesterday was three more teams locking in their automatic bids.  East Tennessee State avenged their loss to UNC Grennsboro in the regular season finale that dropped them from a 1-seed to a 3-seed in the SoCon title game.  UNC Wilmington have been the class of the Colonial all year - they took the automatic bid there.  The MAAC gave us a classic, with Iona outlasting Siena in overtime for the crown there.

Otherwise, no real movement as Monday was full of mid-major tournaments only.  The ACC Tournament begins today.  Wake Forest needs to avoid disaster against Boston College, while Georgia Tech needs to win three to be safe - that starts today against Pit.


Bracketology 2017: March 6

The next Sunday is Selection Sunday! We'll post daily brackets from here on out...

True Seed List

1: Kansas, Villanova, North Carolina, Gonzaga
2: Oregon, Baylor, Louisville, Kentucky
3: UCLA, Arizona, Butler, Duke
4: Florida St., Florida, West Virginia, Purdue
5: Virginia, Notre Dame, SMU, Cincinnati
6: Iowa St., Minnesota, Northwestern, Wisconsin
7: Oklahoma St., Maryland, Miami FL, Saint Mary's
8: Creighton, Dayton, Virginia Tech, VCU
9: Marquette, Seton Hall, Arkansas, Wichita St.
10: South Carolina, Michigan, Middle Tennessee, Michigan St.
11: Syracuse, Providence, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Xavier
12: USC, Rhode Island, UNC Wilmington, Nevada, Vermont
13: UT Arlington, Princeton, Akron, UNC Greensboro
14: Winthrop, Bucknell, Florida Gulf Coast, Saint Peter's
15: Northern Kentucky, Cal St. Bakersfield, North Dakota, South Dakota
16: New Orleans, Texas Southern, JACKSONVILLE ST., North Carolina Central, UC Irvine, Mount St. Mary's

In this bracket: Saint Peter's
Out this bracket: Monmouth

Last 4 Byes Last 4 IN First 4 OUT
Michigan St. Wake Forest Kansas St.
Syracuse USC Iowa
Providence Xavier Illinois St.
Vanderbilt Rhode Island California

Purdue keeps it's spot on the 4-seed line after beating Northwestern yesterday.  The Wildcats are part of a jumble of Big Ten seeds on the six and seven seed line.

Wichita State's win over Illinois State was as equally big for the Shockers as it was bad for the Redbirds.  The problem for Illinois State is that a lot of other Bubble teams have picked up quality wins as of late.  They're on the outside looking in now, and I don't see how they possibly climb back in without playing any more games.  This was a great result for bubble teams not named Illinois State.

Monmouth fell in the MAAC tournament for the second straight year to Siena in what was basically a true road game.  The Hawks have won 55 games the past two years, but have not made the tournament. 

To me, the true bubble is very small after a lot of teams have been winning.  On my list, it's Wake Forest, USC, Xavier, Rhode Island, Kansas State and Iowa fighting for four spots.  Iowa plays Michigan in the Big Ten tournament 8/9 game on Thursday.  That night K-State opens against Baylor - a win likely would get them in the field.  Rhode Island gets the double-bye in the A-10 opener.  They probably need to make it to the finals to truly feel safe.

Automatic bids clinched so far belong to Jacksonville State (Ohio Valley), Wichita State (Missouri Valley), Winthrop (Big South) and Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN).  The SoCon and Colonial championship games tip off tonight.


Bracketology 2017: March 5

Selection Sunday is only a week away!  We'll post daily brackets from here on out...

True Seed List

1: Kansas, Villanova, North Carolina, Gonzaga
2: Oregon, Baylor, Louisville, Kentucky
3: UCLA, Arizona, Butler, Duke
4: Florida St., Florida, West Virginia, Purdue
5: Virginia, Notre Dame, SMU, Cincinnati
6: Minnesota, Iowa St., Maryland, Saint Mary's
7: Northwestern, Miami FL, Oklahoma St., Wisconsin
8: Creighton, Dayton, Seton Hall, VCU
9: Virginia Tech, Marquette, Arkansas, South Carolina
10: Michigan, Wichita St., Middle Tennessee, Michigan St.
11: Syracuse, Providence, Vanderbilt, Xavier, Wake Forest
12: Rhode Island, USC, UNC Wilmington, Nevada, Vermont
13: Monmouth, UT Arlington, Princeton, Akron
14: JACKSONVILLE ST., UNC Greensboro, Winthrop, Florida Gulf Coast
15: Bucknell, Northern Kentucky, Cal St. Bakersfield, North Dakota
16: South Dakota, New Orleans, Texas Southern , North Carolina Central

Last 4 Byes Last 4 IN First 4 OUT
Michigan Wake Forest Illinois St.
Syracuse USC Kansas State
Providence Xavier Iowa
Vanderbilt Rhose Island California

In this bracket: Wake Forest, Rhode Island, Jacksonville St., Northern Kentucky
Out this bracket: California, Illinois, Belmont, Oakland

No analysis today, busy at the ASUN Championship Game, yours at 3 ET on ESPN.  Next Bracket: Monday, March 6


Scoreboard Watching: March 4, 2017

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching
Typically, our Friday editions of Scoreboard Watching preview the weekend ahead - but we'll be dishing out daily recaps and previews from here on out - Selection Sunday is in within sight!

In The Books

West Virginia 87, Iowa State 76: The second half belonged to WVU, who showed why they're near impossible to beat on their home floor when they play well.
 
Princeton 73, Harvard 69: A likely preview of the championship game of the Ivy League's inaugural tournament next week.  Princeton clinches the outright regular season title with the win.
 
Jacksonville State 65, Belmont 59: The top seed in the OVC falls in the semifinals.  
 
Winthrop 80, Gardner-Webb 77:  The top seed in the Big South tournament escapes with a win and plays 7th seed Campbell on Sunday for a trip to the tournament.

Tipping Off Tonight

Duke at North Carolina: The Tar Heels are playing for the outright ACC title and defending their spot on the 1-seed line.
 
Kansas at Oklahoma State: The Jayhawks remain the odds-on favorite to be the #1-overall seed, but KenPom has the Cowboys favored in this one.
 
Creighton at Marquette: A win by Creighton would lock them into the 3-seed in the Big East tournament.  Meanwhile, Marquette is living on the bubble but would greatly improve their standing by getting to 10 Big East wins.  
 
Florida at Vanderbilt: This is the biggest game at Vanderbilt in a long time.  The Commodores would be farly safe with a win, and long-shots with a loss.  So yeah, it's kind of big.
 
Wake Forest at Virginia Tech: The Deacons finally got the RPI Top 50 win they so badly needed.  Now, can they follow it up with a quality road win and push themselves into the field?
 
Notre Dame at Louisville: The Irish could tie for the ACC regular season title with a win and a UNC loss, while Louisville could still snag a 1-seed with a win here and an ACC Tournament title.
 
Texas Tech at Kansas State:  A win and K-State could possibly be alive for an at-large win despite an 8-10 conference record.  They'd still need at least a run to the Big 12 semifinals though.
 
Miami at Florida State: The Seminoles haven't loss since at home since a two-game home losing streak last February that began with a loss to Miami.  If that cards fell right, FSU could get as high as the 2-seed in the ACC tournament. [Note: I'm working this one, yours at 4 ET on ACCN and WatchESPN].
 
Georgia at Arkansas: Much like Vanderbilt, this is a must-win game for a Georgia team that wants nothing more than to play for an at-large bid at next week's NCAA tournament.  A win here would get them into that mix.
 
Georgia Tech at Syracuse: Two ACC bubble teams square off.  Syracuse could still play their way into an at-large bid with a loss, I don't think the same can be said with Georgia Tech, who have much worse metrics.
 
Seton Hall at Butler: The Pirates are still relatively safe, while Butler is in the mix for a 2-seed in the tournament.
 
Xavier at DePaul: Xavier has lost six in a row and seems to be in freefall  A loss to DePaul would be rock bottom and drop them out of the provisional field.  They can't possibly lose this game, right?  Right???
 
Ohio Valley Championship Game -  Jacksonville State vs UT Martin: As stated above, Jax St got here by upsetting heavy favorite Belmont, who was a 55% favorite to get the automatic bid by KenPom.  The winners ill meet tonight to book this year's first automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Scoreboard Watching: March 3, 2017

Bracketology Scoreboard Watching
Typically, our Friday editions of Scoreboard Watching preview the weekend ahead - but we'll be dishing out daily recaps and previews from here on out - Selection Sunday is in within sight!

In The Books

Iowa 59, Wisconsin 57: Wow, that's now five of six losses for Wisconsin - two to teams not projected in the tournament as of today - since the committee ranked them outside the top 16 when they we're 21-3 overall and 10-1 in the Big Ten!  A 7/8 does not seem out of the question as of now.  Meanwhile, Iowa has quietly broken .500 in conference should get to 10 wins with a home game against Penn State on Sunday.  They own wins over Wisconsin, Maryland, Purdue, Michigan and Iowa State against only one bad home loss (Dec 3 vs Nebraska Omaha).  The interesting thing: fellow Big Ten bubble team Illinois swept the Hawkeyes.  They could easily meet in the 8/9 game in the Big Ten Tournament.
 
Utah 77, California 44: You know what you don't do when you're barely hanging on to a bubble bid?  Lose by 30 to a team not projected in the tournament.  This one hurts.
 
Cincinnati 65, Houston 47: Well, that ends Houston's hot at an at-large bid, in a big way.
 
Campbell 81, UNC Asheville 79: Big upset in the Big South as the 2-seed falls in their first round of action.  This is definitely Winthrop's tournament to lose now.
 
North Florida 91, Lipscomb 85 & Florida Gulf Coast 74, Kennesaw State 62: The first conference championship game is set.  North Florida will travel to FGCU on Sunday.  [Note: I'll be working this game, yours at 3 ET on ESPN]
 
North Carolina A&T 68, North Carolina Central 63: Madness in the MEAC!  NC A&T, which entered winless against DI competition, knocks off conference leading NC Central.  The Aggies were the last remaining winless team in Division I.

Tipping Off Tonight

Iowa State at West Virginia: I'm admittedly higher on the Cyclones than most, according to the Bracket Matrix.  Both teams own wins over Kansas and Baylor and are hopeful for a top-4 seed.
 
Harvard and Princeton: The two best teams in the Ivy League sqaure off.  A win clinches the regular season for Princeton.  In year's past that meant an automatic bid, but not anymore.  The inaugural Ivy League Tournament will take place next week in Philly to settle the conference's automatic bid.
 
Ohio Valley Semifinals: Belmont are heavy favorites to win the OVC.  They'll play Jacksonville State tonight.  Murrayt State plays UT Martin on the other half.  The winners plays Saturday on ESPN2 for an automatic bid.
 
Big South Seminfals: Winthrop are now heavy favorites after UNC Asheville fell in the semis.  They'll play Gardner Webb on one half.  The other side features two teams sub .500 in conference play, Campbell and Radford.  The title game is slated for Sunday at 1pm on ESPN.