True Seed List
Note - a few teams had to shift a seed in the actual bracket to avoid conference match-ups. The list below is their "True Seed", meaning where they would live if not for those conflicts.
1: Villanova, Kansas, Gonzaga, Baylor
2: North Carolina, Louisville, Oregon, Arizona
3: UCLA, Florida St., Virginia, Kentucky
4: Florida, Duke, West Virginia, Wisconsin
5: Butler, Purdue, Notre Dame, Maryland
6: Creighton, Cincinnati, SMU, Northwestern
7: Xavier, South Carolina, Saint Mary's, Virginia Tech
8: USC, Dayton, Iowa St., VCU
9: Minnesota, Miami Fl, Oklahoma St., TCU
10: Kansas St., California, Michigan, Wichita St.
11: Michigan St., Arkansas, Wake Forest, Illinois St., Syracuse, Georgia Tech
12: Middle Tennessee, Akron, Vermont, UNC Wilmington
13: Valparaiso, Boise St., Monmouth, Belmont
14: UT Arlington, New Mexico St., Princeton, Bucknell
15: UNC Asheville, Florida Gulf Coast, Furman, North Dakota St.
16: Texas Southern, Weber St., North Carolina Central, Mount St. Mary's, UC Davis, New Orleans
Out This Bracket: Indiana, Marquette, Seton Hall, Nevvada, Arkansas St., Winthrop, Sam Houston St.
In This Bracket: Michigan, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Boise St., UT Arlington, UNC Asheville, New Orleans
The Bubble: There was a lot of losing among bubble teams over the weekend, which caused a few teams to shift out. Michigan played itself in with two impressive wins last week. In the end, I also choose Michigan State, Arkansas, Wake Forest, Illinois State, Syracuse and Georgia Tech over Marquette, Seton Hall, Tennessee and Rhode Island.
The Selection Committee's Top 16 Preview did cause the baseline to be readjusted quite a bit. Namely, Villanova moves into the #1 overall seed and the Committee inexplicably had Gonzaga at the #4 spot. I put the Zags above Baylor after their road win at Saint Mary's. Wisconsin moved down both because of the committee leaving them out of their top 16, then their loss last night to Northwestern in a win that all but clinched a tournament bid for NU - who are sitting comfortably as a 6-seed.
One last thought on the committee: UCLA being ranked seven spots behind Oregon, despite just having beat the Ducks, losing in Eugene on a buzzer beater and winning in Rupp is a joke. Major recency bias there with Oregon's win over Arizona. That's a concern heading into the stretch run. It will be interesting to see how much feedback from the hoops community causes them to readjust over the next month.
There are 11 ACC teams in the field, but that is very fluid as three of those teams are in the last four in. Because of that, I had to give Wake Forest the bye and move Arkansas back into the First Four to avoid conference conflicts. I still think the ACC's final number will be 9 teams - and I'll still be surprised if Arkansas can manage to make the cut. I was at their game at LSU this weekend and they struggled for the first 25 minutes before finally taking the lead.
Next bracket will be this Thursday, February 16.