<![CDATA[Conference Tournaments are in full swing. 11 Teams have already clinched their spots in the field of 68. I wrote previews of the 7 Major Conference Tournaments and the 12 Mid-Major Conference Tournaments taking place this week. Additionally, keep tabs on my Conference Tournament Tracker for updates on who has clinched and the teams remaining in each Tournament.
Rather than burying the lede, here’s a brief rundown on my thoughts:
- Villanova, Kansas, North Carolina, and Gonzaga have the top seeds locked down. Hard to see anything changing that.
- Likewise, the 2-seeds should be Baylor, Louisville, Kentucky, and the Pac-12 Champion (assuming it is Oregon, UCLA or Arizona).
- On the top of the bubble, Wake Forest and Marquette have done enough to be in the Tournament, regardless what happens in their conference tournaments. But they can solidify their positions with another win or two.
- Likewise, Dayton, Oklahoma St, Michigan St, Northwestern, Arkansas and Xavier should be okay as long as they don’t suffer a terrible defeat in conference tournament play.
- VCU and USC are both okay but lack a win over a Top 50 team away from home. They can solidify their spots with a few wins in their tournaments.
- If Vanderbilt beats Texas A&M, I think they will get in. The Commodores have the top-ranked non-conference schedule and 2nd-ranked overall strength of schedule.
- To me, the bubble is basically down to 6 teams fighting over 3 spots: Providence, Kansas St, Rhode Island, Iowa, Illinois and Syracuse.
- If the Committee is willing to do something unprecedented like put a 15-loss Vanderbilt team or a Syracuse team with an RPI over 80 in the field, there’s no reason they shouldn’t also consider Indiana (17-14, RPI 81). The Hoosiers beat both Kansas and North Carolina early in the season.
Here’s my latest bracket projection, with teams that have clinched in bold red and the highest remaining seeds in each Conference Tournament in bold.
1. Villanova vs 16. New Orleans/Mt St Mary’s
8. Wichita St vs 9. Wake Forest
4. West Virginia vs 13. Florida Gulf Coast
5. Purdue vs 12. Middle Tennessee St
3. Duke vs 14. Princeton
6. Iowa St vs 11. VCU
2. Kentucky vs 15. Northern Kentucky
7. Virginia Tech vs 10. Northwestern
1. Kansas vs 16. Texas Southern
8. South Carolina vs 9. Marquette
4. Virginia vs 13. Bucknell
5. Minnesota vs 12. UNC-Wilmington
3. UCLA vs 14. Akron
6. St Mary’s vs 11. Arkansas/Rhode Island
2. Louisville vs 15. Iona
7. Creighton vs 10. Michigan St
1. North Carolina vs 16. Jacksonville St/NC Central
8. Seton Hall vs 9. Dayton
Salt Lake City
4. Arizona vs 13. CSU-Bakersfield
5. SMU vs 12. Nevada
3. Florida vs 14. Vermont
6. Miami vs 11. Providence/Kansas St
2. Baylor vs 15. South Dakota St
7. Maryland vs 10. USC
Salt Lake City
1. Gonzaga vs 16. UC-Irvine
8. Michigan vs 9. Oklahoma St
4. Butler vs 13. Winthrop
5. Notre Dame vs 12. UT-Arlington
3. Florida St vs 14. East Tennessee St
6. Cincinnati vs 11. Vanderbilt
2. Oregon vs 15. North Dakota
7. Wisconsin vs 10. Xavier
Play-In Games (Tuesday in Dayton)
New Orleans vs Mt St Mary’s (winner to Buffalo)
Providence vs Kansas St (winner to Orlando)
Play-In Games (Wednesday in Dayton)
Jacksonville St vs NC Central (winner to Greenville)
Arkansas vs Rhode Island (winner to Sacramento)
Bids by Conference: ACC – 9, Big East – 7, Big Ten – 7, Big XII – 6, SEC – 5, Pac 12 – 4, A-10 – 3, American – 2, West Coast – 2
Last 4 Byes: USC, Xavier, VCU, Vanderbilt
Last 4 IN: Arkansas, Providence, Kansas St, Rhode Island
First 4 OUT: Iowa, Illinois, Syracuse, Indiana
Next 4 Out: Clemson, Ohio St, Ole Miss, California
Others Considered: Houston, Illinois St, Pitt, Tennessee, TCU, Georgia, Utah