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. Even Kansas losing to TCU won’t bump them off the top line, though it may shuffle the order slightly.
- Likewise, the 2-seeds should be Baylor, Louisville, Kentucky, and the Pac-12 Champion (assuming it is Oregon, UCLA or Arizona). Baylor and Louisville both lost on Thursday, but both have solid enough resumes and should stay on the 2-seed line.
- Purdue had an opportunity to move up to the 4-seed line with a run in the Big Ten Tournament but lost their opener to Michigan on Friday. This likely keeps the Boilermakers on the 5-seed line and means no Big Ten team will land in the top 4 seed lines. Virginia, West Virginia, Notre Dame, and Iowa St are still contenders for the last two 4-seed spots. One will likely go to WVU or Iowa St if either wins the Big XII Tournament.
- The Committee announced yesterday that they had selected 32 At-Large teams to the field and had 22 other teams on their board.
- Breaking this math down, those 32 would not include Gonzaga or Wichita St, as they have already won their conference, so essentially this means the top 34 teams are set.
- It is likely that the Champions from at least 5, possibly as many as 7, conferences are already in those 32 teams, which will add available at-large spots for the teams “below the line.”
- At a minimum, 4 of the 22 teams below the line will get At-Large bids while as many as 11 or 12 could wind up in the field.
- With Dayton losing in the A-10 Tournament, VCU had previously been one of my “Last 4 In.” This bumped VCU up out of a play-in game and dropped Arkansas back into the play-in game.
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. Mt St Mary’s/NC Central
8. Virginia Tech vs 9. Northwestern
4. West Virginia vs 13. Winthrop
5. Purdue vs 12. Middle Tennessee
3. Florida vs 14. Vermont
6. Cincinnati vs 11. USC
2. Louisville vs 15. Iona
7. Maryland vs 10. Oklahoma St
1. North Carolina vs 16. New Orleans/Jacksonville St
8. South Carolina vs 9. Xavier
Salt Lake City
4. Arizona vs 13. CSU-Bakersfield
5. Iowa St vs 12. Nevada
3. Florida St vs 14. Florida Gulf Coast
6. Creighton vs 11. Vanderbilt/Rhode Island
2. Baylor vs 15. South Dakota St
7. Wisconsin vs 10. Wake Forest
1. Kansas vs 16. Texas Southern
8. Seton Hall vs 9. Michigan St
4. Virginia vs 13. Bucknell
5. SMU vs 12. UNC-Wilmington
3. UCLA vs 14. Akron
6. St Mary’s vs 11. VCU
2. Kentucky vs 15. Northern Kentucky
7. Miami vs 10. Marquette
Salt Lake City
1. Gonzaga vs 16. North Dakota
8. Michigan vs 9. Dayton
4. Butler vs 13. East Tennessee St
5. Notre Dame vs 12. UT-Arlington
3. Duke vs 14. Princeton
6. Minnesota vs 11. Arkansas/Providence
2. Oregon vs 15. UC-Irvine
7. Wichita St vs 10. Kansas St
Play-In Games (Tuesday in Dayton):
Vanderbilt vs Rhode Island (winner to Orlando)
Mt St Mary’s vs NC Central (winner to Buffalo)
Play-In Games (Wednesday in Dayton):
Arkansas vs Providence (winner to Greenville)
New Orleans vs Jacksonville St (winner to Greenville)
Bids By Conference: ACC – 9, Big Ten – 7, Big East – 7, Big XII – 6, SEC – 5, Pac 12 – 4, A-10 – 3, AAC – 2, WCC – 2
Last 4 Byes: Oklahoma St, Marquette, Kansas St, USC
Last 4 IN: Arkansas, Vanderbilt, (VCU), Rhode Island, (Middle Tennessee), Providence
First 4 OUT: Indiana, Illinois, TCU, Illinois St
Others Considered: Ole Miss, California, Georgia, Iowa, Syracuse, Clemson, Houston