- I know ... I say it every year, but ... man oh man, do I hate this set of bubble teams. I would honestly rather see South Dakota State and Akron get at-large bids (if they were to lose in their respective conference tournaments) than most of the teams on or near the cutoff line.
- The 1's and 2's are virtually unanimous now, both in my bracket, Jerry Palm's, Joe Lunardi's and Chris Dobbertean's.
- This might possibly be my least favorite Missouri's Inevitable Path To Destiny ever. EVER.
- As I explain below, I just cannot put Tennessee in yet, and I've got serious reservations about Seton Hall and South Florida, too. Instead, teams like Miami, Oregon and Texas graded out better on my list than on others'. Since I really hate going into these posts with a "what would the committee do?" attitude, I'm sure they're more likely to be right than me. But until Selection Sunday, I'm reserving the right to follow my own path a smidge.
- Since I want to get this posted quicker, I'll go a little shorter below, but if you have any questions about any teams, ask them in comments. (Not that you needed me to tell you that, of course.) The bubble is really weird and interesting.
Here are the teams who either made their way into the field in the last week or found themselves to the door.
Colorado State (18-10) - Last week: def. UNLV (66-59, home), def. Air Force (75-65, away). I hate that I have them in right now -- they just really haven't beaten anybody outside of their conference, and it seems their good RPI is based simply on the fact that their cupcakes were better than most teams' cupcakes. But barring better options, there they are.
Nevada (23-5) - Last week: def. New Mexico State (65-61, home), def. Louisiana Tech (79-69, home). Their record is still very empty (best five wins according to Pomeroy: Washington, New Mexico State x2, Montana, Utah State), and I still don't have them in unless they win the WAC tournament, but they're winning, which is more than you can say for quite a few teams.
West Virginia (19-12) - Last week: def. DePaul (92-75, home), def. South Florida (50-44, away). It had been a while since they had a good week, but they picked a good time for it.
Tennessee (17-13) - Last week: def. LSU (74-69, OT, away), def. Vanderbilt (68-61, home). Somehow, the Vols ended up with the 2-seed in the SEC Tournament, but I cannot in good conscience put them in. They are hot, having won eight of nine, but a) recent play is not supposed to be a factor considered by the committee anymore (the "Last 12 games" measure was removed from the data sheet they receive), and b) they still lost to Oakland, Pittsburgh, Austin Peay and College of Charleston in December. That still matters. Beat Vandy in the SEC Tourney this week, and we'll talk.
Florida (22-9) - Last week: lost to Vanderbilt (67-77, away), lost to Kentucky (59-74, home). The Gators have lost three in a row and five of eight, and they're tumbling quickly toward the 7-10 range.
Xavier (19-11) - Last week: lost to St. Louis (59-70, away), def. Charlotte (72-63, home). With their brawl versus Cincinnati (and the suspensions/losing streak that followed), I don't know how the committee is going to view the Musketeers. I have them in, but I don't feel good about it.
Virginia (22-8) - Last week: lost to Florida State (60-63, home), def. Maryland (75-72, OT, away). The Hoos have lost five of nine, but they're obviously still safe in the field, even if the seed is tumbling.
Seton Hall (19-11) - Last week: lost to Rutgers (72-77, OT, home), lost to DePaul (58-86, away). Let's just say that losing to FREAKING DEPAUL BY 28 in your regular season finale is not something that gets you into the tournament. They better have a very good week at the Garden.
Last Few In
Long Beach State (20-8)
Colorado State (18-10)
South Dakota State (24-7)
Mississippi State (21-10)
Names in italics would be among the last in without their conference's automatic bid.
First Few Out
Seton Hall (19-11)
South Florida (18-12)
Oral Roberts (27-6)
N.C. State (20-11)
St. Joseph's (19-12)
Ole Miss (18-12)
8 - Big East
7 - Big Ten
6 - Big 12
5 - ACC, SEC
4 - Mountain West
3 - Atlantic 10, West Coast
2 - Colonial, Conference USA, Missouri Valley, Pac-12
FIRST FOUR (in Dayton)
Mississippi State (21-10) vs Northwestern (18-12)
Xavier (19-11) vs Texas (19-12)
Vermont (22-11) vs North Texas (15-13)
Norfolk State (21-8) vs Mississippi Valley State (18-12)
SOUTH REGIONAL (in Atlanta)
1 Kentucky (30-1) vs 16 UNC-Asheville (21-9)
8 Harvard (25-4) vs 9 Virginia (22-8)
5 Creighton (28-5) vs 12 Davidson (24-7)
4 Indiana (24-7) vs Xavier / Texas
6 San Diego State (22-6) vs 11 Long Beach State (20-8)
3 Marquette (25-6) vs 14 Montana (21-6)
7 Memphis (23-8) vs 10 California (23-8)
2 Michigan State (23-7) vs 15 Bucknell (23-8)
MIDWEST REGIONAL (in St. Louis)
1 Kansas (26-5) vs 16 Vermont / North Texas
8 Southern Miss (22-7) vs 9 Purdue (20-11)
5 St. Mary's (25-5) vs 12 UConn (19-12)
4 Temple (24-6) vs 13 Washington (21-9)
6 New Mexico (23-6) vs 11 West Virginia (19-12)
3 Georgetown (21-7) vs 14 Nevada (23-5)
7 Florida (22-9) vs 10 VCU (28-6)
2 Duke (26-5) vs 15 Valparaiso (20-10)
EAST REGIONAL (in Boston)
1 Syracuse (30-1) vs 16 Robert Morris (24-9)
8 Iowa State (22-9) vs 9 Alabama (20-10)
5 UNLV (23-7) vs 12 Drexel (27-6)
4 Wisconsin (23-8) vs 13 Miami (18-11)
6 Louisville (22-9) vs 11 South Dakota State (24-7)
3 Michigan (22-8) vs 14 Akron (20-10)
7 Florida State (21-9) vs 10 BYU (23-8)
2 Missouri (27-4) vs 15 Loyola-MD (24-8)
WEST REGIONAL (in Phoenix)
1 North Carolina (27-4) vs 16 Norfolk State / Mississippi Valley State
8 Kansas State (21-9) vs 9 Notre Dame (21-10)
5 Murray State (27-1) vs 12 Colorado State (18-10)
4 Wichita State (26-5) vs 13 Mississippi State / Northwestern
6 Gonzaga (25-6) vs 11 Cincinnati (22-9)
3 Baylor (24-6) vs 14 Belmont (26-7)
7 Vanderbilt (21-10) vs 10 Saint Louis (23-6)
2 Ohio State (25-6) vs 15 UT-Arlington (22-7)
My At-First-Glance Final Four
Kentucky, Georgetown, Syracuse, North Carolina
Second glance: Marquette, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio State
Missouri's Inevitable Path To Destiny™ (ahem)
Loyola-MD, Florida State, Michigan, Syracuse, North Carolina, Kentucky. WHY DOES BILL C. HATE MISSOURI SO MUCH?