Last Few In
Iowa State (22-11)
Ole Miss (25-8)
Middle Tennessee (28-5)
Boise State (19-10)
La Salle (21-9)
First Few Out
Southern Miss (23-9)
Louisiana Tech (25-6)
- As of last night, the Bracket Matrix had a Last Four In of Boise State, Middle Tennessee, La Salle, and Ole Miss and a First Four Out of Tennessee, Kentucky, Southern Miss, and Virginia.
- As of last night, Joe Lunardi had a Last Four In of Boise State, Middle Tennessee, Ole Miss, and La Salle and a First Four Out of Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, and Southern Miss (with Kentucky and UMass following).
- As of late last night, Jerry Palm took UMass out and put Ole Miss in. His Last Four In are St. Mary's, La Salle, Tennessee and Ole Miss, and his First Four Out are UMass, Alabama, Kentucky, and Maryland.
- So basically, aside from the fact that Palm has no love whatsoever for MTSU, there is a strange consensus building here about who's in and who's out. I don't recall seeing that. But with Kentucky's poor showing in the SEC Tournament, and Tennessee's only marginally better showing, a lot of the answers have become clearer. I now have MTSU, Boise State and La Salle all in the First Four, and I have the sneaking suspicion that all three of those teams won't make it (too many mid-majors close to the cut-off, too much temptation with Kentucky and Tennessee lingering nearby), but I went ahead and kept it that way when I saw the Matrix and Lunardi's picks. I have Ole Miss a little higher than others, but only slightly. I like them more than Cal right now, but I have Cal lower than just about anybody else.
- I bumped Florida to the 2 line with the assumption that they look really good beating Ole Miss today. If the Gators lose, or if they sleep walk by to some degree, they're a 3. And they might be a 3 anyway because I could be severely underestimating the committee's view of the Big Ten.
- Honestly, the Big Ten was rather confusing for me. When I divvied out the rankings, I had Indiana indistinguishable from Kansas on the 1-line, I had Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State all 3's, and I had Wisconsin still pretty far down the list. But if you read others, you see Indiana still has a very good shot at the No. 1 overall seed (I have a problem with this since they've lost three of six), and you see at least one of my 3's as a 2. So I'm probably off there.
- Perhaps the biggest "Who the hell knows?" team for me right now: UCLA. They were the first 8-seed when I initially drew everything up, but the Matrix has them a 5. That's a pretty crazy difference at this stage in the game, and while I think there's no way in hell they're a 5, they're probably not an 8 either.
- This is the first year I've really made an attempt at getting seeds right. I've always focused on trying to nail the at-larges -- one of these years, I'll get all 68 teams right -- and was drastically off on a lot of seeds. Trying to do better in that regard.
- This has been a really weird year for the SEC. The simple fact that Missouri, the 6-seed in the conference tournament, is seemingly a lock suggests there was decent competition there, but the conference's biggest problem was simply that the teams that were good early weren't the same ones good late. Kentucky entered conference play looking like it was rounding into shape, Texas A&M looked damn strong at the start of conference play, and teams like Alabama, Tennessee, LSU and Georgia all looked awful. Then A&M fell apart, Kentucky lost Noel, and the other four teams I mentioned all started rounding into shape. And Vanderbilt, a dreadful team for the first 2-3 months, caught fire at the end. Tennessee has absolutely looked like a tourney team over the last month or so, but absolutely did not before that. Meanwhile, Alabama has looked good but benefited from a dramatically easier conference schedule than anybody else (and lost to Mercer and Tulane). And teams like LSU, Arkansas and Georgia didn't look decent for nearly long enough to get serious consideration. So in the end, the conference probably gets three teams in and maybe gets a fourth despite decent (rotating) depth.
8 - Big East
7 - Big 10
5 - Atlantic 10, Big 12, Mountain West, Pac-12
4 - ACC
3 - SEC
2 - Missouri Valley, Sun Belt, West Coast
FIRST FOUR (in Dayton)
Boise State (19-10) vs. La Salle (21-9)
Middle Tennessee (28-5) vs. California (20-11)
Southern (20-9) vs. Liberty (12-20)
Long Island (20-13) vs. N.C. A&T (18-16)
MIDWEST REGIONAL (in Indianapolis)
1 Louisville (29-5) vs. 16 Western Kentucky (19-15)
8 N.C State (24-10) vs. 9 Oregon (26-8)
5 Wisconsin (23-10) vs. Boise State / La Salle
4 Kansas State (26-7) vs. 13 Akron (25-6)
in Kansas City
6 Butler (25-8) vs. 11 Belmont (24-6)
3 Ohio State (25-7) vs. 14 South Dakota State (22-9)
7 Creighton (27-7) vs. 10 Colorado (21-11)
2 Miami (26-6) vs. 15 Iona (20-13)
WEST REGIONAL (in Los Angeles)
1 Gonzaga (30-2) vs. 16 James Madison (20-14)
8 Colorado State (23-8) vs. 9 Temple (23-9)
in San Jose
5 Pittsburgh (24-8) vs. 12 Bucknell (27-5)
4 Arizona (25-7) vs. 13 New Mexico State (23-10)
in Salt Lake City
6 Notre Dame (25-9) vs. 11 Oklahoma (20-11)
3 Michigan (25-7) vs. 14 Harvard (18-9)
in Auburn Hills
7 UNLV (24-9) vs. 10 Minnesota (20-12)
2 Georgetown (25-6) vs. 15 Pacific (20-12)
EAST REGIONAL (in Washington, DC)
1 Duke (27-5) vs. 16 Southern / Liberty
8 San Diego State (20-10) vs. 9 Illinois (21-12)
5 Oklahoma State (24-8) vs. 12 Villanova (19-13)
4 Syracuse (26-9) vs. 13 Davidson (25-7)
in San Jose
6 VCU (26-7) vs. 11 Iowa State (22-11)
3 Michigan State (24-8) vs. 14 Florida Gulf Coast (22-10)
in Auburn Hills
7 Memphis (30-4) vs. 10 Cincinnati (22-11)
2 Florida (26-6) vs. 15 Albany (24-10)
SOUTH REGIONAL (in Arlington)
1 Indiana (27-6) vs. 16 LIU / N.C. A&T
8 Wichita State (26-8) vs. 9 Missouri (23-10)
5 Marquette (23-8) vs. 12 MTSU / California
4 Saint Louis (26-6) vs. 13 Valparaiso (25-7)
6 UCLA (25-9) vs. 11 Ole Miss (25-8)
3 New Mexico (29-5) vs. 14 Montana (23-6)
in Salt Lake City
7 North Carolina (23-9) vs. 10 St. Mary's (26-6)
2 Kansas (29-5) vs. 15 Northwestern State (19-8)
in Kansas City
My At-First-Glance Final Four
Second glance: Ohio State-Michigan-Florida-Indiana
Missouri's inevitable path to destiny™ (ahem)
Wichita State-Indiana-Saint Louis-Kansas-Duke-Louisville. THAT WOULD BE SO FANTASTIC.