- I'll have a final bracket posted Sunday late-morning/early-afternoon.
- Honestly, barring an early loss by Louisville in the Big East Tournament, I think we've got our No. 1 seeds. Gonzaga probably clinched, Duke is safe, and Indiana is probably safe. If Louisville slips, then I assume Georgetown and Kansas are next in line. (And if you desire the "Mizzou-Kansas in Kansas City" scenario, then you probably want to root for Kansas and against Louis--LOL SORRY couldn't get through that with a straight face.)
- For the bubble, I think we're basically down to seven spots for 10 teams: Boise State, California, Iowa State, Kentucky, La Salle, Middle Tennessee, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Villanova, and Virginia. Louisiana Tech has a pretty interesting case, but they were drubbed at both New Mexico State and Denver last week, and a loss in the WAC Tournament would probably finish them off. Again, it's a pretty favorable year to be a bubble team (7-in-10 is pretty good odds), but right now I've still got two SEC teams on the outside, looking in. (And I don't have Alabama very close to the bubble at all.)
Denver (21-8) - Since 2012 became 2013, Denver is 16-1; the Pioneers lost a competitive game to Louisiana Tech on December 29, and their only loss since then was against a decent New Mexico State team on the road. Unfortunately, their only interesting non-conference win was in BracketBusters versus Northern Iowa. Still, a 24-point home win over Louisiana Tech is interesting, as is their No. 28 Pomeroy ranking. If they make the WAC finals and barely lose to Louisiana Tech (and a bunch of other bubble teams play poorly), then maybe they get a long look.
Iowa State (21-10) - The 11-point home win over Oklahoma State last week probably solidified the Cyclones' bid, though today's Big 12 Tourney game versus Oklahoma is enormous.
Villanova (19-12) - The last eight days likely locked up their bid, and honestly, they might be safer than I have them (First Four). They beat Georgetown by 10 last Wednesday, and they beat St. John's last night. Take out Louisville today, and they're in for sure.
Minnesota (20-11) - Some teams just can't handle success. I called them underrated, and they proved it by beating Indiana and not just beating Penn State, but destroying them. The next week, they lost at Nebraska and Purdue. They could win the Big Ten Tournament, and they could lose by 20 to Illinois today. Nothing's going to surprise me.
Oregon (23-8) - Remember when Oregon was 18-2? Me neither. I do, however, remember when they lost at Colorado by 23, then lost at Utah to finish the regular season.
Oklahoma (20-10) - They're safe, but let's just say that a loss at TCU isn't really the best way to finish the regular season. Neither is going just 8-7 down the stretch.
Middle Tennessee (28-5) - I maintain that this is exactly the type of VCU-like team I could see getting a spot in the First Four. And my numbers like them a decent amount. But I acknowledge that I'm just about the only one on the bandwagon.
New Mexico (27-5) - The Lobos are No. 2 in RPI, but their No. 22 Pomeroy ranking suggests that they haven't looked as good as their record would suggest. And they lost to Air Force to finish the regular season. That probably solidified their 3-seed in the tourney, but I'm keeping them on the 2 line one last time as an acknowledgement that their resume is really, really strong. And if they win the MWC tournament, maybe they've still got a shot.
Illinois (20-11) - The committee could look fondly on their wins over Indiana, Ohio State, Minnesota, Gonzaga and Butler and bump them to about a 5- or 6-seed with a nice showing in the Big Ten Tournament. Or, the committee could look poorly on losses to Iowa, Northwestern and Purdue and dump them to about a 10 with a loss to Minnesota today. I do not have a good read on them at all.
Boise State (19-10) - A win over San Diego State yesterday would have helped them immensely. My numbers like them enough to keep them out of the First Four, but if they get in, that's probably where they're headed.
Last Few In
Names in italics would be among the last in without their conference's automatic bid.
Iowa State (21-10)
Boise State (19-10)
La Salle (21-8)
Middle Tennessee (28-5)
First Few Out
Louisiana Tech (25-5)
Ole Miss (23-8)
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)
Savannah State (17-13) vs. Long Island (20-13)
Southern (18-9) vs. Liberty (15-20)
Middle Tennessee (28-5) vs. Kentucky (21-10)
California (20-10) vs. Villanova (19-12)
EAST REGIONAL (in Washington, DC)
1 Duke (27-4) vs. James Madison (20-14)
8 Memphis (27-4) vs. 9 Missouri (22-9)
5 Oklahoma State (23-7) vs. Bucknell (27-5)
4 Syracuse (24-8) vs. 13 Stephen F. Austin (22-3)
in Salt Lake City
6 Butler (23-7) vs. 11 Iowa State (21-10)
3 Michigan State (23-7) vs. 14 Valparaiso (25-7)
in Auburn Hills
7 UCLA (23-8) vs. 10 Cincinnati (22-10)
2 New Mexico (27-5) vs. 15 Vermont (21-10)
in Salt Lake City
WEST REGIONAL (in Los Angeles)
1 Gonzaga (30-2) vs. 16 Pacific (17-12)
8 N.C. State (22-9) vs. 9 Illinois (20-11)
in San Jose
5 UNLV (23-8) vs. 12 La Salle (21-8)
4 Arizona (24-6) vs. 13 South Dakota State (22-9)
in San Jose
6 Pittsburgh (24-7) vs. 11 Boise State (19-10)
3 Ohio State (23-7) vs. 14 Weber State (22-5)
7 Wisconsin (21-10) vs. 10 Oklahoma (20-10)
2 Georgetown (24-5) vs 15 Harvard (18-9)
SOUTH REGIONAL (in Arlington)
1 Louisville (26-5) vs. 16 Savannah State / Long Island
8 Minnesota (20-11) vs. 9 Wichita State (26-8)
5 St. Louis (24-6) vs. 12 Middle Tennessee / Kentucky
4 Kansas State (24-6) vs. 13 Akron (23-6)
in Kansas City
6 Colorado State (23-7) vs. 11 Temple (23-8)
3 Miami (24-6) vs. 14 Florida Gulf Coast (22-10)
7 North Carolina (21-9) vs. 10 Oregon (23-8)
2 Michigan (24-6) vs. 15 Iona (20-13)
in Auburn Hills
MIDWEST REGIONAL (in Indianapolis)
1 Indiana (26-5) vs. 16 Southern / Liberty
8 Notre Dame (24-8) vs. 9 St. Mary's (26-6)
5 VCU (24-7) vs. 12 Cal / Villanova
4 Marquette (23-7) vs. 13 Louisiana Tech (25-5)
6 Creighton (27-7) vs. 11 Belmont (24-6)
3 Florida (24-6) vs. 14 Davidson (25-7)
7 San Diego State (20-9) vs. 10 Colorado (21-10)
2 Kansas (26-5) vs. 15 Western Kentucky (19-15)
in Kansas City
My At-First-Glance Final Four
Second glance: Michigan State-Ohio State-Michigan-Indiana. Hmm. That's ... probably not going to happen. And lord help us if it does.
Missouri's inevitable path to destiny™ (ahem)
Memphis-Duke-Syracuse-Michigan State-Georgetown-Louisville. Yeesh. Big East champs.