We crossed the mid-way point in February this weekend. Championship Week(s) is not far away.
We've reached the point in the season where everybody (aside from Kentucky and Virginia) begins to feel a bit overrated. We've caught glimpses of everybody's flaws, and most teams -- especially those on the bubble -- have some pretty glaring glitches on the résumé. Keep that in mind when you read below and say things like "What? Kansas is a 1-seed?" and "Wait, you have Davidson in the field?" and "Utah is a 3-seed?"
Last Few In
Names in italics would be among the last in without their conference's automatic bid.
Boise State (16-7)
As a reminder, my approach to these projections is to look at which factors have carried certain weight with the selection committee in the past and apply them to this year's field. Doing this means I still end up with Boise State much higher than everybody else. Their road loss to a bad Fresno State team was probably the last loss they'll be allowed to suffer between now and the MWC tournament, but I'm keeping them in right now. I'm also sticking to my guns with Davidson. I do find it kind of funny that, Tulsa aside, my numbers seem to prop up mid-majors on the bubble but tamp down those at the top (Gonzaga).
First Few Out
NC State (15-11)
Texas A&M (17-7)
Green Bay (18-6)
Seton Hall (15-10)
So it's kind of awkward being a Mizzou fan and trying to tell you that Frank Haith's Tulsa team is pretty overrated, but here we are. My numbers have Tulsa far lower than most bracket projections, and honestly, I'm not sure what the case for the Golden Hurricane is at the moment. Tulsa played three good teams in non-conference play -- Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Wichita State -- and lost by a combined 54 points. A 25-point road loss to UConn on Thursday certainly tamped them down in the bracket projections, but I don't even have them as one of the first four out. I'm not sure how you could, honestly. And if Valpo hadn't lost to Mizzou, I could almost make a better case for the Crusaders.
7 - Big 12, Big Ten
6 - Big East
5 - SEC, ACC
4 - Pac-12
3 - AAC, Mountain West
2 - MVC, West Coast
FIRST FOUR (in Dayton)
Davidson (16-6) vs. Stanford (16-9)
BYU (18-8) vs. Boise State (16-7)
New Mexico State (15-10) vs. Texas Southern (12-12)
St. Francis NY (17-9) vs. American (14-12)
|1||Kentucky (25-0)||1||Duke (22-3)||1||Virginia (23-1)||1||Kansas (21-4)|
|16||Albany (18-7)||16||St. Francis / American||16||William & Mary (14-9)||16||NMSU / TX SO|
|8||Temple (19-7)||8||Indiana (18-8)||8||Dayton (19-5)||8||Ole Miss (17-8)|
|9||St. John's (16-8)||9||LSU (18-7)||9||Cincinnati (17-8)||9||Colorado State (20-5)|
|5||Notre Dame (22-4)||5||VCU (19-6)||5||Butler (18-7)||5||Northern Iowa (24-2)|
|12||Harvard (15-5)||12||Boise State / BYU||12||Valparaiso (21-4)||12||Wofford (19-6)|
|4||Oklahoma (17-8)||4||Baylor (17-7)||4||Arkansas (20-5)||4||North Carolina (18-7)|
|13||Iona (21-6)||13||Murray State (21-4)||13||Bowling Green (17-5)||13||Old Dominion (18-6)|
|6||Georgetown (16-8)||6||West Virginia (19-6)||6||Wichita State (22-3)||6||SMU (20-5)|
|11||Illinois (17-9)||11||Iowa (15-10)||11||UCLA (16-10)||11||Davidson / Stanford|
|3||Utah (19-4)||3||Maryland (21-5)||3||Iowa State (18-6)||3||Louisville (20-5)|
|14||UC Davis (17-4)||14||Georgia State (16-8)||14||Stephen F. Austin (17-4)||14||E. Washington (16-6)|
|7||Oklahoma State (16-8)||7||Providence (18-8)||7||San Diego St. (19-6)||7||Ohio State (19-7)|
|10||Michigan State (17-8)||10||Texas (17-8)||10||Xavier (16-10)||10||Georgia (16-8)|
|2||Gonzaga (25-1)||2||Arizona (22-3)||2||Wisconsin (23-2)||2||Villanova (23-2)|
|15||S. Dakota St. (17-8)||15||HIgh Point (16-7)||15||Florida Gulf Coast (16-7)||15||N.C. Central (16-6)|
My At-First-Glance Final Four
Second glance: Notre Dame-Duke-Butler-UNI
Missouri's inevitable path to destiny™ (ahem)
Vanderbilt-Georgia-Texas A&M-Arkansas-Kentucky-Maryland-WVU-Arizona-Duke-Kentucky-Wisconsin. All it'll take is four more wins than Mizzou has managed so far this year, almost all against top-50 teams. But hey, stranger things have happened*.
* No, they haven't.