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NCAA Tournament bracket projections, March 2: Rock-M-Tology

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Under two weeks to go...

Who's moving up?

UConn (17-11) - The Huskies aren't in the field yet, but beating SMU on Sunday got them a lot closer. They're 18-12, 11-7 in the AAC, and they've got wins over Cincinnati and Dayton (and, yes, losses to Houston and Yale). Beat Memphis and Temple to finish the season and win a couple of AAC Tournament games, and they might sneak in. And you probably don't want any part of them if they make it.

Wichita State (26-3) - I said the Shockers were maybe a bit overrated, and then they went out and smoked Northern Iowa at home to finish the regular season. Probably back to being properly rated now.

Dayton (22-6) - A very nice road win over VCU on Saturday gave the Flyers a boost. They were lacking in the "Road Wins" category before this week. Not so much now.

St. John's (19-9) - The Johnnies started 11-1, then went 3-7, and now they're on a 6-1 stretch with two wins over Xavier and a pretty easy home win over Georgetown. They needed a cushion because the final week (at Marquette, at Villanova) isn't cake.

Who's moving down?

Indiana (19-10) - The Hoosiers were 15-4 on January 22. They're 4-6 since with a pretty bad road loss to Northwestern last Wednesday. The bracketologists have them pretty safely in; I say they better not mess around at home against Iowa and Michigan State this week.

Xavier (18-12) - In two weeks, they got swept by St. John's and lost by 12 at home to Villanova. Trending quickly in the wrong direction.

Ole Miss (19-10) - The Rebels cannot decide what they are. After an 8-1 stretch took them to 19-8 and threatened to take them out of the 8-9 range in the seeding, they fell to Georgia at home and LSU on the road. Neither of those are embarrassing losses, but they needed one of those to feel better about their spot. They've got wins over A&M, Arkansas, Cincinnati, and Oregon, but losses to Charleston Southern and Western Kentucky aren't exactly awe-inspiring. Might want to win at Alabama on Tuesday to feel safe.

Temple (20-9) - The offense is an outright horror show, and losing a 55-39 decision to fellow bubble team Tulsa isn't the best look. The home game against UConn this Saturday could be something of an elimination game.

Who's overrated?

Notre Dame (24-5) - I'm still seeing a lot of 3-seed love for the Irish, even after a Tuesday home loss to Syracuse. I'm not saying the Irish should be a 7 or something, but ... they might be getting a little too much mileage out of that home win over Duke.

Iowa (19-10) - The Hawkeyes are kind of a tough nut to crack: 4-6 vs. the Pomeroy top 50 is pretty good; losses to Northwestern, Minnesota, and Purdue are less good. They're probably in the field with a 10-6 Big Ten record at the moment, but I'm not seeing the 7-seed love that they're getting.

Indiana (19-10) - Palm and Lunardi have the Hoosiers an 8 and a 9, respectively. My initial rankings had them an 11.

Purdue (19-10) - One day a couple of weeks ago, everybody suddenly decided the Boilers were in. I'm still not sure I see it. Yes, they're 11-5 in the Big Ten, but six of those wins came against Michigan, Penn State, Northwestern, Rutgers, Nebraska, and Rutgers again. And they still lost to North Florida and Gardner Webb. I don't see it, and Palm giving them a 10-seed makes me want to point and scream "HOMER!"

Who's underrated?

BYU (21-8) - I liked them last week, even before they won at Gonzaga. But even with the Gonzaga win, a top-40 RPI and a top-30 Pomeroy ranking, Palm and Lunardi both have them the last team in the field. That's ludicrous.

Colorado State (23-5) - CSU's a bit confusing for me. The Rams have a top-30 RPI but are only 74th in Pomeroy and got swept by Wyoming. They have a pretty gaudy record and did beat Boise State and San Diego State, but this one basically comes down to my numbers seemingly liking the Mountain West more than others'.

Boise State (20-7) - Again, my numbers liked them before they spanked San Diego State on the road by 10. (It was a pretty good week for Rock-M-Tology, huh? I call BYU and Boise underrated, and they go and pull huge road upsets. I make Villanova a 1-seed, and a week later everybody else is, too.)

Old Dominion (22-6) - The Monarchs are in Catch-22 land at the moment -- they're right on the in-or-out border at the moment, but in a weak Conference USA, another loss would probably knock them out. So they're getting close, but they'll probably have to win the automatic bid.

Last Few In

Names in italics would be among the last in without their conference's automatic bid.

Xavier (18-12)
Texas A&M (20-9)
Cincinnati (20-9)
Indiana (19-10)
Ole Miss (19-10)
Oregon (21-8)

NC State (17-12)
Tulsa (21-6)
Temple (20-9)
Davidson (20-6)

First Few Out

Illinois (18-11)
Purdue (19-10)
Texas (17-12)
Old Dominion (22-6)
UCLA (18-12)
Pittsburgh (18-11)
UConn (17-11)
Miami (18-11)
St. Mary's (20-8)
Minnesota (16-12)

By Conference

6 - ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, SEC
4 - AAC
3 - Atlantic 10, Mountain West, Pac-12
2 - Missouri Valley, West Coast

The Bracket

FIRST FOUR (in Dayton)

Tulsa (21-6) vs. Davidson (20-6)
N.C. State (17-12) vs. Temple (20-9)

New Mexico State (17-10) vs. Bucknell (17-13)
St. Francis-NY (20-10) vs. Texas Southern (16-12)

SOUTH
(Houston)
WEST
(Los Angeles)
MIDWEST
(Cleveland)
EAST
(Syracuse)
1 Kentucky (29-0) 1 Duke (26-3) 1 Villanova (27-2) 1 Virginia (27-1)
16 Florida GC (18-9) 16 NMSU / Bucknell 16 Northeastern (20-11) 16 St. Francis / TXSO
8 Michigan State (19-10) 8 LSU (21-8) 8 Georgia (19-9) 8 St. John's (19-9)
9 Boise State (20-7) 9 Colorado State (23-5) 9 Oklahoma St. (16-11) 9 Iowa (19-10)
Louisville Columbus Pittsburgh Charlotte
5 Notre Dame (24-5) 5 Butler (21-8) 5 West Virginia (22-7) 5 Arkansas (23-6)
12 SFA (21-4) 12 Tulsa / Davidson 12 Buffalo (19-9) 12 Old Dominion (22-6)
4 Iowa State (20-8) 4 Utah (21-6) 4 Northern Iowa (27-3) 4 Oklahoma (20-8)
13 Wofford (23-6) 13 Harvard (18-6) 13 Murray State (24-4) 13 Valparaiso (23-5)
Seattle Portland Jacksonville Charlotte
6 VCU (21-8) 6 North Carolina (20-9) 6 San Diego St. (21-7) 6 SMU (22-6)
11 NC State / Temple 11 Indiana (19-10) 11 Oregon (21-8) 11 Ole Miss (19-10)
3 Baylor (21-7) 3 Wichita State (26-3) 3 Louisville (23-6) 3 Maryland (24-5)
14 E. Washington (18-8) 14 UC Davis (20-5) 14 Georgia State (19-9) 14 Iona (24-7)
Omaha Louisville Jacksonville Pittsburgh
7 Georgetown (18-9) 7 Ohio State (21-8) 7 Dayton (22-6) 7 Providence (20-9)
10 Cincinnati (20-9) 10 Xavier (18-12) 10 Texas A&M (20-8) 10 BYU (21-8)
2 Gonzaga (28-2) 2 Kansas (23-6) 2 Wisconsin (26-3) 2 Arizona (26-3)
15 High Point (19-8) 15 S. Dakota St. (19-9) 15 Albany (21-8) 15 NC Central (19-6)
Seattle Omaha Columbus Portland

My At-First-Glance Final Four

Kentucky-Duke-Villanova-Arizona

Second glance: VCU!-Wichita State-Louisville-Virginia

Missouri's inevitable path to destiny (ahem)

South Carolina-Ole Miss-Texas A&M-Arkansas-Kentucky-Louisville-San Diego State-Wisconsin-Villanova-Arizona-Kentucky. Easiest one yet!