Sunday, March 16, 2014

Bracketology - 3.16.14 (AM)

We're 30 hours away from a magical moment: The release of the 2014 NCAA Tournament bracket!

The bubble has shrunk to the slimmest of margins and many Big Boys have punched their respective tickets to the Big Dance. There will be no stolen bids on Sunday so this is all about seeding. The SEC (Florida and Kentucky), Big Ten (Michigan and Michigan State), ACC (Duke and Virginia), Atlantic 10 (VCU and St. Joes) and the Big West (Weber State and Louisiana-Lafayette) are the only games tomorrow. The Big West is, obviously, a one-bid league and if St. Joes hasn't locked up an at-large bid yet then this bracket is going to be pretty screwy.

Here is the projected bracket through all of Saturday's results:



Here are a few notes:
  • My first team out is Dayton and while the Flyers have a decent argument to be in I believe this will all come down to how the committee views BYU's recent injury news. If there is a flop it will be due to Kyle Collinsworth's injury. He is BYU's second-leading scorer as well as top rebounder and assister. This will be the biggest thing to watch on Sunday. Of course, this would mean Dayton plays at home during the "First Four."
  • Louisville made their charge for a No. 1 seed, doing pretty much anything it wanted en route to the American Conference title. Now, I did say a few things had to happen for Louisville to overcome a weak nonconference schedule as well as a watered-down league that had five terrible teams. Michigan reached the Big Ten Tournament finals and will have a better profile even with a loss to rival Michigan State on Sunday. Even with Wisconsin's loss the Badgers' profile is much better than Louisville's. I think the final No. 2 seed is a best-case scenario, even though Rick Pitino believes his club will be a No. 1.
  • Keep watching "professional" bracketologists move UW-Green Bay closer and closer to inclusion (maybe even putting the Phoenix in the field) as the Selection Show nears. Just remember Deuce2Sports never had the Phoenix out. Green Bay has a win over Virginia. That, especially if the Cavaliers win the ACC Tournament, looks better and better.
  • While ESPN continues to insinuate the Duke/Virginia has a shot at the final No. 1 seed don't let the WWL fool you; Neither team has a No. 1 resume. Virginia is good and could complete the ACC title sweep but that didn't get Miami a No. 1 seed last year. Duke has two sub-100 losses - something no No. 1 seed has ever had. All of Duke's best wins came at home this year as well. The best road win was at Pitt. The ACC was not the ACC of old, especially with the unbalanced schedule. Both teams are looking at No. 2 seeds at best while potentially a pair of No. 3 seeds is possible regardless of Sunday's result.
  • Michigan is the leader in the clubhouse for the final No. 1 seed. Even with a loss to Michigan State tomorrow I think - especially with the timing being so close to the bracket unveiling - Michigan has locked up that seed. Villanova, in all honesty, is the only challenger. If it stays as is both will be in the East Region anyway and can sort it all out in the Elite Eight.
  • Welcome to the No. 4 line, Syracuse. Yesterday, Syracuse was a surprising three seed but the microscope continues to show just how flawed the Orange's resume is (especially as other teams rise and win - Iowa State - or are favored to win - Michigan State - their conference tournaments). 
  • The last team to win the NCAA Championship when not winning either a regular season conference title or the tournament title: 1997 Arizona. The then-Pac 10 didn't have a conference tournament that season and the Wildcats finished fifth (5th!!!) in their league that year. Keep that in mind on Selection Sunday.
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