1 Seeds: Duke, Michigan, Arizona, Indiana
Indiana has worked their way back into a top spot based on the eye test. Since that Butler loss they have (for the most part) been crushing teams. This gives them a slight edge over Louisville and Kansas for now.
2 Seeds: Louisville, Kansas, Syracuse, Minnesota
The Gophers’ upward trend continues thanks to some lopsided wins, including that one against Michigan State.
3 Seeds: Gonzaga, Missouri, Illinois, Florida
Speaking of spankings, Illinois’ win over Ohio State erases the bitter taste of that Missouri loss and the oddity of dropping the Purdue game.
4 Seeds: Creighton, Butler, Notre Dame, NC State
I really like this mix. You have two solid “mid-major” teams as well as two power teams. It seems like in recent years the four is about as high as non football league teams can do. It will be interesting to see if Creighton/Butler can improve upon this footing. I still stand by NC State. Their ranking (20th) might not be a touch low for a 4 seed but they have a top 20 RPI and strength of schedule.
5 Seeds: SDSU, Kansas State, Georgetown, Wichita State
WSU is now 14-1 and playing some great basketball. KSU is coming off a signature win while Georgetown ran into a good Marquette team on the road. My thoughts on SDSU are well documented. All of these teams will be tough outs, especially if they run up against a #1 seed in the Sweet Sixteen.
6 Seeds: Ohio State, Cinci, MSU, UNLV
A hodepodge here. I’ll admit, I’m dinging the Buckeyes based on the eyetest at Illinois. Cinci and UNLV’s strenght of schedule really doesn’t move me too much and Michigan State looks like a team that can only improve. I’m curious where all four of these teams will settle come Selection Sunday. I have no doubts that they will all make the dance, they just seem like they could move several places up (or down) here in the second half.
7 Seeds: New Mexico, Colorado, Miami (FL), Marquette
Miami and Colorado have a top 10 RPI and top 5 SOS. Based on the computer love if they start winning at a higher rate they’ll launch themselves up the seed standings. Is it just me or has New Mexico become the forgotten team in the Mountain West?
8 Seeds: Colorado State, Oklahoma, VCU, BYU
Oklahoma’s insane computer numbers don’t really match that 10-3 record. They lost to the best team they played (Gonzaga) lost a to a team they shouldn’t have (Arkansas) and lost to a sneaky good small school (Stephen F. Austin). Their 10 wins don’t strike my fancy much. Classic case of a team’s computer love not matching the realities of the game.
9 Seeds: Temple, Oklahoma State, UCLA, Oregon
Just think what Temple’s seed would have been if they hadn’t choked that Kansas game away. Also, how about UCLA quietly getting its act together after falling off the radar completely. Talk about a quiet 12-3 team.
10 Seeds: Wyoming, UMass, Arizona State, Seton Hall
Undefeated Wyoming has a lot of issues with that strength of schedule but like the other three in this group, they have the privilege of playing in a stacked league meaning opportunities for marquee wins will be there.
11 Seeds: Utah State, Maryland
Maryland looked mighty impressive against Virginia Tech. Not as impressive, the 278th ranked strenth of schedule. Yikes. Based on some of the lackluster play in the ACC so far, they might not get as many cracks as improving that as you would get in the past.
12 Seeds: Murray St, Houston
Houston still leads C-USA so I have them clinging to a very unimpressive seed. Murray has plenty of competition in Eastern Kentucky and Belmont. There is an improving chance of the OVC getting two teams in this thing.
13 Seeds: Bucknell, Middle Tennessee State, Western Illinois, Ohio
When I made Bucknell my true cinderella team I’m sure some scoffed; but after that game at Missouri I’m sure a few people have come around to the idea.
14 Seeds: Hawaii, Weber State, Illinois-Chicago, Stephen F. Austin
Hawaii enters the new bracket thanks to leading the Big West right now. Weber and Montana’s annual battle for the Big Sky is well underway and what else can be said about the nice season Stephen F. Austin has had so far? This is a fun collection of teams that could all push the three seed the get in round one.
15 Seeds: Loyola (MD), Charleston, Harvard, Northeastern
College of Charleston is looking stronger than Davidson right now and Northeastern sits atop the Colonial so they are some fresh faces for this bracket. Harvard hasn’t helped themselves with a ho-hum 8-5 mark, but the Ivy as a whole is down so far, so whoever wins the league won’t be getting that great a seed.
16 Seeds: Albany, Florida Gulf Coast
Albany is no longer leading the American East but I still like them to eventaually get the auto-bid. FGCU passes Mercer as the two will be back and forth all year in the Atlantic Sun.
Play in for 16: Gardner-Webb vs Norfolk State and Southern vs Bryant
Gardner-Webb had a lackluster league debut and Norfolk is under .500. Southern represents the awful SWAC and Bryant leads a talent depleted NEC. Paging Robert Morris!
Play in for 11: North Carolina vs Texas A+M and Rutgers vs La Salle
Losing to Virginia did the heels no favors and TAMU’s decent computer numbers keep them in the thick of it. Rutgers beating Pitt (as well as better computer figures) has them cracking the field. La Salle quietly keeps chugging along in the stacked A-10.
[Related: Dickie V’s midseason basketball awards]
Play in for 12: Memphis vs Boise State and Baylor vs Florida State
Holy cow, C-USA has two teams in the dance! Boise State’s top 35 RPI balances out a 150s ranked schedule, but as Creighton keeps at it, the Broncos win in Omaha becomes more and more impressive. Neither Baylor nor FSU have great records, but their computer numbers are there so they sneak in…barely.
Last 5 In:
First 5 Out:
Saint Louis–Close RPI to La Salle and a better SOS means the two A-10 foes are interchangeable.
Iowa State–That loss to Iowa isn’t as impressive after the pounding the Hawks took at Michigan. This team needs to find a marquee win in league, stat.
Ole Miss–A 225th ranked schedule is as bad as it sounds despite the top 68 RPI.
Louisiana Tech–Non football power league teams have a hard time absorbing a SOS over 200, plus the committee hates the WAC.
Santa Clara–Great record and numbers, but man that Gonzaga win would have done wonders.
Next 5 Out:
Pittsburgh–Oh for in league has taken the shine out of a nice start. Their computer numbers are neither hot nor sexy.
Iowa–Losing by 30 in a league game is unacceptable, even if it is on the road to a top 3 team.
LSU–See Ole Miss but replace 225th SOS with 223.
Belmont–The computer still loves them, I just don’t see a signature win (Middle Tennessee State?) so to me the Bruins have a lot of work to do in the OVC.
Southern Miss–A better RPI (by 19 points) than Memphis but a way, way worse SOS has them losing this coinflip. Did I mention I hate the C-USA? I’d rather see the Great West get an auto bid over clowns like this Golden Eagle team.
31 League Champions
27 Power League At-Larges
10 Mid Major At-Larges
8: Big East
6: ACC, Big 10, Mountain West
5: Atlantic 10, Big 12, Pac 12
2: C-USA, Missouri Valley, WCC
20: 1 Bid