This Week's Bracket
Big Ten (7)
Big East (6)
Big 12 (5)
Mountain West (4)
Conference USA (2)
Missouri Valley (2)
West Coast (2)
It is finally Selection Sunday, they day college basketball fans look forward to all season long. Championship week provided plenty of storylines, so let’s take a look at the (almost) finalized bracket projection.
After a 71-51 win over Purdue, I moved Wisconsin up to the one line at the expense of Duke. Yes, the Blue Devils beat the Badgers head to head, but I think Badgers have forced the issue to the point where they simply cannot be outside the top four. A case could be made for Duke’s résumé, but the Badgers have “better” losses and have looked far above the competition for the better part of 2015.
Virginia was the other candidate to drop, but a 29-3 season with an outright championship in arguably the second best conference should be enough to secure a one seed. Virginia also benefits from the absence of a bad loss, something Duke and Wisconsin cannot say.
A Wisconsin loss in the Big Ten championship today could drop the Badgers back to the two line and bring us right back to where we started. Even if they do lose, I think Wisconsin will stay on the one line.
Due to the late start time of the Big Ten title game (2:30 pm central), I don’t think the game will get done in time for the necessary changes to be made to drop Wisconsin back to the two line should they lose. Remember, the selection committee has to carefully seed the field with respect to geography, competitive balance, and avoid regular season rematches along the way. This is a challenging process on many levels, so I think the bracket is more or less set on Saturday night. And I do believe that Wisconsin was a one seed on Saturday night.
On the other end of the bracket, Wyoming ruined a few dreams on Saturday. By winning the Mountain West Tournament, the Cowboys stole a bid from one of the teams on the bubble. For me, this knocked Tulsa out of the field. Tulsa needed to advance to the AAC finals to feel any sense of security on Sunday. When that didn’t happen they punched their NIT ticket.
Speaking of the AAC, UConn has a chance to be another bid thief on Sunday. If the Huskies win the AAC, they will knock another bubble team off the bracket. For me, the last spot in the field is between Texas and Indiana. For now, I am giving the nod to the Hoosiers but they need to be huge SMU fans on Sunday.
Auburn went on a surprising run to the semifinals of the SEC tournament and caused some damage along the way. The Tigers’ win over Texas A&M knocked the Aggies into the NIT for good and the victory over LSU bumped those Tigers to one of the play-in games.
Contrary to the somewhat popular opinion, I do not think Oklahoma State will be in the field. The Cowboys are 18-13 and in spite of a decent RPI, I do not think they can get in with that record. Last year SMU was ignored by most while losing games late in the season, and this year Oklahoma State lost five of its last six. The “last 10 games” record is no longer a criterion for selection but I do not think a team only five games above .500 deserves an at-large spot.
Overall, it was a strange weekend for bubble teams. No single team stepped up and took advantage of an opportunity to secure a bid, so it essentially came down to who had the worst losses in their conference tournament.
Be sure to check @ScoutBrackets, as I will be tweeting out my final seed list with any adjustments that may come about right before the selection show. Also be sure to check back here tomorrow to see my reaction to the committee’s decisions.
First Four Out: Oklahoma State, Texas, Tulsa, Murray State
New to the Field
- Old Dominion
Left the Field
- Oklahoma State