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Selection Sunday is finally upon us. With the bracket just hours away from being revealed, here is how I see the field shaking out.
I have Kansas as a lock on the one line, North Carolina as a near-lock and Villanova (despite the loss to Seton Hall) and Michigan State as the other teams on the top line. Remember, the outcome of the Big Ten tournament historically has not impacted the seeding, so if Michigan State is a one seed, that decision has likely already been made and will not change with the outcome of their game against Purdue today.
With regard to the rest of today’s action, Texas A&M can move up with a win in the SEC final, while VCU and St. Joe’s have both secured bids thanks to its runs to the Atlantic-10 title game.
On the bubble end of things, mid-major at-large bids have been the story this week. I have Wichita State in, despite a loss in its conference tournament, and Monmouth out because its resume is being over-valued by many. The wins for Monmouth over UCLA and Georgetown are nice, especially for a mid-major program, but both are 100+ RPI teams and simply cannot be flown as banner wins. Monmouth’s victories over USC and Notre Dame still carry weight, but so do three sub-200 RPI losses.
San Diego State lost the Mountain West tournament final to Fresno State will steal an at-large bid in my projection. The Aztecs' RPI of 32 in worthy of a bid, and in a year with the bubble this weak, I think the committee will reward them for a strong conference season.
Michigan played its way back into my projection with a run to the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament. Michigan has four top-50 wins and a better profile than Monmouth or Saint Mary’s. Despite this, the Wolverines should not get too comfortable, as a win by Memphis in the AAC championship game would steal an at-large bid and send Michigan to the NIT in my projection.
Vanderbilt hurt its cause with an upset loss to Tennessee in the SEC tournament. Another fringe bubble team very similar to Michigan and Syracuse, Vandy is probably on the outside looking in.
The large number of upsets in the mid-major conferences affected the outlook of the field, as many of the one-bid leagues saw their representatives fall into the 12-16 seed range, which is now behind all of the at-large teams.
Stay tuned to @ScoutBrackets on twitter, where I will tweet out my final seed list along with a picture of the bracket right before the selection show. I will also be reacting to the committee’s selections and seeding in real time on twitter.