We are closing in on two weeks to Selection Sunday and the bracket is starting to take shape. As has been the case all season, major upsets continue to be a seemingly nightly occurrence. On Wednesday Villanova fell to Butler for the second time this season and Duke lost at Syracuse on a buzzer beater to push the Orange into the field for this week.
Elsewhere in the ACC, Virginia is in the midst of a four-game losing streak and has lost six of its last eight. The Cavaliers still boast strong RPI and strength of schedule numbers but are 8-7 in league play, causing their seed to fall. The skid is also a testament to the depth of the ACC, as all six recent losses are to teams currently in the field.
As seems to be the case in most seasons, the debate about Wichita State and the Missouri Valley Conference is starting up. The Shockers sit atop the conference with Illinois State, and the teams split their two regular-season meetings. The perennial question persists: should the team who fails to win the MVC Tournament get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament?
Despite a superior RPI ranking, Illinois State seems to have less of a case for a potential at-large bid than Wichita State. Wichita State’s losses are “better” (all four are to teams in the RPI top 50) while Illinois State’s resume carries two significant blemishes in the form of losses to Murray State and Tulsa. As is usually the case in the mid-major conferences, chances for signature wins are few and far between once conference play rolls around. Alas, Wichita State and Illinois State’s best wins are against one another. A rematch in the MVC championship game seems fitting, but should that fail to happen, Wichita State appears to be in better position for an at-large bid if needed.
Be sure to follow @ScoutBrackets on Twitter to stay up to date on bubble action and conference tournament bid steals as we enter the home stretch of the college basketball season.
Teams with projected automatic bids are listed with the conference in (parentheses)
|1. Kansas (Big 12)||1. Villanova (Big East)|
|16. New Orleans (Southland) vs. Texas Southern (SWAC)||16. UC Irvine (Big West) vs. North Carolina Central (MEAC)|
|8. Dayton||8. Virginia Tech|
|9. Northwestern||9. VCU (Atlantic 10)|
|5. Notre Dame||5. Virginia|
|12. Monmouth (MAAC)||12. UT Arlington (Sun Belt)|
|4. Purdue (Big Ten)||4. West Virginia|
|13. Nevada (MWC)||13. Vermont (America East)|
|6. Maryland||6. Xavier|
|11. Seton Hall||11. Syracuse|
|3. Florida State||3. Florida|
|14. Princeton (Ivy)||14. Winthrop (Big South)|
|7. Creighton||7. South Carolina|
|10. Oklahoma State||10. Michigan|
|2. Oregon||2. Louisville|
|15. Bucknell (Patriot)||15. Florida Gulf Coast (Atlantic Sun)|
|1. North Carolina (ACC)||1. Gonzaga (WCC)|
|16. Mount Saint Mary's (NEC)||16. East Tennessee State (Southern)|
|8. Arkansas||8. Miami (Fl)|
|9. Wichita State (MVC)||9. USC|
|5. SMU||5. Cincinnati (AAC)|
|12. Middle Tennessee (CUSA)||12. UNC Wilmington (CAA)|
|4. Kentucky||4. Duke|
|13. Belmont (Ohio Valley)||13. Akron (MAC)|
|6. Saint Mary's||6. Wisconsin|
|11. Marquette vs. TCU||11. Kansas State vs. Illinois State|
|3. UCLA||3. Butler|
|14. Cal State Bakersfield (WAC)||14. Valpariaso (Horizon)|
|7. Minnesota||7. Iowa State|
|10. California||10. Michigan State|
|2. Baylor||2. Arizona (Pac-12)|
|15. North Dakota (Big Sky)||15. North Dakota State (Summit)|