Twelve of the 32 automatic bids to the N.C.A.A. tournament have been punched, and so far there have been no “bid steals” from the mid-major ranks or major changes to the top of the field.
With its win in the West Coast championship over Saint Mary’s, Gonzaga has positioned themselves in range to earn a number one seed. Gonzaga’s standing on the one line could come into question depending on how the Pac-12 shakes out, but it is safe to pencil in Gonzaga and a Pac-12 team as the one and two seeds in the West region.
As for the other one seeds, Kansas and Villanova appear to be locks and North Carolina can solidify its standing with a win or two in the ACC tournament.
On the bubble, a lot of conversation is surrounding Syracuse. The Orange lost their opening ACC tournament game against Miami to drop their overall record to 18-14. Despite a bad RPI rating (85), Syracuse is still in position to earn a bid due in large part to their six top-50 RPI wins. Syracuse has four sub-100 RPI losses working against them, but I tend to think its quality wins will prevail and push them into the field. The committee should look favorably on the ACC, as it was the deepest conference throughout the season. This also bodes well for bubble team Wake Forest.
Vanderbilt in a similar position to Syracuse, good wins but an underwhelming record (17-14) and a bad loss (Missouri) holding them back. Iowa and Illinois have surged into the conversation recently, as well. Those teams winning multiple games in its conference tournaments could solidify a bid and squeeze mid-major teams - like Illinois State and Rhode Island - out of the tournament. The committee tends to lean towards favoring bubble teams from power conferences on the basis of the greater amount of quality wins (which is a direct result of having more opportunities for them).
Be sure to follow along with @ScoutBrackets on Twitter for all the bracket implications. Check back again Sunday morning for an update to get you set for Selection Sunday, and follow along on Twitter during the selection show.
Teams that won or are projected to win automatic bids in parentheses
|1. Kansas (Big 12)||1. Villanova (Big East)|
|16. South Dakota State (Summit) vs. North Carolina Central (MEAC)||16. Mount Saint Mary's (NEC) vs. New Orleans (Southland)|
|8. Miami (Fl)||8. Virginia Tech|
|9. Seton Hall||9. Michigan State|
|5. Cincinnati||5. Virginia|
|12. Rhode Island vs. Iowa||12. UT Arlington (Sun Belt)|
|4. Duke||4. West Virginia|
|13. Princeton (Ivy)||13. East Tennessee State (SoCon)|
|6. Minnesota||6. Wichita State (MVC)|
|11. Marquette||11. Syracuse vs. Providence|
|3. Kentucky||3. Florida|
|14. Bucknell (Patriot)||14. Winthrop (Big South)|
|7. Saint Mary's||7. Dayton (A-10)|
|10. Michigan||10. USC|
|2. UCLA||2. Louisville|
|15. Northern Kentucky (Horizon)||15. Iona (MAAC)|
|1. Gonzaga (WCC)||1. North Carolina (ACC)|
|16. North Dakota (Big Sky)||16. Jacksonville State (Ohio Valley)|
|8. Arkansas||8. Northwestern|
|9. Oklahoma State||9. South Carolina|
|5. Notre Dame||5. SMU (AAC)|
|12. UNC Wilmington (CAA)||12. Nevada (MWC)|
|4. Butler||4. Purdue (Big Ten)|
|13. Vermont (America East)||13. Akron (MAC)|
|6. Iowa State||6. Creighton|
|11. Xavier||11. Wake Forest|
|3. Florida State||3. Baylor|
|14. Florida Gulf Coast (Atlantic Sun)||14. CSU Bakersfield (WAC)|
|7. Maryland||7. Wisconsin|
|10. Middle Tennessee (CUSA)||10. VCU|
|2. Arizona||2. Oregon (Pac-12)|
|15. UC Irvine (Big West)||15. Texas Southern (SWAC)|