Originally written on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 10/21/14


By Andy Bottoms, Midwest Sports Fans

After a full day of hoops on Thursday, there have been a few seeding changes but no changes to the teams in the field.

There are a number of key games on the schedule for Friday, as bubble teams like Virginia, La Salle, Kentucky, Tennessee, Iowa, Temple, and Massachusetts take the floor.

The projections below take into account all games played through Thursday, March 14. Please note one of the First Four games was moved to the 11 line based on scheduling and proximity to Dayton.

Look for a new set of projections Saturday morning.

Last Four In

Boise State

The Broncos were unable to defeat San Diego State for the second time in the last five days, as the Aztecs withstood a furious rally to win by six in the Mountain West quarterfinals.

Now Boise State will be forced to sweat it out for the rest of the week.  The Broncos have four top-30 wins and are 8-8 against the Top 100, which helps their case.  They also have a solid non-conference road win at Creighton, but they struggled mightily away from home in league play.

La Salle

The Explorers got blitzed by Saint Louis on Saturday but still got the fourth seed in the Atlantic 10 tournament. They are likely to face Butler in the quarterfinals. La Salle beat the Bulldogs for one of its two top-50 wins, and the Explorers also boast a solid nonconference win over Villanova.

Unfortunately, they have also lost to Central Connecticut State and simply don’t have much depth to their profile. A trip to the A-10 semis certainly would help their case.

Kentucky

Saturday’s win over Florida propelled Kentucky back into the field, but there is still work left to do.

The Wildcats have both of their top-50 wins since losing Nerlens Noel, so they have proven they can compete without him. Their first SEC tournament game will come against either Arkansas or Vanderbilt, and a loss to either one likely would spell their ultimate doom.

Saint Mary’s

In the wake of a third loss to Gonzaga this season, the Gaels are now my last team in. Their only losses since late December all came at the hands of the Bulldogs, and Saint Mary’s is now left to sweat out the next five days.

When compared to the first couple of teams out, the Gaels have done more away from home and have far fewer bad losses. They also have far fewer quality wins.

Middle Tennessee played a far tougher nonconference schedule, but the Blue Raiders have just one win vs. the top 100. I just can’t see the committee overlooking that.

Consequently, the Gaels are in — for now.

First Four Out

Virginia

The Cavaliers had to come from behind to knock off Maryland at home in overtime, but they still dropped out of the field. UVa owns the most confounding profile in recent memory with a number of high-end victories but an equally impressive list of poor losses.

A solid performance in the ACC tournament is a must, and Virginia’s first opponent will most likely be North Carolina State in the quarterfinals.

Middle Tennessee

The Blue Raiders fell in the Sun Belt semifinals to Florida International and now will be forced to wait out the committee’s decision after finishing 19-1 in league play.

MTSU ranks in the top 30 in RPI and boasts a solid nonconference strength of schedule, but it has just one top-100 win. That came against fellow bubble contender Ole Miss, so while I would love to see another mid-major in the field, I doubt the committee gives the Raiders the nod.

Ole Miss

A road win at LSU kept the Rebels in the discussion, but there is still work to do in the SEC tournament.

Their lone top-50 win came against Missouri in January, and the Tigers likely will be their opponent in the quarterfinals. A loss there would be the end of the road for Ole Miss.

Iowa

Baylor’s loss to Oklahoma State propelled the Hawkeyes to this spot, but Friday’s matchup with Michigan State is critical for Iowa.  A poor non-conference schedule certainly isn’t doing Fran McCaffery’s club any favors, but they do have four Top 50 wins.

I can’t see the Hawkeyes getting in the field unless they can make a run to the Big Ten Tournament title game.

*******

Here is how the bids broke out by conference (Note: Teams that have earned an automatic bid are denoted with a *):

Big East (8): Cincinnati, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Villanova

Big Ten (7): Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Wisconsin

Atlantic 10 (5): Butler, La Salle, Saint Louis, Temple, VCU

Big 12 (5): Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State

Mountain West (5): Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV

Pac-12 (5): Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, UCLA

ACC (4): Duke, Miami (FL), North Carolina, North Carolina State

SEC (4): Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee

Missouri Valley (2): Creighton*, Wichita State

West Coast (2): Gonzaga*, Saint Mary’s

America East: Vermont

Atlantic Sun: Florida Gulf Coast*

Big Sky: Montana

Big South: Liberty*

Big West: Long Beach State

Colonial: James Madison*

Conference USA: Memphis

Horizon: Valparaiso*

Ivy: Harvard*

MAAC: Iona*

MAC: Akron

MEAC: Morgan State

Northeast: LIU Brooklyn*

Ohio Valley: Belmont*

Patriot: Bucknell*

Southern: Davidson*

Southland: Stephen F. Austin

Summit: South Dakota State*

Sun Belt: Western Kentucky*

SWAC: Southern

WAC: New Mexico State

**********

12 Comments:
  • its gonna be a great tourny this year!!
  • You suck, advertise someplace else this is a sports conversation
  • I told you to go SCREW YOURSELF!!!
  • Why would Michigan St. be a 3 seed and Kansas St. a 4 seed? KSU is #9 (AP) right now and with 4 #1 and 4 #2 seeds, KSU surely deserves a 3 seed right now and for certain if they beat Okla. St. on Saturday. If they lose on Sat. a 4 seed might be about right, but then Okla. St. should rate a 3 seed. Someone here does not like the Big 12.
  • The Big 10 is about 10 times stronger than the Big 12. AP polls don't mean squat for seeding. Kansas St. Non Conference schedule is pretty bad with their best win coming against Delaware. They lost to Michigan and Gonzaga by double digits. They don't have any bad losses which helps a little, but they played no one outside of those games. Michigan St. beat Kansas. Something Kansas St. has not done. They also have no losses outside the RPI 50. Michigan St. RPI 8. Kansas St. RPI 20. That's why Michigan St. is ahead of Kansas St.
  • Kansas State also beat Florida.
  • Better wait until the regular season is over and also the conference tournaments!
  • Once again strickly the men are covered!!!!What about Womens Basketball and their brackets. I guess Title 10 doesn't apply to women!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Did you mean Title IX? I am not sure what Title X has to do with this. If you did mean Title IX, trust me there is plenty of gender equality in college sports, so much so that men's programs are being cut because not enough women WANT to participate which unbalances the ratio of men to women student athletes. Which necessitates the cutting of men's sports teams to bring the ratio back...so much for the spirit of the law.
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