13 March 2010

A little bracketology

Which 65 teams will make the field for the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament?  Here I venture some guesses, with less than 23 hours until the actual field is selected.

First, some rules.  The Selection Committee uses the first three, then applies additional criteria known only to itself.  The other constraint is mine, but it isn't affecting anything this year.  (It has in past seasons, though.)
  1. Of the 65 bids, 30 are awarded to the winners of the postseason conference tournaments, and one goes to the Ivy League regular-season champion.  The other 34 bids are awarded on an at-large basis.  (Bracketology is, in fact, about picking these 34 teams.)
  2. Conference rivals cannot meet until the regional finals (i.e., quarterfinals), unless more than eight members make the field.   This exception occurred once, in the 2000 Women's Championship.  It's never happened on the men's side.
  3. Until the Final Four, no men's team may play on its home floor, or on a site where it is hosting.
  4. When possible, a team from a smaller conference should always open against one from a larger conference.
As of post time (1700 CST), there are still quite a few games to play, but my bubble is down to seven teams -- Washington, UTEP, Minnesota, Illinois (all in), Seton Hall, Wichita State and Virginia Tech (all out).

Here are the projected multi-bid conferences, with projected seeds.  If New Mexico State upsets Utah State tonight, the Western Athletic would join this list.  20 other conferences are sending only their automatic qualifiers, so I'm not listing them.

Update (0000, 14.03.10):  New Mexico State has won, stealing a bid and turning tomorrow's SEC final into a proxy play-in game.  If Mississippi State wins, it advances as a 12 seed, replacing Florida.  If Kentucky wins, Florida stays in the bracket and MSU bows out.  UTEP and Minnesota are now safe, while Seton Hall, Wichita State and Virginia Tech join Illinois as top seeds in the NIT.  Corrections appear in red.

Big East [8]:  (1)West Virginia, (1)Syracuse, (2)Georgetown, (3)Villanova, (5)Pittsburgh, (7)Marquette, (9)Lousiville, (10)Notre Dame
Big XII [7]:  (1)Kansas, (2)Kansas State, (3)Baylor, (4)Texas A&M, (8)Oklahoma State, (9)Texas, (11)Missouri
ACC [6]:  (2)Duke, (4)Maryland, (9)Wake Forest, (10)Clemson, (10)Florida State, (12)Georgia Tech
Big Ten [6 5]:  (2)Ohio State, (3)Purdue, (6)Wisconsin, (6)Michigan State, (12)Minnesota, (12)Illinois
SEC[4]:  (1)Kentucky, (4)Vanderbilt, (5)Tennessee, (12)(Florida OR Mississippi State)
Mountain West [4]:  (3)New Mexico, (6)Brigham Young, (8)Nevada-Las Vegas, (8 7)San Diego State
Atlantic 10[3]: (4)Temple, (5)Xavier, (10)Richmond
Pacific 10[2]:  (6)California, (12)Washington
West Coast[2]:  (7)Gonzaga, (9)St. Mary's (Cal.)
WAC[2]:  (8)Utah State, (13)New Mexico State
Conference USA[2]:  (13)Texas-El Paso, (15)Houston

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