After a fairly quiet Sunday and Monday, we don’t see nearly as much movement in the bracket as we did over the weekend. However, a major shift took place just as I started writing this, as Florida lost at home to Kentucky for their 3rd straight loss and 4th in their last 5 games. While Florida has played the 13th-toughest schedule in the nation, their only wins over teams currently projected to be in the field are at home against West Virginia and on a neutral court against Saint Joe’s. This loss drops them to 17-13, putting them right around what is usually the maximum number of losses an at-large qualifier can have.
Oregon State, with home wins against Oregon, Utah, California, Colorado, and Southern Cal, plus a neutral-court win against Tulsa, jumps into the field. And, they do so as a #9, thanks to several losses by teams on the 9, 10 and 11 lines the last couple of nights.
With all that said, here’s my current projection. This is as of the end of the 7 PM time slot of games tonight, March 1. Moves up or down are in parentheses, and projected automatic qualifiers are in bold.
In since 2/28 update: Oregon State
Out since 2/28 update: Florida
1s: Kansas, Virginia, Villanova, Xavier
2s: Michigan State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah
3s: North Carolina, Miami, West Virginia, Iowa State (+1)
4s: Purdue, Kentucky, Iowa (-1), Texas A & M
5s: California, Maryland, Duke, Baylor (+1)
6s: Indiana, Texas (-1), Arizona, Wisconsin (+1)
7s: Notre Dame (-1), Seton Hall, Saint Joe’s, Texas Tech
8s: Dayton, Colorado, Wichita State, Providence
9s: Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt (+1), Oregon State (new), South Carolina
10s: Syracuse, Temple (+1), Virginia Commonwealth (+1), Connecticut
11s: Southern California (-2), Saint Bonaventure, Tulsa (-2), Michigan (-1), Cincinnati, Monmouth
12s: Saint Mary’s, San Diego State, Valparaiso, Arkansas-Little Rock
13s: Princeton, Hofstra, Akron, Chattanooga
14s: South Dakota State, Stephen F. Austin, Belmont, Hawaii
15s: Alabama-Birmingham, Stony Brook, New Mexico State, Weber State
16s: High Point, North Florida, Hampton, Texas Southern, Wagner, Lehigh
Last Four In: Saint Bonaventure, Tulsa, Michigan, Cincinnati
First Four Out: Alabama, Butler, Gonzaga, Florida
Next Four Out: Stanford, Florida State, George Washington, Ohio State (+2)
Third Four Out: Georgia Tech, Louisiana State, Brigham Young, Washington (-1)
Fourth Four Out: Creighton, Clemson (-1), UCLA, Houston
How about that… in 1968 UCLA and Houston played in the Game of the Century. This was the first college basketball game aired nationally in prime time. Now, in 2016, both teams find themselves needing a miracle to get into the field. In Houston’s case, not much was expected this year; in UCLA’s case, that is a monumental failure. But, that’s another story for another time.
As for our regularly scheduled programming, look for my next update on Thursday. And go to the Bracket Matrix to see other projections in the meantime!