Who’s a contender and who’s a pretender in the Big Ten? Right now, there are 7 teams from the conference bunched up between the 5 and 9 lines. Indiana has wins against Kansas and North Carolina, but an overall weak strength of schedule. Michigan State was expected to be really tough, as usual, but they haven’t looked right so far. That said, I would be shocked if there weren’t at least 2 Big Ten teams among the top 4 seed lines when it’s all said and done.
Also, thanks to their fantastic win over Kentucky on Wednesday night, Louisville jumps up to a 1 seed, and Kentucky falls to a 2. This rivalry has produced a ton of great games over the years and Wednesday’s was no exception.
With that, let’s get right to the projection.
In since last time: Monmouth, Akron, Michigan State, Clemson
Out since last time: Iona, Ohio, Houston, Georgia
1s: Baylor, Villanova, Kansas, Louisville (+1)
2s: Kentucky (-1), UCLA, Gonzaga, North Carolina
3s: Duke, Xavier, Florida, Creighton
4s: Butler, Florida State, Saint Mary’s, Southern Cal
5s: Virginia, Arizona, Minnesota, Temple
6s: Maryland, Northwestern, Dayton, Purdue (+1)
7s: South Carolina (-1), Indiana, Arkansas, West Virginia (+1)
8s: Wake Forest (+1, they looked legit vs. LSU), Middle Tennessee (-1), Ole Miss, Wisconsin (+2)
9s: Michigan (-1), TCU, Pittsburgh, VCU (+2)
10s: Notre Dame (-1), Nevada, Cincinnati, Auburn (+1)
11s: Oregon, Oklahoma State, Providence (-3, that was a bad loss to Boston College), SMU (+1), Rhode Island (+1)
12s: Wichita State, Texas-Arlington, UNC-Wilmington, Michigan State (back in), Clemson (new after a quality road win at South Carolina)
13s: Tennessee State, IPFW, Winthrop, Monmouth (new)
14s: New Mexico State, Chattanooga (+1), Valparaiso (-1), Akron (new)
15s: New Hampshire, Yale, Bucknell (-1), Florida Gulf Coast (+1)
16s: North Carolina Central, Eastern Washington (-1), Sam Houston State, Texas Southern, UC-Irvine, LIU-Brooklyn
Last Four In: SMU, Rhode Island, Michigan State, Clemson
First Four Out: Georgia, Virginia Tech (+1), Miami, UCF
Next Four Out: Stanford (-1), Houston, Charleston, Illinois
Third Four Out: Texas A & M, Davidson, North Carolina State, Colorado
Fourth Four Out: Georgetown, Ohio State (+1), Iowa State, Massachusetts
Others to Watch: Vanderbilt, St. Bonaventure, St. Joe’s, La Salle, Texas, Seton Hall, Marquette, Nebraska, Illinois State
With a light schedule the next few days, look for my next update late next week. Enjoy the holidays!