Best of luck to anyone trying to do this even close to accurately this year. Last year, by Selection Sunday, there was almost no doubt about which 68 teams would comprise the field. This year? I imagine that we’ll have the usual complaints about undeserving teams on the inside and snubbed teams on the outside. And that’s one of the things that makes March Madness, and the college basketball season in general, so great and exciting. It’s unpredictable, maybe more so than ever this year.
I last updated a week ago (going forward, the updates will be more frequent) and this looks completely different. I even mentioned how you’ve probably heard there are no great teams in college basketball. Well, 3 of the 4 teams on my previous 1 line lost in the past week! As we move further down, there are teams who looked strong early in the season but are now plunging like the Demon Drop (for those who are familiar with Cedar Point), such as Texas A & M and St. John’s. And can I get some credit for having Ohio State in my projected field the entire season so far when few others have? They proved me right – for now – by obliterating then-number 1 Michigan State by a score of 80-64 on Sunday.
As I’ve been mentioning, I haven’t seeded most of the projected mid-major champs yet (the 13-16 lines, basically) because it’s extremely difficult to do this before conference play starts. Now that we’re a few games into conference play, I’ll seed the entire field starting in my next projection, this coming weekend.
For now, here’s the latest. Moves up or down are in parentheses after the team’s name. Enjoy!
In since last time: Washington, Baylor, San Diego State, William & Mary, Louisiana
Out since last time: St. Bonaventure, Minnesota, Houston, Georgia Southern, Charleston
1s – Villanova, Duke, West Virginia (+1), Kansas (+1)
2s – Virginia (+1), Michigan State (-1), North Carolina (-1), Purdue (+1)
3s – Arizona State (-1), Xavier (-1), Wichita State, Arizona
4s – Kentucky, Gonzaga, Florida, Oklahoma (+2)
5s – Tennessee (+1), TCU, Seton Hall, Arkansas
6s – Texas Tech (-1), Cincinnati (+1), Miami (+1), Clemson (+2)
7s – Texas A & M (-3), Florida State (-1), Notre Dame (+1), Creighton (+2)
8s – Ohio State (+2), Butler (-2), Michigan, Syracuse (-1)
9s – Rhode Island, Auburn (+1), Missouri (-2), SMU (-1)
10s – Alabama (-1), Nevada (+1), Utah (-1), UCLA
11s – St. Mary’s, Texas (-1), Baylor (new), Washington (new), San Diego State (new), Maryland
12s – Middle Tennessee, Louisiana (new), Missouri State, William & Mary (new)
LAST FOUR IN – Baylor, Washington, San Diego State, Maryland
FIRST FOUR OUT – St. Bonaventure, USC, Houston, Minnesota
NEXT FOUR OUT – UCF, Marquette (+1), North Carolina State (+1), Providence (+2)
THIRD FOUR OUT – Louisville (-2), Virginia Tech (-1), Oklahoma State, LSU (+1)
So, that will do it for today. As always, if you want to rip me because I have your team too low or want to discuss anything else related to bracketology, feel free to do so in the comments. And as always, remember to check out the Bracket Matrix, a must for those of us who are obsessed with this stuff. Happy New Year!