College Basketball Bracketology: Cuse, Baylor Favorites for Overall No. 1 Seed

Jesse Kramer@Jesse_KramerCorrespondent IJanuary 15, 2012

College Basketball Bracketology: Cuse, Baylor Favorites for Overall No. 1 Seed

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    This bracketology will evaluate teams based on how they have performed up to this point in the season. It will not factor in how they are projected to do in the rest of the season.

    A conference in parentheses next to a team indicates a team that would have an automatic bid as a conference champion.

    With the 68-team format, there will be four play-in games. There will be two play-in games for the bottom four at-large teams and two play-in games for the bottom four conference tournament winners who earned automatic bids.

    In the bracket, the winner of the South Region plays the winner of the West Region and the winner of the Midwest Region plays the winner of the East Region.

    The South Region and the West Region hold the overall No. 1 and No. 4 seeds, respectively. The Midwest Region and East Region hold the overall No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, respectively.

East Region

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    No. 1 Syracuse (Big East) vs. No. 16 Mississippi Valley State (SWAC)/Stony Brook (AEC)

    Syracuse blew away Providence 78-55 on Saturday to remain undefeated.

    Mississippi Valley State is one of two undefeated teams in the SWAC.

    Stony Brook lost to Boston on Saturday, but it currently holds the tiebreaker for first place in the America East.

    No. 8 Temple vs. No. 9 Harvard

    Temple has lost two of its last three games and is 1-2 in Atlantic 10 play. Without the win over Duke, the Owls would not be in the field.

    Harvard survived a second-half comeback by Monmouth early in the week then blew out George Washington on Saturday, 69-48.

    No. 5 Mississippi State vs. No. 12 Oklahoma/Florida State

    Mississippi State swept its two-game homestand and is now 2-1 in the SEC.

    Oklahoma picked up its first win over a top 25 team on Saturday, defeating No. 18 Kansas State.

    Florida State made it back into the field with a 90-57 rout of No. 3 North Carolina on Saturday.

    No. 4 Marquette vs. No. 13 Northwestern/Texas

    Marquette has won its last two Big East games to get back above .500 in conference play.

    Northwestern finally picked up a key win, defeating No. 7 Michigan State this past week.

    Texas lost to Missouri on Saturday, but the Longhorns maintain a respectable 2-2 Big 12 record.

East Region (Continued)

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    No. 6 Creighton vs. No. 11 Cincinnati

    Creighton takes its five-game winning streak into a match with Southern Illinois Sunday.

    Cincinnati rebounded from the loss to St. John's with wins over Georgetown and Villanova this past week.

    No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 14 Cleveland State (Horizon)

    Michigan State's 15-game winning streak ended with an 81-74 loss at Northwestern.

    Cleveland State has won its last three Horizon League games and is tied with Wisconsin-Milwaukee for first place in the conference.

    No. 7 St. Mary's (WCC) vs. No. 10 New Mexico

    St. Mary's knocked off Gonzaga and Portland this week to gain complete control of the WCC.

    New Mexico is one key win away from being a nationally ranked team. The Lobos get two shots at top 25 opponents this week, taking on both San Diego State and UNLV.

    No. 2 Kansas vs. No. 15 Norfolk State (MEAC)

    Kansas has won seven consecutive games since losing to Davidson. The Jayhawks play No. 4 Baylor on Monday for first place in the Big 12.

    Norfolk State survived Morgan State in double overtime to keep control of the No. 1 spot in the MEAC.

West Region

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    No. 1 Duke (ACC) vs. No. 16 Bucknell (Patriot)

    Duke is the only undefeated team remaining in the ACC.

    Bucknell has won its last three games by double figures. The Bison play at second-place Lehigh on Wednesday.

    No. 8 Purdue vs. No. 9 Saint Louis

    Purdue has lost two of its last three games, most recently falling to Wisconsin at home.

    Saint Louis has struggled early on in conference play, but the Billikens have a chance to make up for those losses in upcoming games against Xavier and Massachusetts.

    No. 5 San Diego State (MWC) vs. No. 12 Middle Tennessee (Sun Belt)

    San Diego State took down No. 12 UNLV this weekend on Jamaal Franklin's layup in the final seconds.

    Middle Tennessee defeated Florida Atlantic on Saturday to extend its winning streak to nine games.

    No. 4 Vanderbilt vs. No. 13 Oral Roberts (Summit)

    Vanderbilt is playing more like the top 10 team it was supposed to be, winning its last seven games.

    Oral Roberts stands alone at the top of the Summit League with an 8-0 record. The Golden Eagles begin a four-game homestand against IPFW this week.

West Region (Continued)

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    No. 6 Murray State (OVC) vs. No. 11 Wichita State

    Murray State survived Tennessee Tech on Saturday to improve to 18-0, 6-0 in the OVC.

    Wichita State has won four straight games since losing to Creighton on New Year's Eve.

    No. 3 Connecticut vs. No. 14 Nevada (WAC)

    Connecticut ended a two-game slide with wins over West Virginia and Notre Dame this week.

    Nevada stands atop the WAC along with New Mexico State. The Wolfpack and the Aggies face each other for the first time on Jan. 26.

    No. 7 Kansas State vs. No. 10 Memphis (C-USA)

    Kansas State fell to 1-3 in the Big 12 with losses to Baylor and Oklahoma this week.

    Memphis has won six straight games and is 3-0 in Conference USA.

    No. 2 Ohio State (Big Ten) vs. No. 15 George Mason (CAA)

    Ohio State faces No. 8 Indiana Sunday afternoon with a chance for its first win over a top 25 team since November.

    George Mason rebounded from its loss to Drexel with a win at James Madison.

Midwest Region

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    No. 1 Baylor (Big 12) vs. No. 16 Texas-Arlington (Southland)/UNC-Asheville (Big South)

    Baylor remained undefeated with a 106-65 blowout win over Oklahoma State.

    Texas-Arlington handed Lamar its first Southland loss of the season on Saturday.

    UNC-Asheville improved to 7-0 in the Big South after beating Campbell and High Point on the road this week.

    No. 8 Alabama vs. No. 9 California (Pac-12)

    Alabama remains without a win over a top 25 squad after losing to No. 20 Mississippi State this weekend.

    California has won three straight games and is tied with Stanford, which it plays on Jan. 29, for first place in the Pac-12.

    No. 5 Louisville vs. No. 12 BYU

    Louisville easily defeated DePaul to rebound from an embarrassing loss at Providence.

    BYU won its fourth straight game, defeating Santa Clara on Saturday. The Cougars have a big nonconference matchup coming up on Jan. 25 against Virginia Tech.

    No. 4 Michigan vs. No. 13 Long Beach State (Big West)

    Michigan's two-game winning streak ended with a 75-59 loss at Iowa on Saturday. The Wolverines host in-state rival Michigan State on Tuesday.

    Long Beach State improved to 5-0 in the Big West with a win over Pacific on Saturday.

Midwest Region (Continued)

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    No. 6 Wisconsin vs. No. 11 Southern Miss

    Wisconsin's three-game losing streak ended with a win at Purdue on Thursday.

    Southern Mississippi's 11-game winning streak ended with a two-point loss at Memphis, but the Golden Eagles got back on track with a win over UAB on Saturday.

    No. 3 Georgetown vs. No. 14 Weber State (Big Sky)

    Georgetown has lost back-to-back games for the first time this season. The Hoyas are back on the road, playing St. John's and DePaul in their next two games.

    Weber State upended second-place Montana to gain complete control over the Big Sky Conference.

    No. 7 Illinois vs. No. 10 Xavier

    Illinois is in the midst of a three-game winning streak, which includes a victory over No. 5 Ohio State.

    Xavier snapped out of its post-brawl funk with three wins in the past week.

    No. 2 North Carolina vs. No. 15 Akron (MAC)

    North Carolina's nine-game winning streak ended with a 90-57 loss to Florida State.

    Akron has won its first three MAC games.

South Region

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    No. 1 Kentucky (SEC) vs. No. 16 Long Island (NEC)

    Kentucky survived an upset bid from Tennessee this past week to stay undefeated in the SEC. 

    Long Island posted 106 points in a win over Monmouth. The Blackbirds hold a one-game lead over Wagner, Central Connecticut State and St. Francis (N.Y.) for first place in the league.

    No. 8 West Virginia vs. No. 9 Stanford

    West Virginia defeated Rutgers for the second time this season on Saturday. The Mountaineers play in-state rival Marshall on Wednesday.

    With no key, nonconference wins, Stanford will most likely need to finish among the top two in the Pac-12 to get a NCAA tournament bid.

    No. 5 UNLV vs. No. 12 Marshall

    UNLV's seven-game winning streak ended with a 69-67, heartbreaking loss at San Diego State.

    Marshall is 4-0 in Conference USA, and it already has wins over UCF and Rice.

    No. 4 Florida vs. No. 13 Davidson (SoCon)

    Florida won two consecutive games after losing to Tennessee.

    Davidson is undefeated in SoCon play and has a two-game lead over second-place Charleston.

South Region (Continued)

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    No. 6 Virginia vs. No. 11 Dayton

    Virginia's 12-game winning streak ended with a 61-58 loss at Duke on Thursday.

    Dayton is currently tied for first place in the A-10 with Massachusetts and Xavier.

    No. 3 Indiana vs. No. 14 Iona (MAAC)

    Indiana picked up its first bad loss of the season, falling to Minnesota on Thursday.

    Iona's NCAA tournament résumé took a big hit with a 75-72 loss at home to Manhattan this week.

    No. 7 Seton Hall vs. No. 10 Gonzaga

    Seton Hall's four-game winning streak ended with a 56-55 loss at South Florida on Friday. The Pirates are currently in third place in the Big East.

    Gonzaga rebounded from a loss to St. Mary's with a 62-58 win over Loyola Marymount on Saturday.

    No. 2 Missouri vs. No. 15 Belmont (A-Sun)

    Missouri defeated Texas on Saturday in its first game of a two-game homestand.

    After losing to Lipscomb, Belmont defeated Stetson to remain in first place in the Atlantic Sun.

First Four out

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    Colorado State opened up Mountain West play with a double-overtime win over Texas Christian, extending its winning streak to seven games.

    NC State has won seven of its last eight games. However, the loss to Georgia Tech on Jan. 11 keeps them out of the field for now.

    Iowa State came close to upsetting top-10 opponents in its last two games, but the Cyclones could not finish off either team. They play a must-win game against Oklahoma State on Wednesday.

    Virginia Tech looked like it might finally get on the right side of the bubble this year, but the Hokies are currently 0-3 in the ACC.