Bracketology: Bubbles Beginning to Pop, More Automatic Bids Punched
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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.
So far, 14 conference tournaments have been completed, so 14 automatic bids have been dealt. Here are the teams that have locked up a spot in the field: UNC-Asheville (Big South), Murray State (OVC), Belmont (A-Sun), Creighton (MVC), Loyola-MD (MAAC), VCU (CAA), Davidson (SoCon), St. Mary's (WCC), Western Kentucky (Sun Belt), Detroit (Horizon), South Dakota State (Summit), LIU (NEC), Lehigh (Patriot), and Montana (Big Sky). In addition, Harvard will receive the Ivy League's automatic bid.
For conferences that do not yet have an official champion, a conference in parentheses next to a team indicates a team that is in first place and would have an automatic bid as a conference champion. If the No. 1 seed has already been eliminated in a conference tournament that is currently still in progress, then the highest remaining seed receives the projected automatic bid.
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 East Region and Midwest Region hold the overall No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, respectively.
Who deserves an at-large bid the most?
No. 1 Kentucky (SEC) vs. No. 16 Miss. Valley State (SWAC)/Western Kentucky (Sun Belt)
No. 8 Kansas State vs. No. 9 Purdue
No. 5 Louisville vs. No. 12 Xavier
No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 13 South Dakota State (Summit)
No. 6 Creighton (MVC) vs. No. 11 Harvard (Ivy)
No. 3 Marquette vs. No. 14 Loyola-MD (MAAC)
No. 7 Memphis (C-USA) vs. No. 10 Cal (Pac-12)
No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 15 Montana (Big Sky)
No. 1 North Carolina (ACC) vs. No. 16 Stony Brook (A-East)
No. 8 San Diego State (MWC) vs. No. 9 Virginia
No. 5 Florida vs. No. 12 Seton Hall
No. 4 Indiana vs. No. 13 Virginia Commonwealth (CAA)
No. 6 Notre Dame vs. No. 11 Texas
No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 14 Belmont (A-Sun)
No. 7 Cincinnati vs. No. 10 Southern Miss
No. 2 Missouri vs. No. 15 LIU-Brooklyn (NEC)
No. 1 Syracuse (Big East) vs. No. 16 Lamar (Southland) vs. Norfolk State (MEAC)
No. 8 Iowa State vs. No. 9 Saint Louis
No. 5 UNLV vs. No. 12 Miami/BYU
No. 4 Murray State (OVC) vs. No. 13 South Florida/Drexel
No. 6 Vanderbilt vs. No. 11 West Virginia
No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 14 Davidson (SoCon)
No. 7 Gonzaga vs. No. 10 Colorado State
No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Detroit (Horizon)
How many bids does the Pac-12 deserve?
No. 1 Kansas (Big 12) vs. No. 16 UNC-Asheville (Big South)
No. 8 New Mexico vs. No. 9 Connecticut
No. 5 Wichita State vs. No. 12 Mississippi State
No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 13 Nevada (WAC)
No. 6 Temple (A-10) vs. No. 11 Long Beach State (Big West)
No. 3 Georgetown vs. No. 14 Akron (MAC)
No. 7 St. Mary's (WCC) vs. No. 10 Alabama
No. 2 Michigan State (Big Ten) vs. No. 15 Lehigh (Patriot)
First Four Out
St. Joe's, Washington, Northwestern, Dayton
Next Four Out
Iona, Tennessee, NC State, Oregon
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