NCAA Tournament 2012 Bracket: Ranking All 68 Teams
Amid abundant agitation, jubilation and (in the case of a couple of awkward live-TV shots of Ohio State and Kansas) dejection, the 2012 NCAA Tournament bracket was born on Sunday night.
There were surprises (Iona), snubs (Washington, Northwestern) and lots of appearances by mid-major and under-the-radar teams as this year's field was revealed. Now, there are plenty of questions. Can Kentucky rebound from its loss on Sunday in the SEC tournament and make a deep run?
Which team will be this year's VCU?
Was the Big East really that good this year to get nine teams into the dance?
We'll soon find out, but in the meantime, here are all 68 of this year's tournament teams, ranked from top to bottom.
1. Kentucky (32-2, No. 1 seed, South)—The Wildcats were this close to going 19-0 in SEC play before Vanderbilt swept the conference championship out from under them, so the No. 1 overall seed will certainly be playing hungry.
2. Syracuse (31-2, No. 1 seed, East)—The Orange stumbled in the Big East semifinals against Cincinnati, but lost just one conference game in a completely stacked field this season.
4. Michigan State (27-7, No. 1 seed, West)—Tom Izzo takes the Spartans to the Big Dance for the 15th straight season, this time with a Big Ten championship in tow.
5. Ohio State (27-7, No. 2 seed, East)—After losing to Michigan State in the conference championship, the Buckeyes missed out on getting a top seed, so they'll either be playing hungry or playing flat.
6. Kansas (27-6, No. 2 seed, Midwest)—Another team that was clearly disappointed to not receive a top seed, the Jayhawks will still be trying to shake off the rust after a conference semifinal loss to Baylor.
7. Duke (27-6, No. 2 seed, South)—The Blue Devils were ousted early from the ACC tournament and struggled all season to assert dominance over stiff competition from North Carolina and Florida State.
Did Mizzou deserve a No. 1 seed?
9. Marquette (25-7, No. 3 seed, West)—One of nine Big East teams to gain admittance to this year's dance, the Golden Eagles finished second in the conference behind Syracuse after their seventh straight 20-win season.
10. Indiana (25-8, No. 4 seed, South)—The Hoosiers are one of five ranked Big Ten teams to make the tournament. Indiana scored big victories over Michigan State and Michigan toward season's end.
11. Georgetown (23-8, No. 3 seed, Midwest)—The Hoyas bowed out of the Big East tournament in the quarterfinals, and they've struggled down the stretch, losing three of their last six games.
12. Florida State (24-9, No. 3 seed, East)—The ACC tournament champions proved their mettle by taking down Duke and North Carolina in succession in their final two games this season for their first conference title since 1991.
13. Louisville (26-9, No. 4 seed, West)—The Cardinals lost their final two regular-season games, but still managed to pull off a win in the Big East championship.
14. Michigan (24-9, No. 4 seed, Midwest)—The Wolverines finished in a tie for first place in the Big Ten, but lost to Ohio State in the conference semifinals.
15. Wisconsin (24-9, No. 4 seed, East)—The Badgers finished fourth in the Big Ten, but registered wins against Ohio State and Indiana in the final weeks of the season. They will be making their 11th straight appearance in the Big Dance.
16. Baylor (27-7, No. 3 seed, South)—The Bears finished third in the Big 12 behind Kansas and Missouri, but they took down the Jayhawks in the conference tournament before bowing out to Missouri.
17. Vanderbilt (24-10, No. 5 seed, East)—Vandy boosted its tournament resume at the last second, taking down the top overall seed, Kentucky, in the SEC championship.
18. Temple (24-7, No. 5 seed, Midwest)—The Atlantic 10 regular-season champions dominated through the middle of the season, losing just one game between January 11 and February 22.
20. UNLV (26-8, No. 6 seed, South)—The Rebels finished third in the surprisingly competitive Mountain West, and scored a big early-season win over North Carolina on November 26. They were undefeated at home for the first time in 20 years.
21. Wichita State (27-5, No. 5 seed, South)—The Shockers edged Creighton for the Missouri Valley regular-season title, but bowed out in the semifinals of the tournament.
22. San Diego State (26-7, No. 6 seed, Midwest)—The Aztecs lost to New Mexico in the Mountain West title game, and suffered an ugly three-game losing streak in early February.
23. Notre Dame (22-11, No. 7 seed, South)—In Mike Brey's sixth straight 20-win season, the Fighting Irish finished third in the Big East, but lost three of their final five games.
24. Murray State (30-1, No. 6 seed, West)—The Ohio Valley tournament champions, Murray State's only loss this season came on February 9 against Tennessee State.
25. Memphis (26-8, No. 8 seed, West)—The Conference USA-champion Tigers are a sleeper pick for the Final Four, winning 11 of their final 12 games this season.
26. Florida (23-10, No. 7 seed, West)—The Gators won 20 games for the 14th straight year, but lost three of their last four.
27. Connecticut (20-13, No. 9 seed, South)—The defending national champions had a mediocre season by their standards, finishing ninth in the Big East and paling in comparison to their conference counterparts.
29. Creighton (28-5, No. 8 seed, Midwest)—The Blue Jays triumphed over Illinois State for the conference championship, and rank first in the nation in field-goal percentage (.509).
30. Alabama (21-11, No. 9 seed, Midwest)—Making their first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2006, the Crimson Tide won five of their final seven games.
31. St. Mary's (27-5, No. 7 seed, Midwest)—The Gaels finally knocked off Gonzaga in the conference championship, and also finished first in the West Coast Conference standings.
32. St. Louis (25-7, No. 9 seed, West)—The Billikens finished second in the Atlantic 10 and are the third team head coach Rick Majerus takes to the NCAA tournament.
33. Cincinnati (24-10, No. 6 seed, East)—The Bearcats lost in the Big East championship to Louisville, but finished fourth in the conference.
34. West Virginia (19-13, No. 10 seed, East)—The Mountaineers were a big bubble team, failing to register 20 wins and losing five of their final eight games.
36. Long Beach State (25-8, No. 12 seed, West)—The Big West tournament champions have only lost two games since January 2.
37. Virginia Commonwealth (28-6, No. 12 seed, South) — Last year's Cinderella team will be looking to make a second straight trip to the Final Four.
38. Southern Mississippi (25-8, No. 9 seed, East)—The Golden Eagles bowed out of the Conference USA championship in the semifinals and lost four of their last seven.
39. Harvard (26-4, No. 12 seed, East)—Playing in their second NCAA tournament and their first since 1946, the Crimson, led by Tommy Amaker, could bust some serious brackets.
40. Xavier (21-12, No. 10 seed, South)—The Musketeers lost the Atlantic 10 championship to St. Bonaventure but started off the season with eight straight wins, taking down Georgia, Vanderbilt, Purdue and Cincinnati.
41. Texas (20-13, No. 11 seed, East)—This bubble team was 9-9 in conference play and was a questionable selection after dropping four of its last seven.
42. South Dakota State (27-7, No. 14 seed, South)—The Jackrabbits beat Western Illinois 52-50 to win the Summit League championship.
43. Iona (25-7, No. 14 seed, South)—One of the more controversial selections in this year's field, the Gaels lost in the MAAC semifinals to Fairfield and have a grand total of zero wins over top 50 teams in the RPI.
44. Colorado State (20-11, No. 11 seed, West)—The Rams finished fourth in the Mountain West but won three of their last four, including a 66-59 upset over UNLV.
46. Purdue (21-12, No. 10 seed, Midwest)—The Boilermakers seem to have edged Northwestern for the Big Ten's final seed after a first-round win in the Big Ten tournament against Nebraska.
47. N.C. State (22-12, No. 11 seed, Midwest)—The Wolfpack played itself into the tournament during the last weekend of the season, taking North Carolina down to the wire in the ACC semifinals.
48. BYU (25-8, No. 14 seed, South)—The Cougars finished third in the West Coast Conference, and won seven of their last nine.
49. Virginia (22-9, No. 10 seed, West)—This bubble team finished fifth in the ACC, and beat just one ranked team this season (Michigan).
50. Loyola (MD) (24-8, No. 15 seed, East)—The Greyhounds took down Fairfield in the MAAC championship and finished second in the regular-season standings behind Iona.
51. Kansas State (21-10, No. 8 seed, East)—The Wildcats finished fifth in the Big 12 and scored big late-season wins over Baylor and Missouri.
52. New Mexico State (26-9, No. 13 seed, South)—The Aggies took down Louisiana Tech in the Western Athletic Conference finals and could be a bracket buster—they've been to one Final Four.
54. St. Bonaventure (20-11, No. 14 seed, East)—The Bonnies won their first-ever Atlantic 10 championship this year, taking down Xavier. They finished third in the regular-season standings.
55. Montana (25-6, No. 13 seed, East)—The Grizzlies put together a school-record 14-game winning streak en route to the Big Sky championship.
56. Lehigh (26-7, No. 15 seed, South)—The Mountain Hawks tallied a school-record 26 wins this year and beat Bucknell for the Patriot League title.
57. South Florida (20-13, No. 12 seed, South)—One of the last bubble teams to make it in, the Bulls won 11 of 16 down the stretch.
58. Belmont (27-7, No. 14 seed, Midwest)—The Bruins won the Atlantic Sun championship and could be a sleeper for the Sweet 16.
59. Long Island (25-8, No. 16 seed, West)—The Northeast Conference tournament and regular-season champions have lost just two games since December 17.
60. Colorado (23-11, No. 11 seed, South)—The Buffaloes are the second Pac-12 team to make it into the Big Dance and finished off the regular season with four straight wins.
61. UNC-Asheville (24-9, No. 16 seed, East)—The Bulldogs won the Big South outright and trounced the Virginia Military Institute in the conference championship.
63. Lamar (23-11, No. 16 seed, South)—The Cardinals won the Southland conference regular-season title as well as the championship after beating McNeese State 70-49.
64. Norfolk State (25-9, No. 15 seed, West)—The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions ended their season with seven straight wins.
65. Detroit (22-13, No. 15 seed, Midwest)—The Titans knocked off Valparaiso for the Horizon League title.
66. Vermont (23-11, No. 16 seed, South)—The Catamounts won 14 of their last 15 en route to the America East title.
67. Mississippi Valley State (21-12, No. 16 seed, South)—The Delta Devils eked out a win over Texas Southern, 71-69, in the Southwestern Athletic Conference title game.
68. Western Kentucky (15-18, No. 16 seed, South)—The Hilltoppers couldn't compile a .500 record in conference play, but beat North Texas 74-70 for the Sun Belt title.
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