Bracketology: A Third of the Way Through Conference Play Edition

Jameson FlemingSenior Writer IJanuary 23, 2009


1 UConn vs. 16 Robert Morris

One-loss Big East team obviously gets a top seed.

8 Tennessee vs. 9 Miami

The Volunteers should rebound enough to make the tournament comfortably, and Miami will garner enough wins in the ACC to also make the tournament.

4 Purdue vs. 13 Western Kentucky

The Boilermakers may once again be the favorites for the Big Ten, but for now Michigan State has a better résumé and gets the higher seed.

5 Saint Mary's College vs. 12 Virginia Commonwealth

SMC hasn't beaten anyone, but only one loss is still impressive. I'm still picking VCU to win the CAA despite the emergence of George Mason and Northeastern.

2 North Carolina vs. 15 Vermont

The Tar Heels are one more Wake Forest loss from getting back to a No. 1 seed.

7 West Virginia vs. 10 Kansas

The Mountaineers are moving up after knocking off Georgetown, while Kansas will sneak into the tournament as a bubble team.

3 Arizona State vs. 14 Virginia Military Institute

How's this for a matchup: ASU ranks in the bottom 10 percent in possessions per game, while VMI plays the fastest basketball in the country. What's going to give?

6 Minnesota vs. 11 Villanova

'Nova is falling fast and could end up out of the tournament altogether. Minnesota is also starting to slip down the bracket.



1 Duke vs. 16 Morgan State/Alabama State

The Blue Devils are now the best team in the country and get the play-in game winner as a reward.

8 Texas A&M vs. 9 Penn State

Both of these teams are hard to figure out, but both are capable of beating very good teams.

4 Syracuse vs. 13 Siena

The Orange should be scared straight of this matchup. Siena is playing much better and plays a very similar style to the 'Cuse.

5 Kentucky vs. 12 Dayton

The Wildcats are rapidly rising up the bracket. Dayton is overrated in my book, but as long as the Flyers don't have too many blemishes in A-10 play, they'll make the tournament.

2 Pittsburgh vs. 15 American

The Panthers are sliding slightly down the bracket but could drop to a three seed if West Virginia can beat them over the weekend.

7 UNLV vs. 10 Florida State

The Rebels have a bunch of nice wins (at BYU, Louisville, Arizona), but a few bad losses (Cincinnati, TCU, Colorado State). Like Miami, FSU will win enough ACC games to get in.

3 Texas vs. 14 Cornell

The Longhorns have struggled against top teams but will still put together a nice résumé to get a three seed.

6 Illinois vs. 11 Florida

The Illini are rapidly moving up the bracket with an RPI of 19. Florida will have an inflated record thanks to the anemic SEC.


1 Wake Forest vs. 16 Tennessee-Martin

The Demon Deacons will be the only top seed that will play a team with a future NBAer, Lester Hudson.

8 Ohio State vs. 9 Butler

Not 100 percent sure if NCAA rules allow teams to have a first round rematch, but this is the way my bracket fell. Butler is going to be that team that costs an at-large team an NCAA berth by losing the Horizon League Tournament. It's a bold prediction, but one I'll stand by.

4 Georgetown vs. 13 Northern Iowa

The Hoyas are also starting to slip after consecutive losses to West Virginia and Duke, but GTOWN's RPI still stands 10th.

5 California vs. 12 Arkansas

The Bears just had an embarrassing home loss to Oregon State but should rebound enough to secure a five seed. Arkansas will be the team to win the crapshoot that is the SEC West.

2 Louisville vs. 15 Miami (OH)

Miami will bring defensive intensity that could give Louisville a run for its money. The Cardinals are on an impressive run through the Big East and could even make a claim for a top seed with a win Sunday at Syracuse.

7 Gonzaga vs. 10 BYU

Western mid-majors will tip-off as both Gonzaga and BYU will rebound throughout the rest of the year to safely make the NCAA Tournament.

3 Michigan State vs. 14 North Dakota State

The Spartans are quickly losing their title as team to beat in the Big Ten, but are good enough to easily pick up a three or four seed in the NCAA Tournament.

6 Baylor vs. 11 Utah State

The deadly three-point shooting will meet a team highly unknown to the American public. According to commenter Dan Hilker, Utah State will be on over the weekend.



1 Oklahoma vs. 16 Stephen F. Austin State

The Sooners are the best team in the Big XII and could lose only three or four games all year.

8 Davidson vs. 9 Notre Dame

The Wildcats are on cruise control through the Southern Conference, while Notre Dame is in freefall.

4 Xavier vs. 13 Portland State

The Musketeers are the Atlantic 10's best team but would get a real test in this hypothetical matchup with Portland State, who beat Gonzaga.

5 UCLA vs. 12 Virginia Tech

The Hokies are going to barely make the NCAA Tournament, but a win like their one against Wake Forest will go a long way. UCLA is the second-best team out west, but that's not saying much this year.

2 Clemson vs. 15 Long Beach State

The Tigers are starting to drop down the bracket, and if they continue to struggle in the ACC, they could easily drop to a four or five seed in no time.

7 Washington vs. 10 Missouri

The Huskies are the best offensive rebounding team and would need all the extra possessions they could get against an offensively superior team like Missouri.

3 Marquette vs. 14 East Tennessee State

The Golden Eagles are off to a great start in Big East play, which has vaulted Buzz Williams' squad up the rankings. East Tennessee State is off to an 8-1 start in the Atlantic Sun.

6 Memphis vs. 11 Michigan

The Tigers are going to end up a five or six seed because of how bad Conference USA turned out to be unexpectedly. Michigan is on the verge of falling out of the tournament after recent losses that have left the Wolverines with a 12-6 record.