Road to the Final Four at Ford Field: Weekend Bracketology to Stew Over

Jameson FlemingSenior Writer IJanuary 30, 2009

This year's bubble isn't very big and not very strong at all. Teams like Utah State, Siena, and Davidson will likely get in even if they don't win their conferences because of how poor the bubble is in 2009.

I filled the final eight spots of my bracket from a group of 16 teams. Those 16 teams are Boston College, BYU, Dayton, Florida State, Georgetown, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State, Providence, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, USC, and Virginia Commonwealth.


1 UConn vs. 16 American

UConn will be the new No. 1 with a win over Providence Saturday.

8 Kansas vs. 9 California

The Jayhawks are streaking and could easily find themselves in a six or seven seed line with an undefeated week against Colorado and Baylor.

4 Butler vs. 13 Northeastern

The SOS and computer numbers are there for Butler to be a little higher, but the RPI will drop as conference play continues. Northeastern is now the team to beat in the CAA.

5 Memphis vs. 12 Miami

The Tigers are flying up the board as they roll through Conference USA. Miami is one of the last four teams into the field.

2 Duke vs. 15 Morgan State

The loss to Wake Forest barely drops Duke to a two seed. Morgan State escapes a 16 seed because of its wins against Maryland and DePaul.

7 Baylor vs. 10 Dayton

The Bears are starting to slip but could make up ground with a big win this week against Kansas.

3 Marquette vs. 14 Buffalo

The Golden Eagles should drop a little soon in Big East play; Buzz Williams' team can't possibly keep up this run.

6 Minnesota vs. 11 Boston College

The Golden Gophers are tough to figure out, but a six seed is about the perfect placement for Tubby Smith's club.


1 UNC vs. 16 Alabama State/Robert Morris

The Tar Heels are back to a one seed since they are the best two-loss team. Robert Morris has the edge in the Northeast Conference after knocking off Mount St. Mary's.

8 West Virginia vs. 9 UCLA

The Bruins are struggling, but a nine seed is probably rock bottom for UCLA. West Virginia will probably sit between a seven and nine seed the rest of the year.

4 Gonzaga vs. 13 VMI

The Zags are close to a Top 10 team when looking at efficiency numbers, but they have some work to do to get a seed that corresponds. VMI will give someone a scare with their outrageously fast style of play.

5 UNLV vs. 12 Penn State

The Rebels project to be a five or six seed come March if Lon Kruger's team takes care of business. The Nittany Lions are one of the last four teams into the field.

2 Louisville vs. 15 Tennessee-Martin

The Cardinals are flying high, but unless they win the Big East, Rick Pitino's team won't be a one seed. Lester Hudson will carry Tennessee-Martin on his back to an Ohio Valley Championship.

7 Virginia Tech vs. 10 Ohio State

The Hokies were on a hot streak that ended abruptly at the hands of an 18-0 Clemson run Thursday night. The Buckeyes are in, but not safe.

3 Texas vs. 14 North Dakota State

The Longhorns haven't done quite enough to deserve a three seed, but have more opportunities down the stretch to pick up big wins.

6 Illinois vs. 11 South Carolina

The Fightin' Illini are still a good bet to finish third in the Big Ten despite their disappointing loss to Minnesota. Four teams are going to get in from the SEC; my bet is the Gamecocks somehow find enough wins to be that fourth team, not Tennessee, who's in free-fall mode.


1 Wake Forest vs. 16 Stephen F. Austin

The Demon Deacons catapult back up to a one seed with a win against Duke.

8 Washington vs. 9 Utah State

The record says the Aggies should be higher, but the computer numbers disagree (RPI 41). Washington looked like a five or six seed could be in its future until the Huskies lost to Arizona.

4 Purdue vs. 13 Western Kentucky

The Boilermakers should finish second in the Big Ten, which will be good enough for a four seed. WKU has a nice win over Louisville but hasn't done much since.

5 Syracuse vs. 12 LSU

The 'Cuse is falling, losing four of five games, and has lost its status as a lock. LSU is also one of the last four teams in the field, leading the SEC West after a win over Tennessee.

2 Pittsburgh vs. 15 Vermont

The Panthers are close to falling to a three seed in favor of Marquette after their road loss to Villanova.

7 Davidson vs. 10 Florida State

The Wildcats can't really be much higher than a seven at this point, unless they start beating every Southern Conference opponent by 40. The Seminoles need to pick up a few big wins down the stretch to solidify their spot in the field.

3 Michigan State vs. 14 East Tennessee State

The Spartans are the favorites to win the Big Ten, which will net them a three seed. East Tennessee State blew second-place Belmont out by 30 recently.

6 Siena vs. 11 Georgetown

The Saints could go undefeated in the MAAC, which ranks 12th in conference RPI. If Siena does that, it'll go as high as a six seed because of its SOS. Georgetown is close to falling out of the field if the Hoyas don't turn it around soon.


1 Oklahoma vs. 16 Long Beach State

The Sooners can make a case for the top seed overall with just one loss.

8 Saint Mary's College vs. 9 Utah

SMC looked really good Thursday night against Gonzaga until Patty Mills went down injured, which could cost the Gaels a seed line or two in March. Utah's win against BYU puts the Utes in the field because of a strong SOS and wins over LSU and Gonzaga.

4 Arizona State vs. 13 Northern Iowa

The Sun Devils looked like they might contend for a three or even a two seed until their loss to Washington State. Northern Iowa continues to roll through the Missouri Valley, which will be a one-bid league this year.

5 Kentucky vs. 12 Providence

The Wildcats are still a solid pick to win the SEC despite their loss to Mississippi. Providence makes the field instead of Notre Dame because the Friars are more likely to finish with 10 or 11 Big East wins, which will be enough to make the tournament.

2 Clemson vs. 15 Cornell

The Tigers grab a two seed after an impressive comeback road victory against Virginia Tech. The Big Red lost too many non-conference games to be any higher than a 14 seed and will likely receive a 15 seed.

7 Florida vs. 10 Missouri

The Gators have a gaudy record, but not the greatest computer numbers. The Tigers are lacking big-name victories but have five wins against the RPI Top 100.

3 Xavier vs. 14 Portland State

The Musketeers have reached their peak in seed potential and can really drop from here, but probably won't drop very far if they do.

6 Villanova vs. 11 BYU

'Nova snags a six seed because of its win over Pitt Wednesday night. BYU is one of the last teams in the field and blew an opportunity to strengthen its position with a loss against Utah.


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