Well, after re-working the numbers, I am submitting my final bracket projections for your approval (or disapproval.)
And I have to admit, I surprised myself.
The last at-large team hadn't been considered until today, but I took a look at their profile and it included a decent 7-8 record against the top 100 in the RPI, a close loss to Georgetown, and a 7-5 record in their last 12 games. Although, like most bubble, they lost in their first or second conference tourneys, they actually ended up snagging the coveted last at-large berth.
I refer to the 'Cats - the Villanova Wildcats. Granted, they lost their second conference tourney game, but they did smack Syracuse, who was another bubble team despite their prodigous talent, convincingly in the first round. (And to my friends and fellow SU fans who read this, it pains me too to talk negatively of the Orange but they deserve their NIT fate.)
To Arizona State and Oregon fans...talk to me when your teams have better than a 9-12 record and 12-13 record, respectively, vs. the top 200 in the RPI. Ohio State fans...2 good wins (Michigan State and Purdue) don't make up for 5-7 in the last 12 and a 19-13 overall record.
Final notes....if Illinois and Georgia somehow win the party in 'Nova ends and so does Kansas State's.
1 North Carolina v. 16 MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE/COPPIN STATE (TOURNEY WINNERS IN CAPS)
2 Georgetown v. 15 WINTHROP
3 Michigan State v. 14 UMBC
4 Vanderbilt v. 13 SIENA
5 Washington State v. 12 South Alabama
6 UNLV v. 11 Kentucky
7 Gonzaga v. 10 Virginia Tech
8 West Virginia v. 9 DAVIDSON
1 MEMPHIS v. 16 AMERICAN
2 Texas v. 15 SAN DIEGO
3 Duke v. 14 BELMONT
4 Connecticut v. 13 CORNELL
5 BUTLER v. 12 Kansas State
6 Marquette v. 11 WESTERN KENTUCKY
7 Arkansas v. 10 St. Joseph's
8 Southern Cal v. 9 Texas A&M
1 Kansas v. 16 MOUNT ST. MARY'S
2 Tennessee v. 15 Boise State
3 Stanford v. 14 AUSTIN PEAY
4 Xavier v. 13 GEORGE MASON
5 Pitt v. 12 Arizona
6 Purdue v. 11 Baylor
7 Notre Dame v. 10 Illinois State
8 KENT STATE v. 9 Miami (Fla.)
1 UCLA v. 16 Texas-Arlington
2 Wisconsin v. 15 PORTLAND STATE
3 DRAKE v. 14 CS-Fullerton
4 Louisville v. 13 ORAL ROBERTS
5 Indiana v. 12 St. Mary's
6 Clemson v. 11 Villanova
7 Brigham Young v. 10 TEMPLE
8 Oklahoma v. 9 Mississippi State
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