Road to the Final Four Bracketology: Geography Taken into Consideration

Jameson FlemingSenior Writer IMarch 2, 2009

The top seed in each region still will be handed out to Connecticut, North Carolina, Pitt and Oklahoma in that order. There is still time for those teams to slip as Louisville (if the Cardinals win the Big East Tournament) and Michigan State (if the Spartans beat Purdue and win the Big Ten Tournament) will be waiting to scoop up a top seed.

Memphis has been playing great down the stretch, but doesn't have the profile to be a top seed at this point.

LSU has the most to gain at this point. If the Tigers win out and win the SEC Tournament, with just four losses overall and only one SEC loss, it will be hard to seed the Tigers anything lower than a three. If things fall the right way, Trent Johnson's team could actually still pick up a two seed. For now though, LSU still sits as a four because of a very weak non-conference schedule.

I made the bracket using the same S-Curve the selection committee does, seeding the teams in groups of eight.

During the seeding process, it ended up being inevitable that Xavier plays Virginia Tech during the first round. That rematch technically goes against NCAA standards, but choosing to pair those two teams prevented Virginia Tech from being in the same half of a region with another ACC team.

Due to seeding restrictions and rules, Butler, Illinois, Providence and Georgetown moved up one seed line while Arizona State, Clemson, Texas A&M, and Virginia Tech dropped one seed line.

Pittsburgh isn't the top overall seed, but the Dayton region is the only region that hosts a No. 1 seed and plays on Friday; therefore, the Panthers automatically get the play-in game.

Bracket and bubble breakdown after the page jump.




1 UConn vs 16 Morgan State

8 Boston College vs 9 Ohio State


4 LSU vs 13 Western Kentucky

5 Gonzaga vs 12 Siena


2 Duke vs 15 Binghamton

7 West Virginia vs 10 UNLV


3 Kansas vs 14 Cornell

6 UCLA vs 11 Georgetown




1 North Carolina vs 16 Radford

8 Tennessee vs 9 Dayton


4 Villanova vs 13 Virginia Commonwealth

5 Illinois vs 12 Davidson

Kansas City

2 Memphis vs 15 Robert Morris

7 Arizona State vs 10 Oklahoma State


3 Wake Forest vs 14 Jacksonville

6 Syracuse vs 11 Saint Mary's




1 Pittsburgh vs 16 Alabama State/Cal-State Northridge

8 South Carolina vs 9 Texas


4 Purdue vs 13 Utah State

5 Xavier vs 12 Virginia Tech


2 Michigan State vs 15 American

7 Utah vs 10 Providence


3 Missouri vs 14 Buffalo

6 Clemson vs 11 Florida



Kansas City

1 Oklahoma vs 16 Stephen F. Austin State

8 California vs 9 Wisconsin


4 Marquette vs 13 North Dakota State

5 Clemson vs 12 Creighton


2 Louisville vs 15 UT-Martin

7 BYU vs 10 Miami


3 Washington vs 14 Weber State

6 Butler vs 11 Texas A&M


Bubble Breakdown

Teams that made it were Dayton, Tennessee, South Carolina, Texas, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Miami, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, UNLV, Virginia Tech, Providence, Florida, Saint Mary's, and Georgetown. Those 15 teams made it into the field in roughly that order.

It is very questionable whether Creighton, Utah State, and Davidson can make it into the field as an at-large if they lose their conference tournaments.

The teams that were close, but didn't make it into the field in no particular order are Cincinnati, Minnesota, Michigan, Penn State, Maryland, Kansas State, Arizona, Washington State, Kentucky, New Mexico, and Rhode Island.

I chose the final at-large spots by projecting down the stretch where these teams will finish and what teams have the best shot to win at least two games in their conference tournaments.

Georgetown was a special case. If the Hoyas win their final two games (which they should) then the Hoyas would enter the Big East Tournament 8-10. If they win two games in the tournament, which I project them to, they would finish 10-11 in the Big East and 19-13 overall.

When looking at past precedents as laid out by Crashing The Dance, the Hoyas have a great case to make the tournament because of the quality wins over Memphis, UConn, and Syracuse.

Cincinnati really hurt itself with another blowout loss to Syracuse. Michigan must win on the road in its Big Ten finale and then get two Big Ten Tournament wins. Minnesota also needs at least three wins down the stretch to secure a bid.

The season finale for both Kentucky and Florida is basically a play-in game at this point. The winner makes the tournament with one SEC Tournament win, the loser probably needs to make at least the semifinals if not go to the championship game to secure a bid.

Washington State is also an interesting case. The overall profile isn't there, but down the stretch the Cougars have knocked off Arizona, Arizona State (twice), and UCLA. WSU ends its season on the road against Washington, and if the Cougs can win that game, they would sit at 9-9 in conference with five wins over RPI Top-50 teams.

A run to the conference title game would mean Washington State beat one or two more of those teams and would finish with a 19-14 record. That should be good enough to get them into a realistic conversation about an at-large bid.