End of the Road: Bald Prophet's Last Regular Season Bracket and Poll

Marc DaleyAnalyst IMarch 9, 2009

As we come to the dawn of several conference tournaments and the end of the regular season in college basketball, I offer several thoughts on the 2008-09 season.

* The SEC has had a season to forget. LSU was the only team to achieve a ranking for more than a few weeks, and they rewarded the Bayou faithful by tanking it during the last couple games. The only other team that should consider themselves safe as kittens is Tennessee. Anybody else needs to win at least one game or more in the SEC tourney.

* The Mountain West has had a season to remember. Utah and BYU are locks to dance, and three other teams have a great chance to fight for one or even two at-large bids. New Mexico has come out of nowhere in their last 12 games to tie the Utes and Cougars for first. San Diego State has had a solid year. UNLV beat Big East winners Louisville and hosts the conference tourney.

* The at-large pool is full of teams that don't deserve to be in but will get in anyway. The only teams I could see getting "robbed" at this point are Siena, which has made their conference final, and Utah State. However, if the Aggies lose their first conference tourney game, there is precedence for keeping them out despite their credentials. Anybody else you could argue over some cold ones for several hours on their tournament worthiness.

* Blake Griffin will get Player of the Year. If there was an MVP, he would have to get serious consideration. I base this award on which player is not only outstanding but also has a significant impact on his team's success. Some other MVP candidates would include Ty Lawson of UNC, Hasheem Thabeet of UConn, and James Johnson of Wake Forest, while a dark horse candidate would be Toney Douglas of Florida State.

* Finally, we could say goodbye to two longstanding streaks on Sunday. Kentucky has to win the SEC tourney to avoid being shut out for the first time since 1991. Arizona probably needs to win a game (or two) in the Pac-10 tournament to avoid missing it for the first time since 1984. 


So, for better or worse, here are your final regular season poll and bracket projection. I will be tweaking the bracket every day from here until Sunday.

BP Top 25

1 - Memphis

2 - Louisville

3 - North Carolina

4 - Pittsburgh

5 - UConn

6 - Michigan State

7 - Duke

8 - Kansas

9 - Wake Forest

10 - Oklahoma

11 - Villanova

12 - Gonzaga

13 - Washington

14 - Clemson

15 - Missouri

16 - UCLA

17 - Marquette

18 - Xavier

19 - Syracuse

20 - LSU

21 - Florida State

22 - Arizona State

23 - St. Mary's

24 - BYU

25 - Purdue


Bracket Projection (teams who have clinched are in bold)

East Region

1 UConn v 16 Radford

2 Duke v 15 College of Charleston

3 Washington v 14 Weber State

4 Clemson v 13 Stephen F. Austin

5 Gonzaga v 12 New Mexico

6 Texas A&M v 11 South Carolina

7 West Virginia v 10 Wisconsin

8 Ohio State v 9 Dayton


South Region

1 UNC v 16 Morehead State

2 Oklahoma v 15 East Tennessee State

3 Villanova v 14 Buffalo

4 Xavier v 13 VCU

5 Syracuse v 12 Michigan

6 Purdue v 11 San Diego State

7 Tennessee v 10 Siena

8 Arizona State v 9 Texas


Midwest Region

1 Pitt v 16 Play-In (Cal State Northridge v Alabama St.)

2 Michigan State v 15 Cornell

3 Kansas v 14 North Dakota State

4 Florida State v 13 Northern Iowa

5 UCLA v 12 Western Kentucky

6 Marquette v 11 Arizona

7 Utah v 10 Boston College

8 LSU v 9 Minnesota


West Region

1 Memphis v 16 Morgan State

2 Louisville v 15 Robert Morris

3 Wake Forest v 14 Binghamton

4 Missouri v 13 American

5 Illinois v 12 Creighton

6 BYU v 11 Utah State

7 Oklahoma State v 10 St. Mary's

8 Butler v 9 California


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