I was hoping today would be an easy day of minor tweaking to my bracket projections. Virginia Commonwealth took care of business quite handily, and Chattanooga's win meant the Southern champ dropped from a 15 to a 16 seed.
Even Siena kept the committee members from wringing their hands by capturing the MAAC tourney on their home court.
Then came Gonzaga and St. Mary's.
For some reason, I have a weird obsession with the Gaels. Maybe it's because they don't produce NBA players but have managed to get on the national scene in spite of that, and I like the underdog.
They persevered in the face of losing their best player and got to the WCC final with the best player back in form. Well, scratch that last part.
Patty Mills threw up more prayers than an out-of-work Wall Street banker, and his team got pounded by Gonzaga. As a result, the committee will have plenty of lotion to heal their hands after the wringing they will do on Sunday.
For now, I have left the Gaels in. True, most of their wins came against weak competition, but I believe Mills will get back on track enough to be an asset rather than a liability, as was the case yesterday.
Their RPI stands at 46, which in a normal year would be cause for derision, but thanks to the pitiful performances by most of the "major" at-large candidates, it doesn't look that bad by comparison.
However, they need to root hard for schools like Butler and hope that no team pulls a Georgia in the major conference tourneys.
Bracket Projection (teams who have clinched are in bold)
1 UConn v 16 Radford
2 Duke v 15 Morgan State
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
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
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
1 Memphis v 16 Chattanooga
2 Louisville v 15 Robert Morris
3 Wake Forest v 14 Binghamton
4 Missouri v 13 American
5 Illinois v 12 St. Mary’s
6 BYU v 11 Creighton
7 Oklahoma State v 10 Utah State
8 Butler v 9 California