Conference play signals the start of a second season in college basketball. Those who dominated their non-conference slate will have to back up those results against league opponents, while schools that stumbled in November and December will now have the opportunity to mask those resume blemishes with big wins over some key rivals.
As always, I am not trying to guess how teams will finish the year. Rather, I am simply seeding them based on their current resumes.
I like to break teams down into three categories:
1. Wallflowers are bubble teams, because everyone wants to get into the Big Dance, but not all of them have the guts to ask a girl out onto the dance floor.
2. An Elite team that is safely in the field is "Dancing with a Hottie."
3. A school in the middle is "Dancing with Its Sister."
For two of the past three years, my final bracket projections have been more accurate than those of ESPN's Joe Lunardi, and I had the most accurate projections in the country in 2011.
I'll begin with the two First Four at-large-bid games:
(12a) Arizona State vs. (12d) St. John's
(12b) UMass vs. (12c) North Carolina
First 16 Teams Out: Maryland, Murray State, Seton Hall, La Salle, Iowa State, Saint Joseph's, Florida State, Ole Miss, LSU, Pittsburgh, Dayton, Villanova, Rutgers, Texas A&M, Washington, Wisconsin
The projections are presented in slideshow format, with each major conference receiving its own slide.
First up is the ACC.