Projecting the Field of 65: Dec. 8
The Big Ten's first ever ACC/Big Ten Challenge victory highlighted this past week's action. As a result, some Atlantic Coast Conference teams dropped a few seed lines in my second projections of the season.
As always, I am not trying to guess how teams will finish the year; I am simply seeding them based on their current résumés.
I like to break teams down into three categories. "Wallflowers" are bubble teams; everyone wants to get into the Big Dance, but not all have the guts to ask a girl out onto the dance floor.
Elite teams are safely in the field—"Dancing with a hottie"—and in the middle are the schools that are "Dancing with their sister."
Dancing with a hottie: North Carolina (3 seed), Duke (4)
Dancing with their sister: Florida State (7), Wake Forest (8)
Wallflowers: Georgia Tech (11), North Carolina State (11), Maryland (out), Clemson (out), Miami (out), Boston College (out), Virginia Tech (out)
The ACC had a rough week, dropping its first ACC/Big Ten challenge after a decade of dominance over the Midwest conference. As a result, several ACC teams saw their projected seed drop, and Clemson, which blew a huge lead at home to Illinois, is now completely out of the field.
Miami also falls out, but because of friendly fire after losing the conference opener at Boston College.
In better news, after back-to-back losses to William & Mary and Purdue, Wake Forest jumps into the field with a very impressive comeback win at Gonzaga.
Dancing with a hottie: Villanova (1), Syracuse (2), West Virginia (2), Connecticut (4)
Dancing with their sister: Georgetown (5), St. John's (8)
Wallflowers: Cincinnati (10), DePaul (10), Pittsburgh (11), Seton Hall (12), Louisville (out), Marquette (out), Notre Dame (out)
Louisville had a bad week. First they crushed Stetson, but a game against the RPI's No. 313 team is terrible for the Cardinals' computer numbers. Then they got destroyed by 22 at home to Charlotte. Louisville doesn't have a win over a top 115 squad.
Marquette's loss to NC State at home was the Golden Eagles' second in a row. With victories over Xavier and Michigan dropping in value, Marquette is now on the outside looking in.
Welcome Seton Hall to the Field of 65 as one of the last teams in. The Pirates are 7-0 and have a win at RPI No. 28 Cornell.
Dancing with a hottie: Purdue (1), Michigan State (3), Wisconsin (3)
Dancing with their sister: Ohio State (7)
Wallflowers: Northwestern (11), Minnesota (12), Illinois (out), Michigan (out)
Nothing helps jump a school six seeds like a win over Duke. RPI No. 34 Wisconsin has also beaten Maryland and Arizona.
Minnesota, on the other hand, is hanging by a thread as my last team in after losing three straight to Portland, Texas A&M, and Miami. The Gophers' victory over Butler is the only thing keeping them in the field, and they must win their next six to stay there.
Michigan's third consecutive loss—a home defeat to Boston College—knocks the Wolverines from the brackets. Their RPI is a miserable 221, and they haven't beaten a team ahead of them in that index.
Illinois got a very important win at Clemson, overcoming a 23-point second-half deficit to avoid dropping its third straight. Still, with an RPI of 143 and bad losses to Utah and Bradley, the Illini remain just outside the field.
Dancing with a hottie: Texas (1), Kansas (1), Texas A&M (4)
Dancing with their sister: Kansas State (5), Texas Tech (6), Oklahoma State (7)
Wallflowers: Missouri (out)
Texas Tech picked up an enormous win over Washington to skyrocket from out of the field to a six seed. The Red Raiders are one of 19 undefeated teams in the country and are ranked 18th in the RPI.
Oklahoma State dropped a spot after losing at an up-and-coming Tulsa team, and Missouri missed a chance to enter the field with a six-point loss at Vanderbilt.
Dancing with their sister: Washington (6)
Wallflowers: California (10), Arizona State (out), Washington State (out), USC (out), Arizona (out)
The Pac-10 got even weaker this past week with favorites Washington and Cal losing at Texas Tech and New Mexico, respectively. Arizona State also fell to Baylor, Washington State suffered setbacks at Gonzaga and Kansas State, USC lost to Texas and Georgia Tech, and Arizona was beaten by UNLV and Oklahoma.
The conference is 0-15 vs. the top 50. Wow.
Dancing with a hottie: Kentucky (2), Florida (2), Tennessee (3)
Dancing with their sister: Mississippi (5)
Wallflowers: Vanderbilt (9), South Carolina (out)
Okay, I'm officially sold on Kentucky after its win over North Carolina. Freshman John Wall is absolutely electric.
Florida continues to dominate teams, and I'm hoping to convince my girlfriend to make the hour-and-a-half drive to Tampa to see the Orange play the Gators when we're in Disney on Thursday.
South Carolina missed a chance to enter the field with a loss at Clemson. The Gamecocks' best win is over No. 62 South Florida.
Dancing with a hottie: UNLV (4)
Dancing with their sister: Dayton (5), Missouri State (6), Tulsa (6), Charlotte (7), William & Mary (8), Gonzaga (8)
Wallflowers: Temple (9), Northern Iowa (9), Richmond (9), New Mexico (10), Siena (12), Butler (12), Memphis (out), Portland (out), VCU (out), Xavier (out)
Undefeated UNLV continued to pad its résumé with a second win over a team from a major conference (Louisville, at Arizona). The Rebels have another big game coming up on Dec. 12 vs. Kansas State in Vegas.
RPI No. 8 Missouri State is 7-0, and its win over Tulsa is looking a lot better after the Hurricane took down Oklahoma State.
Charlotte's 22-point win at Louisville reminds us that the No. 31 49ers' only loss is at Duke, albeit by 42 points.
RPI No. 13 William & Mary has won six straight, including a crucial early season CAA victory over VCU. The Tribe has also beaten Richmond and Wake Forest.
Northern Iowa gets some love with wins over BC and Iowa State to go along with a 21 RPI and a 47 strength of schedule. UNI has a huge mid-major game against Siena on Dec. 12. The Saints are 0-3 vs. the top 200 and need a significant win fast if they're going to get an at-large.
RPI No. 23 New Mexico (8-0) leaps into the field with a win over Cal.
The Portland Pilots are in a nose dive. After beating UCLA and Minnesota at the 76 Classic in Anaheim, they've dropped three straight to West Virginia, Portland State, and Idaho.
13 seeds: Cornell, West Carolina, Coastal Carolina, Pacific
14 seeds: Eastern Michigan, IUPUI, Louisiana Tech, Texas-San Antonio
15 seeds: Northern Colorado, Murray State, Stony Brook, Western Kentucky
16 seeds: Army, Belmont, LIU, Texas Southern, Morgan State
Follow me on Twitter at JordanHarrison .
Jordan Schwartz is Bleacher Report's New York Yankees Community Leader. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.
Jordan can be reached at email@example.com
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