In a time period where we tend to reward mediocrity this week's bracket projection makes sense. No conference received more than six bids and none deserved any. I don't put teams with .500 records or below in conference play in the bracket. This isn't a meaningless post-season like college football where Power Six schools get to go to bowl games simply for being a member of a Power Six conference. You're supposed to earn your way into the tournament, guys.
Champions of the oppresses will be happy to note that the Atlantic-10 is one of four conferences that are sending six teams to this week's prospective tournament, along with the Big East, Big 12 and ACC. While the RPIs of the six A-10 teams are solid the RPI hasn't been the hard-core barometer like it was in past seasons. For example, Illinois, Virginia Tech and UTEP have shaky ratings but have done the job in conference play, hence their inclusion.
The last four teams to receive invites were UTEP (first place in Conference USA), Illinois (thanks to their upset of Michigan State), Wichita State(good RPI and a solid second in the Missouri Valley) and Virginia Tech(outside of their RPI they fulfill all the other reqs).
The first four teams to have the door shut are San Diego State(had they won in OT against New Mexico this might be a different story), Washington(yes, the Pac-10 just might two teams in), Notre Dame(if they ever got consistent they'd be dangerous) and Marquette(the best Power Six conference team with a losing conference record).
Texas' seeding will catch some people's eyes. They are no longer in that coveted top-four seed tier. Considering they were number 1 overall not so long ago this a stunning turn of events but deserved. They have lost three of four and really aren't the team many people thought they were. Their point guard can't score, their center can't stay on the floor, their freshmen make crucial mistakes and their senior stud is bearing too much of the load. I could see the Longhorns making an early exit this year. Who'd have thought that in early January?
Enough of my ramblings. Enjoy the bracket.
2010 Bracket Projection No. 7
1 Kentucky(SEC) v. 16 Belmont(Atlantic Sun)
2 West Virginia(Big East) v. 15 Vermont(America East)
3 New Mexico(MWC) v. 14 Sam Houston(Southland)
4 Wisconsin(Big 10) v. 13 Louisiana Tech(WAC)
5 Texas (Big 12) v. 12 Wichita State(MVC)
6 Gonzaga(WCC) v. 11 Old Dominion(CAA)
7 Georgia Tech(ACC) v. 10 Cornell(Ivy)
8 Charlotte(A-10) v. 9 Siena(MAAC)
1 Syracuse(Big East) v. 16 Arkansas State(Sun Belt)
2 Purdue(Big 10) v. 15 Coastal Carolina(Big South)
3 Rhode Island(A-10) v. 14 Oakland(Summit)
4 Tennessee(SEC) v. 13 Northeastern(CAA)
5 Wake Forest(ACC) v. 12 Illinois(Big 10)
6 Texas A&M(Big 12) v. 11 Florida(SEC)
7 Pittsburgh(Big East) v. 10 Florida State(ACC)
8 Missouri(Big 12) v. 9 Xavier(A-10)
1 Kansas(Big 12) v. 16 Play-In Winner
2 Michigan State(Big 10) v. 15 Morgan State(MEAC)
3 Georgetown(Big East) v. 14 Charleston(Southern)
4 Temple(A-10) v. 13 California(Pac-10)
5 Brigham Young(MWC) v. 12 Murray State(OVC)
6 Vanderbilt(SEC) v. 11 Virginia Tech(ACC)
7 Baylor(Big 12) v. 10 Dayton(A-10)
8 UAB(C-USA) v. 9 Maryland(ACC)
1 Villanova(Big East) v. 16 Lehigh(Patriot)
2 Duke(ACC) v. 15 Pacific(Big West)
3 Kansas State(Big 12) v. 14 Northern Colorado(Big Sky)
4 Butler(Horizon) v. 13 Kent State(MAC)
5 Northern Iowa(MVC) v. 12 UTEP(C-USA)
6 Ohio State(Big 10) v. 11 Louisville(Big East)
7 UNLV(MWC) v. 10 St. Mary’s(WCC)
8 Ole Miss(SEC) v. 9 Richmond(A-10)
Play-In Game: Jackson State(SWAC) v. Robert Morris(Northeast)
Breakdown by Bids:
Atlantic-10 (6), ACC(6), Big East(6), Big 12(6), Big 10(5), SEC(5), Mountain West(3), CAA(2), Conference USA(2), Missouri Valley(2), West Coast(2), Everyone else got one.