I admit I'm one of those guys. I have thought that the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, Joe Lunardi and Jerry Palm have all done serious damage to their brains in past seasons when the bracket projections and final bracket come out. I have lobbied hard and long for teams that find themselves on the outside looking in and wondered if college basketball is kowtowing unnecessarily to the power conferences.
Really, this isn't that hard of a job, I've said many times in the past.
Well, Mr. Lunardi, Mr. Palm and honored committee members, I offer you my mea culpa. While this is still a fun hobby, I am suffering serious physical and mental damage trying to project this year's field of 65.
The NCAA is thinking about expanding the field. Based on this year's play that may be the worst idea since Rick Pitino trotted out the Ricardo Montalban duds or DePaul thought it would be a good idea to join the Big East. Seriously, most of my at-large selections that are camped out in the nine-to-12 seed range would have no business playing in the Dance in most years.
I will say this. No conference better get eight teams in the field. Marquette, Texas Tech and Virginia would be the most likely candidates to be that eighth team from their respective power conferences. Marquette's best thing going for it is they're tied for fifth in the Big East. Texas Tech and Virginia can't even make that argument. Also, the Atlantic-10's fantasy of getting six teams in died this week. Temple, Richmond and Xavier are probably safe as kittens. Rhode Island's probably in unless they continue to slide. Charlotte and Dayton will be fighting for their lives.
Marquette came close to getting in this week's bracket. Along with Illinois, Mississippi State and Wichita State they were the first four to get barred at the gate. And if you think that's bad, the last four to sneak in were Arizona State, Memphis, UAB and Charlotte. Not exactly murderer's row.
Anyway, here's this week's bracket. To the committee, have fun on March 14.
1 Duke(ACC) v. 16 Jacksonville(Atlantic Sun)
2 Purdue(Big 10) v. 15 Morgan State(MEAC)
3 Pittsburgh(Big East) v. 14 Stony Brook(America East)
4 Brigham Young(MWC) v. 13 Oakland(Summit)
5 Texas A&M(Big 12) v. 12 Memphis (C-USA)
6 Richmond(A-10) v. 11 Georgia Tech(ACC)
7 Oklahoma State(Big 12) v. 10 Florida(SEC)
8 California(Pac-10) v. 9 St. Mary’s(WCC)
1 Kentucky(SEC) v. 16 Lehigh(Patriot)
2 West Virginia(Big East) v. 15 Northern Colorado(Big Sky)
3 Butler(Horizon) v. 14 Coastal Carolina(Big South)
4 Ohio State(Big 10) v. 13 Old Dominion(CAA)
5 Georgetown(Big East) v. 12 Cornell(Ivy)
6 Texas(Big 12) v. 11 UAB(C-USA)
7 Virginia Tech(ACC) v. 10 San Diego State(MWC)
8 Baylor(Big 12) v. 9 Xavier(A-10)
Midwest Region(St. Louis)
1 Kansas(Big 12) v. 16 Play-In Winner
2 Villanova(Big East) v.15 Sam Houston State(Southland)
3 New Mexico(MWC) v. 14 Kent State(MAC)
4 Michigan State(Big 10) v. 13 Murray State(OVC)
5 Tennessee(SEC) v. 12 Utah State(WAC)
6 Maryland(ACC) v. 11 Charlotte(A-10)
7 Northern Iowa(MVC) v. 10 UTEP(C-USA)
8 Florida State(ACC) v. 9 Rhode Island(A-10)
West Region(Salt Lake City)
1 Syracuse(Big East) v. 16 North Texas(Sun Belt)
2 Kansas State(Big 12) v. 15 UCSB(Big West)
3 Temple(Atlantic 10) v. 14 Wofford(Southern)
4 Vanderbilt(SEC) v. 13 Siena(MAAC)
5 Gonzaga(WCC) v. 12 Arizona State(Pac-10)
6 Wisconsin(Big 10) v. 11 UNLV(MWC)
7 Wake Forest(ACC) v. 10 Louisville(Big East)
8 Missouri(Big 12) v. 9 Clemson(ACC)
Play-In Game: Jackson State(SWAC) v. Quinnipiac(Northeast)