NCAA Bracket Predictions 2014: Projecting the March Madness Field at Week 17

Kerry Miller@@kerrancejamesCollege Basketball National AnalystFebruary 28, 2014

NCAA Bracket Predictions 2014: Projecting the March Madness Field at Week 17

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    Phil Sandln/Associated Press

    The March Madness tournament field is starting to take a more concrete shape with less than 400 hours remaining until Selection Sunday.

    Several conference tournaments will be tipping off in less than a week.

    It's the most wonderful time of the yearunless you're a high-ranking team just trying to survive the February grind.

    After barely escaping Vanderbilt with a win on Tuesday night, Florida head coach Billy Donovan told reporters, "We're not an overly talented team, we're just not. And what these guys have done up to this point in time it really has been pretty remarkable in my opinion."

    Not exactly what you expect to hear about the team that many were thinking just a week or two ago might be the favorite to win it all. Florida is still a No. 1 seed this week, but they ceded the overall No. 1 seed back to Arizona.

    At the other end of the field, Arkansas, BYU and Florida State joined the field this week, replacing Missouri, St. John's and Tennesseeas those falling bubble teams had a combined record of 1-5 in the past seven days.

    In recapping the rest of the projected field, we'll start at the bottom by looking at the last five teams to be included and excluded from the field. We will also take a look at five teams that aren't quite deserving of being in the tournament discussion but are creeping onto the radar.

    After that, we'll present each seeded region, including the sub-regional locations in which each pod would be played and some commentary on select teams. Then it's the ranking of the No. 1 seeds, followed by a summary of the entire field broken up by conference.

    Win-loss records on the following slides exclude games played against opponents not in D-I and are current through the start of play on Friday, Feb. 28. All Rating Percentage Index (RPI) rankings (via ESPN) and KenPom (KP) rankings (via are current through the start of play on Thursday, Feb 27.

Last 5 in

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

    Last Team In: Florida State (16-11, RPI: 54, KP: 31)

    The Seminoles have three RPI Top 50 wins, and they have all come away from homeincluding the still-shocking 18-point win over VCU in Puerto Rico. They also have just one loss against a team outside the RPI Top 75a home loss to Miami a few weeks ago.

    Yet, people casually looking at Florida State probably see 11 total losses and a sub-.500 conference record and just assume it doesn't belong in the field.

    If you squint just a little bit, though, the Seminoles pass both the eye and computer tests. They have a respectable RPI and rank in the top 40 according to both KenPom and Sagarin. They are just outside the top 40 in BPI. Those kind of numbers have "right side of the bubble" written all over them.

    In addition to the RPI Top 50 wins, Florida State pushed Michigan to overtime and came within one point of winning a road game against Florida. If it wasn't for a couple of close losses to middling ACC teams, there'd be no question that Florida State belongs in the field.

    The Seminoles close out the regular season with games against Georgia Tech, Boston College and Syracuse. Provided they win those first two, I'm not sure how the committee could keep them out of the tournament.

    Second-to-Last: Arkansas (19-9, RPI: 65, KP: 51)

    At this point, we might as well just put the names of six SEC teams on a dartboard and see what happens.

    Though Georgia is several games clear of the pack in the conference standings, Arkansas is getting projected for the SEC's third bid at the moment because of its season sweep of Kentucky. In addition to those wins over the Wildcats, the Razorbacks had earlier wins over Southern Methodist and Minnesota.

    Third-to-Last: California (18-10, RPI: 49, KP: 55)

    California is much closer to the cut line than most people care to admit.

    Yes, the Golden Bears ended Arizona's perfect season, but that's hardly a free pass to the tournament.

    The Golden Bears are 4-6 in their last 10 games, and were absolutely destroyed by both UCLA and Arizona in the past 10 days. If Arizona hadn't lost Brandon Ashley in the opening minutes at California, does anyone really believe that Cal would have won that game?

    California still plays Arizona State, Utah and Colorado before the conference tournament. Those are three potential losses, but are also three potential (and crucial) RPI Top 100 wins.

    Fourth-to-Last: Oklahoma State (18-10, RPI: 47, KP: 27)

    For now, Oklahoma State is OK. The Cowboys are hardly in the clear, though. Remaining games against Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State could either propel them further into the field or send them to the curb.

    The most likely outcome is a win over Kansas State and a loss in the other two games, which would leave them extremely bubbly heading into the Big 12 tournament.

    Fifth-to-Last: Minnesota (17-11, RPI: 44, KP: 48)

    The win over Iowa on Monday was nothing short of massive, but there's still work to be done here.

    Aside from the inertia of having been in the projected field for months, what is separating Minnesota from Florida State right now? Both teams are 3-7 vs. RPI Top 50 and each has a total of six RPI Top 100 winsthough, five of Minnesota's have come at home while five of Florida State's have come away from home.

    They each have a disappointing home loss to a team just outside the RPI Top 100, but Minnesota also has a second loss against that collection of sub-par teamsthe triple-overtime loss at Purdue on Feb. 5.

    Minnesota won the head-to-head game in the ACC/B1G challenge back in December, but that single game doesn't mean nearly as much as the entire body of work.

    To be clear, I'm not (yet) campaigning for Minnesota to drop out of the field. If I really felt that way, the Golden Gophers would be on the next slide. But if they pick up their 10th B1G loss of the season this weekend at Michigan, it's high time for people to start really questioning whether or not they deserve to make the field.

First 5 Out

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    First Team Out: Utah (16-9, RPI: 89, KP: 32)

    Slaves to RPI have probably never remotely considered Utah for an at-large bidESPN's Joe Lunardi didn't even list Utah in his "First Four Out" or "Next Four Out" on Thursday morningbut by every other metric, the Utes are a tournament team. ranks them as the 32nd-best team in the country. BPI has them at 35. Sagarin has them at 46.

    Outside of a bizarre 49-46 loss at Washington State in mid-January, the Utes don't have a single bad loss. They have home wins over UCLA, Arizona State and BYU.

    Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, but they have pushed Oregon, Colorado and Arizona to overtime before losing each of those games. The 14-point loss to UCLA on Feb. 15 was their only loss of the season by more than nine points.

    They don't quite have the blind resume numbers to bypass teams currently in the field, but the Utes pass the eye test with flying colors. And if they make some noise in the final 10 days of the regular season against California, Colorado and Stanford, just watch how quickly they start showing up in projected fields.

    Second Team Out: St. John's (18-11, RPI: 62, KP: 38)

    Third Team Out: Providence (18-10, RPI: 58, KP: 50)

    Fourth Team Out: Marquette (17-11, RPI: 73, KP: 53)

    One of these three Big East teams is probably going to make the field, and my money is on St. John's.

    The Red Storm have the best computer numbers of the bunch, and they don't play any more regular-season games against Creighton or Villanovawhereas Providence still plays at Creighton while Marquette still has a game remaining at Villanova.

    Feel free to view those as prime opportunities for marquee wins for the Friars and Golden Eagles, but there's a pretty good chance they will just be additional tallies in their loss columns.

    Fair or not, the deciding factor for this group may simply come down to which one can last the longest in the Big East tourney. If they are all eliminated in the quarterfinals, it will be a painfully long couple of days before Selection Sunday for each of them.

    Fifth Team Out: Dayton (19-9, RPI: 55, KP: 63)

    Outside of making sure that BYU is placed in both a region and sub-region that does not have games scheduled on a Sunday, perhaps the most difficult part of projecting brackets is the need to incessantly remind yourself that a team's most recent game isn't nearly as important as its entire body of work.

    I bring this up now, of course, because goodness gracious was Dayton's latest game a complete disaster. Grabbing 21 offensive rebounds in a game and still losing by 26 points has to be some kind of a record.

    But the overall resume is still pretty respectable. The Flyers have seven RPI Top 100 wins, and entered that blowout loss to Saint Joseph's on a six-game winning streak.

    Their next two games are against Massachusetts (RPI: 14) and Saint Louis (RPI: 12), which could either be their two best wins of the season or the final nail in their coffin.

Gone But Not Forgotten

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    Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

    Nebraska (16-11, RPI: 50, KP: 57)

    Kudos to the Cornhuskers for playing their way to the forefront of the bubble discussion only to lose to a team at the bottom of the B1G standings.

    Now they once again have their work cut out for them.

    Wins over Northwestern and Indiana would put them at 18-11 with seven RPI Top 100 winsor potentially only five if Indiana (RPI: 93) gets bumped into triple digits. They have already lost three games to teams outside the RPI Top 100.

    At that point, their resume would be pretty similar to the one that Dayton submitted on the previous slide.

    Before the loss to Illinois, Nebraska's season finale against Wisconsin was looking like it might just be gravy on top of its tournament-bound potatoes. But now, it might be a must-win game for the Cornhuskers.

    Clemson (17-10, RPI: 69, KP: 47)

    It's been a long time since we thought about Clemson, but the Tigers finish the season with three straight games at home against Maryland, Miami and Pittsburgh.

    If they can keep all three of those teams from escaping from Littlejohn Coliseum with a win, they would finish the regular season at 20-10 overall with an 11-7 conference recordwhich would be good enough for the No. 5 seed in the ACC tourney.

    As much as conference record doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, it'd be pretty difficult and unfair for the committee to consider both Florida State and Pittsburgh while completely ignoring Clemson.

    One-Third of the SEC

    Georgia, LSU, Missouri, Ole Miss and Tennessee are all on the wrong side of the bubble, and seem perfectly content with staying there.

    Unless LSU wins at Florida on Saturday, the race for the SEC's fourth tournament bid will likely come down to Georgia and whoever emerges victorious when Missouri travels to Tennessee at the end of the season. Should those teams happen to square off in the conference tournament, even better.

    The Big East and SEC will give us ample bubble drama over the next two weeks.

    Southern Miss (22-5, RPI: 32, KP: 66)

    Toledo (22-5, RPI: 37, KP: 103)

    With both the Golden Eagles and the Rockets no longer projected to win their conference's auto bid, we need to consider their potential fate in the at-large proceedings.

    Toledo's loss to Northern Illinois (RPI: 193) on Wednesday was more than a little ill-advised. With one or maybe two losses in MAC play, Toledo would have had a compelling case as an at-large team. Now that the Rockets have four conference losses and nary an RPI Top 50 win, they're probably looking at an auto bid or bust.

    Southern Miss is considerably more intriguing, but also unlikely to get onto the right side of the bubble. The Golden Eagles' final three games (including Thursday's win over Florida International) are against teams outside the RPI Top 200. Win or lose, those games won't help the resume.

    Even with a win over the No. 4 seed in the Conference USA semifinals, it's tough to imagine a scenario in which Southern Miss fails to win its conference tourney and still makes the NCAA tourney.

East Region (New York City)

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    Buffalo, N.Y.

    No. 1 Syracuse (26-2, RPI: 7, KP: 10) vs. No. 16 Alabama State (SWAC auto bid, RPI: 269, KP: 291) / Weber State (Big Sky auto bid, RPI: 171, KP: 165)

    No. 8 VCU (21-7, RPI: 23, KP: 23) vs. No. 9 Memphis (20-7, RPI: 35, KP: 39)

    San Antonio, Texas

    No. 4 Cincinnati (24-4, RPI: 20, KP: 21) vs. No. 13 Louisiana Tech (C-USA auto bid, RPI: 80, KP: 58)

    No. 5 North Carolina (21-7, RPI: 18, KP: 20) vs. No. 12 Minnesota (Last Five In)

    Orlando, Fla.

    No. 3 Virginia (24-5, RPI: 15, KP: 4) vs. No. 14 New Mexico State (WAC auto bid, RPI: 79, KP: 74)

    No. 6 Massachusetts (22-5, RPI: 14, KP: 45) vs. No. 11 Harvard (Ivy auto bid, RPI: 52, KP: 42)


    Raleigh, N.C.

    No. 2 Villanova (25-3, RPI: 4, KP: 9) vs. No. 15 Vermont (America East auto bid, RPI: 108, KP: 60)

    No. 7 Ohio State (22-7, RPI: 15, KP: 14) vs. No. 10 Baylor (16-10, RPI: 41, KP: 41)


    The difference between the No. 1 seeds and No. 2 seeds (and even a couple of the No. 3 seeds) is razor thin right now. Put it this way: for the four teams who received No. 2 seeds, it would be a lot easier to argue that they deserve to jump up to No. 1 than to argue that they should drop to No. 3.

    Villanova is the primary example. The Wildcats have yet to lose to a team outside the RPI Top 10, and even have a neutral-court win against Kansasthe top team in the country according to RPI.

    But if we're going to argue for Villanova as a No. 1 seed, what does that mean for the No. 2 seed (Creighton) that has beaten Villanova twice by a total of 49 points? It gets messy in a hurry. If I could hand out 10 No. 1 seeds, I would.

    And Virginia would absolutely get one of those 10 spots. Beat Syracuse on Saturday, and we'll almost certainly be talking about the Cavaliers' case for a No. 1 seed.

    Remember when North Carolina was on the bubble? Provided the Tar Heels can avoid losing to either Virginia Tech or Notre Dame in the upcoming week, they will probably be looking at a No. 4 seed before the rematch against Duke and the ACC tournament. Funny how 10 straight wins in a 31-game season can really turn things around.

    No one in their right mind could have guessed that Penn State would sweep Ohio State this season. Without those two losses, the Buckeyes are probably jostling for position as a No. 4 seed. Instead, they're flirting with dropping into a No. 8 vs. No. 9 game.

    Speaking of which, who's excited for that fictitious game between VCU and Memphis? The reward for winning the battle between two teams in the top 10 in the country in steals per game is a Round of 32 game against a Syracuse team that almost never turns the ball over.

    But who's to say Memphis is even a lock to make the tournament? The Tigers had avoided ugly losses all season until losing at Houston on Thursday night. Now they close out the season with three very difficult games against Louisville, Cincinnati and Southern Methodist. Should they lose all three, they will be 20-10 with just four RPI Top 150 wins. That sounds an awful lot like a bunch of resumes that aren't even being considered for at-large bids.

Midwest Region (Indianapolis)

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    Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

    St. Louis, Mo.

    No. 1 Wichita State (29-0, RPI: 9, KP: 7) vs. No. 16 High Point (Big South auto bid, RPI: 178, KP: 240) / Robert Morris (NEC auto bid, RPI: 127, KP: 158)

    No. 8 Colorado (20-8, RPI: 26, KP: 59) vs. No. 9 Saint Joseph's (20-7, RPI: 33, KP: 56)

    Spokane, Wash.

    No. 4 Iowa State (22-5, RPI: 11, KP: 24) vs. No. 13 Stephen F. Austin (Southland auto bid, RPI: 68, KP: 68)

    No. 5 Kentucky (21-7, RPI: 10, KP: 16) vs. No. 12 Green Bay (Horizon auto bid, RPI: 55, KP: 52)

    Buffalo, N.Y.

    No. 3 Michigan (20-7, RPI: 13, KP: 15) vs. No. 14 California / Arkansas (Last Five In)

    No. 6 Connecticut (22-6, RPI: 29, KP: 25) vs. No. 11 Florida State / Oklahoma State (Last Five In)


    St. Louis, Mo.

    No. 2 Kansas (22-6, RPI: 1, KP: 8) vs. No. 15 Georgia State (Sun Belt auto bid, RPI: 95, KP: 87)

    No. 7 Arizona State (20-8, RPI: 30, KP: 37) vs. No. 10 Pittsburgh (21-7, RPI: 45, KP: 18)


    The Midwest Region accidentally became the Pac-12 bubble.

    Arizona State is back on the rise after Wednesday night's convincing win over Stanford. The Sun Devils now have five RPI Top 50 wins. It's a shame that their only nonconference games worth mentioning are a blowout loss to Creighton (there should be a club for those teams) and a two-point win over Marquette that doesn't count for anywhere near as much as it did when the Golden Eagles were ranked.

    Colorado is also in pretty good shape, despite the thrashing the Buffaloes took at home against Arizona over the weekend. Closing the season with three straight road games against Utah, Stanford and California could pose a problem, though.

    And then, of course, there's California, who we already talked about in the "Last 5 In" slide.

    In addition to those middling teams, Pittsburgh is becoming quite the conundrum.

    It was one thing when the Panthers were barely losing to good teams and destroying the bad ones, but now they're losing to average teams and just barely beating the bad ones. They are now 3-5 in their last eight games, with the three wins coming by a total of 16 points against teams with RPI of 115, 186 and 229. They aren't quite on the bubble, but closing the season at Notre Dame, vs. NC State and at Clemson could get them there in a hurry.

    In less bubbly news, the Michigan Wolverines avoided disaster on Wednesday night when Glenn Robinson III banked them to a one-point overtime win against Purdue. The win kept them in sole possession of first place in the B1G standings. Should they hang on to that lead and win the regular-season title outright, you have to like their chances of climbing even higher than a No. 3 seed.

South Region (Memphis)

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    Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

    Orlando, Fla.

    No. 1 Florida (26-2, RPI: 3, KP: 6) vs. No. 16 North Carolina Central (MEAC auto bid, RPI: 121, KP: 96)

    No. 8 George Washington (20-7, RPI: 28, KP: 40) vs. No. 9 Kansas State (19-9, RPI: 39, KP: 43)

    Spokane, Wash.

    No. 4 Saint Louis (24-3, RPI: 12, KP: 19) vs. No. 13 Mercer (Atlantic Sun auto bid, RPI: 72, KP: 90)

    No. 5 San Diego State (22-3, RPI: 24, KP: 28) vs. No. 12 Belmont (Ohio Valley auto bid, RPI: 61, KP: 120)

    San Antonio, Texas

    No. 3 Louisville (24-4, RPI: 27, KP: 2) vs. No. 14 Delaware (Colonial auto bid, RPI: 74, KP: 107)

    No. 6 Texas (21-7, RPI: 22, KP: 35) vs. No. 11 Oregon (19-8, RPI: 40, KP: 36)


    Milwaukee, Wis.

    No. 2 Creighton (23-4, RPI: 8, KP: 5) vs. No. 15 Boston (Patriot auto bid, RPI: 92, KP: 129)

    No. 7 Iowa (19-9, RPI: 36, KP: 12) vs. No. 10 Stanford (18-9, RPI: 43, KP: 33)


    We desperately need to resolve the problem of Louisville's RPI. If there are 26 teams in the country better than the Cardinals, I would just love to meet them. They are No. 2 in KenPom's ranks, No. 7 in BPI, No. 8 in Sagarin...but No. 27 in RPI?

    Saint Louis suffered a pretty inexplicable home loss against Duquesne on Thursday night. Things aren't about to get any easier for the Billikens, either. Their final three games of the regular season are at VCU, vs. Dayton and at Massachusetts. It sure would be something if they went nearly three months without a loss and then lost four straight.

    Did you know that 12 of Texas's 21 wins have come against the RPI Top 100? That doesn't quite stack up with Kansas's 17, but it's pretty darn good for a team that was projected by Ken Pomeroy (subscription required) to finish in the bottom half of the Big 12 conference this year. The Longhorns' last two games of the season are against TCU and Texas Tech. If a team is ever going to moonwalk its way to a second-place finish in a major conference, this is it.

    Stanford doesn't have anywhere near that type of luxury. The Cardinal have an upcoming road game against Arizona before having to defend their home court against Colorado and Utah. If they aren't careful, they could drop to 18-12 and finish the season in a tie with Washington for seventh place in the Pac-12.

    Speaking of the Pac-12, Oregon picked up a very important win over UCLA on Thursday night, but the double-overtime thriller didn't mean quite as much as it might have had the Bruins been at full strength.

    Even if the Ducks win at USC on Saturday, they would need to sweep Arizona and Arizona State at home to have a conference record above .500. Without that, it'll be pretty tough for Oregon to stay in the field, thanks to a nonconference schedule that was about as tough as vanilla pudding.

West Region (Anaheim)

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    Andy Manis/Associated Press

    San Diego, Calif.

    No. 1 Arizona (26-2, RPI: 2, KP: 1) vs. No. 16 Davidson (SoCon auto bid, RPI: 146, KP: 143)

    No. 8 Southern Methodist (22-6, RPI: 38, KP: 22) vs. No. 9 Gonzaga (23-6, RPI: 31, KP: 29)

    San Diego, Calif.

    No. 4 UCLA (21-7, RPI: 16, KP: 14) vs. No. 13 Iona (MAAC auto bid, RPI: 71, KP: 75)

    No. 5 Michigan State (22-6, RPI: 17, KP: 17) vs. No. 12 North Dakota State (Summit auto bid, RPI: 41, KP: 71)

    Milwaukee, Wis.

    No. 3 Wisconsin (23-5, RPI: 5, KP: 11) vs. No. 14 Western Michigan (MAC auto bid, RPI: 96, KP: 132)

    No. 6 New Mexico (22-5, RPI: 21, KP: 34) vs. No. 11 BYU (19-10, RPI: 34, KP: 46)


    Raleigh, N.C.

    No. 2 Duke (23-6, RPI: 6, KP: 3) vs. No. 15 UC Santa Barbara (Big West auto bid, RPI: 106, KP: 86)

    No. 7 Oklahoma (20-8, RPI: 25, KP: 30) vs. No. 10 Xavier (19-9, RPI: 48, KP: 44)


    Let's discuss BYU.

    For religious reasons, the Cougars do not play basketball on Sundays. That means there are two regions and four sub-regions into which they cannot be placed. Before even considering their seed line or the other teams in the pods, their spot is already limited to just 25 percent of the bracket. By the time I got around to placing the final 15 or so teams from the bubble, the No. 11 seed in the West was the only possible place BYU could go.

    We lucked out this time, but eventually BYU is going to cause a massive headacheespecially if it ends up playing in the First Four. So be nice to your favorite bracketologists over the next two weeks.

    But congratulations to the Cougars for even putting us in a position to have to figure out where to place them. It still blows my mind that a 10-loss team from the WCC can make the tournamentconsidering it was just five years ago that Saint Mary's went 26-6 and didn't get inbut the Cougars have won seven out of their last eight games. They also did a fine job of scheduling quality nonconference opponents.

    Enough about BYU, though, because we need to talk about the other WCC team in this region. Gonzaga got back on the winning track on Thursday night against Pacific, but had really struggled over the past few weeks, losing three out of five games. What has become of the years when Gonzaga wouldn't lose three games all season?

    The Bulldogs aren't in any particular danger of missing the tournament, but a loss to Saint Mary's in the season finale on Saturday could potentially result in a double-digit seed.

    Last, but certainly not least, Michigan State is finally getting healthy.

    Joe Rexrode with the Detroit Free Press is reporting that Branden Dawson will return to action this weekend after a nine-game absence due to a broken hand. The Spartans have three regular-season games and a to-be-determined number of conference tournament games to try to get Dawson and Keith Appling back to full strength before the NCAA tournament.

    If that happens, we'll see how many people put their money where their mouth has been for the past two months and actually pick Michigan State to win it all after frequently claiming that a full-strength Michigan State is the best team in the country.

Ranking the No. 1 Seeds

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    Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

    No. 4 Syracuse (26-2, RPI: 7, KP: 10)

    I went back and forth about 17 times on whether Syracuse or Kansas deserved this final No. 1 seed. In the end, it was more fair for both teams for Syracuse to be the No. 1 seed in the East.

    Had Kansas gotten the spot, Syracuse would have been the No. 2 seed in the East, setting up what would effectively be a road game for Kansas in the Elite Eight if both teams made it that far. This way, both Kansas and Syracuse get to stay close to home for each of their first four games.

    After Saturday, though, either Syracuse will be more firmly entrenched in this spot on the top line or Virginia will be making a serious push for it.

    Frankly, it's hard to believe that the Cavaliers aren't already in the conversation. If the front of their jerseys read "Duke" or "North Carolina" and they were 15-1 in the ACC and projected for a No. 3 seed, I would be on trial for slander in the Tar Heel state.

    No. 3 Wichita State (29-0, RPI: 9, KP: 7)

    Did Wichita State lose yet? No? Then the Shockers remain a No. 1 seed for now.

    We'll see what happens during the conference tournaments. If Kansas, Syracuse, Villanova and Wisconsin each wins its respective tourney, it would become considerably more difficult to rationalize keeping Wichita State's two RPI Top 50 wins on the top line.

    Until then, though, let's keep the Shockers here and root for them to stay undefeated, ensuring a spirited debate in the days leading up to Selection Sunday.

    No. 2 Florida (26-2, RPI: 3, KP: 6)

    No. 1 Arizona (26-2, RPI: 2, KP: 1)

    With the exception of the AP poll, Arizona is ahead of Florida in virtually every ranking metric imaginable.

    Even if the Gators and Wildcats were neck-in-neck in the computers, we would have to give the edge to Arizona for the way it is playing right now. While other teams (very much including Florida) are just barely escaping with wins against inferior opposition, Arizona has been straight up embarrassing tournament teams.

    It wasn't enough that the Wildcats went on the road and beat Colorado by 27 points. No, they had to come back four days later and exact revenge on California by a 28-point margin.

    The best partunless you're a California fanabout the second game was that they didn't even start putting in their reserves until the final two minutes. They were sending a messagenot just to California, but to the rest of the country.

    Last Thursday, I wrote:

    "With the Wildcats, however, we're still waiting for proof that they can be one of the best teams in the country without Brandon Ashley. Perhaps upcoming games against Colorado and California will convince us one way or the other."

    10-4, Arizona. Message received.


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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    In case you lost track of how many teams from which conferences received what bids, here's the whole field in one snapshot.

    One-bid conferences: 22

    • America East (Vermont: 15)
    • Atlantic Sun (Mercer: 13)
    • Big Sky (Weber State: 16)
    • Big South (High Point: 16)
    • Big West (UC Santa Barbara: 15)
    • Colonial (Delaware: 14)
    • Conference USA (Louisiana Tech: 13)
    • Horizon (Green Bay: 12)
    • Ivy (Harvard: 11)
    • MAAC (Iona: 13)
    • MAC (Western Michigan: 14)
    • MEAC (North Carolina Central: 16)
    • MVC (Wichita State: 1)
    • NEC (Robert Morris: 16)
    • OVC (Belmont: 12)
    • Patriot (Boston: 15)
    • Southern (Davidson: 16)
    • Southland (Stephen F. Austin: 13)
    • Summit (North Dakota State: 12)
    • Sun Belt (Georgia State: 15)
    • SWAC (Alabama State: 16)
    • WAC (New Mexico State: 14)

    Multi-bid conferences: 10

    American: Louisville (3), Cincinnati (4), Connecticut (6), Southern Methodist (8), Memphis (9)

    Atlantic 10: Saint Louis (4), Massachusetts (6), VCU (8), George Washington (8), Saint Joseph's (9), Dayton (First Five Out)

    ACC: Syracuse (1), Duke (2), Virginia (3), North Carolina (5), Pittsburgh (10), Florida State (Last Five In)

    Big East: Villanova (2), Creighton (2), Xavier (10), Marquette (First Five Out), St. John's (First Five Out), Providence (First Five Out)

    Big Ten: Wisconsin (3), Michigan (3), Michigan State (5), Iowa (7), Ohio State (7), Minnesota (Last Five In)

    Big 12: Kansas (2), Iowa State (4), Texas (6), Oklahoma (7), Kansas State (9), Baylor (10), Oklahoma State (Last Five In)

    Mountain West: San Diego State (5), New Mexico (6)

    Pac-12: Arizona (1), UCLA (4), Arizona State (7), Colorado (8), Stanford (10), Oregon (11), California (Last Five In), Utah (First Five Out)

    SEC: Florida (1), Kentucky (5), Arkansas (Last Five In)

    West Coast: Gonzaga (9), BYU (11)

    Kerry Miller covers college basketball for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @kerrancejames.


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