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Projecting the Field: Preseason edition

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It's basketball season again, so let's start out with a projected bracket in the new, not terribly improved, 68-team format.

2010-11 Season Preview
The new format gives us 37 at-large teams instead of 34, and four play-in games. Two of those games will feature the four lowest-seeded teams in the field, and the other two will have the four lowest-rated at-large teams. The four lowest-rated teams will play to become 16-seeds, as they have in the past. The four at-large teams will play for a seed in the lower part of the bracket, wherever the last seeds would fit. Most of the time, it should be something like a 12 or a 13.

In this bracket, you will see that both of the at-large play-in game winners are slotted as 12-seeds. That may not end up being the case in March. They are not pre-determined to be any particular seed. That is decided by the committee when it puts the bracket together. We do know that each region will be assigned one play-in winner.

So what does this mean in the big picture? Just three more teams in this tournament that should probably be in the other one. Could be worse though. Could have been 31 more.

In this bracket, I like a Final Four of Duke, Michigan State, Ohio State and Kansas, with Duke winning it all. I reserve the right to change my mind between now and March. Maybe even more than once.

Detailed Breakdown
First Four
East Southeast Southwest West
16
16
Boston U.
UNC Asheville
12
12
New Mexico
Richmond
16
16
Jackson St.
Lehigh
12
12
Oklahoma St.
St. John's
East
1
16
Duke
First Four
Charlotte
March 18, 20
Newark
March 25, 27
8
9
Texas A&M
West Virginia
5
12
Florida
Murray St.
Tucson
March 17, 19
4
13
Illinois
Wofford
6
11
Washington
Georgia
Tucson
March 17, 19
3
14
Baylor
UCSB
7
10
Xavier
Maryland
Cleveland
March 18, 20
2
15
Pittsburgh
Lipscomb
 
Southeast
New Orleans
March 24, 26
Chicago
March 18, 20
Michigan St.
Texas St.
1
16
Clemson
Mississippi St.
8
9
Denver
March 17, 19
Georgetown
First Four
5
12
Missouri
Central Michigan
4
13
Washington, DC
March 17, 19
Wichita St.
Dayton
6
11
Kentucky
Fairfield
3
14
Charlotte
March 18, 20
Texas
Marquette
7
10
North Carolina
Morgan St.
2
15
Final Four: Houston (April 2, 4)
West
1
16
Syracuse
Quinnipiac
Washington, DC
March 17, 19
Anaheim
March 24, 26
8
9
BYU
N.C. State
5
12
Purdue
First Four
Denver
March 17, 19
4
13
Gonzaga
Utah St.
6
11
Wisconsin
Missouri St.
Chicago
March 18, 20
3
14
Memphis
Weber St.
7
10
Temple
Arizona
Tulsa
March 18, 20
2
15
Kansas
Oakland
 
Southwest
San Antonio
March 25, 27
Tulsa
March 18, 20
Kansas St.
First Four
1
16
Tennessee
Minnesota
8
9
Tampa
March 17, 19
Virginia Tech
Cincinnati
5
12
Butler
VCU
4
13
Tampa
March 17, 19
Florida St.
UCLA
6
11
Villanova
North Texas
3
14
Cleveland
March 18, 20
San Diego St.
Saint Louis
7
10
Ohio St.
Princeton
2
15

Last four in: New Mexico, Oklahoma St., Richmond, St. John's
First four out: Louisville, Northwestern, Notre Dame, St. Mary's

Quick Breakdown
Conference Bids Conference Bids Conference Bids Conference Bids
ACC 7 Big 12 7 MEAC 1 Southern 1
America East 1 Big West 1 Missouri Valley 2 Southland 1
Atlantic Sun 1 Colonial 1 Mountain West 3 Summit 1
Atlantic 10 5 C-USA 1 Northeast 1 Sun Belt 1
Big East 8 Horizon 1 Ohio Valley 1 SWAC 1
Big Sky 1 Ivy 1 Pac-10 3 WAC 1
Big South 1 MAAC 1 Patriot 1 West Coast 1
Big Ten 6 MAC 1 SEC 5  
Detailed Breakdown
ACC (7)
Projected champ: Duke
At-large: Clemson, Florida St., Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina St., Virginia Tech
On the fence: Miami
 
AMERICA EAST (1)
Projected champ: Boston U
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
ATLANTIC 10 (5)
Projected champ: Xavier
At-large: Dayton, Richmond, Saint Louis, Temple
On the fence: Rhode Island
 
ATLANTIC SUN (1)
Projected champ: Lipscomb
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
BIG 12 (7)
Projected champ: Kansas St.
At-large: Baylor, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma St., Texas, Texas A&M
On the fence: None
 
BIG EAST (8)
Projected champ: Syracuse
At-large: Cincinnati, Georgetown, Marquette, Pittsburgh, St. John's, Villanova, West Virginia
On the fence: Connecticut, Louisville, Notre Dame
 
BIG SKY (1)
Projected champ: Weber St.
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
BIG SOUTH (1)
Projected champ: UNC Asheville
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
BIG TEN (6)
Projected champ: Michigan St.
At-large: Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio St., Purdue, Wisconsin
On the fence: Northwestern
 
BIG WEST (1)
Projected champ: UC Santa Barbara
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
COLONIAL (1)
Projected champ: VCU
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
CONFERENCE USA (1)
Projected champ: Memphis
At-large: None
On the fence: UTEP
 
HORIZON (1)
Projected champ: Butler
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
IVY LEAGUE (1)
Projected champ: Princeton
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
MAAC (1)
Projected champ: Fairfield
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
MAC (1)
Projected champ: Central Michigan
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
MEAC (1)
Projected champ: Morgan St.
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
MISSOURI VALLEY (2)
Projected champ: Wichita St.
At-large: Missouri St.
On the fence: Creighton, Northern Iowa
 
MOUNTAIN WEST (3)
Projected champ: San Diego St.
At-large: BYU, New Mexico
On the fence: UNLV
 
NORTHEAST (1)
Projected champ: Quinnipiac
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
OHIO VALLEY (1)
Projected champ: Murray St.
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
PAC-10 (3)
Projected champ: Washington
At-large: Arizona, UCLA
On the fence: Washington St.
 
PATRIOT LEAGUE (1)
Projected champ: Lehigh
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
SEC (5)
Projected champ: Kentucky
At-large: Florida, Georgia, Mississippi St., Tennessee
On the fence: Alabama, Mississippi, Vanderbilt
 
SOUTHERN (1)
Projected champ: Wofford
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
SOUTHLAND (1)
Projected champ: Texas St.
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
SUMMIT LEAGUE (1)
Projected champ: Oakland
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
SUN BELT (1)
Projected champ: North Texas
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
SWAC (1)
Projected champ: Jackson St.
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
WAC (1)
Projected champ: Utah St.
At-large: None
On the fence: New Mexico St.
 
WEST COAST (1)
Projected champ: Gonzaga
At-large: None
On the fence: St. Mary's
 
 
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