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Predicting the 2011 NCAA tournament field

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Updated Jan. 11, 2011

The format for the 2011 NCAA tournament gives us 37 at-large teams instead of 34, and four play-in games.

More Bracketology
The Big East checks in with 11 teams this week (welcome Marquette), but I doubt very seriously that all 11 can qualify. Palm's Blog >>
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Two of the "First Four" 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 will likely fall into the 12- or 13-seed range.

Bracket projections are always based on "as if the tournament started today." I am not predicting how teams will finish the season.

The committee tries to place teams as close to home as possible without violating any of their other bracket rules (like conference separation). However, teams cannot play on their home floors or where they are the host school.

The conference "champion" is the team with the fewest conference losses, with ties broken by RPI. I am not predicting that team will win the league. It is just the current leader. As conference tournament seeding gets determined, the leader will be the highest remaining seed in the conference tournament.

Predicted Bracket
First Four
East Southeast West Southwest
16
16
Jackson State
Hartford
12
12
Drexel
Arizona
16
16
Northern Colorado
Delaware State
12
12
Cleveland State
Miami-FL
East
1
16
Duke
First Four
Charlotte
March 18, 20
Newark
March 25, 27
8
9
Kansas St.
Tennessee
5
12
Louisville
Princeton
Denver
March 17, 19
4
13
Illinois
Utah St.
6
11
UNLV
Marquette
Tulsa
March 18, 20
3
14
Texas A&M
Hofstra
7
10
Minnesota
St. Mary's
Cleveland
March 18, 20
2
15
Pittsburgh
Austin Peay
 
Southeast
New Orleans
March 24, 26
Cleveland
March 18, 20
Ohio St.
Nicholls St.
1
16
West Virginia
Boston College
8
9
Tucson
March 17, 19
Temple
First Four
5
12
Missouri
Belmont
4
13
Denver
March 17, 19
UCF
Virginia Tech
6
11
BYU
Bucknell
3
14
Washington, DC
March 17, 19
Vanderbilt
Missouri St.
7
10
Connecticut
Florida Atlantic
2
15
Final Four: Houston (April 2, 4)
Southwest
1
16
Kansas
Long Beach
Tulsa
March 18, 20
San Antonio
March 25, 27
8
9
St. John's
Gonzaga
5
12
Georgetown
First Four
Tampa
March 17, 19
4
13
Purdue
College of Charleston
6
11
Florida
Washington St.
Chicago
March 18, 20
3
14
Villanova
Akron
7
10
North Carolina
Old Dominion
Tucson
March 17, 19
2
15
San Diego St.
Fairfield
 
West
Anaheim
March 24, 26
Washington, DC
March 17, 19
Syracuse
First Four
1
16
Washington
Georgia
8
9
Tampa
March 17, 19
Wisconsin
UAB
5
12
Texas
Oakland
4
13
Charlotte
March 18, 20
Cincinnati
Butler
6
11
Kentucky
Coastal Carolina
3
14
Chicago
March 18, 20
Michigan St.
Oklahoma St.
7
10
Notre Dame
Wagner
2
15

Last four in: Arizona, Cleveland St., Drexel, Miami-FL
First four out: Dayton, Memphis, Michigan, Mississippi

Quick Breakdown
Conference Bids Conference Bids Conference Bids Conference Bids
ACC 5 Big 12 6 MEAC 1 Southern 1
America East 1 Big West 1 Missouri Valley 1 Southland 1
Atlantic Sun 1 Colonial 3 Mountain West 3 Summit 1
Atlantic 10 1 C-USA 2 Northeast 1 Sun Belt 1
Big East 11 Horizon 2 Ohio Valley 1 SWAC 1
Big Sky 1 Ivy 1 Pac-10 3 WAC 1
Big South 1 MAAC 1 Patriot 1 West Coast 2
Big Ten 6 MAC 1 SEC 5  
Detailed Breakdown
ACC (5)
Projected champ: Duke
At-large: Boston College, Miami-FL, North Carolina, Virginia Tech
On the fence: none
 
AMERICA EAST (1)
Projected champ: Hartford
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
ATLANTIC 10 (1)
Projected champ: Temple
At-large: None
On the fence: Dayton, Richmond, Xavier
 
ATLANTIC SUN (1)
Projected champ: Belmont
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
BIG 12 (6)
Projected champ: Kansas
At-large: Kansas St., Missouri, Oklahoma St., Texas, Texas A&M
On the fence: none
 
BIG EAST (11)
Projected champ: Syracuse
At-large: Cincinnati, Connecticut, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, St. John's, Villanova, West Virginia
On the fence: None
 
BIG SKY (1)
Projected champ: Northern Arizona
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
BIG SOUTH (1)
Projected champ: Coastal Carolina
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
BIG TEN (6)
Projected champ: Purdue
At-large: Illinois, Michigan St., Minnesota, Ohio St., Wisconsin
On the fence: Michigan
 
BIG WEST (1)
Projected champ: Long Beach
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
COLONIAL (3)
Projected champ: Hofstra
At-large: Old Dominion, Drexel
On the fence: George Mason, James Madison
 
CONFERENCE USA (2)
Projected champ: UAB
At-large: UCF
On the fence: Marshall, Memphis
 
HORIZON (2)
Projected champ: Butler
At-large: Cleveland St.
On the fence: None
 
IVY LEAGUE (1)
Projected champ: Princeton
At-large: None
On the fence: Harvard
 
MAAC (1)
Projected champ: Fairfield
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
MAC (1)
Projected champ: Akron
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
MEAC (1)
Projected champ: Delaware St.
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
MISSOURI VALLEY (1)
Projected champ: Missouri St.
At-large: None
On the fence: Wichita St.
 
MOUNTAIN WEST (3)
Projected champ: San Diego St.
At-large: BYU, UNLV
On the fence: Colorado St.
 
NORTHEAST (1)
Projected champ: Wagner
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
OHIO VALLEY (1)
Projected champ: Austin Peay
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
PAC-10 (3)
Projected champ: Washington
At-large: Arizona, Washington St.
On the fence: None
 
PATRIOT LEAGUE (1)
Projected champ: Bucknell
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
SEC (5)
Projected champ: Florida
At-large: Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
On the fence: Mississippi
 
SOUTHERN (1)
Projected champ: College of Charleston
At-large: None
On the fence: None
 
SOUTHLAND (1)
Projected champ: Nicholls 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: Florida Atlantic
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: None
 
WEST COAST (2)
Projected champ: Gonzaga
At-large: St. Mary's
On the fence: Portland
 
 
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