Well things have certainly heated up over the past few weeks and we are now right in the thick of the conferences races. Things have definitely changed since my last mock bracket two weeks ago, as will it change almost nightly now until selection sunday. As always, this bracket is based on if the tournament started today, not who I predict will be selected in six weeks. Conference winners will be the team in first place right now, with tie breakers being highest rated RPI between the tied teams.
Conference champ- Stony Brook
Conference champ- Duke
at large- Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia
bubble- N.C. State, Maryland
analysis- N.C. State has yet to be anyone of note yet out of conference or in it, and that's why they haven't cracked the field yet. Florida State has now ripped off five wins in a row and with back to back home games coming up against Georgia Tech and Virginia, the Noles could climb the seeds in a hurry.
Conference champ- Belmont
at large- none
analysis- Belmont already defeated Mercer at home, and these two teams won't play again until the last game of the regular season, which could very well decide the regular season champion.
Atlantic 10- 4
Conference champ- UMASS
at large- Temple, Xavier, Saint Louis
bubble-Dayton, La Salle
analysis- By far the hardest league to figure out this year. Dayton followed a big win against rival Xavier with back to back losses, Including one to lowly Rhode Island yesterday for its first conference victory of the season. The Flyers are now on the outside looking in. Xavier picked up a needed road victory against Charlotte, but will need to impress people this saturday when they travel to Memphis for an out of conference showdown.
Conference champ- Syracuse
at large-Marquette, Georgetown, Notre Dame, UCONN, Louisville, West Virginia, Cincinnati
bubble- Seton Hall (in)
analysis- Seton Hall has free-falled since a nice start to play, and is now one of the last four teams in the tournament. Uconn is also going in the wrong direction, losing their last three games. They did get Boatright back today, but they still managed to fall at home to a hot Notre Dame squad.
conference champ- Weber State
analysis- Weber State demolished second place Montana by 16 earlier this year at home, and these two wont play again until the last regular season game of the season. Weber State should also draw a decent opponent for the Bracketbuster matchup in three weeks, possibly Indiana State, UNC Asheville, or Oakland
conference champ-N.C. Asheville
conference champ-Michigan State
at large-Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota
analysis- Purdue is hanging by a thread right now, and really needs a victory over Indiana next Saturday to boost its resume. Illinois is sliding hard, with three straight losses, including a loss AT PENN STATE. Wisconsin has won five straight since starting Big 10 play 1-3, and is moving up the seed chart rather quickly.
conference champ- Kansas
at large-Baylor, Missouri, Kansas State
bubble-Iowa State (in), Oklahoma
analysis- The Big 12 still has three teams in the top 10 of the country and it will probably stay that way the rest of the season. Missouri is extremely fun to watch, playing a four guard set most of the time with Ratliffe doing the job down low. Kansas has been probably the biggest surprise of the season for me, far exceeding the low expectations they had coming into this season.
conference champ-Long Beach State
analysis- Long Beach State will get one of the top two or three Bracketbuster games coming up in three weeks, and if they win that game, I dont think the committee can leave them out of the NCAA tournament regardless of winning their conference tournament or not.
conference champ- George Mason
analysis- George Mason and VCU will both be getting home bracketbuster games this year, and that saturday will go a long way in determining is the CAA will get a shot at two bids this year. Right now, they don't have the computer numbers to back two bids, but if GMU and VCU could get home wins and then Drexel steals one on the road, it just might happen.
conference champ-Southern Miss
analysis-Conference USA has started to clear up a little bit lately, with Southern Miss and Memphis breaking away from the pack. UCF and Tulsa are trying to hang around, but either way this league should end up with two bids.
conference champ-Cleveland State
analysis- Butler has lost back to back games and is now just .500 overall for the regular season. Cleveland State is the class of the league, and may draw either Northern Iowa or Nevada for the bracketbuster and with a win over either of those teams could boost their at-large chances.
bubble-none- Harvard beat the second best team in the IVY League (Yale) by 30 points friday night. That Florida State victory in the non-conference is looking better and better.
analysis- Iona boasts an RPI in the 50s and does have a couple of nice non conference victories (Denver, Maryland) I dont know if they will have enough of a resume to get in should they not win their tournament, but bubble teams better hope they do just in case the committee sees otherwise.
analysis- Ohio has a very nice record at 17-4, but with the computer numbers they have right now (70 RPI, 180 SOS and 0-1 vs top 50 RPI) they probably need to win out in the regular season, which would include a win at home against Akron, to have an at-large chance.
conference champ- Norfolk State
analysis- The winner of this league traditionally plays in one of the play-in games on Tuesday or Wednesday. This year won't be any different.
at large-Wichita State
analysis-Northern Iowa has fallen off the map, making the Missouri Valley a two bid league this year. Creighton and Wichita State are both solidly in right now, and will both be very dangerous in March. If you don't know who Doug McDermott is for Creighton, you need to. Averagine 23.5 ppg and 8.4 rpg, he's a first team all america type player and has the Bluejays looking at a top 4 seed this year.
Conference champ- UNLV
at large-San Diego State
bubble-New Mexico (in), Colorado State (in)
analysis- New Mexico has five wins over Power conference schools, and while none of those teams look to make the NCAA tournament this year, the Lobos body of work looks good enough to get in the tournament, barely. Colorado State has the same problem, but their win over San Diego State last night sneaks them into the tournament for now.
conference champ-Long Island
conference champ Murray State
analysis- Everyone is interested to see where the committee is going to put Murray State since they are undefeated but have a SOS of 227. I think right around the 6/7 line is a very fair spot for them.
bubble-Oregon, Colorado, Arizona
analysis- Washington went on the road and defeated Arizona last night to stay in first place in the pathetic PAC-12. Oregon was looking like an up-and-comer here in the last few weeks, but they lost at home to rival Oregon State tonight to drop to 6-3 in the league.
at large-Florida, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State
bubble- Mississippi (in), Arkansas (in), Alabama
analysis- Arkansas is a very young team, but there win over Michigan last weekend was enough to get them in right now. Kentucky is looking like the best team in the nation right now, and if Fab Melo doesnt return this year for Syracuse, I think they are the best.
analysis- Davidson beat Kansas earlier this year, and any team that plays this team in March better come ready to play or they'll be sent home from the Dance early.
conference champ-Texas Arlington
conference champ-Mississippi Valley State
analysis- Mississippi Valley State was 1-11 before conference play started, and has won 8 straight in SWAC play. There are zero teams above .500 in this league.
conference champ-Oral Roberts
analysis- Oral Roberts is undefeated in conference play at the moment and have reeled off 13 straight wins since a loss at Gonzaga. They will draw a televised bracketbuster game in three weeks, and with an RPI of 49, an at large bid may not be out of the realm of possibility.
conference champ-Middle Tennessee State
analysis- boasting wins over UCLA and Mississippi, this team will be a tough out in NCAA tournament play. Look for them right around the 13/14 line.
conference champ-St. Mary's
bubble- BYU (in)
analysis- Saint Mary's looked like the best Mid-Major team in the country last night, dismantling BYU on its home court. The Gaels' Matthew Dellavedova may not look like much of a basketball player at first glance, but he's the team leader and a guy no one should underestimate any longer.
analysis- The Wolfpack has won 15 straight games now, one of the longest streaks in the country, and looked primed to be a threat in March. a matchup featuring Cleveland State at Nevada would be a really good matchup in three weeks.
1s-SYRACUSE, DUKE, KENTUCKY, Ohio State
2s KANSAS, MICHIGAN STATE, Missouri, North Carolina
3s-Baylor, UNLV, Georgetown, Florida
4s-San Diego State, Marquette, CREIGHTON, SAINT MARY'S
5s-Michigan, Indiana, Vanderbilt, Virginia
6s-Uconn, MURRAY STATE, Wisconsin, Mississippi State
7s Gonzaga, SOUTHERN MISS, Illinois, Louisville
8s Temple, West Virginia, Florida State, HARVARD
9s-Wichita State, Notre Dame, California, Kansas State
10s-Xavier, UMASS, Iowa State, Minnesota
11s-Saint Louis, Memphis, Mississippi, WASHINGTON
12s-Byu, Seton Hall, Purdue, New Mexico, Arkansas, Colorado State
13s-CLEVELAND STATE, MID TENNESSEE STATE, GEORGE MASON, LONG BEACH STATE
14s-DAVIDSON, BELMONT, ORAL ROBERTS, NEVADA
15s-N.C. ASHEVILLE, LONG ISLAND, AKRON, IONA
16s-NORFOLK STATE, TEXAS ARLINGTON, MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE, BUCKNELL, STONY BROOK, WEBER STATE
Opening Round games
12 BYU vs. 12 New Mexico
12 Colorado State vs. 12 Seton Hall
16 Stony Brook vs. 16 Mississippi Valley State
16 Texas Arlington vs. 16 Norfolk State