Selection Sunday is almost here (the actual selection process is about 24 hours away) and it's time to look at some of the major questions going through this bracketologist's mind. My new bracketology will be out soon! My final bracket should be out by 2 o' clock tomorrow afternoon!
1) Who will get the #1 seeds?
Pros: RPI #3, Wins over Michigan State, Florida State, Duke (twice), #20 SOS, Acc reg. season champs
Cons: Losses to Boston College & Maryland (best I could come up with)
Pros: RPI #1, SOS #7, Wins over Connecticut (twice), Florida State, Syracuse, West Virginia
Cons: Lost two of last five games (WVU, Providence)
Pros: RPI #6, Wins over West Virginia, Villanova, Louisville, Syracuse
Cons: Lost last two games and three of last five (SYR, PITT, PITT)
Pros: #7 RPI, Big East regular season champions, In Big East tournament championship, 9 straight W's
Cons: Losses to Western Kentucky, Minnesota, UNLV
Pros: #8 RPI, 30 Wins, 24 straight wins, Conf USA reg. season & tournament champions
Cons: Plays in Conference USA, Best wins are Gonzaga & Tennessee
Pros: #2 RPI, #2 SOS, Wins over Wake Forest, Florida State (twice), Xavier
Cons: Has not won against UNC, Losses to Boston College & Michigan
Pros: #4 RPI, #6 SOS, Big Ten regular season champs
Cons: Lost in Big Ten semifinals, Lost to UNC, Penn State, Maryland
2) How many teams will the SEC get?
The disaster scenario has happened for the SEC. Not only did South Carolina and Florida lose on Friday but Auburn also lost to Tennessee on Saturday. LSU has gone from a potential top 5 seed to a questionable top 6 seed after losing to Mississippi State. Both Tennessee & LSU are in, but if Tennessee knocks off Mississippi State then the SEC could be left with only TWO bids barring a Selection Sunday miracle.
3) Who gets the final two seed?
I think it's pretty fair to claim that North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Louisville, Memphis, Duke, and Michigan State are going to be on the top two seed lines (or top line) tomorrow. The question is whether the committee gives Kansas or Oklahoma the final two seed. I have OU as my final two seed at this point, but a lot of bracketologists (Lunardi included) disagree with me. The Jayhawks have lost two of three but did knock off Oklahoma in their only regular season meeting. The key will be how much the committee weighs in Blake Griffin missing the game.
4) St. Mary's or Penn State?
I hate to just eliminate a lot of bubble teams but this appears to be the major question most of us bracketologists are asking at this second. I have Penn State in while most bracketologists have St. Mary's in. How much of a factor will the committee rule that Patty Mills injury played in St. Mary's losses?
Pros: 18-2 with Patty Mills in the lineup
Cons: Best win is Utah State, Lost four games without Mills, Wasn't competitive against Gonzaga in WCC Final
Pros: Wins over Michigan State, Illinois (twice), Purdue, Michigan
Cons: Lost to Iowa, Wasn't impressive in final loss in Big Ten Semifinals to Purdue
5) Florida State & Syracuse, what does hot play get you?
Right now I have both teams as four seeds in my latest bracket (not released yet), but it's a tough line to draw. Both have great computer numbers and although hot play is important you don't want to over reward a team. Both teams are playing in championship games, I think both end up as four seeds when it's all said and done.
6) How do you sort out the Big Ten mess?
I've already touched a little bit on Penn State above (question #4), but how do you sort this mess out? I was actually listening to the Michigan State-Ohio State game when I realized that this is a weird year in college basketball. I don't want to take anything away from the Big Ten but by beating up on each other the conference is probably going to get eight teams into the field. Check this out.
Michigan State 4
Ohio State 35
Penn State 68
I don't want to be the bearer of bad news but do not be surprised if there's a Big Ten surprise on Selection Sunday. I don't see how any of the top seven can be left out due to the weakness of the bubble, but outside of the top three teams there is major mediocrity going on.
7) Utah State, what happens if they lose?
There has NEVER been a team left out of the NCAA Tournament with 27 wins or more. Utah State has 28 but most of them are against Subpar competition. If the Aggies lose tonight are they still in? I think so, mainly just due to the unwritten rule based on win total.
8) Statement: Siena's seed could be a major surprise
Just know this one. Siena has the nation's #19 RPI and has the MAAC regular season championship & tournament championship under its belt, as well as a pretty nice run in the NCAA Tournament from last season. Now the question is how well the Saints will be seeded tomorrow. For those wondering if they would've gotten into the field with a loss in the MAAC Championship the answer is yes. The lowest RPI ever left out of the NCAA Tournament was Missouri State. Do not be surprised if Siena jumps all the way up to the 8 seed line tomorrow.
9) Auburn's winning streak before their loss today will mean what?
I still think it means NIT. Auburn flew under the radar all season long, didn't do anything extraordinary and didn't play a team better than Virginia out of conference. Expect Auburn to be one of the ten SEC teams sitting at home, barring an unforseen decision by the comitteee.
10) Sunday's Surprise will be?
By this I am referring to the fact that there is ALWAYS something we don't see coming that happens when the brackets are announced. Either a major snub, a major surprise team is in, or a team is seeded way too high or way too low. Keep your eye on a team like Clemson. I think they could be seeded way lower than what people think.