In Search of 68, Selection Sunday Style!

As you can see, I don’t think the Ohio State-Penn State game means too much seed-wise. I think the Nittany Lions are in regardless of the outcome, and thus I can present, hours earlier than usual, the final bracket!

NEWARK SAN ANTONIO NEW ORLEANS ANAHEIM
1 Ohio State Kansas Pittsburgh Duke
2 Notre Dame Connecticut UNC San Diego State
3 Florida Texas Louisville Syracuse
4 Kentucky Wisconsin Purdue BYU
5 Saint John’s West Virginia Texas A&M Arizona
6 Cincinnati Vanderbilt Kansas State Xavier
7 Temple UNLV UCLA Georgetown
8 George Mason Washington Old Dominion Missouri
9 Florida State Tennessee Gonzaga Marquette
10 Michigan Michigan State Richmond Utah State
11 Saint Mary’s Clemson Villanova Illinois
12 Butler Colorado v. Penn State Virginia Tech v. Georgia Belmont
13 Princeton Morehead State Memphis Oakland
14 Wofford Indiana State Long Island Akron
15 Saint Peter’s Boston Univ. Bucknell Northern Colorado
16 Hampton v. Alabama State UC-Santa Barbara UT-San Antonio v. Arkansas-Little Rock UNC-Asheville

Last Five In: Illinois, Colorado, Virginia Tech, Penn State, Georgia

Last Five Out: Alabama, USC, UAB, Harvard, Missouri State

  • Georgia v. Alabama is one of the most interesting bubble dilemmas in some time. The Bulldogs have a better body of work; they’ve beaten some good teams, but more important, they haven’t lost to any bad teams. The Tide, meanwhile, have been better than UGa in the SEC season, and they beat Georgia twice in the last week of the season — including on a neutral floor. This comes down to a normative decision. Does the committee value the whole season more than head-to-head success or conference success? If it’s me picking, I take Alabama. The Tide have been better since the start of the year. The committee, on the other hand, has shown in the past a willingness to take teams with Georgia profiles (Florida last year comes to mind) and ignore head-to-head matchups (the George Mason-Hofstra debate from 2006). That’s why I’m going with Georgia.
  • USC probably has a better profile than Alabama, but it doesn’t have as good a one as Georgia (too many bad losses for the Trojans, in both the non-con and conference seasons). Without the head-to-head success to hang over the Bulldogs, I don’t see a valid reason for USC to make the Tournament ahead of Georgia.
  • I’ve got Pitt over Notre Dame for the No. 1 seed because the Panthers played a harder schedule and won the league outright, despite losing their best player for a few games.
  • UConn hops all the way up to a two because of its huge list of notable wins.
  • BYU drops to a four because it hasn’t looked the same without Brandon Davies, and there are 12 deserving teams ahead of the Cougars.
  • I’m commending my own bracket for doing a terrific job separating the 11 Big East teams.
  • My Elite Eight from this: Ohio State over Florida, Kansas over Texas, UNC over Purdue, Duke over Syracuse
  • Upsets: Butler over Saint John’s, Clemson over Vanderbilt, Belmont over Arizona and BYU, Purdue over Pittsburgh

As for locations:

DC

Pitt-Old Dominion-Gonzaga-UTSA/UALR

UConn-UNLV-Michigan State-Boston Univ.

Charlotte

Duke-Missouri-Marquette-UNC-Asheville

UNC-UCLA-Richmond-Bucknell

Cleveland

Ohio State-George Mason-Florida State-Hampton/Alabama State

Syracuse-Xavier-Illinois-Akron

Tampa

Florida-Cincinnati-Saint Mary’s-Wofford

Louisville-Kansas State-Villanova-Long Island

Chicago

Notre Dame-Temple-Michigan-Saint Peter’s

Purdue-Texas A&M-Virginia Tech/Georgia-Memphis

Tulsa

Kansas-Washington-Tennessee-UCSB

Texas-Vanderbilt-Clemson-Indiana State

Denver

BYU-Arizona-Belmont-Oakland

Wisconsin-West Virginia-Colorado/Penn State-Morehead State

Tucson

San Diego State-Georgetown-Utah State-Northern Colorado

Kentucky-Saint John’s-Butler-Princeton

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