|3||Ohio State||New Mexico||Vanderbilt||West Virginia|
|10||Florida State||California||Connecticut||Georgia Tech|
|11||Utah State||Illinois||Rhode Island||Mississippi State|
|12||Siena||UTEP||Old Dominion||Saint Mary’s|
|13||Kent State||Cornell||Murray State||Northeastern|
|14||Sam Houston State||Oakland||Charleston||Western Kentucky|
|15||Morgan State||Coastal Carolina||Weber State||Pacific|
|16||Lehigh v. Jackson State||Belmont||Vermont||Robert Morris|
Newbies:Mississippi State, Western Kentucky
Goners: Virginia Tech, Arkansas State
Last Five In: Illinois, Rhode Island, Mississippi State, Saint Mary’s, Northeastern*
Last Five Out: Dayton, San Diego State, Notre Dame, San Diego State, Charlotte
*I have Northeastern in the bracket right now as a kind of buffer. The Huskies didn’t win the Colonial and have little chance at an at-large. But, I very much doubt that Butler, Northern Iowa, and Old Dominion–all teams that could claim at-larges–will all win their conference tournaments. So Northeastern is in there as a John Doe for whoever steals one of those bids. (P.S. It’s likely that it could be Northeastern, which is why I have the Huskies there in particular.)
- Robbie Hummel’s injury makes Duke the presumptive favorite to grab the last No. 1 seed. If the Boilermakers bounce back to win the Big Ten Tournament or if Kansas State knocks off Kansas and wins the Big 12 Tournament, those teams will hop the Blue Devils. But to me, neither of those is as likely as Duke staying the course and winning the ACC Tournament, even with a slip-up tomorrow night at College Park. Villanova can also jump up if it wins the Big East Tournament, but I don’t see that happening.
- I don’t think Purdue will fall below a two-seed, though, because I expect the Boilermakers to win their last two games with Penn State and Indiana and then advance to the Big Ten semifinals. That should be enough to keep them on the 2-line.
- New Mexico did its best to lock up a protected seed by winning at BYU on Saturday. The Lobos might have the best profile ever from the Mountain West, with an 11-2 mark against the RPI top 100 (with seven of those wins against the top 50).
- If Syracuse wins out, it will be the No. 1 overall seed. I think the Orange will lose either to Louisville or in the Big East Tournament. I expect Kansas and Kentucky to both win their conference tournaments.
- Most Important Wins of the Week: Louisville at Connecticut, Clemson at Florida State, Marquette at Seton Hall, and of course, Oklahoma State against Kansas. The Cowboys moved from right on the bubble to closing in on a lock with that signature victory.
- Worst Losses of the Week: Virginia Tech’s pair against BC and Maryland, Rhode Island at Saint Bonaventure. The Rams can withstand their terrible loss to the Bonnies for now, but the Hokies need to win their last two (including one at Georgia Tech) and do well in the ACC Tournament to have a chance. With their non-conference slate, they needed to get to 11-5 in the ACC to feel comfortable; the best they can do now is 10-6.
- I think Cal will probably make it so long as the Golden Bears get to the finals of the Pac-10 Tournament. And Washington isn’t that far out of the at-large picture.
- Everyone has UTEP seeded a lot higher than I do. The Miners are a classic eye-test team: Randy Culpepper and Derrick Caracter look really good, but UTEP still hasn’t beaten anybody of note. Their only win over a Tournament team is at UAB, and the next best win is against New Mexico State, who the Miners also lost to this season.
- Richmond becomes the 30th team to reach “Lock” status. The top seven seed-lines, Florida, and Richmond are locks in my book–although Wake Forest is testing that notion.
- My Elite Eight with this bracket: Kansas over Ohio State, Kentucky over Villanova, Syracuse over BYU, West Virginia over Duke
- Upset Specials:Utah State over Texas, Siena over Tennessee, Connecticut over Kansas State, Xavier over Pittsburgh, UNLV over Purdue