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|
|2||Notre Dame||Connecticut||UNC||San Diego State|
|5||Saint John’s||West Virginia||Texas A&M||Arizona|
|8||George Mason||Washington||Old Dominion||Missouri|
|10||Michigan||Michigan State||Richmond||Utah State|
|12||Butler||Colorado v. Penn State||Virginia Tech v. Georgia||Belmont|
|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
- This bracket includes 47 of the 68 teams I predicted at the start of the season.
- 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:
UConn-UNLV-Michigan State-Boston Univ.
Ohio State-George Mason-Florida State-Hampton/Alabama State
Louisville-Kansas State-Villanova-Long Island
Notre Dame-Temple-Michigan-Saint Peter’s
Purdue-Texas A&M-Virginia Tech/Georgia-Memphis
Wisconsin-West Virginia-Colorado/Penn State-Morehead State
San Diego State-Georgetown-Utah State-Northern Colorado