For the seventh year in a row, Barnes Bracketology is here! Been a very successful 6 years as I have correctly predicted 67 out of 68 teams each year. This year, I hope to be perfect — though as I will point out numerous times throughout this journey, just because I miss a team does not mean I am wrong, just means I do not agree with the tournament committee. There is no RIGHT way to make these brackets. It is sort of like a puzzle that can be put together in different ways. Barnes Bracketology is simply just another one of those ways.
These early posts are always a bit rough and the projections will fluctuate a good amount as I really start to get a feel for the teams. When you’re a football fanatic like myself, it’s hard to throw yourself into this immediately so it takes a week or two. But just like the previous years, I continue to find ways to make this process easier, faster and hopefully more enjoyable for the reader and I think I will do that again this year.
If you are new to this column, here is a quick intro. I will update this every Monday and Friday. That is because teams tend to play one game from Mon-Thurs and then another between Fri-Sun. I will explain where each team stands. I will NOT look at one Bracketology projection on any other site (ESPN, CBS Sports, etc..) during this process as to not be influenced by so-called “experts” (who just simply get paid to do what I am doing as a hobby). I love your feedback too so if you have any questions or comments, go for it.
So for the seventh (!) year, here we go.
MY PROJECTED FIELD OF 68
(changes in italics)
LOCKS (14): Oklahoma, Villanova, North Carolina, Kansas, Iowa, Xavier, Maryland, Virginia, Texas A&M, Iowa State, West Virginia, Michigan State, Providence, Miami (FL)
AUTOS: This is the group of teams that will only make the tournament by winning their conference tournament. Obviously, I do not follow all of these conferences so I tend to just write in the team that leads the standings. I will update these as the weeks go on to make sure I predict the team playing the best at the time.
Teams that have clinched their berth will appear in bold
AT-LARGE: This group is for the teams that are not LOCKS to get into the tournament as of yet but still are worthy of being included in the field. This is the group that will slowly get smaller and smaller as the weeks go on. Some of these tams will graduate to LOCKS. Others will fall out and simply be on the BUBBLE on the outside looking in.
These are in order, so the last four teams will be playing in the “First Four” in Dayton.
BUBBLE: You know what this group is about. The teams that are not LOCKS and are hoping to be an AT-LARGE selection. You’ll notice, all of the AT-LARGE teams are in this group because if you aren’t a LOCK, you’re still technically on the BUBBLE. Some teams are just safer than others. You’ll also see teams from the AUTO category in here. That’s because they would be in the AT-LARGE discussion if they were to lose in the conference tournament.These are in order, so to figure out the first teams out, head to the final team from the AT-LARGE category and look for all the teams behind them.
BUBBLE (46): Oregon, Baylor, Kentucky, Louisville, Purdue, Dayton, Utah, Notre Dame, Duke, Arizona, Indiana, Texas, California, Florida, Michigan, Colorado, Pittsburgh, USC, Wichita State, VCU, South Carolina, Washington, Florida State, UConn, Saint Joseph’s, Gonzaga, Syracuse, Butler, Clemson, Cincinnati, Vanderbilt, LSU, UCLA, San Diego State, Monmouth, Saint Mary’s, Wisconsin, Stanford, Oregon State, Arizona State, Seton Hall, BYU, Georgetown, Valparaiso, Tulsa, Texas Tech
ACC (10), Pac-12 (7), Big Ten (6), Big 12 (6), SEC (5), Big East (4), A-10 (3), American (2), West Coast (2)