2016 Barnes Bracketology – Mar. 5

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The madness has already begun…well, kind of. A few of the conference tournaments have started and chaos has ensued. Two of the lowest seeds are playing for a championship, including Stetson in the Atlantic Sun, though they are ineligible to play in the NCAA Tournament due to low APR scores. That means if they win, the NCAA bid will go to the regular season champ North Florida, who Stetson beat! Confused? Don’t be. It’s March.

 

MY PROJECTED FIELD OF 68
(changes in italics)

LOCKS: Added a couple of more teams in this group. Wichita State’s regular season is over and today, they play in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Tournament. Win or lose that tourney, I think they’re in. Seton Hall actually lost this week and yet, they locked up their spot. They’ve done enough.

 


LOCKS (32): Kansas, Villanova, Virginia, Oklahoma, Oregon, Michigan State, Xavier, Miami (FL), North Carolina, Utah, Kentucky, Maryland, West Virginia, Indiana, Duke, Iowa State, Purdue, Texas, California, Texas A+M, Arizona, Dayton, Iowa, Baylor, Wisconsin, Colorado, Providence, Texas Tech, Saint Joseph’s, Wichita State, Seton Hall

 

AUTOS: Another change to the American Athletic Conference champ. Seriously, this conference tournament is going to be ridiculous. Also, some other changes as the top seeds in confernece tournaments have lost so clearly, they aren’t winning the auto bids. This group will be a revolving door of teams until the tournament begins as upsets happen in conference tournaments.

Teams that have clinched their berth will appear in bold

 

AUTOS (24):America East – Stony Brook, AmericanTempleAtlantic SunFlorida Gulf CoastBig Sky – Weber State, Big South – Winthrop, Big West – Hawaii, Colonial – Hofstra, Conference-USA – UAB, Horizon – Valparaiso, IvyYale, MAAC – Monmouth, MAC – Akron, MEAC – Hampton, Mountain West – San Diego State, Northeast Wagner, Ohio ValleyTenn-MartinPatriotLehigh, Southern – Chattanooga, Southland – Stephen F. Austin, SWAC – Texas Southern, Summit – IPFW, Sun Belt – AR-Little Rock, WCC – Saint Mary’s, WAC – New Mexico State

 

AT-LARGE: With just 8 days until Selection Sunday, not a big fan of having this many in this group but such is life. The teams near the top are probably in good shape but I’m being overly cautious. Those near the end of this group though not only need to win this weekend but probably should be thinking about winning a couple of games in their conference tournament to feel safer. Alabama drops out after a bad home loss. 

 

These are in order, so the last four teams will be playing in the “First Four” in Dayton.

 

AT-LARGE (12): USC, Oregon State, St. Bonaventure, Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Syracuse, VCU, Butler, Florida, Tulsa, UConn

 

BUBBLE WATCH

 

BUBBLE: No teams added but Georgia Tech dropped out as they lost during the week. Not too much shuffling in the group either. Big win for Houston who beat fellow bubble team Cincinnati. Winning against a fellow bubble team at this time of the year goes a long way in the eyes of the committee. 

 

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 (26): USC, Oregon State, St. Bonaventure, Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Syracuse, VCU, Butler, Temple, Florida, Tulsa, Saint Mary’s, UConn, Michigan, Alabama, San Diego State, Monmouth, Cincinnati, Houston, Gonzaga, George Washington, LSU, BYU, Florida State, Ohio State

SEEDING

 

CONFERENCE BREAKDOWN
ACC (7), Big 12 (7), Pac-12 (7), Big Ten (6), SEC (6), Big East (5), A-10 (4), American (3)

COMING IN: Temple, Florida Gulf Coast, UT-Martin, Lehigh
GOING OUT: Alabama, North Florida, Belmont, Bucknell
Teams highlighted in green moved up in seeding since last bracket.
Teams highlighted in red moved down in seeding since last bracket.
(Click on bracket to enlarge)
MIDWEST vs. WEST
EAST vs. SOUTH

**Kansas is the overall top seed

GAMES TO WATCH
SATURDAY
Vanderbilt at Texas A+M – Win by Vandy locks up their spot in the field.
Ohio State at Michigan State – Buckeyes have to win this one. If not, all hopes rest on winning the Big Ten Tournament.
LSU at Kentucky – LSU is also in must-win mode. A season sweep of UK would be beneficial to their resume.
Syracuse at Florida State – A good ‘ol bubble game. FSU needs this more but Syracuse still isn’t safely in the field by any means.
Pittsburgh at Georgia Tech – Pitt lost to Virginia Tech after beating Duke. Can’t afford another bad loss.
Marquette at Butler – Butler has to win this one. Home game vs. a team not expected to be in the field.
Alabama at Georgia – As quickly as Alabama rose, they have fallen. A loss here probably means a SEC Tournament championship is the only way in.
Iowa State at Kansas – Win by Kansas locks up the top overall seed in the tournament.
Oregon at USC – Win by USC locks up their spot, though it’s in good shape already.
South Carolina at Arkansas – Time for South Carolina to take care of business. Their spot should have been locked up weeks ago.
North Carolina at Duke – UNC’s hopes of a 1 seed ride on this game. Can’t be swept by Duke and expect to get to the top line.
Oregon State at UCLA – If the Beavers don’t trip up here, I’m making them a lock.
Yale at Columbia – A win by Yale clinches the Ivy championship, and their first NCAA berth since 1962.
Florida at Missouri – The Gators are on a slippery slope and if they don’t win this one, they’re out of the field for sure.
Iowa at Michigan – A huge opportunity for Michigan to get a big win. Iowa also is falling fast. They were once a 1 seed and now have fallen to a 6 seed.
VCU at Dayton – Not sure a loss hurts VCU too much but a loss would be huge for them.
Portland at Gonzaga – Looking like Gonzaga is going to need some help to get in the tournament without winning the WCC tourney

 

SUNDAY

SMU at Cincinnati – Great opportunity for Cincy for a big win before the AAC tournament to raise their stock.
UCF at UConn – UConn knows it can’t afford to slip up here.

Next update will come after Sunday’s games. And starting after Tuesday’s games, we’re going daily until Selection Sunday! Questions? Comments? Sound off on my Twitter or Facebook and I’ll answer any questions.

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