Updated Morning of Selection Sunday, check back after the A&M game for one final mini-update going into the brackets being revealed
Moving Up: UConn, VCU (both into lock positon)
Moving Down: Cincinnati, St. Bonaventure, South Carolina
Locked Up: St. Joseph's, Butler, Wichita St., UConn, VCU
Eliminated: George Washington, Ohio State, Alabama, Houston, Tulsa, Georgia
Selection Sunday is finally here! It always seems like so far away and then it sneaks up on you before you know it. This will be a nice and relaxing selection show for Texas A&M as they have been safely in the field for a month, but the final seeding and matchups are still very up in the air. The good news is, a lot of their seeding fate is still in their hand, playing Kentucky in the SEC Championship with a chance to move in front of the Wildcats once and for all and stake their claim as both regular season and tournament champs. More on seeding prognosis below.
There is, as always, plenty of bubble drama for the rest of the country on Sunday as well, primarily in the AAC and the SEC where several teams are done playing and just have to hope the committee is favoring metrics this year that make their resume stand out. A ranking of where I see each team heading into the final day is below as well
Bubble Teams by Conference
UConn beat both of the remaining AAC bubble teams in the tournament and that is enough to clinch their bid to the NCAA tournament. It has been a wild ride for sure. Both Cincy and Temple will have long waits on Selection Sunday. My guess is Cincy gets in and Temple doesn't but it could go either way. Ironically if UConn does lose on Sunday it will be their worst loss of the season and give the AAC another bid with Memphis coming from off the radar to steal a bidperhaps from Temple.
Tulsa and Houston are both out after taking really bad losses in the Quarterfinals.
Bubble: Cincinnati Temple
St. Joe's defeated George Washington in the quarterfinals which really starts to clear the A10 picture up. First of all that locks up St. Joseph's and it also officially eliminates GW. Then VCU beat Davidson in the Semis to punch their ticket. That leaves just St. Bonaventure on the bubble with in my estimation the Bonnies just barely on the right side of the bubble.
Locks: Dayton, St. Joseph's, VCU
Bubble: St. Bonaventure
The ACC has 5 locks with Pitt and Syracuse on the bubble. Pitt should be in and Syracuse would need a miracle so this looks like a pretty safe bet for 6 bids.
Locks: UNC, Virginia, Miami, Duke, Notre Dame
Bubble: Pitt, Syracuse
No bubble drama here Tech makes it 7 locks from the Big 12 with no other bubble candidates.
Locks: Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Iowa State, Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech
There isn't much bubble drama here either. Butler is a pretty weak lock but a lock nonetheless as the 5th team in from the Big East
Locks: Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall, Providence, Butler
Michigan defeated Big 10 regular season champ Indiana in the Quarterfinals but was unable to really punch their ticket by beating Purdue in the Semis. That probably pushes them to just out of the tournament as one of the first 1 or 2 teams out.
Locks: Iowa, Maryland, Michigan St., Purdue, Indiana, Wisconsin
Colorado, USC and OSU all got 1st round wins and that is good enough. Washington hasn't done enough to get consideration and wasn't able to do much in the tournament.
Locks: Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Cal, Colorado, USC, Oregon St.
South Carolina went 0-1 in the SEC Tournament, but with the happenings around the rest of the bubble on Friday they are still fairly safe. Vanderbilt is also now really sweating it out after their disappointing tournament performance. Georgia probably needs to get the auto bid and Florida is almost certainly NIT bound.
Locks: Kentucky, Texas A&M
Bubble: South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Florida
Non Power Conferences
Chattanooga was about the only small conference #1 seed to win their conference tournament. That has put quite a few mid majors with decent regular seasons on the bubble and potentially sucked up some bids that the power conferences were poised to suck up. Of those only 6 have any threat at all really at an at large, I would rank them as:
-Wichita St. (99% in)
-St. Mary's (55% in)
-Monmouth (45% in)
San Diego St. (20% in)
Arkansas-Little Rock (15% in) if they lose in the final on Sunday
-Valparaiso (less than 1% in)
Every other conference looks to be a 1 bid league.
Who's in? (Conference listed indicates projected auto bid, bold has already clinched auto bid)
1. Kansas (Big 12)
2. UNC (ACC)
4. Michigan St. (Big 10)
6. Oregon (Pac 12)
8. West Virginia
12. Kentucky (SEC)
14. Texas A&M: Nice 2 wins to get the final, as said in the intro, that combined with teams like Cal, Arizona, Duke and Indiana all failing to do much in their tournaments clinches in my mind a 4 as the absolute minimum heading into Selection Sunday. One more win and a 3 seed is still very much in play, however if Purdue were to knock off Michigan St. to win the Big 10 then the Boilermakers would most likely take the last 3 seed. If Texas A&M does lose in the final in my opinion they SHOULD BE locked into a 4 seed, however the committee does sometimes make some interesting seeding decisions to move teams up or down a seed line, sometimes to avoid conference rematches, sometimes with no logical rationale at all. That being said here is my guess at seeding scenarios:
Win Sunday over Kentucky, Michigan St. beats Purdue: 90% 3 seed, 10% 4 seed
Win Sunday over Kentucky, Purdue beats Michigan St.: 50% 3 seed, 50% 4 seed
Lose Sunday to Kentucky: 100% 4 seed (unless the Committee does something with no explanation)
20. Seton Hall (Big East)
21. Iowa State
24. Notre Dame
30. Texas Tech
31. St. Joseph's (Atlantic 10)
33. Oregon St.
35. Wichita St.
36. UConn (American)
37. Virginia Commonwealth
38. Bubble Place Holder (St. Bonaventure)
39. Bubble Place Holder (Pitt)
40. Bubble Place Holder (Cincinnati)
41. Bubble Place Holder/Play in game (South Carolina)
42. Bubble Place Holder/Play in game (St. Mary's)
43. Bubble Place Holder/Play in game (Monmouth)
44. Bubble Place Holder/Play in game (Vanderbilt would play St. Mary's due to the SEC not being able to matchup in the first round)
45. Gonzaga (WCC
46. Arkansas Little-Rock (Sun Belt)
47. Yale (Ivy)
48. Northern Iowa(MVC)
49. Fresno St. (MWC)
50. South Dakota St. (Summit)
13 Seeds Projected Texas A&M 1st Round Opponent with a loss to Kentucky
51. UNC-Wilmington (CAA)
52. Chattanooga (Southern)
53. Stony Brook (America East)
54. Stephen F. Austin (Southland)
14 Seeds - Projected Texas A&M 1st Round Opponent with a win over Kentucky and Michigan St. win over Purdue
55. Iona (MAAC)
56. Buffalo (MAC)
57. Hawaii (Big West)
58. Middle Tennessee State (CUSA)
59. Green-Bay (Horizon)
60. Weber St. (Big Sky)
61. Cal State-Bakersfield (WAC)
62. UNC Asheville (Big South)
63. Hampton (MEAC)
64. Austin Peay (OVC)
65. Southern (SWAC)
66. Fairleigh ****inson (NEC)
67. FGCU (Atlantic Sun)
68. Holy Cross (Patriot)
At large teams if listed with an italic conference this is the conferences auto bid projection.
14 teams fighting for the 7 spots listed above are ranked here
1. St. Bonaventure (RPI 30: 22-8, 14-4) St. Bonaventure lost on Friday in overtime to Davidson was only one game away from officially punching their ticket after a really rough start to the season with them really nowhere near the bubble radar in mid-January. They ended the regular season winning 10 of their last 11 games including over St. Joseph's twice and also winning @Dayton to end the year and tie for conference championship with Dayton and VCU. They have only 6 top 100 wins and 2 sub 150 losses and that 0-1 trip in the conference tournament may have them sweating just a bit. (Next Up: Regular Season Over)
2. Pitt (RPI 48: 20-11, 9-9) Pitt got the must win over Syracuse for their 3rd win of the year over the Orange, that is probably good enough as the loss to UNC in the quarterfinals doesn't hurt them at all. Still only 2 top 50 wins this year over Notre Dame and Duke with 2 sub 100 losses. The OOC slate was pretty uninteresting, lost to Purdue, won on a NC vs. Davidson. (Next Up: Regular Season Over)
3. Cincinnati (RPI 44: 22-9, 12-6) A really tough loss vs. UConn in the Quarterfinals in what would have officially punched their ticket. However I am not sure how anyone can watch that game and not conclude that Cincy is a tournament team, especially since they had already beaten UConn twice this year. Cincy also beat SMU in their last regular season game and won @VCU earlier in the season. Still they are just 7-9 vs. the top 150 so they outta be very nervous between now and when the brackets are revealed. (Next Up: Regular Season Over)
4. South Carolina (RPI 58: 23-8, 11-7) South Carolina is really going to test the committee's theory of conference affiliation does not matter, it is who you play and who you beat. That is because with an RPI of nearly 60 and a non-conference SOS of #296 with zero wins OOC against tournament teams this is a profile that gets left out every single time. Problem is, they are still pretty clearly the 3rd best team in the SEC with wins over Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Florida, LSU and Alabama. It's not like they dominated in conference though as they still took 3 losses outside the RPI top 100 and also dropped 3 games to Georgia including in the SEC Quarterfinals. If I had to guess I would say this is a Dayton bound team. (Next Up: Regular Season Over)
5. St. Mary's (RPI 41: 26-5, 15-3) St. Mary's lost a really tough one to Gonzaga in the finals. That is a pretty forgivable loss, especially considering it is only their 5th of the season and they did beat Gonzaga twice in the regular season. Gonzaga at an RPI of 51 and just outside of the top 50 represents their 2 best wins of the year, as their only top 50 game this year was @Cal where they lost another heartbreaker. I think at the end of the day St. Mary's is in, but they will be the only at large with ZERO top 50 wins to do so in quite some time. (Next Up: Regular Season Over)
6. Monmouth (RPI 57: 26-6, 15-3) Monmouth couldn't quite finish off their season with an automatic bid and will be one of the more interesting cases in the committee room in a long time. Monmouth only played 1 home game before January and went on the road to win some tough games at UCLA and Georgetown as well as on a NC vs. USC and Notre Dame. That kind of scheduling and then getting the win is going to go a long way in that committee room but at the same time several of those wins have lost a lot of luster and Monmouth just hasn't taken care of business in conference. Also, even with their tough scheduling their SOS metric is pretty poor even for a non power 5 team. They have a few really bad losses to RPI 200+ Army, Canisius and Manhattan. As of right now they are OUT, but with several teams immediately ahead of them likely to lose today or tomorrow, they could sneak back in. (Next Up: Regular Season Over)
7. Vanderbilt (RPI 62: 19-13, 11-8) Yikes - Vandy was looking for a coronation on Thursday and only needed to beat a lowly Tennessee team in their hometown in order to pretty much punch their ticket and they couldn't get it done. That is a devastating loss and very possibly could cost them a trip to the NCAA Tournament. I still like their chances to get in if the cards fall right over the next 24 hours but it may be a long wait on selection Sunday. (Next Up: Regular Season Over)
-------The Bubble Bursts Here------------
8. Temple (RPI 60: 21-10, 14-4) Temple lost to UConn in the AAC Semifinals and now will have a long wait until the brackets are revealed on Sunday. 14-4 in conference and the AAC #1 seed but didn't do anything OOC with a non-conference RPI of 136. 4 top 50 wins, but they are only 7-9 vs. the top 150 with 2 really bad losses outside of the top 150. They are really hanging their hat on what they have done against the top tier of the conference beating SMU and sweeping both UConn and Cincinnati in the regular season. If I had to guess I think they just miss the tournament based on their poor OOC showing. Next Up: Regular Season Over)
9. Michigan (RPI 55: 20-11, 10-8) Michigan got an enormous win over Indiana but failed to keep the magic going against Purdue. In my estimation they will come up just 1 win short of the NCAA Tournament with a cut line that has gotten more competitive over the last couple of days. 4 top 25 wins this season over Indiana, Purdue, Maryland and against Texas on a NC. The problem is they don't have any other top 100 wins after that. No bad losses but being 4-12 vs. the RPI top 100 is a metric that is a huge red flag and suggests Michigan is not a tournament team. (Next Up: Regular Season Over)
10. (Sun Belt) Arkansas Little Rock (RPI 50: 25-4, 17-3) UA-LR took a devastating loss in their last game the regular season losing to 250+ Appalachian State. That is the 2nd loss to a 250+ RPI team and sent the RPI tumbling about 15 spots. They do have 2 top 50 wins @SDSU and @Tulsa but the 3rd best win is @UTA. So in other wordsthey may not have beaten any tournament teams when it is all said and done. On the other hand they have a very gaudy record and have advanced to the Sun Belt Final, so they will at least be in the conversation should they lose. In my estimation they need the auto bid to get in. (Next Up: 3/13 Sun Belt Final vs. UL Monroe)
11. (Mountain West) San Diego St. (RPI 36: 20-8, 15-2) Yikes, came up just short in the MWC finals vs. Fresno State and therefore will probably come up just short in their bid to get the NCAA championship game. They will be in the conversation, but at the end of the day they have only 1 win vs a top 50 RPI team (California) with bad losses to San Diego and Grand Canyon. (Next Up: Regular Season Over)
12. Syracuse (RPI 68: 19-12, 9-9) Lost 5 out of the last 6 after winning 9 of their previous 10. A handful of good really good wins @Duke, over Texas A&M on a NC, Notre Dame, St. Bonaventure, and over UConn on a NC. Ultimately it may come down to losing to Pitt 3 times and their 3 losses outside of the top 100 and one of them to one loss to St. John's (RPI 200+) which is really hurting them. (Next Up: Regular Season Over)
13. Florida (RPI 52: 19-14, 9-9) After losing to A&M in the Quarterfinals that is almost certainly the last nail in the Gator coffin. The West Virginia and the St. Joeseph's OOC wins got a little better this weekend but I just don't think you can get into the NCAA tournament when your best in conference win was against Georgia and there are 7 losses outside of the top 50, you really should not even be in the conversation. (Next Up: Regular Season Over)
14. Valparaiso (RPI: 51: 24-6, 16-2) Won 15 out of 17 to end the regular season but went 0-1 in the Horizon tournament losing to Green Bay the eventual tournament champion in overtime. 2 bad losses to Wright St. as well as OOC to Ball St. will probably do them in with only a good OOC win over Oregon St. to balance it all out. (Next Up: Regular Season Over)
One potential Bid thief to track: Memphis vs. UConn in the AAC Final if Memphis wins this is one less at large bid available for everyone else and would slide Vanderbilt back out of the tournament.
Selection Sunday Edition: NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch & Texas A&M Seed Outlook
SELECTION SUNDAY airs at 4:30 PM on CBS. Let the March Madness begin!
Updated Morning of Selection Sunday, check back after the A&M game for one final mini-update going into the brackets being revealed