Thursday March 14th, 2013

Saint Mary's has dropped down to the First Four, a shaky position for the Gaels. (John Hefti/Icon SMI) Saint Mary's has dropped down to the First Four, a shaky position for the Gaels. (John Hefti/Icon SMI)

A lot of the discussion is centering around the bubble teams as we move closer and closer to Selection Sunday, but another story is developing that could have a big impact on the way the tournament plays out. There have been so many upsets in smaller-conference tournaments that the bottom of the bracket looks very weak. In fact, all six of the 16-seeds could be teams with RPIs outside the top 150. That influx of weak teams is pushing other teams up in the seed list, meaning teams that would have been a 16 in other years will be 15s or maybe even a 14 in this season's edition. So for all the people expecting to see fireworks in the Round of 64, you may have to look below the 1 and 2 seeds for the big upsets. Here's the latest projection of the field of 68:

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2013 NCAA Tournament Bracket

EAST (Washington, D.C.) MIDWEST (Indianapolis)
Philadelphia Dayton
1. Duke 1. Indiana* (Big Ten)
16. Liberty * (Big South)/Savannah State* (MEAC) 16. Southern* (SWAC)/ LIU Brooklyn* (Northeast)
8. Illinois 8. Notre Dame
9. Colorado 9. California
San Jose Austin
5. Syracuse 5. Saint Louis* (Atlantic 10)
12. Belmont* (Ohio Valley) 12. Saint Mary's/Kentucky
4. Oklahoma State 4. Kansas State
13. Davidson* (SoCon) 13. Akron* (MAC)
Dayton Austin
6. VCU 6. Creighton* (Missouri Valley)
11. Boise State 11. Cincinnati
3. Marquette 3. Florida
14. Harvard* (Ivy) 14. Iona* (MAAC)
Auburn Hills Lexington
7. UNLV 7. North Carolina
10. Wichita State 10. San Diego State
2. Michigan 2. Louisville* (Big East)
15. Vermont* (America East) 15. Montana* (Big Sky)
WEST (Los Angeles) SOUTH (Arlington, TX)
Salt Lake City Kansas City
1. Gonzaga* (West Coast) 1. Kansas* (Big 12)
16. James Madison* (Colonial) 16. Western Kentucky* (Sun Belt)
8. Minnesota 8. Missouri
9. Oregon 9. North Carolina State
San Jose Kansas City
5. Wisconsin 5. UCLA* (Pac-12)
12. Bucknell* (Patriot) 12. La Salle/Tennessee
4. Arizona 4. Ohio State
13. Valparaiso* (Horizon) 13. South Dakota State* (Summit)
Salt Lake City Auburn Hills
6. Pittsburgh 6. Colorado State
11. Temple 11. Iowa State
3. New Mexico* (Mountain West) 3. Michigan State
14. Stephen F. Austin* (Southland) Louisiana Tech* (WAC)
Lexington Philadelphia
7. Butler 7. Memphis* (Conference USA)
10. Villanova 10. Oklahoma
2. Miami (Fla.)* (ACC) 2. Georgetown
15. Long Beach State* (Big West) 15. Florida Gulf Coast* (Atlantic Sun)

*Designated auto-bid winners from each conference. Auto bids are determined by team with the best RPI of those with the fewest league losses.

Last four in: Saint Mary's, La Salle, Tennessee, Kentucky

Last four out: Virginia, Middle Tennessee State, Mississippi, Baylor

New at-large teams in: None

Old at-large teams out: None Bids by conference: Big East (8); Big Ten (7); Pac-12, Mountain West, Big 12 and Atlantic 10 (5); ACC, SEC (4); Missouri Valley and West Coast (2)

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