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Mid-majors benefit from disastrous week for big-conference teams

2010 NCAA Tournament Projection
Selection Sunday is not until March 14, but it's never too early to see what the 2010 NCAA Tournament field looks like as of right now. Note: The top-four seeds in each region, starting with the No. 1 seeds, receive geographic preference when possible. An imbalance in high seeds between regions (e.g. if more than two top-four seeds are closest to the same subregional location) may force a protected seed into a secondary location. Thus, in the coming weeks, shifts in seeding will alter which subregions fall into which regions.

In this bracket, the Midwest matches up with the South, the East with the West in the national semifinals.
 
 
MIDWEST - Saint Louis
 
Oklahoma City
 
1Kansas
16Arkansas State (Sun Belt)
 
 
8Clemson
9Cal (Pac-10)
 
 
Spokane
 
5Tennessee
12Old Dominion
 
 
4Wisconsin
13Weber State (Big Sky)
 
 
Jacksonville
 
6Missouri
11Saint Mary's
 
 
3West Virginia
14Sam Houston State (Southland)
 
 
Milwaukee
 
7UNLV
10Richmond
 
 
2Michigan State
15Jacksonville (Atlantic Sun)
 
EAST - Syracuse
 
Providence
 
1Villanova
16Maine (America East)
 
 
8Florida State
9Cornell
 
 
Spokane
 
5Temple (Atlantic 10)
12UTEP
 
 
4Vanderbilt
13George Mason (CAA)
 
 
Jacksonville
 
6Baylor
11Siena (MAAC)
 
 
3Duke
14Oakland (Summit)
 
 
Buffalo
 
7Northern Iowa (MVC)
10Rhode Island
 
 
2Purdue
15Morgan State (MEAC)
 
 
 
 
 
SOUTH - Houston
 
Milwaukee
 
1Kentucky
16Robert Morris (Northeast)
 
 
8UAB (Conference USA)
9Oklahoma State
 
 
San Jose
 
5Pittsburgh
12Illinois
 
 
4New Mexico
13Utah State (WAC)
 
 
New Orleans
 
6Wake Forest
11Wichita State
 
 
3Texas
14College of Charleston (SoCon)
 
 
Providence
 
7Butler (Horizon)
10Charlotte
 
 
2Georgetown
15Coastal Carolina (Big South)
 
WEST - Salt Lake City
 
Buffalo
 
1Syracuse
16Jackson State (SWAC)/Lehigh (Patriot)
 
 
8Texas A&M
9Florida
 
 
San Jose
 
5Georgia Tech
12William & Mary
 
 
4BYU
13Kent State (MAC)
 
 
New Orleans
 
6Gonzaga (WCC)
11Cincinnati
 
 
3Ohio State
14Murray State (Ohio Valley)
 
 
Oklahoma City
 
7Xavier
10Mississippi
 
 
2Kansas State
15Pacific (Big West)
 
 

New multi-bid conference teams in: George Mason (CAA auto bid), UTEP, Charlotte, Rhode Island, Wichita State, Illinois.

Multi-bid conference teams out: Maryland (ACC auto bid), Connecticut, North Carolina, Northwestern, Texas Tech, Mississippi State.

Also considered: Mississippi State, North Carolina, Maryland, Connecticut, Dayton.

Bids by conference: Big 12 (7); Big East (6); ACC, SEC, Big Ten and Atlantic 10 (5); Mountain West and Colonial (3); West Coast, Conference USA and Missouri Valley (2).

Auto bids in smaller conferences were determined by best RPI among all first-place (e.g. fewest losses) teams in the league. One-bid league winners and select other auto-bid teams are listed with their conference for clarity. Teams can be moved a seed line up or down to conform to bracketing rules.

BRIEF THOUGHTS

Why they made it:

-- UTEP: Four top-100 wins are all on the road, no uncompetitive losses, Conference RPI stronger than competitors for the spot, road wins at two of the other top three in C-USA.

-- Wichita State: Would have been in last week had it not lost to Drake, took care of business this week, clear second-place team in a top-10 conference.

-- William & Mary: 3-2 RPI top 50 (including road wins at Maryland and Wake) enough to overcome two really bad league losses and current fourth place standing in CAA.

Why they didn't make it:

-- Mississippi State: Very empty profile, has played five of six SEC games against three of the league's four bad teams, lost three straight on the road to inferior opponents, only 3-2 vs. RPI Top 100.

-- North Carolina: 2-6 vs. RPI top 50 mark, three home ACC losses, five Ls overall in last seven games, 2-4 ACC record.

-- Maryland: Nothing substantive enough in profile despite 4-2 ACC mark. Lost at home to W&M, which was last team in.

-- Connecticut: 1-5 vs. RPI top 50, 0-4 on the road.

In direct contrast to last week's Bracket Watch, there are 11 at-large teams from outside the BCS conferences, mostly because of really disastrous weeks from major-conference teams near the bracket's bottom. I highly doubt that will last, and the CAA almost surely won't end up with three bids. For this week, though, that seemed fair.

Got a bone to pick with the Bracket Watch? Send feedback to bubblewatch@gmail.com.
 
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