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Big 12 and ACC claim seven bids each in latest bracket projection

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

New multi-bid conference teams in: Maryland, Virginia Tech, Dayton.

Multi-bid conference teams out: Cincinnati, William & Mary, Wichita State.

Also considered: Wichita State ... and not really anyone else seriously (see below).

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

-- Dayton: Has beaten Xavier and Old Dominion, in a very good league that should get at least four bids and quite possibly more, last four losses by total of eight points, passes "eye test." They're better than the other options, based on what I have seen.

-- Old Dominion: Two very solid wins, including at G'town, some other competitive wins in top 100 and losses in top 50. Stays a 12 seed despite loss at VCU.

-- Oklahoma State: Win at Kansas State saves the Cowboys this week. Their overall profile (3-7 vs. Top 100) is pretty weak, but no one behind them did enough to surpass them. If you told me they were out and Wichita State was in, I'd be fine with that.

Why they didn't make it:

-- Wichita State: First team out of the bracket was the only other team in real consideration and OK State was slightly better (more decisive good wins, fewer bad losses). The Shockers also lost a comparison to Dayton, even though the Flyers are in sixth place in the A-10. I've seen both teams play multiple times. Dayton's better. Old Dominion's and UAB's profiles are stronger, too.

There was a pretty good-sized gap between Wichita State and the next teams:

-- Cincinnati: 1-6 true road record, just 5-8 vs. RPI top 100, just .500 in league play.

-- Marquette: Only 3-6 vs. RPI top 100, too many tough losses to overcome at this point.

-- Washington: Playing better in Pac-10, but just 2-2 vs. RPI top 50 and 0-6 road/neutral record.

-- Louisville: 1-6 vs. RPI top 50 (No. 50 South Florida). 2-5 road/neutral plus two bad home losses (one margin, one opponent). The fact that the Cardinals are this close speaks volumes about the bubble.

-- South Florida: Probably has a better overall profile than Louisville now, but lost by 21 at Louisville, is 1.5 games behind in standings and was swept by Notre Dame, which is also ahead of the Bulls in the Big East. Gaining ground on the cutline, though, and getting Gus Gilchrist back soon.

Note: Illinois/Charlotte, Clemson/UTEP, Cal/Florida and Mississippi/Virginia Tech all switched seed lines to help conform to bracket regulations. There was a cluster of Big Ten teams in the 2/3 lines, ACC clogging in the 3/6 half of the regions and A-10 teams in the 8/9 lines.

There were 10 teams from outside the BCS conferences, although seven of those were from the A-10 and Mountain West.

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