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Big East tops latest Bracket Watch with eight bids

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

New multi-bid conference teams in: Louisville, Cincinnati, Marquette, Mississippi State.

Multi-bid conference teams out: George Mason (auto bid), UAB, Mississippi, Saint Mary's.

Also considered: William & Mary, Mississippi, Saint Mary's, San Diego State, UAB.

Bids by conference: Big East (8), ACC and Big 12 (7); Atlantic 10 (6); Big Ten and SEC (5); Mountain West (3).

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

Surprises:

-- All three borderline Big East teams jumped into the bracket despite either modest wins or, in Louisville's case, a terrible performance at St. John's before the upset at Syracuse.

-- All six A-10 teams stayed in the bracket, despite Charlotte losing its only game by 28, Rhode Island losing twice and Dayton losing at Saint Louis.

Why they made it:

-- Louisville: Upset of Syracuse validates some earlier tough losses to high-level foes and provides a ceiling that's higher than other bubblers. Numbers overall remain hard to look at.

-- Rhode Island: At this point, win at Dayton is saving the Rams, who remained in the bracket mainly because other teams below them also lost.

-- Dayton: Crushing Charlotte was more of a plus than losing in OT at Saint Louis was a minus. Like URI, also benefits from losses behind it.

-- Cincinnati: Got above .500 in the Big East; overall work, with nonleague wins over Vandy and Maryland, remains nominally better than the teams behind it.

Why they didn't make it:

-- William & Mary: Two 200+ RPI losses and fourth place in a conference ranked outside the top 10 overcame three terrific nonleague wins. On balance, maybe still should have been in.

-- Mississippi: Win over K-State can't mask weakness of profile; was passed by Miss. State, which owns season sweep of Rebels.

-- Saint Mary's: Win at Utah State and beating San Diego State isn't enough to overcome softness of overall profile and back-to-back WCC losses on the road. Stays in bracket had SMC beaten Portland.

Note: There were seven teams from outside the BCS conferences. All of them 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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