West Virginia nabs final No. 1 seed over Duke and Ohio State

Monday March 8th, 2010

2010 NCAA Tournament Projection
In this bracket, the Midwest matches up with the West, the South with the East in the national semifinals.

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 next couple weeks, shifts in seeding will alter which subregions fall into which regions.

* -- automatic qualifier
MIDWEST - Saint Louis
Oklahoma City
16East Tennessee State* (Atlantic Sun)
9Old Dominion (Colonial)
12Georgia Tech
13Murray State* (Ohio Valley)
San Jose
11San Diego State
14Sam Houston State (Southland)
10Virginia Tech
15UC Santa Barbara (Big West)
SOUTH - Houston
16Jackson State (SWAC)/Lehigh (Patriot)
9Utah State (WAC)
New Orleans
13Siena (MAAC)
New Orleans
11UTEP (Conference USA)
14Oakland (Summit)
7Gonzaga (West Coast)
2Ohio State
15Morgan State (MEAC)
WEST - Salt Lake City
1West Virginia
16Winthrop* (Big South)
8Florida State
5Texas A&M
12Saint Mary's
4Michigan State
San Jose
6Butler (Horizon)
11Notre Dame
3New Mexico (Mountain West)
14Weber State (Big Sky)
7Northern Iowa* (Missouri Valley)
10Oklahoma State
15Vermont (America East)
EAST- Syracuse
16Quinnipiac (Northeast)
9Wake Forest
12Seton Hall
13Kent State (MAC)
14Wofford (SoCon)
Oklahoma City
10Cornell* (Ivy)
2Kansas State
15North Texas (Sun Belt)

New multibid conference teams in: San Diego State, Notre Dame, Seton Hall, Mississippi.

Multibid conference teams out: Connecticut, UAB, Dayton, Mississippi State.

Also considered: Memphis, Arizona State, Washington, Rhode Island, Mississippi State, UAB, South Florida, Dayton.

Bids by conference: Big East (9), ACC and Big 12 (7), Big Ten and SEC (5), Mountain West (4), Atlantic 10 (3), West Coast (2).

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.

Why West Virginia received the final No. 1:

Depending on what you value, you can make arguments for West Virginia, Duke and Ohio State as the final 1 seed today.

I thought the quality of WVU's best wins -- at Villanova, vs. Texas A&M, Ohio State (with Evan Turner), plus Pitt, Georgetown and Louisville -- was superior to what Duke had to offer. The Blue Devils only have one RPI top-25 win; WVU has four in the top 15, with very comparable overall computer numbers, top-50 and top-100 marks. When it comes to a 1 seed, I want to know you can beat the best, and the Mountaineers have provided more evidence of that this season.

Ohio State, if you completely discount the six games Turner missed, is 21-4 (14-2 Big Ten) with a 5-2 mark vs. the top 50 and wins at Purdue and Michigan State. If the committee does that, it's a very compelling 1-seed profile, but WVU holds the head-to-head victory, which gives the 'Eers the leg up. Yes, the game was in Morgantown and Ohio State led for much of the eventual six-point loss, but when you're talking 1 seeds, those are the (tie)breaks.

This will be settled during the conference tournaments, with whichever team goes the farthest likely to land the final 1 seed. Given the depth of competition at the top of the Big East, though, the spot now could be West Virginia's to lose.

Why they made it:

-- Georgia Tech: Four top-50 wins, including Duke. 7-9 overall vs. top 100, despite sub-.500 ACC mark.

-- Illinois: Four quality wins, including at Wisconsin and Vandy and at Clemson out of conference.

-- Seton Hall: Quality wins over Pitt, Louisville and at Cornell. No bad losses, and seven of 11 overall are to RPI top-15 teams. By far the lowest RPI loss average of bubble contenders.

-- Mississippi: Solid nonconference neutral-site wins over Kansas State and UTEP, 9-5 road/neutral record, five losses in RPI top 22, only one outside of top 70.

Why they didn't make it:

-- Memphis: Best selling point is sweep of UAB, which is looking at the NIT itself. Second in CUSA not enough right now.

-- Arizona State: Only two wins in top 85 of RPI, 4-7 overall vs. top 100.

-- Washington: Only 2-2 vs. RPI top-50, finished behind Arizona State, but has two wins better than any the Sun Devils hold.

-- Rhode Island: Only one win vs. NCAA team, two very suspect losses late in season.

-- Mississippi State: Only 1-4 vs. top 50 and four 100+ losses makes profile worse than Ole Miss' despite sweep of Rebels.

-- UAB: Beat Butler, but swept by two teams ahead of it in C-USA, only 1-4 vs. top 50.

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

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