By Andy Glockner
December 22, 2009
2010 NCAA Tournament Bracket Watch
It's never too early to start projecting the field. 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 South matches up with the West, the East with the Midwest.
 
 
SOUTH - Houston
 
Oklahoma City
 
1 Texas
16 Belmont (Atlantic Sun)
 
 
8 Clemson
9 VCU
 
 
San Jose
 
5 Florida
12 Seton Hall
 
 
4 Michigan State
13 Western Carolina (SoCon)
 
 
New Orleans
 
6 Wisconsin
11 Dayton
 
 
3 North Carolina
14 Austin Peay (OVC)
 
 
Buffalo
 
7 Butler
10 Richmond
 
 
2 Syracuse
15 Sam Houston St. (Southland)
 
EAST - Syracuse
 
New Orleans
 
1 Kentucky
16 Stony Brook (America East)
 
 
8 Florida St.
9 Saint Mary's (WCC)
 
 
Providence
 
5 Texas A&M
12 William & Mary (CAA)
 
 
4 Connecticut
13 IUPUI (Summit)
 
 
Buffalo
 
6 Ohio St.
11 Missouri St. (MVC)
 
 
3 Temple
14 Louisiana Tech (WAC)
 
 
Jacksonville
 
7 Gonzaga
10 Cornell (Ivy)
 
 
2 West Virginia
15 Radford (Big South)
 
 
 
 
 
WEST - Salt Lake City
 
Jacksonville
 
1 Duke
16 Army (Patriot)
 
 
8 Texas Tech
9 Saint John's
 
 
San Jose
 
5 California
12 UAB
 
 
4 Mississippi
13 Western Kentucky (Sun Belt)
 
 
Spokane
 
6 UNLV
11 Rhode Island
 
 
3 Washington
14 Long Beach St. (Big West)
 
 
Providence
 
7 Minnesota
10 Northern Iowa
 
 
2 Villanova
15 Morgan St. (MEAC)
 
MIDWEST - St. Louis
 
Oklahoma City
 
1 Kansas
16 Sacred Heart (NEC)/Texas So. (SWAC)
 
 
8 Mississippi St.
9 Tulsa
 
 
Spokane
 
5 New Mexico
12 Northwestern
 
 
4 Georgetown
13 Southern Miss (C-USA)
 
 
Milwaukee
 
6 Tennessee
11 Siena (MAAC)
 
 
3 Kansas St.
14 Buffalo (MAC)
 
 
Milwaukee
 
7 Pittsburgh
10 Georgia Tech
 
 
2 Purdue
15 Montana St. (Big Sky)
 
 

Also considered: Cincinnati, Xavier, Wake Forest, Miami (Fla.), Washington State, San Diego State, Oklahoma State, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech, BYU. No teams with an RPI over 100 (according to CollegeRPI.com) were considered.

Bids by conference: Big East (8); Big Ten (6); Big 12, ACC and SEC (5); Atlantic 10 (4); Conference USA (3); Pac-10, Colonial, Mountain West, West Coast, Missouri Valley (2). Auto bids in smaller conferences were determined by best RPI among first-place (e.g. undefeated) teams in the league. Teams can be moved a seed line up or down to conform to bracketing rules.

Quick thoughts:
* Remember, this is a comparison of profiles (even with a healthy dose of subjectivity included at this point). I have been more impressed by Syracuse so far, but I think the committee would tab Duke as the final No. 1 seed right now. Likewise, teams like Cincinnati and Xavier have shown well at times, but their overall profiles aren't as compelling as some others ... yet.
* There are nine at-large teams from outside the six BCS conferences. This is high given the trend of the last few years, but that's partly because teams like Southern Miss grab auto bids based on RPI.
* The A-10 is clearly the sixth-best conference this season, ahead of the Pac-10, which already looks like it could easily wind up with only two bids. That's how bad it's been in that league so far.
* The ACC feels light with only five teams in, but teams from other leagues have done more work than the middle of the ACC thus far.
* For the next few weeks, expect to see some wild swings and some relative seedings that, on the surface, can be argued the other way. Bodies of work are still relatively small, so one big win or loss can really change a profile and a team's relative standing.

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

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