Big East and ACC boast seven teams each in latest Bracket Watch

Monday January 4th, 2010

2010 NCAA Tournament Bracket Watch
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 South matches up with the West, the East with the Midwest.
SOUTH - Houston
Oklahoma City
16East Tennessee State (Atlantic Sun)
San Jose
4Michigan State
13Louisiana Tech (WAC)
New Orleans
6Gonzaga (WCC)
11Ohio State
3North Carolina
14Harvard (Ivy)
7Texas Tech
15Morgan State (MEAC)
EAST - Syracuse
New Orleans
16Vermont (America East)
9UAB (Conference USA)
5Temple (Atlantic 10)
12Western Carolina (SoCon)
13Siena (MAAC)
6Butler (Horizon)
11Saint Mary's
3Kansas State
14Pacific (Big West)
7Wake Forest
10Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley)
2West Virginia
15Texas-San Antonio (Southland)
WEST - Salt Lake City
16Army (Patriot)
9William & Mary (CAA)
4New Mexico
13Western Kentucky (Sun Belt)
6Texas A&M
11Georgia Tech
14Oakland (Summit)
7Mississippi State
10Cornell (Ivy)
15Radford (Big South)
MIDWEST - St. Louis
Oklahoma City
16Robert Morris (NEC)/Texas Southern (SWAC)
9Rhode Island
San Jose
12Virginia Tech
13Murray State (Ohio Valley)
14Western Michigan (MAC)
10Florida State
15Weber State (Big Sky)

New multi-bid conference teams in: Cornell (as an at-large), Wake Forest, Cincinnati, Baylor, Virginia Tech.

Multi-bid conference teams out: St. John's, Northwestern, Xavier, Seton Hall, USC (self-exclusion).

Also considered: Xavier, Missouri, Missouri State, Seton Hall, Northwestern, St. John's, Miami (Fla.), Oregon, Oklahoma State, Marquette, Vanderbilt, Washington State, Old Dominion. (No teams with an RPI over 100, according to, were considered.)

Bids by conference: Big East and ACC (7); Big 12 (6); Big Ten and SEC (5); Atlantic 10 (4), Mountain West (3); Pac-10, Colonial, West Coast and Ivy (2).

Auto bids in smaller conferences were determined by best RPI among first-place (e.g. undefeated) 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.

Not-so-brief thoughts:
* Texas is the overall No. 1 seed for the second straight week. I like the 'Horns' body of work better than Kansas' at this point. Purdue is the top 2 seed this week, and like Syracuse the last two weeks, you can make a strong case that the Boilermakers should be a 1 seed instead of Duke.
* This week, the hole in the bracket starts at the 3-seed line, where Wisconsin sneaks in with what looks like the second-best profile in the Big Ten. Also, even though Kansas State is ahead of Wisconsin (and others) on that seed line, there is no natural location for the Wildcats (since Oklahoma City is taken by Texas and Kansas). As such, the Wildcats get shipped to Spokane to make room for the Badgers in Milwaukee and other teams on the 4-seed line to play closer to home.
* The three 2 seeds and one 3 seed from the Big East mean there can't be a 6 or 7 seed from that conference, which created a problem with Pitt. Making Pitt a 5 seed wasn't reasonable, so the Panthers remained an 8 this week despite winning at Syracuse.
* BYU, which doesn't play on Sundays for religious reasons, also had a seeding issue, as the Cougars must be in both a subregional and regional that plays on Thursday and Saturday. That means New Orleans, Providence, San Jose or Oklahoma City for the first two rounds, and either the East (Syracuse) or West (Salt Lake City) region. They ended up as an 8 in the East.
* You can make a very strong argument that the committee would leave out Ohio State if today were Selection Sunday, as the Buckeyes would be evaluated without Evan Turner. For the sake of fairness, since Turner is expected back well before the end of the season, the Buckeyes remain in the bracket this week, but dropped five seed lines.
* Harvard is the Ivy's RPI leader this week and grabs the auto bid, dropping Cornell into the at-large pool, where the Big Red have one of the best 34 profiles and stay in the bracket. It would take a virtual perfect storm -- more or less both teams running the table aside from Cornell at Kansas and splitting with each other in the regular season, and Harvard winning an epic playoff game for the auto bid -- for the Ivy to have two bids in March.
* Chandler Parsons' 75-foot heave saved Florida at N.C. State on Sunday, but didn't stop the Gators from sliding further in the bracket as their position merges with their overall profile.
* USC is no longer eligible for postseason play after self-assessing a tournament ban for this year as part of the O.J. Mayo investigation.
* Wake Forest probably should have been in last week's bracket, and two tough OT wins this week helped push the Deacons all the way to a 7 seed based on overall profile.
* Things I don't like this week: Having VCU two lines above William & Mary and UNLV two lines above BYU.
* There remain eight at-large teams from outside the BCS conferences.

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