Big East tops latest Bracket Watch with eight bids

Monday February 15th, 2010
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
 
1 Kansas
16 Arkansas State (Sun Belt)
 
 
8 Illinois
9 Virginia Tech
 
 
Spokane
 
5 Gonzaga (West Coast)
12 Cincinnati
 
 
4 Vanderbilt
13 Oakland (Summit)
 
 
New Orleans
 
6 Butler (Horizon)
11 Oklahoma State
 
 
3 Michigan State
14 Sam Houston State (Southland)
 
 
Providence
 
7 Xavier
10 Georgia Tech
 
 
2 Georgetown
15 Belmont (Atlantic Sun)
 
SOUTH - Houston
 
Milwaukee
 
1 Kentucky
16 Robert Morris (Northeast)
 
 
8 UNLV
9 California (Pac-10)
 
 
Spokane
 
5 Texas A&M
12 Louisville
 
 
4 Wake Forest
13 Kent State (MAC)
 
 
Buffalo
 
6 Pittsburgh
11 Dayton
 
 
3 Ohio State
14 College of Charleston (SoCon)
 
 
Oklahoma City
 
7 Tennessee
10 Florida State
 
 
2 Kansas State
15 Morgan State (MEAC)
 
 
 
 
 
WEST - Salt Lake City
 
Buffalo
 
1 Syracuse
16 Jackson State (SWAC)/Lehigh (Patriot)
 
 
8 Maryland
9 Florida
 
 
New Orleans
 
5 Temple (Atlantic 10)
12 Utah State (WAC)
 
 
4 Texas
13 UTEP (C-USA)
 
 
San Jose
 
6 Baylor
11 Marquette
 
 
3 New Mexico (Mountain West)
14 Weber State (Big Sky)
 
 
Milwaukee
 
7 Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley)
10 Charlotte
 
 
2 Purdue
15 UC Santa Barbara (Big West)
 
EAST- Syracuse
 
Providence
 
1 Villanova
16 Stony Brook (America East)
 
 
8 Clemson
9 Old Dominion (Colonial)
 
 
San Jose
 
5 BYU
12 Rhode Island
 
 
4 Wisconsin
13 Siena (MAAC)
 
 
Jacksonville
 
6 Richmond
11 Cornell (Ivy)
 
 
3 West Virginia
14 Murray State (Ohio Valley)
 
 
Jacksonville
 
7 Missouri
10 Mississippi State
 
 
2 Duke
15 Coastal 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.
 
SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.