Bracketology: Five more teams now in the field of 68

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday night, Davidson and Western Kentucky clinched repeat auto bids within moments of one another, while James Madison clinched its first Tourney bid since 1994 not long afterward. In the late games, Gonzaga easily claimed the WCC crown, staking its claim to a No. 1 seed in the process, while Iona, a shock at-large last season, claimed the MAAC's 2013 auto bid.

In Monday's bracket post, I wrote that I planned to scrub the seed list and start over for Thursday's bracket. However, thanks to day job scheduling issues, I had time to complete this task yesterday that I won't have today or Wednesday. In other words, there are more seeding changes in this projection -- along with some adjustments in today's Last Four In and First Four Out -- than I anticipated. I'll have those after today's bracket and rundown.

(1) EAST
Washington (Thu/Sat)
(2) MIDWEST
Indianapolis (Fri/Sun)
Philadelphia (Fri/Sun) Dayton (Fri/Sun)
1 Duke 1 Indiana (Big Ten)
16 Norfolk State (MEAC) 16 LIBERTY or Southern
8 Missouri 8 San Diego State
9 BELMONT (OVC) 9 Colorado
San Jose (Thu/Sat) San Jose (Thu/Sat)
55 5 Oklahoma State 5 Pittsburgh
12 Cincinnati 12 Akron (MAC)
4 Saint Louis (A-10) 4 Kansas State
13 South Dakota State (Summit) 13 Valparaiso (Horizon)
Dayton (Fri/Sun) Auburn Hills (Thu/Sat)
6 Syracuse 6 CREIGHTON (MVC)
11 St. Mary's or Tennessee 11 Iowa State or Kentucky
3 Ohio State 3 Marquette
14 DAVIDSON (Southern) 14 HARVARD (Ivy)
Salt Lake City (Thu/Sat) Lexington (Thu/Sat)
7 UCLA (Pac-12) 7 Colorado State
10 Temple 10 Minnesota
2 New Mexico (MWC) 2 Miami (ACC)
15 Montana (Big Sky) 15 IONA (MAAC)
(4) SOUTH
Arlington (Fri/Sun)
(3) WEST
Los Angeles (Thu/Sat)
Lexington (Thu/Sat) Salt Lake City (Thu/Sat)
1 Louisville 1 GONZAGA (WCC)
16 JAMES MADISON or Long Island U *16 WESTERN KENTUCKY (Sun Belt)
8 Oregon 8 North Carolina
9 N.C. State 9 Villanova
Kansas City (Fri/Sun) Austin (Fri/Sun)
5 Butler 5 Wisconsin
12 Oklahoma 12 La Salle
4 Michigan State 4 Arizona
13 Bucknell (Patriot) 13 Louisiana Tech (WAC)
Austin (Fri/Sun) Auburn Hills (Thu/Sat)
6 UNLV 6 Memphis (C-USA)
11 Wichita State 11 Boise State
3 Florida (SEC) 3 Michigan
14 FLORIDA GULF COAST (A-Sun) 14 Stephen F. Austin (Southland)
Kansas City (Fri/Sun) Philadelphia (Fri/Sun)
7 Notre Dame 7 VCU
10 Illinois 10 California
2 Kansas (Big 12) 2 Georgetown (Big East)
15 Long Beach State (Big West) 15 Vermont (AmEast)
FIRST FOUR (Dayton)
Tuesday: To Lexington Tuesday: To Auburn Hills
*16 JAMES MADISON (CAA) 11 Iowa State
16 Long Island U (NEC) 11 Kentucky
Wednesday: To Dayton Wednesday: To Dayton
16 LIBERTY (Big South) 11 St. Mary's
16 Southern (SWAC) 11 Tennessee

BIDS BY CONFERENCE LAST FOUR BYES ARRIVALS DEPARTURES
Big East: 8 California James Madison Florida International
Big Ten: 7 Oklahoma Western Kentucky Northeastern
A-10: 5 Boise State

Big 12: 5 La Salle

MWC: 5
LAST FOUR IN

Pac-12: 5
Kentucky

ACC: 4 St. Mary's

SEC: 4 Iowa State

MVC: 2 Tennessee PROCEDURAL MOVES
WCC: 2 FIRST FOUR OUT Illinois 9 down to 10
1-Bid Conferences: 21 Virginia Belmont 10 up to 9

Middle Tennessee Wichita State 10 down to 11

Mississippi California 11 up to 10

Baylor Cincinnati 11 down to 12

NEXT FOUR OUT Iowa State, Kentucky 12 up to 11

Alabama Oklahoma 11 down to 12

Southern Mississippi St. Mary's, Tennessee 12 up to 11

Iowa


Arizona State

Also considered (in order): Maryland, Providence, Arkansas, UMass

Here's a quick look at some of the biggest movers after my Monday seeding review.

Winners: Miami, Ohio State, Saint Louis, Belmont, Boise State

Losers: Michigan, Oklahoma State, Illinois, Iowa State

The Hurricanes and Buckeyes received the most noteworthy boosts, while Boise State and Iowa State switched places on the bubble. I've updated the Last Four In group as a result. Of course, all of these changes are temporary during Championship Week. Nothing is set in stone with so many crucial games left, especially for the Broncos and Cyclones who face key bubble games in their respective conference quarterfinals. On the other hand, St. Mary's now has a long wait ahead of it after last night's WCC final loss.

Last Four In

Note: All RPI and SOS information is courtesy Basketball State and is accurate as of the morning of Tuesday, March 12, 2013. Records reflect only games against Division I opposition.

Avoiding Dayton: California, Oklahoma, Boise State, La Salle

Kentucky
21-10; 12-6 SEC; RPI: 50; SOS: 63; Non-conf. SOS: 68; R/N Record: 5-8
On Saturday, the Wildcats picked up their second win against a team in the RPI Top 50, as they toppled SEC regular season champion Florida. Curiously, both Saturday’s win and a home victory over Missouri came after Nerlens Noel was lost for the season with a torn ACL in Kentucky's loss in Gainesville. Since its star went down, John Calipari's team has gone 4-4, with all of the wins coming at home -- typical for an SEC club this season. With Noel, the Wildcats grabbed a rare quality SEC road win at fellow bubble squad Mississippi and lost at Alabama . Tennessee blew UK out of the water in the first full game Noel missed. At 7-9 against the Top 100, and owning a bad loss to Georgia, Kentucky still has to win games at the SEC Tournament in Nashville, where it could meet Missouri or Ole Miss in the semifinals, to qualify for an at-large.
Next game: SEC Tournament Quarterfinal (Fri.)

St. Mary's
26-6; 14-2 WCC; RPI: 35; SOS: 125; Non-conf. SOS: 124; R/N Record: 11-5
The Gaels could have used a close loss to Gonzaga in Monday night's WCC final instead of the 14-point hammering they received. Making matters worse, St. Mary's lost the services of guard Jorden Page, who left in the first half with what appeared to be a rather severe knee injury. Since a December 23rd loss at Northern Iowa, the Gaels have lost just three times -- with all of those defeats inflicted by the pollsters' No. 1 team. However, the best of the 19 wins in that span came against Creighton in Moraga and BYU home and away. Add in a pair of bad early losses to Georgia Tech and Pacific (later avenged at home) in an exempt event the Gaels were favored to win, and it could be a tense Selection Weekend in the East Bay.
Next game: None

Iowa State
21-10; 11-7 Big 12; RPI: 47; SOS: 69; Non-conf. SOS: 62; R/N Record: 5-9
If the Cyclones had managed to close out Kansas in either one (or both) of the pair’s meetings, they’d be in far better shape today -- though ISU may get the benefit of the doubt based on the officiating shenanigans at the end of regulation in Ames on February 25th. Like so many teams this season, Iowa State’s best wins -- Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Baylor, BYU and, yes, Florida Gulf Coast were picked up in the magical environment that is Hilton Coliseum, though the Cyclones did manage to beat the Bears in Waco too. Three Top 50 wins and a 7-8 mark against the Top 100 are Iowa State’s key selling points, but a 5-9 record away from Ames that includes losses to Iowa, Texas and, worst of all, Texas Tech might give the Committee reason to leave ISU out. Thursday’s quarterfinal in Kansas City against a Sooner team that also really needs a good late win might very well seal the Cyclones’ fate. They cannot get caught looking ahead to a possible semifinal grudge match with Kansas.
Next game: Big 12 Tournament Quarterfinal vs. Oklahoma (Thu.)

Tennessee
19-11; 11-7 SEC; RPI: 59; SOS: 49; Non-conf. SOS: 84; R/N Record: 5-8
If the Volunteers had managed to find some offense in back-to-back early losses at Georgetown (37-36) and Virginia (46-38), I wouldn't need to be writing this paragraph right now ... but here we are. Winner of eight of nine, Tennessee is one of the hottest teams in the country. Three of those victories -- over Kentucky, Florida and Missouri -- are quality ones, though all of them came at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Vols also own a quality non-conference win over Wichita State, which again came in Knoxville. However, the Shockers are renowned as a quality road team. On the flip side, Tennessee has lost to Virginia and was swept by both fellow SEC bubble contender Ole Miss and Georgia, an NIT team at best. Injuries have played a toll, as Jeronne Maymon has missed the entire season with a knee injury and several other Vols have missed games in 2012-13. The fact Tennessee has responded while shorthanded should give it a boost when its fate is discussed, but winning games in Nashville will help its case more. A potential quarterfinal game with Alabama looms as an elimination contest, especially as the two split their regular season meetings.
Next game: SEC Tournament Second Round (Thu.)

First Four Out

Virginia
21-10; 11-7 ACC; RPI: 64; SOS: 124; Non-conf. SOS: 78; R/N Record: 3-9
In a season full of messy profiles, the Cavaliers, along with Indiana State, really take the cake. On the plus side, the Cavaliers have a nice record of 8-3 against the RPI Top 100, with a 4-2 mark against the Top 50. That quartet of wins -- over Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State at home and at Wisconsin -- is among the finest in America. However, Virginia is 13-7 against teams from outside the Top 100, a winning percentage that is weighing down its RPI. The worst loss came at the hands of Old Dominion, 318th out of 347 Division I teams, on a neutral court in Richmond, though the Cavaliers were without point guard Jontel Evans on that afternoon. However, the Cavaliers have continued to play woefully on the road, as illustrated by losses to Florida State, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Clemson. Sunday's overtime win over Maryland, a team with slim NCAA hopes of its own, was a good start, but the Cavaliers will need to take advantage of potential quality win opportunities against N.C. State and Miami in this week's ACC Tournament.
Next game: ACC Tournament Quarterfinal (Fri.)

Middle Tennessee
28-5; 19-1 Sun Belt; RPI: 32; SOS: 136; Non-conf. SOS: 179; R/N Record: 13-5
On Sunday night, the Blue Raiders were upset in the Sun Belt semifinals by Florida International, a year after they fell unexpectedly in the quarterfinals in Hot Springs. That leaves Middle Tennessee’s fate in the hands of the Selection Committee. It will be an interesting debate. On one hand, the Blue Raiders’ RPI is superior to last season’s Iona squad that earned a First Four spot (32nd vs. 40th). Neither squad beat at Top 50 foe, but that Gaels squad went 5-3 against the Top 100. On this front, the Blue Raiders do not compare favorably. They're 2-3, with none of those games came after a December 13th loss at Belmont. Sure, Middle Tennessee has a home win over Mississippi, but head-to-head results aren’t necessarily a tiebreaker. Making matters worse, UCF, Middle Tennessee’s other Top 100 victim, will probably drop out before all is said and done. I suspect that despite the respectable RPI, the overall strength of schedule numbers will keep the Blue Raiders out, much like Drexel who dominated the CAA last season and was left out after losing in the championship game. I can’t say I’d be disappointed if I was proven wrong, though.
Next game: None

Mississippi
23-8; 12-6 SEC; RPI: 55; SOS: 135; Non-conf. SOS: 110; R/N Record: 7-7
The Rebels' win at LSU on Saturday pushed their record against the Top 100 to just above .500 at 7-6. Unfortunately, just one of those wins came against a Top 50 foe, Missouri, which naturally was a home win. A sweep of Tennessee is helpful, but falling to Kentucky at home is not. A loss to Indiana State in Hawaii looked better when the Sycamores were a bid threat, but not so much now that they're on their way to the NIT or CBI. Making matters worse, Ole Miss lost at South Carolina and Mississippi State -- two of the worst a bad SEC has to offer -- very late in the season. Sure, the Rebels have struggled without three injured players -- forwards Anthony Perez and Aaron Jones and guard Martavious Newby -- but they haven't responded like Tennessee has to being shorthanded. Much like the Volunteers, Kentucky and Alabama, Mississippi's fate will be decided in Nashville, where the Rebels should get a rubber match against Mizzou in Friday's quarterfinals.
Next game: SEC Tournament Quarterfinal (Fri.)

Baylor
17-13; 9-9 Big 12; RPI: 61; SOS: 22; Non-conf. SOS: 27; R/N Record: 6-8
The Bears' blowout home win over Kansas was only their second against a Top 50 opponent (with a whopping 10 losses). With the weakness of the bottom four teams of the Big 12 limiting games against teams ranked between 51 and 100, Baylor's record against the Top 100 is an unimpressive 5-10. Making matters worse, Baylor dropped two home games in the early part of the season to College of Charleston and Northwestern, both of whom are out of the RPI Top 150. In other words, while the win over Kansas was a good late statement, Baylor will need to make a run in Kansas City this week to make the field.
Next game: Big 12 Tournament Quarterfinal vs. Oklahoma State (Thu.)

Next Four Out: Alabama, Southern Mississippi, Iowa, Arizona State

Tonight, three more conference tournament champions will earn an NCAA place. Two of Tuesday's finals were set over the weekend. In the Northeast Conference final, third-seeded Long Island U. will look to clinch its third straight auto bid with a home win over No. 5 Mount St. Mary's, which won the Opening Round game back in 2008. The Horizon League championship features two teams that won their respective semifinals on buzzer-beaters, as top seed Valparaiso hosts third-seeded Wright State. The third ticket of the night will be handed out in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where Summit regular season champ South Dakota State takes on rival and No. 2 seed North Dakota State.

The Big East and Mountain West Tournaments also get started tonight with light slates of opening round games. Here's the full TV schedule with the info courtesy Matt's College Sports on TV Website.

Conference Championships
NEC: Mount St. Mary's at Long Island U, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Horizon: Wright State at Valparaiso, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Summit: North Dakota State vs. South Dakota State, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Other Conference Tournament Action
Big East First Round: 7 and 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Mountain West First Round: 8 p.m. ET (No TV)

Wednesday's update will be relatively minor, but you can expect the bracket to be more volatile between Thursday and Sunday morning.

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