Bracketology: Syracuse tumbles again, Baylor moves toward safety

Rich Barnes

After dropping their fourth game in their last five, the Orange are now residents of the three-seed line in Chris Dobbertean's Wednesday projection. At the other end of the bid picture, Baylor, Georgetown, Oregon and Providence all picked up crucial wins on Tuesday night, with three of those teams improving their position in the field of 68 as a result.

As a result of Syracuse's tumble, Virginia jumps up to the two line, though it's a very close call between the Cavaliers and newly-crowned Big Ten regular season champion Michigan; one that will undoubtedly sort itself out over the next week and a half. That inexplicable loss to Charlotte in Puerto Rico really hurts the Wolverines' case, even with their eight Top 50 wins.

Otherwise, yesterday's Top 16 remain in place for yet another day with Florida (South), Arizona (West), Wichita State (Midwest) and Kansas (East) leading the way. I'll have more bracket notes after the full projection and rundown.

(1) SOUTH
Memphis (Thu/Sat)
(2) WEST
Anaheim (Thu/Sat)
Orlando (Thu/Sat) San Diego (Fri/Sun)
1 Florida (SEC) 1 Arizona (Pac-12)
16 Alabama State/Weber State 16 Robert Morris (NEC)
8 SMU 8 88 George Washington
9 Kansas State 9 Oklahoma State
San Diego (Fri/Sun) San Antonio (Fri/Sun)
55 5 Texas 5 5 North Carolina
12 Green Bay (Horizon) 1212 Toledo (MAC)
4 Cincinnati (AAC) 4 Iowa State
13 Louisiana Tech (C-USA) 13 Iona (MAAC)
Milwaukee (Thu/Sat) Buffalo (Thu/Sat)
6 Connecticut 666 Kentucky
11 Gonzaga (WCC) ^11 BYU/Minnesota
3 Michigan (Big Ten) 3 Syracuse
14 Delaware (CAA) 14 Boston U. (Patriot)
Raleigh (Fri/Sun) Milwaukee (Thu/Sat)
7 Ohio State 7 VCU
10 Oregon 10 California
2 Virginia (ACC) 2 Wisconsin
15 Vermont (AmEast) 15 UC Irvine (Big West)
(4) EAST
New York (Fri/Sun)
(3) MIDWEST
Indianapolis (Fri/Sun)
St. Louis (Fri/Sun) St. Louis (Fri/Sun)
1 Kansas (Big 12) 1 Wichita State (MVC)
16 Davidson (SoCon) 16 High Point/Utah Valley
8 Stanford 8 New Mexico (MW)
9 St. Joseph's 9 Baylor
Orlando (Thu/Sat) Spokane (Thu/Sat)
5 Saint Louis (A 10) 5 Oklahoma
12 Harvard (Ivy) ^↓12 Pittsburgh
4 Louisville 4 Michigan State
13 Belmont (OVC) 13 North Dakota State (Summit)
Spokane (Thu/Sat) San Antonio (Fri/Sun)
6 UMass 6 UCLA
11 Xavier 11 Arkansas/Providence
3 San Diego State 3 Creighton
14 Stephen F. Austin (Southland) 14 Georgia State (Sun Belt)
Buffalo (Thu/Sat) Raleigh (Fri/Sun)
7 Iowa 7 Memphis
10 Arizona State 10 Colorado
2 Villanova (Big East) 2 Duke
15 N.C. Central (MEAC) 15 Florida Gulf Coast (A-Sun)
FIRST FOUR (Dayton)
Tuesday: To Orlando Tuesday: To Buffalo
16 Alabama State (SWAC) ^11 BYU
16 Weber State (Big Sky) ^11 Minnesota
Wednesday: To St. Louis Wednesday: To San Antonio
16 High Point (Big South) 11 Arkansas
16 Utah Valley (WAC) 11 Providence

BIDS BY CONFERENCE AVOIDING DAYTON ARRIVALS DEPARTURES
Big 12: 7 California None None
Pac-12: 7 Oregon

Big Ten: 6 Xavier

A 10: 5 Pittsburgh

AAC: 5 LAST FOUR IN

ACC: 5
Arkansas

Big East: 4 Providence

SEC: 3 BYU

MW: 2 Minnesota

WCC: 2 FIRST FOUR OUT

1-Bid Conferences: 22 Nebraska


Tennessee


Florida State


Dayton


NEXT FOUR OUT


Georgetown


Missouri


Southern Mississippi


St. John's

Also considered: LSU, Indiana, Marquette, Clemson, N.C. State

On Tuesday night, Baylor just about locked up its place by pulling away from Iowa State late, and Oregon gained a bit of breathing room by handling Arizona State in Eugene. Georgetown crept closer to the field by knocking off Creighton, while Big East rival Providence improved its position slightly by taking out Marquette after a pair of overtimes.

I was tempted to drop Creighton, AKA "The Big East bubble team's best friend," a line after the Bluejays fell to Georgetown (a result that happened to hand the conference regular season title to Villanova, by the way). However, that Iowa State loss made me keep the status quo for another day.

Wednesday night's slate sees a few more bubble teams take the court with opportunities to make or break their NCAA cases.

  • Nebraska will likely enter this projection tomorrow with a win at an Indiana squad that has hopes of its own.
  • Dayton also has a chance to drastically improve its stock if it can pick up an unlikely win at Saint Louis. St. Joseph's and George Washington, meanwhile, will meet in the nation's capital with improved seeding perhaps on the line.
  • Oklahoma and Texas -- both currently on the five line -- each have winnable home games. That said, the Sooners are looking to avoid a sweep at the hands of a West Virginia team that needs wins.
  • Colorado travels to Stanford while Cal hosts Utah, and all four teams are still in with a chance (granted, in the case of the Utes, its minuscule because of their early-season schedule.) The Buffs-Cardinal game is particularly crucial in terms of seeding, since all four spots on the 10 line are occupied by Pac-12 schools in this projection, and California sits just behind.
  • Arkansas, currently in, and Missouri and Tennessee, both currently just out, all face the possibility of the dreaded late bad loss. The task is a little trickier for the Volunteers, as they are on the road for their game with Auburn. The Razorbacks host Ole Miss, while Mizzou takes on a tricky Texas A&M team.
  • There may also be changes to a pair of mid-major auto bids as Boston University (Patriot League) and Robert Morris (Northeast) play their conference tournament quarterfinals today. Both have home-court advantage, however.

I'll have a new bracketology post on Thursday morning, and with another hectic night on tap, expect to see more shuffling. In the meantime, head over to Blogging the Bracket for my daily TV previews and morning recaps, and follow me during each night's action on Twitter @ChrisDobbertean.

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