A little more than a month ago I posted my preseason projection for the first-ever 68-team NCAA Tournament field. Now, since everyone has played somewhere between five and 10 games, I want you to erase that bracket from your mind, Men In Black-style.
Thanks to many schools scheduling exams this week, it's going to be a relatively light week of action. So, I figured this would be an excellent time to take a look at how the field looks with some actual game data.
There are no fewer than 26 new entries in today's bracket, and while new auto bid holders make up the majority of the newcomers, there are quite a few fresh at-large teams in the mix, and several household names see themselves on the outside looking in.
At the top of the bracket, there are two new No. 1 seeds. Duke and Kansas remain from the preseason bracket, but Ohio State and Tennessee replace Michigan State and Pittsburgh.
Before I get to who's in and out, let me quickly run through how I determine who holds each conference's automatic bid at this early stage.
- First off, just like the Selection Committee, I only look at games against Division I opponents, so if your team's record looks a little different, that's why.
- If a conference has started play, the team with the best winning percentage in league games gets the nod. If two or more teams are tied for the conference lead, I pick team with the best overall winning percentage. If things are still tied, the team with the better RPI gets in. Note that if two teams are tied in winning percentage, but one has a 2-0 mark and the other a 1-0 mark, the team with two wins gets in.
- Things are roughly the same if a conference hasn't yet started championship play. In that case, the team with the best overall winning percentage is selected. If there's a tie, I'll use RPI to break it. Of course, more wins can break the tie as well.
That concludes the administrative portion of this post. You may now pick your head up from the keyboard...just in time for the juicy details.
Top Four Seeds
Duke (East), Ohio State (Southeast), Kansas (Southwest), Tennessee (West)
In And Out
Butler and Gonzaga are out of this bracket, thanks to early struggles. Virginia Tech also finds itself on the outside looking in after its early season performances fell short of preseason expectations.
Last Four IN (Headed to Dayton): Cincinnati, Georgia, Oklahoma State, Xavier
Next Four IN: Old Dominion, Northwestern, Virginia, Mississippi
First Four OUT: Butler, Florida State, Dayton, New Mexico
Next Four OUT: Marquette, Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia Tech
Seeds are in parentheses. The Big East is well-represented, as usual, while the ACC has been a bit of a disappointment early on. Conference USA has its first legitimate shot at multiple bids since UAB and Memphis both made the field in 2006.
Big East: 9
Connecticut (2), Georgetown (2), Syracuse (2), Pittsburgh (3), Notre Dame (5), Villanova (5), West Virginia (5), Louisville (6), Cincinnati (12, 1st Rd.)
Big Ten: 7
Ohio State (1), Minnesota (2), Illinois (3), Michigan State (6), Wisconsin (6), Purdue (8), Northwestern (11)
Big 12: 7
Kansas (1), Kansas State (3), Missouri (4), Baylor (5), Texas (8), Texas A&M (10), Oklahoma State (13, 1st Rd.)
Tennessee (1), Kentucky (4), Vanderbilt (7), Florida (8), Mississippi (11), Georgia (12, 1st Rd.)
Duke (1), Boston College (6), North Carolina (7), Miami (9), Virginia (11)
Atlantic 10: 3
Temple (4), Richmond (9), Xavier (13, 1st Rd.)
Mountain West: 3
San Diego State (3), BYU (4), UNLV (7)
Washington (8), Arizona (10), Washington State (12)
Old Dominion (10), Drexel (12)
Conference USA: 2
Memphis (7), UCF (9)
Single Bid Leagues: 21
America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Horizon, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Summit, Sun Belt, West Coast, WAC
If you need even more information, head on over to Blogging the Bracket, where I have a breakdown of each of the four regions, featuring a quick recap of the season so far for each of the 68 teams in the field.
My next projection will come on Monday, January 3rd, at which point we'll go weekly.