SB Nation's Chris Dobbertean, editor of Blogging The Bracket, is back with the first bracket projection for the month of March.
Welcome to March! I hope you're as excited about what's to come over the next month or so as I am. I believe we're in for one of the most interesting NCAA Tournaments ever, and that will start with the selection and seeding process, which is sure to cause even more arguments than usual.
There aren't a lot of changes between this bracket and the one I posted on Saturday after a weekend filled with some very exciting games (Maryland-Virginia Tech, Louisville-UConn, Richmond-Xavier) and some not so great ones (Michigan State-Purdue and Clemson-Florida State).
The Blue Devils, No. 1 in the West, join Kansas (Midwest), Syracuse (South) and Kentucky (East) on the top line. Purdue (Midwest), meanwhile stays on line 2, alongside Kansas State (South), Villanova (East) and West Virginia (West).
Nine Big East are in the field at the moment, thanks to Notre Dame's surge this week. After winning at UConn Sunday, Louisville is in better position, but the Huskies remain in because of the overall weakness of the bubble. That could change this week, as Jim Calhoun's team closes with two road games against teams who still have a chance, at Notre Dame and USF,
Top Four Seeds: Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky, Duke
Last Four In: St. Mary's, Notre Dame, UAB, San Diego State
First Four Out: Cincinnati, Mississippi State, Dayton, Minnesota
Next Four Out: Seton Hall, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Washington
Temple (4), Xavier (6), Richmond (7)
UTEP (10), UAB (12)
Gonzaga (4), St. Mary's (11)
One Bid Leagues (22): America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Horizon, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Pacific-10, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Summit, Sun Belt, Western Athletic
Lines 3 and 4: Pitt (Midwest) and Vanderbilt (South) jump up to line 3, joining Ohio State (East) and New Mexico (West), two teams who have their eyes firmly on a two seed. The Lobos took their preferred spot in the West, thanks to a big win at BYU on Saturday. The Cougars, meanwhile, drop down to the 5 line in the East (as that regional is played Thursday/Saturday), but their fans shouldn't fret, as they still remain at a Western site, San Jose, for the first weekend.
Georgetown also slips down to the 5 line, after their loss Saturday to newcomer Notre Dame, the Hoyas third in four games and second straight at home.
Temple (East) and Gonzaga (West) jumped up to line 4, where Big Ten teams Michigan State (South) and Wisconsin (Midwest) remain.
Making A Move: Tennessee is back on the upswing, thanks to their win over Kentucky Saturday. The Volunteers move up to a 6 this week, and top seed candidates are undoubtedly happy about that, as UT now owns wins (albeit home victories) over two teams who are likely to be on the top line. Facing the Vols in an 8/9 game in Round Two would be a unique challenge.
Maryland is now a lock after a thrilling double OT win at Virginia Tech Saturday, a game delayed by three hours because of a series of water main breaks. The Terps are proving to be the second best team in the ACC, as they stand at 21-7 overall and 11-3 in the conference, heading into Wednesday's home game with Duke.
Wake Forest is heading in the wrong direction, however, as they lost at home to North Carolina Saturday, the third straight defeat for the Demon Deacons. Wake could continue to drop with a game at Florida State and home contest with Clemson still to come.
Texas is another team taking a tumble, as they fall to a 7 after their defeat at Texas A&M. The Longhorns started 17-0, but have gone 5-7 since. It's not inconceivable that they could fall from No. 1 in the country to an 8/9 game, especially when you consider a road trip to Baylor awaits on Saturday.
Conference Regular Season Titles: Championship Week is upon us and that means several conferences have determined their regular season champions. So without further delay, here are the teams you'll see in my projections as auto bid holders for the foreseeable future.
America East: Stony Brook
Atlantic Sun: Belmont (tie, but superior overall record against D-I opponents)
Big Sky: Weber State
Big South: Coastal Carolina
Colonial: Old Dominion
Conference USA: UTEP
Metro Atlantic: Siena
Mid-Eastern: Morgan State
Missouri Valley: Northern Iowa
Mountain West: New Mexico
Northeast: Quinnipiac (tie, but superior overall record)
Ohio Valley: Murray State
Southland: Sam Houston State
Sun Belt: North Texas (tie, but superior overall record)
West Coast: Gonzaga
Visit Bubble Watch for a detailed look at the last few teams in and the group that hopes to replace them, along with game previews and recaps.