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Bracketology: The Selection Committee reveals its roadmap to a 68-team field

The top of today’s projection borrows heavily from the information revealed on Saturday afternoon, as it should.

NCAA Basketball: Villanova at DePaul Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee — you know them better as the Selection Committee — revealed its top 16 teams with a month to play until Selection Sunday. While the Committee's choices weren't without controversy, like the lack of Big Ten representation, they provided a handy guide for bracketologists to follow over the next four weeks. Quality wins matter, which is why Florida State and Butler ranked so highly. And it appears that performing well away from home does as well, which is a major reason why Florida, a team that played its first true home game on Dec. 21, sits on line three.

Since the goal of bracketology is to predict what the Selection Committee will do, not to set up a bracket using a different set of parameters, the top four seed lines of today's projection largely match what the Committee released on Saturday. However, I dropped Butler to the final place on the four line after its Saturday road loss at Providence. (Had Wisconsin defeated Northwestern on Sunday evening, I would have had a change to think about.) Note that I didn't drop Virginia following its double-OT setback at Virginia Tech on Sunday evening.

The top eight teams in the field are the same as in last Tuesday's projection — the only change is a swap of Gonzaga and Baylor to match the Committee's list. Yes, the 22-4 Bears are still a No. 1 seed despite losing to Texas Tech last night, as they remain atop the RPI standings. Meanwhile, Villanova and Kansas, both of whom won on Monday night, remain the top two teams overall.

At the other end of the bid picture — the one the Committee chair Mark Hollis didn't talk about — some bubble teams actually showed some initiative and won games over the weekend. I'll discuss them after today's full bracket and projection.

1. East (Left) and 2. Midwest (Right)

New York (Fri/Sun) Kansas City (Thu/Sat)
New York (Fri/Sun) Kansas City (Thu/Sat)
Buffalo (Thu/Sat) Tulsa (Fri/Sun)
1. Villanova (Big East) 1. Kansas (Big 12)
16. UC Davis/N.C. Central 16. New Orleans/Mt. St. Mary's
8. Virginia Tech 8. Dayton
9. Iowa State 9. California
Sacramento (Fri/Sun) Milwaukee (Thu/Sat)
5. Wisconsin (Big Ten) 5. Creighton
12. UNCW (CAA) 12. Wichita State (MVC)
4. UCLA 4. Duke
13. Boise State (MW) 13. UT Arlington (Sun Belt)
Indianapolis (Fri/Sun) Salt Lake City (Thu/Sat)
6. Notre Dame 6. Purdue
11. Georgia Tech/Marquette 11. Seton Hall
3. Kentucky 3. Arizona (Pac-12)
14. Cal St. Bakersfield (WAC) 14. Belmont (OVC)
Indianapolis (Fri/Sun) Orlando (Thu/Sat)
7. Northwestern 7. Saint Mary's
10. TCU 10. Michigan
2. Louisville 2. Florida State
15. Bucknell (Patriot) 15. Furman (SoCon)

4. West (Left) and 3. South (Right)

San José (Thu/Sat) Memphis (Fri/Sun)
San José (Thu/Sat) Memphis (Fri/Sun)
Salt Lake City (Thu/Sat) Tulsa (Fri/Sun)
1. Gonzaga (WCC) 1. Baylor
16. Texas Southern (SWAC) 16. Weber State (Big Sky)
8. Oklahoma State 8. USC
9. Michigan State 9. VCU (A 10)
Buffalo (Thu/Sat) Milwaukee (Thu/Sat)
5. Cincinnati 5. South Carolina
12. Monmouth (MAAC) 12. Akron (MAC)
4. West Virginia 4. Butler
13. Princeton (Ivy) 13. Valparaiso (Horizon)
Greenville (Fri/Sun) Orlando (Thu/Sat)
6. Xavier 6. Maryland
11. Middle Tennessee (C-USA) 11. Syracuse/Tennessee
3. Virginia 3. Florida (SEC)
14. FGCU (A-Sun) 14. Vermont (AmEast)
Sacramento (Fri/Sun) Greenville (Fri/Sun)
7. Minnesota 7. SMU (American)
10. Miami 10. Kansas State
2. Oregon 2. North Carolina (ACC)
15. Winthrop (Big South) 15. North Dakota St. (Summit)

First Four

To Buffalo (Tue.) To Orlando (Tue.) To Tulsa (Wed.) To Indianapolis (Wed.)
To Buffalo (Tue.) To Orlando (Tue.) To Tulsa (Wed.) To Indianapolis (Wed.)
16. UC Davis (Big West) 11. Syracuse 16. New Orleans (Southland) 11. Georgia Tech
16. N.C. Central (MEAC) 11. Tennessee 16. Mount St. Mary's (NEC) 11. Marquette


ACC: 10 Kansas State (38) Cal State Bakersfield Arkansas State
Big 12: 7 TCU (39) Georgia Tech Clemson
Big Ten: 7 Michigan (40) Michigan Illinois State
Big East: 6 Seton Hall (41) New Orleans Indiana
Pac-12: 5 LAST FOUR IN UNC Asheville New Mexico State
SEC: 4 Marquette (42) UT Arlington Sam Houston State
American: 2 Syracuse (43) Wichita State Winthrop
A 10: 2 Tennessee (44)
WCC: 2 Georgia Tech (45)
Rhode Island
Illinois State
Wake Forest

As I alluded to earlier, a pair of teams took a significant step toward safety on Sunday, as Northwestern stunned Wisconsin in Madison and Virginia Tech knocked off its in-state rival in a thriller that required 10 extra minutes to complete. Earlier in the day, returnee Michigan picked up a vital win at Indiana, a result that knocked the Hoosiers out of the field for the moment.

Saturday's busy schedule provided a mixed bag of results. The ACC's bubble teams were particularly busy. Syracuse's loss at Pittsburgh dented the visitors' chances, while giving a bit of life to a Panther squad that dropped eight straight not too long ago. The Orange remain in, barely, after a Big Monday overtime home loss to Louisville. Wake Forest blasted N.C. State by 30, though that result did more to further doom the Wolfpack than help the Demon Deacons. Wake still has a top 30 RPI with an 0-8 mark against that metric’s top 50! Clemson, now 3-9 in conference play, blew a major opportunity in losing at Duke by two, thanks to a failed rally. The Tigers are now the first team out of my projection. Miami couldn't hold on at Louisville, while Georgia Tech did what it needed to do at Boston College. That victory puts the Yellow Jackets back in the field for the moment, though Sunday's home game against Syracuse looms large for both.

Seton Hall and Marquette fell to St. John's and Georgetown, respectively, and those results combined with Providence's victory over Butler further muddied the Big East bid picture. Both the Pirates and Golden Eagles hang on today, while the Friars and Hoyas are back in the hunt. In the Big 12, Oklahoma State and Iowa State were the only two bubble teams to win — and they played the conference's two worst teams. Texas Tech, on the outside looking in, blew a golden opportunity at a marquee win on Saturday before finally picking one up on Monday evening. Had the Red Raiders swept Kansas and Baylor, they would have entered this bracket.

In the Big Ten, Minnesota won its third in a row, at Rutgers, to continue its move toward lock status. Meanwhile, Michigan State recovered nicely from a horrible Tuesday loss at Michigan to beat Iowa. On the other hand, Ohio State could have used a better performance at Maryland.

The Pac-12's main bubble hope, California, put up a fight at Arizona, but were unable to close out the Wildcats. That means Oregon's visit to Berkeley on Feb. 22 will be vital for the Golden Bears' hopes. Utah kept itself on the fringes of the discussion by sweeping the Washington schools.

As for the SEC, it remains as messy as usual, with no clear-cut favorite to join Florida, Kentucky, and South Carolina in the field. Arkansas followed up back-to-back losses to Missouri and Vanderbilt by struggling at LSU. The Commodores, however, followed their great road win over the Hogs by losing to … Mizzou. Tennessee also faltered, losing by a single point at Georgia, though the Volunteers remain one of the final teams in. Alabama, which gave itself some life by defeating South Carolina in Columbia at midweek, couldn't handle Kentucky back at Coleman Coliseum.

Rhode Island was in line to jump into the field and give the Atlantic 10 three bids in this projection, until Friday's one-point home loss to Dayton. Now the Rams had better pick up a conference tournament title to dance.

I’ll be back Friday with another look at the lock and bubble picture.