JR Swift’s Blog

What I’m Thinking About Today

Bracket Fun

Posted by jrswift on March 4, 2007

OK…well, I’ve wasted the better part of my day and a good part of my weekend analyzing teams and games and I’m ready to post a preliminary list of teams who I believe will be in the NCAA Tournament. Right now, I’ve got 58 teams that would make it if the selection took place today:

The following are multi-bid conferences

ACC (7) North Carolina, Maryland, Duke, Boston College, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech. (Moved Georgia Tech from likely to in today after they beat Boston College)

Big East (7) Georgetown, Pitt, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Villanova, Syracuse. (Moved Villanova to in after they beat Syracuse on Saturday)

PAC 10 (5) UCLA, Washington St., Arizona, Oregon, USC. (USC is a bit shakier than you might think but I believe they are still in)

Big 10 (4) Ohio St., Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan St.

SEC (4) Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Kentucky

Big 12 (3) Kansas, Texas A&M, Texas

Mountain West (3) BYU, UNLV, Air Force

Missouri Valley (2) CREIGHTON, Southern Illinois

The remaining conferences (23 of them) are only assured of one bid at this time but the following teams are already in as they have won their conference’s bid (BOLD) or are still safely in the field.

PENN (Ivy)

BELMONT (Atlantic Sun)

WINTHROP (Big South)

DAVIDSON (Southern)

EASTERN KENTUCKY (Ohio Valley)

Memphis, Butler, Nevada–If any of these teams lose in their conference tournaments, they will “steal” a bid from another at-large team.

If you’ve been counting, that leaves somewhere between 58-61 teams that are in the field at this moment. There are a few of those who could do something over the next week to move themselves to the bubble but most of them are locks. I would say that the shakiest teams are Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Villanova, Air Force and USC. It would be in their best interest to get at least one win in their conference tournaments just to be sure.

So who are the remaining 4-7 teams at this time? My best guesses would look something like this: Xavier, Purdue, Illinois, Texas Tech, Missouri St., Clemson and Stanford. I don’t feel particularly confident about any of those teams or they would be on my “in” list but they seem the most likely. I suspect the last four teams who are “out” right now would be Alabama, Kansas St., West Virginia and Old Dominion. All of those teams (except Old Dominion) still have a good chance to play their way in over the next week. Some other teams I looked at seriously were Florida St., Bradley, Drexel, Arkansas, Virginia Commonwealth and Gonzaga but there are a dozen others that are not out of the question but have quite a bit of work to do if they are to make the field.

Tomorrow we’ll do some in-depth analysis of a few of the “bubble teams” and see what their strengths and weaknesses are. Perhaps we’ll add (or subtract) a team or two from the field and we’ll take a look at one reason why the big conferences have a huge advantage this week. Until then, take care.

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