JR Swift’s Blog

What I’m Thinking About Today

2009 NCAA Tournament Predictions

Posted by jrswift on March 15, 2009

OK, so I never blog anymore but I did want to post (for posterity’s sake) my projections for the field of 65 for this year’s NCAA Tournament.  I really didn’t spend as much time staring at the numbers this year and I think this is an easier job of picking than any recent year.  So here it goes.

The following teams have qualified by virtue of winning their conference postseason tournament (with the exception of the Ivy League which does not have a tournament and sends their regular season champion):

Binghampton, Temple, Duke, East Tennessee St, Missouri, Louisville, Portland St, Radford, Cal-St-Northridge, Virginia Commonwealth, Memphis, Cleveland St, Cornell, Siena, Akron, Morgan St, Northern Iowa, Utah, Robert Morris, Morehead St, USC, American, Mississippi St, Chattanooga, SF Austin, Alabama St, North Dakota St, Western Kentucky, Gonzaga, Utah St, Purdue/Ohio St winner

That leaves 34 at-large bids and I think about 27 of them are pretty easy.  Here’s that list by conference:

Atlantic 10 – Xavier

ACC – North Carolina, Wake Forest, Florida St, Clemson

Big 12 – Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma St, Texas A&M

Big East – Pitt, UConn, Villanova, Syracuse, West Virginia, Marquette

Big 10 – Michigan St, Illinois, Purdue/Ohio St loser

Horizon – Butler

Mountain West – BYU

Pac 10 – Washington, UCLA, Arizona St, California

SEC – LSU, Tennessee

So that leads to the “Bubble” which could have about two dozen teams if you want to stretch it but it really comes down to about a dozen or so.   I think Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota are all close calls but I think they all get in.  Same for Boston College and Maryland.   This leaves only two spots remaining in the field.  While I wouldn’t be surprised if they are a surprising omission, I give one of those spots to Dayton.  That leaves only one remaining bid and I came down to these three teams for that one spot:  Arizona, Creighton and St Mary’s.   I’m giving it to Arizona but I would be thrilled to be wrong.  If it was up to me, I’d probably throw out BC and Maryland and Arizona and give bigs to Creighton, St Mary’s and Auburn.  BUT I’m predicting what the committee will do, not my own picks.  To sum up, the final 7 teams are Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Boston College, Maryland, Dayton and Arizona.

Last Four In:  BC, Minnesota, Dayton, Arizona

Last Four Out: Creighton, St Mary’s, Auburn, San Diego St.

Next Four Out: Florida, South Carolina, New Mexico, Kansas St.

I will not attempt to seed the entire field but I think this is a reasonable guess at the top 16 seeds

1 – North Carolina, Pitt, Louisville, Duke

2- Memphis, UConn, MIchigan St, Oklahoma

3- Wake Forest, Missouri, Villanova, Kansas

4- Florida St, Syracuse, Washington, Gonzaga

So that’s it…if I did really well, I’ll come back here to post again and gloat.  Otherwise, you may never hear from me again.

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