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It’s The Most Wonderful Time, Of the Year!

March 17, 2013

With the kids basket-balling

And everyone calling you to “Stand Up And Cheer!”

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

It’s the best sporting post-season of aaaaaalllll …

With apologies to Andy Williams and all Christians around the world, today, Selection Sunday for the “NCAA® Division I Men’s Basketball Championship” is Christmas for College Basketball fanatics, myself included.  You’ve heard of the “12 Days of Christmas?”  Welcome to the “12 Days of March Madness”.  Well, 12 days of college basketball, interspersed with 11 off days of recuperation and reflection, and for fans of 67 teams, sadness. Kind of cruel when you think about it actually.

All of which makes this March Madness Eve, a mere 5 minutes before NCAA’s Santa Claus (the Tournament Selection Committee)  reaches into their bag and gives 1 gift to 68 schools.   Here’s what we know, what I know, what I think I know, and my educated guesses at who will have NCAA presents under their tree, and who gets stuck with the NIT.

First, we know that all 31 automatic bids have been decided, as determined by conference tournaments (except for the Ivy League); 11 of which repeated from last season and a 12th (Belmont) switching conferences and earning the auto-bid for the second season in a row.  Drumroll please:

ACC – Miami (Fla.)

America East – Albany

Atlantic-10 – Saint Louis

Atlantic Sun – Florida Gulf Coast

Big 12 – Kansas

Big East – Louisville

Big Sky – Montana

Big South – Liberty

Big Ten – Ohio State

Big West – Pacific

Colonial – James Madison

Conference USA – Memphis

Horizon – Valparaiso

Ivy – Harvard

Metro Atlantic – Iona

Mid-American – Akron

Mid-Eastern – North Carolina A&T

Missouri Valley – Creighton

Mountain West – New Mexico

Northeast – LIU Brooklyn

Ohio Valley – Belmont

Pac-12 – Oregon

Patriot – Bucknell

SEC – Ole Miss

Southern – Davidson

Southland – Northwestern St

Summit League – South Dakota State

Sun Belt – Western Kentucky

Southwestern Athletic – Southern

WAC – New Mexico State

West Coast – Gonzaga

Second, that leaves 37 at-large bids.  Looking at all the metrics I could, the various RPI lists out there, Ken Pomeroy’s data, the Sagarin rankings, and a couple of the more prominent bracketology sites, here are the teams that I know are locks, listed by conference (number of teams in parentheses):

ACC (3) – North Carolina, Duke, North Carolina St

Atlantic-10 (3) – Butler, Virginia Commonwealth, Temple

Big 12 (4) – Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Iowa State

Big East (5) – Georgetown, Marquette, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame

Big Ten (6) – Indiana, Michigan State, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois

Missouri Valley (1) – Wichita State

Mountain West (3) – San Diego State, Nevada Las Vegas, Colorado State

Pac-12 (2) – Arizona, UCLA

SEC (2) – Florida, Missouri

Sun Belt (1) – Middle Tennessee

West Coast (1) – St. Mary’s

That’s a total of 31 teams that should be safe, which would leave six (6) at-large spots.  Here’s what I think are the teams competing for these spots, again listed by conference:

ACC (2) – Virginia, Maryland

Atlantic-10 (2) – La Salle, Massachusetts

Big Ten (1) – Iowa

Big 12 (1) – Baylor

Big East (2) – Cincinnati, Villanova

Conference USA (1) – Southern Mississippi

Mountain West (1) – Boise State

Pac-12 (3) – Colorado, California, Stanford

SEC (3) – Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama

Southland (1) – Stephen F. Austin

WAC (2) – Louisiana Tech, Denver

West Coast (1) – Brigham Young

That’s 20 teams competing for the last six spots.  Sparing all the hand-wringing and nit-picking, here’s my best guess as to those six (6) teams whose bubbles won’t burst today, in order from safest to least safe:

Colorado

Southern Mississippi

Boise State

California

Cincinnati

Villanova

Tennessee, La Salle, Kentucky, Massachusetts and Louisiana Tech would top my list of the last teams not selected. Hard for me to see the Defending Champion Kentucky being left out, but we’ll know starting in about 2 minutes.

Happy March Madness Eve, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

 

EDIT: Had originally counted 28 locks and 9 bids up for grabs, but I actually had 31 “locks” listed above, which would only have left 6 bids to be determined.  So I took the last 3 teams I had originally listed “in” – Tennessee, La Salle and Kentucky –  and put them “out”.

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One Comment
  1. After editing the originally published version – in my rush to post it, my simple arithmetic for the at-large bids available failed me – I got 67 of the 68 teams in the field correct. All 31 of my “locks” made it, and 5 of my 6 bubble teams made it, with only Southern Mississippi losing out to La Salle (who I had “in” when I had counted wrong that there was 9 spots left in my opinion, instead of the 6 after my locks). Appears that Southern Miss, Kentucky, Tennessee and Louisiana Tech were the First Four out.

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