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Once More with Feeling … It’s The Most Wonderful Time, Of the Year!

March 16, 2014

The BobbyTrue Blog is back.  With a vengeance.  No role for Steven Seagal though.

Lucy just hung the sign that says “The Doctor is In”, and from here on out I will be covering, opinioneering and bloviating about the big sporting events, the World Cups, Super Bowls, Golfing Majors, and other meaningful competitions of sport.  Starting today with the Madness of March (and now April), my predictions of the field for the NCAA® Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.

That’s right, The 12 Days of Basketball Christmas are upon us, making Selection Sunday the de facto March Madness Eve.  At 6:00pm EST, the 68 invitees and their destinations and matchups will be announced on CBS, and that collective whirring you hear shortly thereafter will be the computer printing of the brackets.  Here’s what we know, what I know, what I think I know, and my educated guesses at who will enjoy the most wonderful time of the year (check’s in the mail to Andy Williams’ estate) and who has NIT coal in their stockings.

First, we know that all 32 automatic bids have been decided, as determined by conference tournaments (except for the Ivy League); only 5 of which repeated from last season and a 6th (Louisville) switching conferences and earning the auto-bid for the second season in a row. Fun fact, only 9 of the 31 Conference Tournament No. 1 seeds (indicative of the regular season champion or leader) went on to win their conference tournament.  Drumroll please:

American Athletic –  Louisville

America East – Albany

ACC – Virginia

Atlantic Sun – Mercer

Atlantic-10 – St. Joseph’s

Big 12 – Iowa State

Big East – Providence

Big Sky – Weber State

Big South – Coastal Carolina

Big Ten – Michigan State

Big West – Cal Poly

Colonial – Delaware

Conference USA – Tulsa

Horizon – Milwaukee

Ivy – Harvard

Metro Atlantic – Manhattan

Mid-American – Western Michigan

Mid-Eastern – North Carolina Central

Missouri Valley – Wichita State

Mountain West – New Mexico

Northeast – Mount St. Mary’s

Ohio Valley – Eastern Kentucky

Pac-12 – UCLA

Patriot – American

SEC – Florida

Southern – Wofford

Southland – Stephen F. Austin

Southwestern Athletic – Texas Southern

Summit League – North Dakota State

Sun Belt – Louisiana-Lafayette

West Coast – Gonzaga

WAC – New Mexico State

Second, that leaves 36 at-large bids.  Looking at all the metrics I could, the official NCAA RPI as well as CBS Sports’ “Nitty Gritty Report” (their approximation of the RPI), Ken Pomeroy’s data, the Sagarin rankings, and various and sundry bracketology sites, here are the teams that I know (or at least extremely confident) are locks, listed by conference (number of teams in parentheses):

American Athletic (3): Cincinnati, Connecticut, Memphis

ACC (4) – Duke, North Carolina, Pitt, Syracuse

Atlantic-10 (4) – George Washington, Massachusetts, Saint Louis, Virginia Commonwealth

Big 12 (5) – Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas

Big East (2) – Villanova, Creighton

Big Ten (4) – Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa

Mountain West (1) – San Diego State

Pac-12 (5) – Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon, Stanford

SEC (1) – Kentucky

That’s a total of 29 teams that should be safe, which would leave seven (7) at-large spots.  Here’s who I think are the teams competing for these spots, again listed by conference:

American Athletic (1) – SMU

ACC (2) – North Carolina State, Florida State

Atlantic-10 (1) – Dayton

Big 12 (1) – Oklahoma State

Big East (1) – Xavier

Big Ten (2) – Nebraska, Minnesota

Conference USA (2) – Louisiana Tech, Southern Mississippi

Horizon (1) – Wisconsin-Green Bay

Pac-12 (1) – California

SEC (3) – Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas

West Coast (1) – Brigham Young

That’s 16 teams competing for the last seven (7) spots.  I’m almost flipping coins at this point, so here’s my best guess as to those Lucky Seven, in order from safest to least safe:

Oklahoma State

Xavier

SMU

Brigham Young

Tennessee

Nebraska

Dayton

Minnesota, Cal, Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss would top my list of the last teams not selected. We’ll know starting in about 1 minute whether I’m close to the target or not.

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

 

 

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From → Basketball, Sports

One Comment
  1. 67/68 correct, sub out SMU with North Carolina State (who I didn’t have in, or even close to the bubble with 13 losses and at least 4 teams more deserving in my estimation, but apparently Mike Krzyzewski did), and that’s the field.

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