Bracketology: B1G mediocrity among ACC and Big 12 domination

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Welcome back to The Catch and Shoot’s bracket projections!

The bracket is broken down into 32 spots given as automatic bids (noted in the bracket with italics), and the remaining 36 are at-large selections.

Teams are evaluated by how they have performed to this point in the season without projecting how they will perform the rest of the year.

However, I’ve determined conference auto bids by whom Kenpom projects as the conference champion. If Kenpom projects a tie, I used the team currently higher in the standings. If Kenpom projects a tie between two teams that are also currently tied in the standings, I used the team ranked higher in Kenpom as that team would theoretically be favored in a neutral-site conference championship game.

Here’s the full field of 68 through results of Feb. 13 with some notes on the bracket below.

EAST
MIDWEST
Buffalo
1
Villanova
1 Kansas
Tulsa
16
NC Central/Mount St. Mary’s
16
New Orleans
8 Kansas State 8 Minnesota
9 Virginia Tech 9 VCU
Milwaukee
5 Purdue 5 Cincinnati
Milwaukee
12
Valparaiso
12 Wichita State
4 West Virginia 4 Butler
13
Akron
13
Arkansas State
Orlando
6 USC 6 Saint Mary’s
Salt Lake City
11 Marquette/Michigan 11 Middle Tennessee
3 Florida 3 Arizona
14
Princeton
14
Bakersfield
Greenville
7 Maryland 7 SMU
Indianapolis
10 TCU 10 Oklahoma State
2 North Carolina 2 Louisville
15
Furman
15
Bucknell
SOUTH
WEST
Tulsa
1 Baylor 1 Gonzaga
Salt Lake City
16
Texas Southern
16
Weber State/UC Irvine
8 Dayton 8 Iowa State
9 Miami 9 Seton Hall
Buffalo
5 Creighton 5 Notre Dame
Sacramento
12 UNC Wilmington 12 Boise State
4 Duke 4 UCLA
13 Monmouth 13
Vermont
Indianapolis
6 Wisconsin 6 Xavier
Greenville
11 California 11 Michigan State/Texas Tech
3 Kentucky 3 Virginia
14
Belmont
14
UNC Asheville
Orlando
7 South Carolina 7 Northwestern
Sacramento
10 Wake Forest 10 Georgia Tech
2 Florida State 2 Oregon
15
Florida Gulf Coast
15
North Dakota State


Last four in:
 Marquette, Michigan, Michigan State, Texas Tech

In whispering distance: Arkansas, Syracuse

In talking distance: Tennessee, Indiana, Rhode Island, Georgetown, Clemson

In shouting distance: Alabama, Pittsburgh, Illinois State, Providence, Ohio State, Auburn, Georgia

Bracket notes:

—Seton Hall is behind TCU and Oklahoma State on my true seed list, but bracket semantics put the Pirates one seed line ahead as a No. 9.

—Northwestern is safely in the field after Sunday’s win at Wisconsin. If the Wildcats beat Maryland at home on Wednesday, you could make the argument that they have the best resume in the Big Ten. It’d still be close though with Purdue and Wisconsin. Right now I have Northwestern as my worst No. 7 seed, but there’s not a ton of separation between then and the five seeds.

—The Big Ten is even more a pile of mediocrity now than it was last week. The league has seven bids, and five of those teams are in pretty safely. But Purdue is the only team higher than a No. 6 seed. Both the Boilermakers and Wisconsin have a legitimate chance to wind up as a top four seed on Selection Sunday, but it’s getting less likely as the conference does not offer many opportunities for big wins.

—The ACC is down to 10 bids, and with Clemson falling further off the table, it’s looking like 11 will be the max. That’s still insane, but at one point it looked like 12 bids was a possibility.

—Virginia Tech can’t be feeling too safe with Chris Clarke out for the year. The Hokies have two great wins against Duke and Virginia, but their best road win is against Clemson. They also lost to Texas A&M and NC State and played one of the weakest non-conference schedules in the nation. Virginia Tech hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2007, and if I had to bet on it I’d say the Hokies will miss out again this year.

—Duke-Monmouth would be quite an entertaining first round game.

—There are two big bubble games Tuesday night in the SEC. Tennessee plays at Kentucky with a chance for another marquee win, and Auburn hosts Florida. The Tigers have to win this game to stay in at-large contention.

—In the ACC, Clemson is in a must-win situation Tuesday hosting Wake Forest. Wake will also be in trouble if they lost to another sub-50 RPI team considering its best win is at home against Miami.

Bids by conference:

ACC — 10

Big 12 — 8

Big Ten — 7

Big East — 6

Pac-12 — 5

SEC — 3

AAC — 2

A10 — 2

WCC — 2

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