Another Thursday brings another edition of Bauertology. With only three weeks left to go until Selection Sunday, the race for the tournament is really starting to heat up. Some teams are starting to settle into a particular seed line, while others are watching their projected positions soar or fall. There’s still a lot of basketball left to play, but with only about two or three regular seasons game left for each team, let’s take another look at the projected bracket.
EAST (Washington, D.C.)
1 Virginia vs. 16 Prairie View A&M / Iona
8 Auburn vs. 9 St. John's
5 Wisconsin vs. 12 Clemson / Utah State
4 Iowa State vs. 13 Vermont
6 Villanova vs. 11 Arizona State
3 Purdue vs. 14 Hofstra
7 Wofford vs. 10 NC State
2 Tennessee vs. 15 Wright State
MIDWEST (Kansas City)
1 Kentucky vs. 16 Bucknell
8 Baylor vs. 9 Syracuse
Salt Lake City
5 Maryland vs. 12 Belmont
4 Kansas vs. 13 Yale
6 Mississippi State vs. 11 TCU
3 Houston vs. 14 South Dakota State
7 Iowa vs. 10 Florida
2 North Carolina vs. 15 Montana
1 Duke vs. 16 Sam Houston State
8 Ole Miss vs. 9 Ohio State
5 Florida State vs. 12 Minnesota / UCF
4 Marquette vs. 13 Liberty
6 Nevada vs. 11 Alabama
3 Texas Tech vs. 14 Texas State
7 Washington vs. 10 Texas
2 Michigan vs. 15 Drake
Salt Lake City
1 Gonzaga vs. 16 Saint Francis PA / Norfolk State
8 Louisville vs. 9 Oklahoma
5 Kansas State vs. 12 New Mexico State
4 Virginia Tech vs. 13 UC Irvine
6 Buffalo vs. 11 Seton Hall
3 LSU vs. 14 Old Dominion
7 Cincinnati vs. 10 VCU
2 Michigan State vs. 15 Drake
Last Four Byes: TCU, Arizona State, Alabama, Seton Hall
Last Four In: Minnesota, UCF, Clemson, Utah State
First Four Out: Temple, Lipscomb, Furman, Butler
Next Four Out: Nebraska, Saint Mary's, Davidson, Creighton
There’s a new No. 1 overall team, and it’s sort of a controversial decision. With Duke dropping yet another game without Zion Williamson, the Blue Devils hand the No. 1 overall seed to Virginia, a team that they beat twice. But, Virginia’s only losses are to Duke, and the Cavaliers have superior predictive metrics, a higher NET ranking and more Q1 wins. There’s still time for this to change, but right now Virginia is top dog.
The ACC reclaims its title as the top conference with nine bids, as Clemson is once again projected to receive an invite. The Big Ten is now in danger of earning only seven bids, as Minnesota has fallen to the last four in.
Speaking of bubble teams, the bubble is continuing to shrink with the likes of Indiana and San Francisco falling out. Temple is projected to be the first team out right now, but that might be the line for realistic tournament bids. The second team out, Lipscomb, may not be selected to the tournament without winning the Atlantic Sun Tournament. The same could be true for the third team out, Furman. Butler is on the end of the “first four out” line, but at 15-13 and 6-9 in conference, the Bulldogs’ tournament hopes look bleak. This might be the weakest tournament bubble we have seen in a long time.
One of the best potential matchups in this projection comes in the Jacksonville pod of the Midwest region. Should Florida knock out Iowa in what is basically a home game, the red-hot Gators could take on North Carolina in Jacksonville. Although the Tar Heels have been the more impressive team this year, Florida has won five straight and is looking to make a move to get off the bubble. If they keep up their winning ways in the SEC, the Gators might be able to do it. Still, there would be a very good chance for a 10-seed to reach the Sweet 16 should this projection come to fruition.
That’s it for Bauertology this week. More will come next Thursday as the college basketball season rolls closer and closer to March Madness.
DJ Bauer is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.