It’s time for the second edition of Bauertology. The selection committee revealed its top 16 teams last Saturday, giving a better idea of what the tournament bracket might look like.
Aside from adjusting the bracket in order to match the committee, there haven’t been too many changes over the course of a week, though there have been a few shake-ups near the top of the bracket and near the bubble as well. Without further ado, let’s look at what Bauertology 2.0 has in store:
EAST (Washington, D.C.)
1 Duke vs. 16 Sam Houston State
8 Ohio State vs. 9 Ole Miss
5 Texas Tech vs. 12 Hofstra
4 Louisiana State University vs. 13 Vermont
6 Maryland vs. 11 Clemson / Oklahoma
3 Marquette vs. 14 Northern Kentucky
7 Cincinnati vs. 10 Alabama
2 Michigan State vs. 15 Montana
Salt Lake City
1 Gonzaga vs. 16 Monmouth / Saint Francis PA
8 Baylor vs. 9 North Carolina State
5 Villanova vs. 12 Belmont
4 Louisville vs. 13 South Dakota State
6 Florida State vs. 11 Seton Hall / Minnesota
3 Kansas vs. 14 Bowling Green
7 Auburn vs. 10 Syracuse
2 Michigan vs. 15 Loyola Chicago
1 Tennessee vs. 16 University of Texas-Arlington
8 Texas Christian University vs. 9 St. John's
5 Virginia Tech vs. 12 Liberty
4 Nevada vs. 13 Yale
6 Kansas State vs. 11 University of Central Florida
3 Purdue vs. 14 Old Dominion
7 Mississippi State vs. 10 Virginia Commonwealth University
2 North Carolina vs. 15 Bucknell
MIDWEST (Kansas City)
1 Virginia vs. 16 Norfolk State / Prairie View A&M
8 Washington vs. 9 Texas
Salt Lake City
5 Wisconsin vs. 12 New Mexico State
4 Nevada vs. 13 Yale
6 Iowa vs. 11 Lipscomb
3 Houston vs. 14 University of California-Irvine
7 Buffalo vs. 10 Wofford
2 Kentucky vs. 15 Radford
Last Four Byes: VCU, Alabama, UCF, Lipscomb
Last Four In: Seton Hall, Minnesota, Clemson, Oklahoma
First Four Out: Indiana, Temple, Arizona State, Utah State
Next Four Out: Florida, Butler, Nebraska, University of North Carolina-Greensboro
The AP poll continues to place Tennessee in its No.1 spot, but with Duke taking down Virginia in Charlottesville and coming back by 23 points to defeat Louisville, it’s hard to imagine anyone but the Blue Devils taking the top overall seed. The fact that the selection committee had Duke at No.1 overall even before the Virginia game just affirms this decision.
The Big Ten is still one of the top conferences, but it’s starting to lose steam. With Indiana joining Nebraska on the outside and Minnesota falling to the last four in, the Big Ten is in danger of having only seven teams enter the tournament, a far cry from that 10 that once was touted.
With eight teams in at the moment, the Big 12 ties the Big Ten for number of teams in, but like the Big Ten, Oklahoma’s free fall could result in seeing fewer teams than the conference would have hoped.
The ACC continues to be top-heavy, with Duke, Virginia, North Carolina and Louisville all grabbing top four seeds, but a recent push from Clemson means that the ACC now takes the title of best conference, as nine of 15 teams are projected to earn invites.
The bubble is starting to change shape, as it always does. Arkansas and Creighton have seen their seasons start to slip away, while UNC-Greensboro has looked impressive enough to push its way to a spot in the next four out.
One thing that bubble teams will have to be wary of is bid thieves. Right now, Bowling Green, Davidson and Liberty are all projected to win their conferences, despite the fact that Buffalo, VCU and Lipscomb are better teams with realistic chances for at-large bids. If you’re Indiana, Temple or Arizona State right now, you’re hoping that Buffalo, VCU and Lipscomb can take those conference titles back and clear up some room for bubble teams.
One of the most interesting first-round matchups in this projection is a rematch of last year’s semi final: Michigan vs. Loyola Chicago. Michigan is arguably better this year than last year, thanks to stellar coaching from John Beilein and exemplary play from the likes of Jordan Poole and Iggy Brazdeikis, except for their most recent loss to Penn State.
Loyola Chicago’s sky-high preseason expectations have taken a major hit. Still, the Ramblers are projected to win the Missouri Valley again, and with tournament experience, there’s a high possibility for an upset here should this game come to fruition.
Check back next week for another update on the bubble, bracket and all the wackiness that happens before March Madness begins.
DJ Bauer is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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