Saturday, March 15, 2008


Two Days of Nervous Excitement

I held off on releasing a bracket last night, since there were a ton of very important games going on. Today's bracket (seed list) is my second to last for this season, and there has been quite a bit of shuffling.

Changes In the Top Four Lines

On the top line, I swapped Tennessee and UCLA's order on the top line, something I was thinking about before either played yesterday. On line two, I swapped Duke and Texas. That means the current ideal Elite Eight matchups in this bracket are North Carolina-Georgetown (East), Memphis-Duke (South), UCLA-Texas (West), and Tennessee-Kansas (Midwest).

Louisville returns to the three line, swapping places with Notre Dame, who lost right after I put my Thursday bracket out. (Now you see why I didn't put anything out last night...) Stanford and Wisconsin remain 3 seeds. So does Xavier, despite their second loss to bracket newcomer St. Joseph's in the past 8 days.

Drake and Michigan State move up to the 4 line after Purdue and Indiana lost their Big Ten quarterfinals to inferior opponents. The Bulldogs and Spartans join the Irish and holdover UConn.

The A-14 Is Bursting Bubbles Left and Right, the Big Televen May Soon

Xavier's loss to St. Joe's means that 2 seed Temple takes the Atlantic 10's auto bid for this bracket. If they lose tonight, an at-large should open back up, but if they win... Illinois or Minnesota
could also steal an at-large if they win the Big Ten tournament Sunday. (You have to hope the selection committee is sweating this one out, as this could make their process even more crunched.) The delay in the SEC tournament, thanks to the severe weather affecting the Georgia Dome last night could also create problems, as Georgia's only way in is through the auto bid, Kentucky needs the games for their profile, and Tennessee needs the wins for a one seed.

In terms of new at-larges, St. Joseph's is back in after beating Xavier again. They should be safe even if they lose. The A-10 semis mean that Illinois State and UMass drop out of the bracket. Virginia Tech's win over Miami in the ACC quarters, put the Hokies in and pushed VCU out.

In the land of auto bids, congratulations to American University! The Eagles beat Colgate 52-46 to make their first NCAA tournament. I've been to three Final Fours and seen the nets cut down twice, but the atmosphere in Bender Arena was truly something special yesterday evening. Today, I'm heading over to Baltimore to see if the UMBC Retrievers can make their first, and I'm contemplating a drive to Atlantic City to see St. Joe's-Temple.

Otherwise, several favorites lost last night. Top seeds UC Santa Barbara (Big West), Utah State (WAC), Alabama State (SWAC), and Stephen F. Austin (Southland) are all out, so their losses led to quite a bit of shuffling on the bottom four lines.

My final projection will come out Sunday afternoon.

Conference Breakdown

Big East - 7
Big 12 - 6
Pac 10 - 6
ACC - 5
Big 10 - 5
SEC - 5
Atlantic 10 - 3
West Coast - 3
Mountain West - 2
Sun Belt - 2

New This Bracket
Cal State-Fullerton (auto)
Mississippi Valley State (auto)
New Mexico State (auto)
Northwestern State (auto)
Saint Joseph's
Temple (auto)
Virginia Tech

Out of This Bracket
Alabama State (auto)
UC Santa Barbara (auto)
Illinois State
Stephen F. Austin (auto)
Utah State (auto)
Virginia Commonwealth

Last Four In

Illinois State
Ohio State
Virginia Commonwealth
Arizona State

Last Four Out
Illinois State
Virginia Commonwealth

Next Four Out

Also Considered (Barely at This Point)
New Mexico

E-mail me with comments or questions.

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