Monday, March 03, 2008


Won't Someone Just Win Some Games Already?!?!?!

That is my question for the majority of teams that span occupy this year's massive bubble. Today's bracket includes two at-large teams on the 13 line, for crying out loud. That's a sure sign that no one is seizing the initiative and attempting to earn their way into the field.

I was tempted to just put the names of 16 bubble teams in a hat and draw four out to come up with today's Last Four In. However, I saw this morning that my bracket is now included in The Bracket Project's comparison of internet projections. So, I figured I'd better take things even a bit more seriously than usual.

UNC Tops Overall, UCLA Back in the Top 4

North Carolina moves back to the overall number one seed spot, and the coveted Raleigh/Charlotte path to the Final Four. While Tennessee's loss to Vanderbilt on Tuesday didn't lead me to drop them Saturday, I did drop them today after they struggled at Kentucky. Memphis remains number two overall and the top seed in the South. UCLA jumps to the top spot in the West after Texas's loss at Texas Tech on Saturday afternoon.

With this in mind, here are the ideal Elite Eight matchups now North Carolina and Xavier in the East, UCLA and Kansas in the West, Tennessee and Duke in the Midwest, and Memphis and Texas in the South.

The three seeds, Louisville, Georgetown, Wisconsin, and Stanford, are remarkably steady at the moment. Any one of the three could pass Xavier and end up on the two line between now and Selection Sunday, however. Purdue rejoins the four line, replacing Indiana after the Hoosiers were blown out at Michigan State on Sunday. Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, and Connecticut remain as protected seeds at the moment. The Irish and Huskies have the most potential to move up, thanks to the presence of two Big East teams on the three line.

I Didn't Mean to Install a Revolving Door

My task today would've been far easier and far more personally satisfying had
Syracuse buried Pittsburgh like cheese on Saturday afternoon. Instead, the Panthers hung in there and stole one from the Orange. That means SU left the bracket mere hours after they arrived. Ohio State is gone too thanks to a loss at Minnesota. So, I've spent most of my day thinking about who would replace them in the bracket and whether to dump teams like my alma mater, the less than mighty Florida Gators, Maryland, Arizona State, and Texas A&M. In the end, those four stay (although their seeds all took significant hits). Illinois State gets in by virtue of their win over Southern Illinois on Saturday. Don't write the Salukis off yet, since these two teams could meet in a Missouri Valley Semifinal on Saturday in St. Louis. I also caved in and put in New Mexico. I seriously considered Kentucky, but their non-conference struggles still weigh heavily on my mind. Add in the Patrick Patterson injury and 3-7 road/neutral record, and the Wildcats still have work to do. The UF-UK game Sunday afternoon could be an elimination game.

Regular Season Champions

Congratulations go out to the Cornell Big Red, who clinched the Ivy League championship on Saturday night, and are therefore the first team in the field.

Here are the teams that have clinched their conference's regular season titles as of right now. They will remain in the bracket until they either win their league tournament or lose.

America East - Maryland-Baltimore County (hosts the final if they make it)
Atlantic Sun - Belmont (conference tourney down the street at Lipscomb)
Atlantic 10 - Xavier
Big Sky - Portland State (home court advantage for as long as they last)
Big South - UNC Asheville (home court advantage for as long as they last)
Colonial - Virginia Commonwealth (conference tourney on their former home court)
Conference USA - Memphis (hosts conference tourney)
Horizon - Butler (home court advantage for as long as they last)
Metro Atlantic - Siena (hosts conference tourney)
Mid-Eastern - Morgan State
Missouri Valley - Drake (beware the Arch Madness Curse)
Northeast - Robert Morris (home court advantage for as long as they last)
Ohio Valley - Austin Peay
Patriot - American (home court advantage for as long as they last)
Southern - Davidson (20-0 in the league, an incredible feat)
Summit - Oral Roberts (conference tournament in Tulsa, but not on their home court)
Sun Belt - South Alabama (trying to buck the trend of bad luck for the host school)

Speaking of the postseason, I will be attending American's Pat League quarterfinal with Holy Cross on Wednesday night.

Conference Breakdown

Big East - 7
ACC - 6
Big 12 - 6
Pac 10 - 6
SEC - 5
Big 10 - 4
Mountain West - 3
Atlantic 10 - 2
Conference USA - 2
Missouri Valley - 2
West Coast - 2

New This Bracket
Illinois State
New Mexico
UNC Asheville

Out of the Bracket
Ohio State

Last Four In

Illinois State
New Mexico

Last Four Out
Ohio State

Next Four Out
St. Joseph's
Southern Illinois
Western Kentucky

Also Considered
Florida State
George Mason
Rhode Island
Seton Hall
Stephen F. Austin
Wake Forest
Wright State

E-mail me with comments or questions.

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