NCAA

Bracketology Round-up: One month out from Selection Sunday

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USA TODAY Sports

Bracketology Round-up: One month out from Selection Sunday

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Another wild week of college basketball with Duke, Kansas, and Kentucky all falling on the same day. Are you enjoying this season yet?

With these overabundance of upsets, the question quite frankly is not the bubble, it is what to do with the mess in the middle.

The top is locked down. Barring an insane finish to the season, which you cannot rule out after what has happened this year, Villanova, Virginia, and Purdue will claim either a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Two of them will likely be the No. 1 and No. 2 overall seed.

READ ALSO: DUKE SLIPS IN LATEST AP POLL

The rest is up in the air. Where do North Carolina and Kentucky ‘deserve’ to be? How do you properly evaluate Seton Hall and Wichita State? Are their two top-10 teams in the WCC?

Bracketologists are confused on where to put teams. The only clearheaded thoughts are surprisingly at No.1 and at teams around the bubble. Its roughly the same 8-11 teams circling around the empty spots. And none of those bubble teams are doing themselves any favors, with the lone exception being Alabama.

Its all good stuff, and the looming schedule is only going to lead to more madness.

Storylines for mid-major conferences at this point in the year:

-Only one bid for the Atlantic 10
-Two bids from both the Mountain West and West Coast Conference.
-Middle Tennessee is in, but what happens if the Blue Raiders don’t win Conference USA?

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These projections are based on their latest bracket as of Feb. 5.

Joe Lunardi (ESPN):

No. 1 seeds: Villanova, Virginia, Purdue, and Xavier
No. 2 seeds: Duke, Kansas, Auburn, and Michigan State
Last Four in: Kansas State, NC State, Boise State, and Virginia Tech
First Four out: Marquette, UCLA, Nebraska, and SMU

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 Florida Gulf Coast
No. 12: Virginia Tech (at-large) vs. No. 5 West Virginia
Maryland (Next Four Out)

Dave Ommen (NBC Sports/ Yahoo/ Bracketville):

No. 1 seeds: Villanova, Virginia, Purdue, and Xavier
No. 2 seeds: Kansas, Texas Tech, Auburn, and Duke
Last Four in: Houston, Kansas State, Virginia Tech, and LSU
First Four out: SMU, Boise State, UCLA, Syracuse

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 UNC-Asheville/ Arkansas-Pine Bluff
No. 11: Virginia Tech (at-large) vs. No. 11 LSU

Shelby Mast (USA-Today):

No. 1 seeds: Villanova, Purdue, Virginia, and Auburn
No. 2 seeds: Clemson, Xavier, Texas Tech, and Kansas
Last Four in: Virginia Tech, LSU, Kansas State, and St. Bonaventure
First Four out: Boise State, Houston, Georgia, and Temple

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 Penn
No. 11: Virginia Tech (at-large) vs. No. 11 LSU
Maryland (also considered)

Chris Dobbertean (SB Nation):

No. 1 seeds: Villanova, Virginia, Purdue, and Kansas
No. 2 seeds: Duke, Xavier, Auburn, and Clemson
Last Four in: Kansas State, Marquette, Virginia Tech, and St. Bonaventure
First Four out: Western Kentucky, Houston, Georgia, and SMU

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 Radford
No. 11: Virginia Tech (at-large) vs. No. 11 St. Bonaventure
No. 16: Radford (Big South Champ) vs. No. 1 Virginia
Maryland (also considered)

Jerry Palm (CBS Sports):

No. 1 seeds: Villanova, Virginia, Purdue, and Xavier
No. 2 seeds: Duke, Kansas, Auburn, and Clemson
Last Four in: Virginia Tech, UCLA, NC State, and SMU
First Four out: Kansas State, Boise State, St. Bonaventure, and UCF

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 Nicolls St./ Florida Gulf Coast
No. 11: Virginia Tech (at-large) vs. No. 11 UCLA

Delphi Bracketology (Most accurate bracket projection of past two years):

No. 1 seeds: Virginia, Villanova, Purdue, and Xavier
No. 2 seeds: Kansas, Auburn, Clemson, and Duke
Last Four in: LSU, USC, Virginia Tech, and Houston
First Four out: UCLA, Oklahoma State, SMU, and Temple

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1 overall: Virginia (ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 Nicolls State/ Arkansas-Pine Bluff
No. 11: Virginia Tech (at-large) vs. #11 USC
 

Local Rundown:

A bit of a shake-up since the last Bracketology Round-Up for the Mid-Atlantic Region (Delaware, Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia). Still, it appears there are only two teams from the area that will be dancing into March.

The Virginia Cavaliers have solidified themselves as one of the top three teams in the country. In all of these projections Virginia is listed as a No. 1 seed and in fact, one (Delphi) has the Cavaliers the overall No. 1 seed for the tournament. Even if the long winning streak should come to an end and they do not win the ACC Tournament (they’re going to win the regular season title), they are going to be a No. 1 seed, at worst a No. 2.

Now moving back into the conversation is Virginia Tech and they did that with a statement win over North Carolina. However, with the Tar Heels falling off the tracks that win is not pulling as much weight as it was initially. If they can somehow get four wins in the regular season final stretch, they are in the tournament. It will not be easy though: Duke (twice), UVA, Miami, NC State, Louisville, Georgia Tech.

Even though Maryland’s losses have been to relatively good teams, there are not enough quality wins on their resume. Quite honestly the only reasons they are still alive is because they played Purdue and Michigan State close, and because they are a 16-win team in the Big Ten.  The Terps are out of all projections, but still considered in half of the brackets (Delphi Bracketology did not show teams considered for an at-large spot).

Outside of that William & Mary (CAA) and Radford (Big South) are no longer favorites to win their respective conferences. Only Dobbertean has the Highlanders still in the dance as a conference champion. Additionally with Old Dominion’s home loss to Middle Tennessee, they are fully out of an at-large conversation.

Here is a shortened list of legitimate teams that need a conference championship bid to make it to the big dance from the Mid-Atlantic in no particular order: Old Dominion (C-USA), VCU (A-10), William & Mary (CAA), Towson (CAA), Radford (Big South), Liberty (Big South), and Mount St. Mary’s (NEC).

Bracketology Round-up: Who’s hot and ignoring the bubble

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USA TODAY Sports

Bracketology Round-up: Who’s hot and ignoring the bubble

Now is the time that teams need to make their late season push. Whether a team is in the tournament or otherwise, the games now matter more than ever.

Yet, it is the teams solidly in the field that have been slipping as of late. Rarely have we seen losses from teams on the bubble.

The last 10 days saw the four teams that many assumed were locks for a No. 1 seed all fall to an unranked opponent. None of the falls being quite as bad as Purdue’s who suffered through a three-game losing streak. Nearly across the whole board the Boilermakers only dropped to a No. 2 seed, but their margin for error is a lot smaller than many of the teams around them.

READ ALSO: VIRGINIA REMAINS No. 1 AS TOP 25 IS RE-SHUFFLED

Other Big Ten schools continue to rise with strong showings in conference play. Ohio State is now getting some love as a No. 4/ No. 5 seed and Michigan is not too far off either. The Spartans of Michigan State have begun to leapfrog teams that passed them in January as they are on the No. 2/ No. 3 seed line. 

Texas Tech rode a seven-game winning streak to now a emerge as a contender for the top-8 seeds in the tournament. Auburn has also snuck into that conversation as well.

The Virginia Cavaliers remained as the near-unanimous No. 1 overall seed from the following bracketologists. They rebounded with a solid road win at Miami this past week.

For these reasons, no one is worried about who is in and who is out of the tournament, unless of course your team is involved. The drama around the bubble, for now, is subdued.

For the mid-major fans, Wichita State (now in the AAC) is in the mix as well for a favorable seed. They grabbed their best win of the season at Cincinnati on Feb. 18 in a ‘prove-it’ contest for both teams.

But with all of the lesser Power 5 teams winning against top tier opponents, it is not helping many mid-majors that are floating around the bubble. St. Bonaventure, Temple, and even St. Mary’s basically all face win-out situations.

These projections are based on their latest bracket as of Feb. 19.

Joe Lunardi (ESPN):

East Region:
No. 1 Villanova
No. 2 Duke
No. 3 Cincinnati
No. 4 Ohio State

Midwest Region:
No. 1 Xavier
No. 2 Purdue
No. 3 Clemson
No. 4 Tennessee

South Region:
No. 1 Virginia (No. 1 overall)
No. 2 Auburn
No. 3 Texas Tech
No. 4 Wichita State

West Region:
No. 1 Kansas
No. 2 Michigan State
No. 3 North Carolina
No. 4 Arizona

Last Four in: Baylor, Texas, St. Bonaventure, and Syracuse
First Four out: UCLA, USC, Washington, and Nebraska

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (South, ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 Nicholls St./ Savannah State
No. 10: Virginia Tech (West, at-large) vs. No. 7 Alabama

Dave Ommen (NBC Sports/ Yahoo/ Bracketville):

East Region:
No. 1 Villanova
No. 2 North Carolina
No. 3 Cincinnati
No. 4 Gonzaga

Midwest Region:
No. 1 Xavier
No. 2 Duke
No. 3 Purdue
No. 4 Wichita State

South Region:
No. 1 Virginia (No. 1 overall)
No. 2 Michigan State
No. 3 Texas Tech
No. 4 Tennessee

West Region:
No. 1 Kansas
No. 2 Auburn
No. 3 Clemson
No. 4 Arizona

Last Four in: Washington, Baylor, St. Bonaventure, and Syracuse
First Four out: UCLA, LSU, Louisville, and Marquette

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (South, ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 Southern/ Savannah State
No. 9: Virginia Tech (Midwest, at-large) vs. No. 8 Oklahoma

Shelby Mast (USA-Today):

East Region:
No. 1 Villanova (No. 1 overall)
No. 2 Duke
No. 3 Cincinnati
No. 4 Ohio State

Midwest Region:
No. 1 Xavier
No. 2 Purdue
No. 3 Texas Tech
No. 4 Clemson

South Region:
No. 1 Virginia
No. 2 Auburn
No. 3 Michigan State
No. 4 Wichita State

West Region:
No. 1 Kansas
No. 2 North Carolina
No. 3 Arizona
No. 4 Tennessee

Last Four in: St. Mary’s (CA), St. Bonaventure, Syracuse, and Washington
First Four out: LSU, Marquette, UCLA, and Utah

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (South, ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 Wagner
No. 9: Virginia Tech (Midwest, at-large) vs. No. 8 Michigan
Maryland (“On Life Support”)

Chris Dobbertean (SB Nation) – Updated on 2/16:

East Region:
No. 1 Villanova
No. 2 Duke
No. 3 Michigan State
No. 4 Tennessee

Midwest Region:
No. 1 Xavier
No. 2 Kansas
No. 3 Clemson
No. 4 Gonzaga

South Region:
No. 1 Virginia (No. 1 overall)
No. 2 Purdue
No. 3 Cincinnati
No. 4 West Virginia

West Region:
No. 1 Auburn
No. 2 Texas Tech
No. 3 North Carolina
No. 4 Arizona

Last Four in: Louisville, UCLA, Texas, and Baylor
First Four out: St. Bonaventure, USC, Temple, and Syracuse

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (South, ACC Champ)
No. 10: Virginia Tech (at-large)
Maryland (also considered)

Jerry Palm (CBS Sports):

East Region:
No. 1 Villanova
No. 2 Duke
No. 3 Cincinnati
No. 4 Gonzaga

Midwest Region:
No. 1 Xavier
No. 2 Auburn
No. 3 Clemson
No. 4 Wichita State

South Region:
No. 1 Virginia (No. 1 overall)
No. 2 Michigan State
No. 3 Texas Tech
No. 4 Tennessee

West Region:
No. 1 Kansas
No. 2 Purdue
No. 3 North Carolina
No. 4 Arizona

Last Four in: Texas, Butler, Florida, and Syracuse
First Four out: Baylor, Utah, Washington, and Louisville

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (South, ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 Nicholls St./ Prairie View A&M
No. 9: Virginia Tech (West, at-large) vs. No. 8 Arkansas

Delphi Bracketology (Most accurate bracket projection of past two years – Updated 2/17):

No. 1 seeds: Virginia, Xavier, Villanova, and Purdue
No. 2 seeds: Kansas, Purdue, Duke, and Texas Tech
No. 3 seeds: Michigan State, Cincinnati, North Carolina, Clemson
No. 4 seeds: Tennessee, Arizona, West Virginia, Gonzaga

Last Four in: Texas, Baylor, Louisville, UCLA
First Four out: St. Bonaventure, LSU Temple, and Syracuse

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1 overall: Virginia (ACC Champ)
No. 9: Virginia Tech (at-large)

Local Rundown:

It is clear that Virginia’s loss to Virginia Tech will chalk up as just a blemish on an otherwise outstanding tournament resume. The Cavalier’s made that clear with their second half in Coral Gables on Saturday.

The top defensive team in the country does have some wiggle room as they close out the 2017-18 season with the madness from the teams behind them. A loss or two will not move them off the No. 1 line, and depending on which team, they might even maintain the top seed.

Virginia Tech, the team that beat the Cavaliers, is taking advantage of the upsets across the NCAA. Paired with their upset win, they went from a borderline bubble team to a No.9/ No. 10 seed. What does make things difficult for them is that their final four games are against three NCAA tournament teams and a bubble team in Louisville.

They honestly are going to need some other teams to fall or themselves to pull out some monster upsets to stay on the good side of the bubble.

With losses to Penn State and Nebraska, the Maryland Terrapins odds to get into the dance are all but vanquished. Only two bracketologists even mentioned the Terps in their analysis. However, they are not entirely out of it with their schedule and a small run in the Big Ten tournament. There remains a small chance, ever so slight. 

The rest of the Mid-Atlantic Region (Delaware, Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia) is going to have to rely on upsets in conference tournaments to get more teams in. Keep an eye on these teams as they try and ride momentum into March: Old Dominion (21-5, 12-2 C-USA), VCU (15-2, 7-7 A-10), William & Mary (16-11, 9-7 CAA), Towson (18-11, 8-8 CAA), Radford (17-12, 10-6 Big South), and Mount St. Mary’s (16-13, 10-6 NEC), Navy (19-10, 10-6 Patriot).

Virginia stays at No. 1, Middle Tennessee enters Top 25 for first time ever

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Virginia stays at No. 1, Middle Tennessee enters Top 25 for first time ever

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Virginia strengthened its hold on No. 1 in the AP Top 25 while Duke jumped back into the top five after a pair of impressive wins.

The Cavaliers earned 42 of 65 first-place votes in the poll released Monday. That's 12 more than last week when they reached No. 1 for the first time since the Ralph Sampson era.

The top four remained unchanged, with No. 2 Michigan State earning 19 first-place votes after rallying from 27 down to beat Northwestern. Third-ranked Villanova got the other four first-place votes after winning at No. 4 Xavier.

Fifth-ranked Duke jumped seven spots after beating Virginia Tech and Clemson despite playing without injured top freshman Marvin Bagley III.

Middle Tennessee checked in at 24th, marking its first AP Top 25 appearance in program history.

Complete AP Top 25 Poll for Week 16:

1. Virginia (42)
2. Michigan State (19)
3. Villanova (4)
4. Xavier
5. Duke
6. Texas Tech
7. Gonzaga
8. Kansas
9. Purdue
10. North Carolina
11. Cincinnati
12. Auburn
13. Wichita State
14. Arizona
15. Clemson
16. Ohio State
17. Michigan
18. Rhode Island
19. Tennessee
20. Nevada
21. West Virginia
22. Saint Mary's (CA)
23. Houston
24. Middle Tennessee
25. Florida State

NBC Sports Washington contributed to this report.