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Latest NCAA tourney projections a seeding mess in middle


Mike Miller

With Valentine’s Day arriving on Tuesday, the Missouri Tigers will find a lot to love about our latest bracket projection. Mizzou moves up to No. 3 on the s-curve - behind Kentucky and Syracuse - which positions the Tigers for a little home cooking in St. Louis via the Midwest Region. If Missouri fans are so inclined, they can send a kind word to East Lansing. Michigan State knocked off Ohio State in Columbus and bumped the Buckeyes out West. Kansas is right behind OSU and the two teams are slotted 1-2 in the West Region. If you have a different order, that’s fine. It was a very close call. After that, it’s Duke, Michigan State, and North Carolina on the two-line.

The middle of the bracket is a seeding nightmare. It’s hard to find a lot of differences between a 6 to 8 seed in this bracket, or for that matter, an 8 to 11 seed. You could slot them several ways. Hopefully, a few of these things will become more clear over the next three weeks. Other than Kentucky, it wasn’t a particularly good week for the SEC. Florida lost to Tennessee (again), Mississippi State lost to Georgia, and Alabama suspended several key players. Thus, the Tide take a little sharper hit this week, falling to an 11-seed in the East. That might be a tad low, but let’s see how the team comes back together if players are reinstated.

We still have a very weak bubble. That makes it easier for teams like Illinois, West Virginia, and others to work through losing streaks. When you start comparing resumes, quality wins help separate pretenders from contenders. Remember, a team’s record in it last 12 games is no longer an official criteria used by the Selection Committee.

I’ll be at the NCAA’s Mock Selection exercise later this week in Indianapolis. It will be fun to see how the group works through some of the selection and seeding issues with this year’s landscape. Enjoy a great week of hoops.

UPDATED: Monday, Feb. 13

Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (UTEP, BYU, etc). Records are for games against Division I teams only.

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS - Dayton (First Round)

  • Miami-FL (14-8) vs. Minnesota (17-8) | West Region
  • Xavier (16-9) vs. Seton Hall (17-8) | South Region
  • MISS VALLEY ST (13-11) vs. STONY BROOK (15-8) | East Region
  • NC-ASHEVILLE (16-7) vs. UT-ARLINGTON (18-5) | Midwest Region


EAST - BostonSOUTH - Atlanta
1) SYRACUSE (25-1)1) KENTUCKY (25-1)
8) St. Louis (19-5)8) Memphis (18-7)
9) Kansas State (16-7)9) Connecticut (15-9)
5) San Diego State (18-4)5) WICHITA STATE (21-4)
12) NC State (18-7)12) Xavier / Seton Hall
4) Indiana (19-6)4) Wisconsin (18-6)
13) MID TENNESSEE ST (22-4)13) DAVIDSON (18-6)
6) Creighton (21-5)6) TEMPLE (19-5)
11) Alabama (16-8)11) CALIFORNIA (20-6)
3) Baylor (20-4)3) Marquette (21-5)
14) NEVADA (19-4)14) IONA (20-6)
7) Virginia (19-5)7) Mississippi State (19-6)
10) HARVARD (20-3)10) Purdue (16-9)
2) Michigan State (19-5)2) North Carolina (21-4)
15) BELMONT (18-7)15) BUCKNELL (19-6)
MIDWEST - St. Louis WEST - Phoenix
1) MISSOURI (23-2)1) OHIO STATE (21-4)
8) Notre Dame (17-8)8) SO. MISSISSIPPI (19-4)
9) New Mexico (19-4)9) Iowa State (18-7)
5) Gonzaga (20-4)5) ST. MARY’S (21-3)
12) Washington (17-8)12) Minnesota / Miami-FL
4) Michigan (18-7)4) Louisville (20-5)
13) LONG BEACH ST (17-6)13) ORAL ROBERTS (23-5)
6) Florida (19-6)6) Florida State (17-7)
11) Texas (16-9)11) BYU (19-6)
3) Georgetown (18-5)3) UNLV (20-4)
14) DREXEL (21-5)14) AKRON (17-7)
7) MURRAY STATE (21-1)7) Vanderbilt (17-8)
10) Illinois (16-9)10) West Virginia (16-10)
2) DUKE (21-4)2) Kansas (20-5)
15) VALPARAISO (16-9)15) WEBER STATE (18-4)

NOTES on the BRACKET: Kentucky is the No. 1 overall seed followed by Syracuse, Missouri, and Ohio State. Next in line are Kansas, Duke, Michigan State, North Carolina.

Last Five teams in (at large): Washington, Minnesota, Seton Hall, Miami-FL, Xavier

First Five teams out (at large): Northwestern, Arizona, Mississippi, Dayton, Cincinnati

Next Five teams out (at large): Colorado State, UCF, Oregon, Arkansas, Colorado

Bracket adjustments: There are several one-line adjustments to accommodate both conference conflicts, bracketing principles, and efforts to avoid regular-season rematches.

Here is the team breakdown by Conference ...

Big Ten (8): Ohio State, Michigan State, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Purdue, Illinois, Minnesota

Big East (8): Syracuse, Georgetown, Louisville, Connecticut, Marquette, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Seton Hall

ACC (6): North Carolina, Duke, Virginia, Florida State, NC State, Miami-FL

Big 12 (6): Baylor, Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Texas

SEC (5): Kentucky, Florida, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Alabama

Atlantic 10 (3): Temple, St. Louis, Xavier

Mountain West (3): UNLV, San Diego State, New Mexico

West Coast (3): Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, BYU

Conference USA (2): Memphis, Southern Mississippi

Pac 12 (2): California, Washington

Missouri Valley (2): Creighton, Wichita State

Sun Belt (1): Middle Tennessee State

Conference leaders/champions ... Valparaiso (Horizon), Akron (MAC), Drexel (CAA), Nevada (WAC), Murray State (OVC), Iona (MAAC), Weber State (Big Sky), Davidson (Southern), Oral Roberts (Summit), Long Beach State (Big West), Long Island (NEC), Belmont (Atlantic Sun), Harvard (Ivy), NC-Asheville (Big South), Norfolk State (MEAC), Bucknell (Patriot), Stony Brook (America East), UT-Arlington(Southland), Mississippi Valley State (SWAC)