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NBCSports.com Bracketology: A couple of Saints march into First Four

Syracuse v Miami

CORAL GABLES, FL - JANUARY 25: Jerami Grant #3 of the Syracuse Orangemen dunks the ball against the Miami Hurricanes on January 25, 2014 at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jerami Grant

Joel Auerbach

Syracuse v Miami

CORAL GABLES, FL - JANUARY 25: Jerami Grant #3 of the Syracuse Orangemen dunks the ball against the Miami Hurricanes on January 25, 2014 at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jerami Grant

Joel Auerbach

Here’s a polite way of summarizing the current NCAA Tournament bubble picture: if you don’t like today’s First Four match-ups, wait for the next bracket on Friday. Today’s update finds a couple of Saints marching into Dayton: Saint Joseph’s and St. John’s. They are joined by BYU - fresh off a victory at Saint Mary’s - and Georgetown - which lost to St. John’s on Sunday night. It would have been interesting had three Big East teams ended up among the last four at-large teams; Providence was one spot away, a single slot ahead of St. John’s on the s-curve.

On a final bubble note, the Oklahoma State situation bears watching. How will the Selection Committee handle the Marcus Smart suspension? Each member may look at it differently, and it may depend on how the Cowboys play when he returns.

With its victory at Kentucky on Saturday, Florida passed Arizona for the No. 2 spot on the overall seed list. It’s worth noting, but doesn’t really impact the bracketing process. The Gators and Wildcats are not vying for the same natural Region (as we had with Louisville and Indiana last year). Syracuse continues to be the top overall seed with Wichita State as the fourth No. 1 seed.

Seeding for the two-line is ramping up fast and furious. Besides Kansas, five teams were in contention for three spots: Michigan State, San Diego State, Creighton, Villanova, and Duke. There’s not a right or wrong way to rank them. For now, MSU, SDSU, and Creighton grabbed those slots, with Villanova and Duke as the top two three-seeds. That should play its way out in the next three weeks.

Enjoy your hoops. March is right around the corner.

UPDATED: February 17, 2014

Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid based on current standings with RPI as a tiebreaker for teams with the same number of losses. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (UCLA, BYU, etc).

Several new bracketing principles were introduced after last year’s tournament. You can read them for yourself at www.ncaa.com. For example: teams from the same conference may now meet before a Regional final, even if fewer than eight teams are selected. The goal is to keep as many teams as possible on their actual seed line.

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS - Dayton (First Round)


  • Saint Joseph’s vs. St. John’s | East Region
  • BYU vs. Georgetown | South Region
  • SOUTHERN vs. UTAH VALLEY | Midwest Region
  • ROBERT MORRIS vs. COASTAL CAROLINA | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION ...

EAST - New YorkSOUTH - Memphis
BuffaloOrlando
1) SYRACUSE1) FLORIDA
16) ROB MORRIS / CO CAROLINA16) DAVIDSON
8) Kansas State8) VCU
9) Stanford9) California
San DiegoSpokane
5) Kentucky5) Iowa
12) GREEN BAY12) BYU / Georgetown
4) SAINT LOUIS4) Virginia
13) MIDDLE TENNESSEE13) MERCER
OrlandoRaleigh
6) Connecticut6) Oklahoma
11) St. John’s / Saint Joseph’s11) Missouri
3) MICHIGAN3) CINCINNATI
14) GEORGIA STATE14) S.F. AUSTIN
MilwaukeeMilwaukee
7) Pittsburgh7) New Mexico
10) Colorado10) Xavier
2) CREIGHTON2) Michigan State
15) VERMONT15) NC-CENTRAL
MIDWEST - IndianapolisWEST - Anaheim
St. LouisSan Diego
1) WICHITA STATE1) ARIZONA
16) UTAH VALLEY / SOUTHERN16) WEBER STATE
8) Memphis8) GONZAGA
9) Arizona State9) George Washington
San AntonioSpokane
5) Texas5) Ohio State
12) DELAWARE12) NORTH DAKOTA ST
4) Wisconsin4) Iowa State
13) Iona13) BELMONT
BuffaloRaleigh
6) UCLA6) Louisville
11) Minnesota11) Providence
3) Villanova3) Duke
14) WESTERN MICHIGAN14) UC-IRVINE
St. LouisSan Antonio
7) North Carolina7) Massachusetts
10) SMU10) Oklahoma State
2) KANSAS2) SAN DIEGO ST
15) BOSTON UNIVERSITY15) YALE

NOTES on the BRACKET: Syracuse is the overall No. 1 seed followed by Florida, Arizona, and Wichita State.

Last Five teams in (at large): Providence, Saint Joseph’s, St. John’s, BYU, Georgetown

First Five teams out (at large): Dayton, Richmond, West Virginia, Tennessee, Baylor

Next five teams out (at large): Arkansas, LSU, Marquette, NC State, Indiana State

Breakdown by Conference ...

Big 12 (6): Kansas, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas

Pac 12 (6): Arizona, Colorado, UCLA, California, Stanford, Arizona State

Big Ten (6): Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota

ACC (5): Duke, Syracuse, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia

American (5): Louisville, Memphis, Connecticut, Cincinnati, SMU

Big East (5): Creighton, Villanova, Xavier, Providence, Georgetown

Atlantic 10 (5): Massachusetts, VCU, Saint Louis, Geo Washington, Saint Joseph’s

SEC (4): Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee, Missouri

Mountain West (2): New Mexico, San Diego State

West Coast (2): Gonzaga, BYU

Missouri Valley (1): Wichita State

Conference Automatic Qualifiers ... Middle Tennessee (C-USA), Belmont (Ohio Valley), Georgia State (Sun Belt), Boston University (Patriot), North Dakota State (Summit), Green Bay (Horizon), Davidson (Southern), Utah Valley (WAC), Iona (MAAC), Stephen F. Austin (Southland), Western Michigan (MAC), Mercer (A-Sun), Yale (IVY), UC-Irvine (Big West), Delaware (Colonial), Vermont (American East), Weber State (Big Sky), NC-Central (MEAC), Coastal Carolina (Big South), Robert Morris (NEC), Southern (SWAC)