NCAA

Bracketology Round-up: North Carolina back to a No. 2 seed, Virginia Tech climbing

Bracketology Round-up: North Carolina back to a No. 2 seed, Virginia Tech climbing

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Questioning if the North Carolina Tar Heels were going to make it to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament seems so long ago. This week the Tar Heels knocked off two bubble ACC teams in Louisville and Syracuse on the road to ascend back to one of the top eight teams in the country.

Luke Maye and Joel Berry II are playing like All-Americans, especially over the six-game win streak they are on.

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At the same token Virginia Tech has seen other teams fall, allowing them who are struggling through conference play to get into the tournament. It is now time to question where the Hokies will play rather than if they will make it in.

One of their victims was Clemson, who is now in a tailspin. Once a No. 2 seed, they dropped three straight and are sitting on a No. 4 seed line, barely.

Wichita State is climbing toward the end of the year with other teams falling. The Shockers are up to a No. 3 seed.

The unanimous bubble teams include Syracuse, Louisville, Texas, and USC. Moving ahead of the bubble include St. Bonaventure, Butler, and Florida.

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These projections are based on their latest bracket as of Feb. 26.

Joe Lunardi (ESPN):

East Region:
No. 1 Villanova
No. 2 Duke
No. 3 Texas Tech
No. 4 Tennessee

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

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

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

Last Four in: St. Bonaventure, Syracuse, Louisville, and USC
First Four out: UCLA, Texas, Washington, and Penn State

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

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

Dave Ommen (NBC Sports/ Yahoo/ Bracketville):

East Region:
No. 1 Villanova
No. 2 Michigan State
No. 3 Cincinnati
No. 4 Clemson

Midwest Region:
No. 1 Xavier
No. 2 North Carolina
No. 3 Tennessee
No. 4 Texas Tech

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

West Region:
No. 1 Kansas
No. 2 Duke
No. 3 Wichita State
No. 4 Gonzaga

Last Four in: Providence, Kansas State, Saint Mary’s, and St. Bonaventure
First Four out: Texas, USC, Washington, and Louisville

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (South, ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 Beathune Cookman/ Arkansas Pine Bluff
No. 8: Virginia Tech (Midwest, at-large) vs. No. 9 Texas A&M

Shelby Mast (USA-Today):

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

Midwest Region:
No. 1 Kansas
No. 2 North Carolina
No. 3 Michigan State
No. 4 Tennessee

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

West Region:
No. 1 Xavier
No. 2 Purdue
No. 3 Arizona
No. 4 Clemson

Last Four in: USC, Providence, Washington, and Louisville
First Four out: Baylor, Syracuse, Marquette, and Mississippi State

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (South, ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 Wagner
No. 10: Virginia Tech (South, at-large) vs. No. 7 Seton Hall

Chris Dobbertean (SB Nation) – Updated on 2/23:

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

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

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

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

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

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (South, ACC Champ)
No. 8: Virginia Tech (at-large)
Maryland (also considered)

Jerry Palm (CBS Sports) – Updated on 2/25:

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

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

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

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

Last Four in: Louisville, USC, Texas, and UCLA
First Four out: Syracuse, Utah, Washington, and Boise State

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1: Virginia (South, ACC Champ) vs. No. 16 Bethune Cookman/ Arkansas Pine-Bluff
No. 10: Virginia Tech (South, at-large) vs. No. 7 Arkansas

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

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

Last Four in: USC, Mississippi State, Saint Mary’s (CA), and Louisville
First Four out: Washington, UCLA, Syracuse, and Baylor

Mid-Atlantic Interest:

No. 1 overall: Virginia (ACC Champ)
No. 7: Virginia Tech (at-large)

Local Rundown:

A home win over No. 15 Clemson partnered with a home loss to Louisville just slightly bumped up the Hokies. A week ago, Virginia Tech was hovering between the No. 9/ 10 lines and in some instances was one of the last at-large teams to receive a bye. Now they are between the No.8/9 line and in one bracket is up to a No. 7 seed.

Still they have plenty of work ahead of them with a home contest against No. 5 Duke and a trip to Miami closing their season. Movement for Tech might not be over just yet.

Virginia is in the clear and is now the unanimous No. 1 overall seed across these projections. As long as they win one game in the ACC Tournament, that is not going to change. It would be fair to assume too that even if the Cavaliers loose out, they are sitting as a No. 1 seed.

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. The list of teams that could provide a surprise team or two continues to dwindle: Old Dominion (22-6, 13-3 C-USA), VCU (16-13, 8-8 A-10), William & Mary (18-11, 11-7 CAA), Radford (19-12, 12-6 Big South), Mount St. Mary’s (18-13, 12-6 NEC), Navy (20-11, 11-7 Patriot), and UMBC (20-10, 11-4 A-East).

Mark Turgeon still frustrated with officials as Maryland prepares for next test at Minnesota

Mark Turgeon still frustrated with officials as Maryland prepares for next test at Minnesota

Riding a nine-game winning streak, the Maryland Terrapins entered Sunday’s matchup at Ohio State off as strong a month as the program has had under Mark Turgeon.

They had to lose eventually, and Ohio State proved to have the right formula to slow down stars Anthony Cowan and Jalen Smith. Behind their suffocating defense and lights out shooting night both beyond the arc and at the free throw line, the Buckeyes, held Maryland at bay just long enough to come away with a seven-point win over a top ten team.

No one on the Terrapins was making excuses after the game. They didn’t play well enough to win in the end, and their focus is fully on their next game, Wednesday night in Minnesota.

That didn’t stop head coach Mark Turgeon from making a point to call out the officiating Sunday.

Turgeon lost his most important, and experienced, player with just a few minutes left in the game thanks to a technical foul given out by the officiating crew after Anthony Cowan kicked his foot out in frustration after a no-call.

The Maryland head coach unsurprisingly came to the defense of Cowan, but didn’t directly complain about the officials in regards to the call.

What really stuck with Turgeon was the physical play the refs allowed Ohio State to get away with down low.

It’s very unlike Turgeon to so vocally complain about the officiating. Maryland has been on the receiving end of plenty of coaching complaints to league officials -- Melo Trimble’s foul rate dropping dramatically after his freshman year comes to mind -- but public comments rarely lead to anything positive.

The fact that he was so willing to voice his displeasure shows just how far Turgeon felt Kaleb Wesson and the Buckeyes were able to push the line.

It wasn’t just a reaction in the heat of the moment, either. Turgeon doubled down on his statements Tuesday as the team prepared for their Wednesday night game.

He admitted the likely futility of his comments, but Turgeon is still making a point to the officials here. The game needs to be called fairly, and referees are there to be the adults in the room. 

Turgeon is also likely looking ahead to the Big Ten Tournament with his comments. Right now, Maryland would be set up to potentially face Ohio State in their first game of the tournament, and Turgeon wants to get out ahead of the officiating in the rubber match.

With a two-game lead in the Big Ten and four games to play, the Minnesota game is an important one for Maryland. Like Ohio State, the Golden Gophers have a physical specimen in the paint of their own in Daniel Oturu.

If the officials allow Oturu to bully Jalen Smith in the post, coming across as one-sided as Turgeon felt they were in Columbus, Maryland’s head coach isn’t going to hold back again.

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Don't fret Terps fans, Maryland is still in the driver's seat for a No. 1 seed

Don't fret Terps fans, Maryland is still in the driver's seat for a No. 1 seed

Maryland missed a golden opportunity on Sunday to rise to the No. 1 seed conversation for the NCAA Tournament. But despite losing after being in a prime position, they still are the best team capable of earning the final top seed in March. 

Three of the then-projected No. 1 seeds by ESPN's Joe Lunardi lost on Saturday. Baylor lost to a fellow No. 1 seed Kansas, but Gonzaga and San Diego State both lost to teams outside of the AP Top 25. And in San Diego State's case, a team that isn't making the NCAA Tournament. 

It was a prime situation for Maryland to rise from the No. 2 line that they have been strapped to all season long. Alas, they fell on the road to Ohio State to pause the conversation for the time being - albeit in a loss that was not without some controversy

The loss, however, does not permanently remove the Terrapins from becoming a No. 1 seed. In fact, Maryland is in the driver's seat for the final No. 1 seed currently occupied by San Diego State. 

Kansas, Baylor and Gonzaga are untouchable for Maryland unless one of those teams fall down the stretch. Kansas has 11 Quadrant 1 victories, Baylor is 10-1 in Q1 chances and 6-0 in those on the road and Gonzaga is 22-0 in non-Q1 chances. No one is passing one of those three based on that alone.

The final spot is open. SDSU, Maryland, Duke, Dayton and Florida State are the last remaining teams in consideration for the final No. 1 seed. A crowded field to say the least.

None of them have what Maryland has though: four Q1 opportunities left on their regular-season schedule. 

SDSU has none, Duke and Dayton have one, while Florida State has two after beating Louisville on Monday evening.

IF the committee regards Quadrant 1 wins as much as the NET rankings claim, then logic dictates that Maryland has the best opportunity to take that spot. Quadrant 1 games are defined as a home game against an opponent ranked 1-30 in the NET, a neutral site opponent from 1-50 or a road opponent from 1-75.

Before losing to Ohio State, Lunardi said that Maryland "would [ascend] to the No. 1 seed" with a win over the Buckeyes. That would slide the Aztecs to the No. 2 seed line. And losing to Ohio State is just another Q1 loss. Of all the losses from the top teams last week, including Duke's loss to NC State, Maryland's was the second-best in the eyes of metrics. They really shouldn't be hurt from that loss whatsoever. 

On top of those four regular-season games, the Terrapins would likely get at least two more Q1 chances in the Big Ten Tournament in the semifinals and the championship game, assuming they kept winning. But all of this hinges on continuing to win down the stretch. 

Maryland would have a better resume than any team that wins the ACC (Duke, Florida State or Louisville) and definitely better wins than either Dayton or San Diego State. 

The opportunity for a No. 1 seed is still there, now they can just focus on themselves. 

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