CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FINAL DRAFTCITY BRACKETS CURVE RANKINGS:
-All automatic bids are indicated by an asterisk (*). There are six conference championship games today, so Alabama A&M, Kentucky, Oklahoma State, Southeast Louisiana, Duke and Wisconsin are all projected winners. Adjustments will be made as those games go final.
2. North Carolina
3. Wake Forest
12. *Oklahoma State
13. Boston College
15. Michigan State
22. Texas Tech
26. Georgia Tech
27. Southern Illinois
31. Iowa State
32. West Virginia
33. Mississippi State
39. North Carolina State
41. Saint Mary's
42. Notre Dame
44. *Old Dominion
45. *New Mexico
47. *George Washington
49. *Louisiana Lafayette
50. *Wisconsin Milwaukee
51. *Utah State
52. *Ohio University
58. *Eastern Kentucky
59. *UT Chattanooga
60. *Delaware State
61. *Southeast Louisiana
63. *Fairleigh Dickinson
64. *Alabama A&M
-Digger Phelps from ESPN feels Notre Dame should be in. Surprise, Surprise. I think the Irish are in, but they are by no means a lock.
-Louisville and Kentucky are in the pod system. With first round games in both Indianapolis and Nashville, one isn't necessarily anymore advantageous than the other for either team, so those two locations are interchangeable in my opinion.
I would not be surprised if some of those teams wound up in. Buffalo is my last team in, and it is a very hard comparison. One would have to think that UAB would be ahead of DePaul since they beat them twice down the stretch and have a similar resume, but DePaul did win at Notre Dame earlier this season as well as win a big game at home against Cincinnati, which is more than what UAB did.
As far as teams getting left out, I never have any sympathy for anyone that does. Had UAB not lost to Tulane, they would probably be in the field. Had Maryland not gone down to Clemson three times, they'd probably be in the field. Teams play between 27 and 30 games a year, and one more win for any of them would have made a world of difference. The same goes for Notre Dame or Buffalo if they are left out. Notre Dame played a very weak out of conference schedule and lost to Rutgers in the first game of the conference tournament. Had they just beaten Rutgers, there would be no question about their inclusion. Buffalo finished strong, but they really had a lapse in the middle of the season. If that does not happen, they probably win the division and would be breathing much easier right now. A COUPLE OF POINTS, RANTS, AND COMMENTS:
-For starters, I've seen that 7up commercial where the fans Aren't gonna take it about 50 times too many this week. As a full court subscriber, I was also overexposed to the two bass fish mounted on the wall that talk to each other. I can't explain why, but I suddenly have an urge to buy a case of 7up and go fishing next week while blasting some Twisted Sister.
-A lot of people complain about how a team from a smaller conference can have a great year, but miss the tournament due to a loss in the conference tourney. The two most notable are Davidson and Oral Roberts who dominated their conferences, but failed to win the tournament and a less deserving team got to go. A couple of things; first off, however a conference declares a champion is a decision they make themselves and according to nearly all the conference bylaws it usually requires 75% approval. If a conference wanted to stage just one game between the top two teams for the automatic bid and 75% of the teams in the conference agreed that that was how they wanted to do it, then they could do it that way. For that matter, there is no rule saying a conference needs to have a tournament. The Ivy League doesn't. The Pac Ten and Big Ten didn't have tournaments until recently. If a conference decides it does want to have a tournament, they don't have to take all the teams. Or they could have the regular season champion bye into the championship game. So, my response to the Davidsons and Oral Robertses of the world is that they have no one to blame but their own conference because that is how they decided they wanted to do it.
Secondly, I think it goes to show you the importance of the regular season. There are two ways into the tournament. One is the automatic bid and the other is as an at large. To get an at large, teams must make a case for themselves at some point. Generally, if a team plays in a league as weak as the Mid Con, they are taking a pass on making a case for themselves in conference, but it can still be done if they were to schedule hard out of conference and win some big games. In looking at Valpo's schedule, they played Cincinnati, Duke, Illinois, Arizona State and Charlotte. Had they won two or three of those and then blew through their conference, they would have most likely gotten in without winning the conference tournament. It can be done. Gonzaga doesn't play in the best league and they are not only a regular in the tournament, they get a favorable seed. Pacific is solidly in this year and they play in a VERY weak Big West conference.
-Everyone is all psyched for college basketball right now. It seems as though once the Super Bowl is over with, college basketball is the hottest thing in the country. A lot of what happened prior to the end of the season run becomes sort of deemphasized by most casual fans who never really start paying attention until February. As someone who has been projecting the brackets with a high level of accuracy for several years now, I can tell you with absolute certainty that if you need to know anything about college basketball, you need to know this MARCH STARTS IN NOVEMBER!!! Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING a team does is looked at when putting this together. Had Louisville beaten Kentucky, they may be looking at being the final #1 seed. For that matter, had Louisville beaten Iowa back in November in the Maui Invitational, their RPI and SOS would be much better. I could say this for just about anyone. If Notre Dame beats Michigan earlier this year, they would be safely in. Had Indiana won just one more game at any point, they'd be in.
It all starts in November folks. It is not uncommon for fans to complain about a team that had a very impressive showing in the conference tournament or a strong finish to the season not get as good of a seed as they would expect. At the same time, you have other fans that question how North Carolina or Wake Forest could possibly be considered for a #1 seed when they lost their final games. Well, the last game is simply 1/30th of their season. This is not college football where a team can dominate the season and then have it all fall apart if they stumble at the end. Basically, a team that wins nine games and then loses their tenth is not viewed any differently than a team who loses their first game, but wins their next nine. Granted, the final ten games are a huge point of emphasis to the committee, but that DOES NOT MEAN that they do not heavily consider the November and December games.
Having said that, be sure and come back next November because we analyze and evaluate all season long.
-A few stats and figure: roughly one out of every five teams makes the NCAA Tournament. Don't think the regular season is important?? Three out of every eight NFL teams make the playoffs. Four out of every fifteen teams make the MLB playoffs. Nearly half the NBA and NHL teams make the playoffs. People who do not feel the regular season is important don't seem to realize that one out of five is a much smaller ratio than any other major sports league as far as getting to the postseason is concerned. Also, how well a team does has a lot to do with where they play and who they play. A smaller ratio of basketball teams make the pod system than do football teams that make the BCS.
I guess what I'm getting at is that the regular season matters and is very important. Whenever I hear someone say otherwise, I want to scream.
-I for one do not feel the field should be expanded. The logic most of the idiot media uses is that expanding the field would solve the bubble controversy. It would do no such thing. Whenever there is a cutoff, there is a bubble. I like it where it is now. I think it adds the appropriate amount of pressure to the regular season. For people that say they want to expand it to give more teams a chance, more teams DO have a chance. In fact all 330 teams have a chance. There is a 28 game season that everyone plays before the tournament starts. After that there is a conference tournament for most teams. That is their chance. Not to keep harping on this, but MARCH STARTS IN NOVEMBER!!!
-One more thing, it has been my experience that in terms of seeding, the conference tournaments are less important than the regular season. I'm not saying they aren't important at all, but the bulk of the emphasis goes toward what happened in a team's first 27 games, not in their final two or three.