Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is Rush the Court’s resident bracketologist. He will update his brackets at least twice a week through the rest of the regular season here at RTC, but his updated brackets can be viewed daily at Bracketology Expert. As we approach March Madness, he’ll also provide occasional blind resumes. Evans has been ranked by the Bracket Matrix as the nation’s 11th-best bracketologist out of hundreds of entries.
Thursday is typically the busiest day of championship week because we get to find out which “bid thieves” are going to possibly throw a wrench into the hopes of the nation’s nervous bubble teams. Not a lot has changed so far this week, but here’s what has.
- Georgetown is done after losing to DePaul on Thursday night. The Hoyas inexplicably blew a chance to play Creighton and what was likely a way to win their way into the Tournament. Now, Georgetown is NIT-bound.
- Stanford saved its season by coming from behind to defeat Washington State in the last game of the day Wednesday night. The Cardinal are likely going to get in and will have a chance to cement their standing today against Arizona State.
- BYU‘s situation has changed a lot in the last few days. First, the Cougars lost to Gonzaga in the WCC Tournament; then, news broke that Kyle Collinsworth is out for the season with an ACL injury. Yes, this will impact the Cougars’ chances of getting into the NCAA Tournament and, yes, it is a unique situation. Unlike Kansas, which will get a chance to show it is still a Tournament-worthy team without big man Joel Embiid, the Cougars won’t have that opportunity. Because of the timing of the injury, the committee won’t be able to see how good BYU is without Collinsworth and instead will have to completely ignore it when they make their selection this weekend. Or at least that is what (from my understanding) they are supposed to do. We are all human, so I wonder if the committee will be able to ignore Collinsworth’s injury in their analysis. Considering he averages 14.0 PPG and 8.1 RPG this season, that’s a substantial piece of their offensive attack. I’m guessing the Cougars are going to be out.
- The CIT field is starting to come together. A total of 16 teams have now accepted bids (see below the bracket for more details).
- There are no changes to the bracket below, at least not yet. Today there will be some movement.
The NCAA Tournament Picture (full bracket below after the jump)
- NCAA Tournament Locks (35): Arizona, Florida, Syracuse, Wisconsin, Kansas, Duke, Villanova, Virginia, Creighton, Michigan, San Diego State, Iowa State, Michigan State, Louisville, North Carolina, Saint Louis, Cincinnati, UCLA, Texas, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Kansas State, VCU, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Iowa, Ohio State, George Washington, Memphis, Arizona State, New Mexico, Oregon, Baylor, SMU, Oklahoma State
- Clinched NCAA Tournament Auto-Bids (13): Harvard (Ivy), Eastern Kentucky (OVC), Wichita State (MVC), Mercer (ASUN), Coastal Carolina (Big South), Manhattan (MAAC), Wofford (SOCON), Milwaukee (Horizon), Mount St. Mary’s (NEC), North Dakota State (Summit), Gonzaga (WCC), Delaware (CAA), American (Patriot)
How many spots are still available for bubble teams hoping to win their way into the NCAA Tournament? Let’s break it down with a little bit of simple math.
I have 35 locks above, but when you consider nine conferences figure to have at least three bids or more (American, ACC, A-10, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Mountain West, Pac 12, SEC) it’s fair to assume that in MOST — if not all — of those leagues, the automatic bid will also come from an already “locked in” team. Therefore, we subtract nine from 35, which leaves us with 26 “true locks”. Add in the 32 automatic bids awarded to teams that win their conference tournament (which is where the nine conference champs we discounted a second ago will end up) and you’ve got a total of 58 locks.
Since 68 teams make the NCAA Tournament, that leaves us with 10 spots remaining for bubble teams. Now, let’s take a look at the bubble:
Projected Bubble Spots Left: 10
- Bubble In (10): Colorado, Stanford, Nebraska, Saint Joseph’s, Dayton, Xavier, California, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Tennessee
- Bubble Out: BYU, Arkansas, Providence, Green Bay, Florida State, St. John’s, Belmont, Missouri, Indiana, West Virginia
Potential Bid Thieves Left: 44
- American (3): Houston, Rutgers, UCF
- ACC (5): Clemson, N. C. State, Florida State, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech
- A-10 (7): Dayton, St. Joseph’s, Richmond, St. Bonaventure, Rhode Island, Duquesne, Fordham
- Big East (6): St. John’s, Xavier, Marquette, Seton Hall, DePaul, Providence
- Big 12 (1): West Virginia
- Big Ten (5): Minnesota, Illinois, Penn State, Northwestern, Purdue
- Mountain West (6): UNLV, Nevada, Boise State, Wyoming, Fresno State, Utah State
- Pac 12 (1): Utah
- SEC (10): Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, LSU, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi State
The Projected NCAA Tournament Field (March 13, 2014 at 10:16 AM CT)
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