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.
Here’s what changed on Thursday:
- After big wins Thursday, I have moved both Colorado and Stanford into lock status. That brings us to 37 total locks, meaning we are running out of spots for bubble teams in a hurry.
- Iowa better be glad it doesn’t have another game to play. Another bad loss to a team like Northwestern and I think the Hawkeyes might have been sitting out this dance. Instead, Iowa is likely to be a #10 or #11 seed on Selection Sunday.
- Wisconsin is back on the No. 1 line after Villanova’s loss Thursday. The Badgers will likely only stay there if they win the Big Ten Tournament, though.
The NCAA Tournament Picture (full bracket after the jump)
- NCAA Tournament Locks (37): 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, Colorado, Stanford
- 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 37 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 37, which leaves us with 28 “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 60 locks.
Since 68 teams make the NCAA Tournament, that leaves us with 8 spots remaining for bubble teams. Now, let’s take a look at the bubble:
Projected Bubble Spots Left: 8
- Probably In (3): Nebraska, Saint Joseph’s, Dayton
- Bubble In (5): Xavier, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Tennessee, BYU
- Bubble Out: Arkansas, Providence, California, Green Bay, Florida State, St. John’s, Belmont, Missouri
Potential Bid Thieves Left: 20
- American (1): Houston
- ACC (3): N. C. State, Florida State, Georgia Tech
- A-10 (4): Dayton, St. Joseph’s, Richmond, St. Bonaventure
- Big East (3): Xavier, Seton Hall, Providence
- Big Ten (3): Minnesota, Illinois, Northwestern
- Mountain West (2): UNLV, Boise State
- SEC (6): Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, LSU, Ole Miss, South Carolina
The Projected NCAA Tournament Field (March 14, 2014 at 10:39 AM CT)