Following last night's second half comeback against Villanova, Louisville hopped over Pittsburgh to claim our overall #2 seed. Sticking with the #1 seeds, Michigan State slipped to the 2 line by virtue of how they played and an insight that is not being highlighted enough by the networks. A key point is that Michigan State is earning inflated credit for the number of RPI Top 50 wins (13). However, 9 of those 13 are against teams rated between 31 and 50. As a result, UConn - a tenant of the first seed line for nearly the entire season - reclaims its spot, but they may be shipped out west. Meanwhile, Memphis (i.e. ESPN's sentimental favorite for the #1 seed) is not even sniffing the 1 line, though they are in firm footing for a #2 seed if they defeat Tulsa.
Moving to the at-large bids, none of the teams placed after Maryland are secure. Also, the distance separating at-large bid # 25 (Penn State) and the First Three Out is paper thin. If Illinois (Penn State swept them) defeats Purdue, then Penn State will make a giant leap forward towards achieving status.
Since the Last Four In is as secure as the White House during an episode of 24 and there are many opportunities for bids to be stolen, there could be plenty of shuffling. Because of the possible scenarios, Auburn may need to defeat Tennessee in order to stay in the field.
Finally, choosing the 34th at-large bid was a chore. Ultimately, I felt that there will be a maximum of 7 bids from the Big Ten and that Wisconsin has the weakest of the resumes (SOS: 14; 1-4 v. top three Big 10 teams - v. Illinois) among the five bubble teams under consideration.
St. Mary's earned the nod over Creighton (for now) and Arizona for two reasons. First, it's the obvious Patty Mills factor. He is not 100%, but he is making a difference. Second, St. Mary's inclusion came down to road/neutral record and OOC SOS. St. Mary's is 13-5 in road/neutral games, while Creighton is 11-5 and Arizona is 2-9. Despite what is being said by the talking heads, Arizona (62) and St. Mary's (65) have a comparable OOC SOS. Creighton is a distant 222.
Protected Seeds (by Pod Host):
Boise -- Missouri, Florida State
Dayton -- Louisville, Michigan State
Greensboro -- North Carolina, Duke
Kansas City -- Oklahoma, Kansas
Miami -- Wake Forest, Villanova
Minneapolis -- Memphis, Syracuse
Philadelphia -- Pittsburgh, UConn
Portland -- Gonzaga, Washington
No Longer Under Consideration
Kansas State, Florida, UAB, Kentucky
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The Seedings (NOTE: These are unaltered seedings due to time constraints)
1: North Carolina (ACC), Louisville (Big East), Pittsburgh, UConn
2: Michigan State (Big Ten), Duke, Memphis (C-USA), Oklahoma
3: Villanova, Wake Forest, Kansas, Syracuse
4: GONZAGA (WCC), Washington, Missouri (Big XII), Florida State
5: Illinois, Arizona State (PAC 10), Xavier, West Virginia
6: Clemson, Marquette, Purdue, UCLA
7: Utah (MWC), Tennessee (SEC), Butler, LSU
8: California, Texas, Boston College, BYU
9: Oklahoma State, SIENA (Metro Atlantic), Maryland, Penn State
10: Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio State, WESTERN KENTUCKY (Sun Belt)
11: San Diego State, Dayton, Auburn, Texas A&M
12: Utah St. (WAC), VCU (CAA), Temple (A-10), CLEVELAND STATE (HORIZON)
13: NORTHERN IOWA (MVC), St. Mary’s, AMERICAN (Patriot), Buffalo (MAC)
14: Binghamton (America East), Stephen F. Austin (Southland), NORTH DAKOTA STATE (Summit), PORTLAND STATE (Big Sky)
15: ROBERT MORRIS (Northeast), E. TENNESSEE STATE (Atlantic Sun), CORNELL (Ivy), RADFORD(Big South)
16: Morgan State (MEAC), MOREHEAD STATE (Ohio Valley), Pacific (Big West), CHATTANOOGA (Southern), Alabama State (SWAC)
IN: Maryland, San Diego State, Temple, Pacific
OUT: Wisconsin, Creighton, Arizona, Long Beach State
Last Four In: Dayton, Auburn, Texas A&M, St. Mary’s
Last Four Out: Wisconsin, Creighton, Arizona, USC
Next Four Out: Tulsa, Virginia Tech, Providence, South Carolina
Next Four Out: New Mexico, Baylor, Florida, Kansas State
Seeding Summary (Multi-Bid Conferences Only in Order of Percentage)
Big Ten: 7/11
Big XII: 6/12
Big East: 7/16
Mountain West: 3/9
West Coast: 2/9