Bracket Thoughts for the Week of January 13th
by David Mihm | January 13th, 2008
A few random musings as I was putting together the bracket this week before we begin our “Bubble Watch” next week in earnest:
- The four #1 seeds are pretty much set. I don’t see these changing much in the next eight weeks. Memphis and UCLA fans can book their tickets to Little Rock and Anaheim, even if their teams somehow slide down to the #2 or #3 lines. The other sites (Raleigh and Omaha), though, are too “competitive” to be certain. Here’s my prediction: the four #1′s on Selection Sunday will be Memphis, the ACC Champion, the Pac-10 Champion, and the Big XII Champion, in that order, unless something funky happens with the Big XII Final like it did last year.
- A Pac-10 team will get into the Tournament this year with a sub-.500 record. I’m not guaranteeing eight teams (as are currently projected in the field), but the quality of play in the middle of the league is such that a Stanford, Cal, Arizona State, USC, or even Arizona could end up at 8-10 / 9-11, having beaten several Tournament-caliber teams.
- The SEC will get at least four teams into the Tournament. I wouldn’t have necessarily said this a month ago, but Arkansas and Mississippi both look pretty strong at this point, and Florida is surging nicely. It’s still going to be tough for the Gators to get in with a .500 conference record (as I said in the comments last week), however, given that the SEC is #5 in the RPI and their own non-conference SOS is an unconscionable 308.
- The Atlantic-
1410 will get at least three and as many as five teams into the Tournament. Dayton and Xavier are looking more and more like locks at this point (both already have quality scalps away from home, R-Louisville and N-Indiana, respectively). Rhode Island showed well @ the Flyers this week, and UMass and St Joseph’s both have worthy profiles at this point. Even Duquesne could still sneak into the mix before it’s over.
- The Big East has a legit shot at putting nine teams in the field. Count: (1) Marquette (2) Georgetown (3) Pittsburgh (4) West Virginia (5) Villanova (6) Louisville (7) Notre Dame (8) Syracuse (9) Providence. (10) UConn is on the cusp, and even (11) Cincinnati and (12) DePaul are not completely dead yet.
- The Committee will take the injuries of Jerryd Bayless (Arizona) and David Padgett (Louisville) strongly into account on Selection Sunday. Louisville will primarily be seeded based on how they play from here on out, and Arizona’s recent hiccups against Arizona State and Oregon (not that those are bad losses anyway) will be forgiven.