Tuesday’s Den: Early looks at the NCAA Tournament field……

— Big X— How good is the Big X this season? Bracketology has West Virginia listed as one of the last four teams in the Field of 68; they’re 1-6 in Big X play. Right now, Bracketology has eight of the ten Big X teams in the NCAA’s.

— Big 14— Bracketology has 10 of the 14 teams in the Field of 68:
1-seed– Purdue
5— Rutgers
6– Illinois
7— Iowa, Michigan State
9— Indiana
10— Maryland, Wisconsin
11— Ohio State
12— Northwestern

— SEC— Bracketology has five SEC teams in the field, with fading Arkansas as a 7-seed; they’re 2-5 in SEC games and have injury issues. Alabama/Tennessee are far and away the two best SEC teams this season. 

— Kentucky is a bubble team; they’ve won three games in a row, and play Kansas Saturday in the Big X/SEC Challenge, so a win there would likely get them off the bubble.Their loss to #244 South Carolina, just before they upset Tennessee, is a red flag on their resume.

— ACC— Bracketology has seven ACC teams in NCAA’s, but none higher than a 3-seed:
3-seed— Virginia
5— Miami, NC State
6— Duke
8— Clemson
9— North Carolina, Pittsburgh

— #1-seeds, to this point: Alabama, Houston, Kansas, Purdue— the last Bracketology was done before Houston lost at home to Temple Sunday. We’ll see if losing as a 20-point favorite knocks them out of a #1-seed, for now.

Only one #1-seed has ever lost in the first round of the tournament; after that, there isn’t much difference between play the 8-9 seed winner and the 7-10 winner in the second round. 

— #2-seeds, to this point: Arizona, Iowa State, Tennessee, UCLA— Tennessee/UCLA are best of this group. I’m thinking that UCLA will wind up as a #1-seed.

— Last four teams in; the two play-in games would be:
Ohio State-West Virginia and Northwestern-Oklahoma.

Northwestern had their last two games postponed by COVID-related issues, which complicates their situation.

— Mountain West— San Diego State/Boise State seem like they’re headed to the NCAA’s, with surging New Mexico listed as an 11-seed, which means they don’t have much margin for error.

This league is improved; their #7-rating this year (and last year) is highest league has been rated since 2013. UNLV is 1-6 in Mountain West, tied for last with Wyoming; they’re 11-1 in their non-conference games.

— Big East— Bracketology has five Big East teams in:
3-seed— Xavier
4— UConn, Marquette
6— Providence
8— Creighton

Doesn’t seem to be much bubble activity here; none of the other six Big East teams have a shot at an at-large bid- they’ll need to win the Big East Tournament to get in the NCAA’s.

— Pac-12— Bill Walton won’t like this, but Bracketology has three teams in: UCLA, Arizona and 10-seed Arizona State. They list the first eight teams outside the Field of 68; none of them are Pac-12 teams. Can USC/Utah get hot and out themselves on the bubble?

— AAC— Houston is a big fish in a small pond; they’ll either be a #1 or a #2-seed. Memphis is the only other AAC team that Bracketology has in the Field of 68, and they’re listed as an 11-seed, a bubble team. There are two Houston-Memphis games between now and the AAC tournament; Tigers would be well-served to at least split the pair.

Central Florida is listed as one of the last four out of the field.

— Atlantic 15— Last time this league had only one team in the NCAA’s? 2002, but they appear headed that way this season.

Bracketology has VCU as the lone A-15 team, but as a 12-seed, barely avoiding a play-in game. Dayton just lost to George Washington, the kind of loss that sends you to the NIT, unless you win the conference tournament.

— Championship Week is so much fun because all the other leagues are one-bid leagues, so their conference tournaments are essentially play-in events for the NCAA’s.

KenPom.com has Florida Atlantic ranked as #36, Charleston as #73; they would be the two fascinating teams to watch if they got upset in their conference tournament. Would they get at-large spots, and knock power conference teams out of the field? 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.

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