Brackets will feel brunt of early Madness

The Madness began early this time. Four potential No. 1 seeds – Oklahoma, Kansas, Pittsburgh and Connecticut – fell on one dizzying day (and night, and early morning), and two more crashed Saturday afternoon. And now there’s a chance only one of the four No. 1 seeds announced Sunday will enter the Big Dance off a victory.

UConn lost in six overtimes, the end coming around 1:30 a.m. Friday. Oklahoma and Kansas were upset in the Big 12 tournament, and Pittsburgh was one-and-out in the Big East. Michigan State fell to Ohio State in the Big Ten, and finally North Carolina, the nation’s No. 1 team, was undone by Florida State at the Georgia Dome.

There’s a good chance all this motion will carry little down-the-road meaning. As Carolina coach Roy Williams noted Saturday, he has taken teams to six Final Fours, and only one of them entered off a conference tournament title.

Then again, it’s March, and the margin for error has just vanished. “There’s no tomorrow now,” Williams said. “The next time you feel this way after a game, you’re done.”

Projected bracket

South Regional

1. North Carolina vs. 16. Play-in winner: Chattanooga vs. Alabama State

8. Marquette vs. 9. Texas A&M

5. UCLA vs. 12. Michigan

4. Syracuse vs. 13. Northern Iowa

6. LSU vs. 11. Southern Cal

3. Villanova vs. 14. East Tennessee State

7. Oklahoma State vs. 10. Boston College

2. Michigan State vs. 15. Radford

Midwest Regional

1. Memphis vs. 16. Cal State – Northridge

8. Siena vs. 9. Temple

5. West Virginia vs. 12. Virginia Commonwealth

4. Florida State vs. 13. Cleveland State

6. Clemson vs. 11. Western Kentucky

3. Kansas vs. 14. Robert Morris

7. Purdue vs. 10. California

2. Connecticut vs. 15. Southland champ

East Regional

1. Pittsburgh vs. 16. Morehead State

8. BYU vs. 9. Ohio State

5. Xavier vs. 12. San Diego State

4. Washington vs. 13. American

6. Tennessee vs. 11. Minnesota

3. Missouri vs. 14. Morgan State

7. Butler vs. 10. Utah State

2. Duke vs. 15. Portland State


West regional

1. Louisville vs. 16. Akron

8. Dayton vs. 9. Texas

5. Illinois vs. 12. Maryland

4. Arizona State vs. 13. North Dakota State

6. Gonzaga vs. 11. Creighton

3. Wake Forest vs. 14. Binghamton

7. Utah vs. 10. Wisconsin

2. Oklahoma vs. 15. Cornell


37 comments Add your comment

Mark

March 14th, 2009
7:02 pm

Go Big Orange!

and VT is

March 14th, 2009
7:36 pm

Not Invited to the Tourn?

gail

March 14th, 2009
7:55 pm

Still can’t see Michigan State as a #2…and Villanova higher than Syracuse after this weekend? I know that #3 and #4 can be interchangeable, but… we’ll soon find out.

Matt

March 14th, 2009
8:44 pm

Not bad, Mark, but I doubt the committee would match Syracuse and Cleveland State since they played earlier this year in a memorable buzzer-beating game.

Mark Bradley

March 14th, 2009
9:19 pm

You know what, Matt? I forgot about that game. I’ll change the bracket now.

Thanks for being my bracketology tutor.

Mark Bradley

March 14th, 2009
9:38 pm

And it’s a close call between Syracuse and Villanova. But ‘Nova swept the ‘Cuse.

GEORGE MCKEEHAN

March 14th, 2009
11:25 pm

ONLY TWO FROM THE SEC ? MISS. ST. AND AUBURN, AND MAYBE VANDY ? WHO WILL BE KENTUCY’S NEXT COACH ?

Mark Bradley

March 14th, 2009
11:30 pm

Mississippi State would make it three SEC teams if it wins the tournament championship tomorrow, which it might. But that’s the only way the league will get three, IMHO.

Chuck

March 15th, 2009
12:24 am

Purdue as a 7 seed?!? You have to be kidding. I know the Big Ten is a little down, but that is ridiculously low, especially given their Big Ten Tournament play.

lee

March 15th, 2009
4:31 am

Miss. State only gets in if they win the SEC championship? They have beat every team from the East(SC 2x)except Tenn,plus beat top 25 LSU yesterday. Regular season plus SEC tourny gives them 12 conference wins!!!!

Mark Bradley

March 15th, 2009
8:04 am

Purdue is 30th in the RPI, which would put it a No. 8 seed. I’ve got it a 7. Be happy.

Mark Bradley

March 15th, 2009
8:09 am

And Mississippi State gets in only if it wins today. it’s in exactly the same situation as Georgia was a year ago today.

And not to say I told you so, but I did identify Mississippi State as the team most apt to pull a Georgia. http://tinyurl.com/bp2oyb

Marcus

March 15th, 2009
8:26 am

Good looking out on the Morgan State seeding. Hope the Selection Committee is in agreement.

UGASlobberknocker

March 15th, 2009
8:41 am

I believe that UConn deserves the #1 over Memphis. They played a much tougher schedule in a much tougher conference, and I believe they only lost to Pitt and the 6 OT game. Memphis’s weak conference alone should keep them from #1 IMO, and they didnt play the same tough non conference schedule that they did last year (when they deservedly were #1). Mark, you are at your best in March..and this yr, Im gonna win that Fiasco!

Mark Bradley

March 15th, 2009
9:06 am

Memphis has become the great March imponderable because of its conference. Dickie V. and I had a spirited discussion on this yesterday.

And thanks, SlobberKnocker. I get sort of pumped in March, I must admit.

TommyP

March 15th, 2009
9:40 am

Mark: I know this is a prediction but even with this, the powers that be (you) sent Maryland out West. This seems to happen every year Md. makes it!

How did you determine which teams went to which region? (just curious)

Mark Bradley

March 15th, 2009
11:28 am

The biggest determinant is sprinkling teams from the various conferences, which can get complicated: If there are four from a league, they have to be placed in different regions. If there are more than four — as is the case with the Big East, the Big Ten, the Big 12, the Pac-10 and the ACC — teams from the same conference can’t meet until the region final. The committee spends almost a week doing this sort of work. I spend whatever time I can find between games.

Mark Bradley

March 15th, 2009
11:31 am

And I doubt Maryland would mind going anywhere West — even Guam — if it gets to play in the NCAAs.

Rick

March 15th, 2009
11:48 am

This looks o.k for a projected look at things. I do think you are wrong on probably two teams. Creighton, and Western Kentucky. I believe it will be a third team from the S.E.C, either Miss. State if they win today, or Auburn if Tenn. wins today, and Arizona is the other team more deserving than either Creighton, or Western Kentucky.

Mark Bradley

March 15th, 2009
12:02 pm

I’m not wrong on Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers are an automatic qualifier — they won the Sun Belt.

Creighton isn’t, but I’d be surprised if the Bluejays don’t make it. If I miss on anybody, I’m guessing it will be Michigan, Minnesota or San Diego State.

lee

March 15th, 2009
12:08 pm

I don’t think Miss State(22-12) will beat Tenn but I also don’t think only 2 teams from the SEC will go to the tournament. Georgia was a 6th seed with a conference record of 4-12 going in the 2008 SEC tourny. The only comparison is they have the same mascot!!!

Tom Horgan

March 15th, 2009
12:23 pm

Hey Mark: I’m sitting up here in sunny Milwaukee & I think you are giving both Marquette & Wisconsin too much credit. The fact of the matter is without DJames, the Golden Eagles are simply not the same team that cracked the top 10 earlier. I also think the Badgers are a true bubble team at 19-12 & would not be surprised if they end up on the outside.
Louisville should be the top seed in the country, so I would move them to the No. 1 seed in the Midwest & let Memphis/UConn fight it out for the West No. 1. Do you agree you have two coaches (you know who) at Louisville & Memphis that really need to make a statement this year for all the talent they have?

Mark Bradley

March 15th, 2009
12:24 pm

I think Mississippi State could well beat the Vols (especially if Lane Kiffin coaches). But seriously, folks … the SEC is sixth among conferences in RPI, just ahead of the Mountain West. Florida and Auburn and South Carolina have RPIs in the 50’s. The only at-large I have making it with an RPI lower than 51 is Boston College, which went 9-7 in the highest-rated league.

Mark Bradley

March 15th, 2009
12:28 pm

Not really, Tom. Rick Pitino has his NCAA title. John Calipari is coaching a team that lost three NBA draftees. I think both are capable of taking these teams to the Final Four.

I’ve actually tried to downgrade Marquette because of Dominic James’ absence. Maybe I still have the Golden Eagles overrated. And Wisconsin I put in because the Big Ten is second in conference RPI.

Guess where the Big East is? Third? Nope, fourth. Behind the Big 12. I don’t understand it, either.

Mark Bradley

March 15th, 2009
12:31 pm

And the Georgia Tech publicist Dean Buchan has already pointed out another flaw: I have Michigan and UCLA playing in Round 1. The committee tries not to stage rematches of regular-season games.

Then again, this the same Dean Buchan who sent out a release last year saying a Tech player was on the short list for the Paul Bednarik Award. I pointed out to him that the award was named for Chuck Bednarik. So now we’re even.

Gen Neyland

March 15th, 2009
1:04 pm

I hope Tennessee’s young back court has grown a few whiskers since The Old Spice Classic…BTW, did I miss the play-in matchup above? Off to the Bunker for the SECCG…Go Vols

Jonathan

March 15th, 2009
1:07 pm

Mark, what’s your thought on being a 12 seed versus a 8 or 9. As a Michigan fan, I would love a 12 seed and maybe play teams like Washington, Xavier, Arizona State or FSU to get to Sweet 16. If they were an 8 or 9 like Ohio State, much more difficult to win 2.

yohan

March 15th, 2009
2:01 pm

Where’s your logic in the seedings Mr Bradley? Oh yes you write for the AJC. No need to explain.

yurtle_the_turtle

March 15th, 2009
3:28 pm

Mark…good job. I used to look forward to tonight when they announce the seedings but haven’t found joy in this for several years. Ever since Hewitt has destroyed the GT program, watching the NCAA show tonight is just too painful. Any chance that Hewitt gets fired today??

Boston Williams

March 15th, 2009
3:33 pm

If Toney Douglas ever led his team to anything more than an NCAA Tourney bid, then he could possibly lay claim to POY in the ACC. But he is no more valuable to his team than Henderson is to Duke,Vazquez is to Maryland, VaTech’s leader is to their team, and on down the line. When he leads his team to a number one national rating two years in a row, or even wins the ACC tournament, then he possiblly deserves the accolades that Hansbrough and Lawson have received. Ask Duke who they fear most, Lawson or Douglas. Lawson slayed Duke, while Douglas (a great player) failed in leading his team to victory.

catlady

March 15th, 2009
3:37 pm

Where are your women’s predictions?

Boston Williams

March 15th, 2009
3:47 pm

If Toney Douglas ever led his team to anything more than an NCAA Tourney bid, then he could possibly lay claim to POY in the ACC. But he is no more to his team than Henderson is to Duke,
Vazquez is to Maryland, VaTech’s leader is to their team, and on down the line. When he leads his team to a number one rating two years in a row, then he deserves the accolades that Hansbrough and Lawson have received. Ask Duke who they fear most, Lawson or Douglas.

Gen Neyland

March 15th, 2009
3:52 pm

catlady : We talking mud wrastlin’..? Congrats to MS ST as another entrant to the Dance from the SEC. Sadly, our conference won’t strike fear…

Tom Horgan

March 15th, 2009
4:38 pm

Mark: I really like your pick of ASU as a 4th in the West. Classy wins, James Harden (a lottery pick?), Jeff Pendergraph & Herb Sendek has really turned the team around. In addition to talent, they are playing with real heart & passion (which I like going into the Big Dance). A team rule: Never argue calls with the refs. For those who are hoping to draw ASU: Beware!

Mark Bradley

March 15th, 2009
4:48 pm

Obviously Mississippi State is in the tournament as automatic qualifier, having won the SEC tournament. (And I sort of called that one. http://tinyurl.com/bdo83f) And I’m guessing that means Michigan or Minnesota gets left out. Or perhaps Boston College or Maryland.

Mark Bradley

March 15th, 2009
4:49 pm

And there’s no chance, Yurtle, that Hewitt gets fired today or any day within the next calendar year.

Mark Bradley

March 15th, 2009
4:49 pm

Here’s my women’s prediction: Connecticut takes the 2009 NCAA title.