Bracket Preview

2 Weeks and Counting Until Selection Sunday

          Selection Sunday is now just two weeks away. The regular season is dwindling down to its last week. Some teams are taking their conference race right down to its final games, while others have locked up their league title and are anxiously awaiting the pairing of teams for their conference tournament.

Cornell has a two-game lead in the Ivy League with just two games remaining. It looks as if it will punch the nation's first ticket to the NCAA Tournament with one more conference win this week. 

With these late-season matchups, some teams are winning and keeping their Tournament hopes alive, while others' postseason dreams can be crushed with just one devastating loss.

This is the second week in which we will delve into the conference players and pretenders, teams looking to lock up a top seed and those battling on the bubble.

Conference Leaders

There are 31 Division I conferences that receive automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament, beginning March 16th. 30 of those auto bids are given to the winners of the respective conference tournaments, while the Ivy League does not have a postseason tournament and therefore the regular season champion will lock up that automatic berth. As stated previously, Cornell needs just one more win to seal their postseason fate.

The selection committee evaluates the nation's other teams' resumes and the top 34 teams come away with a spot in the 65-team field.

Here is a list of teams that currently are in first-place in their league with their conference in parentheses:

Changes Amongst the Conference Leaders


Last Week: Richmond
This Week: Temple

Atlantic Sun

Last Week: Campbell
This Week: Lipscomb

Big Ten:

Last Week: Purdue
This Week: Ohio State


Last Week: Akron
This Week: Kent State


Last Week: Robert Morris
This Week: Quinnipiac


Last Week: Bucknell
This Week: Lehigh


Last Week: Charleston
This Week: Wofford

Sun Belt

Last Week: North Texas
This Week: Troy

At-Large Contenders

Welcome to March! Nine conferences have ended regular-season play (AEC, Big Sky, CAA, Horizon, MAAC, MVC, Southern, Sun Belt, WCC), while 22 are still playing out the last week of the season. If the season ended today and there were no postseason conference tournaments, the 31 conference leaders would receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The remaining 34 Tournament slots would be filled by the 34 next-best teams according to the selection committee. will take a look at the Tournament field and predict who you can expect to find in your 2010 March Madness brackets.


Duke and Maryland, the top two teams in the conference square off this week in a game that will likely decide the regular season title, but win/lose, both teams are into the Tournament… After nearing "lock" status, Wake Forest has lost their last three games. The Demon Deacons are still in the field, but their seeding has taken a huge hit with defeats by UNC and NC State, both teams outside of the RPI Top 75. They finish the regular season at Florida State and with the surging Clemson at home… Georgia Tech's inconsistent play has hurt their Tournament hopes. They have lost three of their last five, with their star forward, Gani Lawal, struggling... They finish up the regular season with Clemson (RPI 39) and Virginia Tech (52)… Florida State's record is helped by a weak non-conference schedule, but throughout the season, they have consistently beaten on teams worse then them- posting a 18-1 record against teams outside the Top 50 RPI, but have a 2-6 record against teams in the Top 50. Their latest three-game win streak has pushed them to a winning record in ACC play… Clemson needed another win to boost their Tournament profile and got it by defeating Florida State for the second-time last month. They have now won four out of five overall. They could really use another victory and have the opportunity to do it this week with games against Georgia Tech and Wake Forest… Virginia Tech is another team that beefed up its record with one of the nation's weakest non-conference schedules and going 13-1 in that time. Even though the Hokies have lost three in a row, they have some quality wins against Clemson and Wake. A couple wins down the stretch would keep them in the Tournament, while another bad loss could push them to the wrong side of the bubble…
Conference Leader
At Large Bids

Big 12

Several teams have done enough for themselves throughout the regular season and are now considered "locks" for postseason play. Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, Texas A&M, Texas, and Missouri are all in this category… Oklahoma State does not have that much more work to do to join those elite teams. They've knocked off Baylor and #1 Kansas in the last week to win their 20th game of the season. Their wins at Kansas State, and Kansas at home are helping the Cowboys look more and more impressive as we get closer to the NCAA Tournament… Texas Tech is on the outside looking in right now. They began the season 9-0, and have wins over several potential Tournament teams like Washington, UTEP and Oklahoma State. However, the Red Raiders have entered an insurmountable skid over the last month. They have lost their last five games, and seven of their last 9. Unless they can go on a serious run in Big 12 Tournament play, Texas Tech is out.
Conference Leader
At Large Bids

Big East

With its blowout win over Villanova, Syracuse is looking like the #1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, while West Virginia, Villanova, Georgetown and Pittsburgh are on their way to some of the Tournament's top seeds as well… UConn, despite its recent hot stretch, is still on the bubble. In the past month or so, they have knocked-off three top ten teams: Texas, Villanova on the road and West Virginia at home. They lost a big game against Lousiville at home who is also fighting for a NCAA bid. With two Big East regular season games remaining, both of which are on the road, will UConn make it? They are just 3-8 in road and neutral court games this season… Marquette is doing everything that it can to ensure itself of a NCAA Tournament bid, despite losing some key components from last year's squad. The Golden Eagles have won three straight Big East games, all on the road, and all in overtime. They are 8-1 in their last 9 games… Louisville may be right on its way back into NCAA Tournament contention. Their easy non-conference schedule didn't do them any favors early on, but their play throughout the Big East season has helped them tremendously. They have swept fellow bubble-team UConn twice, while also defeating Notre Dame as well. Their marquee win is a shocker over Syracuse in the Carrier Dome just two weeks ago. The Cards are 6-2 in their last 8 games, but might need a strong Big East Tournament to keep them in… Notre Dame probably has the conference's player of the year in Luke Harangody and when he went down a week with a bone bruise on his knee, every analyst counted the Irish out. But since then, ND has defeated two ranked teams in a row and have rejuvenated NCAA Tournament hopes. They'll need to win a few more down the stretch to help improve their 8-8 record against RPI top 100 teams. For now, they are out, but not by much… South Florida hasn't helped itself much since we last checked in with them. They lost four out of five before finally defeating Providence at home. They'll need a very strong Big East tournament to continue on in postseason play. With Dominique Jones and Augustus Gilchrist, they have the talent to make a run… Cincinnati simply doesn't have the resume that would earn them a bid. They are 6-12 against RPI Top 100 teams and have lost five of their last seven Big East games. They have a lot of work to do… Seton Hall could have helped themselves out by beating Marquette and winning out, but the Pirates lost to the Golden Eagles at home in overtime. Winning out would get Seton Hall to .500 in conference play, but they would need a few marquee wins in the conference tournament to make their resume look more attractive…

Conference Leader
At Large Bids

Big Ten

Purdue was closing in on a Big Ten regular season title and a #1 seed in March Madness…and then Robbie Hummel went down with a season-ending knee injury. Ohio State took advantage and has the inside track to the regular season title and a potential #1 seed. Not bad for a team that lost their star player for six games mid-season. Michigan State is in, as is Wisconsin. All four are looking at strong seeds… Illinois lost a golden opportunity at "lock" status by losing to Ohio State and Purdue and Minnesota in the last two weeks. They have a daunting task in front of them with Ohio State and Wisconsin still on the schedule. They are in as of now, but a poor showing down the stretch could really knock them out. One or two wins in the Big Ten Tourny has the Fighting Illini in… Minnesota is on a tear as of late, shocking Wisconsin at home and beating Illinois on the road. They lost a heart breaker to Purdue as they couldn't hold off the Boilermakers in the 2nd half. Winning their remaining two games is attainable, and another two in the Big Ten Tournament could have the Golden Gophers in. As of now, they are out, but a few more wins has them in… Northwestern has played themselves out of the Tournament after losing three of four, including twice to the lowly Nittany Lions of Penn State.
Conference Leader
At Large Bids

Cal's at-large chances dwindled as they lost to RPI 184, Oregon State on the road, but then they returned to competitive play by winning three in a row in Pac-10 play. They look to be the best and most experienced team in the league and should win the conference tournament. Without winning the tournament, the Bears are likely out due to their 0-4 record against RPI Top 50 teams and 5-8 road/neutral court record… Arizona State lost a big one to Cal on the road. They look to compete for the Pac-10's automatic bid by winning the conference tournament, because the Sun Devils, just like every other team in the league, will not make the NCAAs as an at-large. They are 0-5 on the season against RPI Top 25 teams… Washington is the third team that looks to contend for the league's automatic bid. They certainly have the talent to win any game (2-2 against RPI Top 25 teams), although they have struggled away from home (2-7 in road/neutral court games). They have split with both Cal and Arizona State so far this season… Everything is up for grabs once the Pac-10 Tournament starts next week…
Conference Leader

Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Tennessee have certainly done enough for themselves to get invitations to March Madness and two other SEC teams could be on the way… Florida helped themselves with three straight wins, including a victory on the road at bubble-contender Ole' Miss and winning at home against ranked-Tennessee. They have Vanderbilt and Kentucky remaining on the schedule in the regular season- winning one of these two would surely help the Gators' resume… Although Mississippi State leads the SEC West standings, they still have some work to do. They don't have any outstanding wins as the Bulldogs are just 1-4 against RPI Top 25 teams. Their strength of schedule is nothing to boast about- ranking 128th in the country and hurt by their extremely poor non-conference schedule. They'll need a marquee victory or two, which could happen as SEC regular-season play comes to a close against Tennessee in Knoxville… Mississippi is on the outside, but could make a run at a berth because of its talented guard play. They have performed poorly against the nation's RPI Top 100 teams, posting a 4-8 record. They'll need to win out in the regular season and then win a few games in the SEC Tournament to make it into the NCAAs…
Conference Leader
At Large Bids
Atlantic 10

Temple restored order in the A-10 after a surging Richmond seized control of the league. Xavier joins their A-10 teammates in NCAA postseason play… The Rhode Island Rams had a berth within their grasps, but fumbled it about, losing four of their last five games in A-10 play. With another loss in the regular-season or in the conference tournament, their 20-win season could be a waste. They have performed well away from home (9-5 in road/neutral court games) this season, so a strong A-10 tournament isn't out of the question… Saint Louis could've added on to its 6-game win streak, but fell to conference-leader by two points. They will look to add to their resume this week with Temple and a road-game at Dayton remaining. Their average play in their non-conference schedule likely means the NIT for the Billikens… Charlotte was another team that seemed to be within a reach of a NCAA bid, but losing four of their past five games doesn't help at all. Making the finals of the A-10 Tournament and knocking off some top teams along the way seems to be the path the 49ers need… Dayton, the A-10 preseason favorites, currently sit in 7th place in the crowded conference. They have the talent to make a run in the league tournament, but will that be enough? They had knocked off Georgia Tech and fell short against Villanova, Kansas State and New Mexico in their non-conference run, but can the Flyers put it together for one last push to the NCAAs?
Conference Leader
At Large Bids

Mountain West
With its regular-season title and 6-0 record against Top 25 teams, New Mexico is a lock for the NCAA Tournament. BYU has been one of the best teams in the nation all year long, going 8-4 against RPI Top 100 teams… After a short losing stretch, UNLV is back on the winning trail and the Mountain West should see at least three teams make it to postseason play. The Runnin' Rebels are 10-4 away from home and sport a 4-4 record against top 50 teams. Making it to the final four in the MWC Tournament should have the Rebels in… San Diego State may have the talent to make a run in the NCAAs, they haven't shown a consistent ability to beat good teams this season. They got blown out by St. Mary's early, and lost close ones to BYU and New Mexico later on. Winning one of those three would certainly help the Aztecs case. Making it to the MWC Tournament finals would likely put them into the field of 65…
Conference Leader
At Large Bids
Unbeknownst to many fans, UTEP has one of the longest current win streaks in the nation, at 12 games through competitive C-USA play. They lead the conference by 2-games, but have a tough road through Marshall and UAB to a regular-season league title. They are flying a bit under the radar but boast a potent front court and solid guard play to beat anyone on any given night… UAB should hang on to its at-large status and end up in the field of 65 in a few weeks. Although they have a poor record against RPI Top 50 teams (1-5), they don't really have a bad loss. In fact, every one of their losses have been by less than 10 points. Their finals two regular season games at home against Memphis and on the road at UTEP could make or break their postseason hopes… Memphis almost deserves to be in the Tournament based on past credentials, but the Tigers just couldn't win a big game this season. They are 1-5 against RPI Top 50 teams. Three of those losses came at the hands of Kansas, Tennessee, Syracuse, which is nothing to hang your head on, but losing by 10 to SMU and by 17 to Houston in C-USA play are very winnable games. With remaining games against UAB and Tulsa, the Tigers could put themselves back into play…. Marshall is quite a difficult team to figure out. They had won six games in a row, before losing five straight and then bouncing back to win their past seven games. 17 of their wins have come against opponents outside the RPI Top 100, so the C-USA Tournament will be extremely important for the selection committee to keep an eye on the Thundering Herd. Beating UTEP at home this week would be a step in the right direction… Despite being the preseason conference favorites, Tulsa is seemingly out of the NCAA Tournament with a week to play. They too thrived on a weak schedule, defeating 17 of 18 foes outside of the RPI top 100 and just 2 of 8 opponents within the Top 100. They'll need an exceptional C-USA Tournament to impress committee…
Conference Leader
At Large Bids
West Coast
St. Mary's of the West Coast Conference are in the discussion, like usual, for a team on the bubble. They couldn't beat Gonzaga this season, but helped themselves with a win over fellow-bubble teams, San Diego State (by 32), Utah State, and Northeastern. Making the finals against Gonzaga in the WCC Tournament would keep the Gaels in…
Conference Leader
At Large Bids
Key Matchups This Week
A West Virginia loss could mean the Mountaineers don't finish the season as one of the Big East's top four teams and therefore wouldn't receive a double-bye in the conference tournament.
Georgetown at West Virginia
The Fighting Illini's bubble hopes could be eased with a win over Big Ten leader, Ohio State. With a loss, Ohio State will likely lose out on the Big Ten regular-season title.
Illinois at Ohio State
Florida is in the Tournament for now, but could use another marquee victory. Next weekend at Kentucky will be tough so the time is now for the Gators.
Vanderbilt at Florida
The Bearcats desperately need a quality win and the falling Villanova could be just the prescription.
Villanova at Cincinnati
UTEP can lock up the C-USA regular-season title with a win, or a Marshall win could help the Thundering Herd in their NCAA Tournament hopes. A key matchup in terms of draft stock for UTEP's Derrick Caracter and Marshall's Hassan Whiteside.
UTEP at Marshall
A big game for both ACC teams in terms of NCAA seeding. Will be a fun battle as Clemson's Trevor Booker takes on GT's Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors.
Georgia Tech at Clemson
Two teams barely comfortable on the inside of the bubble fight for Tournament hopes and potential seeding.
Louisville at Marquette
How will Kansas react after being bounced by Oklahoma State? Kansas State is fighting for a potential #1 seed.
Kansas State at Kansas
Control of the ACC and a share of the regular-season title are at stake. This matchup hasn't been this anticipated since the 2002 season.
Duke at Maryland
One of the Big 12's better matchups- Donald Sloan of A&M takes on OK State's James Anderson as the Cowboys look to build upon their upset over Kansas and solidify their NCAA Tournament status.
Oklahoma State at Texas A&M
An at-large bid in the C-USA could be at stake. Both teams are looking for that extra quality win.
Memphis at UAB
Luke Harangody returns to the Irish as Notre Dame now finds itself in Tournament contention and take on the surging Huskies.
UConn at Notre Dame
Wake looks to avoid a four-game skid, while the Seminoles look to bounce back from a loss at home against Clemson. NCAA seeding is up for grabs.
Wake Forest at Florida State
The 49ers and Rams are both on the bubble and looking for another A-10 win to build upon and beef up their resumes.
Charlotte at Rhode Island
Dayton looks to help its bubble standing with a win over Richmond, while the Spiders could pick up a good win and help its NCAA seeding.
Dayton at Richmond
USC is post-season ineligible but looks to dim Pac-10 rival Arizona State's chances of a regular-season title with a win.
USC at Arizona State
The regular-season MAC title comes down to its final conference game. Adding to the matchup- the schools are separated by only 14 miles. Kent State decisively won the first meeting between the two teams and looks to seal the top seed in the conference tournament, while Akron seeks redemption.
Kent State at Akron
Syracuse is playing for the Tournament's #1 overall seed, while Louisville is trying to play its way into the Tournament. The Cardinals want to close down Freedom Hall on a positive note.
Louisville at Syracuse
The fans will all be out when Missouri takes on #2 Kansas. Columbia will be rocking.
Kansas at Missouri
Two of the nation's top ten teams meet in a Big East battle with seeding at stake- what's not to love?
West Virginia at Villanova
The Bulldogs need another quality win to highlight on their postseason resume and Tennessee is shooting for a potential 3-seed with a win.
Tennessee at Mississippi State
C-USA matchup that could earn UAB a share of the regular-season crown and help their tournament chances.
Notre Dame is on the outside looking in, while Marquette is in and hoping to stay there.
Notre Dame at Marquette
This could be a must-win game for the Hokies who are still looking for some NCAA Tournament security.
Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech
The regular-season title and #1 seed in the WAC Tournament could be at stake.
New Mexico State at Utah State
Butler (Horizon)
Lipscomb (Atlantic Sun)
Siena (Metro Atlantic Athletic)
Coastal Carolina (Big South)
Morgan State (Mid-Eastern Athletic)
Stony Brook (America East)
California (Pac-10)
Murray State (Ohio Valley)
Syracuse (Big East)
Cornell (Ivy)
New Mexico (Mountain West)
Temple (A-10)
Duke (Atlantic Coast)
Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley)
Troy (Sunbelt)
Gonzaga (West Coast)
Oakland (Summit)
UC Santa Barbara (Big West)
Kansas (Big 12)
Old Dominion (CAA)
Kent State (Mid-American)
Ohio State (Big Ten)
Utah State (Western Athletic)
Kentucky (SEC)
Quinnipiac (Northeast)
Weber State (Big Sky)
Jackson State (Southwestern Athletic)
Sam Houston State (Southland)
Wofford (Southern)
Lehigh (Patriot)