Bracket Preview

Selection Sunday is Tomorrow

         Note: This file has been updated to include all games through Wednesday, March 12

Conference Leaders

There are 31 Division I conferences that receive automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament, beginning March 16th. 5 conferences have already named their postseason champion: the Atlantic Sun (East Tennessee State), Big South (Winthrop), Ivy (Cornell), Missouri Valley (Northern Iowa) and Ohio Valley (Murray State). That leaves 26 more conference champs to be named this week. We will take a deeper look into the teams that should win their conference championships this week.

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 are currently the top seed (or top remaining seed) in their conference tournaments with their conference in parentheses. Teams with asterisks after their name have already clinched an automatic bid:

Duke and Maryland split their season-series and ended up sharing the regular-season title, but the Blue Devils ended up securing the #1 overall seed in the conference tournament… Florida State's regular-season body of work has been impressive, yet inconsistent. The Seminoles have beaten potential Tournament teams: Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest, but lost to NCAA "locks" such as Ohio State, Maryland (twice), Duke, while also dropping games to bubble teams Florida, and Clemson (twice). They are 0-5 against RPI Top 25 foes, but 10-2 against RPI teams 26-100. Their 10-6 conference record and 9-5 record in games away from home help Florida State's stock. They just lost to N.C. State… Wake Forest has been dreadfully inconsistent throughout the season: beating teams like Xavier, Richmond, Maryland (all in overtime), while also taking down Georgia Tech, Clemson, but sported a four-game losing streak near the end of the regular-season. They neared "lock" status, early on, but their recent slide really hurt their seeding. Winning their opening round game against Miami is a must, but after that, the Demon Deacons are in for good… Clemson will make their way into the NCAA Tournament because of their early-season body of work, entering the Top 25. Their best win of the season could be their win against Butler in the 76 Classic in Anaheim. But the Tigers also boast wins against Maryland, Georgia Tech and a season-sweep over Florida State. They have an RPI of 23 and strength of schedule ranking in the low 20s. Clemson has a first-round matchup against NC State, before potentially facing the Seminoles for the third time this season. By winning these two games, the Tigers will surely be in. One win and Clemson is right on the inside of the bubble and could be pushed out by a streaking team… Virginia Tech played excellent basketball in their non-conference schedule. Unfortunately for them, their out-of-conference play ranked 344 out of 347. However, they were able to carry over some momentum into ACC play, beating the likes of Clemson, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech. Their 10-6 conference record will help their case, but the Hokies are still looking at being the lower seed in their 1st round matchup. The Hokies made it to the ACC Tournament Semifinals and lost to Miami, this really helped them… The Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech were a team that looked to be in early this season, and even though they can still make it in, they are looking dependent on their ACC Tournament play. They have knocked off Duke, Clemson, and Wake Forest all at home, but post a 5-9 record away from home. The toughness of their schedule helps them dramatically (the nation's 18th most difficult schedule), but the committee will have wanted to see more wins against bottom-feeders (losses to Georgia and Virginia, both on the road). Georgia Tech beat North Carolina in the opening round, who they have beaten twice before, They just upset Maryland, where the Yellow Jackets lost on the road by a buzzer-beater earlier in the season. Beating Maryland  certainly helps their cause.….
Conference Leader
At Large Bids

Big 12

In the nation's toughest conference, a handful of teams have competed throughout the season, picking up key league victories and helping them near lock status for next week's field of 65. Kansas, the nation's #1 team, will likely win the Big 12 Tournament, as they posted a 15-1 regular-season record against these teams. Kansas State was making a run for a potential #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament before falling to Iowa State. Even as the #2 seed, the Wildcats face a tough test by likely facing the conference player of the year, James Anderson and his Oklahoma State team in the 2nd round (who have beaten K-State once already), before matching up with #3 Baylor or #6 Texas… Baylor is always dangerous, but especially as of late, rattling off four straight wins, and 7 of 8. They have three all-league performers, which could make them a nightmare matchup in the Big 12 Tournament. The Baylor Bears are looking at #5 seed if they can win two games in the conference tournament and a likely #6 seed if they can only win one… Texas A&M is another Big 12 team with a strong resume. They boast a 22-win season with an RPI of 12 and a strength of schedule ranking at the nation's 6th most difficult. Most recently, they have beaten Texas and Oklahoma State, two impressive victories, although both came in College Station with the Aggies have been fantastic all season long… Although Texas has been on a bit of a slide in the second-half of the season, (6-8 in their last 14 games), they still have quality victories over Pittsburgh, Michigan State, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma State (twice). The Longhorns are a lock for the NCAA Tournament and will be a dangerous threat in the Big 12 Tournament. Their win over a talented, but under-achieving Iowa State team in the opening round of tournament play sealed their fate as an NCAA team… Missouri has done enough for themselves to enter "lock" status, mainly because of their wins at home. They have knocked off Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Texas all at home this season. The Missouri Tigers were upset by Nebraska in the opening round of Big 12 play. The Cornhuskers were 2-14 in the Big 12 this season, but Mizzou found a way to shoot 33% from the field. The Tigers have done enough throughout the season that this loss shouldn't hurt their status too badly. One stat to keep an eye on is their record against RPI Top 25 foes; the Tigers are just 1-7. They have proven their ability to beat teams outside the RPI Top 25 posting 21-2 record, but do not expect the Tigers to make a run through the NCAAs or Big 12 even against the nation's elite teams… Led by the conference's best player and All-America candidate, James Anderson has Oklahoma State in the NCAA's field of 65. Their best win of the season is a win in Manhattan, Kansas, where the Cowboys knocked off Kansas State or even a win over the nation's #1, Kansas at home. They have an RPI in the top 30 and a strength of schedule ranking similarly. The Cowboys are a lock…
Conference Leader
At Large Bids

Big East

Syracuse seemingly had the #1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament sealed up prior to the conference tournament, but then the Orange fell to Louisville for the 2nd time in the season finale. Either way, Syracuse should be a top seed in the Tournament,  Big East postseason play… West Virginia is quietly competing for one of the NCAA Tournament's top seed and despite flying under the radar in this discussion, they are certainly deserving. They have the nation's third most difficult schedule, and have an RPI of 5. Since losing to Syracuse in mid-January, the Mountaineers have beaten Big Ten Champ, Ohio State and other Top 25 foes including Pitt, Villanova and Georgetown. A #2 seed is more likely, but don't count them out for a late-March run… Pittsburgh is the Big East's 3rd best team, despite being predicted to finish 8th in the preseason polls. They are ranked 10th in the RPI and have the 13th most difficult schedule in the nation. They have excellent at home and streaky on the road, winning their first three Big East contests, including one over Syracuse. But Pitt has won 8 of their last 9 games, giving them some momentum heading in the Big East Tournament. They are looking at a likely #3 seed in the NCAA Tournament… In mid-February, Villanova stood 22-4 and were in 1st place in the Big East. Since then, the Wildcats have dropped four of their last six games, including crucial games to the Big East's elite at home (Pitt and Syracuse). Depending on the Big East Tournament performance, Villanova is looking like a #3 seed after being in the discussion for a top seed… Georgetown is another team that has faded down the stretch, but has wins over Temple, Butler, Pittsburgh (on the road), Duke, and Villanova on the season to boast. The Hoyas will will face West Virginia in the Conference finals and are a shoe in.... Marquette was a late-season addition to the field of 65. They have won 10 of 12 games down the stretch, with their lone loss to Pittsburgh before dropping the season finale last week. Although they struggled against RPI Top 25 teams (2-6), the Golden Eagles have the fire power and leadership by Lazar Hayward and Jimmy Butler to make some noise… Despite losing the conference's best player, Luke Harangody, Notre Dame has won four straight games over potential tournament teams to gain admission into our field of 65. The Irish boast a winning record against RPI Top 25 teams (3-2), but struggle on the road (4-7 in road/neutral court games). Their win against Seton Hall in the 2nd round of the Big East Tournament has them in the NCAAs for good. Seton Hall  was a bubble team, until the Irish "popped" their hopes and postseason NCAA Tournament dreams. Luke Harangody was impressive in his first full game of action against the Pirates, recording 20 points and 10 rebounds… Louisville ensured a tournament berth by knocking off Syracuse…twice this season. Aside from those two victories, the Cardinals don't have a single victory over RPI Top 50 teams, so their loss to Cincinnati in the 2nd round of the Big East will definitely hurt their seeding. With such a weak bubble this year and two high quality wins under their belt, the Cardinals are a lock… Seton Hall is another Big East team that has an outside shot at making the field of 65. They sit at 19-12 overall and 10-10 in the conference. They don't have a bad loss on the season and the Pirates have beaten NCAA caliber teams on the road at Cornell, at home against Pittsburgh and Louisville. They have also beaten Notre Dame in Big East play during the regular season, but looked outmatched in their 2nd round loss to the Irish. A win would have solidified their status, but a loss keeps them on the outside looking in... South Florida is the first of three Big East teams needing postseason tournament victories. After their first 4-game winning streak in team history earlier this season, USF hit another 4-game win streak with their opening round win over the lowly DePaul. Wins in their favor: Pittsburgh, @ Georgetown, UConn… Losses that could be much-needed wins: South Carolina earlier this season, St. John's at home. USF has a respectable, and much-improved, 3-4 record against RPI Top 50 teams and an 8-7 record in games away from home. The Bulls should expect to compete in the NIT this year after losing to Georgetown in a performance of poor shooting in the Big East's 2nd round. They couldn't sneak up on the Hoyas for a second time... UConn can't decide if they want to be in the NCAA Tournament or not. Since knocking off #1 Texas, the Huskies are 4-8 overall. They went on a 3-game winning streak, boasting top 10 wins over Villanova and West Virginia, but then promptly entered a 3-game skid against three bubble-teams. As of now, the Huskies are on the wrong side of the bubble after losing to St. John's in the opening round and will be NIT bound if Jim Calhoun chooses to accept the invitation…
Conference Leader
At Large Bids

Big Ten

At some point or another during the Big Ten's regular-season, Ohio State, Michigan State, Purdue and Wisconsin have all lost their best player. The only difference now is that the Buckeyes, Spartans and Badgers have theirs back, while Purdue is still missing Robbie Hummel for the remainder of his junior season. Even without him, the Boilermakers earned a share of the conference title with OSU and MSU. All three teams should be looking at possible #2 or #3 seeds when the brackets are released depending on the conference tournament. Wisconsin was just a game back of these three, and ended the regular-season with an emphatic victory over Illinois in Champaign. They now open the Big Ten Tournament with Illinois. If Wisconsin wins, they will likely go on to face #1 seed Ohio State, with seeding implications at stake… Illinois' schedule was back-loaded and the Fighting Illini really struggled down the stretch, losing five of their last six, and are now in the Big Ten semifinals vs Ohio State. Illinois should be one of the last teams in the big dance, especially if they can knock off Ohio State in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament.
Conference Leader
At Large Bids

California, despite the down season, has made a case for them to be considered as an at-large team if they don't win the Pac-10 this season. They are an RPI Top 20 team and their #7 most difficult strength of schedule is aided by the Golden Bears #1 ranked non-conference schedule. They went 8-4 in their non-conference run, but lost to Tournament locks such as Ohio State, Kansas, New Mexico and Syracuse. They have won seven of their last eight league games, led by Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher's return to stardom for Cal… The Arizona Sun Devils appear to be out of the tournament with their recent loss to Stanford in the Pac-10 Tournament… Washington is the only other Pac-10 team that bears consideration for an at-large bid. The Huskies' best wins this season are Texas A&M and Cal at home, but the team struggled early and often away from home, losing their first 7 road/neutral court games before winning four straight. Washington has made it to the finals of the Pac-10 Tournament and should have solidified a spot in the big dance.
Conference Leader
At Large Bids

Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Tennessee are locks to get invitations to the NCAA Tournament, but no other SEC teams have emerged. Florida missed out on two big opportunities: at home against Vanderbilt and on the road at Kentucky. Despite losing three in a row to this point, the Gators are playing better, but will still need a boost from the SEC Tournament to get into the NCAA postseason. An early-season victory against Michigan State was impressive, but a non-conference loss to South Alabama certainly is not. The Gators have had plenty of opportunities to impress, but went just 2-8 against RPI Top 25 foes. They won their opening match up against Auburn, but lost to off Mississippi State in the 2nd round. Florida is currently on the bubble.....  Mississippi  is another one of the intriguing SEC teams, playing in the considerably weaker SEC West, the Rebels went 2-4 against the teams from the East and were swept by rival Mississippi State. Two non-conference wins (Kansas State, UTEP) will help the Rebels, but it won't be enough. The Rebels lost to Tennessee in their first game of the SEC Tournament and are most likely out of the tournament.....
Conference Leader
At Large Bids
Atlantic 10

Temple and Xavier shared the regular-season crown, finishing just one game ahead of the surging Richmond Spiders and the A-10 Player of the Year, Kevin Anderson… Rhode Island looked to secure their status as NCAA bound, but dropped five of their last seven games. Their best win on the season is a neutral court victory over Oklahoma State, but couldn't build upon that win in A-10 play. The Rams are 0-5 against the A-10's top four teams this season, and even lost to UMass in the regular-season finale. That was the Rams second loss to an opponent outside of the RPI Top 100 in A-10 play. They played the nation's 31st most difficult non-conference schedule, surging to a 12-1 record in that time. After beating St. Joe's in the 1st round on Tuesday, if Rhode Island can beat Saint Louis, they could set up a semifinal matchup with Temple that would surely help the Rams' status… Dayton could possibly be the most disappointing team this season outside the Pac-10. They were a preseason Top 25 pick and knocked off Georgia Tech early, before just missing out on Ws at Villanova and on the neutral court against Kansas State. The Flyers recorded a very mediocre 8-8 record in A-10 play. They have an RPI just outside the Top 50, but they also lack quality wins of sorts, going 1-6 against RPI Top 25 teams. Dayton is also just 5-9 away from home and are falling quickly down the stretch (losing five of their last eight). They needed a run in the game's final minutes to beat George Washington in the opening round, which cannot is not a good sign if the Flyers don't pick up their play. off Xavier and Richmond would help greatly, but again the Flyers might need the whole A-10 Tournament to get in… Saint Louis finished the A-10 regular season in fourth place, but an RPI of 83 and a record of 4-7 against fellow RPI Top 100 teams does not bode well for the Billikens. They play Rhode Island, who is also on the bubble, in the A-10's 2nd round. They have already defeated the Rams at home this season, so completing the season sweep would really help themselves. Saint Louis has won 9 of their past 11.
Conference Leader
At Large Bids
Mountain West
New Mexico and BYU have been in the Top 25 rankings nearly all year and both have an RPI in the top 25 (NM: 7, BYU: 23).  New Mexico is shooting for a #3 seed, while BYU can get a #4 seed if their conference tournament plays out as expected… After a brief three-game slide, UNLV is back on the winning track and could be the third team in the MWC to make the field of 65. They have beaten both New Mexico and BYU this season, and also Louisville in their non-conference schedule. They have a good shot to make the NCAA Tournament because of their 4-4 record against RPI Top 50 foes and 10-4 record on the road/neutral court games this season… San Diego State is one of our last teams in. Saint Mary's blew the Aztecs out by 22 on the road, which definitely hurts their profile; They lost a tough one to New Mexico, on the road, in overtime, which would have been a huge building game on their resume. The Aztecs are in the finals of the MWC Tournament and should enter the field of 65…
Conference Leader
At Large Bids
After running through C-USA play, sporting a 15-1 record, UTEP will make the NCAA Tournament no matter what… Memphis is looking to join the Miners as the conference's 2nd team. They lost to Kansas (on a neutral court) by 2 points, before losing to UMass by just 1 point. Losses to ranked teams in Tennessee and Syracuse followed. But all season long, the Tigers have played good basketball against top tier opponents and that should continue into the C-USA Tournament. Memphis lost to  Houston and are most likely out of the tournament.  UAB was in the field of 65 to begin last week, but may now be on the outside looking in after Memphis and UTEP completed their season-sweeps of the Blazers. They lost on a last-second dunk to regular-season champion, UTEP in the season-finale. UAB has a poor record against RPI Top 50 opponents (1-5), but they don't have a single "bad" loss. In fact, everyone of their defeats has been by less than 10 points. UAB lost to Southern Miss. in the conference Tournament and are now out.
Conference Leader
At Large Bids

West Coast
Despite not winning the WCC, Gonzaga is a lock for the NCAA Tournament. They have been in the Top 25 all season long. They have beaten Wisconsin in the Maui Invitational, as well as Illinois, Memphis and St. Mary's all on the road. They hold a record of 4-3 against RPI Top 50 foes and sport a record of 13-4 in neutral court/road games this season. Look for Gonzaga to still pick up a high seed next Sunday...
Conference Leader
At Large Bids
Butler (Horizon) *
Road to Success: Defeated #5 Cleveland State. #2 Wright State
California (Pac-10)
Road to Success: Will play #3 Washington in the finals
Cornell (Ivy) *
Road to Success: Won regular-season crown
Duke (Atlantic Coast)
Road to Success: will play #12 Miami in the semifinals
Saint Mary's (West Coast) *
Road to Success: Double-bye; defeated #3 Portland, #1 Gonzaga
Kansas (Big 12)
Road to Success: will play the #2 Kansas State in the finals
Ohio (Mid-American)
Road to Success: Will play Akron in the finals
Kentucky (SEC)
Road to Success: will play Tennessee in the semifinals
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Southwestern Athletic)
Road to Success: Will play Texas Southern in the finals
Lehigh (Patriot) *
Road to Success: Defeated #8 Army, #4 American, #3 Lafayette
East Tennessee State (Atlantic Sun) *
Road to Success: Defeated #4 Campbell, #8 Kennesaw State, #6 Mercer
Montana (Big Sky) *
Road to Success: Defeated #6 Portland State, #1 Weber State
Morgan State (Mid-Eastern Athletic)
Road to Success: will play South Carolina State in the finals
Murray State (Ohio Valley) *
Road to Success: Defeated #8 Tennessee State, #4 Eastern Illinois, #2 Morehead State
San Diego State (Mountain West)
Road to Success: Will play UNLV in the finals
North Texas (Sun Belt) *
Road to Success: Defeated #10 Louisiana-Monroe, #6 Denver, #1 Troy
Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley) *
Road to Success: Defeated #8 Drake, #5 Bradley, #2 Wichita State
Oakland (Summit) *
Road to Success: Defeated #5 IPFW, #2 IUPUI
Old Dominion (CAA) *
Road to Success: Defeated #8 Towson, #5 VCU, #3 William & Mary
Ohio State (Big Ten)
Road to Success: Will play Illinois in the Semifinals
Robert Morris (Northeast) *
Road to Success: Defeated #3 Mount St. Mary's, #1 Quinnipiac
Sam Houston State (Southland)
Road to Success: Will play Stephen F. Austin
Siena (Metro Atlantic Athletic) *
Road to Success: Defeated #9 Manhattan, #5 Rider, #2 Fairfield
West Virginia (Big East)
Road to Success: Will play Georgetown in the finals
Temple (A-10)
Road to Success: Will play Rhode Island in semifinals
UC Santa Barbara (Big West)
Road to Success: Will play Long Beach State in Finals
Road to Success: Will play Houston in Finals
Utah State (Western Athletic)
Road to Success: Will play New Mexico in finals
Vermont (America East)
Road to Success: Will face #4 Boston in the finals
Winthrop (Big South) *
Road to Success: Defeated #6 Liberty (80-72), #2 Radford (61-46), #1 Coastal Carolina (64-53)
Wofford (Southern) *
Road to Success: defeated North #4 UNC-Greensboro, North #2 Western Carolina; North #1 Appalachian State
Last 4 In

Virginia Tech, Illinois, Washington, Rhode Island

First 4 Out

Minnesota, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Seton Hall
At-Large Contenders

As March Madness is just a week away and conference tournaments are underway, we have a much greater feel for who the 34 at-large teams might be. Leaving the conference champions (or predicted postseason champions) aside, has come up with 25 locks for the NCAA Tournament; that leaves 9 teams to fill the 34 openings in the eyes of our selection committee. These teams will need anywhere from one win to several wins in their postseason tournaments to reach NCAA Tournament Status. We take a look at the Tournament field and predict who you can expect to find in your 2010 March Madness brackets.