Bracket Update – March 10

We have our first bid felon in the Mountain West, as either San Diego State or New Mexico will earn a bid.  With USC’s demolition of Oregon, we’re down to 13 teams for 5 spots.

Before we go team-by-team, Andy Katz interviewed the chairman of the committee, Bruce Rasmussen, on Friday morning.  He dropped a few nuggets in there that are worth referencing.

Did you catch the three most important things that Bruce said?  They involve Baylor, MTSU, and ND.  More below.

Last Four In – Texas, Oklahoma, Marquette, Notre Dame

No, this is not a homer pick.  Bruce told Andy Katz that Notre Dame is a “unique situation” that has been extensively discussed.  In a later interview on CBSSN, he specifically referenced Matt Farrell’s injury in addition to the obvious Bonz injury.  I don’t believe he specifically referenced another player by name in the interview.

ND is more in the mix than the robotic bracketologists feel they are.  Sometimes you have to look beyond the numbers to find the answer, and this may be one of those times.  I look forward to hearing if Bruce has anything more to say about the Irish tomorrow.

In Consideration – Arizona State, Oklahoma St, St. Mary’s, Louisville, Baylor, MTSU, Syracuse

This is as strong of a bubble as I can remember.  But each of these teams has serious flaws that might keep them from dancing.

Arizona State – Sure, they have wins over Xavier and Kansas…in 2017.  I get that conference records are not part of the formal selection criteria.  However, the Sun Devils went 8-11 in a conference that has exactly one team in the Top 35.

Oklahoma State – The Cowboys are the most difficult team for me to figure out on this bubble.  They have no bad losses, two wins over Kansas, and five Q1 wins.  That 291st non-conference SOS and RPI at 86 are serious problems.

St. Mary’s – The SOS (168 overall / 183 non-conf) just isn’t going to cut it on a strong bubble.

Louisville – Another team with no Q3/Q4 losses, but they have zero wins against the RPI Top 50.  The only team currently in my field that would get an at large with less than seven Q1/Q2 wins is Rhode Island.  Louisville has only five.

Baylor – I thought Baylor had a shot, until Bruce Rasmussen said that the loss to West Virginia “probably hurt them.”  Ouch.

MTSU –  When someone starts with a lengthy positive qualifier, you know that what’s coming at the end is going to be bad.  After Bruce talked about how good of a season they’ve had, and how great their players are, he dropped this bomb…

“…and yet they don’t have a great number of quality wins.”

Giddy’s going to the NIT, unless Bruce is pulling the wool over our eyes.

Syracuse – If you remember one thing about Bruce at the Top 16 reveal, he was in love with road/neutral wins.  He brought it up at every opportunity he could.  Syracuse is 2-6 in road/neutral games against Q1/Q2 teams.  Like Louisville, they only have five total Q1/Q2 wins.

We’ll see what Bruce has to say tomorrow.  Andy Katz will have more interviews.

To the bracket…

SOUTH – Atlanta

Charlotte 1 Virginia 16 LIU Brooklyn/Hampton
8 Rhode Island 9 Providence
5 Texas Tech 12 San Diego State
Boise 4 Wichita State 13 Vermont
Dallas 3 Michigan State 14 Murray State
6 Florida 11 W. Kentucky
7 Missouri 10 NC State
Detroit 2 Cincinnati 15 SF Austin

WEST – LA

Detroit 1 Xavier 16 Lipscomb
8 Kansas State 9 St. Bonaventure
5 Arkansas 12 Oklahoma/Notre Dame
San Diego 4 Arizona 13 Murray State
Dallas 3 Auburn 14 Bucknell
6 Ohio State 11 Loyola-Chicago
7 TCU 10 Butler
Nashville 2 Duke 15 Wright State

EAST – Boston

Pittsburgh 1 Vilanova 16 Penn/Texas Southern
8 Virginia Tech 9 UCLA
5 Kentucky 12 South Dakota State
San Diego 4 WVU 13 Louisiana
Wichita 3 Michigan 14 Charleston
6 Houston 11 Florida State
7 Texas A&M 10 Creighton
Charlotte 2 UNC 15 Iona

MIDWEST – Omaha

Wichita 1 Kansas 16 CS Fullerton
8 Nevada 9 Alabama
5 Gonzaga 12 New Mexico State
Boise 4 Clemson 13 Buffalo
Pittsburgh 3 Tennessee 14 UNC Greensboro
6 Miami 11 Texas/Marquette
7 Seton Hall 10 USC
Nashville 2 Purdue 15 Montana
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