Posted March 14, 2013

Bracket Watch: Which Teams Make SI’s Latest Field of 68?

Bracket Watch, Bubble Watch, conference tournaments, March Madness, NCAA Tournament
Saint Mary's has dropped down to the First Four, a shaky position for the Gaels. (John Hefti/Icon SMI)

Saint Mary’s has dropped down to the First Four, a shaky position for the Gaels. (John Hefti/Icon SMI)

A lot of the discussion is centering around the bubble teams as we move closer and closer to Selection Sunday, but another story is developing that could have a big impact on the way the tournament plays out. There have been so many upsets in smaller-conference tournaments that the bottom of the bracket looks very weak. In fact, all six of the 16-seeds could be teams with RPIs outside the top 150. That influx of weak teams is pushing other teams up in the seed list, meaning teams that would have been a 16 in other years will be 15s or maybe even a 14 in this season’s edition. So for all the people expecting to see fireworks in the Round of 64, you may have to look below the 1 and 2 seeds for the big upsets. Here’s the latest projection of the field of 68:

Time is Ticking: Sign up for SI’s 2013 NCAA Bracket Challenge

2013 NCAA Tournament Bracket

EAST (Washington, D.C.) MIDWEST (Indianapolis)
Philadelphia Dayton
1. Duke 1. Indiana* (Big Ten)
16. Liberty * (Big South)/Savannah State* (MEAC) 16. Southern* (SWAC)/ LIU Brooklyn* (Northeast)
8. Illinois 8. Notre Dame
9. Colorado 9. California
San Jose Austin
5. Syracuse 5. Saint Louis* (Atlantic 10)
12. Belmont* (Ohio Valley) 12. Saint Mary’s/Kentucky
4. Oklahoma State 4. Kansas State
13. Davidson* (SoCon) 13. Akron* (MAC)
Dayton Austin
6. VCU 6. Creighton* (Missouri Valley)
11. Boise State 11. Cincinnati
3. Marquette 3. Florida
14. Harvard* (Ivy) 14. Iona* (MAAC)
Auburn Hills Lexington
7. UNLV 7. North Carolina
10. Wichita State 10. San Diego State
2. Michigan 2. Louisville* (Big East)
15. Vermont* (America East) 15. Montana* (Big Sky)
WEST (Los Angeles) SOUTH (Arlington, TX)
Salt Lake City Kansas City
1. Gonzaga* (West Coast) 1. Kansas* (Big 12)
16. James Madison* (Colonial) 16. Western Kentucky* (Sun Belt)
8. Minnesota 8. Missouri
9. Oregon 9. North Carolina State
San Jose Kansas City
5. Wisconsin 5. UCLA* (Pac-12)
12. Bucknell* (Patriot) 12. La Salle/Tennessee
4. Arizona 4. Ohio State
13. Valparaiso* (Horizon) 13. South Dakota State* (Summit)
Salt Lake City Auburn Hills
6. Pittsburgh 6. Colorado State
11. Temple 11. Iowa State
3. New Mexico* (Mountain West) 3. Michigan State
14. Stephen F. Austin* (Southland) Louisiana Tech* (WAC)
Lexington Philadelphia
7. Butler 7. Memphis* (Conference USA)
10. Villanova 10. Oklahoma
2. Miami (Fla.)* (ACC) 2. Georgetown
15. Long Beach State* (Big West) 15. Florida Gulf Coast* (Atlantic Sun)

*Designated auto-bid winners from each conference. Auto bids are determined by team with the best RPI of those with the fewest league losses.

Last four in: Saint Mary’s, La Salle, Tennessee, Kentucky
Last four out: Virginia, Middle Tennessee State, Mississippi, Baylor

New at-large teams in: None
Old at-large teams out: None

Bids by conference: Big East (8); Big Ten (7); Pac-12, Mountain West, Big 12 and Atlantic 10 (5); ACC, SEC (4); Missouri Valley and West Coast (2)


A fun game to play is to try to guess how many teams from Bofads Guide to Strange Mascots will make the tourney. My money is on 4. Anyone else care to weigh in?