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2014 NCAA Tournament – Projected Field as of 1/7/14

Unlike last year when we waited until approximately half way through the conference season to post our first bracketology projection, this year we are posting an initial projection as conference play begins.

Below we breakdown each conference into three buckets:

1) Automatic bid Discussed in next sentence

2) Looking good Teams highly likely to play well enough over the final two months of the regular season to earn a bid

3) Need wins - Teams that are firmly on the bubble and will need to play well to close their season

For the non-AQ conferences we generally select the team with the highest RPI as the conference winner/automatic bid. Teams are also listed in the s-curve order I see them now within conference:

America East: Albany

American Athletic: Louisville

Looking good: Cincinnati
Need wins: Memphis, UConn, SMU

Atlantic Ten: UMass

Looking good: George Washington, Dayton, St. Louis
Need wins: VCU

ACC: Syracuse

Looking good: Duke, Pittsburgh
Need wins: North Carolina, Notre Dame, Virginia, Florida State, Wake Forest

Atlantic Sun: Mercer

Big 12: Oklahoma State

Looking good: Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Baylor
Need wins: Kansas State, Texas, West Virginia

Big East: Villanova

Looking good: Creighton, Xavier
Need wins: Georgetown, Butler, St. Johns

Big Sky: Northern Colorado

Big South: UNC-Asheville

Big Ten:  Michigan State

Looking good: Ohio State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa
Need wins: Michigan, Minnesota

Big West: UC-Santa Barbara

Colonial: Drexel

Conference USA: Southern Mississippi

Horizon: Green Bay

Ivy: Harvard

If HARVARD does not win their conference tournament they would still RECEIVE a bid, thus taking a spot away from the at-large field.

MAAC: Manhattan

MAC: Toledo

MEAC: North Carolina Central

Missouri Valley: Wichita State

If WICHITA STATE does not win their conference tournament they would still RECEIVE a bid, thus taking a spot away from the at-large field.

Mountain West: San Diego State

Looking good: New Mexico
Need wins: Boise State

Northeast: Bryant

Ohio Valley: Belmont

Pac 12: Arizona

Looking good: Colorado, Oregon, UCLA
Need wins: California, Stanford, Arizona State

Patriot: Boston University

SEC: Florida

Looking good: Kentucky, Missouri
Need wins: Arkansas, Tennessee, LSU, Ole Miss

Southern: Davidson

Southland: Stephen F. Austin

SWAC: Jackson State

Summit: North Dakota State

Sun Belt: UL-Lafayette

West Coast: Gonzaga

If GONZAGA does not win their conference tournament they would still RECEIVE a bid, thus taking one away from the current at-large pool. 

Need wins: St. Mary’s, BYU

WAC: New Mexico State
Overall Tournament Breakdown

AUTOMATIC BIDS: 32 (up from 31 due to new American Athletic Conference)
LOOKING GOOD: 22 (Currently I project 54 of the 68 bids are earned)

That leaves 27 teams that are in the mix for 14 open bids.

Keep in mind however that DOES NOT include the upsets we will see during Conference Tournament week where teams that are LOCKS from smaller conferences lose a game in their conference tournament and hence use an at-large bid on themselves. There does seem to be less “bid stealing” opportunities as of today than we have seen in past years, but there is still a lot of season left to play.

As of today here is the way we project those final 14 bids to play out – again, this is NOT based on who would be in the tourney as of action played so far; instead we project what WILL happen over the final 2 months of the regular season & forecast which teams will earn those 14 bids (listed in conference alphabetical order at this point in the season):

North Carolina
Notre Dame
Florida State
Kansas State
Multiple bid conferences (total of 45 bids in 9 conferences; 23 single bid conferences = 68 bids):
ACC (7)
Big 12 (7)
Big 10 (7)
Atlantic 10 (5)
SEC (5)
AAC (4)
Big East (4)
Pac-12 (4)
Mountain West (2)

Edwards: Grading Coaching Hires
OU, St. John's to play in HOF Classic
Louisville's Johnson will stay in draft
Rutgers to dedicate court to Jim Valvano
Big day: College coaches wait on players
UNC pair testing NBA draft waters
Kentucky's Diallo to enter NBA Draft
Coppin State tabs Juan Dixon as coach
Martin, Staley extended at S. Carolina
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