January 8, 2014
By The SportsBoss
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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
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
Conference USA: Southern Mississippi
Horizon: Green Bay
If HARVARD does not win their conference tournament they would still RECEIVE a bid, thus taking a spot away from the at-large field.
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
Ohio Valley: Belmont
Pac 12: Arizona
Looking good: Colorado, Oregon, UCLA
Need wins: California, Stanford, Arizona State
Patriot: Boston University
Looking good: Kentucky, Missouri
Need wins: Arkansas, Tennessee, LSU, Ole Miss
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)
NEED WINS: 27
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):
Multiple bid conferences (total of 45 bids in 9 conferences; 23 single bid conferences = 68 bids):
Big 12 (7)
Big 10 (7)
Atlantic 10 (5)
Big East (4)
Mountain West (2)
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