Just five games and as many hours separate us from locking into place this year’s model of the six-round extravaganza. Memphis lurks as a potential bid thief. Louisiana-Monroe, too, could pose problems if the selection committee gives Arkansas-Little Rock a pass. My guess is that given today’s title tilt, the committee is more prepared to insert the appropriate Sun Belt champion and adjust the S-curve accordingly.
VCU helped themselves with a rout of Davidson in the A-10 semifinals, and have jumped to the 7-line along with today’s championship opponent, Saint Joseph’s. Connecticut is pretty darn safe regardless of their result today, though I’m sure a lot of bubble denizens will be pulling for the Huskies.
Speaking of bubble denizens, welcome San Diego State to the fold. Their loss to Fresno State last night not only deprived them of the Mountain West auto-bid, but knocked them down to the 10 line from the 7 line in the EBS. And the EBS has provided the Aztecs with relatively favorable projections compared to the remainder of the Bracket Matrix. Arkansas-Little Rock is the last team close to the EBS bubble (ranking just below the last at-large selection) that’s in action, but they need to win for all intents and purposes. Keep an eye on VCU, too.
Now, for EBS’s bubble breakdown with consensus spots in parens:
Last Four Byes: Valparaiso (6th out), Vanderbilt (2nd out), Colorado (7), Oregon State (8)
First Four: Butler (9), Pittsburgh (10), Florida (5th out), USC (9)
First Four Out: Princeton (12th out), St. Bonaventure (11/FF), Syracuse (4th out), Michigan (1st out)
Next Four Out: South Carolina (10), Tulsa (7th out), Akron (14th out), Monmouth (2nd out)
The essential swap of Valparaiso and South Carolina in EBS compared to the rest of the bracket-predicting world is telling. Something to think about more at another time. But the jumps between having teams projected out and as 7-seeds at the same spot in this ranking tells you either 1) that a two-input formula has limitations, of course, or 2) that this really is a subjective process. Do we care that a committee makes subjective determinations about middle-of-the-pack teams in major conferences and high-flying low-majors that had the bad timing to drop a game in their conference tourneys? That’s the eternal question.
Anyway, spreadsheet is here, seed list is below. Talk to you in a bit.