Get Out Your Pencils: Men's Basketball Brackets Are Set
We followed the news as the field was announced for this year's NCAA Men's Division I basketball championship and then topped things off with a little "advice" for those who enjoy filling brackets (obviously, wink-wink, The Two-Way does not endorse betting in office pools).
Update at 7:07 p.m. ET. So, How To Choose?
As we've listened to the supposed experts Sunday, the only thing they seem to agree on is that there's no dominant team this year and that there are a dozen or more schools that you could make a strong case for when it comes down to figuring out which will be the champion.
-- Miami's Moment? Coach Jim Larranaga took George Mason to the Final Four in 2006. Now he's at Miami and has taken that program to an ACC championship.
-- A Rested Michigan State? Losing in the semi-finals of the Big 10 tournament may have done Michigan State a favor, and the team is basically playing at home in the Midwest region. Coach Tom Izzo's club has a chance to advance.
-- Clear Path For Georgetown? Assuming the Hoyas don't get upset in the first round (and Georgetown has gone out "early" in some recent tournaments), the bracket they're in does not look to be loaded with strong teams. Florida might be the biggest challenge there.
-- "Chalk" In The End? Despite the strong chances for upsets, the guys on CBS have Louisville likely holding on to be champions at the end. They're going with "chalk," as bracket types say (an expression that goes back to when brackets were written on blackboards).
-- But if you really, really like longshots. As this blogger said earlier, his alma mater Albany is matched up against Duke in the first round. Or, perhaps you fancy one of the eight teams in the so-called play-in games on Tuesday and Wednesday: North Carolina A&T, Liberty, Middle Tennessee, St. Mary's, Boise State, La Salle, LIU-Brooklyn and Madison.
Have fun with your brackets! We'll be back Monday evening with the women's selections.
Our earlier updates and our original post follow.
Update at 6:38 p.m. ET. And No Kentucky:
We began the day by asking whose bubble would be burst, and speculating that Kentucky would not be among the teams selected for the tournament. And with the field now set, Kentucky is indeed not among the 68 going to the Big Dance.
Update at 6:30 p.m. ET. And It's Gonzaga In The West, With Ohio State Right Behind:
So it looks like things worked out the way we thought they would after Miami got a No. 2 seed in the East: Gonzaga has been given the No 1 seed in the West.
The No. 2 seed in the West: Big 10 champions Ohio State.
Update at 6:25 p.m. ET. Two Cinderellas Meet In First Round:
OK, so given Butler's success in recent years (trips to the championship game in 2010 and 2011) it's probably not quite right to call it a Cinderella team. But that shoe does still sort of fit the school. And it certainly fits Bucknell. They face off in the first round of the East region. So if you like underdogs, that's a game that has two of them.
Update at 6:22 p.m. ET. It Is Indiana, And It's Looking Good For Gonzaga:
Well, the Hoosiers landed where they were expected to. Indiana gets the No. 1 seed in the East region. Miami, the ACC champions, are the No. 2 seed in that region. With Miami landing there, it's looking as if Gonzaga will be the No. 1 seed in the West region.
Update at 6:18 p.m. ET. Two Regions Set; Two More To Go:
The East region is up next. Indiana has been projected to be the No. 1 seed there. But did Miami's ACC championship — and Indiana's loss in the Big 10 tournament — force the selection committee to rethink?
Update at 6:13 p.m. ET. Kansas Is Second No. 1 Seed:
The South region bracket starts with Kansas as the No. 1 seed. Kansas is also the "No. 2 No. 1" — which means that if the Jayhawks get through to the championship game, and the "No. 1 No. 1" Louisville wins all its games up to that point, they would be playing for title.
Georgetown is the No. 2 seed in the South. The Hoyas will first play Florida Gulf Coast, the No. 15 seed. CBS-TV's analysts say Florida Gulf Coast is a "dangerous team" that Georgetown shouldn't take lightly.
Update at 6:10 p.m. ET. Brackets Are Filling In:
CBS, which is broadcasting the Selection Sunday show, is starting to fill its online brackets page here. So far, we know who's playing in the Midwest region. Next up: the South.
Update at 6:07 p.m. ET. Duke Is A No. 2 Seed; Can The Blue Devils Get Past The Great Danes?
Duke lands the No. 2 seed in the Midwest region and will first play that powerhouse from upstate New York — the No. 15 seeded Albany. (OK, Albany isn't really a powerhouse. But this blogger graduated from there. So let him dream, OK?)
Update at 6:02 p.m. ET. Louisville Is The "No. 1 No. 1":
No big surprise here: Louisville is the top seed among the four regional No. 1s. It will play out of the Midwest region.
Update at 5:22 p.m. ET. The Stage Is Set:
Ohio State just defeated Wisconsin, by a score of 50-43, in the Big 10 championship. Both teams were already locks to to be in the field of 68 for the men's Division I NCAA basketball championship, but the end of their game means the selection committee now has all the information it needs to finish putting together the tournament brackets. So, the Selection Sunday show on CBS-TV should start on time at 6 p.m. ET.
As we said earlier, we'll be updating.
Our original post — "Whose Bubble Will Burst? Men's Basketball Brackets Coming Up":
Will Kentucky, which one year ago cut down the nets as champions be on the outside looking in after a third-place finish this year in the Southeastern Conference?
How about Maryland, which bounced Duke out of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament but came up short against North Carolina and finished with a 22-10 record?
Did VCU's loss Sunday to St. Louis in the Atlantic-10 championship game mean there's no room for another A-10 team, Temple, in the Big Dance?
It's Selection Sunday, the official tipoff of March Madness. Scheduled for 6 p.m. ET on CBS-TV, it's the evening when we hear which are the last few Division I men's basketball teams to make the NCAA's 68-team field, and just which brackets they've been slotted into. (The women's brackets will be announced Monday at 7 p.m. ET. on ESPN.)
Besides whether Kentucky, Maryland, Temple and other teams said to be "on the bubble" make the tournament, we'll also learn this evening just which teams will be the No. 1 seeds in the men's four regions. With just a couple hours to go before the Selection Show, the conventional wisdom seemed to be that the four No. 1 seeds will be Louisville, Indiana, Kansas and Gonzaga. But Miami, after winning the ACC's regular season and tournament championships, might knock Indiana out of that group.
Once the Selection Show gets started, we'll update this post with highlights. And afterward, we'll round up the surprises.
As for the men's games, they begin Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio, with the "First Four" games — pitting the four lowest-seeded "at large" teams against the four lowest-seeded automatic qualifiers.
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