Quite a few changes from last week's picks. With less then 3 weeks left until conference tourney time we really looked ahead at the remaining schedules for each bubble team. However the seeding is always done based upon what each teams has done so far. Bracket Buster Saturday will be huge.
Big Conferences....Iowa St. has come out of no where to win 5 straight including games over Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech. With their remaining schedule they should finish at least 9-7 in conference if not 10-6. Their RPI is still weak but that should continue to improve with each win. Stanford really benefited from ASU's collapse this week and even though they lost their leading scorer they should be able to get to 10-8 in conference which would give them a bid. Minnesota nearly played themselves out of the tourney this week losing two winnable games but they hung on because of their medicore remaining schedule. LSU and Arkansas both need to get some more marquee wins and are hurt by the weakness of the SEC this year. It will be tough for Arkansas to get over .500 in conference and the way LSU is playing right now doesn't bode well given their remaining schedule. With Iowa already being 4-6 in conference it is going to be very tough for them to finish any better then 7-9 in conference with what they have left.
Small Conferences....UTEP is barely hanging on but their remaining conference games are all winnable and they have a chance to prove themselves worthy at Pacific on Saturday. Seeing St. Joe's and BU in the bracket this week might be surprising to many of you. But we are standing by our words from last week when we said more small conference teams will be given bids to make the bracket more realistic, so both teams are in as automatic bids this week. BU proved they can beat Vermont this week and even if they don't beat them in the conference championship if things break their way they have a legitimate shot at an at-large bid as long as they win out. St. Joes has no chance at an at-large bid but with GW looking more like an at-large lock its more likely to see another team come out of the A-10. St. Joes is looking like the team that has the best shot to knock GW off in the conference tourney. If Xavier gets hot watch for them since they A-10 conference tourney is in Cinci. In the coming weeks the MAC may be able to secure another spot in our bracket. We expect another team from the MAC East to step up in the remaining weeks to join Miami-Ohio as a second bid out of a relatively strong conference.
Big East (7), ACC (6), Big XII (6), C-USA (5), Big Ten (4), SEC (4), PAC-10 (4), A-10 (2), America East (2), MVC (2), WAC (2), WCC (2).
Last Four In
UTEP, Minnesota, Iowa State, Stanford
Last Four Out
LSU, Arkansas, Iowa, TCU
The Field Of 65
Vermont, Boston University
George Washington, St. Joseph's
North Carolina, Wake Forest, Duke, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Miami-Fla.
Oklahoma St., Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas, Iowa State
Syracuse, Boston College, Pitt, Connecticut, Notre Dame, Villanova, Georgetown
Illinois, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Minnesota
Louisville, Cincinnati, DePaul, Charlotte, UAB
Southern Illinois, Wichita State
Arizona, Washington, UCLA, Stanford
Kentucky, Alabama, Miss. St., Florida
Gonzaga, St. Mary's
*Note - In the conferences where mulitple bids were given the first place team was given the automatic bid. In the case of a tie, overall record was the tiebreaker.
Illinois, Kansas, Wake Forest, North Carolina
Oklahoma State, Kentucky, Duke, Boston College
Syracuse, Arizona, Washington, Gonzaga
Michigan State, Alabama, Utah, Wisconsin
Connecticut, Louisville, Maryland, Pittsburgh
Cincinnati, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, DePaul
Florida, Pacific, Charlotte, Georgetown
Texas Tech, Southern Illinois, Villanova, Nevada
Texas, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Wichita State
George Washington, Vermont, UCLA, St. Mary's
Miami-Fla, UAB, Minnesota, Stanford
Miami-Ohio, Old Dominion, UTEP, Iowa State
Bracket graphic courtesy Matt Reeves.