This was the hardest last three teams to pick that we can remember. Most seasons, it's tough to pick the last one or two teams, but this year, it was three.
We think that any of our last three in (Virginia Tech, UTEP, Mississippi State) could get left out for either Utah State and Florida. We think Minnesota has done enough to get in regardless of how the Big Ten final ends up. We went with Mississippi State over Florida because we can't imagine the fourth best conference in the country getting just three bids. We also like the Bulldogs' neutral court victory over the Gators two days ago and the way they played against Kentucky today.
We have been on the Utah State bandwagon for a while, but in the end, C-USA is better than the WAC because UAB and Memphis are better than New Mexico State (or anyone else in the WAC). We also can't see the committee rewarding both little guys. Outside of the power six conferences, we already have seven at-large bids. We think eight is too many.
We only had one grouping issue with the final bracket. Louisville had to be bumped to be bumped down to a 12 seed.
Last Four In
Minnesota, Virginia Tech, UTEP, Mississippi State
Last Four Out
Utah State, Florida, Illinois, Seton Hall
Next Four Out
Rhode Island, Arizona State, William & Mary, South Florida
Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, Duke
West Virginia, Ohio State, Kansas State, Georgetown
Temple, Villanova, New Mexico, Pittsburgh
Wisconsin, Purdue, Baylor, Tennessee
Michigan State, Maryland, Butler, Texas A&M
Vanderbilt, Richmond, BYU, Xavier
Gonzaga, Texas, Oklahoma State, Northern Iowa
Clemson, Notre Dame, Marquette, San Diego State
Florida State, Missouri, St. Mary's, California
UNLV, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Old Dominion
Washington, Minnesota, Virginia Tech, UTEP
Louisville, Mississippi State, Cornell, Siena
New Mexico State, Murray State, Oakland, Houston
Wofford, Sam Houston State, UC-Santa Barbara, Ohio
Montana, Morgan State, North Texas, Vermont
East Tennessee State, Robert Morris, Winthrop, Lehigh (Play-In Game), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Play-In Game)
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)
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