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January 26, 2007 As March 11th (or as hoops fans like to call it, Selection Sunday) draws nearer and nearer, teams, players, and fans are beginning to ask the big question. Who’s in, and who’s out? For your very benefit, there is something called bracketology. Usually “experts” like to wait until a week or so before Selection Sunday to broadcast who they think is in the dance or on the bubble, but I thought it’d be fun to give you an early taste of what should be expected a month and a half from now. These predictions are based on how each team has done so far and if they are looking bad or good for an at-large bid to the tournament at this point. It appears there are ten multi-bid leagues, and with 34 at-large bids to give away, this means that there must be 44 teams in those ten leagues to make the Big Dance. Here are those 44 teams, and a few with work left to do.


Will be in: : North Carolina, Duke, Clemson, Virginia Tech - These four teams have proven to be the top notch of the ACC. North Carolina should end up with a 1 seed, while Duke and Clemson are in the 3-4 seed range. The surprise Hokies look like at least a top 6 seed lock at this point.

Should be in: Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland - The middle tier of the ACC looks to be decent enough to make this league a 7-bid conference. Georgia Tech, right now, should be about a 9 seed, while Florida State and Maryland are just on the edge and in the tournament. They will have to be careful not to mess up if they want to be playing in late March.

In trouble: Boston College - The loss of star team player Sean Williams has made the Eagles fall tremendously the last week. However, this team is not out of the NCAA Tournament mix at all. If the Eagles can prove they can win without their big man, Boston College could end up taking either Florida State's or Maryland’s place in the field, or end up making the ACC an 8-bid league.


Will be in: Pittsburgh, Marquette, Syracuse - Pitt and Marquette are clearly top 4 seeded locks with the Panthers holding onto good position for a two seed. The Orange are the worst of the top tier of Big East teams, however they should qualify for around a 6-7 seed.

Should be in: Georgetown, Notre Dame, Villanova, West Virginia - Though they’re in the “should be in” category, it’s nearly impossible for me to see one of these four teams not making the NCAA Tournament. Georgetown, Notre Dame, and Villanova all should be contending for a seed anywhere from 7-12. It looks like the game this weekend between the Irish and Wildcats should help verify which team will be more towards the 7-9 range. West Virginia, on the other hand, has struggled as of late, but should find themselves in the 11-12 seed range in March.


Will be in: Wisconsin, Ohio State, Indiana - Wisconsin and Ohio State are two teams that could easily make it to Atlanta for the Final Four. The Badgers and Buckeyes are not only the elite of the Big Ten, but they are also the elite of the nation. They both should end up getting no worse than two seeds, with Wisconsin having a good chance for the overall number one seed. Do not forget about Indiana. The Hoosiers are 16-5 and have lost all five games on the road, none by more than eight points. Indiana is a team that top seeds will have to watch out for. They should fall somewhere in the 6-8 seed range.

Should be in: Michigan State - The Spartans have been hot lately, winning 11 of their last 13 games. Their four losses have all come on the road. If Michigan State can show they can win on the road with a victory at Ohio State or Wisconsin, they could end up receiving a 4 or 5 seed. As for now, they’ll settle in at the 7-8 range.

In trouble: Michigan - The Wolverines have worked their way up to bubble talk, however they have zero wins against should-be tournament teams. If they want to reach the field of 64, they must find a way to get a win against team who should be in tournament. Their remaining chances: Indiana, Ohio State, and Michigan State.


Will be in: Texas A&M, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Texas - What’s amazing about the Big 12 is that anyone of these four teams could end up winning the championship. While A&M and Kansas hold the inside edge to those chances, I wouldn’t count the Cowboys or Longhorns out, especially with Mario Boggan aiding Oklahoma State and Kevin Durant leading Texas. When the seeds are announced, Texas A&M and Kansas should wind up getting a top 3 seed, while Oklahoma State and Texas should end up more in the 4-6 seed range.

Should be in: Texas Tech - The Red Raiders have all but sealed a deal to the Big Dance in the past week. With two impressive victories over Kansas and Texas A&M, Bob Knight’s team should be sitting fairly pretty in the tournament. I expect them to receive nothing worse than an 8 seed.

In trouble: Nebraska, Kansas State - Neither team is looking so great so far this season, but one of them could turn that around this Saturday when the Cornhuskers travel to K-State. The winner of that game will surely still have major work to do in order to make it into the tournament, while the loser is all but out of it.


Should be in: Virginia Commonwealth, Drexel - Though these two teams are not your top-notch tournament-caliber programs, both should be in the field. Just like in every other conference except the Ivy League, the winner of the CAA Tournament receives an automatic bid. Whichever team that isn’t the champion of the CAA will still need some work to assure themselves a spot. In the end, I see VCU winning the conference and getting a 10-11 seed, while Drexel should barely get in at a 12.


Will be in: Southern Illinois - Though Salukis look like the top team in the MVC, however they won’t be receiving any higher than a 5 seed. If they can turn it up down the second half of the MVC season, they might find themselves in the 6-7 seed category, though they should end up somewhere in the 8-9 range.

Should be in: Northern Iowa, Creighton - If I could put these two teams in a category marked “should be in today, won’t be in tomorrow,” I would. You would have to be a psychic to be able to predict who comes out of this league to make the NCAA tournament. However, Northern Iowa and Creighton are the frontrunners for the Dance - as of now. They, or whoever ends up going from this conference, should get somewhere between a 10-12 seed.

In trouble: Missouri State - Again, they could easily make the tournament in place of Northern Iowa or Creighton. The only reason they are on the outside looking in is because of a home court loss to Creighton this past week.


Will be in: Air Force - The surprise team so far this year is the Falcons. They have dominated MWC play, and out-of-conference play for that matter. Air Force’s only two losses have come on the road against Duke and Utah. If the Falcons keep this play up, which they should, they will be looking at the 3-5 seed range.

Should be in: UNLV - The Rebels are also a very dangerous mid-major. They have already shown they can hang with the “big boys” with wins at Texas Tech and at Nevada this year. These will help greatly come Selection Sunday, as they should be looking at a 7-8 seed.


Will be in: UCLA, Arizona, Oregon, Washington State - Any one of these four teams could beat any team in the nation on any given night. UCLA is the top dog among these squads, and will be competing for the national number 1 seed until March. Oregon has been the only team to beat UCLA so far, and the Ducks are sitting pretty themselves at 18-1. They should be in the 2-3 seed range. Arizona and Washington State haven’t proven to be as good as UCLA or Oregon, but the Wildcats and Cougars should definitely be no worse than a 6 seed.

Should be in: Southern Cal, Stanford - It’s hard to tell right now if these two teams are going to keep gunning for a spot in the tournament or if they will die down. USC is in pretty good position as of now, with their only two losses in Pac-10 play to Washington State by 3 and UCLA by 1. The Trojans should end up with an 8-10 seed. The Cardinal, however, are just on the inside of the imaginary line separating tournament teams and non-tournament teams. They will choose their own destiny down they stretch, as they will need a big win somewhere to solidify their spot in the Big Dance. They have a three game home schedule up next with games against USC, UCLA, and Gonzaga. If Stanford can impress the committee enough, they will be looking at no better than an 11 seed.


Will be in: Florida, Kentucky, Alabama - Though the Tide hasn’t shown it so far this SEC season, these three teams are the elite of the conference. Florida is arguably the number one team in the nation, and will be vying for that spot up until March. Meanwhile, Kentucky and Alabama have been shaky at times, but should start to pick their game back up. Though no game in the SEC is an easy win this year, the Wildcats and Crimson Tide should show they have what it takes, and end up with a 5 or 6 seed each.

Should be in: LSU, Tennessee, Vanderbilt - While LSU and Tennessee have been horrible in the past few weeks, the Commodores have been on fire. With three straight wins versus Alabama, at Kentucky, and at LSU, Vandy is setting itself up for a nice tournament seed. The Tigers and Vols will have to find a way to get back on track, and playing SEC opponents won’t make that job very easy. However I think both these teams can regroup, and I see LSU, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt receiving seeds in the 7-10 range.

In trouble: Arkansas, Georgia - The Razorbacks looked like a possible top 5 seed in the early season, but have since slacked off. With embarrassing losses to Mississippi, Georgia, and South Carolina, the Hogs’ chances of going to the Big Dance keep fading. Georgia, meanwhile, has stepped its game up week by week and is now on the verge of busting into the tournament field. With impressive SEC wins against Vanderbilt, Arkansas, and Kentucky, the Bulldogs will have an impressive resume for the NCAA committee to look at. However, for Arkansas or Georgia to break into the Tournament, they will need a pretty big win, and it shouldn’t be too hard to find playing in the SEC.


Will be in: Nevada - The Wolf Pack seem to be the best of the WAC, and the best of the mid-majors. Nevada should be the favorite of the mid-majors when it comes to going to the Final Four. At 17-2, they should receive a very nice seed, if they should keep on winning. Come Selection Sunday, they will probably be 4 or 5 seed.

Should be in: New Mexico State - The Aggies started off the season at 1-3. Since then, they have won 14 out of 15 games, and are contesting Nevada atop the WAC standings. NMSU is also a team that could stir some upsets late into the NCAA tournament. They have beaten Nevada once already and will play them once more before the WAC Tournament. The Aggies should probably receive anywhere from a 9-12 seed.

Though this is a slightly early bracketology report, look for it to reflect the selections on March 11th. Until then, enjoy some college hoops!

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