Final version of 2014 NCAA Tournament bracket. Comments below.
|EAST REGION||SOUTH REGION|
|at Orlando, FL||1 Florida||1 Wichita State||at Saint Louis, MO|
|16 Albany / Mt St Mary’s||16 Coastal Carolina|
|8 Oklahoma State||8 Oregon|
|9 Pittsburgh||9 Saint Joseph’s|
|at Spokane, WA||5 Cincinnati||5 North Carolina||at San Diego, CA|
|12 North Dakota State||12 La Tech / Nebraska|
|4 San Diego State||4 Connecticut|
|13 Tulsa||13 Western Michigan|
|at Raleigh, NC||6 Ohio State||6 Baylor||at Orlando, FL|
|11 Gonzaga||11 Xavier|
|3 Louisville||3 Virginia|
|14 Delaware||14 Louisiana-Lafayette|
|at Saint Louis, MO||7 VCU||7 Massachusetts||at Milwaukee, WI|
|10 Stanford||10 Colorado|
|2 Kansas||2 Michigan|
|15 American||15 Wofford|
|MIDWEST REGION||WEST REGION|
|at Milwaukee, WI||1 Wisconsin||1 Arizona||at San Diego, CA|
|16 Weber State||16 Texas Southern / Cal Poly|
|8 George Washington||8 Kentucky|
|9 Kansas State||9 SMU|
|at Buffalo, NY||5 UCLA||5 Oklahoma||at Spokane, WA|
|12 Stephen F Austin||12 Harvard|
|4 Duke||4 Creighton|
|13 Manhattan||13 New Mexico State|
|at San Antonio, TX||6 New Mexico||6 Saint Louis||at San Antonio, TX|
|11 Dayton||11 Florida St / Arizona St|
|3 Iowa State||3 Michigan State|
|14 North Carolina Central||14 Mercer|
|at Raleigh, NC||7 Memphis||7 Texas||at Buffalo, NY|
|10 Iowa||10 Providence|
|2 Villanova||2 Syracuse|
|15 Milwaukee||15 Eastern Kentucky|
SEEDINGS AND INCLUSIONS/EXCLUSIONS OF NOTE
Wisconsin (final #1 seed) – Most dismissed Wisconsin from having any chance at a 1 seed after losing to Michigan State in the Big Ten Semifinal. However, I believe Wisconsin’s overall body of work–headlined by a boatload of great non-conference wins (Florida, vs Saint Louis, at Virginia, among others)–is simply not matched by the other top-seed contenders (Michigan, Virginia, or Villanova).
Syracuse (final #2 seed) – Despite struggling down the stretch, Syracuse has the best set of non-conference wins of any ACC team not named North Carolina. The Orange beat Villanova, Baylor, Minnesota, Cal and St John’s, which is way better than UVA or even Duke. It also beat Pitt twice while ending the regular season with a solid win at Florida State. Syracuse just barely clings to the final 2 seed over Michigan State, which doesn’t have quite the depth of Big Ten wins needed to overcome a medicore February, similar to what Syracuse experienced.
Florida State (among Last Four In) – Despite missing out on a great chance to cement a bid last week at home against Syracuse, Florida State sneaks in the tourney because of a nice trio of wins over NCAA At-large teams away from home. The ‘Noles beat VCU and UMass on neutral courts, and won at Pitt. Those are a better combination of non-conference and road wins when compared with Tennessee, Cal or Minnesota.
Arizona State (among Last Four In) – Most have ASU in fairly easily, but for me they slipped all the way to the second-to-last team in. The Sun Devils’ best wins are all at home, and a win at Cal is their lone respectable win away from Tempe. Also, their non-conference schedule was pretty mediocre, with no wins over Top 75 RPI teams outside of Pac-12 play.
Louisiana Tech (among Last Four In) – The biggest surprise in the Bracketology world. Louisiana Tech lost to Tulsa in the C-USA Title game about 16 hours after it beat Southern Miss in a battle of the league’s two bubble teams. That win serves as a nice undercard to the Bulldogs’ signature win at Oklahoma. That is the best non-conference road win of any team on or near the bubble.
Tennessee (among First Four Out) – Most have Tennessee in as the third and final SEC team. However, when closely examined, the Vols’ profile is not particularly deep. After the big Virginia home win, Tennessee’s only two other Top 50 RPI wins are over Xavier and Missouri–both of which rank in the 40’s. A home loss to fellow-bubbler NC State in December was a missed opportunity, in retrospect.
BYU (among Next Four Out) – Yes, it played a really tough non-conference schedule. Yes, it beat Texas and Stanford. However, those two key wins were more than offset by four losses to WCC teams outside the RPI Top 100. For me, the Cougars needed either one more win against the six Top 50 teams it lost to, or one less bad loss (maybe two).