Indiana falls out, Cincy back in ever-changing field
Posted: Monday February 20, 2006 2:51PM; Updated: Monday February 20, 2006 6:14PM
(16) Southern/ Delaware St.
(9) Wichita St.
(5) George Wash.
(13) Kent St.
(7) George Mason
(16) Fairleigh Dickinson
(8) Seton Hall
(12) W. Kentucky
(4) West Virginia
(13) San Diego St.
(6) Boston College
(11) Missouri St.
(14) Murray State
(15) N. Arizona
(4) N.C. State
(3) Ohio State
(14) NWestern St.
(10) S. Illinois
(5) N. Iowa
(6) North Carolina
(3) Michigan St.
Bubbles burst: Utah St., Indiana, Maryland, Air Force
Will Mike Davis stick around to coach the NIT?
Indiana, once considered a mortal lock to reach this year's NCAA tournament, played its way out of my projected bracket this week with road losses to Penn State and Illinois. The Hoosiers have now lost five straight and seven of their last eight to drop to 5-7 in the Big Ten, and while it's not inconceivable the committee would take a team with a losing record from the nation's top-ranked conference, Indiana would have to at least show some signs of life down the stretch.
Cincinnati, on the other hand, played its way into the bracket this week with a much-needed road win at Syracuse (which is teetering on the bubble as well). Like Indiana, the Bearcats had gone in the tank of late, losing seven of 10 prior to the Syracuse game, but as of now they're a respectable 7-6 in the tough Big East.
Below is this week's conference-by-conference breakdown. The field was selected as if Feb. 19 was Selection Sunday.
Locks (4): Duke (25-1, No. 1 in the RPI), N.C. State (21-5, No. 17), North Carolina (17-6, No. 20) Boston College (21-5, No. 34)
Bubble (3): Maryland (16-9, No. 45), Florida State (16-7, No. 60), Virginia (13-10, No. 71)
Projected bids (4): Duke, N.C. State, North Carolina, Boston College
Synopsis: None of the ACC's bubble teams have particularly compelling arguments, and Maryland, already saddled with a 2-7 road record, didn't do itself any favors with last week's loss at Clemson.
Projected bids (9): Villanova, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Marquette, Georgetown, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Syracuse, Seton Hall
Synopsis: The Orange, 1-8 against the RPI Top 50, will need at least a couple wins against the Big East's upper half down the stretch if they hope to survive the final cut. Louisville is just trying to qualify for the Big East tournament.
Synopsis: The Gophers, with recent wins over Michigan State and Iowa, are making a last-ditch run but remain just 4-8 in the Big Ten and would likely need to win at Wisconsin and beat Illinois at home to have a chance.
Synopsis: George Mason helped its seeding with a big win at Wichita State on Saturday in the Bracket Busters, while UNC-Wilmington helped its at-large chances by beating Hofstra last week to remain just a game out of first place.