New Year? New Bracket

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via cdn2.sbnation.com


Welcome to the latest installment of Pomeroy bracketology. We start off the new year with a new bracket (including a 1 seed that is currently unranked), an update on the mid-majors dynasties, and conference bid breakdowns.

Click through to see the first bracket of 2011, complete with color-coding!

 

Here's the latest bracket. Use the following key to break the code:

Italics - Projected conference champion
Underline - New to the bracket
Bold - Not in Lunardi's bracket
Green - 2 or more seed lines above Lunardi's projection
Red - 2 or more seed lines below Lunardi's projection

Seeds:

1s) Ohio St, Duke, Kansas, Washington
16s) Texas So/Vermont****, Hampton/Coastal Carolina****, Quinnipiac, Kent St

8s) Connecticut, Virginia Tech, Texas A&M, Butler
9s) Temple, Florida St, Florida, Central Florida

4s) Missouri, UNLV, Arizona, Wisconsin
13s) George Mason, Belmont, Oakland, Stephen F Austin

5s) Georgetown, UNC, Michigan St, San Diego St
12s) Clemson/Richmond****, Boston College/Northwestern****, Wichita St, St. John's

3s) Louisville, BYU, Vanderbilt, Villanova
14s) Long Beach St, Charleston, Montana, Rider

6s) Baylor, Maryland, Texas, Illinois
11s) Utah St, Nebraska, USC, Iowa St

7s) St. Mary's, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, West Virginia
10s) Marquette, Gonzaga, Washington St, Kansas St

2s) Purdue, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Kentucky
15s) Morehead St, Princeton, North Texas, Bucknell

****Play-in game

In Lunardi's bracket, but not in the Pomeroy bracket:
-Minnesota (7)
-Memphis (8)
-Tennessee (10)
-Old Dominion (11)
-Drexel (12)
-Cleveland St (12)
-Iona (13)
-Portland (13)
-American (14)
-Austin Peay (15)
-Lipscomb (15)
-Florida Atlantic (15)
-Chattanooga (16)
-Liberty (16)
-Jackson St (16)
-Nicholls St (16)
-St. Francis (16)

(The inverse group of 17 teams are the ones bolded above)

Bids by Conference (Change since Dec. 16 update):
Big East: 11
Big 12: 8 (+1)
ACC: 7
Big 10: 6
SEC: 3 (-1)
PAC 10: 4 (+1)
MWC: 3
A14: 2
WCC: 2 (+1)
CUSA: 1 (-1)
CAA: 1 (-1)

Last 4 IN:
Boston College
Clemson
Richmond
Northwestern

Last 4 OUT:

Tennessee
Missouri St
UCLA
Miami

Storyline to Watch Update: The Fall of Mid-major Dynasties?

Back in mid-December, I wrote how Butler, Gonzaga, and Xavier could be in some trouble come March. Gonzaga certainly got the message. Since that post, Gonzaga has gone 6-0, with 3 wins against the top 80. The WCC looks like a clear-cut two-bid league now.

I was all set to write something similar about Butler...until tonight. Getting blown out by Horizon-league bottom-feeder Wisconsin-Milwaukee probably cancels out one of those great wins they had at the Diamond Head Classic. The Florida St win took a big step backwards tonight anyway, as they lost to Auburn. I still think Butler could be a bit nervous on Selection Sunday if they do not secure the auto-bid, but they are in much better shape than they were in mid-December.

Xavier's at large hopes are on life support now though, as they whiffed on two more marquee non-conference games (Gonzaga and Florida) at the end of 2010. At this point, they would need to finish top 2 in the A14 to have a chance at an at-large in my opinion.

As Gonzaga seemingly slid IN, Memphis might have taken their spot on the bubble. While they are 11-2, the Tigers are 0-2 against the top 50, and both of those losses were by double-digits. They needed overtime to beat Austin Peay, and played close games against Texas A&M-CC and Tennessee St. Without Wesley Witherspoon, Memphis is simply not a tournament quality team. Central Florida looks to be the class of the league, and UAB and Southern Mississippi are both ranked ahead of Memphis. As if that isn't enough, the conference tournament is @ UTEP, the 5th ranked team in CUSA. I think Memphis is in a lot of trouble right now; really don't see them as an 8 seed.

Other Notes and Thoughts:

Washington
moves up to the top line to start the new year, after sweeping their LA road trip. Maybe they'll break into the rankings soon?...the biggest disagreement this week? Maryland. Pomeroy sees them as the quality of a 6 seed, but according to Lunardi, their resume merits a mention as one of the "Next Four Out". As usual, close losses create the discrepancy. Maryland played down to the wire against CofC, Pittsburgh, Illinois, Temple, and Boston College, but only won one of those five. As long as they finish top 4 in the ACC, they should get in no problem...Somehow Joe still has Connecticut as a 2 seed. I thought being thrashed by Pittsburgh and struggling mightily with South Florida might have exposed them, but I guess not...I take back what I said about Missouri last time. They look great...I'm not ready to eat crow about Baylor though. I still think they are real underrated, despite a poor showing at the Diamond Head Classic...The Big 10 might be too top-heavy to rack up a high number of bids. The top 5 (OSU, Purdue, Wisconsin, MSU, Illinois) have clearly separated themselves from Northwestern, Minnesota, and any other potential challengers. I give Northwestern the edge right now. Besides the media factor, they only play OSU and Purdue twice, while Minnesota has to play them four times. Gotta love unbalanced schedules...I admit, I did a double take when I saw Nebraska in the bracket, but they have been impressive so far. I think the Big 12 will end up with 7 bids, with that last one coming down to the Cornhuskers and Iowa St...I don't expect the Big East to remain at 11, but it is possible, especially after St. John's beat Georgetown tonight...7 for the ACC may seem like a lot as well, but keep in mind that there are 37 at large bids this year, not 34. Someone has to take those extra bids. And as down as the ACC might be this year, its still solidly above the PAC-10 and SEC...Speaking of the SEC, it's already safe to say that the SEC West will not be taking any at-large bids...This is without a doubt the best George Mason team since the final four team of 2006. I'm rooting for them to make the tourney, simply to see how many people predict a repeat run...from 15 seed to out of the bracket? Texas Southern passed Jackson St this week, taking their spot in the play-in game...the biggest mover the past two weeks? Bucknell. From 192 to 121, and a spot as a 15 seed in the bracket. They are now the clear favorite in the Patriot League.

No Joe, what are you thinking? this week. Nothing egregious in his latest bracket.
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