The Big West and WAC finals haven’t been played yet, but looking at the S Curve rankings after the rest of today’s games, the rankings run against the prevailing consensus. Marshall’s loss today did not knock them out of the field. They, along with Tennessee, Oregon, and Washington consist the last 4 teams in. Last year’s consensus had both Virginia Tech and Colorado in the field, so we’ll have to see what happens this year. Marshall’s profile is surprisingly strong, the 3rd best non-conference SOS, with wins against Cincinnati (on the road) and Iona. The only reason Oregon ranks so high is because Stanford beat California in the last game of the regular season. That win put Stanford into the top 100 of the RPI rankings, which, given Oregon’s 2 wins against Stanford, gave them a 5-8 record against top 100 RPI teams. Tennessee would be the worst ranked RPI team to ever earn an at-large berth, but a strong conference showing and 2 wins against Florida and wins against Vanderbilt and Connecticut give them a chance for a berth. Washington, the regular-season champion of the Pac-12, does not have the best overall profile, but no champion of a power conference has been denied an at-large bid since the field expanded to 64 teams.
The Final Bracket will come out in the morning. By this point the selection committee should have all the at-large teams decided, with contingency plans ready depending on the results of tomorrow’s games. Here’s a look at those games:
Atlantic 10 Championship (Xavier vs. St. Bonaventure) – Xavier is currently in as a 9 seed, a win against St. Bonaventure should not change their seeding at all. St. Bonaventure will not be an at-large team, so if they win, one of the final 4 teams in will not make it. A win will also change the First 4 games since automatic qualifiers can’t play in these games, so any contingency plan based on the Bonnies winning will have to include a reshuffling of the First 4 games.
SEC Championship (Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt) – Kentucky will be the #1 overall seed win or lose. Vanderbilt looks to be a #5 seed. Given the fact that the committee did not reseed after last year’s SEC championship game (with Florida a #2 seed even after getting beaten badly by a Kentucky team that ended up seeded 4th), I don’t think the committee will come up with a contingency plan to reseed Vanderbilt in case of a victory.
ACC Championship (North Carolina vs. Florida State) – North Carolina will be a #1 seed regardless. Florida State looks like a #4 seed. I don’t believe that Florida State will be seeded higher if they win, for the same reasoning as with the SEC championship game.
Big 10 Championship (Michigan State vs. Ohio State) – Currently, both of these teams look like #2 seeds. The question is, would the winner of this championship game be able to leapfrog either Missouri or Kansas for the last #1 seed? In the morning, I will run through both scenarios to see if the winner of this game would be in the top 4 of the S Curve rankings. If so, then I believe the committee may come up with a similar contingency plan to put the Big 10 champion as the last #1 seed.
Two final brackets will be posted tomorrow, one in case of a St. Bonaventure win and one in case of a loss.