We’re here people! It’s finally Selection Sunday! I wait for this day all year, and thankfully this year, the action over the last few days has made the wait bearable. This has been one of the more memorable Championship Weeks in recent memory, and it has me believing that we could be in for one of the most exciting NCAA Tournaments of all time.
In anticipation of the bracket reveal, which you can see at 5:30 pm on CBS following the Big Ten Championship Game, here is my last stab at predicting what the bracket will look like. For today’s projection, we will go on the assumption that the higher seed will win each of the five championship games today (which we know based on the last couple weeks is highly unlikely to happen). The conference championship games today are…
Atlantic 10 Championship: #4 St. Joseph’s vs #2 VCU, 12:30 pm CBS
SEC Championship: #2 Kentucky vs #1 Texas A&M, 1:00 pm ESPN
Sun Belt Championship: #2 UL Monroe vs #1 Arkansas-Little Rock, 1:00 pm ESPN2
Big Ten Championship: #4 Purdue vs #2 Michigan State, 3:00 pm CBS
American Championship: #6 Memphis vs #5 UConn, 3:15 pm ESPN
So today’s projection is based on victories for VCU, Texas A&M, Arkansas-Little Rock, Michigan State and UConn. After my projection, I will explain how the bracket would change for me if the opponents of those teams were to win today.
*Auto-bids in bold, regions listed by 1-seed ranking*
The biggest change that would happen for me would be if Purdue defeats Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship. I believe Purdue would remain a 3-seed, but Michigan State would definitely drop to a 2-seed with a loss. In that event, UNC would become my #3 overall 1-seed and remain in the East Region. I would have Villanova as a 1-seed if that were to happen, playing in the South Region.
Memphis needs to beat UConn in the American Championship to make the Tournament. If they do, I would have them as a 13-seed, and would have Cincinnati out of the field to make room for an at-large UConn, who I would then have in a First Four game (I have Cincinnati as my last team in).
I feel that St. Joseph’s and VCU are both safely in the field at this point, but if St. Joe’s takes the A-10 title, I would flip their seed with VCU. So I’d have the Hawks a 7-seed and VCU an 8-seed.
I would have a similar switch with the SEC Championship. If Kentucky wins, I’d have them as a 3-seed and Texas A&M a 4-seed.
Finally, the Sun Belt is a one bid league, so the winner of that game will get into the Tournament and the loser will not. If UL Monroe pulls off the upset, I believe they would be a 13-seed, with Arkansas-Little Rock heading to the NIT.
And there you have it folks. Bracketball’s final bracket prediction of 2016. Be sure to check back tomorrow as I will have an extensive preview of every 2nd Round Tournament game (Technically the First Four games are the 1st Round). Be sure to check out Bracketball before you fill our your bracket, because I’m going to do everything I can to help you fill out the perfect one!