by Bruce Marshall, Goldsheet.com Editor
Believe it or not, we’ve reached Selection Sunday. Among other things that means we won’t hear much from Joe Lunardi or Jerry Palm for the next 11 months. But unlike last year, we do have a Big Dance and more March Madness the next few weeks.
The bubble remained fluid all of the way to Selection Sunday this March, with bid thieves Georgetown and Oregon State surfacing from nowhere to claim their respective conference tourney titles. Poignant, perhaps, as en route to their Final Four appearance in Patrick Ewing’s frosh year of 1982, his Hoyas faced Ralph Miller’s Beavers in the West Regional final. Now Ewing is back in the Dance as Georgetown’s coach. Meanwhile, what would have been the odds at the outset of the season that Rick Pitino would make the Dance with his new Iona team, and John Calipari and Kentucky wouldn’t? We will start to break down all of the matchups later this week as the Dance prepares to commence a little differently, with all games in and around Indianapolis, and the “First Four” play-in games all on Thursday. First-round action commences on Friday.
One last time, a quick look at our updated TGS bracket projections, thru early Sunday afternoon, March 14....
1-GONZAGA, Baylor, ILLINOIS, ALABAMA
2-Michigan, Ohio State, Houston, Arkansas
3-TEXAS, Kansas, West Virginia, Iowa
4-Virginia, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Florida State
5-Texas Tech, Creighton, Tennessee, Clemson
6-Villanova, Colorado, San Diego State, Louisiana State
7-LOYOLA-CHICAGO, Oregon, Southern Cal, Virginia Tech
8-Oklahoma, Brigham Young, UConn, Georgia Tech
9-Florida, Missouri, Wisconsin, North Carolina
10-Maryland, Rutgers, Michigan State, ST. BONAVENTURE
11-WINTHROP, OREGON STATE, Ucla, Va Commonwealth
12-GEORGETOWN, UCSB, Drake**, Louisville**, Utah State**, Wichita State**
13-LIBERTY, MOREHEAD STATE, NC GREENSBORO, OHIO
14-COLGATE, CLEVELAND STATE, ABILENE CHRISTIAN, EASTERN WASH
15-APP STATE, GRAND CANYON, ORAL ROBERTS, NORTH TEXAS
16-TEXAS SOUTHERN, DREXEL, NORFOLK STATE**, IONA**, MT SAINT MARY’S**, HARTFORD**
ALL CAPS teams are automatic qualifiers
**- projected First Four play-in games
Last four byes: Rutgers, Michigan State, UCLA, VCU
Last four in: Drake, Louisville, Utah State, Wichita State
First four out: Saint Louis, Syracuse, Colorado State, Ole Miss
Next four out: Memphis, Boise State, Duke, Seton Hall
Note that “first four out” teams will also be considered the four replacement teams in the order presented.
Now we turn to the games; daily coveage in TGS Hoops all of the way thru the title game at Indianapolis on April 5. As always, stay tuned...
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