Could the Big Ten take over the First Four?
It appears that could be the case after a wild weekend that saw Wisconsin avoid a potentially crushing defeat at Minnesota, while Penn State helped its tournament hopes by rallying from 16 down to stun Maryland.
Both of those teams find themselves right on the cut line in Mike DeCourcy‘s latest NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament projections, which were released on Monday morning. Wisconsin currently sits on the 11-seed line and would battle Mississippi State. Even closer to the edge is Penn State, which is matched up against Oklahoma State. Both games would take place in the First Four in Dayton, Ohio.
Looking at the top of the bracket, the 1-seeds remain the same with Alabama, Houston, Kansas and UCLA sitting at the top. The Bruins were the latest team to jump onto the top line on Sunday after an emphatic win over Arizona on Saturday night capped off their outright Pac-12 regular-season title. If that holds, the Bruins could earn their first 1-seed since 2008, when a squad coached by Ben Howland and led by Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook advanced to the Final Four.
As far as the bubble goes, DeCourcy includes Clemson, Nevada, Arizona State, and Michigan among his first four currently out of the tournament. His next four out includes North Carolina, which is the first preseason AP No. 1 team to lose 12 games in a season, as well as Utah State, Vanderbilt and Oregon.
When it comes to conference representation, the Big Ten leads the way with 10 teams, while both the Big 12 and SEC have eight teams represented. The ACC and Big East each have five teams in DeCourcy’s projections.
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