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College Crosse Bracketology 2.0: We’re getting closer!

Only 16 days away from Selection Sunday!

NCAA Basketball: Final Four Preview David Wallace-USA TODAY Sports

Things have certainly changed since our first Bracketology of the season. Teams going in and out have changed, Albany lost a game, and Rutgers is still fiddling around with their tournament chances.

Thanks to some losses, a few teams that may have been barely considered for at-large bids now have to win their conference tournaments in order to get in. So their already chances are even slimmer.

Here’s all of the Division I teams. Any teams in black and white instead of their team colors have no mathematical shot to make the NCAA Tournament, whether as a conference champion or an at-large.

So it’s Cleveland State, Hampton, Hartford, Lafayette, Manhattan, NJIT, Siena, VMI, and Wagner. Teams you would expect.

Automatic Qualifiers

There are only nine AQs, and you can thank the ACC for the odd number (please find a sixth team). For this, we’ll take the top team in each conference based off of conference record. If there’s a tie, we’ll go by overall record.

2018 Bracketology Automatic Qualifiers 2.0

Team Conference RPI SOS 1-5 Ws 6-10 Ws 11-20 Ws 21+ Ls Significant Ws Significant Ls
Team Conference RPI SOS 1-5 Ws 6-10 Ws 11-20 Ws 21+ Ls Significant Ws Significant Ls
Albany America East 1 3 1-0 (Maryland) 2-0 (Syracuse, Cornell) 1-0 (Vermont) UMBC (47) NA UMBC (47)
Maryland Big Ten 2 5 1-1 (Notre Dame) 1-0 (Villanova) 4-0 (Navy, Penn, Penn State, Rutgers) NA NA NA
Yale Ivy League 7 12 0-0 1-1 (Cornell) 1-1 (Penn) NA NA Villanova (9), Bucknell (16)
Denver Big East 11 21 0-2 1-0 (Villanova) 1-0 (Georgetown) NA Villanova (9) NA
Navy Patriot League 17 16 0-2 0-0 1-1 (Bucknell) Jacksonville (37) Bucknell (16) Jacksonville (37)
UMass CAA 21 28 0-1 0-1 0-0 Army West Point (38), Harvard (22) NA Harvard (22), Army West Point (38)
Richmond SoCon 31 42 0-2 0-0 1-1 (Bucknell) UMBC (47), Furman (57) Bucknell (16), North Carolina (23) UMBC (47), Furman (57)
Saint Joseph's NEC 32 64 0-0 0-0 1-0 (Penn) Fairfield (48), Providence (45), St. John's (43) Penn (12), Drexel (28) St. John's (43), Providence (45), Fairfield (48)
Quinnipiac MAAC 52 66 0-0 0-0 0-1 UMass Lowell (40), Fairfield (48), Hartford (53), Holy Cross (41) Brown (26), Detroit Mercy (51) Hartford (53)
Data from

Five conferences have changed their AQ winners. The Big East (Denver from Villanova), the MAAC (Quinnipiac from Canisius), the NEC (Saint Joseph’s from Bryant) and the SoCon (Richmond from Furman).

At-Large Candidates

Eight more teams will be picked to join the nine qualifiers. Since our last update, we’ve decreased from 17 to 12, but that number could always go up in a matter of days.

2018 Bracketology At-Larges 2.0

Team Conference RPI SOS 1-5 Ws 6-10 Ws 11-20 Ws 21+ Ls Significant Ws Significant Ls
Team Conference RPI SOS 1-5 Ws 6-10 Ws 11-20 Ws 21+ Ls Significant Ws Significant Ls
Duke ACC 3 17 2-0 (Loyola, Notre Dame) 0-1 2-1 (Denver, Virginia) NA NA Syracuse (6), Penn (12)
Notre Dame ACC 4 2 0-2 0-1 2-0 (Denver, Virginia) Michigan (25) NA Syracuse (6), Michigan (22)
Loyola Patriot League 5 6 0-1 1-0 (Johns Hopkins) 2-2 (Navy, Georgetown) NA NA Virginia (14), Bucknell (16)
Syracuse ACC 6 4 2-1 (Duke, Notre Dame) 0-2 1-1 (Virginia) NA Duke (3), Notre Dame (4) Johns Hopkins (8), Cornell (10), Rutgers (13)
Johns Hopkins Big Ten 8 10 0-1 1-0 (Syracuse) 2-1 (Virginia, Rutgers) North Carolina (23) Syracuse (6) Penn State (15), North Carolina (23)
Villanova Big East 9 7 0-1 1-0 (Yale) 2-2 (Penn State, Penn) Brown (26) Yale (7) Denver (11), Georgetown (19), Brown (26)
Cornell Ivy League 10 20 0-1 1-1 (Syracuse) 2-0 (Penn State, Penn) Colgate (34) Syracuse (6) Colgate (34)
Rutgers Big Ten 13 15 0-1 1-1 (Syracuse) 1-0 (Robert Morris) Army West Point (38), Princeton (33) Syracuse (6) Princeton (33), Army West Point (38)
Virginia ACC 14 23 1-2 (Loyola) 0-2 0-0 NA Loyola (5) NA
Penn State Big Ten 15 36 0-1 1-2 (Johns Hopkins) 1-1 (Penn) NA Johns Hopkins (8), Penn (12) Robert Morris (20)
Bucknell Patriot League 16 27 1-0 (Loyola) 1-0 (Yale) 0-2 Richmond (31) Loyola (5), Yale (7) Navy (17), Richmond (31)
Georgetown Big East 19 45 0-1 1-0 (Villanova) 1-1 (Robert Morris) Drexel (28), Marquette (24) Villanova (9) Marquette (24), Drexel (28)
Data from

Right now, Duke, Notre Dame, Loyola, Syracuse, and Johns Hopkins should feel the most comfortable.

Villanova and Cornell aren’t as safe. Despite their records and resumes, an end of year let down could mean no postseason lacrosse.

Rutgers, Virginia, Penn State, and Bucknell are still fighting for spots. They each have pretty good numbers and look like teams that could be in May. But right now, they need to do some more work to solidify their case. Georgetown has an okay resume, but has NJIT and St. John’s remaining. That’s not the best of competition to face.

Bracketology Prediction 2.0

Before I unveil what I have, here’s the rundown of the bracket, as best described by Patrick Stevens:

  • The committee seeds the top eight teams and then assigns the unseeded teams based on geography in an attempt to limit air travel while trying to maintain bracket integrity.
  • Conference matchups are to be avoided in the first round.
  • If applicable, quarterfinal host schools are funneled into their own site. Hofstra and Navy are this year’s quarterfinal hosts.
  • Of the nine automatic qualifiers, the two with the weakest resumes are assigned to the preliminary round game the Wednesday before the first round. At-large teams are not selected for play-in games.

Here we go:

Last Four In: Johns Hopkins, Cornell, Villanova, Bucknell
First Four Out: Penn State, Virginia, Rutgers, Georgetown

It was tough naming a fourth in the “First Four Out” category. Shows you how weak the bubble can be.

But as for the bracket, there may be one eyebrow raiser in terms of who plays who. At first, I had UMass against #3 Duke, which left me with two Patriot League teams and Cornell. Since Loyola is also a member of the Patriot League, it can’t host a game against a fellow conference rival. So instead, Duke would play Navy and Loyola would get UMass. Sometimes, it isn’t perfect.

We also have three rematches from the regular season. Yale would play Bucknell, Syracuse would host Cornell in a Central New York rematch, and Notre Dame would welcome Denver once again.

Penn State is in the best shape of the teams currently on the outside to make the NCAA Tournament. But they have to first beat Rutgers in a pivotal game on Sunday. Virginia has to do plenty of work in the ACC Tournament, Rutgers needs to do the same in the Big Ten Tournament, and Georgetown has to win the Big East.

What if Penn or North Carolina finish above .500? Despite the Quakers having the toughest strength of schedule, it has its limits. The loss to Saint Joseph’s on Tuesday may have delivered their crushing blow. UNC losing to Hofstra has taken a big dip as of late, and they don’t have another big win besides Hopkins.