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College Crosse Bracketology 4.0: And then what happened?

T-minus 4 days away from Selection Sunday!

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

Welcome to our fourth edition of College Crosse’s Bracketology series for the 2018 season! Last time we left you, Rutgers was squeaking into the NCAA Tournament. But they lost to Ohio State, and they need some help to get back in!

Also, the ACC had four teams in the big dance. They still will.

Here’s all the remaining NCAA teams that are mathematically still eligible for making the NCAA Tournament. Some of these teams have no shot at an at-large bid, but could still win their conference somehow in their conference tournament. Remember, a team has to have at least a .500 record to be eligible for the NCAA Tournament.

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 tournament, unless they already won their conference tournament (like Loyola).

2018 Bracketology Automatic Qualifiers 4.0

Team Conference Record RPI SOS 1-5 Ws 6-10 Ws 11-20 Ws 21+ Ls Significant Ws Significant Ls
Team Conference Record RPI SOS 1-5 Ws 6-10 Ws 11-20 Ws 21+ Ls Significant Ws Significant Ls
Maryland Big Ten 11-2 1 4 1-1 (Notre Dame) 2-0 (Villanova, Johns Hopkins) 4-1 (Navy, Penn, Penn State, Rutgers) NA NA Albany (3), Ohio State (15)
Albany America East 12-2 3 16 1-1 (Maryland) 0-0 3-0 (Syracuse, Cornell, Vermont) UMBC (43) Maryland (1) Yale (4), UMBC (43)
Yale Ivy League 12-2 4 6 1-0 (Albany) 0-1 2-1 (Cornell, Penn) NA Albany (3) Villanova (10), Bucknell (14)
Loyola Patriot League 12-3 6 9 0-1 1-1 (Johns Hopkins) 2-1 (Navy, Georgetown) NA NA Virginia (10), Bucknell (14)
Denver Big East 11-2 8 26 0-2 1-0 (Villanova) 2-0 (Ohio State, Georgetown) NA NA NA
UMass CAA 10-4 24 52 0-2 0-0 0-0 Army West Point (40), Harvard (29) NA Harvard (29), Army West Point (40)
Richmond SoCon 9-5 30 43 0-2 0-1 2-0 (Bucknell) UMBC (43), Furman (57) Bucknell (14), North Carolina (22) UMBC (43), Furman (57)
Saint Joseph's NEC 10-3 31 63 0-0 0-0 1-0 (Penn) Fairfield (50), Providence (44), St. John's (42) Penn (11), Robert Morris (25) St. John's (42), Providence (44), Fairfield (50)
Quinnipiac MAAC 9-5 51 68 0-0 0-0 0-1 UMass Lowell (46), Fairfield (50), Hartford (53), Holy Cross (45) Brown (32), Detroit Mercy (48) Hartford (53)
Data from LaxPower

Maryland retains the top RPI in the country, while Albany slips to #3 after their game against Hartford. Yale is at four, while Loyola falls to six.

Loyola is also the only team that has clinched their automatic qualifier, which is why they’re in bold. The other seven teams are the top seeds for their respective conferences, so definitely expect some changes coming this weekend.

At-Large Candidates

Eight more teams will be picked to join the nine automatic qualifiers. The field of teams that are in contention have been solidified for a few weeks now. But we have to wait and see what movement happens this weekend.

2018 Bracketology At-Larges 4.0

Team Conference Record RPI SOS 1-5 Ws 6-10 Ws 11-20 Ws 21+ Ls Significant Ws Significant Ls
Team Conference Record RPI SOS 1-5 Ws 6-10 Ws 11-20 Ws 21+ Ls Significant Ws Significant Ls
Notre Dame ACC 8-5 2 2 1-2 (Duke) 3-0 (Denver, Virginia twice) 1-1 (Ohio State) North Carolina (22), Michigan (23) NA Duke (5), Syracuse (12), Michigan (21), North Carolina (22)
Duke ACC 12-3 5 13 1-1 (Notre Dame) 3-0 (Denver, Loyola, Virginia) 0-2 NA Notre Dame (2) Penn (11), Syracuse (12)
Johns Hopkins Big Ten 9-4 7 12 0-1 1-1 (Virginia) 3-1 (Syracuse, Rutgers, Ohio State) North Carolina (22) NA Penn State (18), North Carolina (22)
Villanova Big East 10-4 9 18 1-1 (Yale) 0-1 2-1 (Penn State, Penn) Brown (32) Yale (4) Georgetown (20), Brown (32)
Virginia ACC 12-5 10 8 0-3 1-1 (Loyola) 2-1 (Vermont, Syracuse) NA Loyola (6) Syracuse (12)
Penn Ivy League 7-7 11 1 1-2 (Duke) 0-1 2-2 (Navy, Bucknell) Brown (32), Saint Joseph's (31) Duke (5) Cornell (16), Penn State (18), Saint Joseph's (31), Brown (32)
Syracuse ACC 7-6 12 3 2-1 (Duke, Notre Dame) 1-2 (Virginia) 0-3 NA Notre Dame (2), Duke (5), Virginia (10) Rutgers (13), Cornell (16), Navy (17)
Rutgers Big Ten 9-5 13 10 0-1 0-1 2-1 (Syracuse, Penn State) Army West Point (40), Princeton (26) Syracuse (12) Princeton (26), Army West Point (40)
Bucknell Patriot League 11-4 14 28 1-0 (Yale) 1-0 (Loyola) 0-2 Richmond (30), Boston University (33) Yale (4), Loyola (6) Navy (17), Richmond (30), Boston University (33)
Ohio State Big Ten 8-6 15 15 1-1 (Maryland) 0-2 1-1 (Rutgers) Marquette (23), Towson (28) Maryland (1), Rutgers (13) Marquette (23), Towson (28)
Cornell Ivy League 10-4 16 22 0-2 0-0 3-0 (Penn State, Penn, Syracuse) Colgate (41), Princeton (26) Penn (11), Syracuse (12) Princeton (26), Colgate (41)
Navy Patriot League 9-5 17 24 0-1 0-1 2-1 (Bucknell, Syracuse) Jacksonville (36), Lehigh (27) Syracuse (12), Bucknell (14) Lehigh (27), Jacksonville (35)
Penn State Big Ten 8-6 18 14 0-1 1-1 (Johns Hopkins) 2-2 (Penn, Ohio State) Robert Morris (25), Michigan (21) Johns Hopkins (7), Penn (11), Ohio State (15) Michigan (21), Robert Morris (25)
Data from LaxPower

Notre Dame jumps from #8 in the RPI to #2, and they should be in thanks to winning the ACC Tournament/blatant RPI booster this past weekend. They’ll also more than likely host a First Round game as well.

Duke, Virginia, and Syracuse helped their conference this weekend and may have gotten four teams into the big dance. Syracuse might be the only team that’s a question mark at this point. A loss against Colgate could end their season.

Villanova might be the best team out of a really bad bubble. If they take care of business against Georgetown tomorrow night, they should feel safe making the NCAA Tournament.

As for Bucknell, Cornell, Navy, Ohio State, Penn, Penn State, and Rutgers, who knows. Bucknell fell to BU in the Patriot League quarterfinals last Tuesday, which could have ended their season. But with losses from Cornell, Navy, Penn State, and Rutgers this past weekend, the Bison could still be alive.

Navy and Penn State probably killed any hopes of making the tournament, and Cornell put themselves on the ropes with an embarrassing loss to Princeton. Rutgers is typical Rutgers and is flirting with not making the tournament again for another season.

Ohio State is on fire right now. They’re probably the hottest team after beating Maryland and Rutgers the past two weeks. They take on Hopkins tomorrow night in their Big Ten semifinal, and a win could give them a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Bracketology Prediction 4.0

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: Villanova, Syracuse, Cornell, Bucknell
First Four Out: Ohio State, Rutgers, Penn, Navy

First off, the bubble this year is god awful.

When starting to figure out the five non-seeded teams, two were locks in Virginia and Villanova. Syracuse had a little bit of doubt, but they got in. It all came down to Bucknell, Cornell, Ohio State, and Rutgers for the final two spots.

Three of those four teams lost last week, with Ohio State being the only team that won. The Buckeyes have all the momentum coming into the Big Ten Tournament with a chance to get into the NCAA Tournament, but I would not put them in the big dance just yet. They were close to beating Hopkins the first time around, but with wins over Maryland and Rutgers, this is a brand spanking new Buckeye team.

Cornell’s loss to Princeton hurt them. Their RPI and SOS aren’t the best, but they don’t have a win against a top 10 RPI team. Beating Yale would change that if they make it to the Ivy League Championship on Sunday.

Bucknell was probably out of the picture on Tuesday when they lost to BU. But thanks to nearly everybody else losing, they’re currently just in. Their wins over Yale and Loyola are beautiful for their resume. But losses to Richmond and now BU aren’t.

As I said in my interview with James Kratch of NJ.com and The Star-Ledger, Rutgers is on the bad side of the bubble. They can still find a way to get into the NCAA Tournament even with a loss, but it might be very unlikely if that happens. They need to beat Maryland tomorrow, and they certainly have the ability to do just that.

Penn has to beat Yale in order to actually be in the discussion for a spot. They’re 7-7 and despite their #1 SOS, that metric has its limits. Also, Navy doesn’t have a shot at an at-large after falling to Lehigh in the Patriot League semifinals. Penn State is toast after losing to Michigan and also a Big Ten Tournament spot.

This is certainly not final. Results from other tournaments and potentially regular season games will affect the bubble of the eight bubble teams listed above. Hang on folks, we’re coming in for a landing.