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College Crosse Bracketology 5.0: It’s (conference) championship SZN

T-minus 1 day away from Selection Sunday!

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

Welcome to our fifth edition of College Crosse’s Bracketology series for the 2018 season! Last time we left you, Bucknell made it back into the NCAA Tournament thanks to everyone on the bubble losing!

Here are the 25 remaining NCAA teams that I think still have a chance for making the NCAA Tournament. Some of these teams have no shot at an at-large bid, but could still win their conference tournament today or tomorrow.

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 5.0

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 12-2 1 4 1-1 (Notre Dame) 1-0 (Johns Hopkins) 6-1 (Navy, Penn, Villanova, Penn State, Rutgers twice) NA NA Albany (2), Ohio State (17)
Albany America East 13-2 2 13 1-1 (Maryland) 1-0 (Syracuse) 2-0 (Cornell, Vermont) UMBC (42) Maryland (1) Yale (4), UMBC (42)
Yale Ivy League 13-2 4 9 1-0 (Albany) 0-0 3-2 (Cornell, Penn twice) NA Albany (2) Villanova (12), Bucknell (15)
Loyola Patriot League 12-3 6 6 0-1 1-1 (Johns Hopkins) 2-1 (Navy, Georgetown) NA NA Virginia (9), Bucknell (15)
Denver Big East 12-2 8 25 0-2 0-0 3-0 (Ohio State, Georgetown, Villanova) NA NA NA
UMass CAA 11-4 23 49 0-2 0-0 0-0 Army West Point (39), Harvard (29) NA Harvard (29), Army West Point (39)
Saint Joseph's NEC 11-3 30 64 0-0 0-0 1-0 (Penn) Fairfield (49), Providence (45), St. John's (43) Penn (11), Robert Morris (21) St. John's (43), Providence (45), Fairfield (49)
Richmond SoCon 10-5 31 45 0-2 0-1 1-0 (Bucknell) UMBC (42), Furman (56) Bucknell (15), North Carolina (22) UMBC (42), Furman (56)
Detroit Mercy MAAC 9-6 44 62 0-1 0-0 0-1 Jacksonville (34), Marquette (24), Air Force (55), Quinnipiac (52) NA Quinnipiac (52), Air Force (55)
Data from

Not a lot of notable moves for the AQs. Albany just moves up from three to two.

The biggest movement comes at the bottom of the pack. St. Joe’s leap frogs Richmond with an RPI of 30 compared to Richmond’s 31. Detroit Mercy also enters after Quinnipiac lost to Canisius in the MAAC semifinals.

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 5.0

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 3 2 1-2 (Duke) 3-1 (Denver, Virginia twice) 1-0 (Ohio State) North Carolina (22), Michigan (25) NA Duke (5), Syracuse (10), North Carolina (22), Michigan (25)
Duke ACC 12-3 5 12 1-1 (Notre Dame) 3-1 (Denver, Loyola, Virginia) 0-1 NA Notre Dame (2) Syracuse (10), Penn (11)
Johns Hopkins Big Ten 10-4 7 11 0-1 2-1 (Syracuse, Virginia) 3-1 (Rutgers, Ohio State twice) North Carolina (22) NA Penn State (20), North Carolina (22)
Virginia ACC 12-5 9 8 0-3 2-2 (Loyola, Syracuse) 1-0 (Vermont) NA Loyola (6) Syracuse (10)
Syracuse ACC 7-6 10 3 2-1 (Duke, Notre Dame) 1-2 (Virginia) 0-3 NA Notre Dame (2), Duke (5), Virginia (9) Rutgers (13), Cornell (14), Navy (16)
Villanova Big East 10-5 12 15 1-1 (Yale) 0-1 2-2 (Penn State, Penn) Brown (33) Yale (4) Georgetown (twice) (18), Brown (33)
Rutgers Big Ten 9-6 13 10 0-2 1-1 (Syracuse) 1-1 (Penn State) Army West Point (39), Princeton (28) Syracuse (10) Princeton (28), Army West Point (39)
Cornell Ivy League 11-4 14 23 0-2 1-0 (Syracuse) 2-0 (Penn State, Penn) Colgate (40), Princeton (28) Syracuse (10), Penn (11) Princeton (28), Colgate (40)
Bucknell Patriot League 11-4 15 27 1-0 (Yale) 1-0 (Loyola) 0-2 Richmond (31), Boston University (32) Yale (4), Loyola (6) Navy (16), Richmond (31), Boston University (32)
Ohio State Big Ten 8-7 17 14 1-1 (Maryland) 0-3 1-1 (Rutgers) Marquette (24), Towson (26) Maryland (1), Rutgers (13) Marquette (24), Towson (26)

First off, Penn lost. They’re out completely. Praise god. Also took out Navy and Penn State because I don’t think they have a good chance at making the tournament at this point.

Despite not playing so far, Syracuse is back in the top 10 for RPI ranking. Villanova falls out of it to 12.

So that leaves Villanova, Rutgers, Cornell, Bucknell, and Ohio State. Nova, Rutgers, and Ohio State lost on Thursday. Cornell beat Brown and will play for an Ivy League Championship. A win definitely puts them in and eliminates a potential at-large contender. Bucknell is happy with what has happened, but they shouldn’t feel too excited.

Bracketology Prediction 5.0

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

Welcome back to the party, Rutgers.

But before we go there, let’s go to some interesting battles for seeds and placement.

I think Maryland is a lock for #1. I think we see a battle between Yale and Duke for the #2 seed. I almost moved Yale there, and they’ve played very well. The same with Notre Dame and Albany for the #4 seed.

A loss for Denver today against Georgetown probably ends their chance of hosting. That would mean a team like Virginia or Syracuse could get a seed. Wow.

Speaking of the two ACC schools, they’re neck-and-neck for probably the two top unseeded spots. Cuse however needs to take care of business against Colgate later this afternoon. If they lose, they’re probably not in. But with the bubble this year, who knows. They could still be in.

Villanova’s loss to Georgetown hurt them a little bit. But not enough to completely take them out. Bucknell is starting to gain some safety, especially after Penn losing to Yale last night and also ending any chance of making the NCAA Tournament.

And now, the battle between Rutgers and Cornell for my final spot. It was really tough to decide who was in and who was out. Cornell has the better record, but Rutgers has better RPI and SOS numbers. They’re both 0-2 against teams in the top 5 in RPI, have a win against Syracuse in the top 10, and have wins over Penn State in the top 20, but the Big Red have a win against Penn as well. They both lost to Princeton, who has an RPI of 28, along with an additional early season loss. RU’s was to Army West Point, who has an RPI of 29. Cornell lost to Colgate, who has an RPI of 40. Both of those teams play later today.

You’re pulling hairs here, but there’s an argument for why one team should be in over the other. In the end, the RPI and SOS were deciding factors for including Rutgers.

But unlike the Scarlet Knights, the Big Red still have a chance for an AQ if they beat Yale Sunday afternoon. But beware of bid stealers like Vermont and Georgetown. The Hoyas have a better chance of spoiling one team’s hopes today.