NCAA committee must have caution with UK
by Patrick Stevens, Special for USA TODAY Sports
A weekend featuring plenty of losses for borderline NCAA tournament teams didn’t lead to massive turnover in the projected field, but it’s approaching the time to remember one of March’s staples: Bid thieves emerging from conference tournaments.
Chances are, an unlikely team or two will snag a spot in the field, bumping a projected league champion into the at-large field. That, in turn, will bump everyone down a slot and eventually nudge a few teams out of the field such as Massachusetts, Villanova and Virginia — teams hardly safe with the chaos of conference tournaments starting this week.
Given the serious contenders for NCAA tournament bids and the sites over the first two weekends, there are only two teams the committee will have to be careful with in terms of where they are sent to play.
One is Kentucky, which cannot play games on its home court in Lexington over the first weekend of the tournament. That would not stop Kentucky from being placed in Dayton, which is a relatively short drive from the Bluegrass State.
The other is Georgetown, which is not permitted to play in Verizon Center (its home building) during the regional weekend. So regardless of what seed the Hoyas draw and how superb their profile is, they won’t be assigned to the East Region.
Last four in: Villanova, Virginia, Massachusetts, Kentucky
First four out: Iowa State, Alabama, Tennessee, Maryland
Next four out: Southern Mississippi, Baylor, Mississippi, Arkansas
Conference call: Big East (8), Big Ten (7), Atlantic 10 (6), Atlantic Coast (5), Mountain West (5), Pac-12 (5), Big 12 (4), Southeastern (3), Missouri Valley (2), West Coast (2)
Entering the field: Massachusetts, Niagara, Princeton
Exiting the field: Harvard, Iowa State, Loyola
At Dayton, Ohio
(1) BIG TEN/Indiana vs. (16) SOUTHWESTERN/Southern-COLONIAL/Northeastern
(8) San Diego State vs. (9) CONFERENCE USA/Memphis
At Austin, Texas
(4) Oklahoma State vs. (13) MID-AMERICAN/Akron
(5) Pittsburgh vs. (12) Temple
At Dayton, Ohio
(3) SOUTHEASTERN/Florida vs. (14) AMERICA EAST/Stony Brook
(6) Illinois vs. (11) Massachusetts/Villanova
At Lexington, Ky.
(2) ATLANTIC COAST/Miami vs. (15) BIG SKY/Montana
(7) Oregon vs. (10) Wichita State
(1) Duke vs. (16) MID-EASTERN/Norfolk State
(8) Missouri vs. (9) Colorado State
At Kansas City, Mo.
(4) Marquette vs. (13) PATRIOT/Bucknell
(5) Minnesota vs. (12) Saint … [For more on Bracket Prediction: NCAA committee must have caution with Kentucky, click here.]