With conference schedules underway, the bracket is starting to take shape. Reminder: my bracket is created as if Selection Sunday were today. These are not projections of where I believe these teams will be seeded on March 12th. I'm fully aware there are a handful of notable exclusions and inclusions that may work themselves in/out as the season proceeds.
The Gophers are off to a decent start in the Big Ten season. After two games and two overtimes, the cardiac kids are 1-1, with a tough loss to Michigan State and a great win over Purdue on Sunday in West Lafayette. At this point, the countdown to lock up a selection stands at just 7 more wins, although with a couple more quality road wins they may be able to get in with 19 or even 18 total wins. At 13-2, reaching 18-20 wins seems like a pretty likely result, so the question now is whether they can get to 21 or more with a few more quality wins and improve their seeding.
SOS will continue to provide a huge boost to the Gophers' RPI. The end-of-season SOS will almost certainly fall between 5-35, based on the records of their remaining opponents. Depending on the number of quality wins they can collect in the next ten weeks, a 3- or 4-seed is well within reach, with a likely downside in the range of a 9- to 11-seed.
I'll end my [homer] speculating there, and move on with my bracket as of last night's games.
1's: Villanova, Baylor, Florida State, Creighton
2's: Kansas, Gonzaga, Xavier, Kentucky
3's: Oregon, Minnesota, Duke, Louisville
4's: Clemson, Virginia, Florida, UCLA
5's: Arizona, Saint Mary's, USC, West Virginia
6's: Virginia Tech, TCU, Maryland, Cincinnati
7's: Notre Dame, Butler, Arkansas, SMU
8's: Northwestern, Seton Hall, Purdue, VCU
9's: Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Illinois, UNC Wilmington
10's: Miami (FL), Dayton, Michigan State, Middle Tennessee
11's: Wisconsin, UTA, Oklahoma State, South Carolina
12's: UCF, Wake Forest, North Carolina State, Ole Miss, Valparaiso, New Mexico State
13's: Akron, Nevada, Illinois State, Samford
14's: Vermont, Florida Gulf Coast, Nicholls State, Eastern Washington
15's: Bucknell, Monmouth, North Dakota State, UNC Asheville
16's: North Carolina Central, Pennsylvania, Jacksonville State, Texas Southern, UC Irvine, Mount Saint Mary's
FFO: Georgia, Providence, Temple, Nebraska
NFO: Rhode Island, Indiana, Charleston, LSU