(Still) Way Too Early Preseason Bracket(s)

I apologize for delaying this by almost a week, but real life has been a bit busy, and I wanted to make this field look halfway rational.

I did a bit extra with this projection, however, as I've presented four Opening Round options. Two of these are what everyone expects, while the others are a little more experimental. 

The four fields follow after the jump.

Last year, I made my opinion of these preseason brackets clear--This is for entertainment/comedic purposes only. However, my very early bracket from last season wasn't too bad, in hindsight.

As this is a season of change, my main focus isn't on the field (as 2010-11 could be as wide open as 2009-10 was) but the different possibilities for the Opening Round and how they affect the bottom five lines of the bracket. When the Division I Men's Basketball Committee makes its decision on the format for the play-in, I'll update the bracket accordingly (recruiting decisions will play a role too). In the meantime, I can experiment.

I decided to just list these instead of popping each of these brackets into a separate HTML page. Here's the information that applies to all four projections.

National Semifinals: (1) East vs. (4) West and (2) Southeast vs. (3) Southwest
Number One Seeds (in S-curve order): Duke, Purdue, Michigan State, Pittsburgh
Last Four In: Mississippi State, Minnesota, Xavier, Louisville
Next Four In: Northern Iowa, Clemson, Arizona State, St. Louis
First Four Out: St. Mary's, Maryland, California, Georgia
Next Four Out: Wake Forest, UAB, Florida State, UCLA

Bids by Conference
Big East: 8
Pittsburgh, Villanova, Syracuse, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Marquette, West Virginia, Louisville
Big Ten: 7
Purdue, Michigan State, Ohio State, Illinois, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Minnesota
ACC: 6
Duke, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, NC State, Miami, Clemson
Big 12: 6
Baylor, Kansas State, Kansas, Missouri, Texas A&M, Texas
SEC: 6
Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Mississippi, Mississippi State
Atlantic 10: 5
Temple, Richmond, Dayton, St. Louis, Xavier
Mountain West: 3
BYU, UNLV, San Diego State
Pacific-10: 3
Washington, Arizona, Arizona State
MIssouri Valley: 2
Wichita State, Northern Iowa
One-Bid Leagues: 22
America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Conference USA, Horizon, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern Athletic, Summit, Sun Belt, West Coast, Western Athletic

The top 11 seed lines of each bracket are the same. Thanks to the differing formats of the Opening Rounds, lines 12 down vary significantly between each of the four fields. 

Bracket 1: Automatic Bid Opening Round
(17) Lipscomb (Atlantic Sun) vs. (16) Winthrop (Big South) 
(17) Jackson State (Southwestern) vs. (16) Stephen F. Austin (Southland)
(17) Morgan State (Mid-Eastern) vs. (16) North Texas (Sun Belt) 
(17) Lehigh (Patriot) vs. (16) Quinnipiac (Northeast)

Placing the eight lowest-ranked automatic qualifiers into the Opening Round is the best way to preserve bracket integrity. As the former 15 and 16 seeds become the 16 and 17 seeds in this format, 2 and 3 seeds would face slightly more difficult First Round games, as 2010's 13s and 14s become 2011's 14s and 15s. Teams on the 4 line, who have become prone to upsets in recent years, are in further danger under this format, as the last four at-larges all fall on the 13 line. 

East
Regional at Newark

At Charlotte
(1) Duke (ACC) vs. Lipscomb/Winthrop
(8) Marquette vs. (9) Arizona
At Tucson
(5) Kentucky vs. (12) St. Louis
(4) Gonzaga (West Coast) vs. (13) Minnesota
At Denver
(6) Butler (Horizon) vs. (11) Mississippi
(3) Kansas vs. (14) Ohio (Mid-American)
At Cleveland
(7) Georgetown vs. (10) Dayton
(2) Ohio State vs. (15) Stony Brook (America East)

West
Regional at Anaheim
At Washington
(1) Pittsburgh (Big East) vs. Quinnipiac/Lehigh 
(8) Utah State (WAC) vs. (9) Texas
At Tucson
(5) BYU (Mountain West) vs. (12) Clemson
(4) Washington (Pac-10) vs. (13) Mississippi State
At Chicago
(6) Tennessee vs. (11) Old Dominion (Colonial)
(3) Illinois vs. (14) IUPUI (Summit)
At Tulsa
(7) Notre Dame vs. (10) Miami
(2) Kansas State vs. (15) UC Santa Barbara (Big West)

Southeast
Regional at New Orleans

At Chicago
(1) Purdue (Big Ten) vs. Stephen F. Austin/Jackson State
(8) NC State vs. (9) Richmond
At Tampa
(5) Texas A&M vs. (12) Northern Iowa
(4) Florida (SEC) vs. (13) Louisville
At Charlotte
(6) Wisconsin vs. (11) Murray State (Ohio Valley)
(3) North Carolina vs. (14) Wofford (Southern)
At Washington
(7) UNLV vs. (10) Memphis (Conference USA)
(2) Villanova vs. (15) Princeton (Ivy)

Southwest
Regional at San Antonio

At Cleveland
(1) Michigan State vs. North Texas/Morgan State
(8) Vanderbilt vs. (9) West Virginia
At Denver
(5) Virginia Tech vs. (12) Arizona State
(4) Missouri vs. (13) Xavier
At Tampa
(6) Temple (Atlantic 10) vs. (11) Northwestern
(3) Syracuse vs. (14) Iona (Metro Atlantic)
At Tulsa
(7) Wichita State (Missouri Valley) vs. (10) San Diego State
(2) Baylor (Big 12) vs. (15) Weber State (Big Sky)

 

Bracket 2: Last Eight In Opening Round
Minnesota vs. St. Louis
Louisville vs. Northern Iowa
Xavier vs. Arizona State
Mississippi State vs. Clemson

This Opening Round format is the fans' choice, as the last eight teams in play for four spots on the 12 line. Under this format, lines 13 through 16 remain roughly the same as in the 64-team bracket. Three of the four matchups of the last eight in pit mid-majors against high majors.

East
Regional at Newark

At Charlotte
(1) Duke (ACC) vs. (16) Lipscomb (Atlantic Sun)
(8) Marquette vs. (9) Arizona
At Tucson
(5) Kentucky vs. (12) Minnesota/St. Louis
(4) Gonzaga (West Coast) vs. (13) Ohio (Mid-American)
At Denver
(6) Butler (Horizon) vs. (11) Mississippi
(3) Kansas vs. (14) UC Santa Barbara (Big West)
At Cleveland
(7) Georgetown vs. (10) Dayton
(2) Ohio State vs. (15) Winthrop (Big South)

West
Regional at Anaheim
At Washington
(1) Pittsburgh (Big East) vs. (16) Lehigh (Patriot) 
(8) Utah State (WAC) vs. (9) Texas
At Tucson
(5) BYU (Mountain West) vs. (12) Clemson/Mississippi State
(4) Washington (Pac-10) vs. (13) IUPUI (Summit)
At Chicago
(6) Tennessee vs. (11) Old Dominion (Colonial)
(3) Illinois vs. (14) Weber State (Big Sky)
At Tulsa
(7) Notre Dame vs. (10) Miami
(2) Kansas State vs. (15) Stephen F. Austin (Southland)

Southeast
Regional at New Orleans

At Chicago
(1) Purdue (Big Ten) vs. (16) Jackson State (Southwestern)
(8) NC State vs. (9) Richmond
At Tampa
(5) Texas A&M vs. (12) Northern Iowa/Louisville
(4) Florida (SEC) vs. (13) Iona (Metro Atlantic)
At Charlotte
(6) Wisconsin vs. (11) Murray State (Ohio Valley)
(3) North Carolina vs. (14) Princeton (Ivy)
At Washington
(7) UNLV vs. (10) Memphis (Conference USA)
(2) Villanova vs. (15) Quinnipiac (Northeast)

Southwest
Regional at San Antonio

At Cleveland
(1) Michigan State vs. (16) Morgan State (MId-Eastern)
(8) Vanderbilt vs. (9) West Virginia
At Denver
(5) Virginia Tech vs. (12) Arizona State/Xavier
(4) Missouri vs. (13) Wofford (Southern)
At Tampa
(6) Temple (Atlantic 10) vs. (11) Northwestern
(3) Syracuse vs. (14) Stony Brook (America East)
At Tulsa
(7) Wichita State (Missouri Valley) vs. (10) San Diego State
(2) Baylor (Big 12) vs. (15) North Texas (Sun Belt)

 

Option 3: Last Four In vs. Last Four Auto Bids Opening Round
Minnesota vs. Morgan State (Mid-Eastern)
Louisville vs. Lipscomb (Atlantic Sun)
Xavier vs. Jackson State (Southwestern)
Mississippi State vs. Lehigh (Patriot)

Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe, who should really be focusing on his conference's continued survival at this point, came up with this interesting compromise. In this format, the bottom four at-larges take on the bottom four-automatic qualifiers for a spot on the 13 line. 

East
Regional at Newark

At Charlotte
(1) Duke (ACC) vs. (16) Winthrop (Big South)
(8) Marquette vs. (9) Arizona
At Tucson
(5) Kentucky vs. (12) St. Louis
(4) Gonzaga (West Coast) vs. (13) Minnesota/Morgan State
At Denver
(6) Butler (Horizon) vs. (11) Mississippi
(3) Kansas vs. (14) IUPUI (Summit)
At Cleveland
(7) Georgetown vs. (10) Dayton
(2) Ohio State vs. (15) Stony Brook (America East)

West
Regional at Anaheim
At Washington
(1) Pittsburgh (Big East) vs. (16) Quinnipiac (Northeast)
(8) Utah State (WAC) vs. (9) Texas
At Tucson
(5) BYU (Mountain West) vs. (12) Clemson
(4) Washington (Pac-10) vs. (13) Mississippi State/Lehigh
At Chicago
(6) Tennessee vs. (11) Old Dominion (Colonial)
(3) Illinois vs. (14) Ohio (Mid-American)
At Tulsa
(7) Notre Dame vs. (10) Miami
(2) Kansas State vs. (15) UC Santa Barbara (Big West)

Southeast
Regional at New Orleans

At Chicago
(1) Purdue (Big Ten) vs. (16) Stephen F. Austin (Southland)
(8) NC State vs. (9) Richmond
At Tampa
(5) Texas A&M vs. (12) Northern Iowa
(4) Florida (SEC) vs. (13) Louisville/Lipscomb
At Charlotte
(6) Wisconsin vs. (11) Murray State (Ohio Valley)
(3) North Carolina vs. (14) Wofford (Southern)
At Washington
(7) UNLV vs. (10) Memphis (Conference USA)
(2) Villanova vs. (15) Princeton (Ivy)

Southwest
Regional at San Antonio

At Cleveland
(1) Michigan State vs. (16) North Texas (Sun Belt)
(8) Vanderbilt vs. (9) West Virginia
At Denver
(5) Virginia Tech vs. (12) Arizona State
(4) Missouri vs. (13) Xavier/Jackson State
At Tampa
(6) Temple (Atlantic 10) vs. (11) Northwestern
(3) Syracuse vs. (14) Iona (Metro Atlantic)
At Tulsa
(7) Wichita State (Missouri Valley) vs. (10) San Diego State
(2) Baylor (Big 12) vs. (15) Weber State (Big Sky)

 

Option 4: 50/50 Opening Round
Auto Bids
Morgan State (Mid-Eastern) vs. Lipscomb (Atlantic Sun)
Jackson State (Southwestern) vs. Lehigh (Patriot)
At-Larges
Louisville vs. Minnesota
Xavier vs. Mississippi State

If all else fails, the Committee could decide to pit the four lowest-rated automatic qualifiers against each other, for the right to take on the top two overall seeds. The bottom four at-larges could also play for the right to two spots on the 12 line. Ideally, an Opening Round game for each region would be ideal. However, in this case, to preserve bracket integrity, the Southeast Region has two, while the Southwest has none.

East
Regional at Newark

At Charlotte
(1) Duke (ACC) vs. (16) Morgan State/Lipscomb
(8) Marquette vs. (9) Arizona
At Tucson
(5) Kentucky vs. (12) St. Louis
(4) Gonzaga (West Coast) vs. (13) Wofford (Southern)
At Denver
(6) Butler (Horizon) vs. (11) Mississippi
(3) Kansas vs. (14) UC Santa Barbara (Big West)
At Cleveland
(7) Georgetown vs. (10) Dayton
(2) Ohio State vs. (15) Stony Brook (America East)

West
Regional at Anaheim
At Washington
(1) Pittsburgh (Big East) vs. (16) Winthrop (Big South)
(8) Utah State (WAC) vs. (9) Texas
At Tucson
(5) BYU (Mountain West) vs. (12) Clemson
(4) Washington (Pac-10) vs. (13) Mississippi State/Xavier
At Chicago
(6) Tennessee vs. (11) Old Dominion (Colonial)
(3) Illinois vs. (14) Ohio (Mid-American)
At Tulsa
(7) Notre Dame vs. (10) Miami
(2) Kansas State vs. (15) Weber State (Big Sky)

Southeast
Regional at New Orleans

At Chicago
(1) Purdue (Big Ten) vs. (16) Jackson State/Lehigh
(8) NC State vs. (9) Richmond
At Tampa
(5) Texas A&M vs. (12) Northern Iowa
(4) Florida (SEC) vs. (13) Louisville/Minnesota
At Charlotte
(6) Wisconsin vs. (11) Murray State (Ohio Valley)
(3) North Carolina vs. (14) Princeton (Ivy)
At Washington
(7) UNLV vs. (10) Memphis (Conference USA)
(2) Villanova vs. (15) Quinnipiac (Northeast)

Southwest
Regional at San Antonio

At Cleveland
(1) Michigan State vs. (16) Stephen F. Austin (Southland)
(8) Vanderbilt vs. (9) West Virginia
At Denver
(5) Virginia Tech vs. (12) Arizona State
(4) Missouri vs. (13) Iona (Metro Atlantic)
At Tampa
(6) Temple (Atlantic 10) vs. (11) Northwestern
(3) Syracuse vs. (14) IUPUI (Summit)
At Tulsa
(7) Wichita State (Missouri Valley) vs. (10) San Diego State
(2) Baylor (Big 12) vs. (15) North Texas (Sun Belt)

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