Sunday, January 29, 2012

2012 NCAA Tournament Bracket Predictions: Second Edition

by John Huffstetler


1 Syracuse 22-1
- Despite the loss at NDame, they remain a strong candidate for a #1 seed.
16 NC Asheville 16-7 (Big South)(Previously: Out)/ LIU 15-7 (NEC) (Prev: Out)- By virtue of their road win over Wagner, they take control of the NEC automatic bid.

8 Florida St. 14-6 (Prev: 11)- The Noles have now destroyed UNC at home and upset Duke on the road in the last few weeks. Despite their non-conference struggles early, they make a huge jump based on their hot streak.
9 Harvard 18-2- It will be difficult for Harvard to do anything but drop in seeding because of their weak conference.

4 Vandy 16-5
13 Oral Roberts 20-4 (Summit)

5 Indiana 16-5 (Prev: 4)- Great quality wins, but the loss at Nebraska drops them a line.
12 BYU 18-6 (Prev: 11)- The ugly home loss to St. Mary's puts them right on the bubble. Right now, I have them as the 5th to last team in.

3 Duke 18-3- The home loss to Florida St. might not be costly by the end of the year if the Seminoles continue to roll through their conference games.
14 Nevada 18-3 (WAC)- The WAC just isn't what it used to be and the quality wins aren't there for the Wolfpack to move up.

6 West Virginia 15-7 (Prev: 5)- After a shaky home win vs. Cincy and a bad road loss to St. John's, the Mountaineers drop down to the 6 line.
11 St. Louis 16-5- A good road win over Xavier keeps them strongly in the field.

7 Wisconsin 17-5 (Prev: 8)- The road win against Illinois highlights a strong two-week stretch for the Badgers.
10 Temple 15-5 (Prev: 11)- The A-10 as a conference is losing credibility as teams like UMass and St. Bonaventure lead the standings, but Temple continues to play solid ball with 4 straight wins. The earlier victory at Duke helps the resume as well.

2 Baylor 19-2- Lucky for Baylor, almost every other team in contention for a 2 seed struggled over the past 2 weeks.
15 Ohio 17-4 (MAC)(Prev: Out)- The MAC West is dreadful this year, but the East has a few solid squads, and Ohio's been close to dominant so far in conference play.


1 North Carolina 17-3- The only loss since our last mock bracket was the injury to Dexter Strickland, who Roy Williams calls his best perimeter defender. This injury could be costly come tourney time.
16 UT Arlington 14-5 (Southland) (Prev: 15)

8 Illinois 15-6 (Prev: 6)- Illinois drops dramatically with their 3 straight losses, including bad losses at Penn St. and home against Wisconsin.
9 Cal 16-5 (Prev: 10)

4 Kansas St. 15-5 (Prev: 5)- They have two very suspicious losses to Oklahoma, but they went 3-1 the last two weeks and the Big 12 is proving to be strong at the top.
13 Long Beach St. 15-6 (Big West) (Prev: 15)- Their dominance in Big West play and the high quality losses by 6 to UNC, 4 to SD St., and 8 to Kansas show that this team is capable of winning a few rounds in the tourney.

5 Creighton 20-2 (MVC)- 5 might be their ceiling but they continue to impress with solid victories in the legitimate MVC.
12 Cincy 15-7- The loss at Rutgers puts Cincy squarely on the bubble, but they have the chance to earn several more quality wins to put themselves in a better spot/ SMiss 19-3 (Prev: Out)- The win at UCF gives them the conference lead. C-USA feels like a 3-bid or more league this year, and someone random has a strong chance to win the conference tourney.

3 Georgetown 16-4
14 Cleveland St. 18-4 (Prev:13)

6 Virginia 17-3 (Prev: 7)
11 Seton Hall 15-6 (Prev: 7)- They take the biggest drop in the past 2 weeks losing 4 spots with losses at Villanova and at home against Notre Dame and Louisville. They are in serious danger now of missing the tourney.

7 Wichita St. 18-4
10 Iowa St. 15-6 (Prev: 12)- The Cyclones went 3-1 over the past two weeks, highlighted by a huge home win over Kansas.

2 Michigan St. 17-4 (Prev: 3)- The UConn struggles allow Sparty to jump up a line. They only have 1 questionable loss all year at Northwestern and the quality wins are definitely there (Fla St, Gon, Ind, at Wisky).
15 Bucknell 17-6 (Patriot) (Prev: Out)- They enter the projected field this time because of an impressive win at Lehigh to take control of the conference.


1 Ohio St. 16-3- Huge home game at Mich tomorrow which could help solidify their #1 seed.
16 Stony Brook 13-7 (AEC)(Prev: Out)/ MV ST. 9-11 (SWAC) (Prev: Out)

8 Gonzaga 17-3
9 Texas 13-8- The schedule was difficult over the past two weeks, so despite losing 3 of 4, Texas remains on the 9 line.

4 UNLV 20-3 (Prev: 5)- The Rebels take SD St.'s spot here after the Aztecs lose by double-digits at Colo St. They played well in their sole meeting so far, losing by 2 at SD St.
13 MTSU 20-3 (Sun Belt)(Prev: 14)- A tight road loss to Vandy only improves their stock.

5 St. Mary's 21-2 (Prev: 6)- They earned a huge road win over BYU to establish their dominance in the now stronger West Coast Conference.
12 Washington 14-7 (Prev: Out)- The road win today at Arizona squeaks Washington into the field. This projection, however, has 3 Pac-12 teams in the field and they might only get one.

3 Florida 17-4
14 Iona 16-5 (MAAC)(Prev: 12)- Iona's bad loss at Siena drops them down to the 14 line. There are too many quality mid-majors this year, and every loss is costly for seeding.

6 Marquette 18-4
11 Davidson 15-5 (Southern) (Prev:12)

7 Louisville 17-5 (Prev: 9)- After some early January struggles, the Cardinals responded with road wins over Seton Hall and Pittsburgh.
10 Stanford 15-5 (Prev: 8)- The Cardinal lost two straight road games last week to Wash and Wash St. to drop them down. The Pac-12 is in serious danger of being a 1-bid league this year.

2 Kansas 17-4- The road loss to Iowa St. doesn't drop them because they did have a few good wins against Baylor and at Texas.
15 Belmont 14-7 (ASun) (Prev: 13)- Like Iona, Belmont drops down as well because they haven't been dominant in conference play and they need to be.


1 Kentucky 21-1- Probably the best team in the country right now.
16 Norfolk St. 16-6 (MEAC)

8 New Mexico 17-4
9 Minnesota 16-6 (Prev: 10)- After a 4-game losing streak, Minn has turned it around winning 4 of 5, with the sole loss coming at Mich St.

4 Michigan 16-5- Michigan has survived the difficult stretch of games thus far, but two key match-ups with Ohio St. loom large. A split could help them reach the 3 line.
13 UCF 15-6 (Prev: 14)- This spot is reserved for whatever random C-USA makes a run in the conference tourney. This could also be Marshall or Houston. I tend to like UCF, who has shown a penchant for upsetting major conference teams.

5 SD St. 18-3 (Prev: 4)
12 Memphis 15-6/Notre Dame 13-8 (Prev: Out)- The last team in the field right now by virtue of their impressive home win over previously undefeated Syracuse.

3 UConn 14-5 (Prev: 2)- UConn had a terrible two weeks, losing their only two games at home vs. Cincy and at Tenn, but they should still end up with a high seed come tourney time. The return of Ryan Boatwright from suspension tomorrow vs. Notre Dame should help their cause dramatically.
14 VCU 18-5- Last year's final four squad is starting to catch fire at just the right time.

6 Mississippi St. 17-5
11 Purdue 15-7 (Prev: 10)

7 Murray St. 21-0- A 7 seed might be their ceiling.
10 Alabama 14-7 (Prev: 8)- 4 straight losses, including a road loss to a bad South Carolina team drops the Tide dwon 2 lines and securely on the bubble for the remainder of the season.

2 Missouri 19-2- The Tigers are bordering on a 1-seed despite the loss at Oklahoma St. (a traditionally tough place to play).
15 Weber St. 16-4

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  1. Just wondering, what is the Huffstetler opinion on the current marquee conference?

    How does family Huff feel about the coming SEC dominance? It seems with the addition of Texas A&M and Mizzou, that the SEC is well on its way to dominating the world of basketball as well (also, their absurd recruiting budgets)

  2. Haha, it certainly is huge. The illegal over-recruiting in the SEC helps as well. Missouri looks poised to make an impact right away in both sports in the SEC, while TAMU might take longer. The Aggies coaching turmoil in both sports could set them back a few years. Mizzou just secured their best recruiting class in football in recent memory in large part due to their move. I see it benefiting in Football more than basketball, though.

    As for the best basketball conference, that is definitely up in the air. With Cuse and Pitt heading to the acc, you must give them the edge. After that, I'd say Big Ten, Big East, SEC in that order. Should be interesting to see how everything shakes up.