As you all know, I don't like to predict the future when making out the projections. After all, I like to make assumptions on what direction the Division I Men's Basketball Committee goes each week, solely on what teams have done up to a certain point. After all, the committee has to deal with unexpected curve balls selection weekend, to predict those situations weeks in advance is, IMHO, unecessary and mostly wrong. With that in mind, here's my attempt to predict the future:
The Pac-10 Question
Most experts think the Pac-10 will not have an at-large worthy team. I disagree with them and put forth Washington as one, if possibly the only one, and even that is somewhat remote. With Southern California out due to probation, the rest of the conference is somewhat shallow, only Arizona State and Washington doing anything of note. If you ask me, the Pac-10 will have a second team chosen, only on account of the presence of the committee chair, Dan Guererro, the UCLA AD.
Tar Heel Trouble
North Carolina is reeling, having lost 3 straight in ACC play, and 4 out of 5 overall, the last one a come from ahead loss at the College of Charleston. The upcoming schedule is daunting, with 7 games on the road, plus the annual battles with Duke. What's in the Heels favor is wins over Ohio State(improving daily) and Michigan State. What isn't is their lack of real road wins, of course having only one true OOC game is not what the committee wants to see, but the Heels are trying to work in a stellar recruiting class. If North Carolina wants to be in the mix, it probably needs to get to 9-7 or 10-6 at the end of the season and even there, it will be near the cut line.
As if Connecticut needed more to worry about than losing coach Jim Calhoun to a leave of absence(not cancer-related), the Huskies are in the same boat as the Heels in which the resume will be devoid of a road win OOC, along with neutral-court losses to Duke and Kentucky. What the Huskies do have is the top SOS rank in RPI calculations. It will be touch and go whether the Huskies make the field.
Mid-Majoring in making the field
Of the mid-majors, only Butler is in a solid position to make a case for an at-large, though this is diluted by losses to teams like UAB. Up until last night, the same could be said(possibly) for William & Mary. But getting smoked in the 2nd half by Virginia Commonwealth won't help matters, especially in a loaded Colonial. The Ivy League is intriguing, with both Cornell and Harvard having had excellent OOC performances. But with teams like Dartmouth and Pennsylvania having really bad RPI's, neither the Crimson nor the Big Red.
Seeds, damned seeds and pods
No team that is contending for a #1 seed is a lock for one. Not even Kansas, the presumed favorite. Kentucky is currently in line for #1 in the polls, but some aren't convinced they have the goods. Some have doubts on Texas, Villanova, Duke, Syracuse and others. In terms of sites, some good teams will have to go out west to San Jose and Spokane, since only Gonzaga(and perhaps Brigham Young) appear to be solid enough to warrant staying west.
What about Minnesota?
If I posted this without a question about the homestate team, I'd be labeled a cheesehead. With no real wins on the road(sorry Iowa, you don't count) and only a win over Butler on a neutral court. The Gophers are treading on thin ice(if their not in the figurative lake already), and with a slowly withering RPI, need some spectacular results the rest of the way to stay on the good side of the cut line. Some didn't wait for improvement, they cut them right away after losing 3 of 4 in Big Ten play.