(approx. 2 weeks have passed since last version)
Field of 65—Version 4
Florida (19-2); North Carolina (19-2); Wisconsin (21-1); UCLA (18-2)
*As Leonard Peltier pointed out, Arizona did not match up very well against UNC. Arizona may have one of the best starting 5s in the country. But UNC is as deep as any team in the past 5 or 6 years.
Ohio State (18-3); Oregon (19-2); Kansas (18-3); Texas A&M (17-3)
*I’ve underestimated the Aggies. After watching them play, it’s obvious they’re more than just Acie Law IV and Joseph Jones. They have 4 guys averaging double digits.
Oklahoma State (18-3); Pittsburgh (19-3); Duke (18-3); Butler (19-2)
*I’m still not impressed with this Duke team.
Memphis (17-3); Washington State (17-4); Marquette (19-4); Clemson (18-4)
*I think this Clemson team is probably better than I gave them credit for. However, you have to wonder if this is the beginning of a huge slide for the Tigers. All 3 of their losses have come in conference play.
Kentucky (16-5); Nevada (19-2); Indiana (15-5); Notre Dame (17-4)
*Even after the Vandy loss, I had Kentucky as a 4 seed. But then came the second half against Georgia. Indiana is playing great basketball right now. Tough defense but their streaky shooting might catch up with them.
Georgetown (15-5); Air Force (19-3); Boston College (14-6); Virginia Tech (16-5)
*The Hoyas have had a big 2 weeks with victories over Rutgers, Seton Hall, DePaul, and Cincinnati. With St. John’s and Louisville coming up, Georgetown could put together a 6-game conference winning streak.
West Virginia (16-4); Michigan State (17-5); Stanford (14-5); USC (16-6)
*I can’t believe how much Drew Neitzel has improved over the course of his career, and he’s just a junior. I honestly think he could play in the NBA. There’s a little Mike Bibby in his game (but only a little).
Texas (15-5); UNLV (18-4); Arizona (14-6); Alabama (15-5)
*Arizona has to do something or their season is going to go down the drain. What’s the deal with Alabama? They’ve lost to Arkansas by 27, Vanderbilt by 21, and Auburn by 24. Neither Arizona nor Alabama are going to do anything in the tourney, unless they find some bench scoring.
Texas Tech (15-6); Maryland (16-5); Vanderbilt (15-6); Tennessee (14-7)
*After non-conference losses to Furman and Appalachian State, Vandy has compiled a 4-game conference winning streak with victories over Alabama, Kentucky, LSU, and Ole Miss.
Florida State (15-6); Southern Illinois (17-5); Villanova (14-6); VCU (18-3)
*There are a number of MVC teams on the cusp, and I do think the Valley will be sending at least 3 teams to the Big Dance. But until there’s some separation, the Salukis get the only bid. VCU sits atop a very strong Colonial Athletic Association. Hofstra and Drexel will likely receive serious at-large consideration. And Old Dominion and George Mason aren’t too shabby either.
George Washington (15-4); Arkansas (14-7); Gonzaga (14-7); Louisville (15-6)
*2 weeks ago, I would never have thought that the Cards would be on this list. However, there presence doesn’t so much speak to their talent. Rather, it highlights just how down the Big East is this season.
Purdue (14-7); Georgia (13-6); Xavier (15-6); New Mexico State (17-4)
*New Mexico State gets the last at-large bid, barely getting the nod over a spiraling LSU club that has way too much talent not to get an invite.
Winthrop (17-4); Davidson (18-4); Western Kentucky (16-7); Akron (15-4)
*Winthrop may deserve a higher seed.
Long Beach State (13-6); Oral Roberts (15-7); Marist (15-6); Vermont (15-6)
*Oral Roberts could be a dangerous team come tourney-time.
Holy Cross (16-6); Austin Peay (13-6); Texas A&M-Corpus Christie (15-4); East Tennessee State (16-7)
*I’ll be honest. I have little to no interest in these teams after Holy Cross.
Weber State (14-9); Pennsylvania (11-7); Jackson State (12-9); Central Connecticut State (11-10); Florida A&M (12-9)
*Don’t be sad residents of Connecticut. While UCONN drops from the Field of 65 after consecutive losses to Pitt, Indiana, Louisville, and Providence, the Blue Devils of Central Connecticut State give you something to cheer about.
IN: Akron; Austin Peay; Central Connecticut State; East Tennessee State; George Washington; Georgia; Louisville; New Mexico State; Vanderbilt; Villanova
OUT: Belmont; Connecticut; Fairleigh Dickinson; Georgia Tech; LSU; Missouri State; Northern Iowa; Ohio U; Samford; Syracuse