Mark Madness Chapter 10: The Final Bracket countdown

OK. It's here, Selection Sunday.

We looked at the results, the upsets the trends, the rankings and here's our list of 68 NCAA tournament teams.

Davidson was a bubble burster with its win over Rhode Island to win the Atlantic 10 tournament. The Selection committee could take the easy way out and replace St. Bonaventure with Davidson, which would be unfair to the Bonnies, since they deserve a spot.

A year ago, we found the lost treasure of bracketology. We went 68 for 68, breaking a 35-year streak of head scratching.

We will be stunned (but overjoyed) if that happens this year because we went out on a big limb on a few picks.

Let's start with the easy stuff. The first two lines were fairly easy and locked in fairly early. There was some wiggle room with Duke, but when the Devils lost to North Carolina in the ACC tournament semifinals, it became much easier to put Virginia, Villanova, Kansas and Xavier as our No. 1 seeds.

The hard part, of course, were the last four at large teams in the field. Our final four are: Texas, Notre Dame, Arizona State and UCLA. We gave Arizona State a hard look and it has too many quality non-conference wins to ignore. The toughest waffling call was on Syracuse over Marquette and Middle Tennessee. We are still pondering that pick and may go back at the last minute. We will wait to see what Davidson does before making a final decision. Texas moved into a play-in game after Davidson earned its spot, which knocked Syracuse out.

We are gambling that the committee will factor in the Notre Dame team that is now again at full strength. Missing are St. Mary's (please play someone) and Oklahoma. Oklahoma could have made the field, but it is tough to pick a team that has not won a road game since January. It was even tougher to put the Sooners in the field and leave Oklahoma State out. OSU not only beat Kansas twice, but it beat Oklahoma this week by double digits.

There is no way anyone can convince me that Oklahoma deserves to be in the field if Oklahoma State is not included.

And we did have Oklahoma State in the field INSTEAD of Oklahoma, but then we realized we are trying to predict what the COMMITTEE will do, not what we think is right. In the end, we chickened out, and dropped the Cowboys because of an RPI (which the committee uses) of 90.

One other note. We have 10 ACC teams in the field, which will raise a few eyebrows. But we will believe the mantra of the committee in that it doesn't factor in conference affiliation when making its picks.

So here's our field.



1. Villanova

16. North Carolina Central--LIU winner

8. Rhode Island

9. Virginia Tech

At San Diego

4. Kentucky

13. Bucknell

5. Texas Tech

12. Buffalo

At Wichita

6. Florida

11. Arizona State/Notre Dame winner

3. Michigan

14. Iona

At Nashville

7. Houston

10. Alabama

2. Duke

15. Lipscomb


At Charlotte

1. Virginia

16. Texas Southern/UMBC winner

8. Butler

9. USC

At Boise

5. Ohio State

12. Murray State

4. West Virginia

13. Charleston

At Dallas

6. TCU

11. Florida State

3. Auburn

14. UNC-Greensboro

At Pittsburgh

7. Seton Hall

10. Missouri

2. Cincinnati

15. Radford


At Wichita 

1. Kansas

16. Penn

8. Saint Bonaventure

9. Creighton

At Boise

5. Clemson

12. Marshall

4. Gonzaga

13. San Diego State

At Nashville

6. Miami

11. Loyola (Chicago)

3. Tennessee

14. Wright State

At Detroit

7. Nevada

10. Texas A&M

2. Purdue

15 Georgia State


At Detroit

1. Xavier

16. Cal-State Fullerton

8. Kansas State

9. NC State

At San Diego

5. Wichita

12. New Mexico State

4. Arizona

13. South Dakota State

At Dallas

6. Arkansas

11. UCLA/Texas winner

3. Michigan State

14. Montana

At Charlotte

7. Providence

10. Davidson

2. North Carolina

15. Stephen F. Austin