2011 March Madness Picks: Bracketology (Updated 2/12)

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It's been a wild few weeks in NCAA basketball betting action, but we're finally getting closer to figuring out who the 68 teams will be in the field, while figuring out who will be left home in the NIT. Check out our Bracketology and our college basketball free picks through the conclusion of the games on Saturday, February 13th.

ACC

Locks: Duke Blue Devils
Almost There: North Carolina Tar Heels
Would Be In If The Tourney Started Today: Florida State Seminoles, Virginia Tech Hokies, Boston College Eagles
Just On The Outside: Clemson Tigers
Lots Of Work To Do: Maryland Terrapins, Miami Hurricanes
What To Expect: Eventually, the ACC really has to become a five bid league, right? We can't picture this conference doing less damage than that in the dance, but really, outside of Duke and Carolina, everyone else keeps finding ways to shoot itself in the foot. Florida State is going to have the resume to get into the dance, but Chris Singleton just fractured his foot in the win on Saturday. Clemson blew a chance to get into the dance as of right now by losing at home against UNC. Virginia Tech is in right now, merely because the Selection Committee will be okay with all of these injuries that Head Coach Seth Greenberg has had to endure, but when push comes to shove, 12-13 losses will certainly leave VT right there on the bubble again, a place where it has popped over the course of the last few seasons. Maryland and Miami are definitely on life support. If the Canes don't beat Duke on Sunday, their season is probably over.

Big 12

Locks: Kansas Jayhawks, Texas Longhorns
Almost There: Texas A&M Aggies, Missouri Tigers
Would Be In If The Tourney Started Today: Kansas State Wildcats, Baylor Bears
Just On The Outside: Oklahoma State Cowboys
Lots Of Work To Do: Colorado Buffaloes, Nebraska Cornhuskers
What To Expect: The Big 12 is a goofy conference right now because it just has a lot of mediocre teams and a few dynamos. Once A&M and Mizzou get to their 20th wins of the year, they'll be on the lock line for sure, but we aren't going to count out a late season collapse, especially for teams that are 6-4 and 5-5 in the Big 12 respectively. Baylor didn't do enough scheduling in out of conference play, the Selection Committee might ultimately frown upon that, but if it can get to 20 wins, thus giving it 10 in the Big 12, it would have no choice but to put the Bears in, especially after the Elite 8 run last year. K-State is only in the field right now based upon name and the fact that the tourney wants to see Jacob Pullen again. However, the prospects of finishing 7-9 in the Big 12 aren't good for this team. Okie State has the most average computer numbers in the world and is likely going to be one of the last four teams in or out no matter how to slice it come Selection Sunday. The Pokes have to get to 20 to have a chance. Colorado and Nebraska are both thinking the same thing, but getting to 20 might not be enough for either team.

Big East

Locks: Pitt Panthers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Georgetown Hoyas, Louisville Cardinals, Villanova Wildcats, Syracuse Orange, Connecticut Huskies
Almost There: West Virginia Mountaineers
Would Be In If The Tourney Started Today: Cincinnati Bearcats, St. John's Red Storm, Marquette Golden Eagles
Just On The Outside: None
Lots Of Work To Do: Providence Friars
What To Expect: We tend to believe that Marquette is going to get back in this tournament when it's said and done, and that the Big East will field a record 11 teams in the dance this year. They can all thank the Johnnies for that, as that win over Duke really gave the entire conference a shot in the arm. The problem that this conference faces is that it really won't be in a spot to have any No. 1 seeds if U-Pitt doesn't win the conference title (sorry, Notre Dame, we just don't buy you as a 1 seed). However, when you look at the No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 lines in this year's field, you're going to see a heck of a lot of Big East teams floating around. Providence really needs to find six wins in its last seven games to have a shot, but a loss on Sunday to UConn would pretty much be damning. The schedule isn't all that tough though, and it's not unbelievable to think that the Friars could get near 20 and make things interesting. It's amazing that there might be nine teams winning at least 20 games in this conference.

Big 10

Locks: Ohio State Buckeyes, Wisconsin Badgers, Purdue Boilermakers
Almost There: Illinois Fighting Illini, Minnesota Golden Gophers
Would Be In If The Tourney Started Today: Michigan State Spartans
Just On The Outside: None
Lots Of Work To Do: Michigan Wolverines, Northwestern Wildcats, Penn State Nittany Lions
What To Expect: Trying to get Northwestern or Penn State into March Madness is going to be awfully difficult, as these teams both have losing records in a conference that, outside of the very top, has been very iffy. Beating Wisconsin for any team in this conference looks a lot better now that the Badgers have beaten the Buckeyes. Illinois and Minnesota just need to hang in there, though both definitely have holes in their resumes right now. Michigan State really doesn't deserve to be here right now, as it really doesn't have the resume to go dancing. However, knowing Head Coach Tom Izzo, he'll figure out how to get the job done. What about Michigan, though? The Wolverines are probably the most interesting case here. Imagine what would have happened if Big Blue had beaten Jayhawks when they were ranked No. 1 in the land instead of losing in OT? Oh well. As it is, Michigan has the talent, but it just doesn't have the resume right now to get the job done.

Pac-10

Locks: Arizona Wildcats
Almost There: None
Would Be In If The Tourney Started Today: UCLA Bruins, Washington Huskies
Just On The Outside: None
Lots Of Work To Do: Washington State Cougars
What To Expect: It's not exactly a banner year for the Pac-10 once again, but at least Arizona is bringing a level of respectability to the conference that has been buried since UCLA was dominating. The Bruins won't be a Final Four team this year, but they really should get into the field of 68 relatively comfortably as long as they win a dozen games in conference and don't suffer an embarrassing first round defeat in the Pac-10 Tournament. Washington needs to be careful to not fall flat too many more times, just like its brethren did from Washington State when it lost at home to Stanford. There are only five games left in the regular season, and the only ways that Wazzu goes dancing is if it upsets Arizona on the road or wins its other four regular season games and makes a deep run into the Pac-10 Tournament. Anything less leaves the Cougs out without the auto bid from the league.

SEC

Locks: Florida Gators
Almost There: Kentucky Wildcats, Vanderbilt Commodores
Would Be In If The Tourney Started Today: Tennessee Volunteers, Georgia Bulldogs, Alabama Crimson Tide
Just On The Outside: None
Lots Of Work To Do: Arkansas Razorbacks, Mississippi Rebels
What To Expect: This is probably the best case scenario for the SEC this year, as six teams seems to be the max that are getting in from this conference unless someone crops up and steals the league's auto bid. UF has definitely been head and shoulders above the rest of the field this year, while Kentucky has slacked off and legitimately has come down off of the lock line with two bad losses this week. Vandy has the better case right now to be certainly in. Both teams have work to be done. Tennessee, thanks to a great strength of schedule and that awesome win essentially on the road at Pittsburgh is the only 10 loss team that we feel good about right now, though these close losses in the SEC might come back to bite the boys from Rocky Top. Alabama is going to be an interesting case. It really is going to need to prove that it can beat some of the big boys from the East, as beating up on the lame West isn't going to get the job done. Arkansas and Ole Miss might both get to 20 wins, and even if they do, both might not even be on the bubble picture come Selection Sunday.

Atlantic 10

Locks: None
Almost There: Temple Owls
Would Be In If The Tourney Started Today: Richmond Spiders, Xavier Musketeers
Just On The Outside: None
Lots Of Work To Do: Duquesne Dukes
What To Expect: The A-10 is down this year, and it is really going to show come Selection Sunday when there are only three teams at best that end up getting into the field. Dayton has really played its way out with a 5-6 record in an iffy conference, while teams like Rhode Island and UMass are only living pipe dreams if they think that they're dancing. Temple and Xavier both have great cases, though we know that the Owls don't have the greatest computer numbers in the world. Still, winning a dozen games in this conference is usually good enough to get into the NCAA Tournament, and that's something that all three of these teams will do. Duquesne has no choice but to get to at least 21, maybe even 22 wins to get into the field, and that would mean 14 wins in total in conference play.

Colonial

Locks: None
Almost There: None
Would Be In If The Tourney Started Today: George Mason Patriots, Old Dominion Monarchs
Just On The Outside: VCU Rams
Lots Of Work To Do: Drexel Dragons
What To Expect: Realistically, probably only two of the three of George Mason, VCU, and ODU are going to get into the NCAA Tournament, and the only reason we leave Drexel on this list is because of that win over Louisville. All three of the big boys in the CAA have spotty resumes at best, but it's hard to argue the fact that all three already have 20 wins, and there are very few bad losses to talk about with the three of them. Virginia Commonwealth was dealt a horrifying loss at home to Old Dominion on Saturday which almost certainly put the Monarchs in as of right now. There are only four games left for the Rams, and a win over Wichita State in BracketBusters is an absolute must to be able to get into the field without a deep run into the CAA Tournament.

Mountain West

Locks: San Diego State Aztecs, BYU Cougars
Almost There: UNLV Rebels>Would Be In If The Tourney Started Today: Colorado State Rams
Just On The Outside: None
Lots Of Work To Do: New Mexico Lobos
What To Expect: History will tell us that the Mountain West is going to get shafted in the NCAA Tournament, which is why it really is going to be so important for one of these three bubble teams in the conference to win the league title. We tend to believe that UNLV will get in one way or the other, even though it lost a chance to really seal its dance ticket by losing to San Diego State this week. Colorado State and New Mexico have good chances to get in the field, but both still have horrifying schedules to deal with. The Rams won the bubble battle of these two teams on Saturday, and with a better resume with computer numbers, they're in good shape if they can pick up one or two of these big time scalps along the way.

Other Conferences

Locks: None
Almost There: Utah State Aggies, St. Mary's Gaels
Would Be In If The Tourney Started Today: Wichita State Shockers
Just On The Outside: Missouri State Bears, Butler Bulldogs, Belmont Bears, Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
Lots Of Work To Do: Memphis Tigers, UAB Blazers, UTEP Miners, Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles, Harvard Crimson, Princeton Tigers, Gonzaga Bulldogs
What To Expect: The good news is that we have to remember that a lot of these teams will win their conference crowns and take automatic bids, something that Utah State, Belmont, and Coastal Carolina should all do with ease. Beyond that though, the only lower level mid-major that looks to be in good shape is St. Mary's, and if it beats USU this coming weekend in BracketBusters, there is almost certainly no doubt. Utah State needs the win more than St. Mary's does from the standpoint that it now has a very glaring loss to Idaho on the resume and can't really afford too many more slips. We know that neither Princeton nor Harvard is getting into the field without the auto bid from the Ivy League, but both at least have remotely compelling resumes. Butler and Gonzaga have both become tourney mainstays, but the truth of the matter is if these two teams had any other names, they wouldn't even be in the discussion. Conference USA is very interesting, because we know that one of these four teams is probably going to take the league's automatic bid. All four make relatively compelling arguments to go dancing, but right now, none of them would make the cut. Wichita State and Missouri State will probably both end up in the dance if they can win out and meet each other in the MVC finale, but things aren't, by any means, certain for either one.

At Large Bid Breakdown (Note: There are 31 automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament)

ACC: 4
Big 12: 5
Big East: 10
Big 10: 5
Pac-10: 2
SEC: 5
Atlantic 10: 2
Colonial: 1
Mountain West: 3
Other Conferences: 0

Last Four In: Boston College Eagles, Marquette Golden Eagles, Michigan State Spartans, Colorado State Rams
First Four Teams Out: Clemson Tigers, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Missouri State Bears, Butler Bulldogs

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Cappersinfo.com Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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