Rivals.com College Basketball Editor
We're less than a week from "Selection Sunday" (March 15), and we'll now update our bracket daily.
It's important to note that this is a projection, not how the field would look if it were decided today.
Teams are grouped by projected seed and listed from strongest to weakest within that seed. At the bottom is a breakdown by league of the number of projected bids and some information on the makeup of the field, the selection committee and the sites.
(Note: Teams denoted by asterisks already have clinched a bid.)
8: Big Ten
7: Big East
6: ACC, Big 12
4: Mountain West
2. Atlantic 10
1: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial Athletic Association, Conference USA, Horizon, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern Athletic, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern Athletic, Summit, Sun Belt, Western Athletic (22)
SOME NOTES ON THE MAKEUP OF THE FIELD
• The NCAA uses an "S curve," meaning it ranks all 65 teams in order 1-65, then places them in regions under the theory the top No. 1 seed would have the worst No. 2 seed in its bracket, the worst No. 1 seed would have the top No. 2 seed, etc. The balancing of the regions is the most important factor in seeding the tournament.
• As far as other rules go, teams from the same conference hopefully won't meet until a regional final, but the NCAA has relaxed that because some conferences have six and seven bids (it's even permissible for an intraconference matchup in the second round, though that is to be avoided whenever possible). But the first three teams selected from a given conference must be in different regions.
• Higher-seeded teams should be placed as close to home as possible. No team may play on its home floor, but most sites are "neutral courts" anyway.
• Teams can move up or down a spot or two in the "S-curve," maybe even a seed, to preserve other principles.
• SEC commissioner Mike Slive is the chairman of the 10-member NCAA Tournament Selection Committee this season. He is one of four members with a "Big Six" affiliation, joining UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero, Connecticut athletic director Jeff Hathaway and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith. The other six members: Xavier AD Mike Bobinski, Texas-San Antonio AD Lynn Hickey, Utah AD Chris Hill, Kent State AD Laing Kennedy, UC Riverside AD Stan Morrison and George Mason AD Thomas O'Connor. O'Connor was the chairman last season. Hickey is just the second woman to ever serve on the committee, following Charlotte AD Judy Rose (1999-2003).
2009 TOURNAMENT DATES
March 17: Opening-round game in Dayton, Ohio
First and second rounds March 19 and 21: Greensboro, N.C.; Kansas City, Mo.; Philadelphia; Portland, Ore.
March 20 and 22: Boise, Idaho; Dayton, Ohio; Miami; Minneapolis
Regional semifinals and final March 26 and 28: Boston; Glendale, Ariz.
March 27 and 29: Indianapolis; Memphis, Tenn.
Final Four April 4 and 6: Ford Field, Detroit
Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.