Brack8ology: Bubble Watch 2018 heats up


Brack8ology: the latest projected NCAA Tournament bracket from our numbers guy

by Jon Pence

Let’s look at the bubble where every game matters, but some more than others.  

When people talk about the bubble they are referring typically to the teams that are amongst the last 8 teams to make it in any given bracket and likely the next 8-12 that just missed being selected.  For the purpose of this discussion, let’s consider a 16-team bubble.

For today’s bracket those teams would be:

Last 8 In

  • Virginia Tech
  • NC State
  • Alabama
  • Texas
  • Oklahoma
  • Syracuse
  • Kansas State
  • UCLA

First 8 Out

  • USC
  • Nebraska
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi State
  • Marquette
  • Boise State
  • LSU
  • Notre Dame

You might think the philosophy of root for my team and against the other teams is a simple one.  That’s not always true.  There are times when a team on the bubble winning may help you if they are a key win currently on your resume.  Consider Texas who is on the bubble right next to Oklahoma in the Last 8 In group.  Texas will gain more from an Oklahoma win over Kansas on Monday night then they would if the Sooners lost.  Not exactly straightforward, is it?  Luckily there are sites like that help you with a daily rooting guide to clear things up for you.

For example, the rooting guide for NC State tells you a few of the key games to watch for Pack fans this week.

  • 2/20 – Root for the Pack over BC if that wasn’t obvious
  • 2/20 – UNC Greensboro over Wofford
  • 2/20 – UNI over Valparaiso
  • 2/21 – Tennessee over Florida
  • 2/21 – Clemson over Virginia Tech
  • 2/21 – Wake Forest over Pitt
  • 2/22 – Charleston Southern over Campbell


On to today’s bracket…

Final Four: East vs West & Midwest vs South

ALL CAPS/conference indicates an automatic bid


(1) VIRGINIA/ACC vs. (16) LIPSCOMB/Atlantic Sun

(8) Seton Hall vs. (9) NEVADA/Mountain West

(5) West Virginia vs. (12) LOYOLA-CHICAGO/Missouri Valley

(4) Tennessee vs. (13) NORTHERN KENTUCKY/Horizon

(3) CINCINNATI/AAC vs. (14) PENN/Ivy League

(6) Arizona State vs. (11) Syracuse/Kansas State

(7) Florida vs. (10) NC State

(2) Kansas vs. (15) MONTANA/Big Sky

  • -UVA stays as the #1 overall seed once again
  • -NC State makes it in and not in the First Four this week
  • -Syracuse just barely squeaks in this week with an opener in Dayton against Kansas State



(8) Texas A&M vs. (9) Saint Mary’s

(5) Michigan vs. (12) NEW MEXICO STATE/WAC

(4) ARIZONA/Pac-12 vs. (13) EAST TENNESSEE STATE/Southern

(3) Clemson vs. (14) VERMONT/America East

(6) TCU vs. (11) Alabama

(7) RHODE ISLAND/Atlantic 10 vs. (10) Miami

(2) Purdue vs. (15) BUCKNELL/Patriot League

  • -Xavier is the 4th overall seed
  • -Rhode Island is a team many are seeding higher, and one to keep an eye on when filling out your brackets.
  • -Arizona hangs on to a 4 seed after a big bounce back week.  The Wildcats lost to Washington and UCLA before beating USC and Arizona State.



(8) FSU vs. (9) Baylor

(5) GONZAGA/WCC vs. (12) UL LAFAYETTE/Sun Belt

(4) Ohio State vs. (13) MURRAY STATE/Ohio Valley

(3) UNC vs. (14) WINTHROP/Big South

(6) Missouri vs. (11) Oklahoma/UCLA

(7) Penn State vs. (10) Virginia Tech


  • -Villanova is the #2 overall seed.  Nova’s big 16 point win over Xavier was enough for me to hold on them even with a Valentine’s Day loss to Providence.
  • -A lot of excitement surrounding the Auburn basketball program, enough for a 2 seed in this week’s bracket.
  • -UNC’s win at Louisville was impressive and the Heels are playing as good as anyone claiming a 3 seed.


(1) MICHIGAN STATE/Big Ten vs. (16) SFA/Southland

(8) Butler vs. (9) Louisville

(5) Kentucky vs. (12) MIDDLE TENNESSEE/Conference USA

(4) Wichita State vs. (13) SOUTH DAKOTA/Summit

(3) TEXAS TECH/Big 12 vs. (14) BUFFALO/Mid-American

(6) Houston vs. (11) Texas

(7) Arkansas vs. (10) Creighton

  • (2) Duke vs. (15) UC SANTA BARBARA/Big West
  • -Michigan State the #3 overall seed in this week’s bracket.  The Spartans 27 point comeback against Northwestern was remarkable.  It was also yet another eyebrow raiser for the Spartans.
  • -Duke seems to be turning things around without Marvin Bagley III on the court.  The key hasn’t been the missing star, but Duke’s commitment to zone on the defensive end.
  • -Louisville is down to a 9 seed this week and the Cardinals are in some trouble.  David Padgett’s team closes their schedule @ Duke, @ Virginia Tech, vs Virginia, and @ NC State.  

Last Four In

Kansas State

First Four Out

Mississippi State

Next Four Out

Boise State
Notre Dame

Multiple Bid Conferences

Conference Teams
ACC 10
Big 12 8
Big East 5
Big Ten 5
Pac-12 3

Here’s where the fun begins and where we set the Sports Channel 8 bracketology apart from everyone else.  You can simulate the bracket above using  Enjoy!