Bracketology 2: The Stretch Run

The American sports calendar is the greatest, most finely-tuned invention in the history of mankind. The sports equinox in late October, featuring all four major professional sports happening at once, is pure electricity. In late April and early May, when the NBA and Stanley Cup playoffs both get going at full steam, it’s hard to step away from the TV. College Football bowl season is stupendous as well. However, there is truly no time in all of American sports that tops this upcoming three-week stretch. From this current Monday (the Monday of Conference Tournament Week) through the crux of March Madness, we are in the true golden age of the perennial gift that is the American sports calendar. So buckle your seatbelts and clear your plans for the next few weekends, because we are in the stretch run. This is March… this is Madness… and this is bracketology with a week until Selection Sunday.

Steve Simpson, USA Today Sports

Midwest Region

1 Houston vs. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson/Alcorn State

8 Florida Atlantic vs. 9 Arkansas

5 San Diego State vs. 12 VCU

4 Virginia vs. 13 Kent State

6 Texas A&M vs. 11 Nevada/Rutgers

3 Marquette vs. 14 Yale

7 Michigan State vs. 10 Pittsburgh

2 Arizona vs. 15 Colgate

West Region

1 UCLA vs. 16 Northern Kentucky

8 Illinois vs. 9 Auburn

5 St. Mary’s vs. 12 Drake

4 UConn vs. 13 Louisiana

6 Duke vs. 11 Utah State

3 Tennessee vs. 14 Furman

7 Northwestern vs. 10 Providence

2 Texas vs. 15 Vermont

Jim Martin, Sports Illustrated

South Region

1 Alabama vs. 16 SEMO/North Carolina Central

8 Maryland vs. 9 West Virginia

5 TCU vs. 12 Oral Roberts

4 Xavier vs. 13 Iona

6 Creighton vs. 11 Mississippi State/Penn State

3 Gonzaga vs. 14 UC Irvine

7 Missouri vs. 10 North Carolina State

2 Baylor vs. 15 Montana State

East Region

1 Kansas vs. 16 Texas A&M Corpus Christi

8 Iowa vs. 9 Memphis

5 Miami (FL) vs. 12 College of Charleston

4 Indiana vs. 13 Utah Valley

6 Kentucky vs. 11 Boise State

3 Kansas State vs. 14 Kennesaw State

7 Iowa State vs. 10 USC

2 Purdue vs. 15 UNC-Asheville

Luke Robinson, USA Today Sports

The Bubble

Last Four Byes: Pittsburgh, North Carolina State, Boise State, Utah State

Last Four In: Nevada, Mississippi State, Penn State, Rutgers

First Four Out: Wisconsin, Oklahoma State, Arizona State, Michigan

Next Four Out: Clemson, North Carolina, Vanderbilt, Texas Tech

Alex Wilcox