San Diego State hammered another Mountain West Conference foe in Boise State on Sunday night to improve to 26-0 and remain undefeated. The Aztecs have been dominant after not being on anyone’s radar before the season.
But an unblemished profile in late February doesn’t always equate to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, especially when playing in the 11th best conference in the country. Currently SDSU is a No. 1 seed, but that’s largely as a result of holding the top NET score from a résumé with no losses.
The bracket could get interesting should the Aztecs lose in Mountain West play. Projected No. 1 seeds usually have room for error, but San Diego State is the worst of the projected top seeds because its résumé is much more susceptible for falling back. Baylor and Gonzaga both have one loss and are ahead, while Kansas has three losses and is still ahead.
San Diego State has clinched the MWC title and only has three regular season games left, two at home (against UNLV and Colorado State). Should they lose either, a No. 2 seed like Duke or Maryland could ascend to the top seed line. Playing in a power mid-major conference means there’s little opportunity to bolster a tourney portfolio and ample room to stain a résumé.
Overall, SDSU’s credentials include a top-100 strength of schedule thanks to some quality road wins in non-conference play — beating Creighton, BYU and Iowa. Those are solid wins, but still not enough to sway the committee if it comes down to a one-loss SDSU team or three-loss Duke team with wins over Kansas and Florida State.
► No. 1 seeds: Baylor, Kansas, Gonzaga, San Diego State.
► Last four in: Florida, North Carolina State, Purdue, Indiana
► First Four out: Richmond, Utah State, Arkansas, Providence
NCAA tourney explainer:
- Quadrant 1 wins: Home games vs. 1-30 NET teams; Neutral-site games vs. 1-50 NET; Away games vs. 1-75 NET
- Quadrant 2 wins: Home games vs. 31-75 NET; Neutral-site games vs. 51-100 NET; Away games vs. 76-135 NET
- Quadrant 3 wins, losses: Home games vs. 76-160 NET; Neutral-site games vs. 101-200 NET; Away games vs. 136-240 NET
- Quadrant 4 wins, losses: Home games vs. 161-plus NET; Neutral-site games vs. 201-plus NET; Away games vs. 241-plus NET
Others considered for at-large bid (in order): South Carolina, Alabama, Memphis, UNC-Greensboro, Mississippi State, Stanford, Minnesota, SMU, VCU, Tennessee, Clemson, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Oregon State
On life support (in no particular order): Mississippi, Connecticut, DePaul, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, TCU, Tulsa, Texas, Utah, St. John’s, Furman.
Multi-bid conferences: Big Ten (11), Big East (7), ACC (5), Big 12 (5), Pac-12 (4), SEC (4), American (3), West Coast (3), Atlantic 10 (2).
Leaders or highest RPI from projected one-bid conferences — (23 total): America East – Vermont, Atlantic Sun – Liberty, Big Sky – Montana, Big South – Winthrop, Big West – UC Irvine, CAA – Hofstra, C-USA – North Texas, Horizon – Wright State, Ivy – Yale, MAAC – St. Peters, MAC – Bowling Green, MEAC – NC Central, MVC – Northern Iowa, MWC – San Diego State, Northeast – Robert Morris, OVC – Murray State, Patriot – Colgate, Southern – ETSU, Southland – SFA, SWAC – Prairie View A&M, Summit – South Dakota State, Sun Belt – Little Rock, WAC – New Mexico State
- Transition schools ineligible to participate: Cal Baptist, North Alabama, Merrimack.
- Banned from participating: Georgia Tech, Detroit.
About our bracketologist: Shelby Mast has been projecting the field since 2005 on his website, Bracket W.A.G. He joined USA TODAY in 2014. In his seventh season as our national bracketologist, Mast has finished as one of the top three bracketologists in the past six March Madnesses. He’s also predicted for The Indianapolis Star, collegeinsider.com and is an inaugural member of the Super 10 Selection Committee. Follow him on Twitter @BracketWag.
Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.