BADGER OF HONOR: Nebraska's defeat of Wisconsin gave it one big feather to stick in its cap heading into the Big 10 tourney. (Photo courtesy Bruce Thorson/USA Today)

BADGER OF HONOR: Nebraska’s defeat of Wisconsin gave it one big feather to stick in its cap heading into the Big 10 tourney. (Photo courtesy Bruce Thorson/USA Today)

Starting today, things are really going to pick up on here. The major conferences will be beginning their conference tournaments, giving every team their one last — and most important — opportunity to leave a good impression with the selection committee.

Of course, some of those impressions have already come to pass. As I mentioned last update, teams like Belmont and Green Bay are already done. Their losses should prove to be a stark reminder for everyone still playing or about to play in their conference tournament: now is NOT the time to get upset, and, consequently, now IS the time to pull the upset.

You’ll see what I mean as I highlight the changes to this third version of the bracket forecast:

– One great win this time of year is good enough to secure you an invitation. Dayton learned that with their win on the road to St. Louis and now Nebraska, who pulled off a monumental win against Wisconsin, is likely in the tournament. The only thing that can undo them? A bad Big-10 Tournament loss. Then again, if Ohio State takes care of business against Purdue tomorrow in the opening round, that can’t happen.

– I’ve said all along BYU should be in this tournament and I’m sticking by that assertion. That being said, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge their status is on much shakier ground after the West Coast Conference tournament. A shaky victory in the semis led to a final against Gonzaga where they were out of it practically from the get-go. If I were the selection committee, I may have to think twice about BYU.

– As expected, a flurry of mid-major auto-bids have been reshuffled. Favorites lose and teams like Mt. St. Mary’s and Coastal Carolina secure berths. Last year, if you recall, we even had a team with a losing record. That’s why it’s called March Madness, folks. Personally, I’ll be pulling for 5-23 Grambling to continue what they started yesterday and steal a seed as the worst team ever to play in a tournament for a national championship.

March Madness: Projecting The Field (v3)

East Midwest
1 Florida^ 1 Wichita St.^
16 Mt. St. Mary’s #*/C. Carolina #* 16 Stony Brook ^*
8 Oregon 8 Baylor
9 SMU 9 Colorado
5 VCU 5 St. Louis^
12 Harvard # 12 Pittsburgh
4 Virginia 4 Michigan State
13 Delaware # 13 Toledo^
6 Ohio State 6 Oklahoma
11 Southern Miss.^ 11 Stanford/Nebraska*
3 Iowa State 3 Duke
14 Georgia St.^ 14 Boston U.^
7 George Washington 7 New Mexico
10 Oklahoma State 10 Dayton
2 Villanova 2 Creighton^
15 UW-Milwaukee #* 15 Eastern Kentucky #
West South
1 Arizona^ 1 Kansas^
16 Southern U.^/N. Colorado^ 16 Wofford #*
8 Iowa 8 Arizona St.
9 Kansas State 9 Connecticut
5 Kentucky 5 North Carolina
12 North Dakota St. # 12 Tennessee/Minnesota
4 Louisville^ 4 Cincinnati
13 Stephen F. Austin^ 13 Manhattan #*
6 UCLA 6 Massachusetts
11 BYU 11 Xavier
3 Wisconsin 3 San Diego St.^
14 New Mexico St.^ 14 Mercer #
7 Memphis 7 Texas
10 St. Joseph’s 10 Gonzaga #
2 Syracuse^ 2 Michigan^
15 UC-Irvine^ 15 N.C. Central^
^ = Projected Conference Champion
# = Automatic Berth Clinched
* = New Team To Bracket Projection
Bold = First Round “First Four” Game

Last Four In: Stanford, Tennessee, Nebraska, Minnesota
First Four Out: Arkansas, Missouri, Belmont, Providence
Next Four Out: Florida St., California, St. John’s, Green Bay