While, I'm not ready to unveil a bracket just yet, I think it is time to evaluate the where teams are at this point.
These teams look like sure-fire NCAA teams. It would take a season of monumental underachievement to miss out.
Boston College, Connecticut, Duke, Florida, George Washington, Gonzaga, Illinois, Iowa, Memphis, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, Villanova, Washington, Wake Forest
Not all of these teams will make the Dance, but some will and these clubs bear close watching after their better-than-expected starts.
Buffalo, Colorado State, Iona, Kansas State, Loyola-Chicago, Loyola-Maryland, Nebraska, North Carolina, Rutgers, Texas A&M, UNC-Wilmington, Vanderbilt
These clubs have high expectations, but have looked vulnerable early.
Arizona, Charlotte, Iowa State, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Miami-FL, Michigan State, Stanford, Southern Illinois, Texas Tech, West Virginia
With continued success, these teams could move into Virtual Lock status.
Alabama, Bucknell, Indiana, NC State, Wisconsin
At this early date, these teams look like the ones that will scrap for the 8-12 seeds.
Air Force, Arkansas, California, Clemson, Colorado, Creighton, Georgetown, Hawaii, Houston, Maryland, Marquette, Michigan, Missouri State, Northern Iowa, North Carolina, LSU, Oklahoma State, Ohio, Ohio State, Old Dominion, Syracuse, Utah, Wichita State
I'm sure I missed a few teams. Please email and tell me how I stupidly ignored the obvious. Thanks.
--Michigan State at Boston College. The Spartans need a statement win over a top opponent. The Eagles certainly qualify. I like BC, though.
--Villanova at Bucknell. That's right. AT BUCKNELL. The Cats go on the road against giant-killer U. The Bison have a great chance to pad their resume with a gargantuan win.
--Indiana at Indiana State. In-state games mean so much to the "smaller" school. The 3-0 Sycamores welcome the resurgent Hoosiers for some Indiana basketball. Cue the Gene Hackman speech.
--Iowa at Northern Iowa. See above, except that the Panthers have a much better chance to upend the Hawkeyes than the Sycamores do against IU. This should be a great in-state matchup.
--Saint Joseph's at Kansas. This Jimmy V Classic game is a big one for the young Jayhawks. Phil Martelli's Hawks are 3-1 and looking to return to the NCAA tourney after a one-year hiatus. They are looking to build on last year's NIT Runner-Up run.
The Sun Belt Slate
--Evansville (2-2) at Western Kentucky (4-1). The Purple Aces are coming in on a high after defeating in-state foe Purdue over the weekend, but the Hilltoppers are playing great basketball...in spurts. The Tops made a school record 16 three-pointers in their road win over Eastern Kentucky on Saturday.
--North Texas (1-2) at Texas A&M (4-0). The Mean Green have a tall task ahead. Going into College Station and pulling out a win over the undefeated Aggies will not be easy. The Sun Belt is in dire need of some big non-conference wins.