Latest Bracket Math update

Why Dayton could land home NCAA tourney game; Ohio State, Duke slide

Updated: January 13, 2014, 11:29 AM ET
By Joe Lunardi | ESPN Insider

Gary Bell, Jr., Dyshawn PierreAP Photo/Eugene TannerIf things break a certain way, the Dayton Flyers could land a home NCAA tournament game.

This edition of "Bracket Math" includes games through Sunday. Rankings reflect an up-to-date S-Curve from yours truly, posing as one hypothetical member of the NCAA men's basketball committee.

Some of the nation's most loyal and passionate fans reside in Dayton. I know this for any number of reasons, not least of which is the time "only" 10,000 people came to the UD Arena (capacity 13,455) during a state of emergency when a blizzard swept through southwestern Ohio.

The NCAA has traded on this loyalty, as well, awarding the don't-call-it-a-play-in game to Dayton for several seasons followed by the new and largely successful "First Four" round since 2011. And that loyalty could be rewarded in altogether unexpected ways come March 18 or 19 this year.

The hometown Flyers have been floating just inside the cut line in most of our recent tournament projections. Today they are again among the last four at-large selections, meaning the Flyers would play a First Four game ...

... at home.

And there is nothing the NCAA can (or wants to) do about it. So let's clarify now, in case it matters later, that the selection committee would not adjust its S-curve to move Dayton above the First Four and into the main bracket. And it certainly wouldn't vote the Flyers out of the tourney if they are in fact one of the 36 best at-large teams.

But it does mean some unknown opponent would be prepping for a true road game barely 48 hours from the unveiling of the bracket. It would be something like the New York Giants or New York Jets making this year's Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium, and their opponent playing an away game.

On second thought, the Dayton scenario is different. It could actually happen ...

The bracket


This is where teams would fall if Selection Sunday were today. Remember, the S-curve flows left to right, then right to left, then back again as you read down the chart.

Joe Lunardi | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com