Fresh off road wins at Ohio State and Purdue, the Michigan State Spartans have not only grabbed first place in the Big Ten but also a No. 1 seed in this week’s bracket projection. MSU is 7-3 vs. teams currently ranked in the Top 25 of the RPI, which is two more such victories than Duke or Kansas. The Spartans also own the nation’s second best overall strength of schedule, and haven’t lost in the month of February. Kansas falls in at No. 5 on the s-curve, follwed by Duke, Ohio State, and North Carolina. Kentucky, Syracuse, and Missouri are the other No. 1 seeds today.
The middle and bottom portions of the bracket remain very unsettled. Other than New Mexico, it was an interesting week in the Mountain West, as both UNLV and San Diego State lost multiple games. The Lobos are now alone in first place. As for the bubble, it’s as weak as ever. If teams like Long Beach State, Middle Tennessee State, Oral Roberts, and Iona don’t win automatic bids, it will interesting to see how many (if any) of those schools might grab an at-large. Championship Week is shaping up as a week that could shake-up the bracket .
Bubble Banter will be updated later in the week, and it will provide a better glimpse into where we stand. Most teams currently on the 8-seed line or below have potential issues with their at-large resumes. Some cases are stronger than others, but there’s a reason they are located in those spots on the s-curve. We could still see a lot of fluctuation.
Here are a few final thoughts from the Mock Selection exercise last week in Indianapolis. A team’s entire body of work is evaluated. Games in November count the same as February or March … Head-to-head results are considered, but only as one part of a team’s profile. Just because Team A beat Team B doesn’t necessarily mean Team A has a better overall profile … One good win or one bad loss doesn’t define a team’s season … During our evaluations, a team’s league record was rarely discussed … Strength of schedule (particularly out of conference) was a significant consideration for teams whose overall body of work was somewhat questionnable … Teams did receive consideration for players who missed part of the season (not brawl/fight related) … Sometimes the “eye test” is important, which is why Selection Committee members watch so many games … Discussions can be very insightful. While voting is private, open debate about particular teams is beneficial duing the evaluation process.
Enjoy a great week of hoops. We’re just three weeks away from Selection Sunday.