Take the top seed line. Indiana remains in control of its current No. 1 seed position. The other three spots still have some wiggle room – although based on Ryan Kelly’s return performance Saturday against Miami-FL, the Duke Blue Devils appear headed for yet another top seed on Selection Sunday. In this update, Gonzaga and Kansas grab the other two No. 1 slots. Miami, Georgetown, Louisville, New Mexico, Michigan State, and Michigan aren’t far behind. Remember, there are only four spots on each seed line. Someone has to be number nine or ten on the seed list (s-curve). And the order could easily change. Throughout the bracket, these final two weeks will help decide the starting position for several teams.
March 4 Bracket Update | 10 p.m. ET
The bottom of the bracket is no less uncertain. This past Saturday, six teams directly on the bubble lost. So in some ways, not a lot changed. The newest addition to the bracket is Boise State. After beating Colorado State, the Broncos resume is tournament worthy with two games to play. As a side note, Boise is a true 11 seed in the bracket but had to be placed on the 12 line because of various conflicts and bracketing principles. It’s not uncommon for this to happen. Many of the teams in the middle of the bracket are tightly bunched and while one or two seed lines may appear to be a big difference, that’s not necessarily true.
The final couple of at-large spots in the Field of 68 could be argued for hours. That’s why this week’s games and those in conference tournament play may prove more important than ever. For now, the final at-large spots belong to Iowa State, Villanova, Virginia, and Tennessee. Those four are paired in the First Four – with winners headed to matchups in the East and West Regions. Kentucky, Baylor, Alabama, Massachusetts, and Arkansas are among the first teams outside the bracket.
Note: The bracket update does not include the Baylor-Texas game on Monday evening. That game will be factored into our next update. Enjoy the ride to Selection Sunday.
The Super Bowl is behind us. Selection Sunday is rapidly approaching. Which means college basketball takes center stage for the next two months. By beating Michigan on Saturday, the Indiana Hoosiers took center stage, too. IU vaulted into first place in the Big Ten, grabbed a No. 1 ranking in the polls, and landed atop the Midwest Region as a No. 1 seed in our newest bracket.
Indiana is joined on the top line by Florida, Kansas, and Michigan. The aforementioned Wolverines have quite a resume, too, and have the No. 1 seed in the West Region. The IU-UM rematch in Ann Arbor is March 10. As for Kansas, the Jayhawks still have more Top 50 RPI wins (7) than anyone else, and they also have nine (9) victories over teams which currently project into the Field of 68. Thus, KU stays as the No. 1 seed in the South. Florida is steamrolling through the SEC and has been dominant in winning 10 straight games. For those interested in the top of the s-curve it looks like this: Florida, Kansas, Indiana, and Michigan. Arizona and Duke are close behind.
While the race for No. 1 seeds is intriguing, the bubble continues to be quite fluid. La Salle, Temple, Indiana State, St. John’s and Arizona State are among the last few teams in today’s update. Villanova, St. Mary’s, Charlotte, Illinois, and Boise State are among those just missing. We also have teams like Virginia – which boasts a resume filled with some quality wins and mind-numbing losses. It should be quite a race to the finish line.
Enjoy another great week of hoops.
If Arizona continues its strong play during the next two months, it’ll be hard for the Selection Committee to keep the Wildcats off the top line out West. That’s where the Wildcats reside in our latest bracket. At No. 4 on the s-curve, Arizona trails Duke, Kansas, and Michigan in the chase for the overall No. 1 seed. Fresh off a win at Louisville on Saturday and Cincinnati at home Monday, Syracuse is an eyelash behind at No. 5. Others on the two-line: Louisville, Indiana, and Florida. When the Gators are good, they are really good.
The bubble remains a mystery. And an ever-changing target. Consider that six of the ten teams just outside the bracket on Saturday morning (s-curve spots 69-78) lost. Then we have a team like Virginia. The up-and-down Cavaliers notched a win over Florida State (editor’s note: this was updated – the earlier post had UVA winning at Florida State; game was at Virginia. My apologies for not catching it sooner), but it’s unrealistic for a team with an RPI in the mid 120s to garner serious at-large consideration. Part of that is a No. 332 non-conference strength of schedule (stats from ESPN’s InsideRPI), and part of it is five losses to teams ranked 100 or lower in the RPI – including a loss to Old Dominion (No. 319). So we have to still go a bit on potential at this point. Thus, Kentucky and Maryland are among the First Four participants.
Big Ten power paid off for Iowa this week. The Hawkeyes represent the eighth Big Ten team in the current Field of 68 after beating Wisconsin and Northwestern. By the time March rolls around, we’ll more likely end up with six or seven Big Ten teams in the dance. Much of that will depend on whether an additional SEC or ACC team steps up to grab an at-large spot. The Mountain West remains strong with six teams in the bracket. But as MWC teams jockey for position, it might limit the number of top five seeds. We’ll have to see how it plays out.
Note: A few teams – including the First Four winners – had to be adjusted a seed line to account for conference conflicts and bracketing principles. This is a common occurrence during the actual bracketing process. For example, Iowa State drops to the 12-line because of related issues with the First Four and finding a spot for Iowa which needed to avoid another Big Ten opponent until a Regional final. While the committee attempts to avoid regular-season rematches in the first two rounds, exceptions can be made; in this case Iowa and Wichita State played but it’s the way the bracket came together.
Enjoy another great week of hoops.
Healthy and hungry, the Louisville Cardinals are pushing toward the top position on the s-curve. Duke retains that position for another week. The Blue Devils’ overall body of work remains impressive, and Ryan Kelly’s foot injury is a bigger concern than a close loss to NC State in Raleigh. If Kelly doesn’t return healthy, the NCAA Selection Committee will have to evaluate the Blue Devils without him. We don’t yet know how that resume might compare, or how quickly Kelly might return.
All four No. 1 seeds remain the same as last week: Duke (East), Louisville (Midwest), Michigan (South), and Kansas (West). The bracket and s-curve are for games played through Sunday (Jan. 13). Teams chasing the top line as two-seeds include Indiana, Arizona, Minnesota, and Syracuse.
This week’s bubble includes Kentucky. One could easily make the case that UK’s resume isn’t tournament-worthy. It’s hard to argue for a team that’s 1-5 vs. RPI Top 150 opponents, and whose best win is fellow bubble-dweller Maryland. But since it’s mid-January and UK is very talented, although young, the Wildcats remain as one of the last team’s in the bracket. They open as a First Four participant against Indiana State. The Sycamores’ wins over Miami-FL and Ole Miss – two teams in the current field – are just enough to keep ISU on the right side of the ledger. Joining UK and ISU as First Four participants – Texas AM and Arizona State.
We still have a long journey toward Selection Sunday. The next two weeks will give us a clearer picture of the overall landscape. With unbalanced schedules, it’s hard to evaluate conference records at this point. Later, it’s important to compare schedules within the conference. It’s not just the number of conference wins, but who those wins are against that matters. Similar records aren’t necessarily the same anymore.
Enjoy another great week of hoops.
Fresh off a road victory at Cincinnati, New Mexico makes its season debut in our Power 24. It backs up solid victories over Connecticut and Davidson at home, and makes the home loss to South Dakota State look more like a blip on the radar. The Lobos’ win at Indiana State is beginning to look better, too.
Duke continues to headline the rankings. The Blue Devils are followed by Louisville, Michigan, and Kansas in the top four positions. Those four teams would be your No. 1 seeds if we were updating the bracket today. The only team to fall from the Power 24 is Pittsburgh – now at No. 26 on the s-curve. The Panthers haven’t lost since falling to Michigan on November 21, but Pitt’s best wins to date are Lehigh and Detroit. Fortunately, Pittsburgh can change its resume quickly as Big East play arrives.
It was a close call for spot No. 24. We’re sticking with Notre Dame for now. Wichita State is making a renewed push, and an early win at VCU continues to shine. The Shockers put an impressive win over Northern Iowa together Sunday with several regulars missing. With Illinois State and Indiana State in the mix, Valley teams could grab three or four bids come March.
It’ll be a great week of hoops. Happy New Year!