Home > Current Updates > January 18 Bracket: Shaking up a growing bubble

January 18 Bracket: Shaking up a growing bubble

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Mid-January often provides an early shake-up in conference standings and expectations.  It also gives rise to a variety of quirky resumes and an expanding bubble.  Conference play is just different.  Who can win on the roadWho can protect home courtWho will make a push toward earning a bidWho will play their way out?  The answers will be somewhat clearer in another two weeks.  For now, however, we’re left with a lot of uncertaintly.  Teams at the bottom of our latest bracket projection (Jan. 18) – along with those next in line – all have noticeable question marks on their resumes.  

January 18 Bracket Projection.

Several mid-line teams are also on shaky ground … think about this group: North Carolina, Connecticut, UNLV, Cincinnati, Rhode Island, Missouri, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Dayton, Xavier, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest … some have more work ahead than expected. 

More thoughts as the week progresses.  The No. 1 seeds remain the same, but with a slightly different order – Texas (South), Kansas (Midwest), Syracuse (West), Kentucky (East).  Because Syracuse can’t be placed in the East (host) the only way for the Orange to move out of the West Region is to overtake Kansas or Texas.  It could happen, but at this point, we’ll leave it alone.  If Villanova were to reach the Top Line, the Wildcats could be in the East Region if ranked above the fourth No. 1 seed.

Moving in: Richmond, Illinois.  Moving out: Texas Tech, Minnesota.   What kind of weekend was it?  Friday night we said that Illinois had to win or make a good showing in East Lansing to get a spot.  Neither happened, really.  But nothing happens in a vacuum.  A variety of factors – including Minnesota’s loss at Indiana – changed some outlooks.  The Gophers have to find a way to win on the road.  For Texas Tech, an 0-3 start in Big 12 play puts a serious question mark on the Red Raiders’ ability to make the field.

As a final note … Several one-line seeding adjustments were necessary (see notes on the bracket).  Also remember, teams are evaluated on their whole body of work, not a one or two-game scenario (Purdue, for example).  Upcoming schedules played a role in determining our last in and first out.  It’s also important to compare quality wins and whether a team is trending up or down.  I’m sure there are lots of opinions – rebounds are always welcome.

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