January 25 Bracket: Welcome some new faces …
As we move into the final days of January, time to welcome a few newcomers: January 25 Bracket Projection.
Looking ahead, we’re now projecting new conference favorites in five one-bid leagues: Coastal Carolina (Big South), Sam Houston (Southland), Kent State (Mid-American), Denver (Sun Belt), and Jacksonville (Atlantic Sun). We also have a new No. 1 seed … Villanova. More than a two-loss week, Texas has not been playing its best basketball. The Longhorns now project at a No. 2 seed. Our new No. 1 overall? Kansas. The Jayhawks are followed by Syracuse, Kentucky, and Villanova. Given the Orange’s 11 wins vs. Top 100 RPI teams (the most in college hoops), we could make a case for ‘Cuse at No. 1 overall. This week’s benefit is a move out of the West Region – to the South. Remember, Syracuse cannot be placed in the East because games are in the Carrier Dome.
Here are some other quick tidbits about the bracket. You can see Notes on the Bracket if you scroll down on the Bracketology page.
- Connecticut would have a potential rematch with Duke in Round 2 (Midwest). Although the Committee tries to avoid regular-season rematches in the first two rounds, it’s not a hard and fast rule. Due to the quantity of Big East teams in the lower part of the bracket (2 and 3 seeds), UConn could only be slated in a spot opposite Duke or Texas (both rematches). The other options? Bump the Huskies down a line – with conflicts in three Regions – or up a line. Moving up would have created other issues and would not have helped their location.
- Seed-line adjustments … we had to make several one-line adjustments to avoid conference conflicts – these were mostly in the middle and lower end of the at-large area (seeds 8-12).
- Last 5 teams in … Richmond, St. Mary’s, Louisville, Cincinnati, Mississippi State
- First 5 out … Northwestern, Seton Hall, Texas Tech, Notre Dame, Charlotte … Note: Northwestern faces two tough road games this week (@Minnesota, @Michigan State). Given the possibility that NW could lose both, we didn’t project them in today’s bracket.
- Old Dominion … ODU is in a three-way tie atop the Colonial (Northeastern, George Mason), but has the best at-large profile and we project them with the automatic bid from the Colonial. William & Mary is among our first “out”, falling just behind Charlotte.
- Pac-10 woes … Finally had to drop Washington from the bracket; considered Arizona State as a potential second team before a debaucle against rival Arizona. If the league continues to beat itself up, the chances for only one bid keep growing. Even California has a questionable at-large profile at this point.
There’s still a lot of flexibility in the middle of the bracket … not a whole lot of difference in resumes between an 8-11 seed in some cases. Also, as we near the half-way point of conference play, league record will be increasingly important for NCAA potential. In other words, time for defending champ North Carolina to get some wins. The Tar Heels aren’t alone. As for Bubble Banter, the final touches are coming together. Look for it to launch in early February. As you know … Rebounds are always welcome. RPI information comes from CollegeRPI.com. Credit Jerry Palm with continued great work.