Bracket update: Surprise teams add a little hoops cheer
Some surprise teams add a little Holiday hoops cheer to our first in-season bracket projection. Not many of us anticipated seeing Boise State, Wyoming, Oregon, Oregon State, or Illinois in a bracket at this point in time. Nor did we anticipate seeing teams like UCLA, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Florida State, West Virginia, and even St. Mary’s on the outside looking in. Of course, it’s important to remember that it’s still early. Teams have a lot of miles ahead of them on the Road to Selection Sunday.
One of the true oddities of the current s-curve is that eight ACC teams fall within the seeding range. That likely won’t be the case in March. But the current bracket is a quick snapshot of where the landscape is through games played on Sunday, December 9. Several important non-conference games remain between now and the opening of conference play. And conference play tends to sort out contenders and pretenders. Keep in mind, teams earn bids, not conferences. So while it would be tempting to simply remove an ACC team because eight bids is unrealistic, that’s not the way the Selection Committee puts a bracket together.
Duke is the No. 1 overall seed. The Blue Devils have put together an impressive resume during the first month of the season. Indiana comes it at No. 2 on the s-curve. Louisville and Syracuse grab the final two No. 1 slots. Next in line: Michigan, Florida, Ohio State, and Kansas. It’s very likely those eight teams will remain in contention for high seeds. Kentucky has struggled early, but it won’t be surprising to find the Wildcats back in the mix for a protected seed by February. There’s simply too much talent in Lexington.
If history is any indication, we’ll lose a few teams that appear solid in mid-December. And a few new surprises will appear. That’s one of the great parts of college hoops. Enjoy the on-court action. Regular bracket updates begin in January.