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.