Allonzo Trier returned from suspension on Saturday and the Arizona Wildcats looked the part of a potential No. 1 seed while beating UCLA on its home floor. In its first game with Maurice Watson, Jr., Creighton fell at home to Marquette, giving up over 100 points to the Golden Eagles. These are single games on each team’s resume. But two important questions arise for Selection Committee members: How do they evaluate Arizona (with Trier back) and Creighton (with Watson, Jr. out for the season)?
The first consideration is two-fold. One, Trier was suspended, not injured. Thus, Arizona’s resume will stand on its merits – meaning the Wildcats will likely not receive consideration for Trier’s absence in their two losses (Butler, Gonzaga). Two, Watson, Jr. is injured, sadly, and will miss the rest of the season. Thus, Committee members will have to evaluate Creighton’s performance from here to Selection Sunday. They’ll have a month or so monitor the Bluejays as it relates to possible seeding. Read more…
In early November, we contemplated when Dillon Brooks would return and how good the Oregon Ducks might be without him. He returned in Maui, during a loss to Georgetown. Since then, the Ducks have won 11 straight, including a home sweep of UCLA and USC, both of whom arrived in Eugene without a loss. It appears that Oregon is finding its Mojo at the perfect time. If they can navigate a trip through Washington next week, the Ducks could be 7-0 in the Pac-12 heading into road trips to Utah and Colorado. With Brooks back, Oregon’s position as a protected seed in March looks pretty safe.
Arizona is also hot, winning 10 of 12, with those two losses being to Butler and Gonzaga. And it’s worth noting the Wildcats are doing it without Allonzo Trier, arguably their most talented player. We still don’t know if, or when, he’ll return. Final note on the Pac-12 … it’s looking like a four-bid league right now. The question is whether a team like California or Colorado (or someone else) can join the conversation. Read more…
It’s been a topic of discussion for several weeks. What would happen if Gonzaga lost? Would they fall? Who would take their place as a No. 1 seed? Following the ‘Zags home loss to BYU – which also vaulted the Cougars into a First Four game in today’s bracket – we have an answer: Villanova, at least for now.
The Wildcats – there are two of them (Kentucky) on the top line – slide into the West Region; following UK, Virginia, and Duke. We say for now, because Wisconsin and Arizona also continue to push for that final spot. And it’s conceivable we could see a shift among spots 2-6 on the Seed List between now and Selection Sunday. We know that either Virginia or Duke will lose at least one more game – both play in the ACC tournament. If Wisconsin, Villanova, and Arizona all win out it’ll be interesting to see how the Committee dissects that group of profiles.
With just under two weeks until Selection Sunday, we have several unclaimed spots in the bracket. Perhaps more than ever, conference tournament games could prove decisive . It’ll be even more interesting should we have an upset winner or two. The Atlantic 10 race is a good example – as of this posting, there are three teams tied atop the standings. There are another three teams – VCU, Richmond, and Massachusetts – all within a game or two of the top. It’s perfectly conceivable that anyone of those teams could grab the automatic bid.
It’s March. The Madness is almost here.
Kansas finds itself in familiar territory heading into Super Bowl weekend. Thanks to a resume that includes 11 Top 100 RPI wins and the nation’s top-rated (overall) strength of schedule, the Jayhawks claim the final No. 1 seed in today’s bracket. KU also leads the Big 12, arguably the deepest conference in college basketball.
Kentucky and Virginia remain firmly entrenched as the top two seeds. And Gonzaga keeps it’s hold on the West, but will be challenged for that spot as we march toward Selection Sunday. Those also pushing the top line: Arizona and Wisconsin. Notre Dame continues its climb. But it’s worth noting that a weak non-conference SOS could ultimately impact the Irish’s final landing spot.
As for teams around the cutline, it’s a muddled mess. Resumes resemble Swiss cheese; in other words, it’s not difficult to find the holes. It’s also a bit odd to find teams such as Syracuse, Michigan, Connecticut, and Florida on the outside looking in. Will one of them make a February run? The clock is ticking.
Here’s your New Year’s Day forecast … the Kentucky Wildcats will be a No. 1 seed when the 2015 Men’s Division I Basketball Championship bracket is unveiled in March. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. Thus far, the ultra-talented Wildcats have conquered every challenge. And while an undefeated season may or may not occur, it’s hard to imagine UK faltering enough to lose its grip on the Midwest region. We could say similar things about Duke’s hold on the East. But the Blue Devils’ route through the ACC figures to be a bit more rigorous than the Wildcats’ drive through the SEC. Either way, UK and Duke hold the top two spots in today’s updated bracket projection – followed by Wisconsin (South) and Arizona (West).
One could easily make an argument that Virginia and Villanova should be ranked ahead of Wisconsin and Arizona. But before we drop the Badgers or West-Coast Wildcats from their preseason perches, let’s see how conference play unfolds.
If you’ve followed college hoops during the first two months, you’re well aware of the quirky resumes available for review. So take the current bracket (and Seed List) for what it is … a synopsis of where we are now, with some potential mixed in, and a whole lot of educated guesswork. Simply put: there isn’t much difference between an 8-seed and a team listed among the First Five out. With a lack of strong non-conference profiles, league results will play a huge role in determining at-large candidates. Read more…
No change at the top of today’s Seed List update – through games on December 12. Kentucky, Duke, Arizona and Wisconsin would still be No. 1 seeds. The middle and lower bracket spots remain more fluid; nothing unexpected really. Below the headlines, Northern Iowa and Colorado State continue to climb. And both are looking like strong NCAA-bid contenders as we head into the holiday season.
Looking forward, the weekend provides a great slate of games. Below are some of the matchups that could impact the framework of our first in-season bracket update – coming next week … Read more…
This won’t surprise anyone …
Fresh off a national title game appearance, the Kentucky Wildcats hold the top spot in our 2015 Preseason Bracket – hardly a surprise given the team’s returning talent and stellar recruiting class. If all goes according to the UK’s plan, the Wildcats path to the Final Four would likely go through Louisville and Cleveland in the Midwest Region.
Keeping the top spot won’t be easy. Wisconsin, Arizona, and Duke will push the Wildcats as projected No. 1 seeds. Next in line: Kansas. The Jayhawks have a habit of winning Big 12 titles and putting themselves in the top-line discussion. Some believe Gonzaga has the horses, too. And the Atlantic Coast Conference appears as deep as the once-mighty Big East – which opens the door for more than one ACC representative atop the bracket.
But let’s also remember this … we’re currently working off of blueprints and expected returns. The actual college basketball season is more like the stock market. Teams will have ups and downs. Some teams will outperform expectations. Some will underperform. There will be a surprise or two, and that’s we love it.
What we do know is that come March, 68 teams will begin an amazing journey toward Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. In 2010, that venue delivered an incredible championship game between Butler and Duke, as Gordon Hayward’s half-court heave bounced off the rim as time expired. Let’s hope we’re treated to an equally good classic this go-around.