Fresh off back-to-back victories over Michigan State and Purdue – the latter on the road – the Iowa Hawkeyes vaulted to a four-seed in today’s updated bracket.
Ahead of tonight’s monumental tilt between Kansas and Oklahoma, a quick housekeeping note – we’ve reached the part of the season where we begin weekly bracket updates. Twice-a-week updates begin in mid-February.
It’s still too early to form any firm conclusions, but January should help separate the contenders and drain the bubble pool (maybe). Then again, this season has been anything but predictable. We’ll see.
For a list of this week’s bracket games, visit the Schedule page.
As the calendar turns to March, Kentucky has entrenched itself as the No. 1 overall seed. Unless the Wildcats lose multiple times between now and Selection Sunday – which is highly unlikely – they will stand atop the bracket when the official Field of 68 is unveiled on March 15. UK’s proverbial “march” will begin in Louisville and head through Cleveland in the Midwest Region.
As for the remaining No. 1 seeds, Virginia has a firm grasp on the East. After that, there’s still a bit of a race. If Gonzaga loses, Villanova is next in line to ascend to the top line. We also can’t exclude Wisconsin, Arizona, or even Kansas – although the Jayhawks will need help from the others in front of them. While winning both Big 12 regular season and tournament titles (if it happens) would be mighty impressive, the Jayhawks’ loss total might be too great to push KU ahead of the other three if those teams continue to win.
The bubble/cutline remains a hodge-podge of rotating resumes. The week ahead – leading into conference tournaments – figures to be huge. And it might be Friday or Saturday of Championship Week before the final Field comes into focus.
For the past couple of weeks, Duke and Kansas have been battling for the final No. 1 seed position. With Kansas losing at Oklahoma State this past weekend, Duke and KU flip-flop on the Seed List and the Blue Devils now sit atop the South Region. Not that it’s a huge difference, Kansas is the No. 2 seed in the same region. The other No. 1 seeds remain the same: Kentucky, Virginia, and Gonzaga. It’ll be interesting to see how the Selection Committee ultimately handles Gonzaga. If the Bulldogs win out and enter Selection Sunday with only one loss, it’s tough to imagine a scenario in which they are not a No. 1 seed in the West. But on paper, one could clearly make a case that both Duke and Kansas have superior resumes.
Elsewhere, the Big Ten benefits from its bunching of teams. Illinois, Purdue, and Michigan State are all among the last six teams in today’s bracket – giving the B10 eight representatives. It’s doubtful that will hold up over the next month; five to six bids is much more likely.
A final thought … given the current landscape, Championship Week may become more like Tiebreaker Week for the Selection Committee. Conference tournament results could well determine the final few teams in and out of this year’s NCAA tournament.
Enjoy another week of hoops. Next bracket update is Friday.
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.
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.
After a somewhat crazy Thursday, the bubble continues to shift in multiple directions. And with Villanova’s stunning loss to Seton Hall, the final No. 1 seed slot is wide open as action resumes throughout the college hoops landscape. Kansas, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Virginia all take to the hardwood with their eyes on the top of the East Region. We also can’t completely eliminate teams like Syracuse.
Quick notes about today’s (March 14) bracket update …
Florida State slides into the final at-large spot. One could go any number of directions among the bubble contenders, but the Seminoles have a couple of small advantages: non-conference wins over two tournament teams (VCU, Massachusetts) and a road win at Pittsburgh. As a side note, FSU lost to Michigan by two and Florida by one in its pre-conference slate. By comparison, Providence and Minnesota have done their best work at home and neither has two NCAA-level non-league wins. We’ll see how the Seminoles fare moving forward. Next up: Virginia. It’s Moving Day – Part II on the bubble. Read more…
The two teams leading our March Madness Gala … Florida and Arizona. The Gators and Wildcats both have the opportunity to enter the NCAA Tournament dance as the overall No. 1 seed. Should both win their remaining games – including conference tournament titles – the edge will likely to go Arizona. Not that it’s that critical this year because the two teams are geographically separated. Florida will lead the South Region; Arizona the West. A year ago, when Louisville and Indiana were battling for the top spot in the Midwest, and a route through Indianapolis, that top position meant more.
Wichita State begins Missouri Valley Tournament play today in St. Louis. The Shockers ended the regular season without a blemish. If they win three more under the Arch, expect WSU to be a No. 1 seed on Selection Sunday. Kansas continues to hold the final No. 1 slot. Four other teams are chasing the top line: Wisconsin, Michigan, Virginia, and Villanova. Recent struggles make it difficult for Syracuse to regain a No. 1 seed. Read more…