A bit quietly, at least on the national scene, the Iowa Hawkeyes are putting together a resume worthy of No. 1 seed consideration. Their last loss was a one-point decision at Iowa State. Since then, the Hawkeyes have beaten both Michigan State and Purdue twice, and also taken down a pretty good Michigan squad. As such, Iowa joins the top seed line in today’s bracket update – alongside Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Kansas.
Elsewhere, teams like Butler, Gonzaga, and UCLA are struggling to hold onto bracket spots, each is among the final teams with a bye – meaning they are just above the First Four grouping. Clemson is in that group too, trying to overcome a non-conference scheduled ranked above 300. It’s a tall order, for sure.
Although the pool of at-large candidates is starting to dwindle a bit, the movement among teams remains very much a work in progress. Even at this late January date, there isn’t much room between seed lines and teams just in the field and those just out. Enjoy your week of college hoops.
This should not come as a surprise: Oklahoma is the No. 1 overall seed in today’s bracket. After dispatching Oklahoma State and West Virginia last week, the Sooners own the top spot in the RPI, their only blemish a triple-overtime classic at Kansas.
The rest of the top line is as follows: Kansas, North Carolina, and Villanova. Elsewhere, the carousel continues. Between Saturday morning and Sunday night, all but two teams (Maryland and Texas AM) ranked between No. 9 and No. 16 on the Seed List suffered defeats. We should probably be used to that by now, and it’s likely to continue.
Clemson is this week’s biggest mover. While there are certainly question marks on the Tigers’ resume (including a rather horrid non-conference SOS number), the Selection Committee would not ignore a team with a 5-1 mark in the ACC that includes five straight victories over Florida State, Syracuse, Louisville, Duke, and Miami. Four of those five games were at home and Clemson now embarks on a journey that includes four of five games on the road. We’ll see how the Tigers handle prosperity. Read more…
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.
What a weekend for college hoops – headlined by a matchup of Big East contenders who are coming off losses on New Year’s Eve – Butler and Xavier. The Cintas Center in Cincinnati will be rocking.
Given the New Year’s Day bracket – and weekly updates to follow – here’s a quick peek at this weekend’s action as it relates to the current “bracket” landscape:
Seeding Games (based on where we stand at time of writing) …
- Butler at Xavier
- Baylor at Kansas
- Iowa at Purdue
- Iowa State at Oklahoma
- Louisville at Wake Forest
- Arizona at Arizona State
Syracuse and Xavier are among the biggest Seed List movers as December arrives. Ahead of an exciting Big Ten-ACC Challenge, the Orange sit at No. 10 (a three-seed) and Xavier at No. 13 (top four seed).
It’s certainly been a wild couple of weeks in college hoops. We’ve already written about the Monmouth Hawks, one of several mid-majors to put notable non-conference wins on their resumes. The challenge will be maintaining momentum in the weeks and months ahead. Fast starts do not always equate to strong finishes.
It’s early, so the Seed List will continue to ebb and flow. We’ve seen unexpected slow starts from teams like Indiana, California, and LSU. Not to mention Wichita State, which has been devastated by injuries and a heap of early losses.
With such a small sample size, it’s too soon to draw lasting conclusions. But November has certainly left several power-conference teams with work to do in December. We’ll see how it plays out. As a quick reminder, SMU is not listed on the Seed List because the Mustangs are not eligible for post-season play. Enjoy another week of hoops!
If you’re a team that plays in a power conference you can survive an average (or even below average) non-conference slate and still earn an at-large bid. Last year’s Purdue team is a good example. The Boilermakers dropped non-conference decisions to Kansas State, North Florida, Vanderbilt, and Gardner-Webb. What Purdue was able to do, however, was win 8 of 9 Big Ten games during a mid-season stretch and finish 12-6 in league play en-route to a 9-seed in the Midwest Region.
If you’re a team from outside the power conferences, non-conference results become much more critical. Opportunities for resume-changing wins are more limited. With that thought in mind, here are five opening weekend games with March in mind … Read more…
My picks for the 2015 NCAA tournament are posted below. Of course, I went 1-3 while selecting First Four games in Dayton (the Flyers were my only winning pick, and they needed a late-game rally to beat Boise State). In other words, take these picks and run the other direction.
Having watched a lot of college hoops this season, six teams stand out as the most elite: Kentucky, Villanova, Duke, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Virginia. Working through the bracket, my champion was going to come from this group. And I, like most others, settled on Kentucky; not because the Wildcats can’t be beat, rather because they have proven to be the best team.
Here we go – with some early upsets mixed in, including a pick with my head (Texas) and not my heart (Butler) … Read more…