Here’s a Friday morning update on bracketology following this week’s first four days of games. We’ll have another post up following this weekend’s games, which are terrific by the way. Syracuse at Virginia is probably the highlight of the weekend. But there are some other great games in both the Big 12 and the American as well.
Big 12 matchups include Kansas/Oklahoma State, Iowa State/Kansas State, and Texas/Oklahoma. And in the American, four of those top five teams in the league are facing off, with Louisville traveling to Memphis and UConn hosting Cincinnati. The premiere A-10 matchup is also Saturday, with Saint Louis making the trip to face VCU. And Creighton has a tough test at Xavier. Those are eight matchups that I can get behind on Saturday, as should you.
But before then, there’s a bracket projection to consider. The link to the bracket immediately follows this paragraph. The seed list from 1 to 68 is below, along with Last 4 IN, First 4 OUT, and Next 4 OUT. Bids by conference is further down the page as well.
Here’s the updated bracket for February 3rd after this weekend’s crazy slate of games. Five Top 10 teams went down over the last two days, including #1 Arizona suffering their first loss of the season. Let’s take a quick look at some stock up/stock down before the bracket reveal.
Florida – The Gators are now on the 1-line. And I feel wildly ‘ehhh’ about it. But Florida has only lost two games all year, and they’re what you would call good losses, a 6-point loss at Wisconsin and a 1-point loss at UConn. The Gators also are undefeated in conference play, largely because the SEC is a small, but very potent dumpster fire. It’s not a good league. But, nonetheless, Florida keeps winning and often comfortably. We’ll see if they stay on the 1-line in a couple of weeks when they have back-to-back road trips to Tennessee and Florida. They won’t have as much room to spare as other schools because of the weakness of their league.
Virginia – The computers love the Cavaliers, and after their big road win at Pittsburgh on Sunday, my bracket projection does, too. Last week, I had Virginia as a 7-seed. This week, they climb all the way up to the 4-line. They’re sitting at 2nd place in the ACC at 8-1 in conference play with their lone loss coming at Cameron Indoor to Duke in a 4-point game. Their toughest road game remaining is at Clemson on February 15th, and they get Syracuse at home on March 1st in what should be an epic battle that will have a major impact on the ACC regular season title. Don’t be surprised if Virginia claims it.
Cincinnati – Look who’s still undefeated in conference play after an impressive win at Louisville last Thursday. The Bearcats are now 10-0 in the AAC and have won 14 straight games overall. I had them as a 4-seed last week and have them up only 1-seed line this week as a 3-seed. But, looking forward, if this team wins the American with a 16-2 or 15-3 conference record, it’d be hard to imagine them being anything lower than a 3-seed. Hell of a job by Mick Cronin this season.
Florida State – I have the Seminoles out of my bracket. (more…)
Here’s the Whirling Dervish, the Bill Raftery inspired nickname for this site’s Power Rankings. I’ll rank the Top 25 and go a little in-depth on the Top 10, with what I deem interesting information, statistics, and/or trends about each team in that group. Most, if not all of the data, will come from the great site, Kenpom.com. Get a subscription if you don’t have one. Seriously, it’s so worth it.
Without further adieu, let’s serve the Dervish.
1. Arizona – As of writing this, it’s interesting to note that Arizona is the only team in the nation with two players in the Top 10 of Kenpom Player of the Year Standings, with Nick Johnson at 3rd and Aaron Gordon at 9th. Now, this will likely change as Pomeroy has said that the back-end of the Top 10 will constantly be in flux. But, this is one of the many reasons as to why Arizona is #1 in the country and undefeated. Not only do they play absolutely ridiculous defense, have an outstanding coach in Sean Miller, and have great balance among their top seven guys, but two of those guys are really f’in good. Sometimes we forget how important raw talent is, especially when that talent is playing as effectively and efficiently as Johnson and Gordon.
We’re reaching that point of the year where college basketball is reaching the national spotlight. College football is over, the NFL is winding down, and the NBA is in the dog days of January. With those factors combined with the start of conference play, it feels like this weekend had some added importance and interest. Here’s a rundown of some of the biggest storylines I took out of the weekend.
Big Win for Iowa:
Iowa headed into their game Sunday against Ohio State with a 13-3 record with road losses to undefeated Wisconsin and 1-loss Iowa State and a neutral court OT loss to 1-loss Villanova. All of those games were one possession games with 5 minutes or less to go in the 2nd half. So clearly, Iowa’s losses were very good losses that were close to being very good wins. They finally got that good win Sunday at #3 Ohio State.
Iowa was up 70-68 with 3:22 left, and it was shaping up to be another one of those close games that Iowa has struggled to win this year, as well as last year. Iowa closed the game on a 14-6 run to record one the best victories by any team in the nation yet this season. Iowa’s two best players, Roy Devyn Marble and Aaron White, had highly effective and efficient games on Sunday. Marble had 22 points on 7-13 shooting from the field and 8-11 from the line, while White put up 19 points on 8-12 shooting. Iowa is known for its depth, they play 11 guys. But Marble and White are the key for this club and are two of the more underappreciated players in the nation. When they play like they did Sunday against Ohio State, Iowa is extremely tough to beat and will be a threat in March to make the Final 4.