Here’s a quick update on bracketology heading into today’s loaded slate of games. Seriously, this is, by far, the best Saturday of the season. You’d be making a mistake if you moved from your couch too often today. Savor the basketball gluttony.
Here’s the link to the bracket. 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 below as well.
11 – St. Joseph’s, Minnesota, Tennessee, St. John’s, Oklahoma State
12 – Baylor, Oregon, Harvard, Green Bay, North Dakota State
13 – Toledo, Stephen F. Austin, LA Tech, Delaware
14 – Belmont, New Mexico State, Iona, Mercer
15 – UC-Santa Barbara, Georgia State, Davidson, Boston University
16 – Weber State, Vermont, North Carolina Central, Robert Morris, VMI, Southern
Last 4 IN: St. John’s, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Oregon
First 4 OUT: BYU, Providence, Nebraska, West Virginia
Next 4 OUT: Dayton, Georgetown, Richmond, Southern Miss
Breakdown by Conference:
Big 12: 7
Big Ten: 6
Big East: 4
Mountain West: 2
As always, check out The Bracket Matrix. On Monday, we’ll have an updated bracket following this weekend’s stacked slate of games. We’ll also have a Stock Up/Stock Down report to show who’s helping their case for Selection Sunday, and who is hurting their case.
We are officially just five weeks away from Selection Sunday. Get excited folks. With that, you would think the bracket would start to get a little clearer. Yeah, not so much. Especially when quite a few teams who were on the back-end of the bracket have been losing, while those on the bubble have recorded some W’s. This creates quite the muddled bubble. And to be honest, I really struggled even filling up the last 4-5 spots of today’s bracket projection. Hopefully, some of these teams start to get some big wins to separate themselves from the pack a bit.
Before we get into the bracket, let’s look at our Stock Up/Stock Down report from this past week.
Wichita State – I had the Shockers as a 1-seed last week and still have them as a 1-seed this week, so choosing them for Stock Up might seem confusing. But before this week, it was assumed that if Wichita State dropped one of their two road games at Indiana State or at Northern Iowa, they would drop off the 1-line. Instead, they won both, and it seems impossible to imagine them not running the table and finishing the regular season unbeaten. They’ll still have the Missouri Valley conference tournament in St. Louis, but if they drop one there, it won’t matter. This team will be a 1-seed if they win their last 6, and it’s looking more and more like they will.
Ohio State – After dropping 5 out of 6 games, including puzzling losses to Nebraska and Penn State, the Buckeyes are back on track and have won 3 straight, including a road win at Wisconsin and a road win at Iowa. That’s impressive. The schedule clears up down the stretch as well. Their two toughest games remaining are Michigan on Tuesday and Michigan State to close out the regular season, but both of those are at home. Do not be surprised to see Ohio State grab a 3 or 4 seed on Selection Sunday.
SMU – What a terrific win for Larry Brown and his program on Saturday night in Dallas over Cincinnati. The Mustangs are now 8-3 in the American with home wins over UConn, Memphis, and now Cincinnati. Even if they don’t pick up a signature road win, if they continue to take care of business at home, they’ll be dancing in March with ease.
Oklahoma State – Oh boy oh boy oh boy. Not only did the Cowboys drop two heartbreakers this week, a triple OT defeat to Iowa State and a road loss at Texas Tech, but they had to deal with the unfortunate Marcus Smart situation which also resulted in a 3-game suspension for Smart. I’m not going to get into that whole ordeal, it’s had its fill on the Internet and ESPN over the last day or so. But I am going to talk about how Oklahoma State is dangerously approaching the bubble and will be doing so without Smart for the next 3 games. Those 3 are at Texas, home against Oklahoma, and at Baylor, all while Oklahoma State are 4-6 already in the Big 12. A week ago, I had Oklahoma State as a 4-seed. This week, I have them as an 8-seed. If they drop all 3 of those, they’ll likely be out of the following bracket.
Providence – The Friars went 0-2 this week, with a home loss to St. John’s and a road loss at Xavier. I still have them in the field of 68 as the final at-large team to receive a berth. Providence is in a perfect glass half-full, half-empty. Their remaining schedule is difficult, with road games at Georgetown and Creighton and home games against Villanova and Marquette. But, that also provides opportunity for the Friars to boost their resume, which is nothing to complain about. The committee loves big wins. They can get some.
Missouri – Mizzou is essentially the exact opposite of Providence right now. When you look at their remaining schedule, there’s not a lot out there for quality wins. The Tigers still have a home-and-home with Tennessee and a home game against Arkansas. And that’s about it. That’s not much. If they win those two home games, is that really something the committee will value? Missouri fans should hope for a chance to play Florida and/or Kentucky in the SEC Tournament. It’ll provide some of those chances that they are lacking, chances that Providence already has.
Alright, here is this week’s bracket. Click on the PDF link below.
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.