Thanks to a fantastic weekend of hoops this thing to a little longer to sort out folks. Here is my updated bracket:
1 Seeds: Duke, Michigan, Louisville, Indiana
Duke’s body of work still has them as my overall No. 1 seed. Louisville and Arizona essentially flip.
[Louisville overcomes halftime deficit to crush UConn in first game since being named No. 1]
2 Seeds: Kansas, Syracuse, Arizona, Minnesota
Minnesota’s impressive comeback in a very hostile environment has them remaining on the two line. Gonzaga is nipping at both Arizona and Minnesota’s heels, though.
3 Seeds: Gonzaga, Florida, NC State, Butler
The Wolfpacks’ win over Duke finally legitimizes their computer numbers; though the lack of poll movement was surprising to me, I still gave them a bump from a 4-seed to a three.
4 Seeds: Creighton, Ohio State, SDSU, Kansas St
KSU gets a nice bump due to a lot of fallout around them. However, the last time they hit the court, the Wildcats put up an uninspiring one-point win at West Virginia.
5 Seeds: Missouri, Notre Dame, Michigan State, New Mexico
I’ve been on the Ole Miss bandwagon for a while now, but losing by 15 and being held under 50 points in the process is not what Mizzou fans had in mind on their trip down to Oxford. Notre Dame also lost by 10 at home to Connecticut. Both teams could really use bounce-back weeks right now.
6 Seeds: Oregon, VCU, UCLA, Marquette
Twelve and counting now for the Rams, Oregon knocked off Arizona and Arizona State in back-to-backs, UCLA is on fire and Marquette had another nice win, this time at the Zoo in Pittsburgh. These are four teams that no one would want a part of if The Dance started tomorrow.
[Oregon upsets Arizona to end Wildcats’ perfect run]
7 Seeds: Illinois, Cincy, Wisconsin, Ole Miss
Two teams are trending up right now (UW, Ole Miss) and the others are in a slump. The odds of these four teams remaining on this line seem very low with how fluid they’ve been, especially if Illinois can’t hit the three-ball better in-league, which is killing them right now.
8 Seeds: Miami (FL), Oklahoma, Colorado, Temple
I know, I know dropping Miami seems crazy, but after UW and Ole Miss’s wins, I felt both deserved to be slotted where they were and somebody was going to unjustly move down. In a season where the ACC is struggling, Miami was a prime target for the unfair move.
9 Seeds: Wichita State, UNLV, BYU, Colorado State
Just last week I said New Mexico was the forgotten Mountain West team, well now it is UNLV. They lost at New Mexico to hurt their seeding and the Oregon loss was fine, they are a solid team. The outlier, and this is weird to say, is dropping the North Carolina game. CSU is also slotted a bit high, but those impressive CPU numbers are hard to ignore this far out from selection Sunday.
10 Seeds: Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Georgetown, Washington
The Hoyas’ win over UCLA is looking better and better but it is undeniable that they had an ugly stretch, failing to score 50 points in consecutive games. The win at St. John’s may have finally gotten them going again, but with a mid-50s RPI and a schedule barely inside 100, what is the rationale to have them any higher?
As for Washington, this seems out of left field but they are in a power league (presumably) and have an RPI inside 60 and the 43rd-ranked schedule. They have a nice win over Saint Louis and are 3-0 in-league with all the wins coming on the road.
11 Seeds: Memphis, Bucknell, North Carolina
This seems high for the Bison out of the Patriot league but they have an impressive record as well as a top 40 RPI. Their road win at Purdue looks better now that the Boilers have started winning and knocking off La Salle is very impressive. For them to get this high a seed, they really need to sweep Lehigh.
12 Seeds: Utah State, La Salle, Arizona State
Utah State may have a nice record and be atop the WAC but a 321st-ranked schedule will keep them from breaking into a top 10 seed.
13 Seeds: Stephen F. Austin, Murray State, North Dakota State, Middle Tennessee State
All four of these are dangerous clubs and probably deserve better than a 13-seed but their conferences aren’t strong enough to warrant it. Case in point: Middle Tennessee State’s fellow Sun Belt power, Western Kentucky, has fallen off the map.
14 Seeds: Ohio, Northeastern, Long Beach, Wright State
Even with a down year for the Horizon (mainly because of Butler leaving), Wright State has not helped their cause by having the 325th ranked schedule and a RPI over 100 right now.
15 Seeds: Montana, Harvard, Iona, Davidson
A nice run has the Iona Gaels atop the MAAC. Meanwhile, Harvard continues to do just enough to lead the weakest Ivy League in years. Davidson has the talent to improve but has yet to amaze in the SoCon.
16 Seeds: Stony Brook, Bryant
Stony Brook remains unbeaten in America East play and has jumped the Albany Great Danes as a result. I’m not too high on the NEC but Bryant keeps chugging along and at some point I might have to have their seed-stock improve.
Play in 16: Southern vs Norfolk State and Charleston Southern vs Florida Gulf Coast
CSU has really come on in the Big South, going 3-0 to improve to 8-6 on the year. Norfolk remains under .500 and the SWAC is the worst league so I think they’ll duke it out to be the lowest slotted 16-seed and get to play — gulp — Duke.
Play in 11: Iowa State vs Saint Louis
I like the geographic fight between Saint Louis and Iowa State as well as the power-league battle between. It could really be there with North Carolina or Arizona State slotted here as well. These should be well attended games in Dayton, especially since all but Boise State are within driving distance (I’m not counting the schools playing for a 16-seed).
Play in 12: Belmont vs Boise State
How about Belmont getting the OVC two teams in — and they deserve it too. A top 35 RPI is impossible to ignore and a top-70 RPI isn’t shabby, either. I love Boise’s win at Creighton to keep their resume relevant.
[Related >> Check out the midseason Wooden Award Finalists list here]
Last 5 In:
First 5 Out:
Baylor – that loss at Kansas was an ugly one but they still have some good CPU numbers as well as a strong win against BYU. They could really use Kentucky to pick up the pace though.
Rutgers – Losing to a struggling Cincy team at home bumps them out right now.
Florida State – a top 25 SOS means nothing if you don’t actually win any games.
UMass – I like this team, but the fact is their performance hasn’t lived up to the numbers the CPU is spitting out for them. The top 50 RPI seems a little odd considering their best win is either at Northeastern or … no … its at Northeastern.
Wyoming – Two things: Its easy to keep them out because of the 150th-ranked schedule but I think the committee will be put off by a player breaking his hand in a bar fight and getting suspended. Worse, that player was Luke Martinez — you guessed it, the club’s leading scorer. Talk about wasting a 14-1 mark with the 37th-ranked RPI.
Nest 5 Out:
Villanova – After being left for dead both the RPI and SOS, Nova is working its way back into consideration. Losses to Alabama and Columbia, however, mean they have a lot more work to do.
Louisiana Tech – Great record but two big hits. The first is the committee cannot stand the WAC. The second is the fact that an SOS over 200 is something small(er) schools cannot absorb.
Charlotte – See what I said about La Tech’s SOS.
Pittsburgh – The RPI has now drifted outside the top 68 and the SOS is at No. 102 — not good on either account. Starting 1-3 in-league doesn’t help things either.
Kentucky – The computer figures warrant a glance but the eye test says otherwise.
Iowa/Evansville have the numbers to put them close but both need to pick up league wins. For Iowa, a banged up Northwestern team won’t cut it, so now that Wisconsin game on the 19th looks like a must win. The Aces have a string of winnable ones before getting Creighton on February 16.
Maryland/Virginia both have a SOS over 200
Southern Miss/Houston are in C-USA and terrible SOS
Saint Mary’s will have a hard time getting in from the WAC with a 70s RPI.
26 “Power” at-larges
11 “Mid Major” at-larges
7: Big Ten
6: Big East, Pac 12
5: Big 12, Atlantic 10, Mountain West
4: ACC, SEC
2: Missouri Valley, Ohio Valley, WCC
1: 20 Leagues, respectively