Bracket Watch: Who’s Winning the Battle for a High NCAA Tournament Seed?
It was a completely normal Thursday in the college hoops world, save for San Diego State trailing at halftime to Air Force, Wyoming advancing to the MWC semifinals, Washington actually winning a Pac-12 game, North Florida crashing out of the ASUN Tournament before the championship game, UConn and Oregon State showing the mildest signs of bubble life. okay, nevermind, perhaps it was a completely bizarre day.
The week had plenty of surprises, as well, like Kentucky taking one on the chin to Tennessee inside Rupp Arena, Auburn losing at home to Texas A&M, Road Purdue winning and Home Iowa losing in the same stinking game, and West Virginia actually getting a Big 12 win (1-0 in March!). That led to plenty of shuffling up and down the bracket, most notably in the land of the bubble. –JR
Only a few days have passed since our bracket update on Monday, but boy oh boy have there been some shifts. The Texas Longhorns enter the field for both of us for the first time all season. Shaka’s squad picked up another Quadrant 1 victory this week in the Red River rivalry over Oklahoma, giving the Longhorns a respectable five on the year.
Rhode Island was booted from the bracket bar Roadhouse style (Rhode-house, if you prefer). The Rams sit with just one Quad 1 victory on the season and their once sparkling NET is now a dusty 57. URI is going to have to do some throat rips and punch a few teams in the mouth in the A-10 tournament to snag a bid—as Dalton famously said, “Be nice… until it’s time to not be nice.”
Elsewhere, Cincinnati and Richmond both climbed into Jim’s latest bracket, replacing Wichita State and NC State. I’m still holding onto the latter schools, but the Bearcats and Spiders are breathing down their neck. –KM
Last Four Byes
Last Four In
First Eight Out
Next Four Out
(1) Kansas vs. (16) St. Francis PA / NC A&T
(1) Kansas vs. (16) Robert Morris / NC Central
(8) Marquette vs. (9) Saint Mary’s
(8) Houston vs. (9) Providence
(5) Ohio State vs. (12) Northern Iowa
(5) BYU vs. (12) Richmond / Cincinnati
(4) Auburn vs. (13) Akron
(4) Maryland vs. (13) Liberty
(6) West Virginia vs. (11) Stanford
(6) Auburn vs. (11) Texas Tech
(3) Louisville vs. (14) Wright State
(3) Louisville vs. (14) Wright State
(7) Virginia vs. (10) Indiana
(7) Virginia vs. (10) USC
(2) Dayton vs. (15) North Dakota State
(2) Seton Hall vs. (15) Colgate
Kansas maintains its vice grip on the Midwest region. The Jayhawks are all but a certainty to wind up in this spot on Selection Sunday, boasting the country’s best NET, strength of schedule, non-conference strength of schedule and most quality wins.
Our No. 8 seeds have a similar story in that both were No. 8 seeds in our previous respective brackets. Marquette has tumbled down the S-curve, losing five of its last six games. A recent loss to DePaul now has the Golden Eagles at 8-9 in Big East play. Jim bumped Houston down a seed line after its loss to UConn yesterday, but I kept the Cougars on the 7-line. The two Q1 wins are weak to be sure, but the computers still love Houston and its eight Q2 victories.
Maryland is now a No. 4 seed in both of our brackets, which is a stark change from Monday. Jim and I discussed offline how impossible seeding the 3 and 4 lines are right now, with a multitude of teams having a worthy case to earn one of the coveted No. 3 seed slots. Ultimately, we went with Maryland due to its slipping NET (now 18th), slightly lower number of Q1 wins, slightly worse SOS, and 5-6 road record. If the Terps win the Big Ten outright, however, it will be hard to justify putting three Big East teams on a seed line ahead of them (or in Jim’s case, the Spartans). –KM