Boy, isn’t college basketball fun? In the last 9 days, since my last Bracketology post, my previous 1-seeds, 2-seeds and 3-seeds have lost a combined 14 games. FOURTEEN! The parody in college basketball this year may be greater than any year that I can remember, and that has us set for potentially the most chaotic March in college basketball history. Sign me up! That parody has made a subject like Bracketology very difficult and very fluid. The following is how I would fill out the bracket at this current moment in time. If I’d do it again tomorrow, I can guarantee that it would be different. We’re a couple days late this week, but here is my bracket projection for January 2o!
*Automatic bids are in bold*
*Regions in order of how I rank the 1-seeds*
If for no other reason than everybody else at top losing, North Carolina is my current #1 overall team. They have yet to face a truly tough test in the ACC, and they won’t until Monday February 1 when they hit the road to face Louisville. West Virginia has rocketed up the standings with a win over Kansas and an extremely close loss at Oklahoma. Three straight home wins over Top-25 teams has lots of eyes on the Clemson Tigers, and while their resume is weak other than those wins, they have done enough in my opinion to earn a spot in one of the First Four games.
Rising Teams: West Virginia, Clemson, Yale
Falling Teams: Maryland, Duke, California
They aren’t winning big, and they aren’t winning sexy, but the important thing right now is that they are winning, and that has Villanova slotted as my #2 overall team. The Big East is tough, and Nova has a lot of difficult games left on their schedule, but to this point, they have been one of the most impressive teams in the country. Virginia has losses to Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, but they also have wins over Clemson and Miami. That has them holding steady as a 3-seed. Believe it or not, Indiana is your current leader in the Big Ten, with a 6-0 conference record. They are just a 6-seed now, but if they keep winning, they’ll move up in no time.
Rising Teams: Indiana, Florida, Monmouth
Falling Teams: Kansas, Kentucky, Oregon
The Sooners were the recipient of a little dose of “Hilton Magic” on Monday, as they fell to Iowa State. That isn’t a bad loss by any stretch (and wasn’t even technically an upset), so Oklahoma stays on the 1-line. Your SEC leader midway through January is Texas A&M, and they are beating some quality opponents, which has them all the way up to a 2-seed. The USC Trojans continue to pick up steam out West, and they are up to a 5-seed this week. Another team making a huge jump this week is Georgetown, who knocked off #5 Xavier on the road last night. That’s a huge win for the Hoyas, and solidified their current standing in the field of 68 for me.
Rising Teams: Texas A&M, USC, Georgetown
Falling Teams: Michigan State, UALR, Montana
The biggest example of the parody this year is Iowa as a current 1-seed. After back-to-back neutral site losses to Dayton and Notre Dame, people were questioning just how good this team was. Then they gave away a huge lead on the road against rival Iowa State, losing by a single point. Since then, they’ve rattled off seven straight victories, including a season sweep of Michigan State. You could argue that Iowa is the best team in the land. When Arizona lost star freshman Allonzo Trier, and lost back-t0-back games against UCLA and USC, many questions arised. But the Wildcats have trounced Washington and Washington State, and have answered some of those questions. That has them on the 3-line.
Rising Teams: Iowa, Wichita State, Michigan
Falling Teams: Xavier, Miami FL, VCU
The second installment of Bracketology is now complete! Stay tuned tomorrow for a new Top 25!