Nothing should shock you at this point, given the way that the college basketball season has gone, but for the first time in years, the #1 and #2 teams lost to unranked teams on the same day. #1 Oklahoma fell to Kansas State, as Buddy Hield’s record in Manhattan fell to 0-4, and #2 North Carolina lost their second consecutive game, this one in South Bend against Notre Dame. Top-5 teams have already lost more games this year than they did all of last year, and we still have over a month of action left to go. With that said, here is this week’s look at the bracket.
*Regions ordered by #1 seed ranking, Auto-Bids in bold*
Despite the loss to Kansas State, Oklahoma remains the #1 overall seed. A 23 point victory over Villanova is too significant a result to ignore. They have a chance to bounce-back when they host surging Texas tonight. Virginia is playing very well right now, with back-to-back road victories over Louisville and Pitt. West Virginia is moving up the ranks, thanks to a road win over Iowa State and a home win over Baylor. They get a chance for a third straight major win when they visit Kansas on Tuesday. Despite a loss to DePaul last week, Providence remains a 5-seed. The advanced statistics do not paint a good picture for the Friars, but they have a very good resume. Florida, Seton Hall and Syracuse are all teams on the rise, and that is reflected in this week’s Bracketology. All three of those teams have moved up at least one seed line this week.
Rising Teams: Virginia, Florida, Seton Hall
Falling Teams: Oklahoma, Wichita State, Indiana
The Wildcats are up to #1 in the AP poll this week, and they are up to the #2 overall seed in my Bracketology. They won at Providence on Saturday without Daniel Ochefu, a very impressive performance. North Carolina was considered for a 1-seed this week, but they have a surprisingly weak resume when compared to other top teams. They are my highest ranked 2-seed, but they need to bounce-back from these recent losses. Maryland is playing extremely well right now, outlasting Purdue on Saturday. They are very close to a 2-seed in my eyes. Dayton has taken over 1st place in the A-10, and have moved up to a 5-seed. They are a team going off of their resume more than the eye test at this juncture. LSU is another team that has taken over 1st place in their conference, as they are 8-2 in the SEC. Ben Simmons needs to play in the NCAA Tournament before he goes pro, so hopefully they continue to play well.
Rising Teams: Maryland, Texas, George Washington
Falling Teams: North Carolina, UALR, Bucknell
Iowa is currently staying the course, and are in 1st Place in the Big Ten thanks to Indiana’s loss to Penn State on Saturday. Kansas has remained a 2-seed with wins this week over Kansas State and TCU. Kentucky got a dominant win over Florida at home on Saturday, and they benefit from Louisville’s self-imposed postseason ban, as they move up to a 4-seed. USC and Duke are two teams that moved up by way of Louisville’s ban as well. Utah has dropped after losing both games to the Oregon schools this week. Temple is new to the bracket, as they are in sole possession of 2nd place in the American, which would mean an auto-bid, as the 1st place team, SMU, is ineligible for the postseason.
Rising Teams: Kentucky, Gonzaga, Butler
Falling Teams: Texas A&M, Utah, Washington
It came down to Xavier and North Carolina for my final #1 seed, and I ultimately decided to go with the Musketeers. I think it is very unlikely that the Big East would get two 1-seeds, but if the bracket were to be filled out today, Xavier is deserving of a 1-seed. Michigan State is rounding back into form, as they dominated Michigan in Ann Arbor on Saturday. They won by 16 points, and the last 5 times that Michigan State won by double digits in Ann Arbor, they went to the Final Four that same year. So you can pencil the Spartans into the Final Four this season. Arizona is playing well again, as they swept their trip to the Washington schools, and they are up to a 5-seed this week. Michigan has dropped to an 8-seed after back-to-back home losses to Indiana and Michigan State. On paper those aren’t terrible losses, but the Wolverines played very poorly in both games. They need Caris LeVert back badly. Florida State is a new team to the bracket this week, as their young core is performing well in ACC play.
Rising Teams: Xavier, Arizona, Florida State
Falling Teams: Baylor, Michigan, VCU
That does it for this week’s Bracketology. Let me know what you think! Lots of content this week as we get closer and closer to March Madness!