SB Nation's Chris Dobbertean, editor of Blogging The Bracket, is back with this week's NCAA Tournament projection.
Three of last week's number one seeds return to the top line of my projection for this week, but the one who is gone happened to be the team who was at the very top of the pile exactly one week ago.
Following consecutive road losses to Kansas State Monday night and UConn on Saturday, the Texas fell all the way down to a 2 seed in this week's version. Villanova, the only team with a perfect Big East mark, jumped up to replace the Longhorns. That means the Big East has two one seeds this week, as Syracuse is on the top line for the third straight bracket.
With less than seven weeks remaining until Selection Sunday, unbeaten Kentucky and once-beaten Kansas look to be in the best position to hold onto their one seeds. But while the two Big East teams who join them in this projection will have to navigate through that league's minefield to stay in the club, you can't write off the Orange and Wildcats' chances out of hand, since the conference did supply the 2009 NCAA field with three one seeds.
And you can't write off Georgetown's chances either.
Tonight, the Hoyas begin a week where they can make their own case for a top seed. If Georgetown can sweep the Orange and visiting Duke Saturday, there could be another change on the top line next week.
If the results are even crazier, keep an eye on stealth two seed Michigan State -- still unbeaten in the Big Ten -- and even Texas to have a case.
But that's all to unfold over the next seven days. In the meantime, here are some key facts about this week's bracket.
Teams are listed in S-curve, or selection, order.
Top seeds: Kentucky, Kansas, Syracuse, Villanova
Last Four In: Dayton, Florida, Rhode Island, Virginia Tech
First Four Out: Northwestern, William & Mary, Richmond, Notre Dame
Next Four Out: Illinois, San Diego State, Louisville, Miami (FL)
Atlantic 10: 5
Temple (4), Xavier (11), Dayton (11), Rhode Island (12)
West Coast: 2
Gonzaga (4), St. Mary's (10)
One Bid Leagues: 23
America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Conference USA, Horizon League, Ivy League, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Pacific-10, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Summit, Sun Belt, Western Athletic
Now, here's a look at the teams who made the biggest moves away from the top line during the past week.
Movers And Shakers
Two seeds: As I mentioned earlier, Texas fell a line to join three holdovers Michigan State, Duke and Georgetown. At this point, I feel that the loser of Saturday's tilt between the Hoyas and Blue Devils in Washington will be pretty much out of the running for a top on the spot line.
Three seeds: Kansas State very nearly jumped up to a 2 seed. However, I kept them on line 3 after they managed to lose to Oklahoma State -- a team playing without injured point guard Ray Penn -- in the "Octagon of Doom" on Saturday afternoon.
Purdue and West Virginia also remain. The Boilermakers came from behind to win at Illinois Tuesday, snapping their three-game losing streak. They picked up a more comfortable win over Manny Harris-less Michigan on Saturday to get back over .500 (but still three games behind Michigan State) in the Big Ten. The Mountaineers, meanwhile, struggled through the week. They slipped past Conference USA contender Marshall at midweek in Charleston, then had to rally to beat Ohio State at home on Saturday afternoon.
BYU jumped up from the 4 line. The Cougars stand at 20-1, and 5-0 in the Mountain West, after they picked a home win against Wyoming on Wednesday and a road victory at feisty San Diego State Saturday night, thanks to 33 from Jimmer Fredette. In this bracket, the Cougars benefit from the unique selection rules that apply to them. Since BYU must play on Thursday and Saturday, they're slotted in their natural region, the West, where Salt Lake City serves as the host for the second weekend.
Four line: The Cougars replaced Tennessee, who drop a line after they were drubbed at Georgia Saturday. That win was the Bulldogs' first in SEC play.
Wisconsin remains here, despite needing overtime to beat Penn State on Sunday, as does Gonzaga, who just keeps on winning in the West Coast Conference.
The middle: North Carolina and Connecticut continue to make noise in the bracket, but this week, they're heading in completely different directions.
The Tar Heels fell to an 8 seed after suffering their third-straight ACC loss, falling to against Wake Forest at home on Wednesday. Early season wins over Michigan State and Ohio State are the only reasons UNC is in the middle of the bracket right now.
The Huskies are back on the 9 line after beating St. John's and Texas. They should continue to move toward safety if they keep winning, and games at Providence and at home against Marquette certainly fall within the "winnable" category.
Two teams are unbeaten in SEC play right now. One is, of course, Kentucky. Can you name the other?
How about Vanderbilt? The Commodores are indeed 4-0 in the league, and they've won nine straight since dropping back-to-back games against Illinois and Western Kentucky. They've jumped from an 8 to a 6 in this projection.
This week brings two stern road tests, however. The 'Dores first visit Knoxville on Wednesday, and if they survive that, first place will be on the line when they head to Lexington Saturday.
Departures: While two at-larges jump into this week's bracket, one is the result of Marshall falling out of the C-USA lead. So, Richmond is the only at-large to fall out this time around. Charlotte beat the Spiders by 12 at the Robins Center on Wednesday, so UR is in the "First Four Out" group at the moment.
Arrivals: Oklahoma State is back in thanks to wins over Colorado and Kansas State. Florida also returns, though they needed another miracle shot from Chandler Parsons to beat South Carolina Saturday, a win that pushed the Gators to 3-2 in the SEC.
Auto Bids: Thanks to Maryland's home win over N.C. State Saturday and Virginia's loss at Wake Forest just hours earlier, the Terps and Cavaliers are now tied at the top of the ACC at 3-1. Maryland gets the nod for the auto bid, however, since they've won one more game this season. That means the Cavaliers, who couldn't seem to beat conference bottom-feeders in the early part of the season (USF, Penn State, Auburn), are out.
Conference USA is back to being a one-bid league, as Marshall fell out of the bracket after they lost at home to UAB Saturday in a battle of league unbeatens. The Blazers get the auto bid nod over C-USA's other remaining unbeaten, Tulsa, because of a better overall record. But that may not last long, as the two have their only regular season meeting in Birmingham on Tuesday.
As I surmised last week, Arizona State couldn't hold onto the Pac-10 lead. The Sun Devils were pounded by archrival Arizona in Tempe Saturday night and now sit in a five-way tie for second behind California. Also, can we please stop the "Washington is an at-large candidate" talk right now? The Huskies were swept in L.A. this weekend. While a one-point loss to UCLA is understandable, losing by 26 at USC isn't.
Another team who had difficulty holding onto the league lead this week was Buffalo in the MAC. They followed up their big win over Akron last Sunday by laying two eggs, a 35-point shellacking at the hands of Kent State and a 22-point setback at Ohio University, who hadn't won a conference game up to that point. Central Michigan and Northern Illinois share the conference (and West Division lead) at 4-1 after the Chippewas defeated the previously unbeaten Huskies Saturday. The Chips' get the nod for the bracket because of a better overall record.
Old Dominion, who was my pick in the Colonial Athletic Association in the preseason, holds the conference's auto bid in this projection. While the Monarchs are currently tied atop the league alongside George Mason and Northeastern, they get the nod because of a superior 16-5 overall mark.
As for William & Mary, who surrendered a share of the league lead after consecutive losses to VCU and ODU, they remain a viable at-large candidate, thanks to wins at Maryland and Wake Forest. However, they are in my "First Four Out" for this week. If they don't finish in the top two, the Tribe could meet the fate Drexel met back in 2007. Even though the Dragons won at Syracuse, Villanova and Creighton, they were snubbed because of their fourth-place finish in the conference.
Finally, Maine is in the bracket as the America East representative, thanks to their win over Hartford Saturday and Vermont's back-to-back-losses to Stony Brook and Binghamton. The Black Bears, a school better known for hockey, have never qualified for the NCAA basketball tournament, so their appearance in a bracket, even if it's temporary, is noteworthy. Maine already owns a win over a BCS-level school, as they managed to shock Boston College back on January 2nd.
Games To Watch
To help you plan your viewing week, here are seven days worth of games to check out. Visit Blogging The Bracket throughout the week for more on these games, and the many that didn't make the cut. (And there are quite a few, thanks to a high number of conference mismatches this week.) Seeds in this bracket are in parentheses, with bubble teams represented by a B.
TV information from Matt Sarz' College Sports on TV site.
(2) Georgetown at (1) Syracuse, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
(14) College of Charleston at Western Carolina, 7 p.m. ET (CSS)
(7) Missouri at (1) Kansas, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)
(2) Michigan State at Michigan, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
(6) Clemson at Boston College, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
(B) Miami (FL) at (9) Maryland, 7 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Lipscomb at Belmont, 7 p.m. ET (CSS/Full Court)
(12) Rhode Island at (11) Dayton, 7 p.m. ET (Cox Sports New England/WHIO)
(3) Kansas State at (8) Baylor, 8 p.m. ET (FSN Regional/Full Court)
(1) Kentucky at South Carolina, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)
(B) Northwestern at (10) Minnesota, 9 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
(8) North Carolina at N.C. State, 9 p.m. ET (Raycom/Full Court)
(B) Notre Dame at (1) Villanova, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
(6) Vanderbilt at (4) Tennessee, 7 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Georgia at (12) Florida, 7 p.m. ET (SEC on CSS/Full Court)
Illinois State at (B) Wichita State, 7 p.m. ET (FS Midwest/CSN Chicago+)
(9) Connecticut at Providence, 7 p.m. ET (Big East Network/Full Court)
(4) Temple at (B) Charlotte, 7 p.m. ET (CSN Philly/CSN Washington+)
(7) Texas A&M at (11) Oklahoma State, 7;30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Memphis at Marshall, 8 p.m. ET (CBS College)
(7) Florida State at (2) Duke, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)
(B) Texas Tech at (2) Texas, 9 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
(3) BYU at (5) New Mexico, 10 p.m. ET (the mtn.)
(5) Wisconsin at (3) Purdue, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
St. John's at (4) Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
(8) Wake Forest at (6) Georgia Tech, 7 p.m. ET (FS South/FS Florida/NESN/CSN Washington+)
(12) Virginia Tech at (B) Virginia, 7 p.m. ET (CSN Washington)
Stanford at Arizona, 8 p.m. ET (Fox College Sports Pacific)
(10) California at Arizona State, 8:30 p.m. ET (FS Arizona/CSN California)
(9) Mississippi State at Arkansas, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
UCLA at Oregon, 10:30 p.m. ET (FSN/Comcast Sports Net)
(4) Gonzaga at Santa Clara, 11 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
(5) Butler at Green Bay, 9 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
(B) Louisville at (3) West Virginia, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)
La Salle at (4) Temple, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Marquette at (9) Connecticut, 12 p.m. ET (Big East Network/Full Court)
(2) Duke at (2) Georgetown, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
(11) Oklahoma State at (7) Missouri, 2 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Indiana at (B) Illinois, 2 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
(B) St. Louis at (B) Richmond, 2 p.m. ET (CSN Washington/CSS)
(7) Florida State at Boston College, 3 p.m. ET (Raycom/Full Court)
(B) Washington State at (B) Washington, 3:30 p.m. ET (FSN/Comcast SportsNet)
(8) Baylor at (2) Texas, 4 p.m. ET (Big 12 Network/Full Court)
(1) Kansas at (3) Kansas State, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
(B) Northwestern at (2) Michigan State, 7 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Providence at (11) Cincinnati, 8 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
(B) Texas Tech at (7) Texas A&M, 9 p.m. ET (FSN Regional)
Utah at (3) BYU, 9 p.m. ET (the mtn.)
(16) Lehigh at Holy Cross, 12 p.m. ET (CBS College)
(12) Florida at (4) Tennessee or Minnesota at Ohio State, 12 p.m. ET (CBS)
(12) Virginia Tech at (B) MIami (FL), 1 p.m. ET (Raycom/Full Court)
(10) California at Arizona, 3:30 p.m. ET (FSN/Comcast SportsNet)
(9) Maryland at (6) Clemson, 5:30 p.m. ET (FSN/Comcast SportsNet)
(B) Virginia at (8) North Carolina, 7:45 p.m. ET (FSN/Comcast SportsNet)
(B) Wichita State at Southern Illinois, 8 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Thoughts? Comments? Questions? E-mail me at bloggingthebracket at gmail dot com or follow me on Twitter @BracketDobber.