Bracketology: Indiana and Florida make the biggest Friday jumps

Andy Lyons

The Hoosiers replace Duke as the top overall seed after the Blue Devils' unflattering win over North Carolina. As for the Gators, their big win over Kentucky propelled them above a Michigan team that was thrashed in East Lansing.

Selection weekend, and the clarity it will deliver, is exactly one month away. So much remains to be decided between now and then.

Remember when the four projected No. 1 seeds remained stable for weeks on end? Those days, better known as early to mid-January, are long gone, as there is once again movement from my previous bracket. Tuesday night's action resulted in the first adjustment. To start the night, Florida thoroughly dominated Kentucky. Then, Michigan fell at Michigan State, the Wolverines' third loss in their last four outing. Advantage: Gators, the new top seed out West.

Tuesday's blowout win not only sent the Wolverines tumbling, but it also delivered America its nearly annual reminder to keep an eye on the Spartans, a team that will have several chances to make a case for a top seed over the final four weeks. The Big Ten co-leaders have lost just once since dropping their Big Ten opener at Minnesota on New Year's Eve. That setback came at Indiana -- the new overall No. 1.

The Hoosiers, who throttled Nebraska on Wednesday evening, replace Duke in the top spot after the Blue Devils flattered to deceive in defeating North Carolina at Cameron Indoor in the most hyped game of the week. It didn't help Duke's case that the rivalry win followed a nailbiting escape from Boston College on Sunday evening. While Duke has the profile of an overall No. 1, they are struggling on the court without the still injured Ryan Kelly.

Miami, who had more trouble than expected against Florida State on Wednesday, are second now, as the Selection Committee seems to like the Hurricanes, at least according to USA Today's Eric Prisbell.

I'll have a look at the changes at the bottom of the at-large pool after today's bracket and rundown.

(1) MIDWEST
Indianapolis (Fri/Sun)
(2) EAST
Washington (Thu/Sat)
Lexington (Thu/Sat) Philadelphia (Fri/Sun)
1 Indiana (Big Ten) 1 Miami (ACC)
16 Norfolk State or UNC Asheville 16 Bryant or Southern
8 Notre Dame 8 Memphis (C-USA)
9 Creighton 9 Wichita State (MVC)
San Jose (Thu/Sat) Austin (Fri/Sun)
5 Cincinnati 5 Pittsburgh
12 California or Charlotte 12 Iowa State
4 Kansas State 4 Butler
13 Stephen F. Austin (Southland) 13 Louisiana Tech (WAC)
Dayton (Fri/Sun) Kansas City (Fri/Sun)
6 N.C. State 6 Minnesota
11 Illinois 11 North Carolina
3 Syracuse (Big East) 3 Kansas (Big 12)
14 Harvard (Ivy) 14 Long Beach State (Big West)
Salt Lake City (Thu/Sat) Salt Lake City (Thu/Sat)
7 San Diego State 7 Colorado State
10 Mississippi 10 Kentucky
2 Gonzaga (WCC) 2 Arizona
15 Montana (Big Sky) 15 Northeastern (CAA)
(4) WEST
Los Angeles (Thu/Sat)
(3) SOUTH
Arlington (Fri/Sun)
Lexington (Thu/Sat) Philadelphia (Fri/Sun)
1 Florida (SEC) 1 Duke
16 Western Illinois (Summit) 16 Niagara (MAAC)
8 UNLV 8 Colorado
9 Oklahoma 9 Saint Louis
Kansas City (Fri/Sun) San Jose (Thu/Sat)
5 Marquette 5 Wisconsin
12 Belmont (OVC) 12 Middle Tennessee (Sun Belt)
4 Ohio State 4 Georgetown
13 Akron (MAC) 13 Lehigh (Patriot)
Dayton (Fri/Sun) Austin (Fri/Sun)
6 Oregon (Pac-12) 6 Oklahoma State
11 St. Mary's or Virginia 11 UCLA
3 Louisville 3 New Mexico (MWC)
14 Valparaiso (Horizon) 14 Florida Gulf Coast (A-Sun)
Auburn Hills (Thu/Sat) Auburn Hills (Thu/Sat)
7 VCU (A-10) 7 Missouri
10 Baylor 10 La Salle
2 Michigan 2 Michigan State
*15 Stony Brook (AmEast) 15 Davidson (Southern)
FIRST FOUR (Dayton)
Tuesday: To Lexington Tuesday: To San Jose
16 Norfolk State (MEAC) *12 California
16 UNC Asheville (Big South) *12 Charlotte
Wednesday: To Philadelphia Wednesday: To Dayton
16 Bryant (NEC) 11 St. Mary's
16 Southern (SWAC) *11 Virginia

BIDS BY CONFERENCE LAST FOUR BYES ARRIVALS DEPARTURES
Big East: 7 Mississippi California Indiana State
Big Ten: 7 Baylor Charlotte Temple
Big 12: 6 North Carolina Stony Brook Vermont
A-10: 5 Iowa State Virginia Villanova
ACC: 5
LAST FOUR IN

Pac-12: 5
Virginia

MWC: 4 Charlotte

SEC: 4 California

MVC: 2 St. Mary's PROCEDURAL MOVES
WCC: 2 LAST FOUR OUT UCLA 10 down to 11
1-Bid Conferences: 21 Indiana State Baylor 11 up to 10

Boise State Illinois 10 down to 11

Temple Mississippi 11 up to 10

Villanova Iowa State 11 down to 12

NEXT FOUR OUT St. Mary's 12 up to 11

Arizona State Virginia 12 up to 11

Maryland


St. John's


Stanford

Also considered (in order): Alabama, Xavier, Southern Miss., BYU, Air Force, Texas A&M, UMass, Tennessee

Two schools whose names begin with the letter "V" are involved in one of three bubble swaps on this Friday. Villanova falls out thanks in part to Tuesday night's loss at Cincinnati, with Virginia, who probably should have been in my last projection, replacing the Wildcats. Yes, the Cavaliers still have the same six bad losses to teams ranked worse than 100th in the RPI, but at least they didn't pick up a seventh on Tuesday, when they blasted (and swept) archrival Virginia Tech. On Saturday, Virginia has the chance to pick up a fourth Top 50 win, and deal a major blow to a bubble rival's chances in the process, as it visits North Carolina in perhaps the game of the weekend. The Tar Heels have just one truly bad loss, which came at Texas back on December 19th, but they also have a hideous 1-6 mark against the Top 50.

Another Big Five team, Temple, also dropped out. The Owls followed consecutive one-point wins with a truly bad one-point home loss to Duquesne. I say the defeat is "truly bad" because it was the Dukes' first Atlantic 10 win after an 0-9 start. The Owls replacement in the First Four is A-10 rival Charlotte, who upset Butler on Wednesday at Hinkle. The 49ers now own two wins against the Top 50 (the other is against La Salle) and four over the Top 100.

Indiana State is the third at-large departure of the day, as Tuesday's loss at Missouri State might just be one too many against low-quality opposition. Resurgent California, winners over Arizona and UCLA in the last week, heads to Dayton (where the Golden Bears lost to South Florida in 2012) in the Sycamores' place. Cal's 3-9 record over the Top 100 isn't great (though it is better than UNC's); however, the Bears have not lost to a team from outside the Top 100.

Keep an eye on Kentucky this weekend, as its place in the field, like North Carolina's is nowhere near guaranteed. In their first game without Nerlens Noel, lost for the season due to a torn ACL, the Wildcats visit a Tennessee team that's on the fringe of the bid conversation. Remember that the Selection Committee is going to evaluate the 2012 National Champs based on their performance without their star player over the final month of the season. That could mean trouble for a team that was at times inconsistent with Noel in the lineup.

North Carolina's and Kentucky's struggles along with the inconsistency of teams at the edge of the field might just leave the door open for several teams thought to be doomed to the NIT just a couple of weeks ago, like Tennessee, Xavier, Texas A&M and Alabama. Plus, several squads that haven't quite made their final moves yet -- Boise State, St. John's, Maryland, UMass, Stanford and Arizona State -- still own some life. I'll have more on their chances on Tuesday.

At first glance, the weekend and Monday TV schedule looks a bit light on truly impactful games, thanks to the overwhelming majority of contenders face opponents they should handle with little trouble. But given the wackiness we've seen during the 2012-13 season, teams and fans ignore the next four days at their own peril.

Friday

Georgetown at Cincinnati, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Saturday

Highlight Games
Virginia at North Carolina, 12 p.m. ET (ACC Network Regional/ESPN3)
Pittsburgh at Marquette, 1 p.m. ET (CBS Regional)
Kentucky at Tennessee, 1 p.m. ET (CBS Regional)
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, 1:30 p.m. ET (Big 12 Network Regional/ESPN3)
UCLA at Stanford, 4 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Duke at Maryland, 6 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Baylor at Kansas State, 7 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Arizona State at Colorado, 9 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
San Diego State at UNLV, 9 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
Boise State at New Mexico, 9 p.m. ET (ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain/KABY)

Other Games of Bracket Interest
Villanova at Connecticut, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Xavier at Dayton, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Notre Dame at Providence, 12 p.m. ET (Big East Network/ESPN3)
St. Joseph's at La Salle, 1 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
TCU at Iowa State, 1:30 p.m. ET (Big 12 Network Regional/ESPN3)
Florida at Auburn, 1:30 p.m. ET (SEC Network Regional/ESPN3)
Purdue at Indiana, 2 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Virginia Tech at N.C. State, 2 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Charleston Southern at UNC Asheville, 2 p.m. ET (ESPN3)
Creighton at Evansville, 3 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Missouri at Arkansas, 4 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Butler at Fordham, 4 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)
South Carolina at Alabama, 4 p.m. ET (SEC Network/ESPN3)
Colorado State at Air Force, 4 p.m. ET (Altitude)
Gonzaga at San Francisco, 4:30 pm. ET (Time Warner Cable Sportsnet/CSN Bay Area/ROOT Sports Northwest)
Western Illinois at South Dakota State, 5 p.m. ET (MidCo SN/FCS Pacific)
Detroit at Valparaiso, 6 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Temple at UMass, 6 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)
Vermont at Stony Brook, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN3)
Princeton at Harvard, 7 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
Charlotte at Saint Louis, 7 p.m. ET (FS Midwest)
Oregon at Washington State, 7 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
St. Mary's at Loyola Marymount, 7 p.m. ET (Time Warner Cable Sportsnet/CSN California/ROOT Sports Northwest/ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain)
George Washington at VCU, 7:30 p.m. ET (CSN Mid-Atlantic/CSN Northwest)
Georgia at Mississippi, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Memphis at Marshall, 8 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)
Michigan State at Nebraska, 8 p.m. ET (BTN)
Syracuse at Seton Hall, 8 p.m. ET (Big East Network/ESPN3)
Texas at Kansas, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Portland at BYU, 9 p.m. ET (BYU TV)
New Mexico State at Utah State, 11 p.m. ET (ESPNU)

Sunday

Highlight Game
Ohio State at Wisconsin, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

Other Games of Bracket Interest
Penn State at Michigan, 12 p.m. ET (BTN)
Louisville at USF, 1 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Minnesota at Iowa, 2 p.m. ET (BTN)
Arizona at Utah, 3 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Miami at Clemson, 6 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Illinois at Northwestern, 6 p.m. ET (BTN)
Wichita State at Illinois State, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Monday

Highlight Games
Notre Dame at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Bucknell at Lehigh, 7 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)

Other Games of Bracket Interest
Norfolk State at Hampton, 7 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Rutgers at Villanova, 9 p.m. ET (ESPNU)

Enjoy the weekend's action and the many twists and turns that surely await the contenders for the field of 68.

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