Miami handed Duke its fourth defeat in five games on Monday night, a loss that helped push the Blue Devils down to the seventh seed line in today's updated bracket. The Big 12 showcase that followed in Ames had an even bigger impact on the latest projection of the NCAA Tournament, rocking the top two lines. With its victory over Kansas, Iowa State joined the quartet of second seeds, as did those very Jayhawks, who haven't won two games in a row since wrapping up a 12-game string at Texas Tech on Jan. 9.
ACC leader North Carolina and Big Ten co-leader Iowa replace Kansas and Xavier, which dropped a home game to Georgetown mere hours after being placed on the top line of last Tuesday's bracket. The Tar Heels and Hawkeyes join holdovers Oklahoma, now ranked first overall, and Villanova.
West Virginia is the fourth Big 12 team among the top 12, or top nine to be more precise, as the Mountaineers lead the three line, which also features Michigan State, Maryland and Pac-12 co-leader Oregon, who swept the L.A. schools in Pac-12 play this week.
After this week's full projection and rundown, I'll take a look at a few other teams who have made moves since last Tuesday's bracket.
|(1) SOUTH |
|Oklahoma City (Fri/Sun)||Brooklyn (Fri/Sun)|
|1||Oklahoma (Big 12)||1||Villanova (BE)|
|*16||New Mexico State (WAC)||16||Mount St. Mary's/Texas Southern|
|↑8||Wichita State (MVC)||8||Texas|
|Spokane (Fri/Sun)||Providence (Thu/Sat)|
|↑5||Baylor||↑5||Indiana (Big Ten)|
|*13||James Madison (CAA)||*13||Belmont (OVC)|
|Spokane (Fri/Sun)||Raleigh (Thu/Sat)|
|11||Florida||↑11||VCU (A 10)|
|14||Hawai'i (Big West)||↓14||UAB (C-USA)|
|St. Louis (Fri/Sun)||St. Louis (Fri/Sun)|
|10||Valparaiso (Horizon)||↓10||Monmouth (MAAC)|
|15||North Florida (A-Sun)||15||UNC Asheville (A-Sun)|
|(4) WEST |
|Des Moines (Thu/Sat)||Raleigh (Thu/Sat)|
|↑1||Iowa||↑1||North Carolina (ACC)|
|*16||Bucknell (Patriot)||16||Hampton/Stephen F. Austin|
|↑9||Saint Mary's (WCC)||9||Colorado|
|Denver (Thu/Sat)||Denver (Thu/Sat)|
|12||San Diego State (MW)||*12||Tulsa (AAC)|
|13||Little Rock (Sun Belt)||↑13||Stony Brook (AE)|
|Brooklyn (Fri/Sun)||Providence (Thu/Sat)|
|3||West Virginia||3||Michigan State|
|*14||Yale (Ivy)||14||Northern Illinois (MAC)|
|Oklahoma City (Fri/Sun)||Des Moines (Thu/Sat)|
|2||Texas A&M (SEC)||↓2||Kansas|
|15||Montana (Big Sky)||*15||Omaha (Summit)|
|FIRST FOUR (Dayton)|
|Tuesday: To Raleigh||Tuesday: To Providence|
|16||Stephen F. Austin (Southland)||*12||Stanford|
|Wednesday: To Brooklyn||Wednesday: To Brooklyn
|16||Mount St. Mary's (NEC)||*11||Cincinnati|
|16||Texas Southern (SWAC)||11||Florida State|
|BIDS BY CONFERENCE||AVOIDING DAYTON||ARRIVALS||DEPARTURES|
|ACC: 8||Butler (37)||Belmont (OVC)||Cal St. Bakersfield (WAC)|
|Pac-12: 8||Seton Hall (40)||Bucknell (Patriot)||IPFW (Summit)|
|Big 12: 6||Florida (41)||Cincinnati||Memphis (AAC)|
|Big Ten: 6||UCLA (43)||James Madison (CAA)||Navy (Patriot)|
|Big East: 5||LAST FOUR IN||New Mexico State (WAC)||Ohio State|
|SEC: 4||Cincinnati (44)||Omaha (Summit)||Princeton (Ivy)|
|AAC: 3||Gonzaga (45)||Stanford||Syracuse|
|A 10: 3||Florida State (46)||Tulsa (AAC)||Tennessee State (OVC)|
|WCC: 2||Stanford (47)||Yale (Ivy)||William & Mary (CAA)|
|One-Bid Conferences: 23||FIRST FOUR OUT|
|NEXT FOUR OUT|
Also considered: Creighton, Davidson, Georgia, Kansas State, LSU, Marquette, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Richmond, St. Bonaventure, Temple, UT Arlington, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin
The most interesting movement this week took place in the middle of the bracket. Even though it's still a jumbled mess, as is usually the case at the end of January, a few teams appear to be solidifying their places (a topic I'll discuss in more detail on Friday), which in turn opens up the possibility of moving up over the final six weeks. Two of these squads are threats in the Big Ten. Indiana, winners of 12 straight and tied with Iowa for the conference lead, and Michigan, victorious in three of their last five, sit just outside of the protected seed group, where conference rival Purdue just happens to be hanging on. Both the Hoosiers and Wolverines will have to rack up Big Ten wins to make up for relatively unimpressive non-conference results—a factor where the Boilermakers currently have an edge. Given how both squads, particularly the Hoosiers, have been playing lately, they're poised to make a jump.
The Big Ten returns the same six teams to this projection that were present last Tuesday, matching the Big 12's total. But both conferences sit in the shadow of the ACC and Pac-12, which each provide eight teams this week. That's a decrease of one team for the East Coast (sorry, Syracuse) and a jump of one for the West, with Stanford getting the nod over Oregon State, thanks to a stronger strength of schedule and a win in Corvallis. However, the Cardinal and UCLA are both close to the cut line at the moment, and a revolving door could develop over the final month and a half with the Beavers and Washington lurking just outside the field.
The Big East returns the same five squads as last week, while the Atlantic 10's trio is also intact. Four remains the number for the SEC, though South Carolina, without a win over an RPI Top 50 opponent, will likely have to change that fact before March 13 to actually stick around. Unfortunately for the Gamecocks, they're one of the four conference teams not participating in Saturday's SEC/Big 12 Challenge. So, while Florida (at home against West Virginia), Georgia (visiting Baylor), LSU (welcoming Oklahoma to Baton Rouge) and Vanderbilt (traveling to Texas) will all get opportunities to grab quality non-conference wins this weekend, Frank Martin's team has to avoid a bad home loss to Alabama.
As someone who favors late non-conference tests, I'm intrigued by how the SEC and Big 12's experiment might affect the Selection Committee's final selections.
The American Athletic Conference's total jumped to three, as Cincinnati joins Connecticut as at-large selections and Tulsa replaces Memphis as the auto bid owner for the week. Temple's win over tournament-ineligible SMU on Sunday adds the Owls to the limited list of at-large candidates in this conference, along with the Golden Hurricane. However, Fran Dunphy's team has some factors working in its favor if it can earn a split in its home-and-home with Tulsa, namely a season-sweep of Cincinnati and upcoming home games against both UConn and No. 1 seed contender Villanova.
Gonzaga's loss to Saint Mary's helped push the Bulldogs' RPI down to 65th. That puts their position, and the WCC's status as a multi-bid league, in peril. The Zags are now among the last four teams in.
On Friday, I'll return with my first look at which teams we can consider locks (hint: not many) and who is in play to claim the 36 at-large bids available with a little more than six weeks to go before Selection Sunday.