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Bracketology: Gonzaga is pushing for No. 1 seed, but it’s not there yet

While last week’s lineup disappointed, its results still managed to shake the bracket up.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Seton Hall vs Gonzaga Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The top four teams from last Tuesday’s projectionVillanova, Baylor, Kansas, and Kentucky — remain in place after the epic week that wasn’t. But there are some changes below the surface, as still-perfect Gonzaga joins the two-line after Saturday’s resounding home win over Saint Mary’s. The Bulldogs sit behind UCLA and ahead of Butler and Florida State.

The North Carolina squad that topped the Seminoles on Saturday jumped up to the three line, partially due to the win. Louisville, Oregon, and West Virginia join the Tar Heels, with new ACC leader Notre Dame, Florida, Virginia, and Creighton rounding out the Top 16. However, the Blue Jays suffered at least a temporary blow in yesterday’s win at Xavier when point guard Maurice Watson injured his knee.

After today’s full bracket and rundown, I’ll take a quick look how muddled the rest of the projection is currently.

New York (Fri/Sun) San José (Thu/Sat) Memphis (Fri/Sun) Kansas City (Thu/Sat)
Buffalo (Thu/Sat) Indianapolis (Fri/Sun) Tulsa (Fri/Sun) Tulsa (Fri/Sun)
1. Villanova (Big East) 1. Kentucky (SEC) 1. Baylor 1. Kansas (Big 12)
16. New Orleans/Morgan State 16. UC Irvine/LIU-Brooklyn 16. Weber State (Big Sky) 16. Texas Southern (SWAC)
8. Virginia Tech 8. Iowa State 8. Indiana 8. Dayton
9. Northwestern 9. VCU 9. Middle Tennessee (C-USA) 9. Michigan
Milwaukee (Thu/Sat) Salt Lake City (Thu/Sat) Orlando (Thu/Sat) Milwaukee (Thu/Sat)
5. Xavier 5. Arizona 5. Duke 5. Cincinnati (American)
12. UNCW (CAA) 12. New Mexico State (WAC) 12. Richmond (A 10) 12. Valparaiso (Horizon)
4. Virginia 4. Creighton 4. Florida 4. Notre Dame (ACC)
13. Monmouth (MAAC) 13. Illinois State (MVC) 13. Chattanooga (SoCon) 13. Akron (MAC)
Buffalo (Thu/Sat) Greenville (Fri/Sun) Greenville (Fri/Sun) Sacramento (Fri/Sun)
6. South Carolina 6. Wisconsin 6. USC 6. Purdue
11. Rhode Island/Marquette 11. Nevada (MW) 11. Clemson/Texas Tech 11. Seton Hall
3. West Virginia 3. North Carolina 3. Louisville 3. Oregon (Pac-12)
14. Princeton (Ivy) 14. Vermont (AE) 14. FGCU (A-Sun) 14. Winthrop (Big South)
Orlando (Thu/Sat) Sacramento (Fri/Sun) Indianapolis (Fri/Sun) Salt Lake City (Thu/Sat)
7. Saint Mary's 7. SMU 7. Maryland (Big Ten) 7. Minnesota
10. Michigan State 10. Miami 10. California 10. Pittsburgh
2. Florida State 2. UCLA 2. Butler 2. Gonzaga (WCC)
15. Bucknell (Patriot) 15. North Dakota St. (Summit) 15. Georgia Southern (SB) 15. Belmont (OVC)
To Buffalo (Tue.) To Indianapolis (Wed.) To Greenville (Wed.)
16. New Orleans (Southland) 16. UC Irvine (Big West) 11. Clemson
16. Morgan State (MEAC) 16. LIU Brooklyn (NEC) 11. Texas Tech
To Buffalo (Tue.)
11. Rhode Island
11. Marquette


ACC: 10 Pittsburgh (38) Chattanooga Arkansas
Big Ten: 8 Michigan State (39) Illinois State Boise State
Big East: 6 Miami (40) LIU Brooklyn ETSU
Big 12: 5 Seton Hall (41) Marquette FDU
Pac-12: 5 LAST FOUR IN Monmouth Hampton
A 10: 4 Rhode Island (42) Morgan State Harvard
SEC: 3 Clemson (43) Nevada Marshall
American: 2 Marquette (44) Princeton Oakland
WCC: 2 Texas Tech (45) Richmond Rider
One-Bid: 23 FIRST FOUR OUT UC Irvine UC Davis
TCU Valparaiso Wichita State
Kansas State
Ohio State
Wichita State

Also considered: Boise State, Georgia Tech, Houston, Iowa, La Salle, Memphis, Oakland, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, St. Bonaventure, Temple, UCF, UT Arlington, Wake Forest

This week’s conference breakdown nearly matches the one in my midseason conference-by-conference forecast from Friday. The lone exceptions: the SEC has three bids, not four with that spot going to the Big Ten for the moment. For the record, the Big Ten’s strange season continues with its eight teams all sitting between lines six and 10 in this field.

It’s simply going to take a strong performance over the final two months to get a team like Purdue, Wisconsin, or current leader Maryland into the protected seed places — though collapses by contenders from the ACC, Big East and Big 12 could do the trick, too. Remember that all three of those conferences have at least three teams in the top 16.

Marquette is the only new at-large entrant this week, as the Golden Eagles replaced Arkansas despite Monday afternoon’s loss at Butler. They, Texas Tech and struggling Clemson and Rhode Island make up the First Four, with Seton Hall, California, Pittsburgh and (gasp) Michigan State holding on to the final four spots in the First Round proper.

While the Golden Bears look to be on the upswing, the Panthers and Pirates have lost more than they’ve won of late, while the Spartans gave Ohio State its first Big Ten win of the year on Sunday. But thanks to the lack of quality of the bubble so far this year, all three hold on to their places for the moment.

While this week doesn’t have the marquee lineup the last one did, there’s still plenty to look out for. Florida State hosts Notre Dame on Wednesday and visits Louisville on Saturday, and later that afternoon, there’s a crucial Pac-12 showdown between Arizona and UCLA at Pauley.

Otherwise, there will be plenty of opportunities for teams in the middle of the bracket and bubble to improve their standing (Michigan at Wisconsin on Tuesday; Florida-South Carolina and TCU-Texas Tech on Wednesday; Atlantic 10 leader Richmond’s excursion to Dayton and Cal’s visit to Oregon on Thursday; Creighton-Marquette, West Virginia-Kansas State, South Carolina-Kentucky and Wisconsin-Minnesota, among others on Saturday).

On Friday, I’ll be back with an early look at the race for the four No. 1 seeds.