Zach Hayes is RTC’s resident bracketologist. He’ll be regularly out-scooping, out-thinking and out-shining Lunardi over the next three months.
Rather than wallow in my own pity after my Patriots were knocked out of the playoffs, it’s my duty here at RTC to provide our readers with another Monday morning bracketology. While the week was somewhat quiet due to the holiday, there were some significant upsets (Portland State!) and big wins (Texas winning in Madison) to shake up the bracket from last week’s edition. Once again, I took a still-developing RPI with a grain of salt and factored in non-conference SOS, but mostly I’m just digging through each team’s schedule to find quality wins/bad losses and comparing them to the other teams in the field for seeding.
As always, I mixed in a few upsets in the bracket for fun.
Some quick notes about the bracket:
- You might be thinking that Tennessee, Michigan State and UCLA are overseeded. While that may be true, I had to factor in each of those teams winning their respective conference tournaments before Selection Sunday, meaning they’d garner three significant wins and take the conference title.
- The four 1-seeds remained the same from last week: North Carolina, Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Oklahoma (I added the individual regions to the bracket and seeded these four teams closest to home).
- Texas received the final 2 seed with their road win over Wisconsin, slightly edging out Notre Dame.
- Baylor edged Syracuse for the final 4 seed. Baylor has a nice win over Arizona State and hung with Wake Forest while Syracuse’s three big wins- Florida, Kansas, Memphis– are all overrated.
- Biggest jump goes to Butler (10 to 7) while the biggest drop goes to Xavier (3 to 6). Butler won at Xavier on Monday.
- Kansas also took a three seed drop from 8 to 11 after their second half collapse at Arizona. Much like Illinois over Missouri, that was a very important game for a Kansas team looking for a signature win.
- Maryland continues to be boosted by their two wins over Michigan and Michigan State
- Portland State moves from a 15 seed to 14 seed with their shocking win over Gonzaga, with the Zags dropping to the last 3 seed on the table
Conference Winners: Vermont, Xavier, North Carolina, Belmont, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Portland State, VMI, Michigan State, Cal State Fullerton, VCU, Memphis, Butler, Cornell, Siena, Miami (OH), Hampton, Creighton, BYU, Quinnipiac, Austin Peay, UCLA, Navy, Tennessee, Davidson, Lamar, Alabama State, North Dakota State, Western Kentucky, Gonzaga, Utah State
Last Four In: California, Boston College, Kansas, Dayton
Last Four Out: Kentucky, Miami (FL), Cincinnati, Louisville
Departures: Murray State, Stetson
Arrivals: Austin Peay, Belmont
Bids per conference: Big East (8), ACC (7), Big 10 (7), Big 12 (6), Pac 10 (5), SEC (3), MVC (2), WCC (2), Atlantic 10 (2), MWC (2).
Not much change from last week in terms of the teams in the field. Next Sunday it could shake up a bit with all of these key bubble games:
Key Bubble Games for 12/29-1/5:
- Cincinnati at Memphis, 12/29- This would be a stellar win for Cincinnati, who are currently in the last four out.
- Seton Hall at Syracuse, 12/30- The Hall probably need wins over Syracuse and West Virginia to climb back into the picture.
- George Mason at Dayton, 12/30- Big game for Dayton in the bubble picture. If Mason should win this game, I may replace Vermont with the Patriots.
- Oklahoma at Arkansas, 12/30- Arkansas has a shiny record and zero good wins. This would qualify.
- Northwestern at Penn State, 12/31- Reaching here a bit, but you never know this early.
- UNLV at Louisville, 12/31- Louisville needs this game at home for a win over an NCAA team.
- USC at Oregon, 1/2- If USC wants to start creeping back, winning at Oregon is a good start.
- South Carolina at Baylor, 1/2- See Arkansas for South Carolina.
- Arizona at California, 1/2- Huge bubble game for both teams.
- Missouri at Georgia, 1/3- The Tigers cannot afford to slip up here.
- Tennessee at Kansas, 1/3- Believe it or not, KU is on the bubble. A win over 2-seed Tennessee would go a long way towards securing a bid down the road.
- NC State at Florida, 1/3- See Kansas for Florida. They’re lacking quality wins.
- Charlotte at Maryland, 1/3- If Maryland slips up here, they could be out of the field.
- West Virginia at Seton Hall, 1/3- Seton Hall needs this one at home.
- Washington at Washington State, 1/3- Washington State dropped from consideration for this bracket. This is the first step in working their way back.
- Creighton at Illinois State, 1/3- HUGE game in the Missouri Valley.
- Cincinnati at Marquette, 1/4- Cincinnati with another chance for a big win here.
- Kentucky at Louisville, 1/4- Biggest bubble game on the slate this week.
- Virginia Tech at Duke, 1/4- Virginia Tech can creep back into consideration if they can spring a huge upset at Cameron.
- Arizona State at California, 1/4- California is barely in. A win over Arizona State gives them more comfort.
- Arizona at Stanford, 1/4– Another big bubble game for Arizona.