Zach Hayes is an editor, contributor and bracketologist for Rush the Court.
- Last Four In: NC State, Northwestern, Texas, Washington
- First Four Out: South Florida, Oregon, Arizona, Dayton
- Next Four Out: Miami, LSU, UCF, Massachusetts
(bold indicates auto bid, italics indicates a bubble team)
1 Seeds: Syracuse, Kentucky, Duke, Michigan State
2 Seeds: Missouri, Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio State
3 Seeds: Michigan, Marquette, Baylor, Georgetown
4 Seeds: Florida State, Louisville, Florida, Indiana
5 Seeds: Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Temple, Wichita State
6 Seeds: UNLV, Murray State, Vanderbilt, New Mexico
7 Seeds: Creighton, Kansas State, Gonzaga, San Diego State
8 Seeds: Saint Mary’s, Virginia, California, Iowa State
9 Seeds: Saint Louis, Memphis, Cincinnati, Harvard
10 Seeds: Connecticut, Mississippi State, West Virginia, Purdue
11 Seeds: Alabama, Southern Miss, Long Beach State, Seton Hall
12 Seeds: BYU, Xavier, Colorado State, Washington, Texas
13 Seeds: Northwestern, NC State, Middle Tennessee, Oral Roberts, Akron
14 Seeds: Iona, Drexel, Nevada, Davidson
15 Seeds: Belmont, Weber State, Valparaiso, Bucknell
16 Seeds: LIU Brooklyn, UT-Arlington, UNC-Asheville, Stony Brook, Mississippi Valley State, Savannah State
- Cincinnati is one of the more difficult teams to seed in recent memory. It really boils down to how much you believe the committee is going to weigh RPI/SOS relative to RPI top-50 wins. I tried to find a happy medium at a #9 seed. The Bearcats computer numbers are appalling (74 RPI, 114 SOS, 319 non-conference SOS) but no teams behind them in today’s S-Curve boast the same abundance of quality wins: at Georgetown, Louisville, at Connecticut, Notre Dame, Seton Hall with a 6-4 true road record and a 10-5 mark in the Big East. That’s an impressive portfolio for a supposed bubble team without even glimpsing at the RPI. One has to believe Cincinnati is in at 11-7.
- Missouri dropping from the third number one seed to the first number two seed after one loss may seem a bit harsh, but it’s more about what Duke and Michigan State have done than what Missouri hasn’t done. Duke and Michigan State played much more rugged non-conference schedules and currently lead their respective leagues. For example, Duke beat Michigan State, Kansas, Michigan, Washington, NC State, Belmont and Davidson along the way, not to mention true road ACC wins at North Carolina and Florida State. Duke may be the most flawed top seed in recent memory, but that shouldn’t alter any objective analysis of their resume to date. Missouri is hampered a bit by a #269 non-conference SOS and fewer quality wins throughout the season than either the Devils or Spartans. That can change with a win at Kansas on Saturday.
- All Oregon and Arizona can do is keep winning and let the dominoes fall as they may. Until a potential Pac-12 tournament meeting with either Cal or Washington, there’s no opportunity for even anything resembling a quality win remaining on the schedule. The Ducks visit rival Oregon State before finishing at home with Colorado and Utah while Arizona topped USC last night and end their schedule with UCLA and Arizona State. Playing in the Pac-12 this season limits chances to pick up scalps, especially after squandering nearly all of their marquee non-league games in November and December. Washington’s sweep of Arizona looms mighty large at the moment.
- The opposite is true with South Florida. The Bulls back-loaded schedule brings Cincinnati to Tampa this Sunday. Depending on how other bubble teams fare, USF may move into Monday’s field with a victory. A trip to Louisville and a home date with West Virginia prior to the Big East Tournament present even more opportunities. If Stan Heath’s team can win two games, it would be awfully hard for the committee to leave a 12-6 Big East team out of the field despite non-league losses to Auburn, Penn State and Old Dominion. USF boasts a 48 RPI, 28 SOS and 49 non-conference SOS.
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