Merry Sports Christmas, everyone!
The bubble is very close to being settled. Realistically, I’d say there are six teams in the running for three spots: Kansas State, USC, Rhode Island, Illinois State, Iowa, Syracuse. Rhode Island can take care of business and get off the bubble by beating VCU today.
Syracuse should not be in the tournament. Iowa has a better resume, and no one is even discussing the Hawkeyes as still being in the mix. They both have 5 Top 50 and 8 Top 100 wins. Iowa has better strength of schedule numbers, a slightly better RPI, and two less sub 100 losses (Syracuse has five sub 100 losses!) Additionally, Iowa has two road Top 50 wins (Syracuse has none). I think the 5 sub 100 losses and the 216th ranked non-conference SOS keeps the Orange out. (UPDATE: The numbers have changed slightly and Monmouth snuck back into the Top 50…so Cuse has 6 Top 50 wins. Penn State dropped out of the Top 100…so Iowa now has 7 Top 100 wins. Still, the point remains the same.)
To the 1 seeds, this is where I had the most difficulty. The case can be made for seven teams: Villanova (lock), Kansas (lock), Duke, UNC, Gonzaga, Arizona, Kentucky. That’s the order that I have them in.
No one is discussing Kentucky, but if you are going to consider UNC…don’t you have to include Kentucky? Both have 10 Top 50 and 17 Top 100 wins, and Kentucky beat the Heels in Vegas. Eventually, I think the Committee rewards UNC for winning the best conference in the country by two games.
And Duke? I’m still bitter about last night, but yeah…they are a 1 seed. They’ve played more six more Top 50 games than Gonzaga has played Top 100 games. Duke actually has won the same amount of Top 50 games (13) than Gonzaga has played Top 100 games.
So what can change today? Obviously Rhode Island could knock another bubble team into Dayton. The AAC and Big Ten title games will probably just result in a switch of seeds. In the AAC, the winner gets a 5, loser gets a 6. In the Big Ten, the winner gets a 6, loser gets a 7.
The bracket will be updated one final time this afternoon.
Last Four In: Xavier, Wake Forest, Kansas State, USC
Next Three: Iowa, Syracuse, Illinois State
1 Villanova vs. 16 New Orleans / UC Davis – Buffalo
8 Maryland vs. 9 Dayton
5 Iowa State vs. 12 Nevada
4 Notre Dame vs. 13 E. Tennessee St – Milwaukee
3 Louisville vs. 14 N. Kentucky – Indianapolis
6 Wisconsin vs. 11 Rhode Island
7 Miami vs. 10 S. Carolina
2 Oregon vs. 15 Texas Southern – Sacramento
1 UNC vs. 16 Mount St. Mary’s – Greenville
8 Northwestern vs. 9 VCU
5 West Virginia vs. 12 Vermont
4 Butler vs. 13 Princeton – Buffalo
3 UCLA vs. 14 New Mexico St – Sacramento
6 Virginia vs. 11 Vanderbilt
7 Wichita St vs. 10 Providence
2 Gonzaga vs. 15 Texas State – Salt Lake City
1 Kansas vs. 16 NC Central / S. Dakota St – Tulsa
8 St. Mary’s vs. 9 Seton Hall
5 Minnesota vs. 12 UNC Wilmington
4 Florida vs. 13 Winthrop – Orlando
3 Florida State vs. 14 Florida Gulf Coast – Orlando
6 SMU vs. 11 Michigan St
7 Virginia Tech vs. 10 Marquette
2 Arizona vs. 15 N. Dakota – Salt Lake City
1 Duke vs. 16 Jacksonville St – Greenville
8 Arkansas vs. 9 Oklahoma St
5 Cincinnati vs. 12 Kansas St / Xavier
4 Purdue vs. 13 Bucknell – Milwaukee
3 Baylor vs. 14 Iona – Tulsa
6 Creighton vs. 11 Wake Forest / USC
7 Michigan vs. 10 MTSU
2 Kentucky vs. 15 Kent State – Indianapolis