Bad results last week have cost UCLA and North Carolina valuable positioning in the latest edition of FanSided’s bracketology report.
What a difference a week can make in the world of college basketball. UCLA had surged onto the top line of last week’s Bracketology report following a three-win homestand that included a huge home victory against Arizona and two more triumphs without star Johnny Juzang.
Seven days later, the Bruins got swept in their Arizona trip, including a disastrous triple-overtime loss to an Arizona State unit that entered the game with a 6-13 record. That poor performance obviously sent UCLA tumbling down the S-curve, but how far will be revealed in this week’s Bracketology report.
Note: All teams currently on top of their conference standings received automatic qualifier status into the projected field.
NCAA Tournament Bracketology: The 4 No. 1 Seeds
Gonzaga, Auburn, Arizona, Purdue
Auburn and Gonzaga remain locked on top of the bracket with the Bulldogs passing the Tigers as the top overall seed thanks to a more dominating performance of late. The Boilermakers also maintained their position on the top line after a perfect week in the Big Ten.
The last team on the one-line is Arizona, which put together an impressive display by sweeping UCLA and USC at home last week. The Wildcats continue to demonstrate why they should be a title threat out of the Pac-12.
NCAA Tournament Bracketology: The 4 No. 2 Seeds
Kentucky, Kansas, Texas Tech, Baylor
It’s a Big 12 party here on the 2-line with Kansas, Texas Tech and Baylor all landing in this range. The Jayhawks have no shame in losing a tough road game to Texas while the Red Raiders’ recent surge has given them their highest seeding yet.
Getting blown out at Kansas isn’t a great look for Baylor but their overall body of work keeps them on the two-line for now. The best team in this grouping is Kentucky, which is pushing Arizona and Purdue for a spot on the top line.
NCAA Tournament Bracketology: The 4 No. 3 Seeds
Duke, UCLA, Providence, Houston
This tier is the landing spot for UCLA, which has title-winning upside but now has to carry the anchor of a loss to Arizona State on its resume. Time will tell if the Bruins can recover with few Quad 1 opportunities left ahead of the Pac-12 tournament.
Providence surges into this tier after another excellent week while Houston keeps winning against subpar AAC competition. Duke stumbles after a loss to Virginia on Monday night, which demonstrated yet another example of the Blue Devils’ bad habit of playing down to subpar competition.
NCAA Tournament Bracketology: The 4 No. 4 Seeds
Illinois, Wisconsin, Marquette, Villanova
Illinois and Wisconsin provide Big Ten representation here as they both continue to make strong pushes for a Top-3 seed. Villanova isn’t a vintage edition of the Wildcats but Jay Wright’s team has enough good results along with quality schedule metrics to warrant a spot on this line.
The last spot goes to surging Marquette, which has gone 9-1 in its last 10 games with the lone loss coming by a bucket at Providence, and passed Michigan State after the Spartans lost by 21 at Rutgers over the weekend. The Golden Eagles haven’t exactly been feasting on cupcakes either, racking up sweeps of Villanova and Seton Hall while also picking up victories over the Friars and Xavier.
NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch: The last 4 byes
Oregon, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, BYU
The teams stumbling in this group are Oklahoma and BYU, with the Sooners struggling in a loaded Big 12 while BYU got blown out by Gonzaga after taking a disastrous loss to Pacific. Both of these teams are trending in the wrong direction with a few weeks left in the regular season.
The Ducks still have the stench of some bad non-conference losses to overcome but a huge road sweep of UCLA and USC has them in a good spot to move up the S-curve in the coming weeks. Notre Dame has a bad loss at Duke last week but has quietly stacked up wins in the ACC, including victories over fellow bubblers Miami and North Carolina, to go along with a December win over Kentucky that is the headliner of this resume.
NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch: The last 4 teams in
Florida, San Diego State, Miami, UAB
If you looked up bubble team in the dictionary, Florida would be the picture you’d see as their resume and metrics are perfectly average with a few good wins and one disastrous loss at home to Texas Southern, making this spot in the bracket a perfect place for them. San Diego State is struggling in the tough Mountain West but they do deserve a spot in the field alongside high-achieving mid-major UAB, which has to keep stacking wins in a bad Conference USA.
The last team in the field right now is Miami, whose entire resume at this point basically comes down to beating Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Losses to Notre Dame and Virginia last week hurt the Hurricanes badly as they now stare down a critical trip to Wake Forest on Saturday as their last opportunity to add another Quad 1 win to their resume.
NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch: The first 4 out
Mississippi State, Creighton, Saint Louis, Belmont
The Bulldogs have maintained their place right now but need to find ways to add marquee wins to their ledger to offset a horrendous non-conference strength of schedule. Creighton is in a similar boat as Mississippi State, albeit one with wins over Villanova and UCONN right now.
The two high-achieving mid-majors in this grouping are Saint Louis and Belmont, which have solid metrics and decent NET numbers out of leagues that aren’t very deep. Avoiding landmine losses is critical for teams in this kind of position, something the Billikens and Bruins have done a good job with at this point.
NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch: The next 4 out
North Carolina, Washington State, Utah State, Stanford
We went over North Carolina’s situation in detail over the weekend but unlike what certain other outlets would have you believe, going 0-7 in Quad 1 games and surrendering nearly 90 points per game in those losses is disqualifying for at-large consideration. The Tar Heels basically have to find a way to either win at Duke or pick up a few Quad 1 wins in the ACC Tournament to justify their inclusion in the field.
Washington State and Stanford remain afloat as the Pac-12’s best shot at a fifth bid, with the Cougars entering the week on a five-game winning streak with plenty of Quad 1 opportunities ahead while the Cardinal did sweep USC to go along with solid scheduling metrics. Utah State is the presumptive fifth team out of a strong Mountain West but their overall resume needs the infusion of Quad 1 wins over teams like Wyoming, San Diego State and Boise State (all of which come on the road) to get out of this territory.
- Big 12: 7
- Big Ten: 7
- SEC: 7
- Big East: 6
- ACC: 4
- Pac-12: 4
- Mountain West: 4
- WCC: 4
For more NCAA basketball news, analysis, opinion and features, check out more from the FanSided college basketball section to stay on top of the latest action.