Champ Week is here and there is a lot on the line with conference tournaments on tap. Check out this week’s final bracketology report for the latest.
Champ Week is underway in college basketball with the major conference tournaments all set to tip off in the coming days. The end of the regular season saw a lot of movement, particularly on the bubble, as the bracket we will receive on Selection Sunday begins to take shape.
The picture has certainly become clearer than it was during last week’s Bracketology report since it looks like we can limit the chase for the No. 1 seeds to six teams and a pair of bid thieves were averted when Loyola-Chicago and Murray State won their conference’s automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament. Here’s a look at how things stand as of Tuesday afternoon, beginning with a glance at the Top 16 teams in the field.
NCAA Tournament Bracketology – The 4 No. 1 Seeds
Note: All teams currently leading their conferences or in possession of a bid to the NCAA Tournament were placed directly into the field as automatic qualifiers.
Gonzaga, Arizona, Baylor, Auburn
This grouping hasn’t changed since last week and the top two teams on the line are pretty much locked in. Gonzaga is vying for the WCC title tonight against Saint Mary’s and could wrap up the top overall seed with a win while Arizona is heavily favored to win the Pac-12 Tournament out in Las Vegas.
Baylor and Auburn held serve with perfect weeks and would be the favorites to stay on this line if they take care of business at their conference tournaments. The only other challengers to this group are Kansas and Kentucky, who would presumably supplant their conference counterparts with a better performance in Champ Week.
NCAA Tournament Bracketology – The 4 No. 2 Seeds
Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, Wisconsin
We talked about Kansas and Kentucky a minute ago so let’s look at the other two teams in this line. Duke’s case for a No. 1 seed likely went up in smoke after losing to North Carolina in Mike Krzyzewski’s final home game but they should remain secure on this line with a good showing in Brooklyn this week.
Wisconsin had a legitimate argument for a No. 1 seed if they could have followed up a Big Ten regular-season crown with a tournament title but Johnny Davis’ injury led to a loss against Nebraska that ended those dreams. Davis’ availability will be a big key to see if the Badgers can maintain a No. 2 seed throughout the Big Ten Tournament.
NCAA Tournament Bracketology – The 4 No. 3 Seeds
Villanova, Purdue, Texas Tech, Tennessee
The Boilermakers are down to their lowest point of the season as a No. 3 seed but can surpass Wisconsin on the second line if they knock off the Badgers in Indianapolis. Villanova is the No. 2 seed at the Big East Tournament but are the betting favorites at Madison Square Garden although Jay Wright will likely care more about ending up in Philadelphia as part of the East Regional, where the Wildcats could have de facto home games in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight.
Tennessee and Texas Tech also have a shot to move up the seed line by securing conference tournament titles. Neither path will be easy since Tennessee will likely have to deal with Kentucky and Auburn in the SEC while the Red Raiders may face a Baylor/Kansas path to the Big 12 crown.
NCAA Tournament Bracketology – The 4 No. 4 Seeds
Arkansas, UCLA, Illinois, Providence
The Razorbacks are the fourth SEC team in the Top 16 seeds and could make a push up a line if they can knock off LSU and Auburn in Tampa this week. UCLA is trending in the right direction after some mid-season struggles but the Bruins’ overall body of work may relegate them to being a very dangerous No. 4 seed on Selection Sunday.
Illinois does have some upward mobility as the top seed in the Big Ten Tournament with a relatively straightforward path to the final. The last team in the Top 16 is Providence, which edges out fellow Big East school UCONN on the strength of its regular-season title.