Welcome to February! Solely six weeks till choice Sunday and so much can nonetheless occur in that point.
A few weeks in the past, the NCAA introduced that as a result of the event was going to be held totally in a single location, the bracket could be pushed by the S-Curve as a substitute of geography. Due to convention separation guidelines although, it would nonetheless be unattainable to keep away from making modifications that throw off the S-Curve. The bracket I posted Monday got here closest to a pure S-Curve for the highest 4 seeds. I solely needed to swap Texas Tech with Virginia Tech. In any other case, the highest 16 groups are completely snaked.
Bracketology prime seeds
Huge Ten and Huge 12 account for 16 groups in bracket
The Huge Ten nonetheless leads all conferences with 9 groups within the bracket. That quantity has been regular for a few weeks now. The Huge 12 has been fairly regular as nicely with seven. Due to a surge in play by Oklahoma, a No. 3 seed, all seven groups are within the prime 5 seeds within the bracket. That isn’t sustainable over time although.
Particularly, Kansas has hit the skids. The Jayhawks misplaced their fourth sport of their final 5 outings on Saturday at Tennessee. Kansas acquired smoked 80-61 and dropped to a No. 5 seed. Nevertheless, as a result of all six losses are in Quad 1, together with 4 wins, all of which have come in opposition to different groups within the bracket, the Jayhawks slide down the bracket has been gradual. Their 10 Quad 1 video games are matched solely by Maryland. Sooner or later, and sooner slightly than later, Kansas has to show issues round. Energy of schedule can solely carry a staff to date.
One other staff inexplicably falling aside is Clemson. The Tigers acquired off to a 9-1 begin this season with wins over Alabama, Purdue and Florida State. Their solely loss got here at Virginia Tech. Nevertheless, after per week and a half off as a result of COVID, Clemson has misplaced 4 of their 5 video games and acquired annihilated in every of these video games. The one win got here at dwelling to Louisville, a staff within the bracket, and the Tigers are a No. 8 seed within the newest bracket.
Considerably like Kansas, Clemson is holding on as a result of the truth that whereas the margins are ugly, the groups which can be beating the Tigers usually are not. In contrast to Kansas although, two of these are at Georgia Tech and Duke. These are Quad 1 losses, however neither staff is within the bracket.
Three undefeated groups left
We at the moment are down to only three undefeated groups after Winthrop took its first loss Friday at UNC Asheville. Gonzaga and Baylor have led the bracket because the begin. The third staff is Missouri Valley chief Drake. The Bulldogs are 14-0 after an extra time win in opposition to Illinois State on Sunday.
Drake continues to be a No. 10 seed within the bracket as a result of its energy of schedule is poor, rating at 269 within the NET. Half of The Bulldogs’ wins have come in opposition to This fall groups. They do have 4 Q2 wins, a pair every at Missouri State and Indiana State.
Most groups Drake will play within the MVC is not going to assist that a lot, nevertheless it does host Loyola-Chicago for 2 video games Feb. 13 and 14. The Ramblers are within the “first 4 out” within the newest replace.
I’m positive you may have seen that each of these groups are extremely rated within the NET. Take into account that the NET is closely influenced by margin of victory, however the committee doesn’t give attention to that a lot in relation to choice and seeding. A staff’s particular person rating is just not practically as necessary because the rating of its opponents. If all you may have is an effective rating, you don’t have anything.
There are three extra issues to think about concerning the NET this season particularly. First, despite the fact that the 2019 event noticed the debut of the NET because the NCAA’s main metric, this 12 months’s model has been modified from the one used that season. Additionally, there have been a lot fewer video games performed to date. We’re nearly 4 weeks behind in comparison with the variety of video games performed in a standard season. Early January numbers, that are what these are corresponding to, usually are not price getting too enthusiastic about.
Lastly, the NET and different formulation have a house/highway/impartial consideration in-built that could be thrown off some by video games being performed in entrance of few or no followers. That won’t be capable of be measured, however it’s one thing the committee might have to think about.