Protected Seed Summary (Teams 1-16)
I am doing my best here to be mindful of what the committee’s Bracket Reveal show taught us all last month. It gets tougher and tougher by the day, as several of those teams have lost. And some of the next set of teams (17-25) have achieved some key results. LSU had the big win at Kentucky last week, and after Kentucky’s blowout over Tennessee at the exact same venue, LSU comes away looking the most impressive after the week.
I have Tennessee edging out Gonzaga still on the seed order, mainly becuase of the head to head victory over the Zags in Phoenix. They also each have a blowout road loss on their resume now, so that is somewhat of a wash.
Texas Tech has managed to emerge into the Top 16 for now, with 12 Quadrant 1/2 wins and no losses to teams outside of the below Top 32. The Red Raiders NET rating of 10 won’t hurt them either. Each of the 5-seeds are close, very close.
Middle of the Field (Teams 17-40)
Iowa has a geographical DREAM draw here, and that was all done not purposely, but actually by following the procedures. There are slim hopes for Hawkeye fans that the route from Des Moines to KC to Minneapolis could actually come to fruition. But if and when we see further shake ups with the two seeds for example, the dream will fade quickly. In today’s bracket, Kansas City just happened to have the only bottom half of a bracket without a Big Ten during placement, which gave the Hawkeyes the green light. As a whole, teams 15-25 are really tight right now, and you can make solid arguments against my order today for a line up or down. Today’s placement is where I think the committee would theoretically place them.
Wofford has made a leap up into the “In Safely” column. The Terriers are on a tear, pun intended. Their resume is basically dead even with Washington except for the NCSOS, which gives the Huskies a very slim advantage. The next debate would be if teams with great wins coupled with ugly losses should be above UW or Wofford? I believe that the committee prefers the clean resumes over the likes of Baylor, Syracuse, and Seton Hall for now. Wofford and UW both possess great Away records as well. This situation is as fluid as it gets and if we are in a situation like this on Selction Sunday - it would be a hot debate in the committee room.
Auburn would also be controversial to be placed at 38, with a NET of 24. But I cannot move the Tigers above any of the teams above them currently until they start winning quality games on the road and/or get deeper help with losses from the teams above.
Bubble Trouble (41-48, and Knocking on the Door)
The Bubble picture actually recieved a little bit of good news for once, as some of the cutline teams actually won over the weekend. In fact: ASU, Oklahoma, and Temple all won on the road. This is the kind of clarity weve desperately needed for a while. But it is still ugly. The two stolen bids from Davidson and Bowling Green are really helping me, and I am sure the committee wouldn’t mind a few bid thieves at selection time.
Florida picked up a good win at Alabama, who also is now squarely in the bubble mix. That’s the problem, if Alabama is a bubble team, then how good of a win was that for Florida in the bigger picture? Time will tell. But I left the Gators out of the field because of a 3-5 road record and with zera wins against Quad 1A (top half of Quad 1).
Furman is incredibly tempting to select. I actually like their results more than Florida, UCF, and Clemson. However. The NCSOS ranking of #279 is just way to big of a hurdle historically to get one of the final bids. Paladins will likely need to beat Wofford this upcoming week and hope more bubble teams lose to have a realistic shot at selection. I’d like to seed Furman as a 10 seed or higher in order to feel safe. I won’t feel safe placing them in Dayton, based on history.
The Rest (49-68)
Drake is in the field today. A team I was fortunate to cover in December when they defeated Rider. Coach DeVries has been sensational all year on building a quality roster with no time, and especially for keeping this team focused after the awful injury news to star guard Nick Norton. Watchout for the Bulldogs during Arch and maybe even March Madness.
Radford took a tough loss to Charleston Southern over the weekend, drops them down into a very dangerous 15-seed position for today. Hofstra’s stunning loss at 9-win UNCW over the weekend was enough to knock them down to the 13-seed area. New Mexico State benefits from that and now is a 12-seed in San Jose.
SEED LIST 1-68