Here’s a tip, kids — never bracket when tired and/or sick. I made a mistake and didn’t get all my team sheets refreshed last night, so as a result I left Marquette out of the equation entirely. They are back in now, so please, people of Milwaukee, accept my apologies.
Now that the sheets are refreshed, there hasn’t been that much shifting since yesterday. Here are the notable changes:
- I’ve still got Duke on the 1 line (in opposition to most of the rest of the bracketing world at this point), but I believe their recent play, combined with their predictive rankings and quality of wins, will land them there on Sunday, barring an unforeseen upset in the ACC tournament, or someone right below them getting hot. I did move Xavier back to the 1 line, so now Kansas is the 5th overall team on the S-curve.
- Wichita State and Gonzaga both felt underrated to me, so they’re up a bit, at the expense of Texas Tech.
- St. Mary’s ended up both hurting and helping themselves yesterday. The loss to BYU bumped BYU up to a Tier 1 win for St. Mary’s, although that may go away quickly given how badly Gonzaga obliterated the Cougars in the WCC title game. Meanwhile, St. Mary’s overall resume looks pretty bad. Lots of wins against nobody of note, and I’m not sure their power rankings are going to save them. Right now they’re still in, but if some bubble teams get hot, I could see them sliding into the play-in games…or out of the field entirely.
Last Four In: Oklahoma State, Marquette, USC, UCLA
I heard Lunardi say that Oklahoma State needed to beat Kansas again to even have a shot. I don’t understand why. They have seven wins against at-large caliber teams in the field, and their losses are all tier 1 or tier 2. Plus they have a season sweep of a team that’s a borderline 1 seed. Their power metrics are slightly lower than some of their bubble competitors, but what other bubble team features that kind of resume? None. As for the rest — Marquette deserves their current place here, but needs to avoid a bad loss in the Big East tournament. Like, don’t lose to DePaul on Wednesday. That would be a bad idea.
First Four Out: Louisville, Syracuse, Providence, Alabama
Syracuse won a game they couldn’t afford to lose, so…good for them. That’s not going to be enough, since Wake Forest is a tier 3 win. Louisville will probably move past both USC and UCLA if they can beat Florida State on a neutral floor. Providence and Alabama have ample opportunities to play themselves in.
Next Four Out: LSU, Boise State, Utah, Penn State
Instead of talking about who’s on this list, let’s talk about who isn’t: Notre Dame. For some reason, the Irish have become the cause celebre of Joe Lunardi this week as a potential at-large. While I would never say anything is impossible with the NCAA selection committee, it’d be pretty surprising if they somehow vaulted the Irish past a bunch of teams that have actually played decently during conference play and placed them in the tournament. Even a win vs Virginia Tech tomorrow probably won’t be enough to get the Irish into the last 4 in.