Nice week for Mizzou, to say the least. Let's see how they shape up in the latest bracket. But first...
As always, I'll compare my bracket to two main sources: Joe Lunardi and Jerry Palm. Lunardi because he's the most prominent, Palm because he's the best. One problem this week: not only did Lunardi (as always) post his bracket on Friday, before the weekend games, but Palm's weekly bracket was drawn up (one time only) on Thursday. So we're not going to delve too deeply into overrated/underrated this week.
Duke - Really, this is just a casualty of timing. I'm pretty sure that either or both Lunardi and Palm will drop Duke from their spot as a 2-seed. Of all the candidates for a 1- or 2-seed, Duke has the worst record over the last 12 games and the fewest road/neutral wins. Plus, at 4.5 Top 50 wins (I count #1-25 wins as 1 win, #26-50 wins as 0.5), they don't really distinguish themselves in that regard either.
Miami-FL - Let's just say that a 4-7 conference record doesn't get you an 8- or 9-seed from me. And their #47 RPI doesn't do enough to balance that out. It doesn't even get you into my bracket at all.
Georgetown - Still somehow a 10-seed in Palm's bracket. They're 4-8 in the Big East! And at this point they're only 13-10 overall. This is not a tourney team right now.
Kansas State - I'm more than happy for another Big 12 team to make the field, but everything good in KSU's resume has come in the last month. They have only 1.5 Top 50 wins, their loss to Oregon looks wretched right now, and their RPI is currently #76. If they keep playing well, they'll probably play themselves in, but...they're not in yet.
UCLA - Like Duke, they'll probably fall on people's brackets soon, but in the meantime an 8-4 Pac 10 record and only 2.5 Top 50 wins does not earn them a 4-5 seed.
Texas - They righted the ship somewhat this week (though...letting CU take you to OT? Eh?), and they're definitely in, but I still don't quite think they're in the 8-9 seed range.
Ohio State - Minor qualms here. The Buckeyes definitely are a tourney team, but I don't think they've done enough to earn the 5- (Lunardi) and 6-seed (Palm) they're currently granted. A 7-5 conference record, #26 RPI, and only 2.5 Top 50 wins get them more like a 7-seed for me.
Florida State - While Miami-FL, Virginia Tech and possibly Boston College are a bit overrated right now, the 'Noles most certainly are not. They're 19-6 with a 6-4 ACC record, 8 wins in their last 12 games, 3.0 Top 50 wins, and 7.5 Road/Neutral wins. That screams "5-seed" to me, but Palm (6) and Lunardi (7) disagree.
BYU - Another week goes by, and the Cougs are as confounding as ever. They're only one game behind Utah in the Mountain West loss column, and at 18-5 with a #35 RPI and 7.5 road/neutral wins, I think they're an 8-9 seed right now. Both Palm (10-seed) and Lunardi (12) have them in this week, but I think they should probably be a little more comfortable than they are.
Arizona - Good week for the 'Cats, who went from right on the borderline to safely in this week by running their win streak to seven games with a sweep of the So Cal schools (USC, UCLA). Of course, Lunardi (11-seed) and Palm (11) still see them as pretty unsafe, but that was before the easy weekend win over UCLA.
West Virginia - Lunardi's seed for WV (12) is almost the same as their RPI rank (13). That's insane. They're 17-8 with 2.0 Top 50 wins and a decent 6.5 Road/Neutral wins (hell, Mizzou's only got 5.0). Oh yeah, and #13 in the RPI. I think they're a #7-9 and Palm (8) agrees.
Davidson - Assuming they don't collapse with Stephen Curry's sprained ankle (a murderous injury for most jump shooters), they're in, but commentators are trying to pretend like they need to win their conference tourney to be sure. I don't see it. They've predictably got great Road/Neutral and L12 numbers thanks to their Southern Conference slate, but beyond that they also have fewer bad losses (really only one--to 17-7 Coll of Charleston the other night) than supposedly safer teams like Utah or Boston College.
Temple - They're not in yet, but at 15-9 with a #34 RPI, 8.5 Road/Neutral wins (Road = 1, Neutral = 0.5), and a 9-3 record in their last 12 games, they're getting a lot closer to the bubble than they were a couple weeks ago.
Utah State - Yes, they lost to Boise, and no, they're not more than an 8-9 seed at best right now. But they're 23-2, they have a #33 RPI, and I love Stu Morrill, so I'm going to keep them on the underrated list.
Xavier - This one is picking nits. I think they've done enough to solidify a 3-seed, but Palm and Lunardi both have the Musketeers at a 4. No biggie.
Who's just right?
Once again, the 1-seeds are super easy: UConn, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh. Michigan State is locking in a 2-seed, while Clemson and Memphis are close. Aaaaaand that's about it. Everything else is still pretty up in the air.
Last 8 In
San Diego State
Keep in mind, though, that come Championship Week some conference tourneys will produce surprise winners...meaning the last couple on the "In" list would probably actually be out.
First 8 Out
St. Mary's (in last week, not in the First 8 Out this week) is tumbling quickly, while Nebraska, ATM and Baylor are all still far pretty far from the borderline. Oh yeah, and Seth Davis...Notre Dame: still nowhere close to the bubble.
Lowest RPI for an "In" team: #59 Kentucky
Highest RPI for an "Out" team: #34 Temple
ACC - 8
Big East - 7
Big Ten - 6
Pac 10 - 6
SEC - 5
Big 12 - 4
Mountain West - 4
Atlantic 10 - 2
When all's said and done, I don't see the ACC getting 8 in (especially considering BC, Miami and Virginia Tech are all close to the borderline), I don't see the Mountain West getting 4 in (SDSU and UNLV slipped 1 seed this week to 11), and I don't see the Big 12 only getting 4 in. But right now that's how it shakes down.
Meanwhile, I have no idea what to make of the SEC. They get more teams in than the Big 12, but nobody's higher than a 7. Kentucky and South Carolina need to tread very carefully over the next couple of weeks.
Missouri and Wake Forest were battling for the final West 3-seed, and...well, I gave it to Mizzou. Sue me.
Funniest quadrant: Villanova "getting" to travel to Portland...with Gonzaga, UNLV and Weber State.
East Regional (Boston)
1 UConn vs 16 Morgan State
8 LSU vs 9 BYU
5 Illinois vs 12 Boston College
4 Kansas vs 13 VCU
6 California vs 11 San Diego State
3 Duke vs 14 Robert Morris
7 Ohio State vs 10 South Carolina
2 Memphis vs 15 Cornell
(in Kansas City)
West Regional (Glendale, AZ)
1 Pittsburgh vs 16 Play-In Winner (CS Northridge / Alabama State)
8 Utah State vs 9 Davidson
5 Washington vs 12 Siena
4 Wake Forest vs 13 Buffalo
6 Arizona State vs 11 Miami-FL
3 Missouri vs 14 UA-Little Rock
7 Tennessee vs 10 West Virginia
2 Michigan State vs 15 Jacksonville
South Regional (Memphis)
1 North Carolina vs 16 Radford
8 Syracuse vs 9 Texas
5 UCLA vs 12 Wisconsin
4 Butler vs 13 American
6 Purdue vs 11 Kentucky
3 Xavier vs 14 Binghamton
7 Utah vs 10 Virginia Tech
2 Louisville vs 15 North Dakota State
Midwest Regional (Indianapolis)
1 Oklahoma vs 16 Sam Houston
8 Minnesota vs 9 Florida
(in Kansas City)
5 Florida State vs 12 USC
4 Marquette vs 13 Creighton
6 Gonzaga vs 11 UNLV
3 Villanova vs 14 Weber State
7 Dayton vs 10 Arizona
2 Clemson vs 15 UT-Martin
My At-First-Glance Final Four
Memphis, Michigan State, North Carolina, Oklahoma.
Second glance: UConn, Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Oklahoma.
Missouri's inevitable path to destiny™ (ahem)
UA-Little Rock, Arizona State, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Memphis, North Carolina.