- Each week this year, I'm going to compare my bracket to a notable one for use in the "Who's Overrated?" and "Who's Underrated?" portion. Since Lunardi's last bracket (as I'm writing this) was published Friday, that's of no use. So we'll go with Jerry Palm's, which is honestly kind of nuts this week.
- Generally speaking, I used a lot of the same weights as I discovered last week, which means that big wins are weighted much more heavily than bad losses, road wins carry very little weight, and RPI carries much more weight overall than I would prefer.
- I don't care what anybody says: I still have Florida as a No. 1 seed.
Tennessee (16-10) - Apparently catching fire late is going to be a Cuonzo Martin staple in Knoxville. (Good thing Missouri plays them in the last damn game of the regular season, then, huh?) Tennessee followed up on its ridiculous, 33-point thrashing of Kentucky with a home win over LSU and an overtime road win over Texas A&M. They've now won five in a row since an inexplicable home loss to Georgia, and while they are not in my Field of 68 yet, they're making up ground in a hurry.
North Carolina (18-8) - I called them underrated last week, and they responded by pretty easily handling Georgia Tech on the road and N.C. State at home. Since they got their doors blown off at Miami, they're 3-1, with a tight road loss to Duke (no shame there) the only blemish.
UNLV (20-7) - The Mountain West is good this year, and UNLV is catching fire despite the level of competition. Since the Rebels lost at Air Force by 15, they disposed of San Diego State (No. 20 in Ken Pomeroy's rankings) and Colorado State (No. 18) at home and destroyed sinking Wyoming by 23 in Laramie. They have risen from 44th in Pomeroy's rankings to 30th in about a week and a half.
Cincinnati (19-8) - I mean, they're probably not really on the bubble yet, but Mick Cronin's Bearcats have lost five of six. All five losses were to Pomeroy Top 60 teams, but a loss to Providence will never look great, nor will a 21-point loss at rising Notre Dame. They're 7-8 in the Big East, which isn't a disqualifier by any means, but ... let's just say it would be a good thing for them to beat UConn at home next Saturday.
Ole Miss (20-7) - This one probably doesn't need a lot of explanation. Since beating Auburn to move to 17-2, 6-0 in conference, the Rebels have lost five of eight, and they lost at South Carolina on Wednesday. Their 33-point obliteration of Auburn on Saturday suggests they might be ready to bounce back a bit, and they should be favored in each of their last four contests (which could get them back to 24-7, 13-5 in the SEC) but at this exact moment I think they're on the outside looking in.
Oregon (22-6) - On January 26, the Ducks were 18-2 and 23rd in Pomeroy's rankings. They lost three in a row, then won three in a row, but after a 48-46 home loss to California, they have sunk to 40th. A week schedule offsets their still-impressive record, and right now they might be stuck in 8-9 no man's land.
Notre Dame (22-6) - i mean, they're 22-6, and they've beaten Louisville and Pitt this month. I struggle to call them too overrated, but they do just rank 43rd in Pomeroy's rankings, and after those two wins, their most impressive showings were wins over teams like Kentucky and Villanova. In other words, I have no idea what to do with the Irish. Maybe they're not a "Who's overrated?" team so much as a "Who knows?" team.
The Atlantic 10 (St. Louis, Temple, UMass, Charlotte) - Honestly, I like most of these teams, but Jerry Palm has them all about 2-3 seeds higher than I do. That, and I still don't understand how Temple is supposed to be comfortably in. They've lost at home to St. Bonaventure, Duquesne and Canisius.
UCLA (19-7) - The Bruins did take out both Stanford and USC on the road this week, so they should certainly be in the Field of 68, I think. But Palm has them as a 7 right now, and I see a 10.
Middle Tennessee (25-4) - Call this a Pomeroy Special. If you are ranked 21st in his rankings, and you have a gaudy record like 25-4, you have earned respect. I had to talk myself out of making them an 8-9 seed, while Palm has them as a 13. Have they beaten anybody? Not really, no. But of their last four Sun Belt games, they have won three by at least 35 points. As I always say, you can learn as much about a team in the way they destroy bad teams as the way they play against good ones.
Minnesota (18-9) - There's no question that the Gophers are headed in the wrong direction right now. They have gont 3-8 in their last 11, but only one of those losses came to a team that isn't at least on the bubble (Northwestern), and their most recent win was against No. 6 (Pomeroy) Wisconsin. They're still 19th in the Pomeroy rankings, and I don't think they're quite in the 8-9 range just yet. The Gophers could do themselves a major favor by beating Indiana (unlikely) and Penn State (very likely) at home this week, though.
Louisville (22-5) - Palm has them a 4-seed. A 4! Absurd.
Florida (22-4) - Palm has them a 3-seed. A 3! Absurd.
Last Few In
Names in italics would be among the last in without their conference's automatic bid.
St. Mary's (23-5)
La Salle (18-7)
Iowa State (19-8)
Boise State (16-8)
Louisiana Tech (23-3)
First Few Out
Southern Miss (19-7)
Ole Miss (20-7)
Arizona State (20-8)
St. John's (16-10)
8 - Big East
7 - Big 10
5 - Atlantic 10, ACC, Big 12, Mountain West, Pac-12
3 - SEC
2 - Missouri Valley, West Coast
FIRST FOUR (in Dayton)
Villanova (17-10) vs. Maryland (19-8)
Temple (18-8) vs. Boise State (16-8)
N.C. Central (16-8) vs. Charleston Southern (13-10)
Northeastern (18-10) vs. Southern (17-8)
EAST REGIONAL (in Washington, DC)
1 Duke (23-3) vs. 16 Robert Morris (20-9)
8 Colorado (18-8) vs. 9 Missouri (19-8)
5 Colorado State (19-6) vs. 12 California (18-9)
4 Kansas State (21-5) vs. Temple / Boise State
in Kansas City
6 St. Louis (21-5) at 11 Iowa State (19-8)
3 Michigan State (21-5) vs. 14 Harvard (16-7)
in Auburn Hills
7 VCU (22-6) vs. 10 Belmont (20-6)
2 Louisville (22-5) vs. 15 Davidson (20-7)
WEST REGIONAL (in Los Angeles)
1 Michigan (21-4) vs. 16 Long Beach State (15-10)
8 Wichita State (24-5) vs. 9 North Carolina (18-8)
in Auburn Hills
5 Marquette (19-7) vs. 12 Akron (21-4)
4 UNLV (20-7) vs. 13 Stephen F. Austin (19-3)
in San Jose
6 San Diego State (18-7) vs. 11 Cincinnati (23-4)
3 Arizona (23-4) vs. 14 North Dakota State (18-8)
in Salt Lake City
7 Minnesota (18-9) vs. 10 Middle Tennessee (25-4)
2 Gonzaga (26-2) vs. 15 Weber State (18-5)
in San Jose
MIDWEST REGIONAL (in Indianapolis)
1 Indiana (24-3) vs. 16 N.C. Central / Charleston Southern
8 Creighton (22-7) vs. 9 Notre Dame (21-6)
5 Butler (21-6) vs. 12 Kentucky (19-8)
4 Syracuse (22-5) vs. 13 Bucknell (21-5)
6 Memphis (24-3) vs. 11 St. Mary's (23-5)
3 Georgetown (21-4) vs. 14 Stony Brook (19-6)
7 Pittsburgh (20-7) vs. 10 UCLA (19-7)
2 Kansas (23-4) vs. Loyola-Maryland (20-9)
in Kansas City
SOUTH REGIONAL (in Arlington)
1 Florida (22-4) vs. 16 Northeastern / Southern
8 N.C. State (19-8) vs. 9 Oregon (22-6)
5 Wisconsin (19-8) vs. 12 Villanova / Maryland
4 Oklahoma State (20-6) vs. 13 Louisiana Tech (23-3)
6 Ohio State (19-7) vs. 11 La Salle (18-7)
3 New Mexico (23-4) vs. 14 Valparaiso (21-7)
in Salt Lake City
7 Illinois (19-8) vs. 10 Oklahoma (18-8)
2 Miami (22-4) vs. Florida Gulf Coast (17-10)
My At-First-Glance Final Four
Second glance: Michigan State-Arizona-Indiana-Somebody Crazy. We'll say, like, N.C. State or something.
Missouri's inevitable path to destiny™ (ahem)
Colorado-Duke-Kansas State-Louisvile-Michigan-Florida. Ohhhhkaaaaay.