Believe it or not, Selection Sunday is a little more than three weeks away. Crunch time has arrived for teams looking to make the tournament. LWOS Bracketology 4.0 gives the latest update on what the bracket would look like today. You can find the previous bracket here to compare.
Here is the fourth edition of the bracket.
LWOS Bracketology 4.0
The Big Ten continues to look as though it will break its record for teams in the tournament. The conference is represented by 10 teams in Bracketology 4.0. The Big East follows behind that with six teams represented. The Big 12, ACC, and Pac 12 each have five teams in the bracket. The last few weeks have hit the SEC hard with the conference having just four teams in the latest projection. The American, Atlantic 10, and WCC each have three teams. The Mountain West puts two teams in, with Utah State sneaking in. That gives mid-majors seven at-large bids.
For the third consecutive projection, Baylor holds the top overall seed. The Bears are in the midst of a 23-game winning streak. That streak will be put to the test against Kansas. If Baylor sweeps the season series from the Jayhawks, it will be hard to make an argument for any other team to take the top seed.
Arizona State makes its first appearance in our projections. The Sun Devils have been red hot over the last few weeks. Bobby Hurley’s team now finds itself in the thick of the Pac 12 title race. As long as Arizona State can sustain this success, they should find themselves sitting pretty in a few weeks.
East Tennessee shows up as an eleven seed in this region. The Buccaneers are playing well enough to earn an at-large bid should they need it. With their huge victory over Furman this week, they regained control of the Southern Conference. Do not be surprised if you see two teams from the SoCon represented this year.
Kansas has moved up to the second overall seed. The Jayhawks have not lost since their defeat to Baylor a month ago. As mentioned above, Kansas gets its chance at revenge in their next game. A Jayhawk win will create a huge debate as to which of those Big 12 members should be rewarded with the top overall seed.
Despite a small losing streak by Seton Hall and a blowout loss by Duke to NC State, both teams held steady as protected seeds. The Pirates and Blue Devils still have overall bodies of work that merit their rankings. As we mentioned in Bracketology 3.0, that would be an epic Sweet 16 matchup.
LSU looked like they were going to surprise in the SEC again this season. The Tigers were the last team to lose to a conference foe in the league. However, Will Wade and company have continued to drop seed lines after multiple conference losses. Still, given the multitude of players lost after last year’s Sweet 16 run, Tiger fans will take what they have seen so far this year.
Gonzaga dropped to the third overall seed by virtue of Kansas’ winning streak. It is not a knock on the Bulldogs, as they continue to take care of business against WCC opponents. They will get their final big test on the road at newly ranked BYU before more than likely coasting into the conference tournament.
Louisville lost back to back games to Georgia Tech and Clemson, which pushed them down to the three-line. The Cardinals continue to be paced by Jordan Nwora. When he is playing well, Louisville usually wins. An off-night by Nwora in March may cause an early exit for the Cardinals from the tournament.
The defending national champions have found their way back into the bracket. Virginia found itself out of the bracket for a while during a rough stretch back in January. The Cavaliers are safe for now. However, they need to continue to win the games they are supposed to in order to keep pace.
San Diego State sits three wins away from finishing the regular season undefeated. The Aztecs continue to roll through their Mountain West foes. The only remaining question is where the committee will place them if they end up taking their first loss in the conference tournament.
Another team that has been surging is Creighton. The Bluejays have picked up road wins at Villanova and Seton Hall to give themselves a chance at a Big East title. More importantly, it has put Creighton into the discussion for a protected seed. This may be a team no one wants to see in their bracket in March.
The most intriguing matchup in this region is Kentucky drawing Stephen F. Austin. The Lumberjacks already upset Duke this season. It would be quite an accomplishment if Stephen F. Austin could find a way to beat two blue-bloods in the same season.
We have reached the point of the season where bubbles will begin to burst. A loss now may mean the difference between being an NCAA team versus an NIT team. The last four teams in are Cincinnati, Utah State, NC State, and Richmond. NC State had been sitting on the outside for a while, but their huge win over Duke pushed them just inside the cut line.
The first four teams out are Purdue, Georgetown, Mississippi State, and Stanford. Stanford has played poorly over the last few weeks and has watched its bubble continue to shrink. The Cardinal needs to rebound in a big way to get back into the field.
LWOS Bracketology 4.0
LWOS Bracketology concludes for the fourth time this season. As always, play around with the bracket projections to see how you feel about the matchups. Tell us who should be in or out, and look out for our next edition of bracketology.