Selection Sunday is just two weeks away. Ahead of us are conference tournaments and a whole lot of nail-biting. LWOS Bracketology 5.0 is here with an update that will now come in a weekly fashion leading up to the official bracket reveal.
Here is Bracketology 5.0.
LWOS Bracketology 5.0
The Big Ten has come back to Earth a bit with just nine teams in the tournament now. It would seem unlikely for any other teams to enter the field, although Purdue is holding out a small bit of hope. The Big East is definitely the most impressive conference with seven of its ten members in the field, and another just barely on the outside looking in. Finally, don’t look now but the ACC is up to 5 teams.
This is the first bracket with Kansas as the overall number one seed after earning a tough win in Waco over Baylor. Kansas appears to be in a good position to hold onto this seed and regain its Big 12 crown. There are very few situations that would take Kansas off the one line at any point, so the Midwest region appears to be theirs.
This region is loaded. Duke, Seton Hall, and Michigan State round out the top four seeds. All three of these teams, as well as Kansas, have been discussed at length as title contenders. A Sweet 16 of Kansas versus Michigan State and Duke versus Seton Hall would burn Indianapolis to the ground. Myles Powell versus Tre Jones and Devon Dotson versus Cassius Winston? Yes, please.
Intriguing lower seeds here include Illinois, Virginia, and Utah State. All three have the talent to win several games in March. Undoubtedly, this region is the region of death. The winner will be a survivor. Tough draw for Kansas, to say the least.
Baylor remains in the same region as a one seed and just loses the number one overall spot. It would be shocking for them to be anywhere other than the South as a one seed. Although that long winning streak ended to the Jayhawks, Baylor battled and looked every bit as good as Kansas. They will have a good chance to cut down some nets.
Florida State, Villanova, and Penn State round out the top four seeds in the South. Florida State appears to be the ACC regular-season champion, Villanova is rolling, and Penn State is dangerous. The Seminoles seem to have the most firepower of this group and have a nice path to face Baylor in the Elite 8.
Providence and USC are part of the First Four as 12 seeds here and they are interesting. Both have looked awful at times and great at others. If either gets hot, they can advance past the first weekend. Both have great bigs that would make for a fun showdown with Luka Garza and Iowa.
Gonzaga also holds on to their spot after losing to BYU. Again, it is very unlikely the one seed in the West is anyone other than Gonzaga. They showed some weaknesses in that loss, but they are still extremely talented.
Maryland, Kentucky, and Auburn round out the top four in the West. There may not be another team in the country as hot as Maryland. They have a clear path to a one seed in the East, all they have to do is continue to knock down threes. Kentucky and Auburn are quietly playing really solid basketball and have enough talent to make deep runs.
This region is filled with solid mid-majors. BYU, East Tennessee State, and Liberty are all capable of making runs. BYU showed their offensive firepower versus Gonzaga and have an absolute stud in Yoeli Childs. Liberty had success last year and returns most of its roster, including future pro Caleb Homesley. East Tennessee State is one of the deeper teams in the nation with eight players averaging more than 17 minutes per game. The Buccaneers are becoming a March Madness stalwart.
San Diego State hangs on to their number one spot even with a loss. The only teams that have made a case to pass them are Maryland and Dayton but they both need to do just a little bit more.
Dayton, Louisville, and Creighton round out the top four in the East. Creighton is an interesting case. They have improved throughout Big East play and seem to be on a nice hot streak as we head to March. Greg McDermott’s teams can always score the ball and will be a force to be reckoned with.
Other notable teams here are Ohio State and Florida, checking in as a five seed and seven seed respectively. Ohio State suffered an awful drought in the middle of Big Ten play, but have recovered and regained most of their steam. They can really defend and have some great players. On the same token, Florida is starting to heat up. A preseason top-five team, the Gators were awful early on. However, they throttled LSU and are starting to look like the team we expected. No one will want to see Mike White and the Gators in a winner take all situation.
Let’s just say the committee has its work cut out. The top 16 teams are fairly obvious. Once you get to the nine to eleven seed range, it becomes quite difficult. The last four teams in are Wichita State, North Carolina State, USC, and Providence. The last three have secured some major wins in the last few weeks. Wichita State has sputtered a bit but saved themselves with a close win over Temple. They have more work to do.
The first four out are UCLA, Richmond, Stanford, and Georgetown. UCLA is red hot and tied for first in the Pac-12. They should enter the field if they continue their streak. Richmond just needs to keep winning and hope there are no bid stealers. Stanford and Georgetown need some extra help.
LWOS Bracketology wraps up its fifth bracket. Be sure to fill it out and find your champion. It will only help when the official one comes out. Bracketology 6.0 will be here next week as we enter Championship Week. Buckle up!
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