Somehow, the college basketball regular season is coming to an end. This weekend will see the final regular-season games played, as well as several conferences in the midst of their conference tournaments already. The power conferences will begin conference tournament play in just a few days. That means it is time to talk bubble and LWOS college basketball bracketology! As always, the bubble is more about how many losses you can avoid than how many games you can win.
LWOS 2020-21 College Basketball Bracketology 5.0
The Big Ten continues to lead the way with nine teams in the big dance, but that is significantly down from the 11 projected one month ago. Indiana and Minnesota have played their way out of the tournament entirely.
The ACC has picked up the pieces with seven teams finding spots in the tournament, including several on the bubble. The Big 12 also have seven teams in the tournament, which is remarkable for a 10-team league. All seven teams are top six seeds!
The SEC, Big East, and Pac-12 round out the power conferences with five, four, and four bids, respectively. With them, the Mountain West, Missouri Valley, American, Atlantic 10, and West Coast Conference all have multiple bids. Mid-majors are making out very well this year.
Gonzaga finishes the regular season undefeated to no one’s surprise. Now, with talks that the Bulldogs could opt out of their conference tournament, it looks very likely they will be the overall number one seed and undefeated come Selection Sunday.
Iowa holds serve as a three seed. They have had some really good wins and some puzzling losses, but that seems to be par for the course this year. The Hawkeyes would fall into a good spot here as a trendy Elite Eight pick. A showdown with West Virginia would be appointment television. These two will be jockeying between the two and three lines for the next week.
Colorado gets a lot of love here as a five seed. The Buffaloes always seem to surprise people. McKinley Wright is one of the best players that no one talks about and he has his team balling. They will be a really tough team to beat in the tournament, especially if they get hot from deep.
Maryland has continued its meteoric rise the last few weeks to a number nine seed. They climbed as high as eight before a bad loss to Northwestern this week. A team projected to finish 11th in the Big Ten now is a tournament lock and a team people do not want to play.
Baylor holds onto the number one seed here after losing it briefly to Michigan. The Bears came off a 23-day pause and really struggled for a week. They bounced back in a big way with a huge second half against West Virginia and a win over Oklahoma State. The only thing that has stopped Baylor all year is Covid. While we won’t get the undefeated Baylor vs Gonzaga matchup we all want, they still are very likely to meet up in early April.
Villanova is the three seed in this region but just got some bad news. Star guard Collin Gillespie has been ruled out for the rest of the year with a torn MCL. It is a really tough loss for a talented Wildcats team. On the bright side, the return of Bryan Antoine now is hugely important. They will still be a tough out.
Wisconsin continues their slide down the seed line checking in as a six seed here. With them, Tennessee finds itself as a seven seed. Both teams spent time on the three and four lines this season, but now just can’t find wins. They are experienced and still have time to right the ship but it has to happen fast.
On the other hand, Connecticut continues to climb the seed line as a nine seed. The Huskies are on a roll lead by superstar James Bouknight. Guard play wins in March and anyone that has seen Connecticut in March with a good guard knows that is a deadly combination…
Michigan holds serve as the third overall one seed. They spent about 24 hours as the second overall one seed but that quickly changed after a drubbing by Illinois. The Wolverines are still a really solid team, just one that has some chinks in its armor.
This would definitely be considered the region of death as Ohio State, Florida State, and Kansas fall in line as two, three, and four seeds, respectively. Michigan would not be happy about this. The Buckeyes have sputtered of late but still are one of the best in the country. The Seminoles are slowly figuring it out and have the depth and talent to make a deep run. The Jayhawks started really slow but they have turned it around including an impressive win over Baylor.
The North Carolina Tar Heels clock in as a ten seed and have *probably* locked up a spot in the tournament. They had a big win over Florida State but then sputtered and struggled with Syracuse. They still need to finish the year strong but will be dancing.
Finally, Michigan State enters the field as an 11 seed. They seemed to be hopeless one month ago but a bunch of ranked wins and good basketball got them in the field. Unfortunately for them, they lost to Maryland and Michigan and have one more matchup with the Wolverines before the regular season closes. Work is still left to be done!
The Fighting Illini have been balling lately! Ayo Dosunmu has missed time with a facial fracture but the Illini have beaten Michigan and Wisconsin handily without him. The role players are playing like stars and that bodes well for the return of Dosunmu. Illinois is a team that can make a very deep run in March.
Arkansas is up to a three seed in our latest installment of LWOS bracketology 5.0. They have won seven straight with the last loss coming on January 30th and don’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Arkansas is for real and Eric Musselman deserves real Coach of the Year praise.
Another program that deserves some awards is Oklahoma State. The Cowboys lead by Cade Cunningham have played themselves into a four seed with really good wins over Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Texas. Mike Boynton also should get some Coach of the Year love.
Rutgers also checks in as a nine seed. They tried to end a long tournament drought last year but the tournament was canceled. This year, they seemed to have a spot locked up but have struggled down the stretch. They are still likely in, but another win or two would ease a lot of tension in Piscataway.
Finally, Western Kentucky is in as a 13 seed here. They will be a very popular upset pick as a double-digit seed that can make some noise. Shout out, Rick Stansbury!
Colorado State, Memphis, Boise State, and Duke are hanging on by a thread. The Mountain West has two teams here and will likely lose one of them to an early conference tournament exit. Duke has suffered two heartbreaking overtime losses to tournament teams last week making them the last team in the field of 68. They have a lot of work left to do. On the other hand, Memphis has been red hot of late and played themselves in. They have a huge game against Houston on Sunday that can solidify their tournament bid.
The first four out include Ole Miss, Syracuse, Xavier, and Utah State. Ole Miss has picked up the pieces of some bad SEC teams down the stretch. They have a real path to the tournament if they can win a few games in the SEC tournament. That does not seem too difficult as that conference is wide open. Syracuse is on the bubble yet again. What a surprise! They had big wins over North Carolina and Clemson last week but have more work to do. Xavier got their signature win over Creighton but there is much more to be desired. Finally, Utah State is the odd Mountain West team out. They could easily surpass Boise State or Colorado State but right now their resume is just a touch worse.
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