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Bracketology Seed List For Thursday, March 7, 2019

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Today’s update features a swap of ACC teams at the cut line. Plus, I write a bit about what I’m considering when I put together a bracket.

NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Notre Dame
Clemson returns to the field at the expense of N.C. State.
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notes:

  • Auto bid holders in this section are noted by the conference names in parentheses.
  • Arrows indicate movement up or down the seed list (down to the spot on the seed list). This is relative to Wednesday’s seed list.
  • New entrants are marked with an asterisk.
  • For at-large candidates only, the numbers in parentheses after the team’s name are as follows: record vs. D1 opposition/record in Quad 1 and Quad 2 games/record in Quad 1 games only. Records reflect games played through Wednesday, March 6, while NET data reflects games played through Tuesday, March 5. I pulled the quality win info from WarrenNolan.com’s selection sheets.

No. 1 Seeds

(1) Virginia Cavaliers (ACC) (27-2/15/10) - WASHINGTON, D.C. - Columbus 1
(2) Gonzaga Bulldogs (WCC) (29-2/11/4) - ANAHEIM - Salt Lake City 1
(3) Kentucky Wildcats (25-5/14/10) - LOUISVILLE - Columbus 2
(4) Duke Blue Devils (26-4/14/8) - KANSAS CITY - Columbia 1

No. 2 Seeds

(5) North Carolina Tar Heels (25-5/15/8) - LOUISVILLE - Columbia 2
(6) Tennessee Volunteers (26-3/13/7) - WASHINGTON, D.C. - Jacksonville 1
(7) Michigan Wolverines (26-4/17/8) - KANSAS CITY - Des Moines 1
(8) Michigan State Spartans (23-6/15/10) - ANAHEIM - Des Moines 2

No. 3 Seeds

(9) LSU Tigers (SEC) (24-5/16/9) - KANSAS CITY - Tulsa 1
(10) Houston Cougars (27-2/13/4) - ANAHEIM - Tulsa 2
(11) Kansas Jayhawks (22-8/15/10) - LOUISVILLE - Salt Lake City 2
(12) Purdue Boilermakers (Big Ten) (22-8/15/7) - WASHINGTON, D.C. - Jacksonville 2

No. 4 Seeds

(13) Texas Tech Red Raiders (25-5/15/5) - KANSAS CITY - San José 1
(14) Virginia Tech Hokies (22-7/10/4) - ANAHEIM - Hartford 1
(15) Florida State Seminoles (24-6/12/6) - LOUISVILLE - Hartford 2
(16) Marquette Golden Eagles (23-7/14/9) - WASHINGTON, D.C. - San José 2

The top 16 remains the same as Tuesday’s, even in the same order, despite LSU’s overtime win at Florida and Marquette’s collapse at Seton Hall. Much of my reasoning here goes back to the Selection Committee’s February 9th bracket reveal. Their two previous attempts provided plenty of insight about how they seed teams and those results have been applicable to the final bracket.

Both Virginia Tech, currently 12th, and Texas Tech, now 10th, are in both the NET top 16 and the bracket’s top 16 at the moment, but they’re still seeded lower than what their rankings would indicate. So what gives?

In the case of both, relatively weak non-conference schedules kept them out of the February sneak preview altogether and a seed line lower than their NET rankings would predict at the moment. In recent history, the Committee tends to use the negative aspects of teams’ profiles as a differentiator when teams have a similar record. For example, going back to the sneak preview, the 7th-ranked team sitting among the No. 3 seeds, that’s Houston. While the records had, and still have, a record worthy of a 1 or 2 seed, when you dig into the Cougars’ profile they don’t have the high-quality wins to match. But what about Gonzaga you ask? Well, the Bulldogs have a win over a top five team, Duke, on a neutral floor. And there really isn’t a type of win that the Committee has valued more highly than that. Houston’s best win, on the other hand, came against 13th-ranked LSU at home.

Similarly, Virginia Tech is ranked ahead of Florida State despite the Seminoles’ head-to-head win on Tuesday night and FSU’s better quality win totals because of another flaw—the Hokies’ worst loss came on the road at the currently 49th-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions (who are ranked that highly despite a losing record, something they’ll have to address with the NET in the offseason), while FSU has two road losses against teams ranked outside of the top 100, the Boston College Eagles and Pittsburgh Panthers. Similarly, LSU’s trio of Quad 2 losses, with two of those coming in Baton Rouge, keep them on the three line at the moment. Michigan State also has two Quad 2 losses, but only one of those came in East Lansing.

That’s how small the margins can be at the top of the bracket.

No. 5 Seeds

(17) Kansas State Wildcats (Big 12) (23-7/12/7)
(18) Wisconsin Badgers (20-9/13/8)
(19) Villanova Wildcats (Big East) (22-8/15/4)
(20) Maryland Terrapins (21-9/12/6)

While Kansas State could have jumped into the top 16 with Marquette’s loss, the Golden Eagles’ body of work/profile is still just a little bit better, and not just because of a head-to-head win over the Wildcats. While the two teams are now next to each other in the NET, at 26th and 27th, Marquette still has two more Quad 1 wins than K-State. Making matters worse for the Wildcats, their three Quad 2 losses are slightly worse than the pair the Golden Eagles have, with road losses to non-contenders Texas A&M and Tulsa really standing out as red marks.

No. 6 Seeds

(21) Mississippi State Bulldogs (21-9/11/8)
(22) Cincinnati Bearcats (25-4/10/4)
(↑23) Nevada Wolf Pack (27-3/8/1)
(↑24) Wofford Terriers (SoCon) (23-4/7/3)

No. 7 Seeds

(↑25) Buffalo Bulls (MAC) (26-3/7/2)
(↓26) Iowa State Cyclones (20-10/9/5)
(27) Iowa Hawkeyes (21-8/11/4)
(28) VCU Rams (A 10) (24-6/6/2)

Iowa State is in a bit of trouble at the moment. Not only are the Cyclones only 2-5 in their last seven after last night’s 90-75 loss at West Virginia, but they also played without Marial Shayok, who injured his left foot due to the repercussions of a physical practice. While Shayok should return soon, he may miss Iowa State’s regular-season finale, a visit from Texas Tech. And considering Iowa State has already lost three games at Hilton Coliseum this year, an unexpected total, his absence could spell trouble.

No. 8 Seeds

(↑29) Auburn Tigers (20-9/12/2)
(↑30) Washington Huskies (Pac-12) (24-6/8/2)
(↑31) Oklahoma Sooners (19-11/10/4)
(↑32) Louisville Cardinals (19-11/8/4)

No. 9 Seeds

(↓33) Baylor Bears (19-11/12/4)
(34) Syracuse Orange (19-11/8/3)
(35) Ole Miss Rebels (19-11/6/4)
(36) UCF Knights (22-6/7/1)

Baylor dropped a full seed line after a bad 67-64 Quad 3 home loss to Oklahoma State.

No. 10 Seeds

(37) Utah State Aggies (MW) (24-6/4/2)
(↑38) Seton Hall Pirates (17-12/11/5)
(↑39) Texas Longhorns (16-14/9/5)
(↑40) Minnesota Golden Gophers (19-11/10/3)

Seton Hall jumps all the way up to the 10 line following last night’s rally against Marquette. Texas also moves up to the 10 line, thanks in part to Florida’s loss to LSU and Ohio State’s blowout defeat at the hands of the Northwestern Wildcats. That snapped NU’s 10-game losing streak. Again, given the Committee’s recent track record, there’s a good chance teams like Seton Hall, Texas, and Indiana will be seeded relatively highly as their quality wins will offset their loss totals.

No. 11 Seeds

(↑41) St. John’s Red Storm (20-10/10/6)
(42) Belmont Bruins (OVC) (24-4/5/2)
(43) Lipscomb Bisons (ASUN) (22-6/3/2)
(↑44) Florida Gators (17-13/7/3)

St. John’s gets a slight bump, again because of their six Quad 1 wins, while Florida keeps falling. Failing to get a shot off in the final possession of overtime could really come back and bite the Gators, particularly with a road game against Kentucky set for Saturday.

No. 12 Seeds

(↓45) Arizona State Sun Devils (20-9/10/3)
(↓46) Ohio State Buckeyes (18-12/8/4)
(↑47 - First Four) Indiana Hoosiers (15-14/7/6)
(↓48 - First Four) TCU Horned Frogs (18-12/7/2)
(↑49 - First Four) Temple Owls (21-8/6/1)
(*50 - First Four) Clemson Tigers (18-12/6/1)

Ohio State is now 2-5 in its last seven and the Buckeyes’ early wins over Cincinnati and Creighton are doing a lot of work in terms of keeping them afloat. Indiana moves up to the top of the quartet bound for Dayton, with the Hoosiers’ recent struggles slightly weighing down their high total of marquee wins. Clemson jumps in to replace N.C. State, following the Tigers’ narrow victory at Notre Dame and the Wolfpack’s bad home loss to shorthanded Georgia Tech.

First Four Out (NIT No. 1 Seeds)

(↓69) N.C. State Wolfpack (20-10/7/2)
(↑70) Creighton Bluejays (16-13/9/3)
(↓71) Alabama Crimson Tide (17-13/9/2)
(↑72) Furman Paladins (21-6/4/1)

Even though Creighton needed overtime to beat the Providence Friars at home, the Bluejays still won, and move closer to the cut line as a result.

Next Four Out

(↑73) Butler Bulldogs (16-14/8/2)
(↑74) Oregon Ducks (18-12/4/1)
(↑75) Murray State Racers (23-4/1/0)
(↓76) Liberty Flames (23-6/3/1)

By getting blown out by the DePaul Blue Demons, 101-69, the Georgetown Hoyas (18-12/9/3) were Wednesday night’s biggest bubble losers, so they’re now out of the First Eight Out group and will need to win the Big East Tournament to dance.

No. 13 Seeds

(51) New Mexico State Aggies (WAC)
(52) Old Dominion Monarchs (C-USA)
(53) Vermont Catamounts (America East)
(54) Hofstra Pride (CAA)

No. 14 Seeds

(55) UC Irvine Anteaters (Big West)
(56) South Dakota State Jackrabbits (Summit)
(57) Harvard Crimson (Ivy)
(58) Montana Grizzlies (Big Sky)

No. 15 Seeds

(59) Georgia State Panthers (Sun Belt)
(60) Loyola Chicago Ramblers (MVC)
(61) Wright State Raiders (Horizon)
(62) Colgate Raiders (Patriot)

No. 16 Seeds

(63) Sam Houston State Bearkats (Southland)
(64) Campbell Fighting Camels (Big South)
(65 - First Four) Iona Gaels (MAAC)
(66 - First Four) Prairie View A&M Panthers (SWAC)
(67 - First Four) Norfolk State Spartans (MEAC)
(68 - First Four) St. Francis (Pa.) Red Flash (NEC)

The final 18 teams are unchanged again.

Conference Ranking With Seeds

Note: Auto bid holders are denoted by asterisks.

Big Ten (9): 2. Michigan, 2. Michigan State*, 3. Purdue, 5. Wisconsin, 5. Maryland, 7. Iowa, 10. Minnesota, 12. Ohio State, 12. Indiana (First Four)
ACC (8): 1. Virginia*, 1. Duke, 2. North Carolina, 4. Virginia Tech, 4. Florida State, 8. Louisville, 9. Syracuse, 12. Clemson (First Four)
Big 12 (8): 3. Kansas, 4. Texas Tech, 5. Kansas State*, 7. Iowa State, 8. Oklahoma, 9. Baylor, 10. Texas, 12. TCU (First Four)
SEC (7): 1. Kentucky, 2. Tennessee, 3. LSU*, 6. Mississippi State, 8. Auburn, 9. Ole Miss, 11. Florida
American Athletic (4): 3. Houston*, 6. Cincinnati, 9. UCF, 12. Temple (First Four)
Big East (4): 4. Marquette, 5. Villanova*, 10. Seton Hall, 11. St. John’s
MW (2): 6. Nevada, 10. Utah State*
Pac-12 (2): 8. Washington*, 12. Arizona State

Auto Bid Selection Procedures

If a team has already clinched the top seed in its conference tournament, it will be the league rep here until eliminated in said event. For every other league, I’m still using each conference’s tiebreaker procedures to determine auto bid holders.

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