It’s time for a special edition of the Bracket Report. For the rest of this week, we’ll be starting off every morning with an updated view of the bracket, accounting for the wins and losses of the previous night. Here’s where we stand as of Sunday morning, March 4:
REARRANGING THE ICING: Kansas and Michigan State have landed the third and fourth 1 seeds in our latest bracket. Why not North Carolina? Well, the Tar Heels have worse numbers than Michigan State, almost across the board. And yes, North Carolina has “looked better” in abstract, but that’s been against a significantly weaker ACC — and, frankly, a Duke team that’s highly inconsistent and a bit overrated. if Michigan State loses today to Ohio State, then UNC probably slips by them, but I still think that the Spartans are a better resume choice than North Carolina. Elsewhere, Ohio State falls to eight on the S-curve, so they get plopped into Kentucky’s bracket.
MY FRIEND THE UPSET: Personally, I’m looking forward to some upsets, just to knock the bottom of the bubble out of contention. I’ve chuckled at the TV talking heads talking about Northwestern, Seton Hall, Virginia, and Colorado State being in trouble — folks, they’re all in. The quality of the bubble is so bad that our lower-level play-in game consists of Texas and Arizona, neither of whom should be sniffing the tournament in a normal year. So the thought here is that upsets need to start happening in otherwise one-bid leagues. We lost one of those on Saturday when Murray State held on to win the Ohio Valley Conference. We’ve got another one on the slate today, as Creighton (who’s in regardless) faces off against Illinois State. Haters of bad bubble teams, root vociferously for the Redbirds! There are a few other possibilities – Harvard *might* warrant an at-large (although I doubt it), Long Beach State *might* warrant an at-large (again, doubt it), and…well, that might be it for the smaller conferences. The next chance at knocking out bad bubble teams might be upsets in the Mountain West, A-10, and Conference USA.
LAST FOUR IN/OUT: My last four in were (in order) Seton Hall, St. Joseph’s, Arizona, and Texas. I’m not impressed with any of these teams, but they have a better case than the first four out which are Xavier, Miami, South Florida, and UCF. It’s a very fluid situation, though. Xavier has been in every field I’ve put together so far, but their continued struggles against subpar competition were finally too much to handle. Of the “out” group, I think Xavier’s got the best chance of moving back up. For the curious, the next four out were Oregon, Tennessee, VCU, and Illinois.