After a chaotic week which saw teams near the top of the bracket losing almost every night, there are some changes in the latest bracket update.
Purdue and Alabama are still the top two overall seeds. Both were tested this week but came away with wins. Kansas State remains on the top line despite a loss at Iowa State. Arizona moved up to a No. 1 seed after Kansas lost at Baylor for its third straight defeat.
There are now six Big 12 teams in the top 16. There are no instructions as to how to specifically place the teams beyond four from one conference in that group, but I tried to pair them so they would be in opposite halves of their regional brackets. I also had to do some shuffling among the three and four seeds to get the bracket to be reasonably balanced. That is why a few teams may look like they are in regions farther from home than you might expect.
Bracketology top seeds
Check out Palm's latest bracket, full field of 68 and all the teams on the bubble on the Bracketology hub.
SEC-Big 12 Challenge to impact bracket
The final SEC-Big 12 challenge is Saturday and I have always enjoyed this interconference challenge more than the others because it happens in the middle of conference play.
There are some important games as always in this challenge, led by Kansas at Kentucky. This is big for both teams. No 2 seed Kansas is trying to stop the aforementioned three-game skid, while Kentucky, a No. 10 seed, continues to look for marquee wins to add to their pretty thin tournament resume.
It is unfortunate that Alabama was not placed in a game with a more reliable top 15 team than Oklahoma. A trip to Baylor would have been a better matchup. These pairings are put together before the season starts though, so things do not always work as planned.
Keep in mind that this event is just for bragging rights for a day. Even if the SEC ends up going 10-0, the Big 12 is still the best conference this season by a lot. These interconference challenges are fun, but have no value in deciding which league is better because it's just one non-conference game out of a dozen or so and because the matchups don't always match up well.
Keystone State clash in First Four
In the First Four is a matchup of No. 11 seeds Pittsburgh and Penn State. That's a fun rivalry game, but it just happened organically. The First Four never gets messed around with when it comes to the matchups. It's the last two teams in against each other and then the two teams above them paired off.
Also, there is no place on the No. 11-line to put the Pitt-PSU game without the winner possibly facing a team from its own conference. The committee could live with that as well if it is completely unavoidable.