Bracketology: Auburn makes a big jump after its win over Kentucky and time is running out for UNC
The Tigers jumped up to a No. 3 seed in Jerry Palm's latest NCAA Tournament bracket projection
It was not a bad weekend to be a No. 1 seed for the third weekend in a row. However, there was plenty of chaos below that.
In particular, the top of the Big East had a bad day on Saturday. Seton Hall, Villanova and Butler all lost at home. Villanova's loss to Creighton was the only one to a team that had been in the Friday bracket. Xavier's win at Seton Hall pushed the Musketeers into the field for now. All three of the top Big East teams dropped in the bracket.
In fact, Xavier is a No. 9 seed, as is Wisconsin, which also went from first four out on Friday to in the field of 68 today. The Badgers also got a big win, defeating Michigan State at home despite being without two starters. Wisconsin's second leading scorer Kobe King quit the team on Wednesday and guard Brad Davison was suspended because of a flagrant foul at Iowa.
Texas, Texas Tech and Saint Louis dropped out to make room, and you are probably wondering if I forgot how to count, since that is three teams dropping out and only two moving in. Tulsa also joined the party, but only as an automatic qualifier as the current leader of the American Athletic Conference. Their profile is not quite ready for at-large status, so in a sense, this is Tulsa stealing a bid.
Bracketology top seeds
Auburn gets big bump: The biggest win of the weekend came for Auburn, which beat Kentucky at home for the Tigers first win of the season over a likely NCAA Tournament team. Auburn has a gaudy record, but not much in the way of real quality wins. That changed on Saturday and moved the Tigers up two lines in the bracket. There is still work to do, but it is hard to resume build in the SEC where there are only three likely tournament teams. Another one or two will undoubtedly make it, but the bubble is strong with the SEC.
Rough weekend for ACC: The same is true in the ACC, where the bubble teams had yet another bad weekend. Virginia Tech, NC State and Syracuse each lost at home albeit to one of the league's top three teams Those are not bad losses, but rather lost opportunities to make a move up in a conference that not providing nearly as many of those chances as usual.
The big news in the ACC though was the return of freshman Cole Anthony to the lineup. He did not start, but scored 26 points in 26 minutes of action. However, the Tar Heels lost at home again, this time to Boston College. Time is starting to run out on North Carolina, which sits at 10-11and is not in the field of 68. The Heels have a great opportunity this week, with games at Florida State and at home vs. Duke.
Big win for BYU: After squeezing out an 81-79 win over St. Mary's, BYU was poised to jump the Gaels in the bracket. However I did not have a way to put the Cougars as a No. 10 seed without scheduling the Cougars to play Sunday. So, I swapped them back to give BYU a Thursday-Saturday path through the tournament.
Sneak peek set for Saturday: The NCAA Tournament selection committee will host its Bracket Reveal show Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET on CBS. Committee chairman Kevin White, the athletic director at Duke, will give us the committee's top 16 teams through Friday's games. I will fill in the rest of the bracket as we discuss what the field might look like five weeks and a day before Selection Sunday.
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