Bracketology: Butler and undefeated San Diego State join Gonzaga and Duke as No. 1 seeds in updated bracket
There are some surprising teams on the top line in Jerry Palm's latest NCAA Tournament bracket projection
A new bracket projection is out and there is a fair amount of churning going on, which is to be expected this early in the season. Right now, each new game is a greater percentage of a team's total body of work than it will be as the season goes on, so there is a chance for it to have greater impact.
There are two new No. 1 seeds in today's bracket. West Virginia dropped out after a 60-53 loss at Kansas on Saturday. Butler and San Diego State each jumped up to the top line, while Baylor fell off despite not losing over the weekend.
The bracket is not a poll. A team does not automatically keep its spot just because it hasn't lost. Every new result is not the only thing affecting a team's profile. Each result by its opponents has an impact as well.
The Bears are behind Butler, a team they defeated 53-52 at home on Dec. 10. That is Butler's only loss so far this season, while Baylor has a loss to Washington. Butler has five Quadrant 1 wins this season, four of which have come away from home. Baylor has four wins total against teams in Quadrants 1 and 2, including this weekend's victory over Texas. Only the win over Villanova came away from home. The Bears only true road win came at Coastal Carolina in the Myrtle Beach Invitational.
Head-to-head results isn't nothing in putting a bracket together, but it also isn't everything. A one-point home win is not terribly decisive.
Bracketology top seeds
Reigning champs return to bracket: We welcome the 2019 NCAA Tournament champion Virginia back to the bracket after a 65-39 demolition of rival Virginia Tech on Saturday. The Cavaliers have a pretty sketchy profile. They have yet to beat a quadrant one opponent, and the only Q1 game they have played was a 69-40 blowout at Purdue. Virginia also has a Q3 loss to South Carolina, but those are their only losses and they do have five Q2 wins. This is not the kind of profile that you will find in a March bracket, but the pickings are kind of slim in January before we get deep into conference play.
March Madness for Rutgers? Rutgers has crawled onto the bottom of the bracket today as the last team in. The Scarlet Knights have not made an NCAA Tournament appearance since 1991. It may be difficult for Rutgers to hold onto this spot after the news on Saturday that their star point guard, Geo Baker, is out indefinitely with a thumb injury. Baker is the Scarlet Knights' second leading scorer and an 84% free-throw shooter.
Biggest jumps: The two biggest movers in the bracket this week are Marquette and Florida State, each of which picked up big wins over the weekend. Marquette took down Villanova 71-60 at home on Saturday, while Florida State went into Louisville and came away with a 78-65 victory. Nothing helps a profile more than wins over good opponents, especially on the road. Those games might not result in three-seed moves later in the season, but like I said before, each game matters more now.
The next bracket will be out Friday morning, and expect more chaos. It's been that kind of season.
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