After No. 1 seed Kentucky lost at Tennessee on Tuesday, I had intended to move Purdue into the Wildcats' spot as on the bracket, assuming the Boilermakers would beat Northwestern on Wednesday. Purdue did win, but after further review, I have decided to put Kansas on the top line instead. The Jayhawks have a better resume in large part due to the fact that they played their usually difficult non-conference schedule. Also, Purdue's losses are not as good.
The Boilermakers just finished a stretch of six games in 15 days, which is more than any other potential at-large team over that same span. For comparison, Auburn and Kansas only played four games each during that same time period. You can understand why Purdue, which remains a No. 2 seed in the bracket, has looked a little flat lately.
Fortunately for the Boilers, the grind slows down now. The games won't get any easier though. Red-hot Rutgers is next.
Bracketology top seeds
Check out Palm's latest bracket, full field of 68 and all the teams on the bubble on the Bracketology hub.
Rutgers works its way into field of 68
Speaking of Rutgers, the Scarlet Knights have been on a remarkable run and are in the bracket for now as a No. 11 seed. It remains to be seen if they can finish the job.
Rutgers' season reminds me of Wisconsin in 2015-16. Greg Gard took over in mid-December as an interim coach after the retirement of Bo Ryan. The Badgers were struggling then and continued to do so until they went on a tremendous run to finish the season. Wisconsin won 11 of 13 and ended up third in the Big Ten. The Badgers overcame a whopping five Quad 3-4 losses to find a spot in the field. They also had six Quad 1 wins, with three coming on the road.
Back then, the term "quadrant" was not in use and the RPI was the metric of choice for the NCAA, so things are a little different.
If you define quadrant as the first grouping of teams on the NCAA reports, even though that definition has changed over time, 14 teams in the last 15 pre-pandemic seasons were left out with at least six Quad 1 wins. Indiana had six and missed the field in the only NET-based pre-pandemic tournament, which was 2019. The year before, LSU had seven Quad 1 wins and missed out.
Big Ten has eight in the bracket
The inclusion of Rutgers in the bracket has put the Big Ten in the lead for the most teams from a conference with eight. The Big 12 is down to six with West Virginia dropping out. The SEC also has six with Florida falling off the bracket.
In the First Four, Oregon is supposed to be paired with SMU, but I changed the matchup to Oregon vs. Memphis to avoid a regular season rematch between the Ducks and Mustangs. This is recommended under the bracketing rules, but we have seen regular season rematches happen before. Also, this creates an opportunity for a first round rematch between Memphis and Alabama, but I could not reasonably avoid that. At least the Tigers would have to win to set that up.
What the Early Bracket Reveal will reveal
Saturday at 12:30 PM ET on CBS, the NCAA selection committee will reveal its current top 16 teams on the NCAA March Madness Men's Bracket Preview. The event will switch over to CBS Sports Network at 1 p.m. It will be interesting to see what the committee does with the top line of the bracket.
Will Gonzaga be the overall No. 1? How will they feel about teams from the ACC and Pac-12, which have a large gap between the few teams at the top and the rest of those leagues?
I do not believe the metrics play much of a role in this process, but I am curious to see how the committee deals with teams like Providence and Wisconsin, which have very good tournament resumes, but do not do well in metrics more heavily influenced by margin of victory like KenPom.com and the NCAA's own NET.
The next bracket will be released shortly after the show and will include the committee's top 16, along with adjustments due to games being played on Thursday and Friday.