A new NCAA Tournament bracket is up on the Bracketology page and the strength of the Big 12 is clear. Three teams from that conference are No. 1 seeds. 

Kansas moved up to the top line replacing Purdue. The Jayhawks join No. 1 overall seed Baylor and Iowa State from the Big 12 at the top of the Bracket. No. 2 overall seed Duke is the lone interloper.

It is unusual for there to be three teams from the same conference on the top line of the bracket, but it has happened before. The most recent time it happened was just a few years ago. In 2019, the ACC placed three teams as No. 1 seeds. Duke and North Carolina joined eventual champion Virginia on the top line of that bracket.

It also happened in 2009 when the Big East had No. 1 seeds with UConn, Louisville and Pittsburgh.

Bracketology top seeds

Check out Palm's latest bracket, full field of 68 and all the teams on the bubble on the Bracketology hub.

St. John's in field for now

We also have the mid-season equivalent of a bid-stealer in this bracket. As I noted on Monday, I determine the automatic qualifier for each league by the fewest number of conference losses and use the NCAA's NET rankings to break ties. Well, St. John's is the AQ for the Big East in Friday's bracket, but is only a No. 14 seed. The Red Storm moved to 1-0 in conference play with a win over DePaul on Thursday. The only other undefeated team in Big East play is Georgetown, which has yet to play a conference game due to COVID issues.

The Johnnies are in the bracket in place of the first team out, which is TCU.

Itching for more college hoops analysis? Listen below and subscribe to the Eye on College Basketball podcast where we take you beyond the hardwood with insider information and instant reactions.

COVID-19 causes concern

COVID has made a mess of schedules and rosters again this season. I have a list of 85 teams that have had either their most recent game or their next schedule game canceled or postponed due to COVID issues within their own program. That is actually good because that number was comfortably over 100 a few days ago, so things seem to be improving. Hopefully, that downward trend will continue.

The NCAA selection committee treats players missing time with COVID as it would any other situation that causes a player to miss time. However, it cannot consider what may have happened in a game that was not played due to COVID issues. Teams can only be judged on the games they actually played.

Second meeting in First Four

There are several rules and guidelines for putting together a bracket, like keeping teams from the same conference apart and avoiding regular season rematches. That all goes out the window in the First Four. The last two at-large teams play each other and the second- and third-to-last teams play each other no matter what. That is what led to a Murray State vs. Memphis rematch of a game won by the Racers on Dec. 10. The committee would normally try to avoid that in a first-round game.

Note: There will be no bracket Monday because of the College Football Playoff Championship. The next bracket will be on Jan. 14.