Bracketology: Kansas slips down to a No. 3 seed in the latest NCAA Tournament bracket projection
The Jayhawks' slide opens up the door for Marquette to jump to a No. 2 seed
Kansas is 16-5 but just 5-3 in the Big 12 and now a half game off the lead in the Big 12 race as the Jayhawks try for their 15th consecutive conference championship. Kansas has been struggling on the road, where it is 1-5 so far this season. The Jayhawks have dropped back-to-back road contests to Kentucky and Texas. Their only win came at league co-leader Baylor. Udoka Azubuike isn't walking through that door anytime soon. The Kansas adjustment to small-ball needs to find its rhythm and soon. Texas Tech visits Allen Fieldhouse at 4 p.m. ET Saturday in a game on CBS, CBSSports.com and streaming on fuboTV.
And the fact that Baylor is at the top of the standings gives you an idea how strange things are going in the Big 12 this season. The Bears lost at home to Texas Southern and Stephen F. Austin in non-conference play, but have found their stride in league action. Baylor has won five straight games, including three on the road and its SEC challenge game with fellow bubbler Alabama.
Kansas State is the other team at the top of the table. The Wildcats got Dean Wade, their second leading scorer and top rebounder, back just in time for the games at Iowa State and against Texas Tech, which KSU won. The loss at SEC also-ran Texas A&M last Saturday is their worst loss of the season so far though.
Bracketology top seeds
[Check out Palm's full bracket with all 68 seeds and the first four four teams out on our Bracketology page]
Hoosiers heading in wrong direction
Indiana's shocking slide has now reached seven games with a 66-58 loss at Rutgers on Wednesday night. The Hoosiers have gone from a top four seed to one of the first four out over the last four weeks. The Big Ten is a pretty unforgiving league this year, so it may be a while before things get better for Indiana. The Hoosiers are at Michigan State next. The Spartans are coming off the loss at Purdue last Sunday and will be looking to take out some frustrations. Then, Iowa and Ohio State head to Bloomington, Indiana. If the Hoosiers can't get things going then, it will be hard to see a realistic way for Indiana to get into the NCAA Tournament.
- Nebraska is in danger of playing its way out of the field as well. The Cornhuskers have lost four in a row and six out of eight to fall to 12-8 on the season. They are now playing without forward Issac Copeland, who was lost for the season to a knee injury in the Ohio State game last Saturday. Nebraska's long-term prospects will depend highly on these next six games. They get three each home and road, but two of the road games are to non-tournament contenders Illinois, which is improving, and Penn State.
- Seton Hall was also skidding the wrong way before a win over Providence on Thursday. The Pirates had lost four in a row and five out of six. That included a home and home sweep at the hands of DePaul. Their schedule gets more favorable now. Seton Hall won't play another tournament contender until Feb. 23 at St. John's.
- One team in the first four out you may not have expected is Belmont. The Bruins are challenging Murray State and current leader Jacksonville State for the Ohio Valley title this season, but they have a few nice wins outside the league. They swept Nashville city rival Lipscomb, which is one of the better non-major teams this season and won at UCLA. Those are not at-large quality teams, but are Florida's wins really that much better? (Hint: no). Only a loss to Green Bay is holding them back at the moment. That will be hard to erase in a bid for an at-large berth.
Starting next week, I'll begin the daily bubble feature, which will look at each night's game affecting teams on the bubble.
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