We are now just over five weeks from Selection Sunday and we still have more questions than answers about how this season will look when we get there.
At the top of Friday's bracket, Villanova remains the fourth No. 1 seed despite a loss at surging St. John's. The Red Storm have ridden a five-game winning streak onto the bottom of the bracket as one of the last four in for now.
The last of those four is Maryland, which is in the bracket despite being 9-8 on the season following a win over Purdue on Tuesday. The Terrapins have the top-rated schedule in the NET rankings and are 4-8 vs Quadrant 1 opponents. No other team has played more than ten. The top two teams, Gonzaga and Baylor, have played 11 Q1 teams combined.
That said, I have a hard time believing that a record of one game above .500 will be good enough five weeks from now. Maryland is going to have to do better than play hit-and-miss basketball down the stretch.
Bracketology top seeds
Ohio State is now the top-seeded Big Ten team behind No. 1 seed Michigan in the bracket following a win at Iowa on Thursday night. The Buckeyes are part of a nine-team contingent from the strongest top-to-bottom conference this season and are a No. 2 seed in the bracket.
The Big 12 still has seven teams in the bracket and barring a prolonged slump by one of them, that number looks unassailable, at least on the court. The NCAA handed Oklahoma State a postseason ban for this season, but while it is still being appealed, the Cowboys remain eligible for this postseason and are a No. 6 seed in the bracket.
Postponed games mounting
By my count, 57 teams have had at least their most recent game postponed due to COVID issues within their respective programs. There are still 295 postponed conference games waiting to be made up. With conference tournaments about a month away, that is not a lot of time to squeeze those in and surely some will end up simply being canceled.
For example, the Atlantic 10 has 24 postponed games to make up in the 33 days remaining before its conference tournament begins. Of those 24, eight are games involving George Washington, which is currently on a pause and just announced that its Feb. 9 game against Richmond will be its sixth consecutive postponed game. There is no way those can all get made up in the short time remaining.
Richmond went on a pause right after the A-10 announced its conference tournament would be played there. The Spiders have postponed a total of five games through Feb. 12 during this pause and have two other games that were postponed prior to that.
All of this is assuming conference tournaments get played. Some of that is in doubt. Teams that are unlikely to make the postseason may start opting out of the season. There has also been some chatter about sure NCAA Tournament at-large teams opting out of their conference tournaments, but less of that lately.
The people working on scheduling in every conference deserve a lot of credit for trying to keep things on track.