Bracketology: Winning streaks by Texas and UCLA have them surging into the NCAA Tournament bracket projection
The Longhorns looked to be NIT-bound, but have won four straight and have played their way into the field of 68
Well, that was a fun weekend of basketball. Unless you are a fan of a team that was a top-four seed in my previous bracket. In that case, there was a 50-50 chance your team lost. A No. 1 seed, three of the No. 2 seeds and two each of the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds all lost this weekend.
However, sometimes when everyone loses, nobody loses. Also, this isn't a poll which almost means an automatic drop with a loss.
Baylor still remains the overall No. 2 seed, just ahead of Gonzaga, after a loss at TCU on Saturday. It is the second Q2 loss for the Bears, which also lost to Washington. Baylor's wins are enough to keep the Zags at bay for now. Note that since these teams are not competing to be in the same regional and would be bracketed to face each other in the Final Four either way, it's not that big of a deal who is second or third. That's not to say that the committee would care about that. They will put a lot of effort into determining what they believe is the correct seeding of the teams.
Top seeds in Palm's Bracketology
Here are some other takeaways from the most recent bracket update:
Bruins play their way into the bracket: We welcome UCLA to the bracket, which is not a huge surprise. It has been a long time to get to this point because of the poor schedule and performance outside the league. Even now, the Bruins, a No. 11 seed, are only 75th in the NET. That would set the record for the worst ranking in the committee's metric of choice in the 27 seasons I have been tracking it. New Mexico got a bid in 1999 when the Lobos were 74th in the RPI. St. John's squeezed in last year despite being 73rd in the first season of the NET.
Texas also in the field of 68 as of now: More surprisingly, we welcome Texas back to the bracket. The Longhorns, a No. 12 seed, looked dead to rights after a 29-point loss at Iowa State on Feb. 15. Since then, Texas has won four in a row, including a win at home over slumping West Virginia and at Texas Tech on Saturday. The latter is the Longhorns' best win of the season. Texas still has work to do if it hopes to stay in the bracket, but this has been a pretty good late run for a team thought to be done and without its leading rebounder, Jericho Sims.
Mountaineers going through peaks and valleys: West Virginia, which fell from a No. 5 to a No. 6 seed, seems to be both playing teams into and out of the at-large pool. The Mountaineers have lost four times to the three Big 12 bubble teams in the last seven games. Meanwhile, those losses are hurting the marginal at-large candidacies of Northern Iowa, Wichita State and Rhode Island, each of which lost to WVU earlier and now those losses do not look as good. UNI has had double trouble as the team that is its best win, Colorado, has lost three in a row, including one at Cal.
This and that: LSU's late slide, losing five of eight, is hurting Utah State and East Tennessee State, which count wins over the Tigers as their best. ...You may notice that some teams are still on the bubble despite being seeded ahead of teams in the current bracket that are not on the bubble list. That is because the bubble is partly based on each team's remaining schedule as well as what it has done so far. The bracket does not look ahead. ...There will be at least daily updates to the bracket, if necessary, from now until Selection Sunday. So, stay tuned.
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