Bracketology: With Arizona just out of the NCAA Tournament bracket projection, the Pac-12 is down to just two bids

If it's Friday, then it must be time for a new bracket. This one has no changes on the top line since Tuesday, when Duke dropped down following a loss at home to Syracuse.

Texas Tech is the highest seeded team to have lost since then. Iowa State beat the Red Raiders in Lubbock on Wednesday night.  That gives the Cyclones two wins over teams on the top two lines, including a 77-60 defeat of Kansas on Jan. 5. Iowa State has jumped up to a No. 5 seed, however Texas Tech still remains on the No. 2 line despite the loss.

Check out Palm's full bracket with all 68 seeds and the first four four teams out on our Bracketology page

Pac-12 reliving the nightmare of 2012 

The Pac-12 is about as down as any major conference has ever been.  Actually, the previous low mark was probably this same league in 2012. That year, Washington won the conference regular season title with a 14-4 mark, but did not make the NCAA tournament. The Huskies were only 71st in the RPI, thanks to an 0-5 record against the top 50 teams and ten games played against the teams ranked below 200. Colorado won the conference tournament and was an 11 seed, while Cal got the conference's lone at-large berth as a 12-seed and lost in the First Four in Dayton.

Currently, Washington leads the league again and is in the bracket on the No. 11 line. Arizona State is also a No. 11 seed, just outside of having to play in the First Four.

The Sun Devils are the best, and possibly only at-large candidate the Pac-12 has.  Their resume is boosted by a home win over Kansas and a defeat of Mississippi on a neutral floor. Those are two of ASU's three non-conference, quadrant 1 wins.  The Sun Devils also beat Utah State, and until recently, their win at Georgia was also rated a Q1 victory. Unfortunately, those are offset by home losses to Utah (Q3) and Princeton (Q4).

The entire Pac-12 has just one other Q1 non-conference win, which is Arizona's over Iowa State in the opening round of the Maui Invitational.  Even if you count conference games, the rest of the league has three other Q1 wins. All of those games involve Oregon, which won at Arizona and lost at home to Oregon State and UCLA. The Ducks rank 74th in the NET, so those wins at Oregon may not be Q1 for much longer.

Good luck resume building in the Pac-12 this season. Washington may experience déjà vu. The Huskies could win the conference regular season again this year and still not be assured on an NCAA tournament berth. They are the top rated Pac-12 team in the NET at 41, however.  For what that's worth.

Watching bid stealers

Tuesday's bracket had an example of what could happen in the event of an upset in a conference tournament. I always use the current first place team as the designated automatic qualifier in the bracket for each conference.  However, note that does not mean that I am predicting that team to win the league. Tuesday's bracket had Boise State representing the Mountain West, while Nevada, which was much higher seeded, was an at-large team. The Broncos, which were tied for first with UNLV, but higher rated in the NET. That had the effect of Boise State "stealing" a bid.

Since then though, Boise State lost to Nevada and UNLV dropped a game at Air Force, so now Nevada is back to being the AQ for the Mountain West and the league's only team in the bracket.

VCU moved up into the spot in the bracket vacated by Boise State. The only other new team in the projected field is Alabama, which replaces Arizona. The Wildcats lost at home to Oregon on Thursday night.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Jerry Palm started writing about sports on the Internet right after Al Gore invented it. He was the first to bring RPI out in the open and is one of the pioneers of predicting the March Madness bracket.... Full Bio

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