Only two days remain before Selection Sunday and there figures to be a fair amount of shuffling in the bracket Friday, Saturday and Sunday as the final conference tournaments wind down. Once again, Thursday showed us that teams don’t always control their own destiny.
Twelve of the top 16 teams in my bracket play Friday, notably rubber matches between Duke and North Carolina in the ACC semifinals and Arizona and UCLA in the Pac-12 semis. A few notes after Thursday and heading into Friday:
Staring at the top, TCU’s 85-82 upset of Kansas in the Big 12 quarterfinals dropped the Jayhawks from the overall No. 1 seed, though KU remains on the top line. Villanova is now the overall No. 1 and will be regardless of what the Wildcats do in the Big East tournament; the Wildcats face Seton Hall in the semis Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET.
North Carolina, which faces Duke at 7 p.m. in, is no sure thing as a 1-seed with another loss, and the Pac-12 champion could move up to the top line, if it’s not California. The Tar Heels and Blue Devils split the regular-season series -- Duke beating UNC 86-78 behind Grayson Allen’s 25 points on Feb. 11 and the Heels getting 28 from Joel Berry II to beat their archrival 90-83 last Saturday at Chapel Hill.
Duke is coming off an impressive 81-77 win over Louisville in the semis, where UNC took apart Miami 78-53.
Baylor catches break among 3- to 5-seeds
There was some realignment among 3- to 5-seeds after losses by Louisville, Butler and Baylor. The Cardinals lost to Duke, another team in that group, in the ACC quarters and is now behind the Blue Devils on the 1-68 list. Baylor, which lost to Kansas State in the Big 12 quarters, stayed put as a 3-seed because of the losses by Louisville and Butler, which was knocked out of the Big East tournament by Xavier.
Bulldogs suffer the most
Butler fell hardest, dropping six spots on the 1-68 rankings, but that happened to cover two seed lines, so the Bulldogs were a 5-seed Friday morning. West Virginia moved up a spot, more because of Butler’s loss than their Big 12 quarterfinal win over win over Texas.
Some shifting in the middle
There was more movement just below that, where Notre Dame’s ACC quarterfinal win over Virginia and Creighton’s victory over Providence caused a little more shuffling. Virginia fell to a six, moving Maryland up, and the Bluejays also moved up with the win over Providence. They are now a six, and Wisconsin, a team Creighton beat in nonconference play, is a seven.
K-State makes a big move
At the very bottom of the bracket, Kansas State’s second win over Baylor is huge, putting the Wildcats more comfortably in. I still have them among the the last four in, but it would take some dramatic bid-stealing to knock them out. And they are still playing, so they could keep moving up.
Some of these teams moved because of what they did themselves and others because of what happened around them. Except at the very top of the bracket, how any team moves is not entirely under their control.