This Week's Bracket
Big Ten (8)
Big 12 (6)
Big East (5)
Mountain West (2)
We are only a few weeks into the college basketball season, but the NCAA Tournament field is already changing. During the first round preseason tournaments/conference challenges, several teams emerged as early surprises while others struggled to some worse-than-expected starts.
Florida and Syracuse are two teams whose stock fell right away, and both teams dropped several spots from the preseason projection. Butler, Georgetown and Miami (FL) are on the short list of teams who impressed early on and now find themselves in or near the field of 68.
At this point in the season, the bracket projection is still, at least in part, a reflection of the preseason opinions of the teams. While resumes are being built, it will take until the early part of the conference season until the projection is entirely a reflection of the teams’ accomplishments to date.
The number one seeds always receive a lot of attention, so it is worth addressing them here. Duke was very impressive in its win over Wisconsin, earning the number two overall seed in the field. Wisconsin managed to stay on the one line because, all things considered, there was no real reason to move them off at this point. While the gap between them and the two seeds has certainly closed, it will take more than a loss against a great team to move them down.
Looking at the 32 conferences, it is clear that the ACC and Big Ten are the best in the nation. While the Big Ten came out on top of the annual challenge series between the two, the ACC certainly impressed thanks to wins by Duke, Louisville and Notre Dame and a solid showing in a loss from Syracuse.
The American Athletic Conference took a major hit with the early struggles of Memphis and SMU. Currently, UConn is the AAC’s only representative. It is hard to imagine the AAC being a one-bid league, but they will need a strong finish to the non-conference season to feel better about their chances of avoid that.
Here is a rundown of some coming big games that will have bracket implications:
- Texas gets to take a crack at Kentucky on Friday night, and an upset by the Longhorns would provide a significant shock to the college basketball world.
- Florida can right the ship and regain some footing with a win over Kansas in another SEC/Big 12 matchup.
- Kansas State visits Tennessee on December 6th, and that is the type of game that could serve as a quality win in March should either team find themselves on the bubble.
- Washington has an opportunity for a great win when they take on San Diego State on December 7th. A win for the Huskies would, in all likelihood, vault them into the field.
- Kansas visits Georgetown on December 10th, another opportunity for the Hoyas to add to their impressive, if somewhat surprising, early resume.
- Iowa State has their annual in-state game with Iowa on December 12th, and the Hawkeyes could use a win to stabilize their fluctuation in seed.
There are still three months worth of games to be played, but if these early stages are any indication, we are in for quite a ride on the road to March. Scout.com and @ScoutBrackets will have all the developments that affect the tournament field right up to Selection Sunday.