This Week's Bracket
Big 12 (7)
Big Ten (5)
Big East (7)
Mountain West (2)
West Coast (3)
Missouri Valley (2)
College basketball ushers in the New Year with the beginning of conference play, bringing with it quality matchups on a nightly basis. This allows us to start to figure out who and what these teams really are. A lot has changed since the last bracket projection on December 18, as seven new teams are in the field and plenty of movement among the teams that held onto a bid.
One storyline so far has been the struggles of traditional power teams. UCLA, Michigan and Florida are all out of the field and currently not even in the mix for a bid. Syracuse and Michigan State are both sitting in the middle of the pack, far from their starting points on the top lines. Defending national champion UConn has had a bumpy road and is currently on the wrong side of the bubble. This has opened the door for some surprise teams (like Maryland, Utah and the Big East teams mentioned above) to sneak into the field. There is still a long conference season left to play, but all of these teams face steep climbs to get back to where they were in the preseason.
Two of the biggest surprises in the college basketball world are Maryland and Utah. Utah holds wins over Wichita State, BYU and UNLV, and while there is no such thing as a “good” loss, the Utes only setbacks are to Kansas by three and San Diego State by four. Both losses came on the road and both were to teams comfortably in the upper half of the bracket.
Maryland boasts wins over Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Michigan State and Minnesota, all teams in or very near the field. Its only loss came at the hands of Virginia, who is a one seed. There is still half of a season left to go, but both of these teams have built impressive résumé’s and both sit on the three seed line at the moment.
Things change quickly in college basketball, so be sure to check back here next week to see how the field has changed. In the meantime, stay tuned to @ScoutBrackets on twitter to see how every night’s action affects the tournament outlook.
New to the Field
Left the Field