This Week's Bracket
Big Ten (8)
Big 12 (6)
Big East (6)
Mountain West (3)
Missouri Valley (2)
The madness of March arrived a few hours early on Saturday, as a trio of big games out West left the bracket looking quite different than it did a week ago.
In one of the biggest upsets of the season, BYU went on the road and beat Gonzaga. The Zags had been on the one seed line pretty much all year but not without controversy. The yearly argument about how to seed them based on their participation in a mid-major conference was in full swing, so this loss made the argument a little easier. After this loss, it is hard to imagine a scenario where Gonzaga ends up on the one line.
BYU’s upset win opened up a spot on the one seed line, and three teams were under consideration for that spot: Villanova, Arizona, and Wisconsin. Villanova got the nod (for now), thanks in large part to 10 wins against the RPI top 50. Wisconsin is close behind, and Arizona is right behind the Badgers. Needless to say, it is pretty crowded at the top.
One thing worth noting here: when selecting a one seed in this situation, Arizona would have no edge over Villanova due to geography. Even though the West Region is Arizona’s “natural” region, decisions about teams between seed lines are independent of location. Within seeds is where geography plays a role.
For BYU, this win moved them closer to the field, but seeing as it was its first win over an RPI top 50 opponent, winning the WCC tournament may still be the Cougars’ only path to the tournament.
In the other upset out West, Boise State pulled out a huge road win at San Diego State. The Broncos had been surging and this win puts them right in the thick of the bubble conversation. They are in the field this week, but as we know, things change quickly in March.
Arizona faced its toughest test of the conference season when they hit the road for Utah, which has been one of the nicest surprises in college basketball this year. A loss would have been a blow to the Wildcats’ one seed aspirations, but the 6-point win kept them in the thick of that conversation.
In other recent bubble action: Texas finally got a win when they beat Baylor in OT Monday night. The win stopped a four game slide for the Longhorns, but they probably need to win at least two more games to have a chance to recover from a 3-8 stretch.
None of the ACC’s bubble teams are making things easy. Pittsburgh and NC State both suffered brutal losses (to Wake Forest and Boston College, respectively), while Miami squandered an opportunity against North Carolina.
In one of the best games of the weekend, Wichita State fought off a furious rally from Northern Iowa to clinch its second consecutive Missouri Valley Conference regular season title. Both teams will end up in the 3-5 seed range and will be a major headache for the high-major teams in its regions.
Iowa State put an end to a two game skid, outscoring Oklahoma by 26 in the second half to win on Monday. The Cyclones are an interesting team. Flying a bit under the radar, they have compiled a nice resume in the deep Big 12 and could end up as a solid three seed with a few wins in the Big 12 tournament.
Conference tournaments are starting this week, so follow @ScoutBrackets to see which teams punch their ticket to The Dance.
First Four Out: BYU< Pittsburgh, Davidson, Illinois
Next Four Out: Texas, Stanford, Miami (FL), Rhode Island
New to the Field
- Boise State
Left the Field