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Bracketology: Baylor hangs on to No. 2 seed despite blowing big lead in loss to Kansas

There is no no change on the top line as all four No. 1 seeds won comfortably. Well, Kansas wasn’t comfortable until the second half of its win over Baylor, but rallied to win 87-71 to keep its place as a No. 1 seed behind Alabama, Houston and Purdue. 

And despite the loss to the Jayhawks, the Bears remained a No. 2 seed with Texas, Arizona and UCLA.

So the top two lines look the same as they did Saturday, but there were other changes further down the bracket after the committee revealed its top 16 seeds. 

Bracketology top seeds

Check out Palm’s latest bracket, full field of 68 and all the teams on the bubble on the Bracketology hub.

In fact, the only changes from the top 16 the NCAA Tournament selection committee gave us during the early bracket reveal on Saturday were on the No. 3 line. Kansas State’s victory over Iowa State along with Tennessee’s loss to Kentucky caused some shuffling among that group of teams.

Getting the bracket to balance was a challenge. You may recall that the selection committee had to swap Marquette and Xavier in the bracket in order to balance it. Well, with the shifting of the No. 3 seeds around, I ended up with none of the four seeds in its original region when I was done trying to find balance.

Also, Purdue got stuck with a potential conference game in the second round because there were four Big Ten teams in the No. 8-9 games. Fortunately, the Boilermakers only have one regular-season game with Illinois, Iowa and Rutgers, so there were some options.

Shuffling in the middle

It was a rough weekend for the middle of the bracket. The teams ranked 25-35 on the S-curve in Saturday’s bracket all lost this weekend except for Providence. So, there was also quite a bit of shuffling around among that group of teams and those behind them.

Kentucky moved up to a No. 9 seed in part because of the win over Tennessee and in part because of the chaos ahead of them. I have taken them off the bubble for now.

There are eight teams each from the Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC. Eight from the Big 12 would set a new record for percentage of teams from a conference.

Looking at the losses

There are nine teams so far this season with no losses outside Quadrant 1: Alabama, Purdue, Kansas, Texas, Baylor, Virginia, UCLA, Missouri and Oral Roberts. You are surely not surprised to see seven of the top nine teams among that group. Houston and Arizona are the exceptions.

Missouri and Oral Roberts may come as a surprise. One of the primary reasons I have had the Tigers as high in the bracket as I do is that all of their losses are Quad 1. 

Occasionally, we see a non-major team get through an entire season without a loss outside of Quad 1. It does not guarantee selection to the tournament though. As recently as 2019, UNC Greensboro won the Southern Conference and was left out of the field with a 2-6 Quad 1 record and no other losses. The Spartans won the regular-season title, but fell short in the conference tournament in a stacked year for that league.

Also, the team that had the best RPI and failed to make the tournament fits this category too. In 2006, Missouri State finished the season 21st in the RPI and 4-8 against Quad 1 teams. However, the Bears were neither regular season nor tournament champions of their league. The MVC had six teams in the top 40 of the RPI and four made the tournament, but not Missouri State.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a team in the top 30 of the NET get left out one of these years. Since it is so heavily influenced by scoring margins, while the selection and seeding process is much more results oriented, we may get a team sometime which does not have a resume that matches its metrics well enough to get selected.



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