A debate has raged in the bracketology community about whether or not Gonzaga can earn a #1 seed. The thinking seems to be that if they finish the regular season undefeated, they will and if not, they won’t. Either way, they have as of now. The Zags currently sit at 21-0 overall and 9-0 in conference play. They have non-conference wins against Arizona, Florida, Iowa State, and Tennessee (who just beat Kentucky) on neutral courts and an impressive home win against Saint Mary’s in conference play. Today, Gonzaga takes the place of Kentucky, who fell to the 2 line after their close loss at Tennessee earlier in the week.
Elsewhere, the Big Ten has finally cracked the top 4 lines, in the form of Purdue. The Boilermakers are currently on a 3-game winning streak that includes double-digit victories at Michigan State and at home against Illinois. They also have wins over Wisconsin and Notre Dame.
Also in the Big Ten, my hometown Wolverines are back in the field after absolutely destroying Indiana last night, a game I had the joy of attending. After losing 3 of their first 4 in conference play, the team appears to be going in the right direction. Michigan has now won 3 of the past 4 and this should take the heat off of head coach John Beilein, at least for now.
With all that, here’s the latest projection. A lot has changed since I last updated a week ago!
In since last time: UNC-Greensboro (new), Michigan (previously First Four Out), Illinois (prev First Four Out), Seton Hall (prev Next Four Out), Kansas State (prev Fourth Four Out)
Out since last time: Chattanooga (prev 13 seed), Nebraska (prev 10), Pittsburgh (prev 12, but 5 straight losses, most recently by 55 points at home against Louisville will do that), Clemson (prev 12), Wake Forest (prev 12)
1s: Baylor, Villanova, Gonzaga (+1), Kansas
2s: North Carolina, Louisville, Kentucky (-1), Butler (+1)
3s: Florida State, Virginia (+1), Arizona (+1), Oregon
4s: West Virginia, Purdue (+1), UCLA (-1), Creighton (-2)
5s: Florida (-1), Wisconsin (+1), Cincinnati (+1), Maryland
6s: Duke (-1), Notre Dame (-1), South Carolina, Saint Mary’s (+1)
7s: SMU, Northwestern, Xavier, Southern California (+3)
8s: Dayton, Middle Tennessee, Virginia Commonwealth (+1), Minnesota (-2)
9s: Marquette (+3), Virginia Tech, Indiana (-1), Michigan State (-1)
10s: Iowa State (+2), Arkansas (+1), Illinois State, UNC-Wilmington
11s: Michigan (new), Valparaiso, Rhode Island (-2), Wichita State (+1)
12s: TCU (-3), Seton Hall (new), Nevada (-1), Georgia (-1), Illinois (new), Kansas State (new)
13s: Monmouth, Vermont, Akron, New Mexico State (+1)
14s: Belmont, Georgia Southern, UNC-Greensboro (new), Winthrop (+1)
15s: Florida Gulf Coast, Bucknell, North Dakota State, Princeton (-1)
16s: Weber State, Sam Houston State, North Carolina Central, Texas Southern, Cal-Irvine, Mount Saint Mary’s
Last Four In: Seton Hall, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas State
First Four Out: Wake Forest, Ole Miss, Clemson, Providence
Next Four Out: Temple, Texas-Arlington (+1), Miami, Nebraska
Third Four Out: North Carolina State (+1), Pittsburgh, Ohio State (+2), California (+1)
Fourth Four Out: Central Florida (-2), Tennessee (+4), Georgia Tech (+3), Charleston (-1)
Let me know what you think in the comments, and look for my next update soon. As always, remember to check out the Bracket Matrix in the meantime.