A ton has happened in the last six days and the brackets reflect that. There was a lot of jostling in the middle seeds as a good win or a loss is enough to bump a team on the edge up or down a line. Also, a lot happening in the smaller conferences as we welcome five new league leaders to the brackets.
There were two big questions that emerged in this set of brackets. First, does Maryland’s win over Duke do enough to put them in? My answer is still no, but they are sitting as my 69th team. Yes, Duke is a signature win and the Terps needed it. The NC State win doesn’t look as good as it does now, so having the Blue Devils on their resume is big. But their only other win over a top 100 RPI team is Stony Brook. They still need to do more work to get in and an ACC Tournament run could make or break their Tournament hopes.
Second, what do we do with Kentucky? Will the defending champs even make the Tournament without Nerlens Noel, who is done for the season and probably for his college career after tearing an ACL? For right now, I’m saying yes. They’ve fallen two seeds to an 11. Losing Noel is one thing. Losing to Tennessee by 30 and being 4-8 against the RPI top 100 are not good. The SEC is thin outside the top 4 or 5, so there isn’t as much of an opportunity to improve the resume. An upcoming tilt with Missouri is pretty much a must win and they’ve got to show up in the season finale with Florida to keep the attention of the committee.
Welcome to the Bracket: Villanova, Stony Brook, Detroit, California, Mercer, Southern U., Robert Morris
See You Next Time: Vermont, Florida Gulf Coast, Valpariso, Bryant U., Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Arizona State, Indiana State, St John’s
Last Four In: St. Mary’s, Villanova, North Carolina, Baylor
First Four Out: Maryland, Arizona State, Stanford, St. John’s
Next Four Out: Boise State, Indiana State, BYU, Virginia
With those last eight in mind, let’s go to the NIT brackets. These are much less of a science than the NCAA brackets, since the selection process is a little more open. Plus, there are two other postseason tournaments that could poach some of these teams.