Bracketology (March 13, 2019)

Here's our updated bracket through Tuesday night's games (Welcome, St. Mary's, Northern Kentucky, North Dakota State, Fairleigh Dickinson, and Northeastern).

Last Four Byes: Minnesota, Temple, TCU, Belmont
Last Four In: St. John's, NC State, Indiana, Texas
First Four Out: Arizona State, Clemson, Ohio State, Alabama
Next Four Out: Xavier, Toledo, Creighton, UNC-Greensboro




No. 1 seeds: Resume-based, Duke is still a No. 1 seed. That said, Duke has been Zion-less for the past few weeks and the Blue Devils have gone 3-3. While he'll return for the ACC Tournament, anything less than beating UNC seals a No. 2 seed. Even a loss to Virginia in the ACC Tournament final, depending on how the SEC and Big Ten Tournaments pan out, could keep Duke on the No. 2 line.

As far as Gonzaga goes, 30-3 is 30-3. The world can focus on four Q1 wins, but would five Q1 wins (a win over St. Mary's in the WCC final) really have made that much difference? Gonzaga was either the second or third No. 1 seed before the WCC title game. A loss doesn't automatically send the Zags tumbling down seed lists.

The bubble: St. Mary's absolutely stole a bid (sorry, Arizona State). Per usual, all teams have a chance to play themselves into the field and out of the field from here on out.

A change made a few days ago, when re-scrubbing, was flipping Indiana and Ohio State in the Big Ten. Just because the Buckeyes started hotter and were higher for much of the year doesn't automatically mean the Buckeyes should be ahead of the Hoosiers today (even with a slightly-better Big Ten finish). Indiana has more Q1 wins and has played a tougher schedule. Heck, OSU went 0-6 against the Big Ten's top four teams; Indiana swept MSU. This isn't even factoring in the health of each team coming down the stretch.

There are still some bid stealers out there, no doubt. If VCU doesn't win the A-10, the bubble will shrink (thank goodness!). The Big Ten, Big East, and Pac-12 Tournaments have some intrigue if a few bubblicious teams (say, Penn State, Oregon, Oregon State, Xavier, Creighton, Georgetown) make a deep run and/or win their conference tournaments. 

No. 3 Tennessee: This is unpopular (few bracketologists have pegged Tennessee as anything less than a No. 2 seed), but resume speaking, Tennessee's is big on quantity of wins but short on quality. There are two wins - Gonzaga and Kentucky - that are carrying the Vols. Tennessee is a great team - just like a few recent MSU teams - but the record doesn't hold nearly the weight as the two other teams I have above them for the final two No. 2 seeds (Michigan & LSU). It's somewhat close and could change depending on conference tournament results, but the discussions thinking Tennessee is close to a No. 1 seed seem laughable. 

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