NCAA Tournament Projections: 'Bracket Now' Commentary for January 4th, 2009
Absolute craziness has ensued this week in college basketball. I was calling North Carolina the greatest college basketball team I had ever seen and they abruptly lose at home to Boston College 85-78. That loss coupled with the dominant performance of Pittsburgh yesterday in Washington DC over the Georgetown Hoyas has propelled the Panthers to the top number one seed in the tournament. The Tar Heels don’t fall too hard thanks to a week of other upsets.
Oklahoma who had been perfect dropped a game to Arkansas which has the Sooners falling to a two seed and the Razorbacks in the field as a twelve seed, making their first appearance on these pages this season. Connecticut who had been flirting with danger this year came out completely flat against Georgetown. The Huskies hang on to the one seed barely, and if Georgetown had played Pitt closer, may have made a case for that coveted one seed.
Duke seems to be the forgotten team in all of this; they just keep winning, and that has rewarded them with a one seed. Also, their only blemish, Michigan, was pre-avenged 10 days earlier, so the loss is nothing to be concerned about.
Wake Forest remains undefeated after a nice win against BYU, but their SOS is still 225. Syracuse is also flying under the radar a bit. Their only loss was to Cleveland State on a half court prayer, but the Orange have plenty of impressive wins: Memphis, Florida, Kansas. You may have noticed the Fighting Irish have dropped a notch; they have the Red Storm of St. John’s to thank for that one.
Still unbeaten Clemson is holding strong as a four seed. Baylor suffered a tough loss to bubble team South Carolina and lost their three seed as quickly as they gained it.
It was another strong week for the Big East. Marquette, West Virginia, and Villanova all increased their seeding spots thanks to strong games, and other teams losing. Louisville has been a real tough team to figure out. They are 9-3 with losses to Western Kentucky, Minnesota, and UNLV; albeit all tournament teams, but the Cards were predicted as a potential final four team in some preseason publications. Louisville just beat Kentucky on Sunday which has knocked the Wildcats out of the tournament for the time being.
Gonzaga is in a total free fall. Just a few weeks ago they were staring at a potential one seed. Three losses later, which included Portland State and Utah, the Zags are barely holding on to a seven seed.
Did anyone happen to catch the score of the Illinois State/Creighton game? The Redbirds (Illinois State) throttled the Blue Jays (Creighton) 86-64. ISU is solidly in the tournament at 14-0 and could start moving their way up to as high as a six seed if they can keep it rolling. Right now, the Bracketbuster is probably looking at a potential Davidson vs. Illinois State matchup, or maybe a Butler vs. Illinois State Midwest tussle.
No other real movements or entries of extreme noteworthiness. The SEC continues to struggle, the Big East is sending nine teams again, and Boston College slipped into the tournament thanks to the biggest upset of the year thus far.
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