We had a rare treat last weekend. For the first time ever, there were four games between teams ranked in the AP top 10. Of course, many of those teams are also near the top of my bracket as well and there were some minor changes because of the results.
The thing about games like this is that the loser does not suffer much for the loss. It’s a loss to a very good team, maybe even one ahead of it in the bracket. If there is an upset, and I define that as the road and/or lower seeded team winning, there is a greater chance of a change than otherwise.
The result confirmed the futility in making Kansas an underdog. The Jayhawks shot almost 70%(!) from the field against one of the best defenses in the nation and beat the Cougars 78-65.
Houston stayed as the No. 3 overall seed in the bracket. It had a cushion for a loss like this, but that is likely gone now.
That night, UNC cruised to a 93-84 win over Duke. The Tar Heels have been the fourth No. 1 seed and remain in that spot despite Kansas’ win. The Jayhawks are fifth overall and could catch and pass UNC even if both keep winning because of the quality of their remaining schedules. The ACC is not giving the Tar Heels much to résumé-build with, while Kansas gets Quad 1 games almost every time it takes the floor.
Bracketology top seeds
Check out Palm’s latest bracket and full field of 68 at the Bracketology hub.
Also Saturday, Kentucky played host to Tennessee in a game the Wildcats really needed to keep from further sliding down the bracket. UK had lost two of their previous three games including a home loss to Florida on Wednesday to slide down to a No. 5 seed.
After losing to the Vols 103-92, the Wildcats are now a No. 6 seed. It’s not that a loss to Tennessee is all that bad, but the further you go down the bracket, the more similar teams are and it is easier to move up or down.
Sunday featured No. 1 overall seed Purdue at Wisconsin. The Boilermakers handed the Badgers its second loss of the week with a 75-69 win to remain on top of the bracket. Wisconsin dropped off the No. 2-line and now joins fellow Big Ten team Illinois as a No. 3 seed. Nebraska came from 19 points down earlier in the week to beat the Badgers in overtime and took the Illini to OT on Sunday, but came up short.
Maybe the most impactful rivalry game of the weekend came at Gonzaga, where Saint Mary’s handed Gonzaga its second home loss of the season 64-62. The Zags have not missed the NCAA Tournament since 1998, but they are in danger of seeing that streak come to an end. They have played five Quad 1 games and lost all of them, as well as suffering a Quad 2 defeat at Santa Clara. Gonzaga’s best win came at home to San Francisco.
The Bulldogs only have two more chances to impress the NCAA Tournament selection committee – at Kentucky on Saturday and the rematch at Saint Mary’s to end the regular season. Don’t let their gaudy NET ranking fool you. Those are both must-wins at this point if Gonzaga hopes for an at-large bid.
Note: Teams on the bubble are now noted on the Bracketology hub.