The first weekend of February in college basketball proved to be an eventful one with four top 10 teams going down on Saturday. The biggest result saw top ranked Purdue fall on the road at the hands of top ranked Indiana, ending its nine-game win streak. We’re now just over a month away from Selection Sunday and these results will certainly factor into the committee’s decisions when determining the NCAA Tournament field.
Analysts are regularly updating their projected field of 68 and going over where the top programs will end up come tourney time in mid-March. Today we’ll take a look at the latest bracket of CBS’ Jerry Palm, who released his latest NCAA Tournament projections on Monday morning.
No. 1 seeds
Entering the new week, Palm has Purdue, Alabama, Kansas, and Texas as his No. 1 seeds if the tournament ended today. The Boilermakers have built up enough cache where a close road loss to an in-state rival isn’t going ding them. The same goes for the Crimson Tide, who shrugged off an embarrassing loss to Oklahoma by picking up to impressive conference victories last week.
Interestingly enough, Kansas still gets a top spot even after getting roasted on the road at Iowa State on Saturday. The defending champs have lost four of their last six contests and the overall strength of their tough Big 12 schedule may be what’s propping them up. That could also explain Texas getting a nod, who currently sits atop the league standings.
Still keep an eye out for the likes of Houston, Tennessee, and Arizona, who are all knocking on the door of a potential No. 1 seed.
Last Four In
Palm interestingly enough has Clemson as one of his last four teams sneaking into the field of 68. This is intriguing considering that the Tigers currently sit atop the ACC standings despite dropping two games last week. This most likely speaks to how weak that league has been all season and with a 64 ranking in NET and 68 ranking in KenPom, Clemson will be considered a fringe tourney team if it is unable to secure an automatic bid.
The likes of Arkansas, Oklahoma State, and West Virginia would also sneak into the tournament if the season ended today according to Palm. Both the Cowboys and Mountaineers are recovering after rocky starts in Big 12 play and the combination of strength of schedule and strong metrics would propel them into the field.
First Four Out
Penn State, Virginia Tech, Seton Hall, and Wisconsin would all just miss the cut if the season ended today. The Nittany Lions and the Badgers are both trying to fight their way through the logjam that is the Big Ten standings and losses to Nebraska and Northwestern, respectively, over the weekend didn’t do them any favors.
The Pirates are a bubble team from an advanced metrics standpoint and will have to continue to pile up wins in the Big East while the Hokies need to pick up the pace in the back half of their ACC schedule. Saturday’s upset over Virginia was a step in the right direction for Va. Tech.
Projected bids per conference
ACC - 7
Big East - 5
Big Ten - 8
Big 12 - 8
Pac-12 - 3
SEC - 6
AAC - 2
MWC - 4
WCC - 2