Here’s the bracket update for 1-25-16:
And the full S-Curve:
Man, Iowa is really knocking on the door of a 1-seed. I don’t think it would be crazy at all to have them on the top line. Texas A&M just keeps winning, too, and has bumped themselves to the 2-line. The bummer for the Aggies is that Texas isn’t hosting any sites until the Final Four, so some advantage of being that high is mitigated.
I expected Providence to leap higher than #16 overall after the @Villanova win, but I couldn’t force them ahead of anyone. Kentucky is probably the most “overrated” team when comparing resume to bracket position, but I anticipate the committee being somewhat partial towards the Wildcats, even subconsciously.
The 7-seed line is interesting – I’m basically indicating that I think Saint Mary’s, Dayton, and Wichita St. could all survive a bad loss right now and still earn an at-large. They’re all winning their respective conferences at this point, so it’s not necessary, but I think they’re both fairly comfortable right now (moreso than Monmouth). Valpo’s loss to Wright St. knocked them down from the “safe-ish” auto-bid territory.
Duke will obviously be a much-discussed team. Only having one top-50 win (7 vs #51-100, though) pretty much gives the indication of a middling team, and that’s where the Blue Devils have been placed. They have a lot of bracket upside, though, if Jefferson can return and prove, once again, that they’re a different team with him in the lineup.
Pretty rough weekend for teams listed in this area, as Clemson, UCLA, FSU, Washington, Seton Hall, Alabama, Vandy, Ohio St, Georgetown, Arizona St, Wake Forest, and Georgia Tech (plus others that are further from the field) all lost. That helps explain the giant jump for Temple, who became the first team in the country to beat SMU (at home, but still a major victory). The Owls’ computer numbers aren’t great (though ESPN.com has yet to update them after Sunday’s games), and losses to Houston and @Memphis are starting to look worse, but beating SMU, a sweep of Cincinnati, and a road win at UConn are all tournament-quality victories. Over a weekend where everyone else slid back a bit, Temple gained the most.
Oregon State also jumped up, though their problem remains the questionable work they’ve done away from home (best true road win is at UC-Santa Barbara). Beating one of the Arizona schools in the Grand Canyon State would be huge. Stanford and Cincinnati didn’t have big wins, but Not Losing helped them enough. LSU and Creighton both had nice wins, and I’m starting to give longer looks to both. LSU in particular is starting to make up for its early season foibles.
Gonzaga clings on to a bid for now, but with only a minefield of possible bad losses until a strangely-timed road showdown @SMU on February 13th, they’ll need to tread lightly.
Saint Joe’s and Evansville continue to have gaudy records and not much else (with few opportunities to change that), but avoiding bad losses will help them steadily rise through this group.
More analysis coming Friday!