Bracketology: Kansas is top overall seed; Purdue, Houston, Arizona also No. 1s in NCAA Tournament projection

Bracketology: Kansas is top overall seed; Purdue, Houston, Arizona also No. 1s in NCAA Tournament projection

It’s been a while since we’ve had an updated bracket, and there have been some concerns since last month’s projection. There are no more undefeated teams as UConn, Purdue and New Mexico lost on back-to-back nights. Only one of these teams is top of this week’s group.

That team is Purdue, which would have fallen from the no. 1 seed if not for a Fletcher Loyer 3-pointer with 12 seconds left to lift the Boilermakers to a win at Ohio State on Thursday. At 14-1 with wins over Ohio State, Duke and Gonzaga, all away from home, Purdue is the No. 2 overall seed this week.

Seed no. 1 is Kansas. The Jayhawks have only lost to Tennessee and have wins over five teams in the division. Kansas will start building again almost every time it gets the floor because of the depth of the Big 12. Every team in that conference has a NET ranking in the top 45 except for Oklahoma, which is 61st.

There is a chance the Big 12 could break its record for the highest percentage of its teams in the NCAA Tournament. Has made seven of 10 field goals four times, most recently in 2018. There are eight Big 12 teams in this week’s bracket, surpassed only by nine from the Big Ten. As is usually the case with early-season brackets, conference play could narrow it down, especially for the Big Ten.

Houston is the third overall seed. The Cougars will struggle to put together the kind of schedule to compete long-term for first place in the bracket, which will make the win extremely important. So far, so good. Houston’s best win is at Virginia, and that will likely still be true on Selection Sunday. This bracket has no other teams from the American Athletic Conference, meaning the Cougars’ margin for error is slim.

The fourth overall seed is Arizona. The Wildcats have wins over Tennessee at home and Indiana, San Diego State and Creighton on neutral sites. Their only loss came in a rout at Utah.

Bracketology’s top seeds

Check out the latest Palm bracket, the full field of 68 and all the teams on the bubble in Bracketology Central.

The ACC is struggling

It’s been another tough year for the ACC in non-conference play. This is especially evident in the quality of their losses. The ACC has 16 losses to teams currently ranked between 101-200 in the NET. The other five power conferences have a total of 30, or an average of 6 per league. The ACC also has lost eight games to teams ranked 201st or lower. The other power conferences have a total of 11 and the Big 12 has none.

That will drag everyone down some as the season progresses and could hurt the conference on Selection Sunday. This is not because a team’s NET ranking matters, but because the NET ranking of its opponents matters, and about 2/3 of a team’s games are conference games.

The next bracket will be next Friday, and it will begin the regular schedule of Monday and Friday weekly brackets until closer to Selection Sunday. I’m skipping this Monday because of the College Football Playoff Championship game.

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