For the second week running, the UConn Huskies top the field of 65. On the heels of two road wins (that they were supposed to win anyways), North Carolina claims the #2 spot flanked by Duke, who lost at Wake Forest. One of the tougher choices this week was whether to elevate Oklahoma over Pittsburgh, who lost to Villanova. In the end, we foresee Oklahoma losing at Texas and at least two other conference games prior to the Big XII Tournament. Due to the relative strength of the Big East, Pittsburgh can afford two more losses and a loss in the finals of the Big East Tournament (to UConn) and still earn a #1 seed.
Unlike most weeks, this past week involved plenty of movement. Villanova, Boston College, Dayton and Penn State were among our highest risers. On the flipside, there was a whopping four teams – Notre Dame, Miami-FL, Michigan, Baylor – who fell out of the field from a 10 seed or better. In the case of the Irish, they were lifeless in the final four minutes of a must-win home game against Marquette and they continue to be obvious on offense and always place the welcome mat in the paint on defense. Miami-FL has lost 3 in a row and get to face Wake Forest, Duke and UNC. Good luck. As for Michigan and Baylor, both have become accustomed to losing games by double digits, which is never a good sign.
Moving down to the last four out, I felt the need to keep St. Mary's in the field because of Patrick Mills, which occurred at the end of the first half against Gonzaga when the Gaels were up. Mills will miss the next month, but should return prior to the WCC Tournament. Arizona took care of business at home (while Arizona State faltered) versus the Washington schools and has a realistic chance of completing a sweep on the Oregon trail this weekend prior to winnable games against UCLA and USC in Tucson. In spite of Providence's 30+ point loss to UConn on Saturday, they won the first game that they were not supposed to against Syracuse, which (along with Notre Dame's poor performances and future schedule) catapulted them into the field of 65. For the final spot, Utah edged Notre Dame and Texas A&M behind their current play and their win against Gonzaga.
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1: UConn (Big East), North Carolina, Duke (ACC), Pittsburgh
2: Oklahoma (Big XII), Louisville, Marquette, Wake Forest
3: Michigan State (Big Ten), Minnesota, Xavier (A-10), Clemson
4: Purdue, Villanova, Texas, Butler (Horizon)
5: Gonzaga (WCC), Syracuse, UCLA (PAC-10), Memphis (C-USA)
6: Washington, Illinois, UNLV (MWC), Kansas
7: West Virginia, Dayton, Davidson (Southern), Ohio State
8: Boston College, Tennessee (SEC), Arizona State, Penn State
9: Florida State, Florida, Missouri, Utah State (WAC)
10: Georgetown, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, California
11: LSU, Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley), USC, Kentucky
12: Siena (Metro Atlantic), St. Mary's, Arizona, Providence
13: Utah, VCU (CAA), Buffalo (MAC), Western Kentucky (Sun Belt)
14: Stephen F. Austin (Southland), American (Patriot), North Dakota State (Summit), Cornell (Ivy)
15: VMI (Big South), Vermont (America East), Austin Peay (Ohio Valley), Belmont (Atlantic Sun)
16: Weber State (Big Sky), Long Beach State (Big West), Morgan State (MEAC), Robert Morris (Northeast), Alabama State (SWAC)
IN: Penn State, LSU, Arizona, Providence, Utah, Northern Iowa, Alabama State, Buffalo, Weber State
OUT: Notre Dame, Miami-FL, Michigan, Baylor, Wisconsin, Prairie View A&M, Miami-Ohio, Portland State
Last Four In: St. Mary's, Arizona, Providence, Utah
Last Four Out: Notre Dame, Texas A&M, BYU, Mississippi State
Next Four Out: Miami, Baylor, Michigan, Maryland
Seeding Summary (Multi-Bid Conferences Only in Order of Percentage)
Big East: 9/16
Big Ten: 6/11
Big XII: 4/12
West Coast: 2/8
Mountain West: 2/9