Bracketology: Michigan State no longer a No. 1 seed after loss to Iowa

Michigan State would be the No. 1 team in the nation if it weren’t for those pesky Iowa Hawkeyes. Iowa pounded the Spartans for the second time this season on Thursday, this time in East Lansing, Michigan and with player of the year candidate Denzel Valentine in the lineup. Michigan State is undefeated otherwise. The loss finally dropped the Spartans from the top line of the bracket, where they were replaced by Villanova.


Jerry Palm’s projected bracket

That gives the Big East two teams on the top line. Xavier is the No. 2 overall seed. The only other conference represented is the Big 12, which also has two teams among the No. 1 seeds. Oklahomais the overall No. 1, while Kansas is still hanging on as the third overall seed.

Two leagues that we are used to seeing put multiple teams in the bracket may end up being just one-bid leagues this year.

The Mountain West had a rough football season in non-conference play and was eliminated from contention from the New Year’s Six bowl games pretty early. In basketball, things haven’t been much better. The league has a total of three non-conference wins of note, and two of them belong to 8-7 (against D-1 opposition) UNLV, which just fired its coach. The Runnin’ Rebels beat Oregon and Indiana, but has no realistic shot at an at-large bid barring a big run over the last couple months of the season.

Boise State also beat the Ducks, but is just 1-3 against likely tournament teams and also lost to Montana. If the Broncos can dominate the conference in the regular season, they would have a shot at a non-conference bid, but it’ll only take a few losses to damage those chances beyond repair.

The only other RPI top 100 team in the league right now is San Diego State, which just recently pushed up to that level. Six teams are within two games of .500 one way or the other. It’ll be hard to build an at-large resume in this group.

The other league that may not put more than one team into the tournament is the American Athletic Conference. Of course, the league is hurt by the fact that SMU is ineligible. The Mustangs are the last remaining undefeated team in college basketball, but is in NCAA jail for this season.

After that, there isn’t much to talk about. Cincinnati has beaten George Washington, but has had problems defending its home court. Connecticut has spent some time in the polls but was probably overrated. Wins over Texas and Michigan are nice, and looking a little better after this week, but recent losses to Tulsa and Temple leave the Huskies just 4-5 against the top 200 teams in the RPI.

Tulsa is the only other team in the league in the RPI top 100 (although Temple is close), but the Golden Hurricanes are just 2-6 vs the top 100 and have yet to beat a sure tournament team. As a league, the AAC schedule ambitiously, but suffered for it. They are collectively 0-7 vs the RPI top 25, 7-21 vs the top 50 and 12-32 vs the top 100.

The struggles of those two conferences could open spots for team in other places. There is still a long way to go though.

Michigan State lost to Iowa again and is no longer a No. 1 seed in the latest bracket projection.(USATSI)


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