Bracketology: Michigan State, West Virginia lose but hold on to No. 2

The No. 1 seeds in the bracket didn’t lose, and therefore, didn’t change over the weekend. That hasn’t happened much in the early part of this season. It’s also unusual for the RPI to be aligned with the top of the bracket in mid-January, but the top four teams in the RPI are also the top seeds in the current bracket.


Jerry Palm’s projected bracket

The churning we are getting used to seeing at the top of the rankings on a regular basis took place this weekend right below the top line. Half the No. 2 seeds and three of the No. 3 seeds in last Friday’s bracket lost over the weekend.

West Virginia’s loss came at No. 1 Oklahoma. No shame there. Michigan State lost its second in a row at Wisconsin. Both teams are still No. 2 seeds despite the losses. Each has a win over Kansas that the teams chasing them can’t match, so that is partly why they haven’t moved.

A big part though is that the teams immediately behind them all lost. Miami, Virginia and Providence all fell over the weekend. Florida State wasn’t in the bracket when it beat the Cavaliers on Sunday, but that win boosted the Seminoles into a First Four game.

Providence lost at home to Seton Hall, which was a win the Pirates really needed. That was the third game of a four-game stretch where they also play Villanova twice. The Hall had lost the first two, one to the Wildcats and one at home to Creighton.

Miami lost at Clemson, which is on fire right now. The Tigers have won five in a row, the last three of which came at home against teams that were ranked at the time they played them. The wins over Louisville, Duke and the Hurricanes have put Clemson back in the tournament discussion. The Tigers are working to overcome a poor non-conference schedule that includes losses to UMass and Minnesota.

You can use our Palm Reader tool to see what needs to happen in other games to help your team’s RPI. The link for that is here.

Virginia Cavaliers (USATSI)
Virginia’s slump continued in a loss to Florida State on Saturday. (USATSI)


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