Bracketology: North Carolina replaces Kansas as a No. 1 seed

A friend of mine told me that college basketball is drunk this season. It’s hard to dispute him. Since my last bracket posted on Monday morning, three of my four No. 1 seeds have lost, and yet, that feels normal for this season.

Here’s what has happened the last few days and how it has affected the latest Bracketology bracket projection:

  • Oklahoma: The Sooners were the No. 1 national seed despite losing to Iowa State on Monday, but that wasn’t that big of a surprise. In fact, the Cyclones were favored. As a result, Oklahoma remained as the top overall seed in the bracket.
  • Xavier: Xavier was a No. 1 seed heading into Tuesday’s action but the Musketeers lost at home to Georgetown, which isn’t a tournament team. However, the loss wasn’t bad enough to strip them of their No. 1 seed.
  • Kansas: The news is not so good for the Jayhawks, who were a No. 1 seed heading into Tuesday’s action. Kansas got obliterated at Oklahoma State, which isn’t even a top 100 RPI team. The Jayhawks have fallen off the top line, replaced by North Carolina.
  • North Carolina: The Tar Heels are the beneficiary of Kansas’s misfortune and move up from a No. 2 seed, joining Oklahoma, Xavier and Villanova as No. 1 seeds. North Carolina will face Wake Forest Wednesday looking for its 10th straight win. It already has 10 wins vs. the RPI top 100, the most of any team.

But that’s just this week. Kansas lost at West Virginia last week. Michigan State lost again to Iowa as the Spartans were swept by Iowa by a total of 30 points. North Carolina and Iowa State have both lost to Northern Iowa, which is 7-9 against everyone else. Duke is falling apart. Kentucky can’t figure out how to get all its talent to gel.


Jerry Palm’s projected bracket

The only undefeated team left is SMU, which will not play in the NCAA tournament. The only one-loss team left is South Carolina. The other USC is the co-leader of the Pac-12 in the early going, along with Washington.

Washington State is the only Pac-12 team without some realistic hope of making the NCAA tournament. The way things are going, I wouldn’t be surprised if all 12 teams finished 9-9 in the league. The American and Mountain West may be one-bid leagues.

It’s not just the majors. Gonzaga is down. St. Mary’s has a gaudy record, but hasn’t beaten a sure tournament team. Wichita State is down after a rough stretch of non-conference play while dealing with an injury to Fred VanVleet, although the Shockers did beat Utah. The best non-major may sit 20 miles from my house in Valparaiso, but they are an unlikely at-large team if that’s needed.

Monmouth has a couple of nice wins also, but is getting more attention for the entertainment stylings of the guys who don’t play.

That’s how this season rolls. No reason to expect it to change now.

Oklahoma State's Tavarius Shine drives to the hoop in the Cowboys' win vs. Kansas. (USATSI)
Oklahoma State’s Tavarius Shine drives to the hoop in the Cowboys’ win vs. Kansas. (USATSI)


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