Despite losing to Michigan, Ohio State basketball is holding on for a No. 1 seed in the latest bracketology update.
There are just two weeks left in the regular season and the race for the top seeds in March Madness is heating up. There has been some shuffling in the bracketology department compared to where we were last week, but precious little movement on the top line after a classic game from Ohio State and Michigan over the weekend.
Let’s reset how the bracketology picture looks this week, beginning at the top of the field.
Bracketology – No. 1 seeds
Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan, Ohio State
It was another ho-hum week for Gonzaga, which steamrolled through a pair of home wins to improve to 22-0 on the season. The Bulldogs remain at home this week for dates with Santa Clara and Loyola Marymount, which should result in two wins for the Zags.
Baylor stays flat after sitting out last week’s action as the result of a COVID pause. The Big 12 may shuffle the Bears’ schedule down the stretch but they are finally back in action tonight as they take on Iowa State.
One thing we’ve learned over the past few weeks is that Michigan is clearly the top team outside of the Gonzaga/Baylor weight class. The Wolverines squeaked by Rutgers before picking up a strong win at Ohio State to cement their status as the Big Ten’s best team.
The last top seed remains with Ohio State, which picked up a road win against Penn State before fighting valiantly in the loss to Michigan. Anyone who watched that game knows that the Buckeyes looked like one of the four best teams in the country so their representative performance won’t drop them off the top line.
Bracketology – No. 2 seeds
Illinois, Alabama, Iowa, Villanova
The Fighting Illini are nipping on Ohio State’s heels to try and claim the last no. 1 seed. Games against Michigan State and Nebraska should be winnable for Illinois ahead of a tough road trip to Wisconsin over the weekend.
Alabama played only once last week and was sluggish at home, barely topping lowly Vanderbilt by four. A road trip to Arkansas and Mississippi State this week will be a good measuring stick to how this Crimson Tide team handles the pressure of critical late-season games.
A clean week from the Hawkeyes has led to a key four-game winning streak for Fran McCaffery’s team, allaying concerns about a seemingly annual February fade for Iowa. This week presents a massive opportunity for Iowa, which has a two-game road trip to Michigan and Ohio State, providing a big chance to make a statement and get to the top line at this point next week.
Villanova is clinging to the last spot on the two-line after topping UConn in its lone action of the week. Dates with St. John’s and Butler this week don’t offer a ton of upside for the Wildcats but plenty of room to fall with losses, especially if the Red Storm are able to complete a series sweep.
Bracketology – No. 3 seeds
West Virginia, Oklahoma, Florida State, Houston
Figuring out the Big 12’s second-best team has been a challenge but that title probably belongs to West Virginia right now, which has won four out of five with the lone defeat coming by a point to Oklahoma in double-overtime. The Mountaineers were scheduled to play Baylor on Thursday but that game might be rescheduled, which should cost them a chance to gain too much ground for now.
Another Big 12 team with a missed opportunity for a marquee game was Oklahoma, which saw its matchup with Texas postponed due to the crazy weather problems in the state last week. The Sooners have a layup against Kansas State on Tuesday before a big home game with in-state rival Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Florida State missed out on a chance to follow up their blowout of Virginia with a shot after Virginia Tech due to COVID issues with the Hokies but handled an impromptu game against Pittsburgh easily. This week sees the Seminoles hit the road for Miami, who they should beat, and a North Carolina team looking to make a bubble statement with a win.
The biggest fall this week belongs to Houston, which dropped out of first place in the American after losing to Wichita State last week. The Cougars are still a tournament lock but can improve their metrics with a mid-week non-conference date against Western Kentucky, a quality mid-major program coming to town looking to help its own at-large case.
Bracketology – No. 4 seeds
Texas, Kansas, USC, Creighton
The Longhorns saw a two-game winning streak come to an end but falling by a bucket to West Virginia is nothing to be ashamed of. Dates with Kansas and Texas Tech this week are critical for Texas, which needs to snag at least one win to avoid falling out of the Top 16.
Kansas has surged into the Top 16 for the first time on the strength of a five-game winning streak that was bookended by victories over Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. This week’s showdowns with Texas and Baylor provide an opportunity for the Jayhawks to keep building momentum ahead of the NCAA Tournament.
Losing to Arizona wasn’t great for USC, but following it up with a thorough beatdown of Oregon was an encouraging response. Thursday’s game in Colorado is highly dangerous and it will show a lot about the Trojans’ upside if they can find a way to win it.
The last team on the four-line is Creighton, which was idle last week but has a strong enough resume to pass a sinking Virginia team that lost twice last week. The Bluejays have a winnable game against DePaul before a sneaky road trip to Xavier over the weekend, games that Creighton should win in order to stay on this seed line.
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