Today's bracket is up with very little change at the top. The top two lines are the same, and only 3-seed Georgetown moved more than one-line up to join the top 16. The Hoyas were a five-seed last week. Florida also moved up one spot to a four-seed. The Gators have a big opportunity to make a splash tonight at overall No. 1 Kentucky.
Ohio State continues to push for a spot on the top line. The Buckeyes have some good wins, over a little better quality teams than Baylor, but has losses to Illinois and Indiana and just picked up their first win of any significance outside of Columbus last weekend when they beat Wisconsin. Almost all of Baylor's best wins have come away from home, and the Bears worst loss came at Kansas. That's Ohio State's best loss. So, Baylor still holds on for now.
Marquette dropped a couple spots after getting blown out at Notre Dame. The Irish continue their climb in the bracket. They moved up to an 11-seed after being slotted in a First Four game last week.
I can't get Seton Hall out of the bracket yet, despite the Pirates' best effort to fall out. Their six-game losing streak is troublesome, but they do not have a loss to a triple-digit RPI team yet (Villanova is close though). The Hall needs to right the ship against Rutgers tomorrow.
Northwestern is also still in the bracket after a bounce-back week that included a win over Nebraska and also at Illinois. That pick got a lot of criticism last week because at the time, the Cats were 2-6 in the league. Keep in mind though that conference record and conference standings are not relevant to the selection process. Teams are judged on their entire seasons, not just the conference part, and it doesn't get any special weight. Conference record is just a number. And with the unbalanced schedules most leagues play (ridiculously so in the Big East), standings aren't very useful.
I've been talking most of the last month or so about how if a team in the Big Ten is going to drop out of tournament contention, it would likely come from the group of Northwestern, Purdue or Minnesota, but keep an eye on the Fading Illini. Illinois has lost four of its last five, including two at home, but get a load of their next five games: at Indiana, at Michigan, home vs Purdue, at Nebraska, which has beaten IU at home already, and at Ohio State. ouchie. The Illini have picked a bad time to slump.
Oklahoma's stay in the bracket was short lived after home losses to Iowa State and Missouri. Ole Miss is also gone. Those two were replaced in the at-large pool by Miami, which won at Duke, and BYU, who crawls back in after beating Gonzaga.
Washington has taken over Cal's spot as the Pac 12 leader, and Drexel is in from the Colonial, in place of George Mason.
We're used to seeing the CAA produce at-large quality champions, and occasionally, multiple bids, but this is a down year for the league. Only VCU and Drexel are in the RPI top 100, and just barely (86 and 85 respectively). It's arguably the league's worse season since 1999-2000. I have the Dragons as a 15-seed today.
The Pac 12 has only one time in the RPI top 50 -- for now. Cal fell to 48th after losing at home to Arizona this week. The league has struggled the last two years, but still ranked 7th. This year, it's down to 10th, and is a miserable 1-31 vs the RPI top 50 (Stanford over Colorado State on Nov. 15). It's hard to build a case for an at-large bid for anyone based on that performance. The top three teams in the league are all on the road for two games this weekend, so we could have another mess come next week.