Bracketology 12/17/18

A relatively quiet week led to an explosive Saturday with a lot of big results. The most exciting finish was in Indianapolis where Indiana drained a deep 3 at the buzzer to knock off Butler. The Hoosiers have won 4 games in a row by a bucket and figure to go into the Crisler Center on January 6th 12-2. Win that one, and they're a serious contender to win the Big Ten. The other big game was North Carolina taking down Gonzaga in the Dean Dome. The Zags are down to the 2 line now, given the strength of the middle of the WCC this year I feel pretty confident that a 31-3 Gonzaga team would get a 1 seed, a 30-4 Bulldogs squad might.

Arizona State is the only Pac-12 team in my bracket, although Arizona, Oregon and UCLA are in the first four out. It's going to be a down year for the Pac-12 even by their low recent standards- Arizona and UCLA losing at home to Baylor and Belmont did not help the matter. Colorado and Washington have at-large hopes, but the bottom 3 teams in the league (Utah, Washington State and Cal) might be the 3 worst major conference teams in the country.

The two biggest games this week both involve Nate Oats' Buffalo squad, as the Bulls travel to Syracuse on Tuesday and Marquette on Friday. Buffalo already owns a road win over West Virginia, a win over San Francisco in Ireland, and a home-and-home sweep of Southern Illinois. If Buffalo wins both or splits, their at-large chances remain quite good. If they lose both, things get trickier, although the MAC is sneaky good this year.

1: Kansas, Duke, Michigan, Tennessee
2: Virginia, Nevada, Gonzaga, Florida State
3: Michigan State, Auburn, North Carolina, Texas Tech
4: Virginia Tech, Houston, Wisconsin, Mississippi State
5: Indiana, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Marquette
6: St. John's, Buffalo, Arizona State, Nebraska
7: Kentucky, Iowa, TCU, North Carolina State
8: Cincinnati, Villanova, Kansas State, Louisville
9: Minnesota, Iowa State, Syracuse, Maryland
10: Texas, Florida, Purdue, Furman
11: Creighton, Butler, TCU, (Seton Hall/San Francisco)
12: (Clemson/LSU), Davidson, Murray State, Penn
13: Lipscomb, Old Dominion, Radford, New Mexico State
14: Texas State, UC Irvine, South Dakota State, Loyola Chicago
15: Charleston, Montana, Vermont, Colgate
16: Northern Kentucky, Abilene Christian, (Rider/Texas Southern), (Howard/St. Francis PA)

First Four Out: Utah State, Arizona, Oregon, UCLA
Next Four Out: Notre Dame, UCF, Davidson, Arkansas
Also Considered: Murray State, Belmont, Colorado, Penn, Temple, Northwestern, West Virginia, Washington, UNC Greensboro, Lipscomb


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