ESPN’s Joe Lunardi released the updated version of Bracketology on Friday morning. Despite some amazing upsets and finishes during the week, there wasn’t a whole lot of change. All four No. 1 seeds remained the same for the time being. However, those teams have big games this weekend. The Midwest region had more movement than the other three. Let’s take a look and breakdown what is to come next.
Despite not playing well in a win over the Vanderbilt Commodores, Lunardi still has the Tennessee Volunteers (24-2) as the No. 1 seed in the Midwest region. Currently, they are projected to play No. 16 seed Sam Houston State (18-9). The Volunteers still only have two losses on the season. Yet, they face a road battle against the LSU Tigers squad coming off of a loss. The last time the Volunteers faced an SEC contender coming off of a loss, they were throttled by the Kentucky Wildcats.
How interesting is the bubble? Well, the No. 8 seed Syracuse Orange (18-8) earned a big win over the Louisville Cardinals. They are projected to face the No. 9 seed Texas Longhorns (15-11) in the round of 68.
Meanwhile, No. 5 seed Louisville Cardinals (18-9) didn’t budge from their respective spot. When a team is seeded this high with that many losses, it tells you how top-heavy college basketball is. Moreover, the Cardinals are projected to play No. 12 seed Murray State Racers (22-4). Notice the instate ramifications if both teams took the court in the first round.
While the Racers moved up a seed line this week, other mid major teams did not. The No. 13 seed Vermont Catamounts (21-6) lost to the UMBC Retrievers for the third straight time on Thursday. This also means the Catamounts likely won’t be able to earn an at-large selection if they fail to win the America East Conference. They are projected to face the No. 4 seed Wisconsin Badgers (18-8).
The bottom half of the bracket is highlighted by the No. 2 seed North Carolina Tar Heels (21-5). Yes, the Tar Heels dominated the Duke Blue Devils. However, due to the nature of Zion Williamson’s injury, the Tar Heels won’t get as much credit as they would have if Williamson played more than 35 seconds. As a result, the Tar Heels are a work-in-progress for a top seed. They would face No. 15 Texas State Bobcats (21-5). If the Tar Heels win their remaining five games, they will earn a No. 1 seed.
No. 7 seed Iowa Hawkeyes (20-6) and No. 10 seed Florida Gators (15-11) are an intriguing matchup. The Gators are another team with double digit losses already. However, their win over the LSU Tigers gave them a nice bump this weekend.
The No. 3 seed Kansas Jayhawks (20-6) are in third place in the Big 12. They are a game out of first place in conference play, but they have a legitimate opportunity to win the league. That means they will probably earn a two seed if all goes well. They’d face off against No. 14 seed South Dakota State Jackrabbits (22-7).
Although the No. 6 Mississippi State Bulldogs (19-7) have had their struggles in conference play, they are still solidly in the field of 68. They are projected to face the No. 11 seed Arizona State Sun Devils (18-8) in the first round.
The Midwest region has 11 teams representing the power conferences. Two teams have double digit losses. No. 9 seed Texas and No. 10 seed Florida have 11 losses apiece. The non-power conference teams have 32 combined losses.
Power Conference Breakdown
3 SEC Teams- Tennessee, Mississippi State, Florida
3 ACC Teams- North Carolina, Louisville, Syracuse
2 Big 12 Teams- Kansas, Texas
2 Big Ten Teams- Wisconsin, Iowa
1- PAC-12 Teams- Arizona State