- Joe Lunardi, Senior Writer, ESPN.com
This edition of Bracket Math includes games through Tuesday, Feb. 12. Rankings reflect an up-to-date S-curve from yours truly, posing as one hypothetical member of the NCAA men's basketball committee.
Notes on the "new" math:
Nothing like a little Tuesday night spanking to once again juggle the top lines of the bracket. On the heels of Michigan's third loss in four games -- this one a road blowout at the hands of Michigan State -- I have to drop the Wolverines (21-4, 8-4 Big Ten) as a No. 1 seed. Further, I have to slot the Spartans (21-4, 10-2 Big Ten) ahead of them on the latest S-curve. This puts the pair of in-state rivals as rival No. 2 seeds (until the next Big Ten shakeup, at least).
Florida replaces Michigan on the top line of the new S-curve, but that wasn't the big news in the Gators' home-court victory over Kentucky. If standout freshman Nerlens Noel is out for the season (still awaiting details on the extent of his injury, as of this writing), the Wildcats' NCAA seeding, and perhaps even selection, is very much in doubt. In the eyes of the selection committee, it will almost be as if the Cats are starting a new season with a new team -- and that team must be evaluated on its own merits. I'm sure the committee will be thankful that it has seven regular-season games plus the SEC tournament to make that determination.
Most impactful Wednesday games: La Salle (at St. Bonaventure), Miami at Florida State (for both teams), Charlotte (at Butler), UNC Asheville (versus Gardner-Webb), Lehigh (versus American U.), Memphis (versus Central Florida), Arizona State (at Utah), Creighton at Northern Iowa (both), North Carolina at Duke (both), Air Force (versus UNLV), Baylor (versus West Virginia), Illinois (versus Purdue), Colorado State (versus San Diego State), Oregon at Washington (both).
Most impactful Thursday games: Minnesota (versus Wisconsin), Bryant (at Mount St. Mary's), Florida Gulf Coast (at Northern Kentucky), Temple (versus Duquesne), Western Illinois at North Dakota State (both), St. John's (at Louisville), Massachusetts (at VCU), California (versus UCLA), Arizona at Colorado (both), Gonzaga at Saint Mary's (both), Stanford (versus Southern Cal).
This is where I believe teams would fall if Selection Sunday were today. Remember, the S-curve flows left-to-right, then right-to-left, then back again as you read down the chart. It gives you a look at which teams are locks, which teams still have work to do, which teams are primed to land automatic bids and which teams are on the right and wrong side of the bubble. (Note: Teams in ALL CAPS are current conference leaders.)
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