I am taking a quick break from the Eagles coaching search and starting to focus more on college basketball and the NCAA Tournament as we are about two months away from Selection Sunday on March 17th and with conference action in full swing, our bracket is starting to slowly take shape. Obviously, there is plenty of action left and all this is very fluid, but it's always nice to start to look at which teams are in play for the top lines and which teams will be holding their breath come Selection Sunday. So let's get started.
Current No. 1 Seeds
Duke, Louisville, Kansas, Arizona
Since there are no more undefeated teams in Division I, all teams are now fair game for the top lines. Duke clearly remains number one, even with the Ryan Kelly injury, as they clearly have the best resume in the nation. Five neutral-court wins over teams in the top 67 of the RPI (I am using CBSSports.com's RPI ranks). Those wins are Louisville, Minnesota, VCU, Temple and Kentucky. They also have a neutral-court win over Davidson, who currently leads the Southern Conference. Duke is placed in the East Regional in Washington, D.C.
Louisville is now the number-one team in the AP and Coaches' Polls, and right now, they would be slotted No. 2 on the S-Curve and would head up the South Region in Arlington, Texas at Cowboys Stadium. Road wins at Connecticut and Memphis, a home win over Kentucky and a win against Missouri down in the Bahamas are huge RPI boosters and give them a great shot at being a top seed come Selection Sunday.
Last Four In
Indiana State, Saint Joseph's, Washington, Texas A&M
We have to get to 68 teams somehow, and right now, these teams have some pretty good wins that may just be enough to squeeze them in.
Indiana State has that win over Miami in the Diamond Head Classic and based on some of these other teams, I think that may be enough to get them in, for now. They still have some work to do. A win over Creighton and/or Wichita State would be very helpful. What's hurting the Sycamores are those road losses to Southern Illinois and Morehead State.
As long as Notre Dame keeps playing well, it looks better for Saint Joseph's. The Hawks suffered a tough loss to Butler, but they currently don't have any glaring weaknesses outside of the home loss to Fairfield.
Remember last year when Washington won the Pac-12 regular season title, but did not make the NCAA Tournament? Well, they're back on the bubble this year, but are off to another good start in conference play. They are 3-0 with all three wins on the road, including wins over fellow Pac-12 bubble teams California and Stanford. However, home losses to Albany and Nevada will weigh them down.
First Four Out
Colorado State, Iowa State, Pittsburgh, Tennessee
Colorado State may have a top 30 RPI, but they only have one win over a team in the tournament (at Washington). They may need to beat one of the top dogs, and they've already lost at San Diego State.
Iowa State's best win away from home is a neutral-court win over RPI No. 181 Drake. Not good. They'll need to do what they did last year, pull off a huge win in conference play.
Pittsburgh didn't even play a single game on the road in conference play and only beat Delaware and Duquesne on a neutral court. They did just beat Georgetown on the road, but 1-3 to start Big East play does not look good. That needs to change. Yes, they went 12-1 out of conference with Michigan as the only loss, but that non-conference schedule ranked 275th. Ask Cincinnati or Virginia Tech what a weak non-conference schedule will do for you.
As for Tennessee, two neutral-court wins plus an 0-2 SEC start have them just outside. However, they do have that win over Wichita State at home, so don't count them out, yet. One good win should get them right back in.