Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
No. 1 Syracuse (25-1, RPI: 6, KP: 9) vs. No. 16 Robert Morris (NEC auto bid, RPI: 135, KP: 146) / Weber State (Big Sky auto bid, RPI: 179, KP: 166)
No. 8 Massachusetts (20-5, RPI: 17, KP: 43) vs. No. 9 Southern Methodist (21-6, RPI: 46, KP: 28)
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No. 4 Saint Louis (23-2, RPI: 13, KP: 19) vs. No. 13 Iona (MAAC auto bid, RPI: 85, KP: 85)
No. 5 Iowa State (20-5, RPI: 9, KP: 26) vs. No. 12 Harvard (Ivy auto bid, RPI: 56, KP: 44)
No. 3 Cincinnati (24-3, RPI: 14, KP: 20) vs. No. 14 Minnesota / Tennessee (Last five in)
No. 6 Ohio State (21-6, RPI: 15, KP: 14) vs. No. 11 Baylor (15-9, RPI: 44, KP: 45)
No. 2 Duke (21-6, RPI: 8, KP: 3) vs. No. 15 Georgia State (Sun Belt auto bid, RPI: 101, KP: 80)
No. 7 Memphis (19-6, RPI: 34, KP: 33) vs. No. 10 Oregon (17-8, RPI: 38, KP: 35)
Perhaps the most shocking revelation in the East region is that both Oregon and Baylor are fairly comfortably back in the field after several weeks in the "Last Five In" or "First Five Out" sections. Between Jan. 5 and Feb. 8, the Bears and Ducks were a combined 4-16 and plummeting out of control. But because they played so well in the first seven weeks of the season, their computer profiles never quite buried them.
Baylor has won its last three games, including a pair of do-or-die overtime games at home against Kansas State and Oklahoma State. Though the Bears are still well below .500 in conference play, they have afforded themselves a little bit of wiggle room in advance of upcoming road games against West Virginia, Texas and Kansas State.
Oregon's wins over Oregon State and Washington weren't nearly as luxurious as Baylor's, but they were wins nonetheless. The Ducks still have their work cut out for them with a road game against UCLA and a home game against Arizona still remaining, but they should be dancing if they can close out the regular season with a 3-2 record.
Southern Methodist has dropped two seed lines in the past week after losing to Temple and struggling to win a home game against Houston. The Mustangs are quite safely in the field for now, but that might change if they don't win at least one of their remaining games against Connecticut, Louisville and Memphis. Their 21-6 record doesn't look nearly as great once you realize that 15 of their wins—and two of their losses—came against teams outside the RPI Top 150.
If the Buckeyes end up getting a No. 6 seed, they might be the best No. 6 seed in NCAA tournament history. If they're able to exact revenge on Michigan State, Minnesota and Penn State in the final two weeks of the season, I could still see them climbing at least as high as a No. 4 seed before the Big Ten tournament begins.
Saint Louis doesn't quite have the computer profile to move up another seed line just yet. If the Billikens plan to run the table in the A-10, though, three of their four best wins of the season are still forthcoming. They have won their last three games by a total of eight points, so that might be an unrealistic expectation. Still, if Saint Louis finishes the regular season with a 28-2 record, it would have a really strong case for a No. 2 seed.
Despite the loss to North Carolina on Thursday night—not a bad loss by any means—Duke has done enough over the past month to remain a No. 2 seed. A home loss to Syracuse on Saturday would be a different story, though.