Happy Championship Week! Six days from now, we'll have an actual NCAA Tournament bracket, but until then we have the updated Bracketology projections with a few changes Monday.
Houston got a buzzer-beating shot from Jamal Shead to defeat Memphis 67-65. That is a real gut-punch for the Tigers, who will now hope to get another shot at the Cougars in the AAC Tournament. If that happens, it will be in the championship game, so a win for the Tigers would give them the automatic bid. A loss could still be good enough to get them in the field. A loss before then could be trouble.
Purdue blew all of a 24-point lead early in the second half vs. llinois before rallying for a 76-71 win at Mackey Arena and is still on top line.
Bracketology top seeds
Check out Palm's latest bracket, full field of 68 and all the teams on the bubble on the Bracketology hub.
The battle for No. 1 seeds this week should be interesting. The four teams I have on the top could be challenged by Texas and UCLA at a minimum. There may be a case for UCLA already, but that is based more on subjectivity than résumé. Still, the NCAA Tournament selection committee's process is a subjective one guided by objective data. The subjective part is an evaluation of a team over an entire season though, not just the last few weeks. Recency bias is not a factor.
The case for Houston is also based more on subjectivity than resume. The metrics influenced by margin of victory love the Cougars because they lead the nation in scoring margin by a whopping 5.1 points per game. To give you an idea how significant of a margin that is, the difference between No. 2 Tennessee and No. 23 Indiana State is also 5.1 ppg.
But Houston has also played the No. 93 ranked schedule. The next lowest ranked among this group of teams is UCLA at No. 49. Everyone else is in the top 25. The Cougars' best win is at Virginia, which is a good win to be sure. They also have a Quad 3 loss at home to Temple and they are the only team in this group with a Quad 3 loss.
Trying to compare teams like Houston, and to a lesser degree UCLA, with teams that have all played stronger schedules and may have an extra loss or two is one of the hardest jobs for the committee up and down the bracket.
There will be a lot of focus on the bubble as well this week. I will be paring down my Bubble Watch now that we have all the conference tournament brackets. It is easier to make determinations when you know the potential path for bubble teams.