Bracketology 2017: January 23

Seed List

1: Villanova, Baylor, Kansas, Kentucky
2: UCLA, Gonzaga, Florida St., North Carolina
3: Oregon, Arizona, Duke, Wisconsin
4: West Virginia, Notre Dame, Louisville, Virginia
5: Purdue, Creighton, Butler, Cincinnati
6: Maryland, South Carolina, Saint Mary's, Northwestern
7: Kansas St, Dayton, Florida, SMU
8: Xavier, Indiana, Arkansas, Minnesota
9: Iowa State, USC, Utah, Virginia Tech
10: Miami, TCU, Texas Tech, Marquette
11: Clemson, Seton Hall, Michigan, California, Rhode Island, Wake Forest
12: Akron, UNC Wilmington, Middle Tennessee, Illinois State
13: Valparaiso, Nevada, Chattanooga, Monmouth
14: Vermont, Florida Gulf Coast, Princeton, New Mexico State
15: Georgia Southern, Belmont, Winthrop, Bucknell
16: North Dakota State, Texas Southern, Weber State, Sam Houston State

Bullets:

  • It's a two team race for the #1 overall seed at this point, but it still goes to Villanova, who sits on top of the Big East rather clearly at this point.
  • I did punish Creighton for Maurice Watson's injury, because I think the committee will do so.  The Jays are now a 5 seed.
  • Housekeeping:
    • Teams are selected and seeded based on an "If the season ended today" scenario.  This is not a projection of where I think they will end up, but where think they'd be based on season-to-date showings.  I expect Gonzaga to fall as their strength of schedule weakens, while Michigan St. should rise as they get healthy and win games in the B1G.  Doing it this way lets us track a team's stock as the season progresses.
    • Automatic bids are awarded to the team KenPom projects to win the regular season.  We'll keep it that way though January, before flipping over to the teams in first place in the conference standings.
  • The bubble remains very, very fluid.  In the end, I took Texas Tech, Miami, Clemson, Seton Hall, Michigan, Rhode Island, Cal and Wake Forest over (in no order) VCU, Pitt, Houston, Michigan State, Wichita State, Illinois and NC State.

Bids By Conference:
Atlantic Coast Conference 11
Big 12 Conference 7
Big Ten Conference 6
Big East Conference 6
Pac-12 Conference 6
Southeastern Conference 4
American Athletic Conference 2
Atlantic 10 Conference 2
West Coast Conference 2
America East Conference 1
Atlantic Sun Conference 1
Big Sky Conference 1
Big South Conference 1
Big West Conference 0
Colonial Athletic Association 1
Conference USA 1
Horizon League 1
Ivy League 1
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference 1
Mid-American Conference 1
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference 1
Missouri Valley Conference 1
Mountain West Conference 1
Northeast Conference 1
Ohio Valley Conference 1
Patriot League 1
Southern Conference 1
Southland Conference 1
Southwestern Athletic Conference 1
Sun Belt Conference 1
Summit League 1
Western Athletic Conference 1


Scoreboard Watching: January 24, 2017

In The Books

Oklahoma State 89, TCU 76: The Horned Frogs are on a three game slide and have now moved squarely into bubble territory.

NC State 84, Duke 82: Huge win for the Wolfpack.  They're in good position to be in Thursday's edition of Bracketology 2017.  Meanwhile, the Blue Devils are likely in danger of dropping out of a top 4 seed.

Tipping Off Tonight

Kansas at West Virginia: I have no idea what to expect from West Virginia.  They dismantled Baylor at home, but have fallen to teams they should easily beat.  Kansas, meanwhile, hasn't loss since Veteran's Day in Honolulu.

Virginia at Notre Dame: The Irish remained tied with FSU and North Carolina for the ACC lead but get a big test at home from a Virginia squad.

Villanova at Marquette: The Golden Eagles shots the light out at Creighton over the weekend. Can they follow it up against the nation's best team at home?

Purdue at Michigan State: The Spartans badly need wins like this, while Purdue looks to keep pace with Wisconsin.

Kansas State at Iowa State: Both teams sit somewhat comfortable in the field as of now, especially following KSU's win over West Virginia on Saturday.

Wake Forest at Syracuse: The Deacons are barely in the field and need wins like this to put themselves in.

Louisville at Pitt: The Panthers needs wins like this to improve their profile.


Scoreboard Watching: January 23, 2017

In The Books

Friday

Akron 70, Eastern Michigan 63: Big week for the Zips, who knock off both of the MAC's top contenders at home.  Every other MAC team has at least two wins, while Akron now sits at 6-0 in conference.

Saturday

Florida State 73, Louisville 68: The Cards were dealt a tough hand, tipping off against the ACC co-leaders in Tallahassee just 41 hours after beating Clemson at home.  The 'Noles took advantage of a predictably sluggish start jumping out to a 14-0 start in the game's opening minutes.  Louisville cut the lead to one on three separate occasions, but could never take the lead, extending FSU's home winning streak to 17.

Kansas State 79, West Virginia 75: I don't get West Virginia, man.  On one hand, they have very impressive wins against Baylor and at Virginia.  On the other, all four of their losses came to unranked teams.  Kansas comes next and I have no idea what to expect.

Baylor 62, TCU 53: TCU finishes 0-3 in their first round against the Big 12's title contenders, but a bubble bid is definitely still in reach..

Arizona 96, UCLA 85: The Wildcats got the news they've been waiting for Saturday morning when Allonzo Trier was cleared by the NCAA to return.  The Sophomore scored 12 points and had 7 rebounds in 27 minutes, leading the Wildcats to a huge road win.  Arizona's only losses are on neutral courts to Butler and Gonzaga and are now KenPom's favorites to win the top-heavy Pac-12.

Wisconsin 78, Minnesota 76: The Gophers have now dropped three straight in conference and are at a bit of a crossroads at they head to Columbus on Wednesday.

Marquette 102, Creighton 94: It's easy to look at a Creighton L and chalk it up to Maurice Watson Jr's absense, but the offense was clicking for the Jays.  Marquette pushed the pace and picked up their best win of the season.

Oklahoma State 83, Texas Tech 64: After an incredibly weak non-conference schedule, the Red Raiders need to make hay in Big 12 play.  At 3-4, they have a lot of work left to do.

SMU 85, Houston 64: Both teams entered in the bubble conversation, but only the Mustangs looked like anything that resembled  a tournament team.

Duke 70, Miami 58: Amile Jefferson returned for the Blue Devils, leading the way on the glass with twelve boards.  The 'Canes are 2-4 in ACC play with North Carolina and Florida State looming after a home tilt with BC.

Indiana 82, Michigan State 75: The Hoosiers have now won three games in a row and are back to .500 in Big Ten play.  Meanwhile, Sparty has dropped three of four and host Purdue on Tuesday.

Kentucky 85, South Carolina 69: The Gamecocks #1 rated defense did little to slow down Kentucky's attack, scoring just .03 under their season PPP average.

Michigan 66, Illinois 57: When the Wolverines were playing well (pre-Thanksgiving), it was in large part because of sophomore DJ Wilson.  The big man scored 19 to go along with 7 boards and 5 assists to lead Michigan, who held the Illini to their second lowest point total of the season, just a week and a half after giving up 85 points in Champaign.

Vanderbilt 68, Florida 66: A terrible week for the Gators, who fall at South Carolina and then at home in this stunner of a loss.  The Gators don't have enough good wins to make up for losses like this if they want to play opening weekend in Orlando.

Central Michigan 101, Miami Ohio 92: Not tournament impacting at all, but one must take note of Marcus Keene's 50 points thanks in large part to a 10-15 3-PT night.

Sunday

Virginia Tech 82, Clemson 81: Both teams badly needed a conference win.  Right now I have the Tigers still in my field of 68, but only by the slimmest of margins.  They need to finish very strong in ACC play to make the cut.

Northwestern 74, Ohio State 72: The Wildcats surrendered a halftime lead briefly, before taking control and never handing the game back to the Buckeyes in Columbus.  Guys, barring a collapse, Northwestern is going to make the tournament.

Tipping Off Tonight

TCU at Oklahoma State: The Horned Frogs had a bad week last week and need to get back on the winning track in Stillwater tonight.


Scoreboard Watching: January 20, 2017

In The Books

UNC Wilmington 65, College of Charleston 59: Big road win by the Seahawks puts them clearly in the driver's seat in the Colonial.

Maryland 84, Iowa 76: Quietly, the Terps are winning all the games they should win and are off to a formidable 5-1 start in Big Ten play and 17-2 overall.  

Louisville 92, Clemson 60: The best news of the night?  The Cards put this one away early enough they didn't have to stress their starters to the end; which will come in handy as they have to turn around and fly to Tallahassee today to take on a top-10 Seminoles squad Saturday.  Meanwhile, the loss is Clemson's fifth straight, placing them squarely on the bubble after a strong non-conference showing.

Arizona 73, USC 66: The Wildcats win sets up the showdown with UCLA this weekend.  Meanwhile, USC falls to 3-4 in conference.

North Dakota State 89, Fort Wayne 83: The Bison hold serve in Fargo and now hold a two game advantage for first in The Summit.

Oregon 86, California 63: The gap between the Pac-12 title contenders at the bubble teams is large.  Exhibit A.

Tipping-Off Tonight

Friday

Eastern Michigan at Akron: Division leaders face off in what could be a preview of the MAC championship game.

Saturday

Louisville at Florida State: The Seminoles are 4-1 heading into their final game in a 6-game stretch against AP Top 20 teams.  FSU survived an amazing 15-for-21 shooting night on Wednesday from Notre Dame in their last outing.  They'll need a repeat performance out of star Freshman big man Johnathon Issac against Louisville's vaunted front line.

West Virginia at Kansas State: The Mountaineers return to action after their loss to Oklahoma earlier this week.  Kansas State is looking to put back-to-back wins together for the first time in conference play.

Baylor at TCU: Jamie Dixon's squad is 0-2 against the Big 12's power teams (WVU and Kansas) coming in.  

Arizona at UCLA: KenPom projects both teams to finish Pac-12 play tied for first at 15-3.  So yeah, this is kind of a big game.

Wisconsin at Minnesota: The Gophers have dropped two straight and could still use a signature win over one of the conference's title contenders.

Marquette at Creighton: Life after Maurice Watson begins in Omaha.  Many have written the Jays off with the loss of their point guard.  This will be a good measuring stick as to how correct those concerns are.

Oklahoma State at Texas Tech: The Cowboys are 0-6 in conference, while Texas Tech needs to keep notching wins to stay in good standing with the committee.

Houston at SMU: Both teams are fighting for a bubble bid out the American.

Miami at Duke: The Blue Devils have had a week off since their back-to-back losses to Florida State and Louisville.  Will they correct course or look like the team lost without it's leader like they did against the 'Noles and Cards?

Michigan State at Indiana: Two Big Ten teams many expected to compete for the title are now trying to pick up wins and keep their tournament hopes in tact.

South Carolina at Kentucky: The Gamecocks have the nation's best defense, while Kentucky boasts the second best offense.  Now, whether or not South Carolina can score themselves may be an entirely different question...

Illinois at Michigan: Two Big Ten teams currently on the outside of the bubble looking in square off in their second meeting in less than two weeks.  The Illini took the first meeting in Champaign last Wednesday, 85-69.

Sunday

Virginia Tech at Clemson: Both teams need wins in conference, badly.

Northwestern at Ohio State: The Wildcats march toward March rolls into Columbus.


Scoreboard Watching: January 19, 2017

In The Books


Florida State 83, Notre Dame 80: Freshman Jonathon Issac may have had his breakout game netting 23 PTS to go along with 10 boards, 7 blocks and countless more altered shots.  Florida State will need him no Saturday when Louisville comes with their own core of shot blocking.  The loss is Notre Dame's first in conference, and draws the Seminoles into a tie for first along with Notre Dame.

South Carolina 57, Florida 53: The Gamecocks stormed out of the halftime locker room, quickly erasing a 7-point deficit at the break.  They took the lead at 31-30 and never surrendered it, picking up a big win at home in the SEC's race for second place.

Oklahoma 89, West Virginia 87 (OT): The Sooners used a 18-3 second half spurt to erase a 14-point deficit with 4:19 left.  After pushing the game to overtime with a jumper with 2.2 seconds left in regulation, Woodard notched the game-winning layup in OT to hand West Virginia their first home loss of the season.  West Virginia was a 97% favorite to win by KenPom coming in.

Wake Forest 96, Miami 79: The Hurricanes most points surrendered in a game coming in was 73 to Iowa State at Disney on Thanksgiving weekend.  The Deacons blew that away, nearly getting to the century mark.  Miami drops to 2-3 in conference, while the win moves Wake to 2-3, still a long shot for a bubble bid at this point.

Indiana 78, Penn State 75: The Hoosiers hung on thanks to a James Blackmon triple at the buzzer to string together two wins for the first time since mid-December.  With Rutgers already behind them, there aren't any breaks in the Big Ten the rest of the way for a team hoping to keep the promise they showed in November alive.

Navy 75, Lehigh 72: The Patriot League drivers seat shifts back to perennial conference power Bucknell.

Tipping-Off Tonight

Arizona at USC: The Wildcats start their LA road swing on a a ten-game winning streak.

Clemson at Louisville: The Tigers have been caught in the ACC's wash, dropping their last four in conference.  Winning at the Yum! Center won't be easy, either, against the nation's second best defense.

Maryland at Iowa: The Hawkeyes got thumped at Northwestern over the weekend and this may be their last call.  Maryland is hot at 3-1 in conference and 16-2 overall, though largely untested.  They won't play a ranked opponent this season until they see Purdue on February.

UNC Wilmington at College of Charleston: Big game in the CAA as the favorites go on the road.  Wilmington's only losses this season are both to teams projected in the field of 65 in Middle Tennessee and Clemson.

Cal at Oregon: The Bears are still searching for a signature win to help them feel comfortable on the right side of the bubble.

Fort Wayne at North Dakota State: Big game in The Summit as the top two teams go head-to-head for the first of two meetings this year.


Scoreboard Watching: January 18, 2017

In The Books

NC State 79, Pittsburgh 74: Big win for the Wolfpack, who still have hope of a bubble bid as the season unfolds. Pitt falls to 1-5 in Kevin Stallings' first trip through the ACC.

Arkansas 62, Texas A&M 60: The Razorbacks escape College Station with a two point win in what may be the Aggies' last call for their tournament hopes.

Arkon 83, Ohio 68: The Zips take a the home win and a two game lead in the MAC East with the win.  Another big home game is up next when West division leader Eastern Michigan visits on Friday.

Wisconsin 68, Michigan 64: The Wolverines battled for much of the game, but couldn't hold on late, allowing Wisconsin to pull away and further damaging their bubble hopes at 2-4 in Big Ten play.

Purdue 91, Illinois 68: The Boilermakers control the ballgame in their return to action since losing to Iowa last week.  Illinois has now lost back-to-back games since last week's win against Michigan put them on the good side of the bubble.

Tipping-Off Tonight

Notre Dame at Florida State: The Irish are the ACC's only undefeated team, but enter the Tucker Center where FSU hasn't lost - or had any real trouble at all - this season.

Florida at South Carolina: The Gators haven't loss since their trip to the Tucker Center on December 11, while the Gamecocks look to have things fixed after a poor December, now 4-0 in SEC play themselves.

Kansas State at Oklahoma State: The Wildcats have dropped 3 of 4 since their 12-1 start to the season, while Oklahoma State is 0-5 in conference and simply looking to play spoiler, it would seem.

TCU at Texas Tech: Two of the Big 12's bubble team's face off in a crucial head-to-head meeting.

Miami FL at Wake Forest: The Hurricanes are on a Tobacco Road swing this week, with a test first against a Wake Forest team that simply hasn't been able to keep up with the ACC's better teams, followed by a Duke team that has seemed lost without Coach K on their bench.


Scoreboard Watching: January 17, 2017

In The Books

Creighton 72, Xavier 67: The Musketeers are the ones getting caught up in the Big East wash, dropping their last 3 games all against the conference's top teams and falling to 3-3 in conference.

Villanova 76, Seton Hall 46: The Wildcats show just how large the gap is between themselves and teams in the middle of the at-large pack.

Butler 88, Marquette 80: If Marquette is to make the tournament, they need to make hay against the mid-to-low Big East teams, because they simply can't get over the hump against the conference's elite teams.

North Carolina 85, Syracuse 68: The Tar Heels are rolling and may already be eyeing their February 4th home tilt with ACC leader Notre Dame.

Kansas 76, Iowa State 72: The Jayhawks survive their biggest road test of the season this far, while Iowa State falls to 3-3 in conference play.

Tipping-Off Tonight

Arkansas at Texas A&M: The Aggies have been woeful in SEC play, starting 1-4 and only besting lowly LSU so far.  This may be their last call.

Pittsburgh at North Carolina St: Both teams are fighting for bubble bids, making these head-to-head games that much more meaningful

Michigan at Wisconsin: The Wolverines are sliding thanks to a woeful defense, but look to build off a home win over Nebraska and right the ship on the road against the Big Ten favorites.

Illinois at Purdue: The Boilermakers' first appearance since falling to Iowa is a home tilt against an Illinois squad that has proven worthy of bubble consideration.

Ohio at Akron: The top two teams in the MAC's Eastern Division collide.


Bracketology 2017: January 16

Seed List
1: Villanova, Kansas, UCLA, Gonzaga
2: Kentucky, Baylor, North Carolina, West Virginia
3: Florida State, Creighton, Louisville, Oregon
4: Duke, Butler, Purdue, Wisconsin,
5: Notre Dame, Arizona, Virginia, Cincinnati
6: South Carolina, Saint Mary's, Florida, Maryland
7: Dayton, Minnesota, Northwestern, Xavier
8: USC, Arkansas, Indiana, Seton Hall
9: SMU, TCU, Utah, Iowa State
10: California, Texas Tech, Virginia Tech, Miami (FL)
11: Clemson, Kansas St., Pittsburgh, Marquette, Michigan State, UNC Wilmington
12: Nevada, Chattanooga, Illinois State, Middle Tennessee
13: Princeton, Vermont, Oakland, Lehigh
14: Florida Gulf Coast, New Mexico State, Akron, Monmouth
15: Belmont, Georgia Southern, Weber State, UNC Asheville
16: North Carolina Central, North Dakota State, UC Irvine, Mount St. Mary's, Sam Houston State, Texas Southern
 
Bullets
  • Teams are selected and seeded based on an "If the season ended today" scenario.  This is not a projection of where I think they will end up, but where think they'd be based on season-to-date showings.  I expect Gonzaga to fall as their strength of schedule weakens, while Michigan St. should rise as they get healthy and win games in the B1G.  Doing it this way lets us track a team's stock as the season progresses.
  • Automatic bids are awarded to the team KenPom projects to win the regular season.  We'll keep it that way though January, before flipping over to the teams in first place in the conference standings.
  • Villanova takes the #1 overall seed back after Baylor was embarrassed last week at West Virginia.  The Bears fall off the top line all together and are now a 2-seed.
  • The bubble remains a mess.  In the end, I took Texas Tech, Miami, Marquette, Michigan State, Marquette, Kansas State and Pitt over Michigan, Oklahoma St., Rhode Island, Houston and Wichita State.
Conferences with multiple bids
10: ACC
7: Big 12, Big Ten
6: Pac-12, Big East
4:  SEC
2: American, WCC
 
In/Out This Bracket:
In: Marquette, Michigan State, Illinois State, Georgia Southern, Nevada, Akron, Lehigh, Sam Houston State, Mount Saint Mary's
Out: Michigan, VCU, UT Arlington, Boise State, Ohio, Bucknell, New Orleans, LIU Brooklyn, Wichita State

Scoreboard Watching: January 16, 2017

In The Books

Thursday

Notre Dame 67, Miami FL 62: The Irish pick up a solid road win an improve to 4-0 in ACC play.   Meanwhile, Miami falls to 1-2.

Cincinnati 67, SMU 64: A battle for the drivers seat in the AAC goes to the Bearcats at home.

Utah 86, USC 64: The Trojans are 1-3 after their 14-0 start to the year, while the Utes pick up a much needed win to help sure their spot on the right side of the bubble.

UCLA 104, Colorado 89: The Buffaloes were no match for the nation's top offense, paced by a 37-point showing from Bryce Alford.  Colorado falls to 0-4 in Pac-12 play.

Iowa 83, Purdue 78:  The Boilermakers fall just days after beating Wisconsin and looking like the class of B1G.  Iowa gets back over .500 in conference play heading into a weekend meeting with Northwestern.

Friday

Detroit 93, Oakland 88: Gigantic upset in the Horizon League changes the league race quite a bit.  The Titans had just one win against D-I competition and were in last place in the Horizon, while Oakland was still riding high off last week's statement road win at Valpo.

Saturday

Louisville 78, Duke 69: Life without Coach K isn't going so well for the Blue Devils, who go 0-2 on the road this week.  Meanwhile, Patino, the Cards defense has gotten them back over .500 in ACC play.

Baylor 77, Kansas State 68: The Bears get back to their winning ways after a woeful showing at West Virginia on Tuesday.

North Carolina 96, Florida State 83: The Tar Heels went small and neutralized FSU's strengths.  The Seminoles have been the team to use their depth to pull away late, but it was UNC who dominated the end of each half to put this one away.

Virginia 77, Clemson 73: With 7 wins against the KenPom Top 100, there's little doubt Clemson is a good team.  But at 1-4 in ACC play, they need to start putting wins together if they want to avoid sliding to the bubble.

Notre Dame 76, Virginia Tech 71: The Irish remain undefeated in ACC play.  They'll take that record into Tallahassee in what may be their biggest test of the season to date.

Gonzaga 79, Saint Mary's 56: The battle for WCC supremacy wasn't much of a battle at all.  Gonzaga is still alive for a 1-seed at 17-0 on the year.

TCU 84, Iowa State 77: Jamie Dixon's team keeps fighting to stay on the good side of the bubble.

Butler 83, Xavier 78:  Huge win for the Bulldogs, who now own wins against the two teams they'll likely battle for the Big East crown.

UCLA 83, Utah 82: Utah narrowly misses the signature win they so badly need.

Illinois State 76, Wichita State 62: The drivers seat in the MVC changes hands - which could leave the shockers out of the field fo 68.

Miami FL 72, Pittsburgh 46: In a fitting summary of ACC chaos, Pitt falls to 1-4 in conference, with their lone win coming against ACC power Virginia.

Oklahoma 84, Texas Tech 75: The Red Raiders profile simply isn't one of a tournament team right now, especially with the weakest non-conference SOS according to KenPom.

Maryland 62, Illinois 56: Nice week for the Terps, who take down B1G bubble teams Michigan, Indiana (who had slid themselves to the bubble) and Illinois in seven days' time.

Providence 65, Seton Hall 61: The Friars need wins like this to get themselves back into the thick of things.

Penn State 52: Minnesota 50: It took the Nittany Lions awhile to click, but they're playing well suddenly with back-to-back wins over Michigan State and the Gophers - who fall to 3-3 in B1G play.

Troy 93, UT Arlington 71: A bad week at the office for the Mavericks, who are no longer Sun Belt favorites according to KenPom. That mark now belongs to Georgia Southern - who UTA doesn't play until February 20 in Statesboro.

Sunday

Ohio State 72, Michigan State 67: A microcosm of the Spartans season - days after disposing of Minnesota at home, they fall again on the road, now 12-7 on the year.  They need to get to 20/21 wins to feel safe on selection Sunday, which won't come easy in the B1G.

Northwestern 89, Iowa 54: Days after downing Purdue, Iowa lays an absolute egg against Northwestern - showing why they have struggled to get into the tournament field.  On the other hand, the Wildcats aren't just in the field, they're comfortably in at this point and would need to go on a slide just to get back to the bubble.  

USC 71, Colorado 68: The Buffs badly needed at least a 1-1 weekend against the LA schools, but couldn't quite get there, dropping the two games by a combined total of 4 points.

Tipping-Off Tonight

Kansas at Iowa State: It's never easy to win in Ames, which hosts the toughest true-road trip thus far for current #2 overall seed Kansas.  The Cyclones return homes after falling at TCU on Saturday.

Creighton at Xavier: Big East heavyweights collide as Creighton looks to stay keep pace with Villanova while Xavier hopes to avoid their third straight loss in conference play.

Marquette at Butler: The Bulldogs have to feel like they have new life again after a big win against Xavier over the weekend.  Marquette needs a signature win in a bad way to help sure up their tournament status.

Seton Hall at Villanova: The Wildcats are back to the #1 overall seed while Seton Hall continues to fight for a bubble bid.

Syracuse at North Carolina: Meanwhile, the Orange need a signature win just to get back into the bubble conversation at 11-7.  UNC looked elite in their win over Florida State on Saturday, and look to hold pace among the ACC's top teams.


Scoreboard Watching: January 12, 2017

A brief family vacation this means we're previewing the weekend a day early; but first, a look back...

In The Books

Creighton 75, Butler 64: The Jays ran away with this game at home, handing Butler their third lost of the season and second in Big East play.

Michigan State 65, Minnesota 47: The Spartans locked down defensively, holding the Gophers to .72 points/possession, their lowest opponent point total of the year.

Iowa State 96, Oklahoma State 86: The Cyclones pick up a good road win, while OK State falls to 0-4 in Big 12 play.

North Carolina 93, Wake Forest 87: The Tar Heels escape Winston Salem with a win, setting up their huge showdown with Florida State at home on Saturday.

Illinois 85, Michigan 65: The Wolverines defense is a mess.  A tournament bid seems like a long shot at this point.

Tipping Off This Weekend

Thursday

Notre Dame at Miami FL: The Irish take their 3-0 ACC record south to the Watsco Center.

UCLA at Colorado: The Bruins last road swing saw their first loss of the year at Oregon.  Colorado would love nothing more than pulling of the signature win they so badly need.

SMU at Cincinnati: The AAC drivers seat is on the line, especially if the Mustangs can pull the upset on the road.

USC at Utah: A big opportunity for the Utes to get on firmer ground, bubble-wise.

Ohio State at Wisconsin: The Badgers look to bounce back at home from Sunday's loss at Purdue.

Saturday

Duke at Louisville: The Blue Devils are back on the road after falling to Florida State on Tuesday in which Grayson Allen looked disjointed and Harry Giles was only available for a handful of minutes.  The loser will be dealt their third off of ACC play.

Virginia at Clemson:  Two more ACC teams looking to avoid their third ACC loss.

Florida State at North Carolina: Here's the biggest reason neither of the previous teams want to pick up their third ACC loss, the winner of this game will hold a three-game advantage over those teams.

Baylor at Kansas State: How to the Bears bounce back from such a poor showing on Tuesday, their first after getting the consensus #1 ranking.

Wichita State at Illinois State: The road test will be the Shockers biggest in conference play.

UCLA vs Utah: The Bruins look to survive a tough weekend road swing, while Utah badly needs a signature win.

Xavier at Butler: Both teams are coming off decisive losses and look to send a message that they're still ready to contend for Big East supremacy.

Saint Mary's at Gonzaga: The first round of the WCC's battle of titans takes place in Spokane.

Sunday

Michigan State at Ohio State: Both teams were on the outside of my latest Bracketology 2017, but wins like this could put them back on the right side with time to play themselves onto solid ground.

USC at Colorado: The Buffalo are favored in this home contest, one they'll definitely want to win to prove themselves as tournament-hopefuls.

Iowa at Northwestern: The Wildcats continue their quest for their first ever NCAA Tournament berth.