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Bracketology: The Zion Williamson factor for Duke

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The pertinent question this morning is the health of Zion Williamson.  Foremost, because he’s an exceptional talent and life is bigger than basketball.

The secondary component is how his injury impacts Duke – both on the court and, subsequently, the Blue Devils’ standing on the Seed List.

If last night were the eve of Selection Sunday, the Committee would be forced to make a tough decision: evaluating Duke while Zion’s future availability is unknown.

Since a decision related to today’s bracket had to be made quickly in the wee hours of the morning with little information, Duke stays put, largely because the Blue Devils own a season sweep of Virginia, and two of its losses occurred with less than a full roster.

Once we know more about Zion’s status, further review will ensue.

BRACKET UPDATE: February 21, 2019

FIRST FOUR – DAYTON
SOUTH REGION Temple vs. Alabama
MIDWEST REGION UCF vs. Utah State
EAST REGION ST. FRANCIS (PA) vs. CANISIUS
WEST REGION NORFOLK ST vs. PRAIRIE VIEW

EAST Washington, DC   SOUTH – Louisville                   
Columbia Columbus
1) DUKE 1) Virginia
16) ST. FRANCIS / CANISIUS 16) LEHIGH
8) Ole Miss 8) Auburn
9) Ohio State 9) WOFFORD
Jacksonville Salt Lake City
5) Iowa State 5) Maryland
12) BELMONT 12) Temple / Alabama
4) LSU 4) Texas Tech
13) OLD DOMINION 13) LIBERTY
Hartford Hartford
6) Louisville 6) Villanova
11) Florida 11) VCU
3) MARQUETTE 3) Purdue
14) YALE 14) TEXAS STATE
Des Moines Columbus
7) BUFFALO 7) Cincinnati
10) Texas 10) TCU
2) Michigan 2) Kentucky
15) LOYOLA-CHICAGO 15) NORTHERN KENTUCKY
WEST – Anaheim MIDWEST – Kansas City
Salt Lake City Columbia
1) GONZAGA 1) TENNESSEE
16) PR VIEW / NORFOLK ST 16) SAM HOUSTON ST
8) Baylor 8) St. John’s
9) Minnesota 9) Syracuse
San Jose San Jose
5) Florida State 5) KANSAS STATE
12) NEW MEXICO ST 12) UCF / Utah State
4) NEVADA 4) Wisconsin
13) HOFSTRA 13) VERMONT
Tulsa Tulsa
6) Virginia Tech 6) Iowa
11) Seton Hall 11) Arizona State
3) Kansas 3) HOUSTON
14) UC-IRVINE 14) SOUTH DAKOTA ST
Des Moines Jacksonville
7) WASHINGTON 7) Mississippi State
10) NC State 10) Oklahoma
2) MICHIGAN STATE 2) North Carolina
15) MONTANA 15) RADFORD

BUBBLE NOTES
Last 4 Byes Last 4 IN      First 4 OUT Next 4 OUT
TCU Temple Clemson Nebraska
Seton Hall UCF Georgetown UNC-Greensboro
Arizona State Utah State Butler Lipscomb
Florida Alabama Furman Dayton

TOP SEED LINE: Duke is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Virginia, Tennessee, and Gonzaga

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (8): DUKE, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida State, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, NC State

Big 10 (8): MICHIGAN STATE, Michigan, Purdue, Wisconsin, Maryland, Iowa, Ohio State, Minnesota

BIG 12 (8): KANSAS STATE, Kansas, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma, TCU

SEC (8): TENNESSEE, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Auburn, Florida, Alabama

Big East (4): VILLANOVA, Marquette, St. John’s, Seton Hall

American (4): HOUSTON, Cincinnati, Temple, UCF

Pac 12 (2): WASHINGTON, Arizona State

Mountain West (2): NEVADA, Utah State

Southern (1): WOFFORD

Atlantic 10 (1): VCU

Mid American (1): BUFFALO

West Coast (1): GONZAGA

ONE BID LEAGUES: Loyola-Chicago (MVC), Canisius (MAAC), Old Dominion (C-USA), Texas State (SBELT), Yale (IVY), Montana (BSKY), Northern Kentucky (HORIZON), Sam Houston (SLND), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Liberty (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), Hofstra (CAA), Radford (BSO), Norfolk State (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Lehigh (PAT), St. Francis (PA) (NEC), Prairie View (SWAC)

Bubble Banter: What is going on with TCU?

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The last NBC Sports bracket projection can be found here.

It looked like TCU (NET: 41, SOS: 31) had played themselves off the bubble.

The Horned Frogs had just gone into Iowa State and smacked around a really good Cyclones team, a performance that vaulted them up into the 8-9 games in most projections, if not higher.

But here’s the problem: Not only was that win the only Q1 win that TCU has on their resume, it is also the last win that they landed. On Monday night, TCU — playing without Kouat Noi for the second straight game and for the third time in league play, three losses — went into Oklahoma State (91) and lost. It’s TCU’s worst loss of the year, and while it’s only a Q2 loss, it is their only loss of the season to a team outside of the top 40 in the NET.

That’s relevant because TCU’s resume is more or less built on the the idea that they have a few good wins without losing to a team that isn’t headed for the NCAA tournament.

Things are going to get dicey now. As of today, the Horned Frogs are 17-9 on the season and 5-8 in Big 12 play. They are 1-6 in Q1 games and 6-3 against Q2 opponents, but this is the kicker: They have a rough schedule over the final three weeks of the season: Iowa State (13), at West Virginia (118), Texas Tech (10), Kansas State (29), at Texas (35). I’d say they have to win at least two of those games, but a 2-3 finish to the regular season would leave them sitting at 7-11 in conference play. That’s not something the committee is supposed to factors in, but it would be a fact that is very hard to ignore.

Missing Noi is the x-factor. He’s their second-leading scorer and rebounder, and TCU is 14-6 in games that he plays. How much will that be taken into consideration when the committee looks at TCU’s profile?

The truth, regardless of who is in the lineup, is that Jamie Dixon needs to turn things around and do it quickly.

Bracketology: Virginia marches South as Tennessee drops; Kentucky a 2-seed

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With a coveted spot atop the South Region in play, Virginia benefited from Tennessee’s loss at Kentucky on Saturday night.  By a narrow margin, UVA moved to No. 2 on the Seed List, dropping Tennessee to No. 3 overall.  As a result, the Cavaliers march South as the No. 1 seed in the Louisville region, bumping the Volunteers to the Midwest.

Kentucky stays put as the top two-seed, which leaves an interesting question: Would the Committee place UK in the South Region opposite Virginia knowing the potential advantage it could give the Wildcats in an Elite Eight matchup in Louisville?

That type of scenario has worked out differently over the years.  The other option, given bracketing guidelines, would be for the Committee to slot Kentucky in the West Region, opposite Gonzaga, pairing No. 4 and No. 5 on the seed list together.  For now, UK stays South.  Let’s see how things shake out the next couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, the ragged cutline continues to ebb and flow.  Wait a couple of days; it’s likely to change.

UPDATED: February 18, 2019

FIRST FOUR – DAYTON
EAST REGION Utah State vs. UCF
MIDWEST REGION Butler vs. Temple
EAST REGION ST. FRANCIS (PA) vs. CANISIUS
MIDWEST REGION NORFOLK ST vs. PRAIRIE VIEW

EAST Washington, DC   SOUTH – Louisville                      
Columbia Columbia
1) DUKE 1) Virginia
16) ST. FRANCIS / CANISIUS 16) BUCKNELL
8) BUFFALO 8) Auburn
9) Seton Hall 9) Minnesota
San Jose Salt Lake City
5) Wisconsin 5) Texas Tech
12) Utah State / UCF 12) LIPSCOMB
4) Iowa State 4) VILLANOVA
13) VERMONT 13) OLD DOMINION
Des Moines Tulsa
6) Virginia Tech 6) Maryland
11) VCU 11) Arizona State
3) Marquette 3) HOUSTON
14) YALE 14) UC-IRVINE
Des Moines Columbus
7) Mississippi State 7) St. John’s
10) TCU 10) NC State
2) Michigan 2) Kentucky
15) LOYOLA-CHICAGO 15) RADFORD
WEST – Anaheim MIDWEST – Kansas City
Salt Lake City Jacksonville
1) GONZAGA 1) TENNESSEE
16) SAM HOUSTON 16) NORFOLK ST / PR VIEW
8) WOFFORD 8) WASHINGTON
9) Baylor 9) Syracuse
San Jose Hartford
5) Louisville 5) KANSAS STATE
12) BELMONT 12) Butler / Temple
4) NEVADA 4) Purdue
13) NEW MEXICO ST 13) HOFSTRA
Hartford Tulsa
6) Florida State 6) Iowa
11) Oklahoma 11) Alabama
3) LSU 3) Kansas
14) TEXAS STATE 14) SOUTH DAKOTA ST
Columbus Jacksonville
7) Cincinnati 7) Ole Miss
10) Texas 10) Ohio State
2) MICHIGAN STATE 2) North Carolina
15) MONTANA 15) NORTHERN KENTUCKY

BUBBLE NOTES
Last 4 Byes Last 4 IN      First 4 OUT Next 4 OUT
Texas Temple Clemson Davidson
Alabama UCF Florida Fresno State
Oklahoma Butler Furman Georgetown
Arizona State Utah State Nebraska UNC-Greensboro

TOP SEED LINE: Duke is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Virginia, Tennessee, and Gonzaga

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (8): DUKE, Virginia, North Carolina, Louisville, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, NC State

Big 10 (8): MICHIGAN STATE, Michigan, Purdue, Wisconsin, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio State

BIG 12 (7): KANSAS STATE, Kansas, Iowa State, Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU, Texas

SEC (7): TENNESSEE, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Auburn, Alabama

Big East (5): VILLANOVA, Marquette, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Butler

American (4): HOUSTON, Cincinnati, UCF, Temple

Pac 12 (2): WASHINGTON, Arizona State

Mountain West (2): NEVADA, Utah State

Southern (1): WOFFORD

Atlantic 10 (1): VCU

Mid American (1): BUFFALO

West Coast (1): GONZAGA

ONE BID LEAGUES: Loyola-Chicago (MVC), Canisius (MAAC), Old Dominion (C-USA), Texas State (SBELT), Yale (IVY), Montana (BSKY), Northern Kentucky (HORIZON), Sam Houston (SLND), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Lipscomb (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), Hofstra (CAA), Radford (BSO), Norfolk State (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), St. Francis (PA) (NEC), Prairie View (SWAC)

Bracketology: Happy Valentine’s Day for Duke, LSU

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Since it’s Valentine’s Day, we’ll sweep the epic crumbles of futility – otherwise known as this year’s bubble – under the proverbial rug and try not to look.

Instead, we’ll send Happy Heart greetings to the Duke Blue Devils and LSU Tigers, both of whom celebrated huge road wins in the Commonwealth on Tuesday.  For their efforts, Duke remains the No. 1 overall seed in today’s bracket.  LSU rises to No. 12 on the seed list, good for the final No. 3 seed.

As for those crumbles, today’s cutline decisions included serious consideration for teams like Oklahoma, Indiana, Butler, and Florida, all of whom have significant resume issues. There are no clear answers, especially with regards to how the Selection Committee will use the NCAA’s new NET ratings.  The good news for those four, and others, is we still have games to play.

BRACKET UPDATE: February 14, 2019

FIRST FOUR – DAYTON
WEST REGION Clemson vs. Arizona State
MIDWEST REGION UNC Greensboro vs. Utah State
EAST REGION Norfolk State vs. Quinnipiac
MIDWEST REGION Robert Morris vs. Prairie View

EAST Washington, DC   SOUTH – Louisville                       
Columbia Columbia
1) DUKE 1) TENNESSEE
16) QUINNIPIAC / NORFOLK ST 16) BUCKNELL
8) BUFFALO 8) Baylor
9) Alabama 9) Syracuse
San Jose Salt Lake City
5) Wisconsin 5) KANSAS STATE
12) LIPSCOMB 12) BELMONT
4) Iowa State 4) VILLANOVA
13) VERMONT 13) OLD DOMINION
Des Moines Tulsa
6) Florida State 6) Maryland
11) UCF 11) Texas
3) Marquette 3) HOUSTON
14) YALE 14) UC-IRVINE
Hartford Jacksonville
7) Mississippi State 7) Ohio State
10) NC State 10) Seton Hall
2) Michigan 2) North Carolina
15) LOYOLA-CHICAGO 15) RADFORD
WEST – Anaheim MIDWEST – Kansas City
Salt Lake City Hartford
1) GONZAGA 1) Virginia
16) SAM HOUSTON 16) ROB MORRIS / PR VIEW
8) St. John’s 8) WASHINGTON
9) Auburn 9) TCU
San Jose Des Moines
5) Louisville 5) Texas Tech
12) Clemson / Arizona State 12) NC-Greensboro / Utah State
4) NEVADA 4) Purdue
13) NEW MEXICO ST 13) HOFSTRA
Jacksonville Tulsa
6) Virginia Tech 6) Iowa
11) Temple 11) VCU
3) LSU 3) Kansas
14) NORTHERN KENTUCKY 14) SOUTH DAKOTA ST
Columbus Columbus
7) Ole Miss 7) Cincinnati
10) WOFFORD 10) Minnesota
2) MICHIGAN STATE 2) Kentucky
15) MONTANA 15) TEXAS STATE

BUBBLE NOTES
Last 4 Byes Last 4 IN      First 4 OUT Next 4 OUT
Minnesota Clemson Oklahoma Arkansas
Texas Arizona State Indiana Georgetown
UCF UNC-Greensboro Butler Fresno State
Temple Utah State Florida Davidson

TOP SEED LINE: Duke is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Tennessee, Virginia, and Gonzaga

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (9): DUKE, Virginia, North Carolina, Louisville, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, NC State, Clemson

Big 10 (8): MICHIGAN STATE, Michigan, Purdue, Wisconsin, Iowa, Maryland, Ohio State, Minnesota

BIG 12 (7): KANSAS STATE, Kansas, Iowa State, Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU, Texas

SEC (7): TENNESSEE, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Auburn, Alabama

Big East (4): VILLANOVA, Marquette, St. John’s, Seton Hall

American (4): HOUSTON, Cincinnati, UCF, Temple

Pac 12 (2): WASHINGTON, Arizona State

Mountain West (2): NEVADA, Utah State

Southern (2): WOFFORD, UNC-Greensboro

Atlantic 10 (1): VCU

Mid American (1): BUFFALO

West Coast (1): GONZAGA

ONE BID LEAGUES: Loyola-Chicago (MVC), Quinnipiac (MAAC), Old Dominion (C-USA), Texas State (SBELT), Yale (IVY), Montana (BSKY), Northern Kentucky (HORIZON), Sam Houston (SLND), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Lipscomb (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), Hofstra (CAA), Radford (BSO), Norfolk State (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Robert Morris (NEC), Prairie View (SWAC)

No. 14 Kansas wins in OT at TCU

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FORT WORTH, Texas — Devon Dotson scored 25 points, including six free throws in the final 40 seconds of overtime, and No. 14 Kansas beat TCU 82-77 on Monday night for its second win in a row while starting four freshmen.

After blowing a 12-point lead in the second half, the Jayhawks (19-6, 8-4 Big 12) never trailed in overtime. They broke the final tie on K.J. Lawson’s jumper with 1:09 left before Dotson sealed it at the free-throw line.

Dotson also had 10 rebounds for one of the three double-doubles for Kansas. Ochai Agbaji had 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Dedric Lawson, a junior and the only non-freshman starter, had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

TCU (17-7, 5-6), trying to win consecutive games against Top 25 teams for the first time in school history, had a 13-0 run late in regulation and took a 69-65 lead on JD Miller’s two free throws with 2:07 left. The Frogs didn’t score again until overtime.

Dedric Lawson had a putback basket for the Jayhawks with 1:06 left, and they got the ball back after TCU freshman Kendric Davis lost it out of bounds. The ball was initially ruled off a Kansas player until a replay review.

K.J. Lawson tied the game on a floater with 24 seconds left, and Davis missed a potential game-winning shot at the buzzer.

Desmond Bane had 18 points for TCU while Davis scored 16, Kouat Noi had 14 and Alex Robinson scored 13.

BIG PICTURE

Kansas: The young Jayhawks got a big road win. After senior guard Lagerald Vick took a leave of absence from the program last week, coach Bill Self used four freshman starters Saturday for only the second time in his 16 seasons. They won Saturday at Oklahoma State, rebounding from a loss at Kansas State, and overcome a raucous atmosphere in Fort Worth.

TCU: It was a stinging loss for TCU, which had won eight consecutive Big 12 home games. The Frogs were coming off a 92-83 win at then-No. 17 Iowa State on Saturday. They jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first 1 1/2 minutes against Kansas, and had the big run late before falling.

UP NEXT

Kansas is home Saturday against struggling West Virginia, which beat the Jayhawks 65-64 on Jan. 19.

TCU hosts Oklahoma on Saturday with a chance for a regular-season series sweep of the Sooners.

Bubble Banter: Big 12 doesn’t get any clearer

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The most recent NBC Sports bracket projection can be found here.

WINNER

BAYLOR (NET: 34, SOS: 51): The Bears picked up a solid home win over an Oklahoma team that is still sitting in the top 50 of the NET on Monday. The Bears are getting closer and closer to being able to call themselves safe. They are just 3-5 against Q1 opponents, but they have seven Q2 wins. Their issue is that they have two Q4 losses, and those are the kind of things that can sink a resume, but with how weak this bubble is, that should not matter too much this year.

LOSERS

OKLAHOMA (NET: 42, SOS: 5): As of Monday morning, we still had Oklahoma in our projection despite the fact that they are were sitting at 3-8 in Big 12 play with a four-game losing streak. That was before they lost at Baylor. They are at TCU (32) on Saturday. The question with this group is whether or not they will actually be able to turn this thing around, and I’m not convinced they will. It’s worth noting that the Sooners best win is Wofford at home, but that they did play a top 10 schedule this year, one that does not feature a Q4 game.

TCU (NET: 32, SOS: 20): The Horned Frogs missed on a chance to beat Kansas at home on Monday night. They lost despite leading by four with less than two minutes left and playing the end of overtime against a Kansas team that was missing four of their five starters. The best thing about TCU’s resume right now is that they have not lost a game outside of the Q1 tier. The problem is that they are just 1-7 in Q1 games. They’ll get four more shots at one: Iowa State, Texas Tech, Kansas State and at Texas.