/Bracketology: Michigan moves up to top line as the No. 2 national seed in NCAA Tournament projection
Bracketology: Michigan moves up to top line as the No. 2 national seed in NCAA Tournament projection

Bracketology: Michigan moves up to top line as the No. 2 national seed in NCAA Tournament projection

A new Bracketology bracket projection is up and there is a change on the top line. Michigan has moved up to the No. 2 overall seed, passing Baylor due to strength of schedule. The NET disagrees. Those rankings have Baylor passing Gonzaga for the top spot on Friday morning. That is also likely a strength of schedule move.

Michigan has been dominant in the strongest league in the country. The Wolverines have only been challenged twice all season, most recently a month ago in a four-point win over Penn State.

Bracketology top seeds

Check out Palm’s latest bracket, field of 68, last four in and first four out

The middle of the Big Ten is struggling some. The bracket is down to nine Big Ten teams. Maryland and Northwestern do not have good enough records to get into the bracket. Michigan State and Indiana are struggling. Each of them lost at home to Purdue at home this week, which has pushed the Boilermakers into the bracket, but dropped the Spartans and Hoosiers out. MSU has lost four of its last six and is now in a COVID-19 pause. Indiana has lost four of its last seven and the schedule is taking a turn for the worse. The Hoosiers’ next five games are at Iowa, home against Rutgers, at Michigan and home to Illinois and Iowa. Yikes.

There are two teams in this week’s polls that are not in my bracket. Virginia and Duke are in the polls because they are familiar names, but there is nothing to suggest that these are top 25 teams yet.

The still-reigning champion Cavaliers are lacking a quality win of any substance. They do have a Quadrant 2 win, which came at 135th-ranked Boston College. If the Eagles were one spot lower in the NET, it would be a Quadrant 3 win. Their losses are a blowout to Gonzaga, which does not make Virginia unique, and a neutral site loss to San Francisco.

Duke is 5-3 and without even a marginal Quad 2 win. All five of the Blue Devils wins are Quadrant 3 or 4 and they also have a Quadrant 3 loss at home to Michigan State. Duke’s other losses are at home to Illinois and this past week at Virginia Tech. Duke’s ranking this week came before the loss to the Hokies, but it was unjustifiable then too.

There is still plenty of time for those two teams to make their case for a spot in the tournament, of course. We are two months from Selection Sunday.

Coronavirus could effect bracket

COVID-19 has been hitting college basketball hard all season, postponing and canceling games left and right. As of Friday morning, I count 52 teams on pause due to COVID. Also, 176 conference games have been postponed and are still waiting to be rescheduled.

There is a chance we could see the NCAA Tournament selection committee give a team an at-large bid that does not meet the historic standard of finishing four games above .500. The pandemic has played havoc with schedules and in particular reduced the number of non-conference games significantly. We will have to wait and see how things look closer to March before we have a better idea if that will be necessary.

There are still two teams waiting to play their first games of the season. That wait may finally end this weekend. American and Loyola-Maryland from the Patriot League have each had their first four games postponed, including two against each other. American is schedule to face Navy this weekend, while the Greyhounds take on Lafayette. We hope.