until Texas vs Kansas

Monday, February 28


Bracket Banter

Some random thoughts as we head into the final stretch of what has been an interesting college hoops season:

*I was about to write about how there's no clear-cut favorite to cut down the nets this year, but how can you ignore what Illinois has accomplished? Their 28 victories have included wins over at least seven potential tournament teams, including Wake Forest (by 18 points), Georgetown (15), Cincinnati (22), Michigan State (13), Ohio State (19), Minnesota (23), and Wisconsin (twice, by 10 and 11 points). We all know how difficult it is to roll through the tournament and win, but Illinois has to be considered the favorite. What a season...

*Speaking of Georgetown, the Hoyas are trying to give away the berth they earned by winning eight of their first eleven conference games. The Hoyas have since lost three straight and need to either beat UCONN on the road or make some kind of run in the Big East tourney if they want to go dancing.

*Texas is flirting with the #9-#11 range for seeding, and at this point, you almost hope the Horns squeak in at #10 or #11, which would create an easier second round matchup. The #11 seed, though it has a slightly tougher first round matchup, draws the #3 seed in the second round, while the #10 seed would draw a matchup against a #2. Texas is capable of beating teams in the #6-#8 range, but a second round matchup against a #1 seed looks, at this point, like a death sentence.

*Iowa State started its conference season horribly, then rallied for seven straight conference wins and appeared poised to squeak into the NCAA tournament. Not anymore. The Cyclones have lost back to back games to Texas A&M and Nebraska and seen their RPI dip down to No. 79. That won't cut it.

*Don't look now, but former Texas coach Tom Penders and his Runnin' Cougars of Houston have played their way into NCAA tournament consideration with an 18-10 record and No. 60 RPI. If Houston takes care of Marquette and UAB to finish the season, and wins two or three games in the Conference USA tournament, Penders and his fast-breaking style may find themselves dancing once again.

*Congratulations to the Penn Quakers for yet another NCAA berth. Penn wrapped up the Ivy League regular season title to become the first team officially in the Dance.

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