Bracketology: UNC and Kentucky jump to first place, Duke and Tennessee rank second


The top line of support was running Saturday. First, Tennessee lost to Auburn 84-80, which brought the Volunteers to second place. North Carolina then finished the season with Duke, 79-70, which allowed the Blue Devils to return to Line 2 for the first time this season. With this victory, the Tar Heels took over to replace Duke.

The Blue Devils have been struggling since the loss of Zion Wiliamson, who is expected to return for the ACC tournament. Brands Bolden, his substitute in the starting lineup, left Saturday's game with a sprained MCL which he injured when he hit the basket post while trying to defend a quick shot. His return schedule is not clear.


Virginia's win over Louisville allowed the Cavaliers to win the CCA's regular season title and a No. 1 seed in the CCA tournament. In fact, they are a lock to be on the first line of support on Sunday of the selection.

Michigan would have earned this fourth place, but the Wolverines collapsed in the second half at Michigan State in a 75-63 loss. The Spartans won the Big Ten title and seeded No. 1 in the conference tournament. Purdue also earned a share of the title, her 24th overall, with a 70-57 win at Northwestern. The Spartans jumped to a 2 seed, bringing the Wolverines back to a 3. What difference does one make.

Conference tournaments could also be more lively. With three teams from ACC and three from the SEC among the top eight, new losses are on the horizon.

LSU won the regular season title at SEC on Saturday with an 80-59 win over Vanderbilt. The Tigers were without suspended coach Will Wade, with Javonte Smart (withheld for potential eligibility issues) and Naz Reid (injured).

The Big 12 title was shared by Texas Tech and Kansas State. The Red Raiders have won their first conference title since league formation. The last time they won a conference championship at the Southwest Conference, in 1996, the state of Kansas earned a share of the title in 2013.

Villanova became the Big East champion after Marquette lost his fourth straight game. This time it was a 86-84 loss to Georgetown in the senior night. This league tournament could be won by any one. Marquette has dropped to a seed of 5 in the current category and remains the highest ranked team in the Big East.

Check out Bracketology of Jerry Palm and see his projected field full of 68 teams.

Yesterday, I wrote at length on the bad quality of the bubble and the fact that several teams fail to meet the standards of success, even minimal. Some of these teams are still in the slice this morning, including Florida, which is only 17-14 years old, is the last team on the field.

It was a tough day for seeded tournament tournaments. The state of South Dakota, led by 3-point scorer Mike Daum, was eliminated from the tournament tournament by Illinois West, seeded 8th.

Those who followed the Missouri Valley this year should not be surprised that Arch Madness is really crazy. The first two seeds, Loyola and Drake, the 2018 Finals, were dropped in Saturday's semifinal, leaving fifth-seeded Bradley to face No. 6 Northern Iowa in Sunday's final.

Belmont is the team that will probably catch the most attention. The Bruins lost to Murray State 77-65 in the OVC final. Naturally, people are thrilled that Racers star Ja Morant can show off his talent at the NCAA tournament. Belmont, however, may not succeed. The Bruins program barely ranks in the top 200. Only three teams received a global offer with a calendar ranked as low as that recorded since 2006.

All conference tournament schedules are defined after Saturday's action. The AAC and the Big Ten still have work to do on Sunday. Note that my support uses the top seed remaining in the conference tournament as an automatic qualifier.

Check out Jerry Palm's Bracketology and see his projected full field of 68 teams.

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