After a chaotic week in which teams at the top of the bracket lost almost every night, there are a few changes in the latest bracket update.
Purdue and Alabama are still the top two collectors. Both were tested this week but came away with wins. Kansas State remains on top despite a loss in Iowa State. Arizona moved up to No. 1 after Kansas lost their third straight loss to Baylor.
There are now six Big 12 teams in the top 16. There are no instructions on how to place the teams from a conference in this group specifically beyond four, but I have attempted to pair them so that they are in the opposite halves of their regional brackets. I also had to mix a bit between the three and four seeds to get the bracket reasonably balanced. Because of this, some teams may look like they’re located in regions further from home than you might expect.
Bracketology top seeds
Check out Palm’s latest bracket, the full field of 68, and all the teams in the bubble on the Bracketology hub.
SEC-Big 12 challenge to batter
The final SEC Big 12 challenge is on Saturday and I’ve always enjoyed this interconference challenge more than the others because it takes place in the middle of the conference game.
As always, there are some key games in this challenge, led by Kansas in Kentucky. This is big for both teams. Kansas, No. 2, is trying to halt the aforementioned three-game slip, while Kentucky, No. 10, continues to look for marquee wins to add to its rather thin tournament record.
Texas find themselves in a battle of the current No. 2 seeds in Tennessee. The winner has one leg up trying to get to the top line of the bracket.
It’s unfortunate that Alabama wasn’t placed in a game with a more reliable top-15 team than Oklahoma. A trip to Baylor would have been a better matchup. However, these pairings are put together before the start of the season, so things don’t always work out as planned.
Keep in mind that this event is just for a day of bragging rights. Even if the SEC ends up 10-0, the Big 12 is still easily the best conference this season. These interconference challenges are fun but of no value in deciding which league is better since it’s just a non-conference game of a dozen or so and the matchups don’t always go well together.
Keystone State clash in the First Four
In the first four is a matchup between Pittsburgh and Penn State, seeded 11th. This is a fun rivalry game, but it just worked out that way. The first four are never messed with when it comes to the matchups. The last two teams compete against each other and then the two teams mate above.
Also, there is no place in row #11 to place the Pitt PSU game without the winner potentially playing against a team from their own conference. The committee could live with that, too, if it’s completely unavoidable.