The final Saturday in February turned out to be a historic day in college basketball. Each of the top six teams in the AP Top 25 lost, the first time that has ever happened on a single day in the history of the poll. A total of seven members of the AP top 10 fell, also a single-day record.
What does it mean from a Bracketology perspective? Well, imagine an NFL weekend in which every game ends in a tie. No team would lose or gain an inch in the standings. That’s what happened in college basketball on Saturday.
Answering the most pertinent questions:
Who were the projected No. 1 seeds after the dust settled on Saturday, and why?
We ended almost exactly where we started. The top three teams on the morning seed list – Gonzaga, Arizona and Kansas – all lost major road games in hostile environments. Three of the teams in the best position to supplant them – Kentucky, Purdue and Texas Tech – suffered the same fate. At the end of the carnage, Baylor was the only top-10 team to improve its seed. The Bears began the day sixth overall and ended up fourth overall. That gives the defending NCAA champions the final 1-seed. Just don’t write it in ink. Baylor visits Texas on Big Monday.
Of the top-10 teams to lose Saturday, whose loss was the most damaging from a bracket perspective?
Auburn, Kentucky and Purdue all slipped a single spot on the seed list. The only seed to change was Auburn, which fell from fourth overall to fifth and a No. 2 seed in the bracket. Kentucky and Purdue only slid within the 2-seeds. So the so-called damage was relative and, in essence, minimal.
Does Gonzaga’s loss to Saint Mary’s impact its standing as the No. 1 overall seed – or did anyone move closer to the Zags on the No. 1 overall line?
Some will say Gonzaga suffered the worst loss in the top 10, but only if they’ve never been to Moraga. The Zags stay right where they started, joining a long list of marquee programs to be reminded of the two worst four-letter words in the sport: road game. It’s the common and obvious thread connecting all of Saturday’s upsets.
No. 7 Duke ended up as the highest-ranked team to win on Saturday – and looked impressive in doing so. What does its result, coupled with the chaos above the Blue Devils, do for their bracket standing?
Not only did the Blue Devils win, they did so on the road, a feat to be celebrated under the circumstances. They also looked at the part of a No. 1 seed. The problem for Duke is that, no matter how impressive it plays down the stretch, it cannot match the résumé wins of the non-ACC powers this year.
There could be considerable momentum behind the Blue Devils, especially given the Coach K angle, but it should tell us something that Duke – despite being the only winner on the top two lines – leapfrogged just a single team in the seed list. The Blue Devils and Purdue swapped the seventh and eighth positions. It was a day to cherish, not build a new bracket. At least not yet.
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