The latest revision to the top line of the updated bracket has brought about a significant change. After a couple of weeks of fluctuating performances, North Carolina and Kansas have dropped enough games to allow Tennessee to climb to the fourth overall seed. Meanwhile, Purdue, UConn, and Houston maintain their positions as the top three seeds.
In terms of conference representation, both the SEC and Big 12 stand out with nine teams each in the bracket, while the Mountain West follows closely behind with six teams.
It’s been an exceptional year for the Mountain West conference, highlighted by San Diego State’s remarkable run to the Final Four last season as a No. 5 seed. This year, the Aztecs, along with a few other teams, seem poised to replicate that achievement potentially.
Contrastingly, the Big East, despite being the smallest of the Big Six conferences with 11 teams, has five teams featured in the latest bracket. With nine teams ranked 66th or higher in the NET, there’s still room for movement and surprises within the league.
The performance of the Big Ten and ACC this season has been notably below their usual standards. The Big Ten boasts five teams in the bracket, with Michigan State hovering on the edge, occasionally slipping in and out.
Michigan, in particular, has struggled this season, while teams like Nebraska and Northwestern are still in search of a significant away win to bolster their credentials.
Similarly, the ACC has seen North Carolina, Duke, and Clemson leading the pack, with Virginia making a late surge thanks to a seven-game winning streak, including a crucial win at Clemson.
Beyond these frontrunners, only Pitt and Virginia Tech have managed to string together even a modest three-game winning streak since conference play began.
In the Pac-12, basketball hasn’t quite matched the excitement of its football counterparts. With Arizona, as the sole team seeded above No. 7 in the bracket, the conference’s representation is relatively subdued. Oregon remains on the cusp, included among the “First Four Out” with a chance to bolster its tournament resume.
Currently, Dayton, Indiana State, and Saint Mary’s appear comfortably in the field as their respective conference’s sole representatives. However, the potential for “bid stealers” remains, exemplified by South Florida, the current leader of the AAC, who has emerged as a surprise contender after FAU’s recent loss.