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Bracketology update for top seeds in NCAA Tournament

There are two considerations for all teams involved: Get one of the Top 16 protected spots... and avoid Gonzaga and Baylor for as long as possible.

Oklahoma Sooners guard Austin Reaves dribbles against West Virginia Mountaineers forward Jalen Bridges during the second half at WVU Coliseum.  Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

We’re only two weeks away from the end of February and the beginning of March Madness. It’s becoming clear what teams have the best chance at winning a national championship this year.

On Saturday for the first time the NCAA selection committee put out their Top 16 so far this season, and there were plenty of surprises in the games amongst those teams on Saturday, We’ll go over some notable outcomes that could affect the top four lines in the NCAA tournament. Remember: Only the Top 16 teams are “protected” via bracketing procedures on Selection Sunday.

Three games that matter

LSU’s 78-65 upset over No. 4 seed Tennessee

The Volunteers have now lost to two unranked teams in their last five games. ESPN projected them to be a No. 6 seed heading into the weekend, and now ESPN might be right with this loss.

AP No. 17 Florida State and No. 18 Virginia Tech are set to face off next weekend and could close the gap, and it’s possible one of those teams can slide in to the top four lines soon if the Volunteers continue to freefall. It also doesn’t help Tennessee won’t face an AP-ranked team for the rest of the regular season.

Creighton’s 86-70 win over No. 2 seed Villanova

The Blue Jays fell to Georgetown just four games ago, but secured their biggest Quad 1 win of the season by extending their winning streak to three games on Saturday. The Wildcats have been considered a top-two seed for 2021, but that could change quickly with a key loss in Omaha. The two Big East rivals will battle it out one more time on March 3 in Radnor, and the result of that matchup could make tournament seeding interesting.

No. 3 seed Oklahoma’s narrow 91-90 victory over No. 3 seed West Virginia.

It wasn’t pretty in Morgantown, but a double OT win means the Sooners have faced four committee-seeded teams in their last five games and gone 4-1. While they lost to Texas Tech, their triumphs over Texas, Alabama, and now WVU are impressive.

Both the Sooners and Mountaineers will face Texas next week, and taking down one of the top teams in the competitive Big 12 could might help keep West Virginia on a top-four line.

Two games that didn’t matter

No. 1 seed Gonzaga put triple digits on San Francisco in 100-61 win

Gonzaga did the Gonzaga thing, beating the former two-time NCAA national champion Dons. The Zags are 20-0 and the first team in D-1 to score a score of victories this season. It’s a wrap in the WCC as Saint Mary’s is down this year and San Diego is just terrible, so the Zags will be 22-0 when they head to The Orleans in Vegas for the WCC Tournament.

One-seed Ohio State shovels more dirt on Indiana in 78-59 win in Bloomington

Remember when Hoosiers head coach Archie Miller unloaded on Bracketology shows last year? Can’t wait to see how he tries to talk his way in this year with a 6-7 Big Ten record after a 78-59 loss at home today to the Buckeyes. OSU had five players in double figures, led by EJ Liddell with 19. The Michigan-Ohio State game next Sunday should be an absolute banger, and might be to maintain a one-seed from the committee as well.

One game you might have slept on

No. 3-seed Virginia does it again, beats UNC 60-48

They are still the defending national champions, but when you bore sloths with your pace sometimes everyone forgets about you. The Hoos are dead last in college basketball in possessions per game, and first place by a wide margin in the ACC. They’re 15-3 overall, 11-1 in the league, and have everyone right where they want them: Forgetting about what they can do in March.

They only play six guys significant minutes, but five of them are upperclassmen and all can score. The Cavs are led by 7’1 senior Jay Huff, who shoots a preposterous 71% on two-pointers, and 47% on three-pointers. They’ve also got a Top 15 offense and defense by adjusted efficiency. Bennett Ball is back, and as dangerous as ever.