By Matt Norlander
Anything but. With all the games that happen each passing day, they represent an impossible-to-predict, snaking-in-every-direction pattern that in many ways is contradictory. From the 68 teams below, about 80 percent of them have lost at least two of their past five games. But it's where those losses have come and to whom. Some losses are much more damaging. The seeding this season gets tricky around the 4 line and again in the 10 and 11 area.
In my opinion, it's much tougher to decipher there than at the cut line.
A few things, I think, are locks at this point. First Arizona, Florida and Wichita State as No. 1s. That's a given. That final chase for a 1 seed is going to be incredible, though. Wisconsin and Virginia really hurt their cases with losses Sunday to Nebraska and Maryland, respectively, meaning San Diego State, Syracuse, Duke, Michigan, Louisville and even Kansas are still in a situation where winning out would entertain the discussion. I think Syracuse is in the best spot to get the 1, should it win out. Kansas has eight losses, and no team has ever earned a No. 1 with eight losses. But KU has the toughest overall strength of schedule and the toughest non-conference strength of schedule.
It's a hot mess. I love it. Conference tournament week has a lot riding on it regarding the No. 1, and for those that like to claim "getting a No. 1 doesn't matter," that's fairly bogus. Empirical data proves that getting a No. 1 gives you the best chance at reaching the Final Four and winning the national title. Usually one hand feeds the other in that respect, but regardless, getting a No. 1 is always cool and don't try to make it uncool. You know what's uncool? Nine seeds. They're like sevens in Stratego. (I guess that would make 12s like 8s, if you follow.)
Other lock: Harvard getting an 11 seed. When you look at the at-large situation around the 11s and 12s, putting the 26-4 Crimson on that 11 line seems perfect. A 12 wouldn't be an injustice on Selection Sunday, but Tommy Amaker's team has earned the right to play a 6, and if they somehow scooted onto the 10 line, I'd be totally fine/surprised with that.
Last lock: At least 13 of the top 16 seeds will still hold true come Selection Sunday. The gap at the 5 line starts to become clear, and it's unlikely a lot of these teams on the 3 and 4 will be tumbling so far out, given all they've accomplished through 30-ish games to this point.
Also, we've got five bids that have been locked up. Those teams are listed below in capital letters. Our last look at the field will come on Friday.
The power four from each region:
EAST: Villanova, Syracuse, Wisconsin, Cincinnati. Composite record: 106-18.
SOUTH: Florida, Kansas, Duke, Louisville. Composite record: 102-22.
MIDWEST: Wichita State, Michigan, Creighton, Iowa State. Composite record: 104-20.
WEST: Arizona, San Diego State, Virginia, Memphis. Composite record: 103-20.
Teams still somewhat safely in the field that still have potential for serious seed damage or outright exclusion: Pittsburgh, Kentucky, Iowa, Gonzaga, Xavier, Ohio State.
Leagues with multiple bids:
- Big 12 (7)
- Pac-12 (7)
- Atlantic-10 (6)
- ACC (5)
- Big Ten (5)
- AAC (5)
- SEC (4)
- Big East (3)
- West Coast (2)
- Mountain West (2)
* denotes auto bid, and the current leader in each conference is designated as such, except for the SWAC, which has four teams ineligible to make this year's NCAA tournament.
16 COASTAL CAROLINA* (Big South, 16-13)
16 Wofford* (SoCon, 19-12)
16 Alabama State* (SWAC, 18-11)
16 Stony Brook* (America East, 23-9)
12 Saint Joseph's (21-9)
12 Arkansas (21-10)
11 Stanford (19-11)
11 Tennessee (20-11)
1 Villanova* (Big East, 28-3)
16 Weber State* (Big Sky, 17-11)
8 Oklahoma State (20-11)
9 Iowa (20-11)
5 New Mexico (24-6)
12 Dayton (22-9)
4 Cincinnati* (AAC, 26-5)
13 Toledo* (MAC, 26-5)
6 Saint Louis* (A-10, 26-5)
11 WINNER OF PLAY-IN GAME
3 Wisconsin (25-6)
14 Wright State* (Horizon League, 20-13)
7 UCLA (23-8)
10 BYU (22-10)
2 Syracuse (27-4)
15 Boston University* (Patriot League, 24-9)
1 Florida* (SEC, 29-2)
16 WINNER OF PLAY-IN GAME
8 George Washington (23-7)
9 Kansas State (20-11)
5 North Carolina (23-8)
12 WINNER OF PLAY-IN GAME
4 Louisville (26-5)
13 MERCER* (A-Sun, 26-8)
6 Michigan State (23-8)
11 California (19-12)
3 Duke (24-7)
14 Iona* (MAAC, 22-9)
7 Massachusetts (23-7)
10 Pittsburgh (23-8)
2 Kansas* (Big 12, 23-8)
15 Robert Morris* (NEC, 21-12)
1 WICHITA STATE* (Missouri Valley, 34-0)
16 WINNER OF PLAY-IN GAME
8 Oregon (22-8)
9 Colorado (21-10)
5 Connecticut (24-7)
12 Louisiana Tech* (C-USA, 25-6)
4 Iowa State (23-7)
13 Stephen F. Austin* (Southland, 29-2)
6 Baylor (21-10)
11 HARVARD* (Ivy League, 26-4)
3 Creighton (24-6)
14 Delaware* (Colonial, 24-9)
7 VCU (24-7)
10 Gonzaga* (WCC, 26-6)
2 Michigan* (Big Ten, 23-7)
15 EASTERN KENTUCKY* (Ohio Valley, 24-9)
1 Arizona* (Pac-12, 28-3)
16 Utah Valley* (WAC, 19-10)
8 Kentucky (22-9)
9 SMU (23-8)
5 Oklahoma (23-8)
12 North Dakota State* (Summit League, 23-6)
4 Memphis (23-8)
13 Georgia State* (Sun Belt, 24-7)
6 Ohio State (23-8)
11 Xavier (20-11)
3 Virginia* (ACC, 25-6)
14 North Carolina Central* (MEAC, 25-5)
7 Texas (22-9)
10 Arizona State (21-10)
2 San Diego State* (Mountain West, 27-3)
15 UC Irvine* (Big West, 22-10)
Who dropped out: Providence (11 seed), Georgetown (12), Florida State (12)
Who hopped in: BYU (10), Tennessee (11), Dayton (12)
Last four in: Stanford, Saint Joe's, Arkansas, Tennessee
First four out: Minnesota, Nebraska, Georgetown, Florida State
Next four out: Green Bay, Providence, Missouri, Utah
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Bubble games already bracketed in league tournaments (all times Eastern):
Monday: Saint Mary's-Gonzaga (9 p.m., ESPN); San Francisco-BYU (11:30 p.m., ESPN2).
Wednesday: Washington-Utah (3 p.m., Pac-12 Net); DePaul-Georgetown (9:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1); Washington State-Stanford (11:30 p.m., Pac-12 Net).
Thursday: Florida State-Maryland (Noon, ESPN); Texas A&M-Missouri (1 p.m., ESPN3); St. John's-Providence (2:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1); Penn State-Minnesota (6:30 p.m., ESPN2); Marquette-Xavier (9:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1).
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Matt Norlander is a contributor to Sports on Earth and a writer at CBSSports.com. He lives in Connecticut and is equal parts obsessed with sports and music. Follow him on Twitter: @MattNorlander.