NCAA basketballs

The NCAA has voted to move the entire 2021 men's basketball tournament to Indianapolis.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Random NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament bracket thoughts 24 days from Selection Sunday:

1. Louisville has not played since Feb. 1, but Dr. Bo’s bracket forecast has the Cardinals slotted in the same spot as several top forecasters: a No. 7 seed.

The Cards earned a 7 from BracketGuy Dave Ommen, who earned the top results over the last five seasons in the national competition at the BracketMatrix. They’re also a 7 at Delphi Bracketology, which won the 2016 competition.

Some seasons, you can argue there is little difference between a No. 7 and 8 seed. This will not be one of those years, because 8 seeds that win their opener will have a 50% chance to play Gonzaga and Baylor, the unbeaten titans who are clearly the best teams this winter.

The Zags and Bears are 1-2 in the five college basketball rankings that I used to seed my bracket: the NCAA Net ranking; Ken Pomeroy; Bart Torvik; Jeff Sagarin Predictor and Erik Haslam.

Joe Lunardi of ESPN bumped Louisville down to the 8 line, the same spot you will find the Cardinals in the BracketMatrix, currently a compilation of 109 projections

Clemson, which beat Louisville last month, is the Atlantic Coast Conference team the Cards likely need to overtake by Selection Sunday to avoid an 8 or 9 seed.

2. Indiana has work to do before the Hoosiers can exhale about returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016. But the Hoosiers’ 82-72 victory over Minnesota in Bloomington on Wednesday night should temporarily lighten Archie Miller’s anxiety.

The Gophers were a No. 10 seed and IU an 11 at BracketMatrix. Lunardi had Minnesota one spot ahead of IU on his seed line, with both as 10 seeds. BracketGuy Dave Ommen had Minnesota a 9 and Indiana a 10.

When I averaged the results from the five computer power formulas Thursday, Indiana landed safely in the 68-team field.

After making spots for the 31 automatic qualifiers — one less than usual this season because the Ivy League chose not to compete — Indiana ranked 21st among the 37 at-large teams.

That’s not how most brackets see it. Indiana is generally about six slots over the cut line, scrambling to stay ahead of Drake, Boise State, St. Bonaventure, Colorado State, UConn and Utah State. The Hoosiers benefit any time North Carolina, Oregon, Seton Hall or Minnesota loses.

I gave the Hoosiers a 10-seed.

3. Conference USA has not earned a pair of NCAA Tournament bids since 2012, which is a polite way of saying Western Kentucky must win the CUSA Tournament to earn its way into the 68-team field.

The Hilltoppers have won six straight. They have a terrific road win over Southeastern Conference leader Alabama.

But WKU’s computer rankings need work. In the five formulas that I checked, WKU ranked as high as No. 74 in the NCAA Net formula but as low as No. 98 in Sagarin Predictor.

Two wins this weekend at North Texas will strengthen the resume of Rick Stansbury’s program. At 8-2, the Hilltoppers and Mean Green are tied atop CUSA.

If WKU makes the field, give the Hilltoppers a 12-seed.

4. Missouri a No. 4 seed?

There were several interesting takeaways from the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee’s early reveal of its Top 16 seeds last weekend, beyond nine of the 16 spots going to teams from the Big 12 (5) and Big Ten (4).

When was the last time the Atlantic Coast Conference had only one (Virginia) top 4 seed?

How could Alabama lose non-road games to WKU, Clemson and Providence and earn the No. 8 overall seed?

And how is Missouri, ranked No. 51 in Pomeroy, No. 57 in Sagarin Predictor, No. 43 in NCAA Net, No. 37 in Torvik and No. 59 in Haslam, a 4-seed as well as the No. 16 overall team?

Granted, a pair of Missouri’s six losses have come since the committee’s reveal while the Tigers were without center Jeremiah Tilmon. But on Thursday, Missouri was 6-6 in the SEC. That is seventh place, only a half-game ahead of Kentucky.

5. Finally, here at the Top 16 teams in a compilation of the five computer formulas:

  1. Gonzaga
  2. Baylor
  3. Michigan
  4. Iowa
  5. Houston
  6. Ohio State
  7. Illinois
  8. Alabama
  9. Virginia
  10. Florida State
  11. Tennessee
  12. Villanova
  13. Wisconsin
  14. Creighton
  15. Colorado
  16. USC

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