|3||Oklahoma||Michigan St.||Arizona||North Carolina|
|5||Rhode Island||Wichita St.||Seton Hall||West Virginia|
|7||Nevada||Arizona St.||Miami FL||Gonzaga|
|8||Michigan||Florida St.||Saint Mary's||Louisville|
|11||North Carolina St.||Kansas St.|
|12||Loyola Chicago||New Mexico St.||Buffalo||Middle Tennessee|
|13||Louisiana Lafayette||Vermont||East Tennessee St.||South Dakota St.|
|14||Murray St.||Bucknell||UC Santa Barbara||Northeastern|
|16||Florida Gulf Coast||Princeton||Stephen F. Austin||North Carolina A&T|
This would be a hilarious bracket in terms of preseason expectations, considering Duke, Kansas, Arizona, and Kentucky are all in the same region. That probably wouldn't happen because I do think ticket sales and ratings play a bigger role than the committee likes to admit, but that is where the teams fall at this moment.
What's up with the SEC? The conference known for football is vastly improved this year, currently holding onto 7 tournament spots where they usually only send 3-5. There are as many as 9 or 10 SEC teams battling for tournament position right now, but the most surprising one to me by far is Auburn. They're 19-2 on the year, have risen from the 50s to the top 10 on Kenpom, and look like the runaway favorite to win the SEC, which would make them the first non-Kentucky/Florida team to do so since LSU nine years ago. Will the Tigers hold on to their lofty position as a 2 seed? They get Kentucky at home and travel to Florida down the stretch, but other than that they have very few tricky games and could finish with an impressive resume.
Michigan holds steady on the 8 line. For the fifth straight week, Michigan finds themselves in a winnable 8-9 matchup with the winner facing a tough 1 seed. This is starting to feel a lot like 2011, where Michigan annihilated Tennessee in the first round before losing a nail-biter to an absolutely loaded Duke team. Let's check in with the graphs after the Purdue loss and the Northwestern win:
I'm not sure why Kenpom still predicts Michigan at 11-7 when his own probabilities show 12-6 much more likely. Michigan is now at an 89% chance of finishing 11-7 or better. However, five of the seven remaining games are between 44 and 61%, so there's still quite a bit of swing to the schedule. Saturday's game against Minnesota is one of the ones not in that range, so that's kind of a must-win as far as holding position goes. There's also Big Ten tournament seeding on the line from here on out, as Michigan looks to be in a battle with Nebraska for the last double bye. They need to finish in sole possession of fourth to get that, since Nebraska owns the tiebreaker there. It's something to keep an eye on as the calendar turns to February.