BracketBot: January 13, 2020

1. Duke (15-1, 5-0 ACC; +1)
2. Kansas (11-3, 2-1 Big XII; -1)
3. West Virginia (13-2, 2-1 Big XII; +1)
4. Auburn (15-0, 3-0 SEC; -1)
5. Baylor (13-1, 3-0 Big XII; +4)
6. Butler (15-1, 3-0 Big East; +2)
7. San Diego State (16-0, 6-0 MWC; -2)
8. Maryland (13-3, 3-2 Big Ten; -2)
9. Florida State (14-2, 4-1 ACC; +3)
10. Michigan State (13-4, 5-1 Big Ten; -3)
11. Dayton (14-2, 3-0 A-10; 0)
12. Oregon (14-3, 3-1 Pac-12; +2)
13. Wichita State (15-1, 3-0 AAC; +4)
14. Louisville (13-3, 4-1 ACC; +4)
15. Gonzaga (18-1, 4-0 WCC; 0)
16. Arkansas (13-2, 2-1 SEC; 0)
17. Colorado (13-3, 2-1 Pac-12; +5)
18. Seton Hall (12-4, 4-0 Big East; +9)
19. Villanova (12-3, 3-1 Big East; +2)
20. Kentucky (12-3, 3-0 SEC; +9)
21. Indiana (13-3, 3-2 Big Ten; +12)
22. Ohio State (11-5, 1-4 Big Ten; -12)
23. Stanford (14-2, 3-0 Pac-12; +8)
24. Arizona (11-5, 1-2 Pac-12; -11)
25. Memphis (13-3, 2-1 AAC; -2)
26-30. Rutgers, LSU, Northern Iowa, St. Mary’s, Liberty

It’s a strange year in college basketball, and this was another strange week. Let’s get into it!

Firstly, we have a new team at the top, #1 DUKE. Duke still has the black mark of losing to Stephen F. Austin on their résumé, but they’ve been pretty stellar in getting up to 5-0 in the ACC. Haven’t played any of the top teams yet, and the ACC on the whole is having a down year obviously, but you can still impress when you don’t play the best competition. 3 of their conference wins have been by 30+.

Of course, the other reason that Duke finds themselves at #1 is that #2 KANSAS dropped a big one this week, a double digit loss at home to #5 BAYLOR. There are a lot of people calling for Baylor to be #1, but that’s pretty premature. Their win over #6 Butler looks better and better every week, but #24 Arizona is trending down, their non-conference schedule strength was otherwise pretty weak save for Villanova, and they haven’t been boosting themselves with 30-point wins like Duke has. 5th is fine.

Both undefeated teams are still around, #4 AUBURN and #7 SAN DIEGO STATE, but both are moving down this week. Auburn had an up-and-down week; they continue to play down to opponents they shouldn’t play down to (just escaping #165 Vanderbilt at home this week), but they did wallop #73 Georgia on the weekend in a good performance. If we discount wins and losses from the system entirely, they would be ranked 12th, but their résumé ranks 2nd-best by my reckoning so they stick at fourth. San Diego State actually has the opposite problem. It’s very strange that an undefeated team would rank 5th on my prediction/future scale and 6th in the résumé metrics, but that’s what SDSU is. And even then, to be ranked in the top 6 in both of those things but only come in 7th overall, is strange as well. SDSU has the 153rd-ranked schedule by my calculation, the second-worst of any ranked team (Gonzaga, 253rd).

We had four teams jumping into the top 25 this week. First up, #18 SETON HALL. The Pirates are atop the Big East standings with a 4-0 record, and although they haven’t played either Butler or Villanova yet, there are no easy games at all in the Big East. Their best win so far is still probably #8 Maryland on their home floor right before Christmas, but the Pirates are surging.

#20 KENTUCKY is also back into the top 25; UK got a little scare from Georgia on Tuesday and Alabama played them tough Saturday, but both were 9-point wins in the end. Kentucky, Auburn and LSU are the only teams left who are undefeated in SEC play (LSU also very nearly cracked the top 25, jumping from #47 to #27 and just missing out).

#21 INDIANA makes a return appearance, buoyed by a Saturday smacking of Ohio State. The Hoosiers are 13-3, with all three losses coming to teams ranked in my top 37, and two of those on the road – Indiana definitely deserves to be here.

And finally #23 STANFORD makes an appearance. One of the country’s biggest surprise teams, the Cardinal are the only team with an unblemished Pac-12 record, and swept the Washington schools at home this week. This week they play just their 2nd and 3rd road games of the season, so a lot left to figure out for Stanford. Still, their only two losses are to Butler and Kansas; impressive.

Four teams fall out as well, and they all had pretty rough weeks. Starting with #35 PENN STATE, who were 20th last week but lost both games, at #26 Rutgers and at home to #37 Wisconsin. Neither a disaster (the Big Ten has 12 teams this year that are at least pretty good), but both losses nonetheless.

#38 VIRGINIA also lost both games they played this week, slipping from #19 and doubling their rank. These losses were more egregious; at #123 Boston College, and home to #92 Syracuse. UVA is definitely not the team that they were last season, but there’s an opportunity for redemption this Wednesday when they visit Florida State.

#40 XAVIER also went 0-2 this week, but lost twice at home; #18 Seton Hall on Wednesday and #31 Creighton on Saturday. That puts the Musketeers at 1-3 in the Big East, kinda behind the 8-ball. The other team dropping out is Xavier’s next opponent, #45 MARQUETTE! The Golden Eagles also lost to Seton Hall this week, but that one was away – don’t worry though, they also lost to Providence at home on Tuesday. One of these teams will snap their two-game losing skid on Wednesday when the two teams meet in Milwaukee.

Notable unranked teams include #31 Creighton, #32 BYU, #33 Michigan, #36 Florida, #37 Wisconsin, #38 Virginia, #41 USC, #42 Illinois, #48 Saint Louis, #49 Purdue, #56 Washington, #77 Arizona State, #79 Missouri, #101 North Carolina, #121 Ole Miss, #142 California, #148 UCLA, #166 Northwestern (the lowest power-6 team), #179 Murray State, #217 Illinois State, #334 SEMO and #338 SIUE (that’s out of 353). If you’d like a shout-out for your favorite team in this section, let me know and I’ll include them each week.

Games of the Week: Here’s the best game of each day this upcoming week, with viewing information so you can make sure to watch the best game out there! This week is dominated by the Big Ten, who not only have a ton of good teams but also play games on all days of the week, rather than sticking to a pattern like some of the other big conferences.
Monday: Portland State @ Montana; Montana 73, Portland State 69. Can’t find viewing info for this game, so you might consider Boston U @ Loyola (MD) at 7:00 ET on CBSSN.
Tuesday: Maryland @ Wisconsin, 9:00 ET on ESPN2; Wisconsin 61, Maryland 60
Wednesday: Seton Hall @ Butler, 6:30 ET on FS1; Butler 64, Seton Hall 58
Thursday: Colorado @ Arizona State, 9:00 ET on ESPN2; Colorado 70, ASU 65
Friday: Michigan @ Iowa, 9:00 ET on FS1; Iowa 76, Michigan 72
Saturday: Ohio State @ Penn State, noon ET on ESPN2; Ohio State 70, Penn State 67
Sunday: Minnesota @ Rutgers, 1:00 ET on BTN; Rutgers 67, Minnesota 63
Best game of the week: Maryland/Wisconsin on Tuesday

That’s all for this post – I’ll definitely have my first bracket of the season this week and some other stuff too, but still trying to iron out a regular schedule. See you soon!

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