BracketBot: January 28, 2020

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

Hey y’all, I’m a day late with this but hopefully not a dollar short! Let’s recap the last eight days in college basketball!

The big riser in the top ten is #5 DAYTON, who had a slate of two pretty impressive wins – a midweek demolishing of #115 St. Bonaventure, and a road win on Saturday at #43 Richmond. Margin of victory plays into this ranking pretty heavily – not directly, but because teams are graded on their offensive and defensive performances separately – so beating a team like the Bonnies by 26 is a pretty good result, which gets a similar grade to, for example, beating the 50th-ranked team by 12. Dayton has got to be looked upon as a real national title contender – if the tournament started today I’d have them at about 5% to win it all. They’ve got star power, they’re likable, and they still have the strong work ethic and mentality that great A-10 teams always seem to have. I’m in on these Flyers.

#7 SAN DIEGO STATE takes a bit of a drop despite remaining the only undefeated team in college basketball. The Aztecs let a not-that-good #152 UNLV team hang around with them on Sunday afternoon, eking out a four-point win, though it was in Vegas so a slight bump for that. Their midweek game was a comfortable win over #311 Wyoming, but we can’t learn too much from a game like that. SDSU’s week was not necessarily one that would cause them to drop every time, but both Dayton and Gonzaga had nice weeks and I can see why the Aztecs fell under this system.

#11 VILLANOVA is really rounding into form. They’ve now won six in a row and are 6-1 in the Big East only behind Seton Hall. Two of their three losses continue to look better (Baylor, Marquette) and one doesn’t (Ohio State). Nova perhaps ran into #17 BUTLER at the right time, as they dealt the Bulldogs their third straight loss, but Butler really rebounded on Friday by beating #33 Marquette, so they don’t really drop too much in the rankings.

There weren’t a ton of upsets this week, really, and the biggest might have even not been an upset at all. #14 MICHIGAN STATE takes a bit of a tumble down four spots, mostly due to their loss at #32 Indiana on Thursday. But Indiana’s a pretty good team. Losing to them is no black mark, especially on the road – it’s a game that Michigan State would only be expected to win 61% of the time, per BracketBot’s calculation, and should be a 3-point favorite in a hypothetical rematch.

#20 ARIZONA lost in Tempe.

BracketBot is more skeptical than the public, but #23 HOUSTON makes their entry to the top 25 anyway. The Cougars have been a team I was really high on the last couple of seasons, but this team snuck up on me. Houston’s got 4 losses, including to #87 Oklahoma State at home, and to #68 Tulsa on the road, but enough decent-to-good wins (at #22 Wichita State, #50 SMU, #65 Washington) and the volume (16-4) to sneak in as a ranked team.

The other new team in this update is #24 IOWA – after a 1-3 start in Big Ten play, the Hawkeyes have rattled off five straight wins, including against #10 Maryland and #25 Rutgers. Now, it wasn’t the toughest Big Ten stretch from a travel standpoint – four of those five games were at home, and the other was against lowly #199 Northwestern – but the four at home were all against teams in my top 55. A deserved ranking for Iowa.

#27 NORTHERN IOWA took a pretty bad loss to #173 Southern Illinois on Wednesday. They were newcomers to the top 25 last week, and are gone as soon as they arrived. UNI would have a pretty good résumé if not for their two baffling losses, at SIU and at #253 Illinois State on New Year’s Eve.

Finally, #38 MEMPHIS has tumbled all the way out from #21 last week. Memphis is just 3-3 in conference play, and lost both their outings this week, at #68 Tulsa and at home to #50 SMU. A far cry for a team that was 12-1 and ranked in most people’s top ten less than a month ago.

Notable unranked teams include #32 Indiana, #34 Stanford, #35 Ohio State, #37 Florida, #41 Virginia, #47 Wisconsin, #52 NC State, #55 Michigan, #58 Tennessee, #60 Saint Louis, #61 Georgetown, #63 Minnesota, #64 Arizona State, #65 Washington, #66 Texas Tech, #95 North Carolina, #106 Notre Dame, #120 Missouri, #129 Ole Miss, #136 Murray State, #140 UCLA, #148 Cal, #253 Illinois State, #342 SIUE and #343 SEMO. The full rankings on thebracketbot.com are updated several times per week, along with some other features like discussion of which teams are going to the tournament, some simulations of future results, and more.

Games of the Week – all times Eastern
Tuesday: Florida State/Virginia, 7:00 on ESPN; 54-53 UVA
Wednesday: West Virginia/Texas Tech, 8:00 on ESPN+; 66-61 WVU
Thursday: Iowa/Maryland, 8:30 on BTN; 74-70 Maryland
Friday: VCU/Rhode Island, 7:00 on ESPN2; 70-68 URI
Saturday: Michigan State/Wisconsin, 1:00 on Fox; 65-63 MSU
Sunday: Illinois/Iowa, 1:00 on FS1; 76-72 Iowa
Game of the Week: Michigan State/Wisconsin

Thanks for reading y’all, and I’ll be back on Monday!

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