Bracketology Update 1/18
Risers of the Week:
Virginia: Entering the week, Virginia was in the bubble discussion, but has now jumped to the 5 seed line. The Cavaliers average margin of victory over the last week is 23.5 points, highlighted by a 35-point road win against Clemson. Based on this performance, Virginia is now top-10 in the NET and KenPom rankings.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide were in the 6-7 seed range at the beginning of the week, and are now being considered as a 3 seed. Alabama continues to lead the SEC and is now 6-0 in the conference after 20+-point wins over Arkansas and Kentucky. Along with its marquee win over Tennessee, Alabama is now also a top-20 team in the NET rankings.
Minnesota: Minnesota was around a 5 seed to start the week and avenged a 25-point loss to Michigan earlier this season by dominating the Wolverines on Saturday. While the Golden Gophers are undervalued in the NET rankings, they have the 6th Strength of Record and the 9th Strength of Schedule in the country. If Minnesota can pick up some road wins, the sky is the limit for its resume.
Purdue: Coming into the week, the Boilermakers were squarely on the bubble, but now have some breathing room as they move up to an 8 seed. Purdue went 2-0 on the week, including a road win against in-state rival Indiana. The team is now 5-3 in a tough Big Ten and its metrics continue to rise.
Fallers of the Week:
Arkansas: Despite entering the week as a 10 seed, the Razorbacks dropped out of the field and are now in the first 4 out. Arkansas suffered two double-digit losses by a combined 47 points on the road and its NET ranking dropped significantly. At this point, the Razorbacks are without a quality win, but have an opportunity moving forward in their schedule.
Northwestern: The Wildcats begun the week on the bubble and are now in the next 4 out. After a strong start to Big Ten play, Northwestern has lost five straight by an average of 18 points. While it has been a tough stretch for the team, its conference offers ample opportunities for quality wins.
Rutgers: To start the week, Rutgers was slated to be a 6 seed, but now sits at a 9. The Scarlet Knights are 0-4 in January, with a double-digit average margin of defeat. The team's metrics have been trending downward, but similar to Northwestern, Rutgers will have plenty of chances for strong wins in the Big Ten.
San Diego State: San Diego State was in the 7-8 seed discussion when the week started, but is now firmly on the bubble after falling to Utah State twice over the weekend. The absence of senior forward Matt Mitchell in the second game against the Aggies was significant in the Aztecs coming up short. The team will have a chance to pick up more wins over the next few weeks prior to its tough matchup against Boise State at the end of February.
DM @TBracketology with any questions/comments on this week's update!