Busting Brackets

Bracketology 2024: Arizona leapfrogs back to a No. 1 seed in the latest field of 68 bracket projection

Feb 10, 2024; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Arizona Wildcats guard Caleb Love (2) and guard KJ Lewis (5)
Feb 10, 2024; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Arizona Wildcats guard Caleb Love (2) and guard KJ Lewis (5) / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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South Region (Dallas)

1.) Houston vs. 16.) Merrimack/Southern

8.) Texas A&M vs. 9.) Indiana State

5.) Colorado State vs. 12.) McNeese State

4.) Creighton vs. 13.) UNC-Wilmington

6.) Illinois vs. 11.) New Mexico

3.) Duke vs. 14.) Eastern Washington

7.) Oklahoma vs. 10.) Butler

2.) Tennessee vs. 15.) Louisiana Tech

The Houston Cougars have been the top team in the NET for a good bit and the 21-3 Cougars are also the top team in both predictive metrics, KenPom and BPI. One of the big questions with Houston and their move to the Big 12 was how they would handle road games. That remains a question as all three of their losses have come in league road games, but to their credit they also have three quad 1A road wins at BYU, Cincinnati, and Texas. They remain the top seed in the South region and continue to distance themselves from the No. 4 overall seed.

In the South region, the thing I am watching are two teams that could very well outperform their seed. No. 4 Creighton and No. 6 Illinois are both capable of making a run that may make it look like they were underseeded. For some Creighton was a preseason top-10 team because of their offensive potential, and even though it hasn’t come together as some thought, the potential is still there.

The Bluejays average nearly 81 points per game are 7th in effective field goal percentage and shoot 60% from inside the arc, only two teams shoot it better. Illinois was 9-2 when leading scorer Terrence Shannon, Jr. was suspended for six games due to some off-the-court allegations. The Illini went 4-2 without their leader and have matched that record since his return. They have also picked up the offense with 83.5 points per game since Shannon returned and a fully-equipped Illini team is a threat in the Big Ten the rest of the way.

The West region has a team that has a duo that can put a team on their backs and carry them a long way, the No. 8 seed Texas A&M Aggies. The duo of Wade Taylor IV and Tyrece Radford have combined for 35 points, nine rebounds, and six assists. In their 23 games this season only once, on December 22 against Houston Christian has either Taylor IV or Radford not led the team in either scoring, rebounding, or assists. Taylor seems to show up in the biggest games, netting 30 or more in games against, Houston, Kentucky, and FAU among others.