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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West Region (Los Angeles)

1.) Arizona vs. 16.) Lipscomb

8.) Texas vs. 9.) Nebraska

5.) Auburn vs. 12.) Wake Forest/Seton Hall

4.) BYU vs. 13.) Samford

6.) Kentucky vs. 11.) Washington State

3.) Baylor vs. 14.) Vermont

7.) Florida Atlantic vs. 10.) TCU

2.) Marquette vs. 15.) James Madison

The change on the top-seed line comes in the West region where Arizona jumps back up to the No. 1 seed after Kansas lost to Kansas State last week. The Wildcats are now 19-5 with a 10-4 record in the first two quads. One of the things holding Arizona back from climbing higher is their 7 quad 3 games because of the lack of strength in the Pac-12 and the loss they suffered to Oregon State. One thing the Wildcats have going for them that only one other team can boast. The average of the NET ranking of their victories is less than 100 at 95, the only other team in the country that can say that is Purdue whose NET wins average 83.

If there is one thing that Arizona struggles with to a point, it is defending the three-point shot as opponents shoot nearly 35% from deep. The West region happens to have the top three teams in the country at shooting the long ball. No. 6 Kentucky leads the nation at 41%, the Southern Conference’s Samford Bulldogs are the No. 13 seed and make 40.9% of their shots and No. 3 seed Baylor knocks down 40.7% of their attempts.

BYU was picked to finish 13th in their first year in the Big 12 and they are currently 17-6 and 5-5 in the league. The Cougars are just 3-5 in quad 1 but all five of those losses are quad 1A losses with four of them by single digits. The predictive metrics like the Cougars much more than the results-based ones, with their predictive average at 13.5 and KPI and SOR at 29.5. The Cougars are good at both ends of the floor, ranking in the top 23 in both offensive and defensive efficiencies. They’re also one of the best teams in the country at shooting inside the arc at 58.5% as well as defending the three allowing opponents to shoot just 29.8%.