Busting Brackets

Bracketology 2024: Gonzaga and BYU surge in the first bracket projection for the field of 68 in March

Feb 27, 2024; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Brigham Young Cougars guard Dallin Hall (30) celebrates with
Feb 27, 2024; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Brigham Young Cougars guard Dallin Hall (30) celebrates with / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
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South Region (Dallas)

1.) Houston vs. 16.) Louisiana Tech

8.) Colorado State vs. 9.) Mississippi State

5.) Washington State vs. 12.) Princeton

4.) Duke vs. 13.) Akron

6.) Utah State vs. 11.) Virginia

3.) Creighton vs. 14.) Vermont

7.) Texas Tech vs. 10.) Nebraska

2.) Tennessee vs. 15.) James Madison

Houston recently became the No.1 team in the country, matching the ranking they've had in the NET rankings for a while. The Cougars have been metric darlings all year, with an average of 1.5, but they also have the resume to match. Kelvin Sampson's team has played the 18th toughest schedule in the country, has a 15-3 record in the first two quads, and has now won six true-road games with five coming in the best conference in the country.

The South has a couple of teams that are trending upwards and could be peaking at the right time. No. 4 seed Illinois has won eight of their last 11 and should enter the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 2 seed behind Purdue, who they get another shot at on Wednesday. Kyle Smith’s Washington State Cougars are up to the No. 5 seed in the South. The Cougars are 13-2 in their last 15 and have a season sweep of Arizona with one game remaining in their regular season. Their conference may be falling apart, but their team is coming together at the right time.

The team I want to look at in the South is Virginia which is trending in the wrong direction and if they don’t get things fixed quickly, a tournament berth could be in question. Their offensive deficiencies are showing up at the end of the year, going just 2-4 since beating Florida State and scoring less than 50 in four of those games, including a win over Wake Forest. After facing Georgia Tech in the season finale, a quick exit in the ACC Tournament could make Selection Sunday scary for the Cavaliers.