Busting Brackets

Bracketology 2024: Purdue and Houston lead new projected field of 68 into the New Year

The Purdue Boilermakers bench reacts to a play during the NCAA men   s basketball game against the
The Purdue Boilermakers bench reacts to a play during the NCAA men s basketball game against the / Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA
2 of 6

Midwest Region (Detroit)

1.) Purdue vs. 16.) Lipscomb

8.) Utah vs. 9.) Iowa State

5.) Baylor vs. 12.) Indiana State

4.) Memphis vs. 13.) Liberty

6.) Mississippi vs. 11.) Michigan State/Virginia Tech

3.) Kentucky vs. 14.) Hofstra

7.) Providence vs. 10.) Auburn

2.) Clemson vs. 15.) Vermont

We begin this bracket where we started the first one, in the Midwest region with the No. 1 overall seed, the Purdue Boilermakers. After they took home the title in Maui title they were the top seed but they didn’t stay there. After losing their Big Ten opener on the road at Northwestern, they were overtaken by Arizona on my seed list. They then regained the top spot by knocking off the Wildcats 92-84, Matt Painter’s team is 4th in the NET, ranks in the top two in all four metrics, and already has five quad 1 wins all coming on a neutral floor and for those reasons, the Boilermakers are the top team in the field.

We can call the rest of this region, the surprise region, not because of surprise teams per se but because there are a lot of teams that are performing a lot better than expectations to this point in the year. Starting with the No. 2 seed Clemson Tigers who are looking like they might be the best team in the ACC. The Tigers are a two-point loss at Memphis away from being undefeated so far, and the senior trio of PJ Hall, Joe Girard III, and Chase Hunter now look forward to league play and proving they are the best team in the league.

Speaking of the Memphis Tigers they are the No. 4 seed in this region. At 10-2 with wins over Clemson, Texas A&M, Virginia, and Arkansas the Tigers find themselves with the 21st-best strength of schedule. The Tigers have won six in a row since back-to-back losses to Villanova and Ole Miss and now begin league play on Thursday against Tulsa.

If there is a team to watch in the Midwest region it’s the No. 12 seed Indiana State Sycamores who enter league play 11-2 after their 87-75 loss to Michigan State on Saturday. With five guys averaging double figures and a team that is shooting over 50% from the field and 40% from deep, the Sycamores are going to be a tough tree to chop down in the Valley and one that has the potential to become a forest in March.