Bracketology: Michigan solidifies itself as a No. 1 seed but won’t play for two weeks due to COVID-19 shutdown


A new bracket is out Monday and the top line of the bracket is unchanged, however there was big news over the weekend regarding one of the projected No. 1 seeds.

The state of Michigan’s health department has shut down the entire athletic department at the University of Michigan for a period of two weeks due to COVID-19 issues. The earliest Michigan can resume athletic activities on Feb. 7. 

Bracketology top seeds

Seed Hinkle 1 Hinkle 2 Bankers Life 1 Bankers Life 2
No. 1      
No. 2      

Check out Palm’s latest bracket, field of 68, last four in and first four out

Some teams running out of games

Vermont has also shut down its athletic department for two weeks and its women’s basketball program will not resume play this season. Other sports at Vermont can resume athletic activities on Feb. 4.

Back in November, the NCAA instituted a 13-game minimum to be considered for the NCAA Tournament. One conference tournament game can count toward that minimum, assuming conference tournaments get played.

The team most in peril with this requirement is New Mexico State, which has only been able to play one game against a D-I opponent and only has 12 more scheduled prior to the WAC tournament. The WAC has been choosing to cancel games affected by COVID instead of postponing them, which could make the task of getting to 13 harder for the Aggies.

No other team has played fewer than four games.

Historic thresholds may not be reached

Conferences that are postponing games have a lot of rescheduling work to do in a short period of time.  There are currently 223 games awaiting rescheduling, assuming no more were postponed in the time it took me to type this column.

The shorter schedules for everyone could see one of the historic minimum criteria for selection to the tournament set aside for this season. Only one team has received at at-large bid to the tournament since 1994 with an overall record of less than four games above .500. We may see a few sneak in this season though because of a lack of non-conference games.

Monday’s bracket has three such teams, and it should not surprise you that two come from the Big Ten, which is the strongest conference top to bottom. Seton Hall (9-6), Rutgers (8-6), Indiana (9-7) are in the projected field with records that are fewer than four games above .500.

Indiana is in one of the First Four games, and since the Hoosiers cannot play on their home floor, they are placed at Purdue’s Mackey Arena. 

Team sheets available

If you are one who likes to see the NCAA’s team sheets for each team, there is a new way to do that this season at the NCAA Stats page.  There is new formatting and a lot of clickable links and sortable columns.  The data on the team sheets that the selection committee is seeing is the same as it has been since the change from the RPI to the NET a few years ago.  The public version has a little more data on it that is not criteria, like conference record.  There are a few quirky formatting things, but it’s a big improvement from what the NCAA was able to share before. 





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