By Andy Glockner
Despite an interesting week of games, the impact on this week's bracket was less pronounced than expected. Some observations:
1) There appear to be six or seven realistic candidates for No. 1 seeds.
2) Only two at large teams were dropped from this week's bracket, as Texas A&M and Stanford were replaced by Virginia Tech and UNLV.
3) The back end of the bubble remains quite soft, with several very interchangeable parts in the mix on either side of the cutline.
4) Only five teams moved more than two seed lines, implying very few sharp moves and/or misestimates on initial seeding. Washington (up) and Ohio State (down) were the biggest movers.
The champions from one-bid conferences have their league name in parentheses. Here's the multi-bid conference bid breakdown:
Big East: 9
Big Ten: 7
Big 12: 6
No. 1 Seeds
Duke: Continues to have the best overall profile; Wake lurks on Wednesday.
Connecticut: If the Huskies' guards are playing well, they are almost impossible to beat.
Oklahoma: Like UConn, guard play is making Sooners very formidable.
Pittsburgh: Noticing a theme here after Duke? Another dominant frontcourt.
No. 2 Seeds
North Carolina: Looking like UConn 2004 here -- the two-seed that was picked to win it all.
Wake Forest: Size should bother Duke, but can Jeff Teague break down Nolan Smith?
Louisville: Cards can defend with the best. If their offense is just decent, they'll win.
Michigan State: Showing balance, patience and fortitude, but not on the level of the first six.
No. 3 Seeds
Xavier: LSU isn't great, but good job going into a tough environment for a W.
Butler (Horizon): When you win with seniors and then with freshmen, you are a legit program.
Marquette: Golden Eagles get respect for hot start, but the schedule gets tougher now.
Arizona State: Are N.C. State fans still happy about running Herb Sendek out?
No. 4 Seeds
Memphis (C-USA): Growing team gets revenge on the Vols for last year's only regular-season loss.
Syracuse: This feels a bit high given recent results, but hard to find replacements on merit.
Clemson: Got back on track against Georgia Tech; some good teams ready to take their place.
Illinois: The Illini are definitely for real and the schedule is set up for a good run.
No. 5 Seeds
Washington: Probably undershot them last week; Big jump rewards continued good play.
Texas: The second-best in the Big 12, but still seems to be missing that extra something.
UCLA: The so-so run continues. Time to get going with four straight at home.
Georgetown: Bad week for the Hoyas, and it doesn't get any easier.
No. 6 Seeds
Florida State: No one's talking about them; that could change Wed. vs. UNC.
Cal: Oregon State is improved, but that's still a bad loss at home.
Florida: Silly brain lock at South Carolina didn't linger at Vandy.
West Virginia: On-court efforts are starting to mesh with computer numbers.
No. 7 Seeds
Gonzaga: Only one Sweet 16 since '01; could pick off the right two-seed … or lose to a 10.
Tennessee: It's nip and tuck with Florida and Kentucky; need to take back home court.
Baylor: With the upcoming schedule, the Bears will move one way or the other.
Kansas: Defending champs are quietly growing and building some momentum.
No. 8 Seeds
Virginia Tech: From out to an eight-seed? Beating Wake and Miami on the road will get you there.
Kentucky: Can't put the Wildcats too far from Tennessee … or behind Tubby, right?
Minnesota: Recovered from first mini-stumble; After IU, the schedule gets much harder.
Davidson (SoCon): You pretty much know they'll end up in an 8-9 game, right?
No. 9 Seeds
St. Mary's: Hope the committee doesn't continue mid-on-mid crime trend in Round 1.
UNLV: The Rebels deserve this entry point for winning at BYU and beating Utah.
Missouri: A dangerous run-and-gun team that just feels like a nine.
Miami (Fla.): Can't keep wasting chances to establish cred in the ACC.
No. 10 Seeds
Dayton: Flyers keep on defending and winning, but so does Xavier.
Oklahoma State: By process of elimination, the Pokes settle here for now.
Purdue: Not-so-baby Boilers are starting to find their stride.
Utah State (WAC): Can we look past the SOS and realize they have size and balance?
No. 11 Seeds
Ohio State: Maybe this is too low, but the Buckeyes are under .500 in the Big Ten.
Siena (MAAC): Give them anyone but West Virginia and the Saints would be happy.
BYU: Lost twice at home in rapid fashion, lost kingpin status in MWC for now.
Notre Dame: A compromise for now between talent level and profile. Irish best get going.
No. 12 Seeds
Utah: The MWC squeaks a third team in, although you can argue in other directions, too.
Villanova: Starting to feel a bit like last season, but talent is there to be better.
VCU (CAA): In a dogfight in the Colonial with Northeastern and George Mason for one bid.
Wisconsin: Four straight losses have the Badgers on thin bubble ice.
No. 13 Seeds
Michigan: Last at-large in this week; elite wins give them the edge over others, for now.
Buffalo (MAC): If you watched MAC East leaders against UConn, you know they can play.
Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley): Other programs will be lining up to play in World University Games.
Western Kentucky (Sun Belt): Still the best of this bunch and has a neutral-site win over Louisville.
No. 14 Seeds
Stephen F. Austin (Southland): Lumberjacks stay, although TAMU-CC is 5-0 in the other division.
Cornell (Ivy): Ivy co-leader at 2-0 but far better than Yale and everyone else.
Austin Peay (Ohio Valley): There are actually five OVC teams in the RPI Top 200.
North Dakota State (Summit): Redshirting Woodside and Co. for this moment is paying off.
No. 15 Seeds
Vermont (America East): The best RPI (and talent) of the A-East teams with the fewest losses.
E. Tennessee State (Atlantic Sun): Beat co-leader Jacksonville, has a better RPI.
VMI (Big South): Congrats to the Choneses, the NCAA's all-time twin scoring leaders.
Navy (Patriot): Midshipmen beat Holy Cross which beat American, so Navy sails to the top.
No. 16 Seeds
Long Beach State (Big West): Losing to UC Riverside doesn't help, but still the league leader.
Weber State (Big Sky): Won at co-leader Portland State; helps with Utah bracket quota.
Robert Morris (Northeast): Still comfortably leading the league.
Morgan State (MEAC): Beat Maryland, might get a chance to do better than the Terps did against Duke.
Alabama State (SWAC): Dayton is about 600 miles from Montgomery, in case you're planning the trip.
OTHERS IN CONSIDERATION
South Carolina, Penn State, Illinois State, Providence, Temple, Arkansas, Stanford, Texas A&M, USC, UAB
Check out Andy Glockner's Bubble Watch report every Monday.