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March to Madness: 2023 NCAA Tournament Bracketology, January 27

With two massive wins, the Horned Frogs have leapt into conversation for a top-4 seed

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Frog Status

  • NET Rank: 13 (↑4)
  • RPI: 43 (↓2)
  • KenPom Rank: 13 (↑5)
  • ESPN BPI: 16 (-)

Bracketologists View of TCU:

  • Lunardi: 4-seed vs. #105 Southern Illinois in Albany, NY
  • Palm: 3-seed vs. #123 UNC-Greensboro in Denver, CO
  • Haslam: 3-seed
  • Torvik: 99.9% in Tournament; 2.9-seed
  • INCCSTATS: 99.2% in Tournament; 3-seed; 11.9% in Final Four

NET impact for the win over Oklahoma

My time at Frogs O’ War started back in January 2018 writing the Bubble Watch, following the Horned Frogs’ ride to the NCAA Tournament. Since then, TCU has been to the Big Dance twice, finally getting its first Tourney win since 1987 by taking down the Seton Hall Pirates last season. The landscape is a bit different for the Horned Frogs in 2023. With the entire starting lineup returning, including Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year Mike Miles opened the season at #14 in the AP Poll. Expectations are sky-high and have only ballooned as the Frogs earned its first every victory in Lawrence in dominating fashion over the defending Champions, then-#2 Kansas Jayhawks, followed by a start-to-finish dismantling of Oklahoma on Tuesday. As the Frogs currently sit in the Top 15 at KenPom, the AP Poll, and the NET, simply sneaking into the tournament off the bubble would feel like a a bit of a let-down.

If TCU goes on a losing streak, we’ll revert to the wider view Bubble Watch, but for now we’ll turn our sights towards the top of the bracket, focusing on how high the Frogs could be seeded when Selection Sunday rolls around. TCU’s target now should be: earn a 4-Seed or better.

Historical records in the NCAA Tournament show that the difference between a #4 and a #5 seed is significant, with 4-seeds advancing to the 2nd Round 15% more than 5-seeds; whereas the gap between a 5-seed and a 7-seed is under 4%. It is well known that 5-seeds are ripe for upset in the opening round, often paired against an under-seeded mid-major conference champion; there has been at least one such 12-over-5 upset in all but five NCAA Tournaments since expansion to 64 teams in 1985.

A 5-seed has never won the NCAA Tournament and 1997 Arizona was the only 4-seed to take home the Championship, so if the goal is to be lifting the trophy April 3rd in Houston, the goal should be to continue climbing into a 3-seed or better. 3-seeds have appeared in 11 National Championships, winning four; Top-3 seeds have won all but four Titles since 1985. With the prelude over, let’s see where the Frogs stand today and the teams they’ll be battling for seeding over the next six weeks

Impact Game of the Week:

#42 Texas A&M (↑12) def. #31 Auburn (↓7): The Aggies are officially back in the Bubble conversation with a dominant 79-63 win on the road over Bruce Pearl’s Tigers, with TAMU jumping Auburn in the SEC standings now with a 6-1 league record. Auburn, ranked #15 in the AP Poll going into the week, has tumbled down the bracket, now potentially falling into the 8/9 game with a tough road contest against NET #25 West Virginia in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge


  • #25 West Virginia (↑5)- The Mountaineers pick up a 2nd Big 12 win by knocking off the Red Raiders in Lubbock to keep Texas Tech winless in conference. While WVU may not ever be able to win enough games to climb very high in the bracket, it’s now hovering around the Bubble cut line with marquee resume boosting opportunities in every game the rest of the season
  • #37 Miami (↑9) - The once proud ACC is having an abysmal season relative to expectation - the league has an average NET ranking of 107, making it the 7th rated conference nationally. Despite the dregs of the conference being truly dreadful, the top certainly has talent and star power - including the Hurricanes with Isaiah Wong. After suffering a loss 2-point loss at Cameron Indoor, the ‘Canes went on the road to lowly Florida State, blowing out the Seminoles by 23 points.


  • #43 NC State (↓7) - The Wolfpack took a double-digit loss at UNC then barely escaped #183 Notre Dame at home - a result the NET calculation punishes the resume as a poor performance. Leading scorer Terquavion Smith suffered a scary injury against the Tar Heels, requiring a stretcher to remove him from the court, and losing a player of his caliber could be devastating if he misses extended time. Having already taken four losses in the conference, the Wolfpack need a big bounce-back in Winston-Salem against a nice #69 Demon Deacon squad.
  • #54 Kent State (↓19) - The Golden Flashes were a contender for an at-large bid, with its only previous losses being on the road against Top 50 squads Houston, Gonzaga, and Charleston, and had an opportunity to climb into a top-nine seed if it had continued a run through the MAC. However, with a 10-point loss at #261 Northern Illinois, Kent State likely had its bubble burst and will need to win the MAC Tournament to reach the Big Dance.

Look Ahead:

  • #30 Auburn at #25 West Virginia - Sat. Jan. 28, 11 AM ESPN
  • #23 Xavier at #19 Creighton - Sat. Jan. 28, 11:15 AM CBS
  • #43 NC State at #69 Wake Forest - Sat. Jan. 28, Noon ACC Network
  • #28 Illinois at #70 Wisconsin - Sat. Jan. 28, 2 PM FOX
  • #26 Arkansas at #14 Baylor - Sat. Jan. 28, 3 PM ESPN
  • #8 Texas at #2 Tennessee - Sat. Jan. 28, 5 PM ESPN
  • #50 Florida at #18 Kansas State - Sat. Jan. 28, 5 PM ESPN2
  • #10 Kansas at #33 Kentucky - Sat. Jan. 28, 7 PM ESPN
  • #27 Ohio State at #21 Indiana - Sat. Jan. 28, 7 PM FOX
  • #6 Saint Mary’s at #96 BYU - Sat. Jan. 28, 9 PM ESPN2
  • #4 Purdue at #39 Michigan St. - Sun. Jan. 29, 11:15 AM CBS
  • #20 Rutgers at #41 Iowa - Sun. Jan. 29, 1 PM B1G Network
Snapshot of the teams in the Top 32 of the NET