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March to Madness: 2023 NCAA Tournament Bracketology, February 27

TCU likely secured a ticket to the Big Dance with the win in Lubbock. How far up the bracket can the Frogs climb?

TCU v Texas Tech Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

Frog Status

  • NET Rank: 25 (↑3)
  • RPI: 63 (↑3)
  • KenPom Rank: 23 (↓2)
  • ESPN BPI: 23 (↑1)

Bracketologists View of TCU:

  • Lunardi: 6-seed vs. #72 Wisconsin / #39 Mississippi St. in Orlando, FL
  • Palm: 6-seed vs. #32 Rutgers in Sacramento, CA
  • Haslam: 5-seed
  • Torvik: 100% in Tournament; 4.7-seed
  • INCCSTATS: 97.1% in Tournament; 6-seed; 5.4% in Final Four

NET impact of TCU win in Lubbock

What a glorious weekend of college basketball - This Is (Almost) March! TCU had its own final-seconds drama to escape Lubbock with a critical win, as De’Vion Harmon’s buzzer beater did not fall as so many others did around the country on Saturday. It’s a strong Q1 win on the road, giving a sufficient boost to the Horned Frog resume that TCU has comfortably moved out of the Bubble bucket and into Tournament Lock status. With the chaos that occurred around the sport over the weekend, TCU now has a chance to improve its standing in the bracket, moving further away from the 8/9 seed lines and with opportunity to move back towards a Top-4 seed. The Frogs will get at least 3 more Quad 1 contests, starting with Senior Night in Schollmaier Arena on Wednesday against AP #9 Texas Longhorns. Continued winning paired with losses from some of the closest seed-line competitors down the stretch could see the Frogs really make waves in March.

Impact Game of the Week:

  • Oklahoma 61 - Iowa State 50 - The Sooners are not dead yet. Despite sitting at the bottom of the Big 12, Porter Moser’s squad waltzed into Hilton Coliseum and stole a massive win over the Cyclones. OU has two ranked opponents remaining in the regular season (Kansas State & TCU), so it is still feasible that a winning streak down the stretch gives it a record above .500 with some gigantic pelts on the wall, making it hard on the Committee to overlook the resume. ISU on the other hand is an NCAA Tournament lock, but has lost three straight to weaken its stranglehold on a Top 4 seed. Even as the Cyclones completed a season sweep of TCU, the seeding gap has narrowed and the Horned Frogs could overcome if ISU continues its losing streak with West Virginia coming to Ames on Monday night.

Seed Growing:

  • Indiana Hoosiers (win at Purdue): It’s hard to see a win much better than defeating a likely one-seed rival on the road. It is a true feather in the cap of the Hoosiers’ resume to take down the Purdue Boilermakers in Mackey Arena on Saturday. While their in-state rivals are now barely holding onto that one-seed, IU now finds itself very likely to remain in a Top-4 seed with home games against Iowa and Michigan remaining for the regular season.
  • San Diego State Aztecs (win at New Mexico): A day filled with buzzer beaters included the night cap in The Pit, where Lamont Butler released a nearly uncontested straightaway three-pointer before the clock hit 0.0, giving the Aztecs a two-point win, likely popping New Mexico’s bubble. Now up to #15 in the NET, unless SDSU somehow drops a home Q4 contest vs. Wyoming, the Aztecs will be tough to drop and can keep climbing with a tough road contest against Boise State on Tuesday night.

Seed Wilting:

  • Miami Hurricanes (loss vs. Florida State): Another one of those shocking buzzer beaters from a wild Saturday, The U suffered one of the worst comeback defeats of all time when FSU’s Matthew Cleveland’s shot at the final bell went in. The hideous Q4 home loss to NET #216 dropped Miami 8 spots in the NET to #35 overall. Miami sports a sub-75 strength of schedule, and while it does have seven Q1 wins, only one of those is vs. a Top 25 opponent (home vs. #24 Duke). A consensus 5-seed could see a drop with another loss or early exit from the ACC Tournament, as the conference has an average NET rank of 110, with only two teams in the Top 30.
  • Virginia Cavaliers (loss at North Carolina): Speaking of the ACC performing more mid than the mid-majors, the Virginia Cavaliers are floundering down the stretch, getting run out of the Dean Dome after getting embarrassed by Boston College. Losing in Chapel Hill would not typically be a big downgrade, but after being in the Top 20 since the first NET release in December, the Cavs have now dropped to #28. Its hold on a Top-4 seed is now on life support and another loss could knock it down a seed line with home games against Bubble candidate Clemson and truly awful Louisville.

Conference Outlook:

Conference Championships begin this week as automatic bids begin to enter the field of 68 in ink. Few of these first set of conference tournaments will have much impact on the bracket or the Bubble, as most of these conferences are almost certainly one-bid leagues. There are not many mid-majors hovering around the Bubble line or with bids locked up entering these tournaments. Charleston, Liberty, and Oral Roberts are all Top 50 NET teams, but do not have the resumes to be considered sure bets to reach the dance with a loss in the conference tourney. The only true “bid-thief” opportunity from the early conferences would be if neither Gonzaga or Saint Mary’s win the WCC.

Conference breakdown headed into the first week of Tournaments

Seed Watch:

With the Horned Frogs no longer concerned with the Bubble race at the bottom of the bracket, we can now fully turn the attention towards the upper-middle class of bracket projections to understand where TCU could land on Selection Sunday. Rather than pulling the NET Top 32, going forward the recap and lookahead will be using the Bracket Matrix projected seeds 2 through 9. Bracket Matrix consolidates all of the mock drafts across the internet to give a consensus projection. While perhaps not a perfect metric for pinning down the exact seedings of the Committee, this does give a good view of the other teams that TCU is battling, both for a Top-4 seed and to avoid the 8/9 coin flip contest.

Bracket Matrix Seeds 2-9, results from the weekend and match ups this week

Impact Games This Week:

  • Baylor at Oklahoma State - Mon. Feb. 27, 8 PM ESPN
  • West Virginia at Iowa State - Mon. Feb. 27, 8 PM ESPN2
  • Clemson at Virginia - Tue. Feb. 28, 6 PM ACC Net
  • Iowa at Indiana - Tue. Feb. 28, 6 PM ESPN2
  • NC State at Duke - Tue. Feb. 28, 6 PM ESPN
  • Texas Tech at Kansas - Tue. Feb. 28, 8 PM ESPN
  • Arkansas at Tennessee - Tue. Feb. 28, 8 PM ESPN2
  • San Diego St. at Boise St. - Tue. Feb. 28, 8 PM CBS Sports Net
  • Xavier at Providence - Wed. Mar. 1, 5:30 PM FS1
  • Auburn at Alabama - Wed. Mar. 1, 6 PM ESPN2
  • Oklahoma at Kansas St. - Wed. Mar. 1, 7 PM ESPN+
  • Penn State at Northwestern - Wed. Mar. 1, 8 PM Big Ten Net
  • Michigan at Illinois - Thurs. Mar. 2, 6 PM ESPN
  • Arizona St. at UCLA - Thurs. Mar. 2, 8 PM ESPN
  • Purdue at Wisconsin - Thurs. Mar. 2, 8 PM FS1
  • Arizona at USC - Thurs. Mar. 2, 10 PM ESPN