In a battle between two projected No.1 seeds, Ohio State fell to Michigan 92-87 at home on Sunday.
The Buckeyes (18-5, 12-5) and No.2 seeded Illinois are so close Ohio State would have lost their No.1 seed with a loss to any other Big Ten team. outside of Michigan.
The Fighting Illini (16-5, 12-3) have not lost since January 16, a one-on-one meeting with the Buckeyes who are making the difference right now.
When applying a blind CV test, Ohio State had eight wins in Quadrant 1 (home top-25, away top-75) versus seven for the ‘Illinois. But the Illini have a better NET score of 4 over OSU’s 7, in part due to two fewer games, which included a postponement of their scheduled Feb.11 clash with Michigan (now slated for March 2 ).
Ohio State has better schedule strength, but Illinois could narrow the margin by playing four of their last five on the road – with all those chances Quad 1. OSU, meanwhile, has just three games left in the game. Big Ten.
Gonzaga, Baylor and Michigan are set to solidify the No.1 seeds. If this final seed battle remained tight, a March 6 meeting between Ohio State and Illinois – the final of the Big Ten for both teams – could be a crucial outcome for the NCAA Selection Committee entering the selection on Sunday, March 14.
The NCAA tournament kicks off March 18.
No. 1 seeds
Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan, State of Ohio.
Last four in
Seton Hall, Minnesota, Maryland, Syracuse.
First four out
Georgia Tech, Indiana, Connecticut, State of Utah.
St. Johns, Stanford, Ole Miss, SMU.
Others considered for general offers (no particular order): Memphis, Richmond, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, UAB, Georgia, Duke.
On the support of life: TCU, Marquette, Providence, Marshall, Utah, Arizona State, Oregon State, Mississippi State, Kentucky, South Carolina, Texas A&M, St Mary’s, San Francisco, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Dayton, Davidson, Nevada, Penn State.
Multi-offer conferences: Big Ten (9), Big 12 (7), ACC (6), SEC (6), Pac-12 (4), Big East (4), Mountain West (3), Atlantic 10 (2), Missouri Valley ( 2), West Coast (2).
Leaders or highest NET of the projected single-entry conferences – (20 in total): America East – UMBC, Atlantic Sun – Liberty, Big Sky – Eastern Washington, Big South – Winthrop, Big West – UCSB, CAA – Northeastern, C-USA – UAB, Horizon – Wright State, MAAC – Siena, MAC – Toledo, MEAC – Norfolk St., Northeast – Bryant, OVC – Belmont, Patriot – Navy, Southern – UNCG, Southland – Sam Houston, SWAC – Prairie View A&M, Summit – South Dakota, Sun Belt – Texas State, WAC – Grand Canyon
- Forbidden to participate: State of Alabama, Alabama A&M, State of Delaware, Auburn, Arizona
- Transition schools, not eligible for the tournament: Cal Baptist, North Alabama, Merrimack, Dixie State, Tarleton State, Bellarmine, UC San Diego
- COVID-19[female[feminine: Ivy League, Bethune-Cookman, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Howard, Maine
To note: Most of the statistical data comes from WarrenNolan.com. NET rankings (NCAA Evaluation Tool) are also a point of reference.
About our bracketologist: Shelby Mast has been projecting the pitch since 2005 on its website, Bracket WAG. He joined USA TODAY in 2014. In his eighth season as a national bracketologist, Mast has finished as one of the top three bracketologists in the last seven follies in March. He has also predicted for The Indianapolis Star, collegeinsider.com and is an inaugural member of the Super 10 selection committee. Follow him on Twitter @BracketWag.
Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson