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Vegas Bracketology 5.0.14

March is when Cinderellas are born. We all know the stories about the Butler’s, George Mason’s, and VCU’s of the world getting hot at just the right time in their quest to string together 6 straight wins and cut down the nets.  In Vegas, we don’t get caught up in all that nostalgia because it doesn’t help cash tickets.  More often than not we burst bubbles, relishing the opportunity to provide the truth behind talent evaluations.  This is our field, the best 68 teams in the land seeded by the power potential they possess rather than grading them on a non-conference resume building win back in November when college football fans still thought Alabama would win another national title.  Time changes all…

Like any other poll, Vegas rankings move throughout the season but they don’t experience wild fluctuations like the more traditional polls.  As we’ve said before with our weekly updates, one game doesn’t make a season and no team is ever as good or as bad as they looked in their last outing.  Here’s how the Power 16 has changed from 3 weeks ago compared to what we’re seeing now headed into championship week.

***If Joel Embiid remains out like expected, Kansas’ would not actually be ranked in the top 16 in our poll

  2/18/14 Today
#1 Florida Florida
#2 Syracuse Louisville
#3 Duke Arizona
#4 Creighton Duke
#5 Louisville Virginia
#6 Iowa Creighton
#7 Arizona Kansas
#8 Villanova Syracuse
#9 Virginia Villanova
#10 Kansas Wichita St
#11 Ohio St Wisconsin
#12 Wisconsin Michigan
#13 UCLA Ohio St
#14 Pittsburgh Michigan St
#15 Kentucky VCU
#16 Wichita St Cincinnati

I know the detractors will be happy to see me eating crow for our initial ranking of Iowa as a potential 1 seed. It’s hard to argue their merits given the Hawkeyes recent run of poor play to close the regular season.  Tennessee, despite some bewilderment from even Vols fans, continues to improve their profile climbing as high as 19 this week with a strong run of good play. The Vols are actually the biggest road block between the Gators and their run to perfection in the conference tournament.  Other teams to watch that find their stock on the rise at the right time: Wichita St, Michigan St, VCU, Oklahoma St, and Gonzaga.   The sides that are sliding at an inopportune time? Iowa, UCLA, and St Louis.

For ease of comparison, you’ll see the current seeding from Joe Lunardi in parenthesis for all the teams we have seeded on our top 5 lines.  Remember the difference between public perception and the Vegas rankings may make picking your first round “upsets” that much easier when the bracket craze reaches a head come Sunday evening. Without further adieu…

***This bracket is seeded purely by who would be favored over who on a neutral court based on current power ratings

#1

Florida (1), Louisville (4), Arizona (1), Virginia (3)

#2

Duke (2), Creighton (3), Kansas (2), Syracuse (3)

#3

Villanova (1), Wichita St (1), Wisconsin (2) Michigan (2)

#4

Ohio St (6), Michigan St (5), VCU (6), Cincinnati (4)

#5

Iowa (8), Pittsburgh (10), Tennessee (11), Kentucky (7)

#6

Gonzaga (9), North Carolina (4), Oklahoma St, San Diego St (4)

#7

UCLA (6), Iowa St (3), Uconn (5), SMU (9)

#8

Memphis (7), New Mexico (7), Oklahoma (5), Oregon (8)

#9

St Louis (5), Harvard (11), Utah, Arizona St (8)

#10

Baylor (9), Florida St (Next 4 out), St John’s (First 4 out), Stanford (10)

#11

Maryland (NR), Texas (6), George Washington (9), Kansas St (8)

#12

Minnesota (First 4 out), BYU (12), UMASS (7), Marquette (NR)

#13

Louisiana Tech (12), North Dakota St (12), Georgia St (13), Manhattan (13)

#14

New Mexico St (NR), UC Santa Barbara (NR), Stephen F Austin (14), Buffalo (NR)

#15

Mercer (14), Delaware (13), North Carolina Central (14), Wright St

#16

Eastern Kentucky (15), American (16), Stony Brook (16), Weber St (16), Robert Morris (16), Wofford (16), Coastal Carolina (16), Jackson St (NR)

Last Four Out

Arkansas, Dayton, Providence, Clemson

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.