The 2020-21 college basketball season is unique. All involved - coaches, players, administrators, media, fans - can expect postponements, cancellations and adjustments to the normal cycle of games and the postseason.
This includes the NCAA tournament, which is under the largest microscope after the abrupt end to the 2019-20 season. The 2021 tourney is on schedule, albeit at a single site, but it would be foolish to proceed without pandemic contingencies.
In addition to the standard 68-team NCAA projections, Bracketology now includes 48-team and 16-team versions. The truth is there is no way to know at this point what Selection Sunday will bring, so all bases must be covered .
Many are speculating that Baylor could soon catch Gonzaga for No. 1 overall. The truth is it remains an unlikely scenario unless or until the Zags lose. In the meantime, the real race is between Baylor and Michigan for No. 2 overall. The Bears and Wolverines have much in common from a résumé and schedule perspective. And, while there is little tactical advantage between leading Region Two or Region Three on Selection Sunday, there is value in gaining the second overall seed if Gonzaga does fall at some point.
On the Bubble
Sooner or later the Duke question must be answered. The Blue Devils don't have anything approaching a tournament résumé in a normal year, which is why they keep missing our 48-team projection. But as a practical matter, they continue to be ranked in the major polls. We could count on half a hand the number of ranked teams that have missed the NCAAs in the modern era. Duke will eventually win or lose its bid on the court, but for now we split the difference by including the Blue Devils in the 68-team projection only.
On the Bubble
Texas Tech's dramatic win at Texas was significant in more ways than one. For our purposes, it elevated the Red Raiders to fourth position among projected NCAA teams in the Big 12 (ahead of West Virginia). With both coming in as No. 4 seeds on the current seed list, this bumps WVU out of the 16-team field based on the cap of four bids per conference. The No. 17 team on our board -- Missouri, in this case -- grabs the final spot in place of the Mountaineers.