Villanova had to scrap for their wins to bounce back from their third loss of the season, but things are apparently looking up again this week. Like last week, two bracketologists have the 'Cats as a 2-Seed, while the other two list them among the 3s. With a high-RPI and chances to accumulate more victories, the 'Cats could still improve their seeding before March 16th, but that may require a Big East tournament run and a third-try against Creighton.
The Wildcats rise to 4th in the RPI, up one spot from last week. The Wildcats are still at 9th in the KenPom.com computer rankings, holding steady from a week ago, with the 8th-best offensive efficiency and the 20th-best defense in the nation.
On to the Bracketology . . . (ESPN and NBC updated on Monday, CBS last updated on Sunday, and the SB Nation Bracket was revised yesterday)
ESPN (Joe Lunardi) - 3 Seed, Buffalo, East Region
Joe Lunardi still likes Villanova as a 3-Seed in his East Region this week, with the top-seeded Syracuse Orange headlining the region. They would open the tournament in Buffalo against New Mexico State for the rights to play a re-match against either 6-Seed Iowa or 11-Seed St. Joes in the Round of 32.
Other top seeds in ESPN's MSG regional this week include Wisconsin (2-Seed), Saint Louis (4-Seed) and UCLA (5-Seed). Former conference foes Pittsburgh (10-Seed) and UConn (7-Seed) also line-up for an opening-weekend matchup in this region's 7/10 game.
CBS Sports (Jerry Palm) - 2 Seed, Raleigh, East Region
Palm still have Villanova listed among the 2-Seeds, shifting them back to the North Region with an opening round meeting with the Sun Belt's Georgia State in Raleigh. Either UNC (7-Seed) or St. Joseph's(10-Seed) will await the winner of that game.
Top seeds in Palm's East region include Syracuse (1-Seed), Iowa State (3-Seed), and Saint Louis (4-Seed).
NBC Sports (Dave Ommen) - 3 Seed, Buffalo, East Region
Villanova's chances of opening the tournament in Buffalo continue to look pretty good. Ommen has kept the Wildcats down on the 3-line this week, but the 'Cats were switched back to the more favorable MSG Regional. This week's projections have them against Mercer (14-Seed). The winner would face either UCLA (6-Seed) or St. Joe's (11-Seed) for a chance to advance to the Sweet 16.
Top seeds for Villanova in NBC's bracket include Syracuse (1-Seed), Michigan (2-Seed), and Wisconsin (4-Seed).
SB Nation (Chris Dobbertean) - 2 Seed, Buffalo, South Region
Dobber has kept Villanova on the 2-Seed line, but shifted them out of the East Region this week. Now they will line up to potentially face the number-one team in the country -- Florida -- should they make it to the regional final. This bracket sets them up with an opening-round game in Buffalo against Boston University of the Patriot League. The winner of that game would take on either Oklahoma (7-Seed) or Gonzaga (10-Seed).
Other top seeds in Villanova's region include Florida (1-Seed), Wisconsin (3-Seed), and Virginia (4-Seed).
Bracketology Around the Big East
Five tournament bids seems to remain the standard this week, with Providence and Xavier in the picture pretty universally, and St. John's and Georgetown battling for another spot. SB Nation's optimism from last week has declined, it seems, with them dropping Georgetown, though NBC has taken their place, with all 6 contenders in the field (projecting 60% of the league into the Dance). Villanova and Creighton remain as the only total locks to get a bid for the league, but as many as five more have yet to have their bubble burst.
The schools are seeded as follows:
ESPN - 5 Bids: (2) Creighton,(3) Villanova, (10) Xavier, (11 Play In) St. John's, (12 - Play In) Providence
CBS - 5 Bids: (2) Villanova, (3) Creighton, (11) Xavier, (11 - Play In) Providence, (12 - Play In) Georgetown
NBC - 6 Bids: (2) Creighton, (3) Villanova, (10) Xavier, (11) St. John's, (11 - Play In) Providence, (11 - Play In) Georgetown
SBN - 5 Bids: (2) Villanova, (2) Creighton, (10) Providence, (12) St. John's, (11 - Play In) Xavier