- Joe Lunardi, Senior Writer, ESPN.com
This edition of Bracket Math includes games through Sunday, Feb. 2. Rankings reflect an up-to-date S-Curve from yours truly, posing as one hypothetical member of the NCAA men's basketball committee.
Yes, I saw my shadow. Yes, that means we'll have six more weeks of Bracketology. And, yes, I say that every year.
And every year there's at least one day like Saturday, when enough top teams go down that we end up with little or no change on the upper lines of the bracket. Our primary example is Arizona, of course, which drops all the way to ... No. 2 overall after suffering its first loss of the season, falling to California on the road Saturday.
Joe Lunardi's 2014 Bracket Odds
If the NCAA tournament began today, which teams have the best chance at a national title run?
Unlike the polls, which typically overreact to single-game results, the S-Curve generally takes the long view. In this case, which team not named Syracuse should be slotted ahead of Arizona? The truth is that not even undefeated Wichita State can match the Wildcats' overall body of work.
The Wildcats still have eight wins over teams in the field or under consideration, which is the most in the country. They have the most RPI Top 25 wins (5-0) and the second-most Top 50 wins (7-1), behind only Kansas (8-5) in the latter category. Are we really going to drop Arizona more than one spot, much less off the top line, on account of a single, last-second road loss?
I didn't think so -- just like we wouldn't have dropped Syracuse off the top line if the Orange had lost in overtime to Duke.
This is where teams would fall if Selection Sunday were today. Remember, the S-curve flows left to right, then right to left, then back again as you read down the chart.