Sunday's seed announcement was fun, but Thursday was a reality check

From ESPN - February 15, 2018

In mid-February, college basketball is a liar.

The whole sport traffics in deception a month before Selection Sunday. The perennial announcement of the projected top-four seeds in each region, unveiled this past Sunday, only magnifies the myth that we can guess the pairings and hierarchy of the 68-team field.

We cant even predict a random Thursday.

On this night, you needed four screens to track the action that changed perceptions of three top-10 programs -- all of which lost to unranked opponents -- that were confident in their dreams and aspirations when the committee called their names last weekend.

By late Thursday, however, everything had changed.

Wisconsin tussled with and defeated No. 6 Purdue 57-53 in Madison, potentially killing the Boilermakers hopes of securing a projected top seed and threatening to toss them into some dreaded first-round matchup against a fearless mid-major.

The Badgers retired Frank Kaminskys jersey at halftime. But they didnt need the former Wooden Award winner or his flashy, red-carpet-worthy jacket to stop a Purdue team that once seemed capable of entering the NCAA tournament as the fields most dangerous foe but will now attempt to recover from its first three-game losing streak since the 2014-15 season.

Purdues loss generated more hope for a team like No. 5 Cincinnati, stuck on the 2-seed line in Sundays projections with limited opportunities to alter its fortunes. The Bearcats had not lost since Dec. 9. Their outside chances of securing a top seed rested on their ability to continue their barnstorming tour through the American Athletic Conference.

Cincy started the night with a 16-game winning streak, the longest in Division I basketball. But Kelvin Sampsons Houston squad boosted its profile with a 67-62 win over the Bearcats.

That hurts.

Mick Cronins program still must play No. 19 Wichita State twice this season, and perhaps a third time in the conference tournament. The Shockers, who bounced back from a 15-point deficit against Temple on Thursday, could capture the American crown as Cincy tries to stay atop the league and avoid a dizzying first-round matchup in the NCAA tournament.

Well, Purdue lost in one of the Big Tens wildest venues, the Kohl Center. And Cincinnati fell against a bubble team on the road.

But explain sophomore Tony Carrs 30-point night and Penn States 79-56 win over No. 8 Ohio State, the top team in the Big Ten, on Thursday.

Stop. You cant.


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