Despite just 14 Division I games on Monday, there’s still enough for a Bracket Stock Watch …
Kansas State. Count the Wildcats into the 68-team field after winning at Texas. Kansas State has won five in a row, seven of eight and has notched three top-30 victories in the last 15 days. There will be no sweating in Manhattan on Selection Sunday.
Bethune-Cookman. The Wildcats clinched the MEAC regular season, the top seed in the conference tournament and, at minimum, a berth in NIT. Not bad for a team that will finish in the top 250 of the RPI for the first time since 2000.
Gonzaga. The Bulldogs played name-the-score with Cal State Bakersfield and came up with 96-49. Gonzaga will take a seven-game winning streak into the West Coast Conference tournament.
Northern Colorado. One more win —- against last-place Sacramento State —- will hand the Bears the regular-season Big Sky crown (and an NIT berth as backup) after Monday’s victory at Idaho State.
Notre Dame. Eviscerated Villanova and further solidified its spot on the No. 2 line.
Texas. Baylor must be ecstatic to see the Longhorns coming to town this weekend, seeing as how Rick Barnes‘ fading team has offered life to Nebraska and Colorado and acted as the upset victim Kansas State needed to lock in its spot in the NCAA tournament. Goodbye No. 1 seed. Maybe even a No. 2 seed, even if the ship gets righted a bit.
Villanova. Just like last year the Wildcats fell into a swoon that led to five losses in seven games. The latest setback was a shredding at the hands of Notre Dame. Realistically, though, the problems go back further than mid-February. Villanova was 16-1 after rallying past Maryland on Jan. 15, but since then is 5-8 with losses to Providence and Rutgers and an overtime defeat of DePaul (which feels almost like a loss). The Wildcats’ profile is far too good to leave out of the tournament, but they don’t look like a bunch capable of lasting long once they get there.
—- Patrick Stevens