This edition of "Bracket Math" includes games through Friday, Jan. 24. Rankings reflect an up-to-date S-curve from yours truly, posing as one hypothetical member of the NCAA men's basketball committee.
In 1992, Johnny Orr guided Iowa State to the NCAA tournament despite a 5-9 record in the old Big Eight. It remains the only time a team has attained an at-large bid with a conference record four games under .500.
Joe Lunardi's 2014 Bracket Odds
If the NCAA tournament began today, which teams have the best chance at a national title run?
This is a nice way of saying that Oregon, currently No. 44 on the S-curve despite a 1-5 Pac-12 record, is living on borrowed time. The Ducks have lost five in a row in the conference and will need to win at Washington State on Sunday to stay in the projected field.
But the Ducks are not alone. This weekend's games could be similarly dangerous for Baylor (1-4 in Big 12, playing Texas), North Carolina (1-4 in ACC, playing Clemson) and Dayton (1-3 in Atlantic 10, playing at Rhode Island). The Tar Heels and Flyers almost certainly would drop out of the field with losses.
On the flip side, Arkansas (1-4 in SEC, playing Auburn) must win to have any shot at moving back into the field. And Sunday's matchup between Illinois (2-5 Big Ten) and Indiana (2-4 Big Ten) will drop the loser off the board entirely.
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.