College basketball’s home stretch often means 10-15 teams have identified themselves as national championship contenders.
But another week of unexpected results means that many could be wading in the pool for No. 1 seeds.
Losses on Thursday by Cincinnati, Purdue and Ohio State, which entered the week ranked in the top eight, continued to flatten out college basketball near the top and make things tough for bracket projections.
It also means finding favorites for the NCAA Tournament is looking like a dart throw.
Still, seeds will be planted. And here is our gardening.
For regional schools — Kansas, Missouri, Kansas State and Wichita State — the arrow is pointing up. This week. The Tigers are especially upwardly mobile, riding a five-game winning streak with three victories against teams that are included in the 68-team field.
Kansas State finds itself on the right side of the bubble because the Wildcats played weekday Oklahoma State instead of weekend Oklahoma State. Over the previous two Saturdays, the Cowboys won at Kansas and West Virginia. They followed those wins with midweek home losses to Baylor and the Wildcats.
Our No. 1 seeds: Villanova, Virginia, Xavier and Auburn.
Our last four in: Louisville, North Carolina State, Baylor and Washington.
And our first four out: Utah, St. Bonaventure, Syracuse and Nebraska.
No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 16 North Carolina A&T/Nichols State
No. 8 Florida vs. No. 9 Nevada
No. 5 West Virginia vs. No. 12 Buffalo
No. 4 Arizona vs. No. 13 East Tennessee State
No. 3 Cincinnati vs. No. 14 Belmont
No. 6 Rhode Island vs. No. 11 North Carolina St./Washington
No. 7 Alabama vs. No. 10 TCU
No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Bucknell
No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 16 Florida Gulf Coast
No. 8 Seton Hall vs. No. 9 Houston
No. 5 St. Mary’s vs. No. 12 Baylor/Louisville
No. 4 Tennessee vs. No. 13 Lousiana
No. 3 Michigan St. vs. No. 14 UC-Santa Barbara
No. 6 Wichita St. vs. No. 11 USC
No. 7 Kentucky vs. No. 10 Providence
No. 2 Texas Tech vs. No. 15 Northern Kentucky
No. 1 Xavier vs. No. 16 UNC-Asheville/Ark-Pine Bluff
No. 8 Arizona St. vs. No. 9 Virginia Tech
No. 5 Texas A&M vs. No. 12 New Mexico State
No. 4 Ohio State vs. No. 13 Vermont
No. 3 North Carolina vs. No. 14 Charleston
No. 6 Missouri vs. No. 11 Texas
No. 7 Michigan vs. No. 10 UCLA
No. 2 Kansas vs. No. 15 Wagner
No. 1 Auburn vs. No. 16 Penn
No. 8 Florida St. vs. No. 9 Kansas St.
No. 5 Creighton vs. No. 12 Loyola (Chicago)
No. 4 Gonzaga vs. No. 13 South Dakota St.
No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 14 Montana
No. 6 Oklahoma vs. No. 11 Middle Tennessee St.
No. 7 Butler vs. No. 10 Arkansas
No. 2 Purdue vs. No. 15 Rider