This article is part of our NCAA Tournament Preview series.
The NCAA Tournament committee has the challenging task each year of placing a 68-team field into four regions and seeding them 1-16. To do this, a series of metrics – with the NET rating being one – are used to determine those seeds. An entire season of games is taken into account when evaluating each program's resume, but like any pro sports, a late-season injury can change the entire landscape of a team. KenPom makes outstanding predictive metrics, but even his great algorithms won't factor in key player injuries. A 5-seed might have been rolling early on, but an injury in the conference tournament can completely alter the outlook. The focus of this column will be identifying those situations, and using this information to fill out your bracket before Thursday's play-in games tip off.
Let's start with the obvious – COVID-19 afflicted programs. The Kansas Jayhawks are at the forefront after withdrawing from the Big 12 tournament due to health and safety protocol. Neither Jalen Wilson or David McCormack (and to a lesser extent Tristan Enaruna) will be traveling for the opening-round game against Eastern Washington. McCormack didn't travel for the Big 12 tournament game, and Kansas was out-rebounded 33-to-27 by the Sooners despite picking up the victory. Now Wilson – a stud freshman who grabbed nine boards in that game – is out against for the 3 vs. 14 matchup against Eastern Washington. As a result, Kansas has moved from (-13) favorites to (-10.5) favorites. Can Kansas still get