Rival Hawkeyes, Cyclones on the rise in our latest NCAA bracket

Iowa State has had a lot to celebrate already this season.

Charlie Neibergall/AP

The state of Iowa is the new epicenter of college basketball.

The Iowa Hawkeyes are the latest team to crash my ever-changing group of No. 1 seeds. In fact, following losses by Villanova (to Providence) and Kansas (at Iowa State), Fran McCaffery’s team jumped all the way to the No. 2 overall seed. The Hawkeyes (16-3) are off to a 7-0 Big Ten start and, following last weekend’s victory over Purdue, boast a 6-3 record against RPI Top 50 opponents.

And in-state rival Iowa State is not far behind. Following Monday night’s home win over Kansas, the Cyclones (16-4) have now beaten three teams — Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa — currently projected as a No. 1 or 2 seed. They moved up to a No. 2 seed following Monday night’s win.

Note that Des Moines happens to host an opening-weekend tourney site this year. I’ve already got Iowa in that pod. Iowa State, however, is hosting the site and won’t be allowed to play there. Right now it would have a high enough seed.

NOTES: The current first-place team in each conference is designated as the automatic berth (*). In the event of ties, I use the highest-ranked RPI team.

The Midwest winner will play the East winner in the Final Four and the West will face the South.

LAST FOUR IN: Syracuse, Washington, UCLA, George Washington

Midwest Region (Chicago)
Seed
Team
Location
1
Iowa* ↑
at Des Moines
16
Hampton*/Houston Baptist*
8
Notre Dame
9
Butler ↓
4
West Virginia ↓
at Providence
13
Hofstra*
5
Louisville
12
Tulsa* (new)
6
USC ↓
at Providence
11
Syracuse/G. Washington (new)
3
Miami
14
Belmont* ↓
7
Texas
at St Louis
10
Gonzaga
2
Xavier
15
UNC-Asheville*