Bracket Watch: Rivalry Week is here to shake things up

Feb 6, 2017; Manhattan, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Frank Mason III (0) controls the ball as Kansas State Wildcats guard Barry Brown (5) defends during the second half at Fred Bramlage Coliseum. The Jayhawks won 74-71. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas and Kansas State got Rivalry Week off to a fun start Monday night. Duke-North Carolina, Purdue-Indiana and Michigan State-Michigan are still to come.

But for bracket purposes, two of the week’s most interesting matchups will take place in the state of California.

On Thursday, Oregon visits UCLA in a key Pac-12 contest. The Ducks (21-3) rose up to a No. 2 seed here following their impressive rout of Arizona. UCLA (21-3), for all its hype, is just a No. 4 seed due to the fact it boasts just two RPI Top 50 wins all season. Beating Oregon would be a big resume-builder.

On Saturday, undefeated Gonzaga (24-0) visits archrival Saint Mary’s (21-2) in what may be the only game left the ‘Zags have a realistic chance of losing. If Gonzaga makes it to Selection Sunday undefeated, there’s no question it will remain a No. 1 seed. One loss, however, could be enough to put that in question given the ‘Zags’ weak schedule strength relative to the other contenders.

A reminder: Selection Sunday is March 12, and the tourney begins March 14. The Final Four is April 1-3 in Phoenix.

* — Denotes projected conference champion, automatic berth

This edition’s bracket is East vs. West champions and Midwest vs. South champions in the national semifinals, based on the order of my No. 1 seeds.

BRACKET WATCH

EAST REGION (NEW YORK)
Seed Team Location
1 Villanova* at Buffalo
16 Texas Southern*/New Orleans*
8 Iowa State
9 Clemson
4 UCLA at Sacramento
13 Princeton*
5 Duke
12 Vermont*
6 Saint Mary’s at Buffalo
11 Wake Forest/Michigan
3 West Virginia
14 Monmouth*
7 Xavier at Orlando
10 Indiana
2 Florida State
15 UNC Asheville*
WEST REGION (SAN JOSE)
Seed Team Location
1 Gonzaga* at Salt Lake City
16 Weber State*
8 USC
9 Oklahoma State
4 Purdue at Milwaukee
13 Boise State*
5 Florida
12 Belmont*
6 Maryland at Greenville, S.C.
11 Tennessee
3 Virginia
14 Akron*
7 Virginia Tech at Sacramento
10 Kansas State
2 Oregon*
15 North Dakota State*
MIDWEST REGION (KANSAS CITY)
Seed Team Location
1 Kansas* at Tulsa
16 NC Central*
8 Marquette
9 Michigan State
4 Cincinnati* at Orlando
13 New Mexico State*
5 Creighton
12 UNC Wilmington*
6 Notre Dame at Indianapolis
11 Seton Hall/Miami
3 Kentucky
14 Valparaiso*
7 Minnesota at Indianapolis
10 VCU
2 Louisville
15 Florida Gulf Coast*
SOUTH REGION (MEMPHIS)
Seed Team Location
1 Baylor at Tulsa
16 UC Davis*/Mount St. Mary’s*
8 SMU
9 Dayton*
4 Butler at Milwaukee
13 Bucknell*
5 Wisconsin*
12 Middle Tennessee*
6 South Carolina* at Salt Lake City
11 Wichita State*
3 Arizona
14 Furman*
7 Northwestern at Greenville, S.C.
10 TCU
2 North Carolina*
15 Arkansas State*

LAST FOUR IN: Michigan, Wake Forest, Seton Hall, Miami

FIRST FOUR OUT: Syracuse, Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Cal

NEXT FOUR OUT: Illinois State, Ohio State, Georgetown, Texas Tech

MULTIPLE BID CONFERENCES: ACC (10), Big Ten (8), Big 12 (7), Big East (6), SEC (4), Pac-12 (4), A-10 (2), American (2), WCC (2)