Welcome to the inaugural 2009 edition of Best Week Ever, your look at which teams helped and hurt their bracket chances over the past week. Each week, we plan to look at which teams and conferences made some of the bigger moves over the week. Since this is the first Best Week of the year, we'll stretch the definition of "week" this, uh, week.
So without further ado, and paying homage to another recent noteworthy inaugural, here we go. (All results through games of Sunday, February 1.)
Yes we can
Louisville (#3 seed last week; #2 this week)
After losing to UNLV on New Year's Eve to end an 8-3 start , the Cardinals have ripped off nine straight to rise from #32 on the S-Curve on January 7 to #8 today. After tonight's UConn game, they have a relatively light schedule to end the year, so they could be a sleeper #1 seed. Of course, several other teams in the Big East could say the same. I'll go out on a limb and say that Madison Square Garden in early March will have a Final Four atmosphere.
Minnesota (#7 seed last week; #4 this week)
Think Kentucky wouldn't rather have Tubby right about now? After holding Illinois to 36 points over 56 possessions, the Gophers find themselves back in the bracket discussion. I think that #4 seed the model spits out right now is a little high, but they are squarely in the field for now.
No we can't
Georgetown (#6 seed last week; #8 this week)
The Hoyas are almost the Big East mirror image of Louisville. After handing UConn its only loss to date on December 29 to cap a solid 10-1 start , they have dropped seven of nine . Over that stretch they fell from #4 on the S-Curve (January 3) to #30 on Monday. They have three winnable games over their next four to try to right the ship before the Marquette-Louisville-Villanova trifecta in late February. The good news is that Ken Pomeroy's ratings have them finishing 9-9 in the conference, which should be enough.
Kentucky (#8 seed last week; out this week)
(See Minnesota above.) The 'Cats once again dug themselves an early hole this season, though it was not as deep as last year's 7-9 start. After peaking as a #8 last week, two bad losses dropped them out of the field. I think that is too harsh (they are currently the first team out), and I expect we'll see Kentucky back in the CTD field before long.