The idea of bracketology has always been to take a snapshot of the season in its current state and apply the principles of selecting, seeding and placing teams in the bracket if the season ended on that day.
Since the NCAA Division I women's basketball committee started offering in-season reveals in 2016, the snapshot has become even more clear since more information is available.
This week's bracket projection incorporates what the committee revealed last Thursday. But in the ever-evolving world of college basketball, Monday's projection also includes adjustments based on a weekend of games. Four days can change plenty -- or in some cases, not much at all.
Louisville stays on the top line
Despite scoring 31 points below their season average and losing at home to Florida State on Sunday, the Cardinals remain a No. 1 seed and the third overall team on the board. The reasons are many, but the most important is that there isn't a logical successor to Louisville's spot. Oregon, the No. 4 overall team on the committee's list Thursday, lost -- and did so to a team (Oregon State) not ranked as high as the Seminoles.
This was also the Cardinals' first loss. Possible contenders such as Texas and Tennessee each have three. The Lady Vols lost twice in the four days since the reveal.
How about 17-1 Baylor, another one-loss team? The committee told us how it viewed the Lady Bears, placing them at No. 9 overall. And Louisville has easily beaten both Notre Dame and Oregon.
So the Cardinals stay where they were. A loss doesn't always mean a demotion.
Change comes quickly in this process
While Louisville stayed put, some other teams suffered considerable setbacks since Thursday's reveal. Tennessee and Rutgers each lost twice. The Lady Vols consequently fell from fifth overall to 11th. The Scarlet Knights are now No. 5 seed after being slotted at 15th overall by the committee. With three losses in its past four games, the magic of Rutgers' nonconference season might be wearing off, and a big fall could be on the horizon with two games against Maryland and one each against Michigan and Ohio State still to come.
Duke was left out of the committee's top 16 and lost a possible opportunity to move up after falling in overtime to unranked North Carolina on Sunday. Losses by Cal, Marquette and DePaul also prevented those teams from making any significant jumps.
Numbers really matter
With its placement of Baylor at No. 9 on Thursday, the committee illustrated its heavy use of RPI, strength of schedule and nonconference SOS. So when putting together a bracket moving forward, it is important to apply that same philosophy to be consistent.
NC State is the most notable example of that further down the S-curve. Despite only beating North Carolina since Thursday, the Wolfpack moved from 32nd on the board to 28th, jumping an entire seed line. That was primarily due to a re-evaluation of NC State's numbers, which include an RPI of 18 and an overall SOS of 16.
Losses by Arizona State, Iowa and Michigan State also helped the Wolfpack's cause. Cal also benefited from that re-evaluation of those data points. The Bears went 1-1 on their Pac-12 swing through Los Angeles, but moved up two spots to No. 17 overall. Cal sports an RPI of 17 and overall and nonconference schedules rated in the top 25.
And both NC State and Cal are likely to pick up a few more top-50 wins to maintain or improve on these spots. They currently combine for just one top-50 win.
Six SEC teams in the top 16 crowd the bracket
The committee releases only its top 16 teams in the reveals, but when applying that information to a full bracket, deeper ramifications exist. Such is the case of the SEC. Six teams from the conference appeared on the committee's list, meaning one procedure it likes to follow -- separating conference foes along the top four seed lines -- isn't possible.
In this week's bracket it was still possible to prevent any SEC teams from meeting before the regional finals, but that might not continue to be the case if the six maintain their spots.