How big was unranked Texas' upset of No. 1 Stanford on Sunday? It created the biggest one-game impact on Bracketology in a decade.
The Cardinal will not only fall from the No. 1 overall ranking in Monday's new AP Top 25, but also tumble off the top seed line. Texas, which has struggled with consistency all season and hasn't come close to meeting expectations, vaults back into the field as a No. 9 seed. This was a Bracketology double dip.
Stanford was No. 2 overall in the most recent bracket projection, but the Cardinal now slip to No. 5. UConn and Oregon State, two other No. 1 seeds, remain unbeaten and continue to dominate. Oregon's lone loss was to a more highly rated opponent (Louisville), and the Ducks have won four straight convincingly since falling to the Cardinals to join the Huskies and Beavers on the top line.
So who's the fourth No. 1 seed? South Carolina and Baylor have been in the discussion all season -- and the Gamecocks now land there.
Texas' win Sunday marked the second straight season that the country's No. 1 team lost to an unranked opponent. But when North Carolina surprised then-No. 1 Notre Dame this past January, the Irish remained a No. 1 seed. What's different this time?
A team as good as the Gamecocks wasn't waiting to grab a top seed. And now South Carolina's elevation and Stanford's loss puts them both in the same region as the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds in Greenville.
After handling No. 25 South Dakota on Sunday, South Carolina has beaten more quality opponents than any team in the country, a list that includes top-15 teams Baylor and Maryland. Relying heavily on freshmen hasn't been a problem for South Carolina, but it might have been for Stanford on Sunday. The Cardinal's usually reliable shooting disappeared (the 31.7 field goal percentage was 15.6% below their season average) and they couldn't find an extra gear or a way to avoid the upset. Texas also outrebounded Stanford, a fact that probably will get most of coach Tara VanDerveer's attention when the Cardinal resume practice after Christmas.
Texas played its best game in two years on Sunday, not only winning but controlling the top-ranked team in the country for most of it. This from a team that looked lost after losing to Hawaii and falling to 4-4 just 22 days ago. The Longhorns were not in the field two weeks ago, and the notion that the Longhorns might miss the NCAA tournament was a real possibility. Sunday's win capped a revival month that also included a road win over then-No. 17 Tennessee.
On Sunday, sophomore Charli Collier and senior Joyner Holmes were the tandem coach Karen Aston envisioned a season ago when Collier, the No. 2 recruit in the country, landed in Austin. The two combined for 33 points and 27 rebounds against a Cardinal frontline that features 6-foot-3 Nadia Fingall, 6-1 Fran Belibi and 6-5 Ashten Prechtel. Their chemistry looked better, their intensity more consistent and their attention to detail much greater. The Longhorns had only 11 turnovers and produced the kind of defensive effort that could carry them into Big 12 play, where they will hope to improve upon their current seed.
Texas now has a résumé-anchoring win, one that will carry immense weight on Selection Monday. It's unclear how many more of those opportunities will exist in the Big 12 beyond games against Baylor and West Virginia. But for now, Texas has the best win of any team in the country this season.