Sunday, March 14, 2021

Final 2021 Bracket

 With Sunday's game going pretty much as expected and Cincinnati unlikely to come back from their huge deficit at the time of this posting, there isn't really a change from this morning's bracket.

Even with Alabama's win in the SEC tournament, they will likely sit No. 5 overall on the seed list and be slotted in Region 4 with Michigan, as Illinois will sit No. 3 overall. 

VCU lost the Atlantic 10 final to St. Bonaventure, but they should still find their way into the tournament, but it certainly wouldn't be surprising if they have to play an extra game before the main draw of 64.

So with all that in mind, here is my final bracket for the 2021 NCAA Tournament. 


Last Four Byes: VCU, Maryland, Michigan State, Louisville

Last Four In: Drake, UCLA, Syracuse, Wichita State

First Four Out (tournament alternates): Utah State, Colorado State, Ole Miss, Saint Louis

Next Four Out: Boise State, Western Kentucky, Memphis, Xavier

Bids by Conference: 

Big Ten - 9

ACC - 8

Big 12 - 7

SEC - 6

Pac-12 - 5

Big East - 4

American Athletic - 2

Atlantic 10 - 2

Missouri Valley - 2

West Coast - 2

One-bid leagues - 21 (including Mountain West)

And for added transparency, here's my final seed list.

1. Gonzaga
2. Baylor
3. Illinois
4. Michigan
5. Alabama
6. Ohio State
7. Iowa
8. Houston
9. Texas
10. Oklahoma State
11. Arkansas
12. Kansas
13. Purdue
14. West Virginia
15. Florida State
16. Virginia
17. Tennessee
18. Creighton
19. Villanova
20. USC
21. Colorado
22. Texas Tech
23. Missouri
24. San Diego State
25. Oregon
26. Loyola-Chicago
27. LSU
28. BYU
29. Wisconsin
30. Florida
31. Oklahoma
32. Georgia Tech
33. Clemson
34. North Carolina
35. Connecticut
36. Saint Bonaventure
37. Rutgers
38. Virginia Tech
39. VCU
40. Maryland
41. Michigan State
42. Louisville
43. Drake
44. UCLA
45. Syracuse
46. Georgetown
47. Wichita State
48. Winthrop
49. Oregon State
50. UC Santa Barbara
51. Colgate
52. North Texas
53. Ohio
54. UNC Greensboro
55. Liberty
56. Abilene Christian
57. Morehead State
58. Eastern Washington
59. Drexel
60. Grand Canyon
61. Iona
62. Cleveland State
63. Oral Roberts
64. Hartford
65. Appalachian State
66. Norfolk State
67. Texas Southern
68. Mount St. Mary's

Welcome back, Selection Sunday, we missed you

 Last year on what was supposed to be Selection Sunday, we all sat around wondering what could have been, as COVID-19 wiped out the 2020 NCAA Tournament. No bracket reveal. No potential 12-over-5 upset. No nothing. Just a long wait to what we hoped would be he return of the tournament in 2021. Well, we're in 2021 and we made it to Selection Sunday and we will have a bracket to fill out this year.

As for what that bracket will look like, Saturday certainly helped bring the field into focus, which included Georgetown, the No. 8 seed in the Big East tournament, complete their run by thrashing Creighton and keeping the Bluejays empty-handed in terms of Big East tournament titles. The Hoyas have now stolen a bid from a potential bubble team and, in this case, it turned out to be Colorado State.

Then later in the night, a second bid was stolen. Oregon State pulled the upset of Colorado to win the Pac-12 tournament and shrink the bubble even further.

Utah State lost in the Mountain West final to San Diego State and was clinging to the final spot in the field, while Wichita State was upset by Cincinnati in the American semifinals and was the second-to-last team in the field. That was until Oregon State decided to crash the party. Utah State is now the first team out and Wichita State is now the last team in. And to makes things even more interesting, Wichita's fellow conference member, Cincinnati, can create one last bit of chaos for the Selection Committee before the finish the bracket as another potential bid thief. If Cincinnati beats Houston, they very well could knock the Shockers out but yet still keep the American as a two-bid league.

Just five games separate us and the beauty that is the release of the NCAA Tournament. Here's your next-to-last bracket update for the season. My final bracket will come just before the selection show at 6:00 p.m. on CBS.


Last Four Byes: VCU, Maryland, Michigan State, Louisville

Last Four In: Drake, UCLA, Syracuse, Wichita State

First Four Out: Utah State, Colorado State, Ole Miss, Saint Louis

Next Five Out: Boise State, Western Kentucky, Memphis, Xavier, St. John's

Bids by Conference:

Big Ten - 9

ACC - 8

Big 12 - 7

SEC - 6

Pac-12 - 5

Big East - 4

American Athletic - 2

Atlantic 10 - 2

Missouri Valley - 2

West Coast - 2

One-bid leagues - 21 (including Mountain West)

And now here is the rundown of the final day of action before the big dance begins on Thursday.

Patriot League Championship

No. 9 Loyola (MD) at No. 2 Colgate, 12:00, CBSSN

Atlantic 10 Championship (Dayton, OH)

No. 2 VCU vs. No. 1 Saint Bonaventure, 1:00, CBS

Both teams should be fine. The Bonnies are a lock at this point, while VCU is looking to stay above the First Four.

SEC Championship (Nashville, TN)

No. 3 LSU vs. No. 1 Alabama, 1:00, ESPN

The long-standing football rivalry takes center stage on the basketball court as LSU and Alabama meet for the SEC title. Alabama is locked in as a No. 2 seed, as even with a win, good chance the committee keeps Michigan ahead of the Tide. LSU can potentially move out of an 8/9 game in the NCAAs with a win.

American Athletic Championship (Fort Worth, TX)

No. 5 Cincinnati vs. No. 2 Houston, 3:15, ESPN

Cincinnati sent Wichita State to a long 24-hour wait for the selection and can make things even more dicey for the Shockers and other bubble teams if they can knock off Houston and steal a tournament bid. Of course, to do that, the Bearcats have to overcome their only other meeting with the Cougars, when they were walloped by 38 back on February 21. Houston can potentially lock up a No. 2 NCAA seed with a win, thanks to Texas defeating Oklahoma State in the Big 12 championship.

Big Ten Championship (Indianapolis, IN)

No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Illinois, 3:30, CBS

Ohio State jumped ahead of Iowa for No. 6 overall on the seed list and that is where the Buckeyes are likely to finish after knocking off Michigan in the Big Ten semis. As a result, along with Illinois' win over Iowa in the other semifinal, Illinois is now up to No. 3 on the seed list.

Check back here a little before 6:00 for my final bracket. As always, it's a blast talking brackets with you all. Hard to believe it's already been about ten years that I've done this.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Bid thieves on the loose as we reach Selection Sunday eve

 We have reached the penultimate day of action before the brackets are revealed tomorrow. And as is always the case entering the day, the bubble is extremely tight and there are potential bid stealers laying in wait to squeeze some of those teams out. 

In today's field, it came down to three teams for the final spot in the field. By a very narrow margin, Colorado State, even with the loss to Utah State in the Mountain West semifinals, just beats out Ole Miss and Saint Louis to sneak in. No bad losses for the Rams and an 8-5 record away from home, including wins at San Diego State and Utah State, help just push the Rams over the finish line. 

Ole Miss has a nice group of wins, but the question is how will the committee weigh their win over Tennessee and their sweep of Missouri versus their losses to Georgia (twice), Mississippi State, Dayton and Vanderbilt. That's five losses to teams that won't be in the field. Saint Louis has four such losses, including being swept by Dayton and an ugly loss at La Salle.

It's extremely close and you can make a case for or against any of the three teams. The Rams are also helped by the fact that, among the three teams in question, they are the only one with a "Wins Above Bobble" number above zero. They have a WAB of 0.3, Saint Louis is at -0.7 and Ole Miss is at -1.2.

Of course, there a chance all this talk is moot, as there are still a number of potential bid stealers on the loose, including two in championship games tonight. Georgetown burst Seton Hall's bubble to advance to the Big East final against Creighton, while Oregon State won the Civil War against Oregon in the Pac-12 semifinals. The Beavers get Colorado in tonight's championship.

Elsewhere, Wichita State survived the upset bid from South Florida, but is on high upset alert against Cincinnati in the American semifinals. Memphis is also still hanging around, but they have to beat Houston today to have a shot.

Other notable changes in the field include Oklahoma State moving up to a No. 2 seed after their exciting win over Baylor in the Big 12 semifinals. They could drop back to a No. 3 if they lose to Texas and Houston wins the American, or even perhaps if Arkansas wins the SEC tournament. But the Cowboys having the second-most Quad 1 wins in the country (ten) is going to pay dividends.

And after some scrubbing and updated data, UCLA has fallen into the Last Four In and Louisville is back up into the Last Four Byes. UCLA is just 5-8 against Quads 1 and 2 and the early exit from the Pac-12 tournament did them no favors. But they're computer numbers are just pushing them into the field and they have a positive WAB (1.0). The Bruins look like they'll make it thanks to some other bubble teams falling off. But don't be surprised to see them playing an extra game to start the tournament.

Here now is your full bracket update, as we only have a couple left! Virginia and Kansas are also in the field until we hear otherwise that they cannot participate in the tournament.


Last Four Byes: Maryland, Michigan State, Drake, Louisville

Last Four In: UCLA, Syracuse, Utah State, Colorado State

First Four Out: Ole Miss, Saint Louis, Boise State, Xavier

Next Three Out: Memphis, St. John's, Belmont

Bids by Conference:

Big Ten - 9

ACC - 8

Big 12 - 7

SEC - 6

Pac-12 - 4

Big East - 3

Mountain West - 3

American Athletic - 2

Atlantic 10 - 2

Missouri Valley - 2

West Coast - 2

One-bid leagues - 20

Here's the rundown of a big day of championship action, as 15 automatic bids will be handed out today.

America East Championship 

No. 6 UMass Lowell at No. 4 Hartford, 11:00 a.m., ESPN2

ACC Championship (Greensboro, NC)

No. 4 Georgia Tech vs. No. 2 Florida State, 8:30, ESPN

Big 12 Championship (Kansas City, MO)

No. 5 Oklahoma State vs. No. 3 Texas, 6:00, ESPN

Big East Championship (New York, NY)

No. 8 Georgetown vs. No. 2 Creighton, 6:30, Fox

Big Sky Championship (Boise, ID)

No. 5 Montana State vs. No. 2 Eastern Washington, 8:00, ESPNU

Big West Championship (Las Vegas, NV)

No. 2 UC Irvine vs. No. 1 UC Santa Barbara, 11:30, ESPN2

Conference USA Championship (Frisco, TX)

West No. 3 North Texas vs. East No. 1 Western Kentucky, 8:30, CBSSN

MAAC Championship (Atlantic City, NJ)

No. 9 Iona vs. No. 7 Fairfield, 4:00, ESPNU

MAC Championship (Cleveland, OH)

No. 5 Ohio vs. No. 2 Buffalo, 7:30, ESPN2

MEAC Championship (Norfolk, VA)

North No. 3 Morgan State vs. North No. 2 Norfolk State, 1:00, ESPN2

Mountain West Championship (Las Vegas, NV)

No. 2 Utah State vs. No. 1 San Diego State, 6:00, CBS

Pac-12 Championship (Las Vegas, NV)

No. 5 Oregon State vs. No. 3 Colorado, 10:30, ESPN

Southland Championship (Katy, TX)

No. 2 Abilene Christian vs. No. 1 Nicholls, 9:30, ESPN2

SWAC Championship (Birmingham, AL)

No. 3 Texas Southern vs. No. 1 Prairie View A&M, 6:00, ESPNU

WAC Championship (Las Vegas, NV)

No. 3 New Mexico State vs. No. 1 Grand Canyon, 10:00, ESPNU

American Athletic Semifinals (Fort Worth, TX)

No. 5 Cincinnati vs. No. 1 Wichita State, 3:00, ESPN2

No. 3 Memphis vs. No. 2 Houston, 5:30, ESPN2

Big Ten Semifinals (Indianapolis, IN)

No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 1 Michigan, 1:00, CBS

No. 3 Iowa vs. No. 2 Illinois, 3:30, CBS

SEC Semifinals (Nashville, TN)

No. 4 Tennessee vs. No. 1 Alabama, 1:00, ESPN

No. 3 LSU vs. No. 2 Arkansas, 3:30, ESPN

Friday, March 12, 2021

A special double-bracket Friday

 As we enter Friday of Championship Week, we will have a bit of a twist to today's post. We are going to post two brackets today. Reason being, Virginia became the latest program to have to bow out of their conference tournament due to a positive COVID-19 case. The Cavaliers squeaked by Syracuse on Thursday in the ACC quarterfinals. But thanks to the positive case, they have to drop out of the ACC tournament, meaning Georgia Tech will advance to tomorrow's championship game against either Florida State or North Carolina.

There is now major uncertainly regarding Virginia's NCAA Tournament chances. Programs have to go seven days without a positive case, meaning the earliest Virginia would be able to play would be next Friday, which is the start of the first round. So because of the uncertainly, we'll have two brackets. One with Virginia and one without Virginia.

That obviously makes the bubble picture very interesting.

Despite the loss to Virginia, Syracuse actually moved further above the cut line, in part due to Boise State's loss to Nevada, their third loss to the Wolf Pack this season. The Broncos fall out of the projected field and Utah State moved in after their win over UNLV, setting up a big semifinal with Colorado State.

With Virginia in the field, Utah State is the last team in. If we take Virginia out, we see Ole Miss enter the field. The Rebels have hung around and now can really make a lasting impression on the committee if they can knock off LSU in today's SEC quarterfinals.

In the Big East, Seton Hall kept their hopes alive with their overtime win against St. John's, effectively knocking the Johnnies out. Seton Hall now takes on Georgetown, who upset a reeling Villanova team that has now fallen to a No. 5 seed.

Let's check out the two brackets.


Last Four Byes: UCLA, Maryland, Drake, Michigan State

Last Four In: Colorado State, Louisville, Syracuse, Utah State

First Four Out: Ole Miss, Seton Hall, Boise State, Saint Louis

Next Four Out: Xavier, Memphis, SMU, St. John's

Bids by Conference:

Big Ten - 9

ACC - 8

Big 12 - 7

SEC - 6

Pac-12 - 4

Big East - 3

Mountain West - 3

American Athletic - 2

Atlantic 10 - 2

Missouri Valley - 2

West Coast - 2

One-bid leagues - 20

And now the bracket without Virginia.


Last Four Byes: Maryland, Drake, Michigan State, Colorado State

Last Four In: Louisville, Syracuse, Utah State, Ole Miss

First Four Out: Seton Hall, Boise State, Saint Louis, Xavier

Next Three Out: Memphis, SMU, St. John's, Belmont

And now your Friday schedule.

American Athletic Quarterfinals (Fort Worth, TX)

No. 8 South Florida vs. No. 1 Wichita State, 12:00, ESPN2

No. 5 Cincinnati vs. No. 4 SMU, 3:00, ESPN2

No. 10 Tulane vs. No. 2 Houston, 7:00, ESPNU

No. 6 UCF vs. No. 3 Memphis, 10:00, ESPNU

ACC Semifinals (Greensboro, NC)

No. 6 North Carolina vs. No. 2 Florida State, 8:30, ESPN

Big 12 Semifinals (Kansas City, MO)

No. 5 Oklahoma State vs. No. 1 Baylor, 6:30, ESPN

No. 3 Texas vs. No. 2 Kansas, 9:30, ESPN2

Big East Semifinals (New York, NY)

No. 8 Georgetown vs. No. 5 Seton Hall, 6:00, FS1

No. 3 Connecticut vs. No. 2 Creighton, 9:00, FS1

Big Sky Semifinals (Boise, ID)

No. 5 Montana State vs. No. 1 Southern Utah, 7:00, Pluto TV

No. 6 Montana vs. No. 2 Eastern Washington, 10:00, Pluto TV

Big Ten Quarterfinals (Indianapolis, IN)

No. 8 Maryland vs. No. 1 Michigan, 11:30 a.m., BTN

No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Purdue, 2:00, BTN

No. 7 Rutgers vs. No. 2 Illinois, 6:30, BTN

No. 6 Wisconsin vs. No. 3 Iowa, 9:00, BTN

Big West Semifinals (Las Vegas, NV)

No. 4 UC Davis vs. No. 1 UC Santa Barbara, 9:00, ESPN3

No. 3 UC Riverside vs. No. 2 UC Irvine, 12 a.m., ESPNU

Conference USA Semifinals (Frisco, TX)

West No. 2 UAB vs. East No. 1 Western Kentucky, 12:00, CBSSN

West No. 3 North Texas vs. West No. 1 Louisiana Tech, 3:00, CBSSN

MAAC Semifinals (Atlantic City, NJ)

No. 9 Iona vs. No. 5 Niagara, 6:00, ESPNews

No. 7 Fairfield vs. No. 3 Saint Peter's, 8:30, ESPNews

MAC Semifinals (Cleveland, OH)

No. 5 Ohio vs. No. 1 Toledo, 5:00, CBSSN

No. 3 Akron vs. No. 2 Buffalo, 7:30, CBSSN

MEAC Semifinals (Norfolk, VA)

North No. 3 Morgan State vs. North No. 1 Coppin State, 6:00, FloHoops.com

North Carolina A&T had to drop out due to COVID, so Norfolk State advances to the championship game.

Mountain West Semifinals (Las Vegas, NV)

No. 5 Nevada vs. No. 1 San Diego State, 9:30, CBSSN

No. 3 Colorado State vs. No. 2 Utah State, 12 a.m., CBSSN

Pac-12 Semifinals (Las Vegas, NV)

No. 5 Oregon State vs. No. 1 Oregon, 8:30, Pac-12 Network

No. 3 Colorado vs. No. 2 USC, 11:30, ESPN

SEC Quarterfinals (Nashville, TN)

No. 9 Mississippi State vs. No. 1 Alabama, 12:00, ESPN

No. 5 Florida vs. No. 4 Tennessee, 2:30, ESPN

No. 7 Missouri vs. No. 2 Arkansas, 7:00, SECN

No. 6 Ole Miss vs. No. 3 LSU, 9:30, SECN

Southland Semifinals (Katy, TX)

No. 4 Northwestern State vs. No. 1 Nicholls, 6:00, ESPN+

No. 6 Lamar vs. No. 2 Abilene Christian, 9:00, ESPN+

SWAC Semifinals (Birmingham, AL)

No. 3 Texas Southern vs. No. 2 Jackson State, 3:00, ESPN3

No. 4 Grambling State vs. No. 1 Prairie View A&M, 9:30, ESPN3

WAC Semifinals (Las Vegas, NV)

No. 5 Seattle vs. No. 1 Grand Canyon, 8:00, ESPN+

No. 3 New Mexico State vs. No. 2 Utah Valley, 11:00, ESPN+

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Xavier suffers potential tourney-exit level loss, Syracuse takes advantage, COVID likely ends Duke's season

 Xavier come into the Big East tournament among the last four teams in the field. Coming out of the Big East tournament, they may be left in the dust when it settles.

Xavier absolutely could not afford a loss to Butler in the first round in New York on Wednesday. That's exactly what happened, as Butler took down Xavier in overtime, 70-69. That knocked Xavier out of the top 60 of the NET and leaves them with just one Quad 1 win (Creighton). They also have just a 5-5 record against Quad 2, including road losses to Providence, Georgetown and Marquette and now have a Quad 3 loss to Butler. It's going to be a long week for Xavier. They currently sit as the second team out.

Taking advantage of Xavier's misfortunes is Syracuse. Yes, the Orange are back after they were left for dead a couple of weeks ago. Syracuse may only have one Quad win of their own, and that's at North Carolina State. However, they are now top-40 in NET and have wins over North Carolina (which is just two spots away from being a Quad 1 win for Syracuse), Clemson and Virginia Tech. Syracuse was swept by Pittsburgh and is just 3-7 away from home. They can really make a statement if they can beat Virginia today in the ACC quarterfinals.

Duke scored a huge victory on Wednesday over Louisville to move them into the next four out. Unfortunately for Duke, they may be left in the dust due to circumstances outside of their control. They were set to face Florida State in a game that really could have given Duke life in the at-large hunt. That game now will not happen as Duke has had to pull out of the ACC Tournament due to a positive COVID-19 case. And with it, it could very well keep Duke out of the NCAA Tournament, as they'll take just a 13-11 record into Selection Sunday. Very unfortunate for the Blue Devils.

After some shuffling in the bracket, here's your full update entering a big Thursday.


Last Four Byes: VCU, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan State

Last Four In: Drake, Boise State, Colorado State, Syracuse

First Four Out: Utah State, Xavier, Seton Hall, Ole Miss

Next Four Out: Duke, Saint Louis, St. John's, Memphis

Bids by Conference:

Big Ten - 9

ACC - 8

Big 12 - 7

SEC - 6

Pac-12 - 4

Big East - 3

Mountain West - 3

American Athletic - 2

Atlantic 10 - 2

Missouri Valley - 2

West Coast - 2

One-bid leagues - 20

Here's your full schedule for Thursday.

American Athletic First round (Fort Worth, TX)

No. 9 Temple vs. No. 8 South Florida, 12:00, ESPNU

No. 10 Tulane vs. No. 7 Tulsa, 3:00, ESPNU

No. 11 East Carolina vs. No. 6 UCF, 7:00, ESPNU

ACC Quarterfinals (Greensboro, NC)

No. 8 Syracuse vs. No. 1 Virginia, 12:00, ESPN2

No. 13 Miami (FL) vs. No. 4 Georgia Tech, 2:30, ESPN2

No. 6 North Carolina vs. No. 3 Virginia Tech, 8:30, ESPN

(Duke had to pull out due to COVID, meaning No. 2 Florida State advances to the semifinals.)

Big 12 Quarterfinals (Kansas City, MO)

No. 5 Oklahoma State vs. No. 4 West Virginia, 11:30 a.m., ESPN

No. 9 Kansas State vs. No. 1 Baylor, 2:30, ESPN

No. 7 Oklahoma vs. No. 2 Kansas, 6:30, ESPN2

No. 6 Texas Tech vs. No. 3 Texas, 9:30, ESPN2

Big East Quarterfinals (New York, NY)

No. 8 Georgetown vs. No. 1 Villanova, 12:00, FS1

No. 5 Seton Hall vs. No. 4 St. John's, 3:00, FS1

No. 10 Butler vs. No. 2 Creighton, 6:00, FS1

No. 11 DePaul vs. No. 3 UConn, 9:00, FS1

Big Sky Quarterfinals (Boise, ID)

No. 8 Northern Colorado vs. No. 1 Southern Utah, 1:00, Pluto TV

No. 5 Montana State vs. No. 4 Idaho State, 4:00, Pluto TV

No. 10 Northern Arizona vs. No. 2 Eastern Washington, 7:00, Pluto TV

No. 6 Montana vs. No. 3 Weber State, 10:00, Pluto TV

Big Ten Second Round (Indianapolis, IN)

No. 9 Michigan State vs. No. 8 Maryland, 11:30 a.m., Big Ten Network

No. 13 Minnesota vs. No. 5 Ohio State, 2:00, BTN

No. 10 Indiana vs. No. 7 Rutgers, 6:30, BTN

No. 11 Penn State vs. No. 6 Wisconsin, 9:00, BTN

Big West Quarterfinals (Las Vegas, NV)

No. 9 Long Beach State vs. No. 1 UC Santa Barbara, 2:00, ESPN3

No. 5 Cal State Bakersfield vs. No. 4 UC Davis, 5:00, ESPN3

No. 10 Cal Poly vs. No. 2 UC Irvine, 8:00, ESPN3

No. 6 Hawaii vs. No. 3 UC Riverside, 11:00, ESPN3

Conference USA Quarterfinals (Frisco, TX)

West No. 4 Texas-San Antonio vs. East No. 1 Western Kentucky, 6:30, Stadium

West No. 6 Rice vs. West No. 2 UAB, 7:00, Stadium

East No. 4 Florida Atlantic vs. West No. 1 Louisiana Tech, 9:30, Stadium

West No. 3 North Texas vs. East No. 2 Old Dominion, 10:00, Stadium

MAAC Quarterfinals (Atlantic City, NJ)

No. 11 Rider vs. No. 3 Saint Peter's, 5:00, ESPN+

No. 5 Niagara vs. No. 4 Marist, 7:30, ESPN+

MAC Quarterfinals (Cleveland, OH)

No. 8 Ball State vs. No. 1 Toledo, 11:00 a.m., ESPN+

No. 5 Ohio vs. No. 4 Kent State, 1:30, ESPN+

No. 7 Miami (OH) vs. No. 2 Buffalo, 4:00, ESPN+

No. 6 Akron vs. No. 3 Bowling Green, 6:30, ESPN+

MEAC Quarterfinals (Norfolk, VA)

North No. 3 Morgan State vs. South No. 2 Florida A&M, 6:00, FloHoops.com

South No. 3 North Carolina Central vs. North No. 2 Norfolk State, 8:30, FloHoops.com

Mountain West Quarterfinals (Las Vegas, NV)

No. 8 Wyoming vs. No. 1 San Diego State, 3:00, CBSSN

No. 5 Nevada vs. No. 4 Boise State, 5:30, CBSSN

No. 7 UNLV vs. No. 2 Utah State, 9:00, CBSSN

No. 6 Fresno State vs. No. 3 Colorado State, 11:30, CBSSN

Pac-12 Quarterfinals (Las Vegas, NV)

No. 8 Arizona State vs. No. 1 Oregon, 2:30, Pac-12 Network

No. 5 Oregon State vs. No. 4 UCLA, 5:30, Pac-12 Network

No. 7 Utah vs. No. 2 USC, 8:30, Pac-12 Network

No. 11 California vs. No. 3 Colorado, 11:30, ESPN

SEC Second Round (Nashville, TN)

No. 9 Mississippi State vs. No. 8 Kentucky, 12:00, SEC Network

No. 12 Vanderbilt vs. No. 5 Florida, 2:30, SECN

No. 10 Georgia vs. No. 7 Missouri, 7:00, SECN

No. 11 South Carolina vs. No. 6 Ole Miss, 9:30, SECN

Southland Quarterfinals (Katy, TX)

No. 5 New Orleans vs. No. 4 Northwestern State, 6:00, ESPN+

No. 6 Lamar vs. No. 3 Sam Houston, 9:00, ESPN+

SWAC Quarterfinals (Birmingham, AL)

No. 6 Alcorn State vs. No. 3 Texas Southern, 3:0, ESPN3

No. 5 Southern vs. No. 4 Grambling State, 9:30, ESPN3

WAC Quarterfinals (Las Vegas, NV)

No. 5 Seattle vs. No. 4 Cal Baptist, 8:00, ESPN+

No. 6 Texas-Rio Grande Valley vs. No. 3 New Mexico State, 11:00, ESPN+

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Gonzaga makes big comeback, unofficially locks up No. 1 seed

 Tuesday night saw something we really haven't seen in quite some time: Gonzaga trailing big.

BYU led by as many as 14 in the first half and a took a 12-point lead into the locker room during Tuesday's West Coast championship. But like Lazarus, Gonzaga rose from the dead, led by an incredible effort by Jalen Suggs, including a huge three-pointer late in the game to help put the final daggers into BYU's chances. Suggs' 23 points helped Gonzaga pull off the comeback and win, 88-78, to claim yet another West Coast tournament title. And with that, Gonzaga goes into the NCAAs at 26-0 and, while not official until Sunday, will be the overall No. 1 seed when the brackets are unveiled on Sunday.

Elsewhere, four other schools punched their ticket to the dance. Drexel ended Elon's Cinderella run in the Colonial tournament and their hopes at their first NCAA Tournament. Drexel ended their own tournament drought, as the Dragons are dancing for the first time since 1996. Drexel currently sits as the highest No. 15 seed, with a chance to move up to a 14.

Cleveland State held off a game Oakland team in the Horizon League finals, giving the Vikings their first tournament berth since 2009. With all the upsets in other tournaments, Cleveland State has moved up from the First Four to a 15 seed in a matter of days.

Bryant University was another team looking for their first tournament appearance and had the opportunity to host the Northeast Conference championship. But like Elon, they were denied, as Mount St. Mary's, the conference's No. 4 seed in what was only a four-team tournament, advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017, when they won a game in the First Four. As of now, the Mount looks bound for the First Four.

In the Summit League, Oral Roberts built a 25-point halftime lead against North Dakota State. In the late stages of the game, that lead evaporated. But Oral Roberts survived and is dancing for the first time since 2008. This is also the first time since 2011 (Oakland) that someone other than North Dakota State or South Dakota State claimed the Summit's automatic bid to the NCAAs. Like Mount St. Mary's, Oral Roberts is currently set for the First Four.

With five more bids set, here's your updated field.


Last Four Byes: VCU, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan State

Last Four In: Drake, Xavier, Boise State, Colorado State

First Four Out: Utah State, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Saint Louis

Next Four Out: Ole Miss, Stanford, St. John's, Memphis

Bids by Conference:

Big Ten - 9

ACC - 7

Big 12 - 7

SEC - 6

Big East - 4

Pac-12 - 4

Mountain West - 3

American Athletic - 2

Atlantic 10 - 2

Missouri Valley - 2

West Coast - 2

One-bid leagues - 20

Now things really start to get fun, as more power conferences open their tournament action. Here's today's schedule.

ACC Second Round (Greensboro, NC)

No. 9 North Carolina State vs. No. 8 Syracuse, 12:00, ACCN

No. 13 Miami (FL) vs. No. 5 Clemson, 2:30, ACCN

No. 10 Duke vs. No. 7 Louisville, 6:30, ACCN

No. 11 Notre Dame vs. No. 6 North Carolina, 9:00, ACCN

The 8/9 game has some intrigue. NC State has worked their way back into the conversation. The loser is out, the winner still has hope, especially with a date with No. 1 Virginia on the horizon for the winner. As for Duke, this is an absolute must-win. A loss puts them at 12-12 and would spell the end of their run.

Big 12 First Round (Kansas City, MO)

No. 9 Kansas State vs. No. 8 TCU, 6:30, ESPN

No. 10 Iowa State vs. No. 7 Oklahoma, 9:30, ESPN

Big East First Round (New York, NY)

No. 9 Marquette vs. No. 8 Georgetown, 3:00, FS1

No. 10 Butler vs. No. 7 Xavier, 6:00, FS1

No. 11 DePaul vs. No. 6 Providence, 9:00, FS1

Xavier lost in this round to DePaul last year and likely would have burst their bubble had the NCAA tournament happened. They're hoping to avoid the same fate tonight against Butler.

Big Sky First Round (Boise, ID)

No. 9 Sacramento State vs. No. 8 Northern Colorado, 11:00 a.m., Pluto TV

No. 10 Northern Arizona vs. No. 7 Portland State, 2:00, Pluto TV

No. 11 Idaho vs. No. 6 Montana, 5:00, Pluto TV

Big Ten First Round (Indianapolis, IN)

No. 13 Minnesota vs. No. 12 Northwestern, 6:30, BTN

No. 14 Nebraska vs. No. 11 Penn State, 9:00, BTN

Minnesota looks for their first win away from home. They need it bad, and then they need another and another if they want to dance.

Conference USA First Round (Frisco, TX)

East No. 5 Charlotte vs. West No. 4 Texas-San Antonio, 6:30, ESPN+

West No. 6 Rice vs. East No. 3 Marshall, 7:00, ESPN+

West No. 5 UTEP vs. East No. 4 Florida Atlantic, 9:30, ESPN+

East No. 6 Middle Tennessee vs. West No. 3 North Texas, 10:00, ESPN+

MAAC Quarterfinals (Atlantic City, NJ)

No. 9 Iona vs. No. 1 Siena, 5:00, ESPN+

No. 7 Fairfield vs. No. 2 Monmouth, 7:30, ESPN+

Mountain West First Round (Las Vegas, NV)

No. 9 San Jose State vs. No. 8 Wyoming, 2:00, Mountain West Network

No. 10 Air Force vs. No. 7 UNLV, 4:30, MWN

No. 11 New Mexico vs. No. 6 Fresno State, 7:00, MWN

Pac-12 First Round (Las Vegas, NV)

No. 9 Washington State vs. No. 8 Arizona State, 4:00, Pac-12 Network

No. 10 Washington vs. No. 7 Utah, 7:00, Pac-12 Network

No. 11 California vs. No. 6 Stanford, 10:00, Pac-12 Network

Stanford is 2-0 this season against Cal. They need to make it 3-0 to keep any at-large hopes alive. Then they would need to beat Colorado in tomorrow's quarterfinals.

Patriot Semifinals

No. 9 Loyola Maryland at No. 4 Army, 5:30, CBSSN

No. 6 Bucknell at No. 2 Colgate, 7:30, CBSSN

SEC First Round (Nashville, TN)

No. 13 Texas A&M vs. No. 12 Vanderbilt, 7:00, SECN

Southland Second Round (Katy, TX)

No. 8 Southeastern Louisiana vs. No. 5 New Orleans, 6:00, ESPN+

No. 10 Houston Baptist vs. No. 6 Lamar, 9:00, ESPN+

SWAC Quarterfinals (Birmingham, AL)

No. 7 Arkansas-Pine Bluff vs. No. 2 Jackson State, 3:00, ESPN3

No. 8 Mississippi Valley State vs. No. 1 Prairie View A&M, 9:30, ESPN3

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

UNC Greensboro, Appalachian State officially join the dance party

 Two more tickets to the NCAA Tournament were officially punched Tuesday night. In the Southern Conference, two years after learning they were the last team in the field only to have the bid stolen from them by Oregon, UNC Greensboro took care of business in what was a pretty close game against No. 7 Mercer. But the Spartans are dancing for the fourth time in school history and second time under coach Wes Miller.

Over in the Sun Belt, Appalachian State completed their magical run of winning four games in four days, culminating with an 80-73 victory over Georgia State. The school that has produced NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah, among other alumni, is dancing for only the third time in school history and first time since 2000.

So here's a quick list of the current automatic qualifiers to get you up to speed.

Liberty - Atlantic Sun

Winthrop - Big South

Loyola-Chicago - Missouri Valley

Morehead State - Ohio Valley

UNC Greensboro - Southern

Appalachian State - Sun Belt

Five more teams will join the party tonight. Let's check out the updated bracket and run through today's action.


Last Four Byes: VCU, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan State

Last Four In: Drake, Xavier, Boise State, Colorado State

First Four Out: Utah State, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Saint Louis

Next Four Out: Ole Miss, Stanford, St. John's, Memphis

Bids by Conference:

Big Ten - 9

ACC - 7

Big 12 - 7

SEC - 6

Big East - 4

Pac-12 - 4

Mountain West - 3

American Athletic - 2

Atlantic 10 - 2

Missouri Valley - 2

West Coast - 2

One-bid leagues - 20

Plenty of conference tournament action today with five championship games and the start of the ACC Tournament, featuring Duke in an opening round game.

Colonial Championship (Harrisonburg, VA)

No. 8 Elon vs. No. 6 Drexel, 7:00, CBSSN

Horizon League Championship (Indianapolis, IN)

No. 3 Oakland vs. No. 1 Cleveland State, 7:00, ESPN

Northeast Championship

No. 4 Mount St. Mary's at No. 2 Bryant, 7:00, ESPN2

Summit League Championship (Sioux Falls, SD)

No. 4 Oral Roberts vs. No. 3 North Dakota State, 9:00, ESPN2

West Coast Championship (Las Vegas, NV)

No. 2 BYU vs. No. 1 Gonzaga, 9:00, ESPN

ACC First Round (Greensboro, NC)

No. 13 Miami (FL) vs. No. 12 Pittsburgh, 2:00, ACCN

No. 15 Boston College vs. No. 10 Duke, 4:30, ACCN

No. 14 Wake Forest vs. No. 11 Notre Dame, 7:00, ACCN

Big West First Round (Las Vegas, NV)

No. 9 Long Beach State vs. No. 8 Cal State Northridge, 6:00, ESPN3

No. 10 Cal Poly vs. No. 7 Cal State Fullerton, 9:00, ESPN3

Conference USA First Round (Frisco, TX)

(Note: Florida International had to drop out due to COVID issues, so Middle Tennessee advances to tomorrow's second round)

West No. 7 Southern Mississippi vs. West No. 6 Rice, 8:00, ESPN+

MAAC First Round (Atlantic, NJ)

No. 9 Iona vs. No. 8 Quinnipiac, 5:00, ESPN+

No. 10 Manhattan vs. No. 7 Fairfield, 7:30, ESPN+

Southland First Round (Katy, TX)

No. 9 McNeese vs. No. 8 Southeastern Louisiana, 6:00, ESPN+

No. 10 Houston Baptist vs. No. 7 Incarnate Word, 9:00, ESPN+