Sunday, March 13, 2022

Final Bracket

 What a wild ride it was once again. And how fitting was it that we had a bid-stealer, as Richmond upset Davidson for the Atlantic 10's automatic bid to the tournament. That shrunk the bubble, as we still project Davidson to be in the dance as a No. 11 seed. It wouldn't be a shock to see Davidson sent to Dayton.

Virginia Tech claimed the ACC's automatic bid, but they were likely in the field even with a loss. And despite the loss to Tennessee in the SEC Championship, Texas A&M is the last team in after their run to the SEC final, which included wins over Auburn and Arkansas.

So with that, here is my final bracket.



Last Four Byes: San Francisco, Miami (FL), Wyoming, Davidson
Last Four In: Rutgers, Indiana, Michigan, Texas A&M
First Four Out: Xavier, SMU, Oklahoma, Notre Dame

Conference Breakdown:

Big Ten - 9
SEC - 7
Big 12 - 6
Big East - 6
ACC - 4
Mountain West - 4
Pac-12 - 3
West Coast - 3
American Athletic - 2
Atlantic 10 - 2
One-bid leagues - 22


Saturday, March 12, 2022

Championship Week Saturday: Indiana, Virginia Tech make their moves, Hokies can steal a bid Saturday

 


Notes: Indiana (from 11 to 10) and San Francisco (10 to 11) swapped seed lines, as did Michigan/Xavier (11 to 12) and Virginia Tech/Oklahoma (12 to 11) to adhere to bracketing rules.

Last Four Byes: Miami (FL), Wyoming, Rutgers, Indiana
Last Four In: Michigan, Xavier, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma
First Four Out: Wake Forest, Notre Dame, SMU, Dayton
Next Four Out: VCU, North Texas, BYU, Texas A&M

Conference Breakdown:

Big Ten - 9
Big 12 - 7
Big East - 7
SEC - 6
ACC - 4
Mountain West - 4
Pac-12 - 3
West Coast - 3
American Athletic - 2
One-bid leagues - 23

Since we last met, Indiana became a huge winner on the bubble. Wins over Michigan and Illinois in the Big Ten tournament have likely saved Indiana's season. In fact, we currently have them just above the cut line as the team with a bye and avoiding Dayton. Even if they lose today against Iowa, the Hoosiers are probably dancing.

Another bubble winner this week is Virginia Tech. The Hokies have advanced to today's ACC tournament final against Duke and have knocked off Notre Dame and North Carolina in the process. Those wins, plus strong computer numbers (up to No. 30 in NET) have put the Hokies in the field today among the Last Four In group. They can take themselves out of that group completely with a win today over Duke, as that would give them the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and they would not have to worry about playing in Dayton.

Despite the loss in the Big 12 semifinals against Texas Tech, Oklahoma sneaks in as the last team in the field, beating out Wake Forest, Notre Dame and SMU. Despite just an 18-15 record, the Sooners have four Quad 1 wins, three of them against the top 20 of the NET (Baylor, Texas Tech, Arkansas). The committee tends to lean towards strong wins. It's also not unprecedented for a 15-loss team to earn at at-large bid. In 2017, Vanderbilt earned a No. 9 seed at 19-15. The Sooners can still get bumped out, and you can make a case for or against any of these teams. For the Sooners, they are top-40 in all the main metric rankings except for KPI (No. 52). They also have ten wins against Quads 1 and 2.

Still time for things to change and teams like SMU and Dayton are still on the prowl to potentially take away a bid and shrink the bubble.

Saturday is a very busy day, as 15 tournament tickets will officially be punched today and the remaining five championship matchups for tomorrow will be set. Here's a rundown of all the action, including the last of the conferences to tip off their tournament in the Ivy League and the traditional 11:00 a.m. tip for the America East championship.

America East Championship

No. 2 UMBC at No. 1 Vermont, 11:00 a.m., ESPN2

ACC Championship (in Brooklyn, NY)

No. 7 Virginia Tech vs. No. 1 Duke, 8:30, ESPN

Big 12 Championship (in Kansas City, MO)

No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 1 Kansas, 6:00, ESPN

Big East Championship (in New York, NY)

No. 4 Creighton vs. No. 2 Villanova, 6:30, Fox

Big Sky Championship (in Boise, ID)

No. 3 Northern Colorado vs. No. 1 Montana State, 8:00, ESPNU

Big West Championship (in Henderson, NV)

No. 2 Cal State Fullerton vs. No. 1 Long Beach State, 11:30, ESPN2

Conference USA Championship (in Frisco, TX)

No. W3 Louisiana Tech vs. No. W2 UAB, 8:30, CBSSN

Metro Atlantic Championship (in Atlantic City, NJ)

No. 4 Monmouth vs. No. 2 Saint Peter's, 4:00, ESPNU

MAC Championship (in Cleveland, OH)

No. 4 Akron vs. No. 2 Kent State, 7:30, ESPN2

MEAC Championship (in Norfolk, VA)

No. 7 Coppin State vs. No. 1 Norfolk State, 1:00, ESPN2

Mountain West Championship (in Las Vegas, NV)

No. 3 San Diego State vs. No. 1 Boise State, 6:00, CBS

Pac-12 Championship (in Las Vegas, NV)

No. 2 UCLA vs. No. 1 Arizona, 9:00, Fox

Southland Championship (in Katy, TX)

No. 4 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi vs. No. 2 Southeastern Louisiana, 9:30, ESPN2

SWAC Championship (in Birmingham, AL)

No. 2 Texas Southern vs. No. 1 Alcorn State, 6:00, ESPNU

WAC Championship (in Las Vegas, NV)

No. 6 Abilene Christian vs. No. 1 New Mexico State, 10:00, ESPNU

American Athletic Semifinals (in Fort Worth, TX)

No. 5 Tulane vs. No. 1 Houston, 3:00, ESPN2
No. 3 Memphis vs. No. 2 SMU, 5:30, ESPN2

Atlantic 10 Semifinals (in Washington, D.C.)

No. 5 Saint Louis vs. No. 1 Davidson, 1:00, CBSSN
No. 6 Richmond vs. No. 2 Dayton, 3:30, CBSSN

Big Ten Semifinals (in Indianapolis, IN)

No. 9 Indiana vs. No. 5 Iowa, 1:00, CBS
No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 3 Purdue, 3:30, CBS

Ivy League Semifinals (in Cambridge, MA)

No. 4 Cornell vs. No. 1 Princeton, 11:00 a.m., ESPNU
No. 3 Penn vs. No. 2 Yale, 2:00, ESPNU

SEC Semifinals (in Tampa, FL)

No. 8 Texas A&M vs. No. 4 Arkansas, 1:00, ESPN
No. 3 Kentucky vs. No. 2 Tennessee, 3:30, ESPN

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Championship Week Thursday: Xavier, Wake Forest begin long wait after early tournament exits

Sure enough, Wednesday was a very interesting day in college basketball and on the bubble. Specifically, two bubble teams suffered bad losses and early conference tournament exits that will now leave them sweating bullets until Sunday.

We'll start in the ACC. Wake Forest, the No. 5 seed in the ACC tournament, was taken down in overtime by Boston College, the No. 13 seed. That's a late Quad 3 loss for the Deacons, giving them two such losses. They also lost at Louisville back on December 29. This also means their poor non-conference schedule will come more into focus. Their hope is that their wins over North Carolina and Notre Dame will be enough to put them over the top. For now, Wake is still in. But there are plenty of teams and plenty of time that Wake can easily slide out with the right results.

Similar story for Xavier, who completely crumbled down the stretch. This was a team that started 11-1 and even 16-5. They'll enter Selection Sunday 18-13 and one-and-done in the Big East after poor free-throw shooting doomed them in their overtime loss to Butler in the Big East first round. That's two Quad 3 losses now for X, as they also have a home loss to DePaul on their resume. However, they have some of the stronger wins among bubble teams, including Ohio State, Connecticut and a sweep of Creighton. Will those wins outweigh the losses and overcome the late-season slide? Xavier is still in for now, but like Wake, it's a wait-and-see game as we enter the weekend.

We're now officially at 12 teams in the NCAA Tournament as Colgate wrapped up a dominating Patriot League season with a 74-58 win over Navy in the final. It's the second straight Patriot League title and third in the last four years for Colgate, who is projected as a No. 14 seed in the NCAAs. Remember, this was a team that has eventual Elite Eight participant Arkansas on the ropes in the first round last season. This team is dangerous.

Also, a big upset in the Metro Atlantic. Rick Pitino and the Iona Gaels will not be dancing. They were upset by No. 9 seed Rider Wednesday, meaning that for the first time since 2015 (Manhattan), someone other than Iona will represent the MAAC in the dance. For now, the projected team is No. 2 seed Saint Peter's, who defeated Fairfield in the quarters.

Here's the full list of automatic qualifiers so far, followed by the updated bracket. This list will stay until Saturday, when 15 tickets will be punched.

  • Bryant - Northeast
  • Colgate - Patriot
  • Chattanooga - Southern
  • Delaware - Colonial
  • Georgia State - Sun Belt
  • Gonzaga - West Coast
  • Jacksonville State - Atlantic Sun
  • Longwood - Big South
  • Loyola Chicago - Missouri Valley
  • Murray State - Ohio Valley
  • South Dakota State - Summit
  • Wright State - Horizon League




Last Four Byes: Creighton, Michigan, San Francisco, Wyoming
Last Four In: Rutgers, Xavier, Wake Forest, SMU
First Four Out: BYU, Indiana, Dayton, VCU
Next Four Out: Florida, Virginia Tech, Oregon, St. Bonaventure
Also on the board: Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Virginia

Conference Breakdown:

Big Ten - 8
Big East - 7
Big 12 - 6
SEC - 6
ACC - 5
Mountain West - 4
American Athletic - 3
Pac-12 - 3
West Coast - 3
One-bid leagues - 23

Here's a look now at the full slate of games today, including the last of the tournaments to kick off in the American Athletic and the MAC.

American Athletic First Round (in Fort Worth, TX)

No. 9 East Carolina vs. No. 8 Cincinnati, 1:00, ESPNU
No. 10 Tulsa vs. No. 7 Wichita State, 3:30, ESPNU
No. 11 South Florida vs. No. 6 UCF, 7:00, ESPNU

Atlantic 10 Second Round (in Washington, D.C.)

No. 9 George Mason vs. No. 8 Fordham, 12:00, USA
No. 12 La Salle vs. No. 5 Saint Louis, 2:30, USA
No. 10 UMass vs. No. 7 George Washington, 6:00, USA
No. 11 Rhode Island vs. No. 6 Richmond, 8:30, USA

ACC Quarterfinals (in Brooklyn, NY)

No. 9 Syracuse vs. No. 1 Duke, 12:00, ESPN
No. 13 Boston College vs. No. 4 Miami (FL), 2:30, ESPN2
No. 7 Virginia Tech vs. No. 2 Notre Dame, 7:00, ESPN2
No. 6 Virginia vs. No. 3 North Carolina, 9:30, ESPN

Big 12 Quarterfinals (in Kansas City, MO)

No. 5 TCU vs. No. 4 Texas, 12:30, ESPN2
No. 9 West Virginia vs. No. 1 Kansas, 3:00, ESPN
No. 7 Oklahoma vs. No. 2 Baylor, 7:00, ESPN
No. 6 Iowa State vs. No. 3 Texas Tech, 9:30, ESPN2

Big East Quarterfinals (in New York, NY)

No. 9 Butler vs. No. 1 Providence, 12:00, FS1
No. 5 Marquette vs. No. 4 Creighton, 2:30, FS1
No. 7 St. John's vs. No. 2 Villanova, 7:00, FS1
No. 6 Seton Hall vs. No. 3 UConn, 9:30, FS1

Big Sky Quarterfinals (in Boise, ID)

No. 8 Sacramento State vs. No. 1 Montana State, 2:00, ESPN+
No. 5 Montana vs. No. 4 Weber State, 4:30, ESPN+
No. 7 Portland State vs. No. 2 Southern Utah, 7:30, ESPN+
No. 6 Eastern Washington vs. No. 3 Northern Colorado, 10:00, ESPN+

Big Ten Second Round (in Indianapolis, IN)

No. 9 Indiana vs. No. 8 Michigan, 11:30, BTN
No. 12 Northwestern vs. No. 5 Iowa, 2:00, BTN
No. 10 Maryland vs. No. 7 Michigan State, 6:30, BTN
No. 11 Penn State vs. No. 6 Ohio State, 9:00, BTN

Big West Quarterfinals (in Henderson, NV)

No. 9 Cal State Bakersfield vs. No. 1 Long Beach State, 3:00, ESPN+
No. 5 UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 4 UC Irvine, 5:30, ESPN+
No. 7 UC Davis vs. No. 2 Cal State Fullerton, 9:00, ESPN+
No. 6 UC Riverside vs. No. 3 Hawaii, 11:30, ESPN+

Conference USA Quarterfinals (in Frisco, TX)

No. W5 Rice vs. No. W1 North Texas, 6:30, Stadium
No. W3 Louisiana Tech vs. No. E2 Western Kentucky, 7:00, Stadium
No. W4 UTEP vs. No. E1 Middle Tennessee, 9:00, Stadium
No. E3 Florida Atlantic vs. No. W2 UAB, 9:30, Stadium

MAAC Quarterfinals (in Atlantic City, NJ)

No. 11 Quinnipiac vs. No. 3 Siena, 7:00, ESPN+
No. 5 Niagara vs. No. 4 Monmouth, 9:30, ESPN+

MAC Quarterfinals (in Cleveland, OH)

No. 8 Central Michigan vs. No. 1 Toledo, 11:00, ESPN+
No. 5 Buffalo vs. No. 4 Akron, 1:30, ESPN+
No. 7 Miami (OH) vs. No. 2 Kent State, 4:00, ESPN+
No. 6 Ball State vs. No. 3 Ohio, 6:30, ESPN+

MEAC Quarterfinals (in Norfolk, VA)

No. 5 South Carolina State vs. No. 4 Morgan State, 6:00, ESPN+
No. 6 Maryland-Eastern Shore vs. No. 3 North Carolina Central. 8:30, ESPN+

Mountain West Quarterfinals (in Las Vegas, NV)

No. 8 Nevada vs. No. 1 Boise State, 3:00, CBSSN
No. 5 UNLV vs. No. 4 Wyoming, 5:30, CBSSN
No. 7 Utah State vs. No. 2 Colorado State, 9:00, CBSSN
No. 6 Fresno State vs. No. 3 San Diego State, 11:30, CBSSN

Pac-12 Quarterfinals (in Las Vegas, NV)

No. 9 Stanford vs. No. 1 Arizona, 3:00, Pac-12 Networks
No. 5 Oregon vs. No. 4 Colorado, 5:30, Pac-12 Networks
No. 7 Washington State vs. No. 2 UCLA, 9:00, Pac-12 Networks
No. 6 Washington vs. No. 3 USC, 11:30, FS1

SEC Second Round (in Tampa, FL)

No. 9 Florida vs. No. 8 Texas A&M, 12:00, SEC Network
No. 12 Missouri vs. No. 5 LSU, 2:30, SECN
No. 10 Mississippi State vs. No. 7 South Carolina, 6:00, SECN
No. 11 Vanderbilt vs. No. 6 Alabama, 8:30, SECN

Southland Quarterfinals (in Katy, TX)

No. 5 Houston Baptist vs. No. 4 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 6:00, ESPN+
No. 7 McNeese State vs. No. 3 New Orleans, 8:30, ESPN+

SWAC Quarterfinals (in Birmingham, AL)

No. 6 Grambling State vs. No. 3 Southern, 3:00, ESPN+
No. 5 Alabama A&M vs. No. 4 Florida A&M, 9:30, ESPN+

WAC Quarterfinals (in Las Vegas, NV)

No. 5 Sam Houston State vs. No. 4 Grand Canyon, 9:00, ESPN+
No. 6 Abilene Christian vs. No. 3 Stephen F. Austin, 11:30, ESPN+

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Championship Week Wednesday

Tuesday was quite an eventful day in college basketball. Six teams punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament, including a team that didn't even play.

In just their second year in Division I, Bellarmine was the Atlantic Sun championship, defeating Jacksonville at home, 77-72. But because Bellarmine is only in Year 2 of their four-year transition to Division I, they are ineligible for the NCAA Tournament. Per the Atlantic Sun's rules, the regular-season champion gets the automatic bid to the tournament. That means Jacksonville State will represent the conference in the tournament. The Gamecocks sit as a No. 16 seed in our projections.

Unfortunately, there were some lowlights on Tuesday as well, specifically the brawl that broke out during the Northeast Conference championship between Wagner and Bryant. Students started getting into it and even a Wagner player tried to get into the stands. The game was delayed for about 30 minutes with only about four minutes left in the game. In the end, Bryant cruised to a 70-43 win and claimed their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Bryant is likely headed to Dayton for the First Four.

We're now up to 11 teams officially in the NCAA Tournament.

  • Bryant - Northeast
  • Chattanooga - Southern
  • Delaware - Colonial
  • Georgia State - Sun Belt
  • Gonzaga - West Coast
  • Jacksonville State - Atlantic Sun
  • Longwood - Big South
  • Loyola Chicago - Missouri Valley
  • Murray State - Ohio Valley
  • South Dakota State - Summit
  • Wright State - Horizon League
Not too many changes in the projected bracket, but that will start to change as more of the power conferences begin their tournaments today. Let's check out today's bracket and then run down today's schedule of games, including one championship game.


Last Four Byes: Creighton, Michigan, San Francisco, Wyoming
Last Four In: Xavier, Wake Forest, Rutgers, SMU
First Four Out: BYU, Indiana, Dayton, VCU
Next Four Out: Florida, Virginia Tech, Oregon, St. Bonaventure
Also on the board: Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Virginia

Conference Breakdown:

Big Ten - 8
Big East - 7
Big 12 - 6
SEC - 6
ACC - 5
Mountain West - 4
American Athletic - 3
Pac-12 - 3
West Coast - 3
One-bid leagues - 23

Patriot League Championship

No. 2 Navy at No. 1 Colgate, 7:30, CBS Sports Network

America East Semifinals 

No. 6 Binghamton at No. 1 Vermont, 7:00, ESPN+
No. 4 Hartford at No. 2 UMBC, 7:00, ESPN+

Atlantic 10 First Round (in Washington, D.C.)

No. 13 Saint Joseph's vs. No. 12 La Salle, 1:00, ESPN+
No. 14 Duquesne vs. No. 11 Rhode Island, 3:30, ESPN+

ACC Second Round (in Brooklyn, NY)

No. 9 Syracuse vs. No. 8 Florida State, 12:00
No. 13 Boston College vs. No. 5 Wake Forest, 2:30
No. 10 Clemson vs. No. 7 Virginia Tech, 7:00
No. 11 Louisville vs. No. 6 Virginia, 9:30

Big 12 First Round (in Kansas City, MO)

No. 9 West Virginia vs. No. 8 Kansas State, 7:00

Big East First Round (in New York, NY)

No. 9 Butler vs. No. 8 Xavier, 4:30, FS1
No. 10 DePaul vs. No. 7 St. John's, 7:00, FS1
No. 11 Georgetown vs. No. 6 Seton Hall, 9:30, FS1

Big Sky First Round (in Boise, ID)

No. 9 Idaho vs. No. 8 Sacramento State, 11:30 a.m., ESPN+
No. 10 Idaho State vs. No. 7 Portland State, 2:00, ESPN+
No. 11 Northern Arizona vs. No. 6 Eastern Washington, 4:30, ESPN+

Big Ten First Round (in Indianapolis, IN)

No. 13 Nebraska vs. No. 12 Northwestern, 6:00, BTN
No. 14 Minnesota vs. No. 11 Penn State, 8:30, BTN

Conference USA Second Round (in Frisco, TX)

No. W5 Rice vs. No. E4 Charlotte, 6:30, ESPN+
No. E7 Marshall vs. No. W3 Louisiana Tech, 7:00, ESPN+
No. E5 Old Dominion vs. No. W4 UTEP, 9:00, ESPN+
No. W7 Southern Mississippi vs. No. E3 Florida Atlantic, 9:30, ESPN+

MAAC Second Round (in Atlantic City, NJ)

No. 9 Rider vs. No. 1 Iona, 7:00, ESPN+
No. 7 Fairfield vs. No. 2 Saint Peter's, 9:30, ESPN+

MEAC Quarterfinals (in Norfolk, VA)

No. 8 Delaware State vs. No. 1 Norfolk State, 6:00, ESPN+
No. 7 Coppin State vs. No. 2 Howard, 8:30, ESPN+

Mountain West First Round (in Las Vegas, NV)

No. 9 New Mexico vs. No. 8 Nevada, 2:00, Mountain West Network
No. 10 Air Force vs. No. 7 Utah State, 4:30, MWN
No. 11 San Jose State vs. No. 6 Fresno State, 7:00. MWN

Pac-12 First Round (in Las Vegas, NV)

No. 9 Stanford vs. No. 8 Arizona State. 3:00, Pac-12 Network
No. 12 Oregon State vs. No. 5 Oregon, 5:30, Pac-12 Network
No. 10 California vs. No. 7 Washington State, 9:00, Pac-12 Network
No. 11 Utah vs. No. 6 Washington, 11:30, Pac-12 Network

SEC First Round (in Tampa, FL)

No. 13 Ole Miss vs. No. 12 Missouri, 6:00, SECN
No. 14 Georgia vs. No. 11 Vanderbilt, 8:30, SECN

Southland First Round (in Katy, TX)

No. 8 Incarnate Word vs. No. 5 Houston Baptist, 6:00, ESPN+
No. 7 McNeese State vs. No. 6 Northwestern State, 8:30, ESPN+

SWAC Quarterfinals (in Birmingham, AL)

No. 7 Jackson State vs. No. 2 Texas Southern, 3:00, ESPN+
No. 8 Prairie View A&M vs. No. 1 Alcorn State, 9:30, ESPN+

WAC Second Round (in Las Vegas, NV)

No. 8 Cal Baptist vs. No. 5 Sam Houston State, 9:00, ESPN+
No. 7 Utah Valley vs. No. 6 Abilene Christian, 11:30, ESPN+

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Championship Week Tuesday: Six bids at stake, ACC joins the party

 So much for Monday being a light day in basketball, eh?

The fun and the madness is already starting. David Jean-Baptiste hit a crazy, contested buzzer-beater three in overtime to send Chattanooga to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016. Also on Monday, Georgia State took care of Louisiana to win the Sun Belt and reach their first NCAA Tournament since 2019 and first under head coach Ranier, who is dancing himself for the first time since taking Siena to the tournament in 2002.

Also, near the cutline, San Francisco dropped to an 11-seed, moving Michigan up to a 10, after their drubbing at the hands of No. 1 Gonzaga. The Dons still have strong metrics, including a top-25 NET rating. They should still be in the tournament, but they'll be closer to the cutline and it wouldn't be a shock if they end up in Dayton.

So we're now up to five teams officially in the field:

  • Chattanooga - Big South
  • Georgia State - Sun Belt
  • Longwood - Big South
  • Loyola Chicago - Missouri Valley
  • Murray State - Ohio Valley
After tonight, that number will be up to 11. We have six championship games. First, let's look at the bracket and then let's rundown all the action today.


Last Four Byes: Creighton, Michigan, San Francisco, Wyoming
Last Four In: Xavier, Wake Forest, Rutgers, SMU
First Four Out: BYU, Indiana, Dayton, VCU
Next Four Out: Florida, Virginia Tech, Oregon, St. Bonaventure
Also on the board: Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Virginia

Conference Breakdown:

Big Ten - 8
Big East - 7
Big 12 - 6
SEC - 6
ACC - 5
Mountain West - 4
American Athletic - 3
Pac-12 - 3
West Coast - 3
One-bid leagues - 23

Tuesday's schedule:

Atlantic Sun Championship

No. E2 Jacksonville at No. W2 Bellarmine, 5:00, ESPN

(Note: Bellarmine is ineligible for the NCAA Tournament as they are still transitioning to Division I. If Bellarmine wins, regular-season champion Jacksonville State will receive the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.)

Northeast Conference Championship

No. 2 Wagner at No. 1 Bryant, 7:00, ESPN2

Colonial Championship (Washington, D.C.)

No. 5 Delaware vs. No. 2 UNC Wilmington, 7:00, CBSSN

Horizon League Championship (Indianapolis, IN)

No. 4 Wright State vs. No. 3 Northern Kentucky, 7:00, ESPN

West Coast Championship (Las Vegas, NV)

No. 2 Saint Mary's vs. No. 1 Gonzaga, 9:00, ESPN

Summit League Championship (Sioux Falls, SD)

No. 2 North Dakota State vs. No. 1 South Dakota State, 9:00, ESPN2

ACC First Round (Brooklyn, NY)

No. 13 Boston College vs. No. 12 Pittsburgh. 2:00, ACCN
No. 15 North Carolina State vs. No. 10 Clemson, 4:30, ACCN
No. 14 Georgia Tech vs. No. 11 Louisville, 7:00, ACCN

Big West First Round (Henderson, NV)

No. 9 Cal State Bakersfield vs. No. 8 Cal State Northridge, 9:00, ESPN+
No. 10 Cal Poly vs. No. 7 UC Davis, 11:30, ESPN+

Conference USA First Round (Frisco, TX)

No. E7 Marshall vs. No. E6 Florida International, 7:30, ESPN+
No. W7 Southern Mississippi vs. No. W6 Texas-San Antonio, 8:00, ESPN+

MAAC First Round (Atlantic City, NJ)

No. 9 Rider vs. No. 8 Manhattan. 5:00, ESPN+
No. 10 Canisius vs. No. 7 Fairfield, 7:30, ESPN+
No. 11 Quinnipiac vs. No. 6 Marist, 10:00, ESPN+

WAC First Round (Las Vegas, NV)

No. 9 Texas-Rio Grande Valley vs. No. 8 Cal Baptist, 9:00, ESPN+
No. 10 Chicago State vs. No. 7 Utah Valley, 11:30, ESPN+






Monday, March 7, 2022

Post-Scouting Combine / Start of Championship Week bracket


Last Four Byes: Creighton, San Francisco, Michigan, Wyoming
Last Four In: Xavier, Wake Forest, Rutgers, SMU
First Four Out: BYU, Indiana, Dayton, VCU
Next Four Out: Florida, Virginia Tech, Oregon, St. Bonaventure

Fresh off my trip to Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine, I'm quickly turning around and getting back into the bracket game as we are just six days away from Selection Sunday, as crazy as that is to believe. It's Championship Week and the last chance for bubble teams to make their case to get into the tournament. 

Three teams have officially punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament: 

  • Longwood (Big South) - 26-6 (15-1)
  • Loyola Chicago (Missouri Valley) - 25-7 (13-5)
  • Murray State (Ohio Valley) - 30-2 (18-0)
Two more teams will join them tonight. Chattanooga takes on Furman for the Southern Conference championship (7:00, ESPN) and Louisiana, the No. 8 seed, takes on Georgia State for the Sun Belt title (7:00, ESPN2).

Here's the full rundown tonight in what's a fairly quiet night, but still plenty of highlights, including the No. 1 team in the country taking the floor for a West Coast semifinal.

Southern Conference Championship (Asheville, NC)

No. 2 Furman vs. No. 1 Chattanooga, 7:00, ESPN

Sun Belt Championship (Pensacola, FL)

No. 8 Louisiana vs. No. 3 Georgia State, 7:00, ESPN

Colonial Semifinals (Washington, DC)

No. 5 Delaware vs. No. 1 Towson, 6:00, CBSSN
No. 6 College of Charleston vs. No. 2 UNC Wilmington, 8:30, CBSSN

Horizon League Semifinals (Indianapolis, IN)

No. 4 Wright State vs. No. 1 Cleveland State, 7:00, ESPNU
No. 3 Northern Kentucky vs. No. 2 Purdue Fort Wayne, 9:30, ESPNU

Summit League Semifinals (Sioux Falls, SD)

No. 5 South Dakota vs. No. 1 South Dakota State, 7:00, ESPN+
No. 3 Oral Roberts vs. No. 2 North Dakota State, 9:30, ESPN+

West Coast Semifinals (Las Vegas, NV)

No. 4 San Francisco vs. No. 1 Gonzaga, 9:00, ESPN
No. 3 Santa Clara vs. No. 2 Saint Mary's, 11:30, ESPN2

The highlight of tonight, outside of the two championship games, is in Vegas, where San Francisco will try to solidify their spot above the First Four cutline by upsetting No. 1 Gonzaga. The Dons are probably in the field, regardless, but a loss could send them to Dayton to begin the tournament.

In the other semifinal, Saint Mary's looks to get past a sneaky-good Santa Clara team. The Gaels have a chance to potentially get as high as a No. 6 seed in the NCAAs.

San Francisco's win over BYU in the quarterfinals all but assured the West Coast's dreams of getting four bids are over. BYU is the first team out but now cannot help their own cause and have a long wait until Sunday. They did beat San Francisco on the road and Saint Mary's at home. Unfortunately, they don't have much else to hang their hat on, as the Oregon win from November lost a lot of value. Road losses to Utah Valley and Pacific also bring down their resume. It's going to be very interesting to see how the committee deals with the Cougars.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Texas Tech up to a 2-seed on special "Twos"-day bracket

 How fitting is it that 2/22/22 falls on a Tuesday? It just feels like a special day so enjoy it. Just like Texas Tech is enjoying their run under first-year head coach Mark Adams.

The Red Raiders are 21-6 and top ten or 15 in nearly every computer metric, including No. 8 in NET. They have won six of their last seven games, including a six-point win o the road over their former coach, Chris Beard, and Texas, completing the season-sweep of the Longhorns. Tech has now swept both Texas and Baylor and also earned a split with current No. 3 overall seed Kansas. 

As a result, Texas Tech now sits on our projected 2-line in today's bracket, along with Baylor, Kentucky and Purdue. Duke dropped to a No. 3 seed as a result.

Also over the weekend, the Selection Committee unveiled their early top 16. Not surprisingly, Gonzaga was revealed as the overall No. 1 seed, followed by Auburn, Arizona and Kansas. The No. 2 seeds were Baylor, Kentucky, Purdue and Duke. Line three had Villanova, Texas Tech, Tennessee and Illinois and line four had Wisconsin, UCLA, Providence and Texas.

A few changes since that list in today's bracket, including the aforementioned swapping of Texas Tech and Duke. Wisconsin is now a No. 3 seed following their win over Michigan (despite the ugly aftermath), dropping Tennessee to a No. 4 after their 10-point loss at Arkansas on Saturday.

The top line remains the same, but Auburn is now the fourth No. 1 seed, behind Arizona and Kansas. Selection committee chair Tom Burnett (Commissioner of the Southland Conference) said "The margin between Gonzaga and Auburn is razor thin, as is the gap between Auburn and Arizona. The committee felt Gonzaga's wins over Texas Tech, UCLA and Texas, which were all a part of today's top 16, were enough reason to keep Gonzaga as the overall top team."

Burnett also mentioned Auburn's two overtime losses and slightly better road record and strength of schedule as keeping Auburn ahead of Arizona. Well, that gap was lost after Auburn lost over the weekend to Florida, who sits among out first four out today. Still, Auburn is on the top line and winning the SEC regular-season title would go a long way towards keeping them there on Selection Sunday.

On the bubble, Indiana has lost five straight and is now playing in Dayton in today's bracket in the First Four. And you know what tends to happen with bubble teams and weak non-conference schedules. Indiana is banking on their top-40 overall schedule pushing them in, but there is now very little room for error for the Hoosiers. 

Indiana finishes home against Maryland, at Minnesota, home against Rutgers and at Purdue before the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis.

And despite the ugly scene we saw during the postgame handshakes of Wisconsin-Michigan, the Wolverines are still in the field but also in Dayton. Michigan has strong computer numbers, including the No. 4 strength of schedule and three Quad 1 wins. 

We know now they will be without head coach Juwan Howard for the rest of the regular season but he will be back for the Big Ten tournament. Michigan's next four games are all at home and all present tremendous opportunities for Michigan (Rutgers, Illinois, Michigan State, Iowa) before finishing at Ohio State. If Michigan can score a couple wins here with Howard, they'll give themselves a little bit of breathing room heading to Indy in a couple weeks.

Memphis and San Diego State round out the Last Four In group in today's bracket. BYU, SMU, Oklahoma and Florida are the First Four Out.

Let's now take a look at the full bracket. And once again, a major shoutout to some great resources that help me put this bracket together: WarrenNolan.com, Bracketologists.com and HeatCheckCBB.com for their incredible distance chart.



Last Four Byes: San Francisco, North Carolina, Creighton, Rutgers
Last Four In: Michigan, Indiana, Memphis, San Diego State
First Four Out: BYU, SMU, Oklahoma, Florida
Next Four Out: Belmont, Oregon, Dayton, Virginia Tech
Also under consideration: Kansas State, Mississippi State, VCU, St. Bonaventure, Virginia, Saint Louis, UAB

Conference Breakdown

Big Ten - 9
Big East - 7
Big 12 - 6
SEC - 6
ACC - 5
Mountain West - 4
Pac-12 - 3
West Coast - 3
American - 2
One-bid leagues - 23