Bracketology 2011: Alabama Jumps In, Duke Back On The Top Line

Selection Sunday is nearly upon us, which means teams are running out of opportunities to leave the Committee with a positive impression. Today's projection amazingly sees the just one change to the list of at-large teams present in yesterday's edition, though that wouldn't have been the case had Florida State's basket at the buzzer to beat Virginia Tech had counted. Before we get to the bracket, here are a few of the other teams who made an impact, good or bad, on a busy Friday.

Alabama defeated Georgia in overtime, but still have work to do to get in the field. The Crimson Tide enter this projection, but they're barely ahead of the Bulldogs as the SEC pair are the last two in. (Yes, that's a change from my final Friday update.)

Clemson claimed an edge over Boston College by handling the Eagles in another bubble game. BC's performance yesterday, which capped a 6-6 run through their last 12 games, is the main reason why they're now out.

Richmond picked up a key win in the A-10 quarterfinals, topping Rhode Island, while USC's bubble was popped by Arizona.

Michigan topped Illinois by five, but both teams look to be in the field with room to spare. So does Michigan State, who pounded Purdue in their Big Ten quarterfinal. Penn State moved closer to a bid with a win over Wisconsin, but the 35-point wonders aren't in yet.

Washington topped Oregon to give themselves a bit more breathing room, while Tennessee will have to sweat things out after falling to Florida.

St. Mary's is still in the field after they topped Weber State in a rare post-conference tournament regular season game.

Ohio State, Kansas, Duke, and North Carolina all picked up key wins in the race for spots on the top line, while Notre Dame's loss to Louisville could be costly. In today's projection, the Blue Devils replace the Fighting Irish as the final No. 1 seed.

BYU is back in play for a top two seed after their win over New Mexico. That defeat all but ended the Lobos' tournament chances.

Now, on to how today's bracket looks.

National Semifinal Matchups

(1) East vs. (4) West
(2) Southwest vs. (3) Southeast

First Four

Automatic Bid Teams
March 15: ARKANSAS-LITTLE ROCK (Sun Belt) vs. UNC ASHEVILLE (Big South) to Washington on March 17th
March 16: Alabama State (SWAC) (NEW) vs. McNeese State (Southland) to Cleveland on March 18th

At-Large Teams (Last Four In)
March 15: Alabama (NEW) vs. Richmond to Tampa on March 17th
March 16: Georgia vs. St. Mary's to Chicago on March 18th

Next Four In (automatically in the Round of 64): Illinois, Colorado, Virginia Tech, Clemson

Previous seeds are in parentheses. Teams that have earned an auto bid are in ALL CAPS.

EAST
Newark (March 25 and 27)
SOUTHWEST
San Antonio (March 25 and 27)
Cleveland (Fri/Sun)
Tulsa (Fri/Sun)
1. Ohio State (Big Ten)
16. Alabama State/McNeese State
1. Kansas (Big 12)
16. Hampton (MEAC) (NEW)
8. Missouri (9)
9. BUTLER (Horizon) (10)  
8. GONZAGA (West Coast) (9) 
9. Michigan (10) 
Denver (Thu/Sat)
Tampa (Thu/Sat)
5. Temple (Atlantic 10) (6)
12. Clemson
5. Vanderbilt (6)
12. Alabama/Richmond
4. Kentucky
13. OAKLAND (Summit)
4. Connecticut
13. INDIANA STATE (Missouri Valley)
Tulsa (Fri/Sun) Washington (Thu/Sat)
6. West Virginia
11. Virginia Tech 
6. Xavier (5)
11. Colorado
3. Texas
14. Long Beach State (Big West) 
3. Syracuse
14. BUCKNELL (Patriot)
Chicago (Fri/Sun) Charlotte (Fri/Sun)
7. UNLV (6) 
10. UCLA
7. OLD DOMINION (Colonial)
10. Villanova
2. Notre Dame
15. LONG ISLAND (Northeast) 
2. North Carolina (ACC)
15. WOFFORD (Southern)
WEST
(Anaheim: March 24 and 26)
SOUTHEAST
(New Orleans: March 24 and 26)
Charlotte (Fri/Sun)
Washington (Thu/Sat)
1. Duke (2)
16. Boston University (America East)
1. Pittsburgh
16. UALR/UNC ASHEVILLE 
8. George Mason
9. Marquette 
8. Florida State
9. Tennessee
Chicago (Fri/Sun)
Tucson (Thu/Sat)
5. Arizona
12. Georgia/St. Mary's
5. Texas A&M (6)
12. BELMONT (Atlantic Sun) 
4. Purdue (2)
13. UTEP (C-USA) (NEW)
4. Wisconsin
13. Harvard (Ivy)
Cleveland (Fri/Sun)
Denver (Thu/Sat)
6.  Kansas State (7, natural 7)
11. Illinois (9)
6. St. John's (5)
11. Washington
3. Louisville (Big East) (4)
14. Kent State (MAC)
3. BYU (Mountain West)
14. MOREHEAD STATE (Ohio Valley)
Tucson (Thu/Sat)
Tampa (Thu/Sat)
7. Cincinnati
10. Utah State (WAC) (8)
7. Georgetown (natural 6)
10. Michigan State (10)
2. San Diego State
15. NORTHERN COLORADO (Big Sky)
2. Florida (SEC)
15. ST. PETER'S (Metro Atlantic) 


Conference Breakdown

Big East: 11
Big Ten, Big 12, SEC: 6
ACC: 5
A-10, MWC, Pac-10: 3
CAA, WCC: 2
21 one-bid conferences

Penn State and Memphis are the only two teams in the First Eight Out who control their own fates, everyone else must sit and wait.

First Four Out
69. Boston College  70. Penn State
71. Memphis 72. USC
Next Four Out
76. Washington State 75. Missouri State 74. VCU  73. New Mexico

 

Top seed North Carolina needed a miracle Tyler Zeller layup to beat Miami yesterday. Their reward: a game with Clemson in this afternoon's ACC semifinals (ACC Network/The ACC.com or ESPN2, 1 p.m. ET). The Tigers routed Boston College in yesterday's second game, and a win over Carolina would provide another boost to their profile. Duke, who lost Nolan Smith to a foot injury in the second half of their quarterfinal win over Maryland, takes on Virginia Tech in the other semi (ACC Network/The ACC.com or ESPN2, 3:30 p.m. ET).

No. 9 seed Dayton shocked regular season champ Xavier to move on to this afternoon's Atlantic 10 semifinals. The Flyers will take on 12 seed St. Joseph's, the final qualifier for the event (CBS College Sports, 1 p.m. ET) as they look to move on to Sunday's final. Game two will see a safe Temple team face a Richmond team that's playing for its postseason life (CBS College Sports, 3:30 p.m. ET).

The only things on the line in the Big East Championship Game between Connecticut and Louisville (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET) are the trophy and a shot at a better seed.

Likewise, both teams playing for the Big 12 crown (ESPN, 6 p.m. ET) are locks, but Kansas would like to take care of Texas and guarantee themselves a top seed.

After needing an extra 5 minutes to get by Northwestern, Ohio State will take on their ancient rivals, Michigan, in the first Big Ten semifinal (CBS, 1:30 p.m. ET). Michigan State should feel a bit safer after taking care of Purdue, but a win over a Penn State team that scored only 35 in a win over Wisconsin last night (CBS, 4 p.m. ET) wouldn't hurt their case at all.

It will be an early tip in El Paso, where host UTEP will take on Memphis for the Conference USA title (CBS, 11:30 a.m. ET).The winner will likely be C-USA's only representative in the Tournament. The Miners demolished the Tigers two weeks ago, winning by 27 at the Haskins Center.

Jimmer Fredette will see what he can do for an encore after scoring 52 against New Mexico last night. BYU faces San Diego State for the third time this season in the  Mountain West title game (Versus, 7 p.m. ET) with the No. 2 seed in the West region likely on the line, with the No. 1 in play depending on what else happens nationally.

The Pac-10 Tournament concludes with Arizona facing Washington (CBS, 6 p.m. ET). The Wildcats have a shot at a top four seed with a victory.

Alabama will look to grab another win for their at-large profile, while attempting to move closer to grabbing the SEC's automatic bid, when they meet Kentucky in the first conference semifinal in Atlanta (ABC, 1 p.m. ET). Regular season champion Florida takes on East rival Vanderbilt in the second half of the twin bill (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET).

Utah State got a scare from San Jose State in their WAC semifinal last night, but they'll play for the auto bid tonight against Boise State (10 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

There are plenty of other auto bids up for grabs today, 13 total, thanks to the Ivy League playoff between Harvard and Princeton. You can find TV information for all of those games at Blogging The Bracket.

My penultimate update will arrive on Sunday morning, but I'll have plenty of bubble and seeding banter in this StoryStream during the rest of the day and night.

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