The names of the Eagles, Crimson and Bruins, as well as all of 2013's other automatic qualifiers, will remain in ALL CAPS between now and Selection Sunday. After today's bracket and rundown, I'll take a look some quick bracket bits and an examination of how the Last Four In and First Four Out stack up with just one week remaining before the big day.
|(1) EAST |
Los Angeles (Thu/Sat)
|Philadelphia (Fri/Sun)||Salt Lake City (Thu/Sat)|
|16||Northeastern (CAA)||16||Niagara (MAAC)|
|↓ 8||Illinois||8||North Carolina|
|↓ 9||San Diego State||9||Cincinnati|
|San Jose (Thu/Sat)||Austin (Fri/Sun)|
|↑ 55 5||Butler||5||Wisconsin|
|↓ 12||BELMONT (OVC)||12||Middle Tennessee (Sun Belt)|
|↑ 4||Oklahoma State||4||Arizona|
|13||Louisiana Tech (WAC)||↑ 13||South Dakota State (Summit)|
|Auburn Hills (Thu/Sat)||Dayton (Fri/Sun)|
|↓ 6||Syracuse||↑ 6||Memphis (C-USA)|
|↓ 11||Oklahoma||11||Kentucky or La Salle|
|14||Valparaiso (Horizon)||*14||HARVARD (Ivy)|
|Salt Lake City (Thu/Sat)||Kansas City (Fri/Sun)|
|↑ 7||UCLA (Pac-12)||↑ 7||Creighton (MVC)|
|↑ 10||Villanova||↓ 10||Minnesota|
|2||New Mexico (MWC)||↓ 2||Kansas (Big 12)|
|15||Montana (Big Sky)||15||Long Beach State (Big West)|
|(4) SOUTH |
|Lexington (Thu/Sat)||Dayton (Fri/Sun)|
|↑ 1||Louisville||1||Indiana (Big Ten)|
|16||Long Island U or Norfolk State||16||Charleston Southern or Southern|
|9||N.C. State||↑ 9||Wichita State|
|Kansas City (Fri/Sun)||San Jose (Thu/Sat)|
|↑ 5||Saint Louis (A-10)||5||Pittsburgh|
|↓ 12||Iowa State||12||Temple|
|4||Ohio State||4||Kansas State|
|13||Akron (MAC)||13||Bucknell (Patriot)|
|Austin (Fri/Sun)||Lexington (Thu/Sat)|
|11||St. Mary's||11||Boise State or Tennessee|
|3||Florida (SEC)||3||Miami (ACC)|
|14||Davidson (Southern)||↓ 14||Stephen F. Austin (Southland)|
|Auburn Hills (Thu/Sat)||Philadelphia (Fri/Sun)|
|↓ 7||Notre Dame||7||Colorado State|
|2||Michigan||2||Georgetown (Big East)|
|*15||FLORIDA GULF COAST (A-Sun)||↓ 15||Stony Brook (AmEast)|
|FIRST FOUR (Dayton)|
|Tuesday: To Lexington||Tuesday: To Lexington|
|*16||Long Island U (NEC)||12||Boise State|
|16||Norfolk State (MEAC)||12||Tennessee|
|Wednesday: To Dayton||Wednesday: To Dayton
|16||Charleston Southern (Big South)||*12||Kentucky|
|16||Southern (SWAC)||12||La Salle|
|BIDS BY CONFERENCE||LAST FOUR BYES||ARRIVALS||DEPARTURES|
|Big East: 8||Oklahoma||Florida Gulf Coast||Mercer|
|Big Ten: 7||Temple||Harvard||Princeton|
|A-10: 5||Iowa State||Kentucky||Robert Morris|
|Big 12: 5||St. Mary's||Long Island U||Virginia|
||LAST FOUR IN|
|ACC: 4||La Salle|
|WCC: 2||FIRST FOUR OUT||Minnesota||9 down to 10|
|1-Bid Conferences: 21||Virginia||Cincinnati||10 up to 9|
|Mississippi||Middle Tennessee||11 down to 12|
|Baylor||Kentucky, La Salle||12 up to 11|
|Alabama||Temple||11 down to 12|
|NEXT FOUR OUT||Boise State, Tennessee||12 up to 11|
|Maryland||Belmont||11 down to 12|
|Southern Mississippi||St. Mary's||12 up to 11|
Also considered (in order): Providence, Arkansas, UMass
- Louisville, which hammered Notre Dame in the rematch of their five-overtime game to clinch a share of the Big East title, moved up to the top line. However, Georgetown, which has its own share of the title and the top seed in the conference tournament, and Marquette, who held off St. John's to earn its own piece of the trophy, might make their own cases before all is said and done.
- Duke, Gonzaga and Indiana join the Cardinals on the top line. The Hoosiers face a significant road test with the Big Ten title on the line at Michigan this afternoon.
- Kansas clinched the top seed the Big 12 Tournament despite losing at Baylor, a win that helped the Bears' hopes of making the field. The loss sent the Jayhawks down to the two line.
- Florida missed a golden opportunity to join the Hoyas on the two line when it failed to score in the final seven-plus minutes of its loss at Kentucky. The win moved the Wildcats into the First Four.
- Miami (ACC), Saint Louis (A-10) and UCLA (Pac-12) clinched power conference tournament top seeds on Saturday, with the Bruins doing so thanks to a win at Washington and an Oregon loss at Utah.
- Bubble teams got a boost in the Missouri Valley semifinals as both Creighton and Wichita State advanced to Sunday's final to ensure the Valley is a two-bid league.
- Teams that took a seeding hit on Saturday include Oregon, Syracuse, Colorado (home losers to Oregon State), Minnesota (blown out by Purdue), New Mexico (fell at Air Force), N.C. State (tripped up by Florida State) Oklahoma (fell short at TCU) and UNLV (upset at home by Fresno State). Cincinnati avoided picking up another late bad loss as it defeated USF in overtime.
- Bubble teams that helped themselves include Alabama (thanks to a Trevor Releford halfcourt buzzer beater against Georgia), Boise State (held off San Diego State), Iowa (took care of Nebraska), Iowa State (won at West Virginia), Mississippi (triumphed at LSU) and Tennessee (home victor over Missouri). However, the Crimson Tide, Hawkeyes and Rebels remain on the outside looking in.
- Teams that didn't do their part include Arizona State (stopped by archrival Arizona), La Salle (blasted at Saint Louis) and Providence (defeated at Connecticut). The Explorers remain in the field today, barely.
Here's how the race to avoid the cut line stacks up on this final Sunday of the regular season.
Last Four In
Note: All RPI and SOS information is courtesy Basketball State and is accurate as of Sunday, March 10, 2013. All records reflect games against Division I opposition.
Avoiding Dayton: Oklahoma, Temple, Iowa State, St. Mary's
19-9; 9-7 MWC; RPI: 31; SOS: 47; Non-conf. SOS: 64; Road/Neutral (R/N) Record: 7-8
With Saturday's home win over San Diego State, the Broncos moved to 8-7 against the RPI top 100, with four top 50 wins. While Boise State has handled the Aztecs, UNLV and Colorado State at home, its most impressive win came on the road -- at Creighton on Nov. 28, as the Bluejays lost just one other time in Omaha all season. Certainly, there are some lost opportunities on the Broncos' profile, as they couldn't beat New Mexico at home and fell in close contests at San Diego State, UNLV and Michigan State. Plus, there are a couple of bad losses -- at Nevada and Utah. However, Bronco sharpshooter Jeff Elorriaga was out for both of those games and a 20-point loss to Colorado State. The Committee will take his absence into consideration. Of course, the Mountain West Tournament will provide Boise State with more opportunities to make a case, starting with an immediate rematch with SDSU on Wednesday.
Next game: MWC Quarterfinal vs. San Diego State (Wed.)
21-8; 11-5 A-10; RPI: 40; SOS: 86; Non-conf. SOS: 111; R/N Record: 8-6
The biggest things working against the Explorers is a relative lack of quality non-conference wins -- a home win over Villanova on Nov. 25 is by far its best, though a loss to Central Connecticut State came one week earlier. A win in Saint Louis on Saturday would have helped bolster a top 50 record that now stands at 2-3, but wins at VCU and against Butler at home are nothing to sneeze at. A loss at Miami is a quality one, but defeats at Bucknell, Charlotte, Xavier and to UMass at Tom Gola Arena are problematic. La Salle should go dancing if it doesn't get tripped up by a weaker foe in Brooklyn this week. The A-10's decision to restrict its postseason tournament to the top 12 teams should help in that effort.
Next game: A-10 Tournament Quarterfinal (Fri.)
21-10; 12-6 SEC; RPI: 50; SOS: 63; Non-conf. SOS: 68; R/N Record: 5-8
On Saturday, the Wildcats picked up their second win against a team in the RPI top 50, as they toppled SEC regular season champion Florida. Curiously, both the win over the Gators and Feb. 23's home triumph over Missouri came after Nerlens Noel was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Since Noel went down, John Calipari's team has gone 4-4, with all of the wins coming at home -- typical for the SEC this season. With Noel, the Wildcats grabbed a rare quality SEC road win at fellow bubble squad Mississippi and lost at Alabama. Tennessee blew UK out of the water in the first full game that Noel missed. At 7-9 against the top 100 and owning a bad loss to Georgia, Kentucky still has games to win at the SEC Tournament in Nashville, where it could meet Missouri or Ole Miss in the semifinals, to qualify for an at-large.
Next game: SEC Tournament Quarterfinal (Fri.)
19-11; 11-7 SEC; RPI: 59; SOS: 46; Non-conf. SOS: 83; R/N Record: 5-8
If the Volunteers had managed to find some offense in back-to-back early losses at Georgetown (37-36) and Virginia (46-38), I wouldn't need to be writing this paragraph right now ... but here we are. Winner of eight of nine, Tennessee is one of the hottest teams in the country. Three of those victories -- over Kentucky, Florida and Missouri -- are quality ones, though all of them came at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Vols also own a quality non-conference win over Wichita State, which again came in Knoxville, though the Shockers are renowned for being a quality road team. On the flip side, Tennessee has lost to Virginia and was swept by both fellow SEC bubble contender Ole Miss and the Georgia Bulldogs, an NIT team at best. Injuries have played a role, as Jeronne Maymon has missed the entire season with a knee injury and several other Vols have missed games in 2012-13. The fact Tennessee has responded while shorthanded should give it a boost when its fate is discussed, but winning games in Nashville will help its case more. A potential quarterfinal game with Alabama looms as an elimination contest.
Next game: SEC Tournament Second Round (Thu.)
First Four Out
20-10; 10-7 ACC; RPI: 72; SOS: 125; Non-conf. SOS: 85; R/N Record: 3-9
In a season full of messy profiles, the Cavaliers, along with Indiana State, really take the cake. On the plus side, the Cavaliers have a nice record of 7-3 against the RPI top 100, with a 4-2 mark against the top 50. That quartet of wins -- over Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State at home and at Wisconsin -- is among the finest in America. However, Virginia is 13-7 against teams from outside the top 100, a winning percentage that is weighing down its RPI. The worst loss came at the hands of Old Dominion, 318th out of 347 Division I teams, on a neutral court in Richmond, though the Cavaliers were without point guard Jontel Evans that afternoon. However, the Cavaliers have been woeful on the road, as illustrated by losses to Florida State, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Clemson. To earn a trip to Dayton at least, Virginia will need to take care of Maryland, a team with slim NCAA hopes of its own tonight, and both avoid a disastrous loss and pick up one last good quality win in Greensboro later in the week.
Next game: Maryland (Sun.)
23-8; 12-6 SEC; RPI: 55; SOS: 134; Non-conf. SOS: 110; R/N Record: 7-7
The Rebels' win at LSU on Saturday pushed their record against the top 100 to just above .500 at 7-6. Unfortunately for Ole Miss, just one of those wins came against a top 50 foe, Missouri, which naturally was also a home win. A sweep of Tennessee is helpful, but falling to Kentucky at home is not. A loss to Indiana State in Hawaii looked better when the Sycamores were a bid threat, but not so much now that they're on their way to the NIT or CBI. Making matters worse, Ole Miss lost at South Carolina and Mississippi State, two of the worst teams that a bad SEC has to offer, very late in the season. Sure, the Rebels have struggled without three injured players -- forwards Anthony Perez and Aaron Jones and guard Martavious Newby -- but they haven't responded like Tennessee has to being shorthanded. Much like the Volunteers, Kentucky and Alabama, Mississippi's fate will be decided in Nashville, where the Rebels should get a rubber match against Mizzou in Friday's quarterfinals.
Next game: SEC Tournament Quarterfinal (Fri.)
17-13; 9-9 Big 12; RPI: 61; SOS: 23; Non-conf. SOS: 25; R/N Record: 6-8
The Bears' blowout home win over Kansas was only their second against a top 50 opponent (with a whopping 10 losses). With the weakness of the bottom four teams of the Big 12 limiting games against teams ranked between 51 and 100, Baylor's record against the top 100 is an unimpressive 5-10. Making matters worse, Baylor dropped two home games in the early part of the season to College of Charleston and Northwestern, both of whom are out of the RPI top 150. In other words, while the win over Kansas was a good late statement, Baylor will need to make a few more in Kansas City this week to make the field.
Next game: Big 12 Tournament Quarterfinal vs. Oklahoma State (Thu.)
19-11; 12-6 SEC; RPI: 62; SOS: 87; Non-conf. SOS: 67; R/N Record: 6-8
The Crimson Tide probably shouldn't be here, as they have just one top 50 win (Kentucky in Tuscaloosa), three bad home losses and a defeat at Auburn (while failing to crack 40) on their profile. Alabama fans probably aren't too happy with the SEC schedule makers, who sent the team to Florida, Missouri and Ole Miss, three games that resulted in losses, without giving them a return match at Coleman Coliseum. Still, the Crimson Tide did beat the Wildcats and Tennessee there (losing to the Vols in Knoxville). However, Bama's ace in the hole may be a 22-point win over surging Villanova in the 2K Sports Classic final in New York in November. The Tide seem to have a knack for winning on neutral courts, something they'll need to tap into in Nashville this week, particularly if they meet Tennessee for the third time in Friday's quarters.
Next game: SEC Tournament Quarterfinal (Fri.)
Next Four Out: Maryland, Southern Mississippi, Iowa, Arizona State
Finally, here's a look at today's bracket games of interest, with the TV listings courtesy of Matt's College Sports on TV Website.
Big South: Liberty vs. Charleston Southern, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Missouri Valley: Wichita State vs. Creighton, 2 p.m. ET (CBS)
Other Conference Tournament Action
CAA Semifinals: 2 and 4:30 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
MAAC Semifinals: 2 and 4:30 pm. ET (ESPN3)
America East Semifinals: 5 and 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN3)
Southern Semifinals: 6 and 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN3)
Sun Belt Semifinals: 7:30 and 10 p.m. ET (CSS/CST/ESPN3)
Summit League Quarterfinals: 7 and 9:30 p.m. ET (MidCo SN/FCS Atlantic)
VCU at Temple, 12 p.m. ET (CBS)
Illinois at Ohio State, 12:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Indiana at Michigan, 4 p.m. ET (CBS)
Maryland at Virginia, 6 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Other Games of Bracket Importance
Wisconsin at Penn State, 12 p.m. ET (BTN)
Northwestern at Michigan State, 6 p.m. ET (BTN)
My next update will come on Monday morning.