Bracketology: Louisville remains on track

Al Bello

Thursday's early evening conference tournament action featured a win by one potential No. 1 seed and plenty of results that impact the bubble, which is shrinking a bit.

Louisville remained on course to meet Georgetown in a potential top-seed-deciding Big East title game thanks to a quarterfinal win over Villanova. The Wildcats should be set for Sunday, though the Wildcats may just avoid a trip to the First Four. In the Big 12, Kansas State will stay on the No. 4 line tomorrow morning after dispatching Texas; however, a challenging semifinal will await K-State on Friday.

Xavier's slim at-large hopes ended with a 58-57 loss to St. Joseph's. The A-10 preseason favorite of many analysts moves on to play VCU in Friday's quarterfinals. Arkansas is also out of the picture, as they again failed to win away from Fayetteville. The Razorbacks rallied but fell to Vanderbilt in the SEC second round. Conversely, Maryland picked up a needed victory over Wake Forest to earn a shot at a late quality win over Duke in tomorrow night's ACC quarterfinals.

Conference USA regular-season champion Memphis began its quest to claim the tournament title with an easy victory over Tulane.

Late this afternoon in the second Pac-12 quarterfinal, Arizona claimed the season series over Colorado, a result that helps keep the Wildcats very much in the hunt for a protected seed and the Buffaloes in road colors for next Thursday or Friday.

In the window of games before I post my final update of the night -- a revised look at the Last Four In and First Four Out -- here are the contests you should keep an eye on.

The fourth Big East quarterfinal features Marquette, currently projected a three seed with an outside shot at a two, taking on Notre Dame, a team that needs to win the Big East tournament crown to crack the top four lines. Missouri, an NCAA lock despite having to play in the second round of the SEC festivities in Nashville, takes on Texas A&M. California will look to solidify its place with a win over Utah in the Pac-12, while Baylor can get closer to the right side of the cut line with a win over Oklahoma State. UMass and Iowa can take small steps in the same direction with wins over George Washington and Northwestern, respectively.

Updated Last Four Byes: Cincinnati, California, Minnesota, Oklahoma
Updated Last Four IN: St. Mary's, Kentucky, Boise State, Tennessee
Updated First Four OUT: Virginia, Middle Tennessee, Mississippi, Baylor

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