Bracketology: Top seeds take the court and grab wins

USA TODAY Sports

Four top seeds took the court during the early session on Friday, and all four preserved spots in their respective conference semifinals.

Big Ten No. 1 and likely Midwest Region top seed Indiana cruised past Illinois to advance to Saturday's first semifinal in Chicago, while Atlantic 10 regular season champion Saint Louis hammered Charlotte in the first quarterfinal in Brooklyn. The Billikens are in position to earn a protected seed, at least a No. 4, if they can keep winning.

Things weren't so easy for ACC top seed Miami. The Hurricanes got more than they bargained for from Boston College, which held a four-point lead five minutes into the second half. The 'Canes ended up prevailing by 11, preserving their hopes for a No. 2 seed.

Over in the SEC, Florida has had as easy a go with it against LSU as most expected. The Gators will face either Tennessee or Alabama on Saturday.

The mid-to-late Friday afternoon window features two of the most significant bubble games left. Virginia will look to make its case for inclusion in the field of 68 by toppling N.C. State in the ACC. Meanwhile, over at the bubble festival that is the SEC Tournament in Nashville, Tennessee takes on Alabama. The Volunteers will still have a case if they lose, but the Crimson Tide will be certainly headed to an NIT if they fall. La Salle, another team that's rather close to the cut line, can earn a bit more breathing room with a second victory over Butler in the A-10 4 vs. 5 game.

Michigan meets Wisconsin in a Big Ten quarterfinal with serious seeding implications. The Wolverines still have a shot at a place on the top line, while the Badgers are in contention for at least a No. 4 seed.

At 4 p.m. ET, Southern Mississippi, who really needs to win the Conference USA auto bid, faces UTEP in the first of that league's semifinals.

I'll have an updated Last Four In and First Four Out after the conclusion of N.C. State-Virginia and Tennessee-Alabama.

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