Bracketology: Two new entrants at February's end

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks in part to last night's wins, Arkansas and Oregon enter Chris Dobbertean's Friday bracket update, though they sit right on the edge of the field.

The two new entrants are the biggest changes compared to Tuesday's edition of bracketology, as 15 of the top 16 from that projection remain in place. Florida (South), Arizona (West), Syracuse (East) and Wichita State (Midwest) lead the way, while Louisville replaces Saint Louis, who lost to Duquesne last night, on the four line.

I'll have more on the bid picture after today's full bracket and rundown.

New teams are indicated by an asterisk (*), while teams shifted for bracketing purposes are marked with a caret (^).

(1) SOUTH
Memphis (Thu/Sat)
(2) WEST
Anaheim (Thu/Sat)
Orlando (Thu/Sat) San Diego (Fri/Sun)
1 Florida (SEC) 1 Arizona (Pac-12)
16 Davidson (SoCon) 16 Robert Morris (NEC)
8 Kansas State 8 88 George Washington
9 Arizona State 9 Pittsburgh
Spokane (Thu/Sat) San Diego (Fri/Sun)
55 5 Texas 5 5 Ohio State
^12 Minnesota *1212 Southern Miss. (C-USA)
4 Virginia (ACC) 4 Louisville
13 Delaware (CAA) 13 Belmont (OVC)
Milwaukee (Thu/Sat) Raleigh (Fri/Sun)
6 Oklahoma 666 North Carolina
^11 Arkansas/BYU 11 Oklahoma State
3 Wisconsin 3 Michigan (Big Ten)
14 Stephen F. Austin (Southland) 14 Mercer (A-Sun)
Buffalo (Thu/Sat) Raleigh (Fri/Sun)
7 UMass 7 Connecticut
10 California 10 Baylor
2 Villanova 2 Duke
15 Boston U. (Patriot) 15 Georgia State (Sun Belt)
(4) MIDWEST
Indianapolis (Fri/Sun)
(3) EAST
New York (Fri/Sun)
St. Louis (Fri/Sun) Buffalo (Thu/Sat)
1 Wichita State (MVC) 1 Syracuse
16 High Point/Weber State 16 Alabama State/Utah Valley
8 Stanford 8 VCU
9 SMU 9 Colorado
San Antonio (Fri/Sun) San Antonio (Fri/Sun)
5 Saint Louis (A 10) 5 Kentucky
12 North Dakota State (Summit) ^12 Xavier
4 Cincinnati (AAC) 4 Iowa State
13 Western Michigan (MAC) 13 Green Bay (Horizon)
Spokane (Thu/Sat) Raleigh (Fri/Sun)
6 UCLA 6 New Mexico (MW)
11 Harvard (Ivy) ^11 Oregon/Providence
3 San Diego State 3 Michigan State
*14 Vermont (AE) 14 Iona (MAAC)
St. Louis (Fri/Sun) Milwaukee (Thu/Sat)
7 Memphis 7 Iowa
10 St. Joseph's 10 Gonzaga (WCC)
2 Kansas (Big 12) 2 Creighton (Big East)
*15 UC Irvine (Big West) 15 N.C. Central (MEAC)
FIRST FOUR (Dayton)
Tuesday: To Buffalo Tuesday: To Milwaukee
16 Alabama State (SWAC) ^*11 Arkansas
*16 Utah Valley (WAC) ^11 BYU
Wednesday: To St. Louis Wednesday: To Raleigh
*16 High Point (Big South) ^*11 Oregon
16 Weber State (Big Sky) ^↓11 Providence

BIDS BY CONFERENCE AVOIDING DAYTON ARRIVALS DEPARTURES
Big 12: 7 St. Joseph's Arkansas Middle Tennessee
Pac-12: 7 Oklahoma State High Point New Mexico State
Big Ten: 6 Minnesota Oregon Richmond
A 10: 5 Xavier Southern Miss. St. John's
AAC: 5 LAST FOUR IN UC Irvine Stony Brook
ACC: 5
Oregon Utah Valley UC Santa Barbara
Big East: 4 BYU Vermont VMI
SEC: 3 Providence

MW: 2 Arkansas

WCC: 2 FIRST FOUR OUT

1-Bid Conferences: 22 Tennessee


Richmond


Missouri


St. John's


NEXT FOUR OUT


Dayton


Florida State


Nebraska


Marquette

Also considered: LSU, Toledo, Georgetown, Clemson, Louisiana Tech, N.C. State, Mississippi, West Virginia

As I walk through who is a lock in this field and who still has some worrying left to do, keep in mind that 32 places in this season's 68-team field are reserved for conference auto bid winners. However, nine of those squads will represent conferences that will most likely place multiple teams in the field. So, 23 places, the ones that go to the champions of likely single-bid conferences, are truly off the table. All bets are off if there are any surprise power conference tournament winners, though.

That leaves 36 at-larges and nine power conference auto bids to fill, for 45 available spots.

Conference leaders are designated by an asterisk (*), while teams shifted for bracketing purposes are marked with a caret (^).

Protected Seeds

1 seeds 1. Florida*
2. Arizona*
3. Syracuse
4. Wichita State*
2 seeds 8. Villanova
7. Duke
6. Creighton*
5. Kansas*
3 seeds 9. Wisconsin 10. Michigan*
11. Michigan State 12. San Diego State
4 seeds 16. Louisville 15. Virginia* 14. Cincinnati* 13. Iowa State

Other Locks

5 seeds 17. Texas 18. Kentucky 19. Ohio State
20. Saint Louis*
6 seeds 24. Oklahoma
23. New Mexico*
22. North Carolina 21. UCLA
7 seeds 25. UMass 26. Connecticut 27. Iowa 28. Memphis
8 seeds


29. VCU

After considering our locks, 28 of those 45 available spots are gone. Keep in mind that Wichita State does not count against our total, as the Missouri Valley will only send a second team if the Shockers lose at Arch Madness next week.

Good Shape

8 seeds 32. Kansas State
31. Geo. Washington 30. Stanford
9 seeds 33. Arizona State
34. Pittsburgh


After including these five teams with slightly-flawed selection sheets, our number of occupied spots increases to 33.

Bubble In

9 seeds

35. SMU
36. Colorado
10 seeds
39. St. Joseph's 38. Baylor
37. Gonzaga*

There are now a dozen available spots, which break down fairly simply. Four of these five -- excepting Gonzaga, who again doesn't count against our total, as the WCC is not assured of multiple bids -- are getting some distance away from the cut line due to the combination of some recent decent performances (for the most part) and the struggles of the teams below.

Last Four Byes (Avoiding Dayton)

10 seeds 40. California


11 seeds
42. Oklahoma State 43. Minnesota^ 44. Xavier^

Of this group, Oklahoma State seems to be on the upswing with the return of Marcus Smart from his suspension, while Minnesota got a bit of a boost with its win over Iowa on Tuesday night. Cal and Xavier, however, are slipping because of their recent inconsistency.

Last Four In (First Four)

12 seeds 48. Providence^
46. BYU^ 45. Oregon^
12 seeds 49. Arkansas^


Today's two new entrants, Oregon and Arkansas, fall here, along with BYU, which still has many questionable losses that could negate great computer numbers, and Providence, a team that hasn't beaten a bid contender in over a month.

First Four Out/Next Four Out

First 4 Out 69. Tennessee 70. Richmond
71. Missouri
72. St. John's

Next 4 Out 73. Dayton
74. Florida State
75. Nebraska
76. Marquette

I was tempted to put Tennessee and Missouri in today's field ahead of Arkansas, but thought better of it after considering that each suffered a sweep at the hands of teams not in the at-large hunt within the past seven days. At this point, Arkansas, even with worse computer numbers due to a higher number of wins against teams from well outside of the RPI Top 250, has an edge because of a 7-8 record against the Top 100 and four Top 50 wins. A relative lack of losses to teams from outside of the Top 100 (one) helps too.

Florida State and Marquette are attempting to make a late charge, while Nebraska's loss at Illinois sends the Huskers tumbling a bit.

In The Hunt

77. LSU 78. Georgetown 79. Toledo 80. Clemson
84. West Virginia 83. Mississippi 82. N.C. State 81. Louisiana Tech

Time is growing short for all eight of these teams, particularly Georgetown, Clemson, West Virginia and N.C. State, all of whom lost critical games since Tuesday's projection.

Potential At-Large

11 seeds 41. Harvard


12 seeds
47. Southern Miss.

12 seeds
50. North Dakota St.

13 seeds 51. Green Bay


Harvard is basically here as a courtesy, as it will receive seeding respect should it claim the Ivy crown over Yale, but should the Crimson stumble, the other three teams in this group may get more of an at-large look. Still, the only guarantee for this group is a conference tournament triumph.

Auto Bid Only

13 seeds
52. W. Michigan 53. Belmont* 54. Delaware*
14 seeds 58. Stephen F. Austin* 57. Mercer* 56. Vermont* 55. Iona*
15 seeds 59. Boston U.* 61. Georgia State* 60. UC Irvine*
59. N.C. Central*
16 seeds
(Direct)
63. Robert Morris* 64. Davidson*


16 seeds
(First Four)
65. Utah Valley* 66. Weber State* 67. High Point*
68. Alabama State*

The auto bid is also the only way in for this group, the composition of which will likely change on a daily basis, beginning with the first conference tournament games on March 3rd.

My next bracketology will be a full update on Tuesday. In the meantime, head over to Blogging the Bracket for my daily TV previews and morning recaps, and follow me during the weekend's action on Twitter @ChrisDobbertean.

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