INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 11: Talor Battle #12 of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates after Penn State won 36-33 against the Wisconsin Badgers during the quarterfinals of the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 11, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Bracketology 2011: Penn State Sneaks In As Alabama Drops Out

SB Nation's Chris Dobbertean moves the Crimson Tide into his latest bracket projection, while the Blue Devils replace Notre Dame as the final No. 1 seed (for now).

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Bracketology 2011: Penn State Upsets Michigan State And Jumps Into The Field

After a quintet of bubble games early on this Selection Eve, the late afternoon hours saw three contests involving teams near the cut line in my Saturday projection.

Richmond, one of my Last Four In, has their fate in their own hands now, as they topped Temple, 58-54, in the second Atlantic 10 semifinal in Atlantic City. The Spiders will take on Cinderella nine seed Dayton, a talented team that struggled through the regular season, for the conference's automatic bid tomorrow. Win or lose, the Spiders should be in the field.

The Big Ten may be sending seven teams to the Tournament after all, as Penn State reached the Big Ten final by rolling past Michigan State, 61-48, in the second Big Ten semifinal. The Nittany Lions, who can take the committee out of the equation by upsetting Ohio State in tomorrow's final, replace Boston College in the Last Four In group. However, the Eagles' absence is subject to change upon further review and reflection.

While Penn State has an oft-ridiculed loss to Maine on its profile, it now have five wins against the RPI Top 50 as well. Thanks to today's victory over the Spartans and last night's over Wisconsin, the Lions can also claim two quality victories away from State College, which was a major gap in their case for selection up until this week.

Like their conference rivals from New England, Virginia Tech now has a nervous wait, thanks to a 77-63 loss to Duke in the second ACC semifinal. The Blue Devils, on the other hand, face North Carolina in tomorrow afternoon's final with a potential top seed on the line.

Keep an eye on Harvard Crimson, however, after their 63-62 loss to Princeton Tigers in the Ivy League playoff, thanks to a Doug Davis 14-footer at the buzzer. With wins over Boston College (at Chestnut Hill) and Colorado Buffaloes (in Cambridge), the Crimson deserve a shot at an at-large. We'll all have to see what the committee does with Tommy Amaker's team.

As this evening is filled with conference championship games with minimal bubble impact, this will be the last update of the day. My attention will now turn to this evening's games, another look at the teams near the cut line, and seeding for tomorrow. So, here's a look the Last Eight In and Last Four Out look heading into Sunday. I'll have an updated Last Four In and First Four Out and why they are where they are in my next projection on Selection Sunday morning.

Next Four In (avoiding Dayton): Michigan State, Illinois, St. Mary's, Virginia Tech
Last Four In (First Four): Colorado, Penn State, Clemson, Georgia
First Four Out: Boston College, USC, Alabama, Harvard


Bracketology 2011: Alabama's Loss To Kentucky Could Spell N-I-T For Tide

Saturday afternoon's early window of games featured five contests impacting the last few at-large spots for the NCAA Tournament.

Alabama was the second-to-last team in the field for my Saturday morning projection. They're back out now after getting blown out of the Georgia Dome by Kentucky in their SEC semifinal, 72-58. At the moment, that means Boston College slides back in to replace the Crimson Tide, who simply didn't look like a Tournament team in suffering a pair of humiliating defeats to the top teams in the stronger East division over the past 12 days. Two wins over Georgia, a victory at Tennessee, and an earlier home win over the Wildcats will likely not be enough to offset Alabama's weak non-conference (and SEC West) slates.

Two Wildcat guards, DeAndre Liggins and Doron Lamb, were injured in the game's final minutes, and Lamb's injury looked serious. Their prognosis is worth watching as Kentucky heads into tomorrow's final.

In the ACC, North Carolina needed overtime and 42 points from Harrison Barnes to eliminate Clemson in the first semifinal, 92-87, keeping their hopes for a top seed alive. The Tigers, thanks to their good play of late, should be in, but their seeding may be impacted negatively by their lack of success out of the conference, where their best wins are against College of College of Charleston and Long Beach State.

Michigan's run through the Big Ten Tournament came to an end after a 68-61 loss to Ohio State. While a win over the Buckeyes would have been nice for the Wolverines' profile, it likely was not necessary. As for the Scarlet and Gray, they remain very much in the frame for the Tournament's No. 1 overall seed.

Bubble teams from coast to coast exhaled a bit when Memphis claimed the Conference USA title by topping UTEP, 67-66. That result means C-USA is virtually assured of receiving only a single bid. However, there's still a chance for an outsider to earn a spot as Dayton topped St. Joseph's, 64-61, in the first Atlantic 10 semi in Atlantic City. The plays the winner of the second game between Temple and Richmond for the league's auto bid tomorrow.

I'll have one last update for the day after the late afternoon games.

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