Four teams reached the 2014 NCAA Tournament with auto-bid-clinching victories on Tuesday night. Mount St. Mary's blew Robert Morris off of its home floor by a score of 88-71 to claim the Northeast title and likely a place in the First Four in Dayton. In the Horizon League, Milwaukee also won on the road, knocking off Wright State, 69-63, to earn a place on the 15 or 16 line. North Dakota State held off IPFW, 60-57, to claim the Summit crown for the first time since 2009. And finally, in Tuesday's lone game with bubble implications, Gonzaga topped BYU for the West Coast title, 75-64.
As a result of the loss, the Cougars remain in the bracket but barely, as part of the at-large half of the First Four in Dayton. Curiously, they could meet UMass -- a team they lost to in a 105-96 thriller back in December -- if they can make it out of Dayton. Teams that met once during the regular season should not meet until the Round of 32. However, since BYU must be placed on a Thursday-Saturday path for the first two weekends, that possible rematch is the only way to preserve the integrity of the seedings, which appears to be a point of emphasis for the Selection Committee in 2014.
However, with five days of games left and many chances left for their bubble brethren the Cougars cannot feel safe with so many bad losses on their selection sheet. Plus, if Kyle Collinsworth's leg injury is serious, BYU could see itself evaluated negatively because of his likely absence for the remainder of the season.
I'll have more on today's schedule after the bracket and rundown. ALL CAPS means that the school has clinched an automatic birth, except for BYU, SMU, UCLA, and VCU.
|(1) SOUTH |
|Orlando (Thu/Sat)||San Diego (Fri/Sun)|
|1||Florida (SEC)||1||Arizona (Pac-12)|
|16||MOUNT ST. MARY'S/Weber State||*16||MILWAUKEE (Horizon)|
|9||Oklahoma State||9||Kansas State|
|San Diego (Fri/Sun)||San Antonio (Fri/Sun)|
|55 5||Michigan State||5||Saint Louis (A-10)|
|↓^12||Arkansas||122||NORTH DAKOTA STATE (Summit)|
|4||Cincinnati (AAC)||4||Iowa State|
|13||Stephen F. Austin (Southland)||13||DELAWARE (CAA)|
|Spokane (Thu/Sat)||Buffalo (Thu/Sat)|
|3||San Diego State (MW)||3||Syracuse|
|14||MERCER (A-Sun)||14||Boston U. (Patriot)|
|Raleigh (Fri/Sun)||Milwaukee (Thu/Sat)|
|2||Duke||2||Michigan (Big Ten)|
|15||Stony Brook (AmEast)||15||Utah Valley (WAC)|
|(4) EAST |
New York (Fri/Sun)
|Buffalo (Thu/Sat)||St. Louis (Fri/Sun)|
|1||Villanova (Big East)||1||WICHITA STATE (MVC)|
|16||WOFFORD (SoCon)||16||COASTAL CAROLINA/Texas Sthn.|
|Spokane (Thu/Sat)||San Antonio (Fri/Sun)|
|12||Louisiana Tech (C-USA)||12||HARVARD (Ivy)|
|*13||MANHATTAN (MAAC)||13||Western Michigan (MAC)|
|Orlando (Thu/Sat)||Raleigh (Fri/Sun)|
|↑ 11||St. Joseph's||11||Arkansas/Xavier|
|14||EASTERN KENTUCKY (OVC)||14||Georgia State (Sun Belt)|
|St. Louis (Fri/Sun)||Milwaukee (Thu/Sat)|
|2||Kansas (Big 12)||2||Wisconsin|
|15||N.C. Central (MEAC)||15||UC Irvine (Big West)|
|FIRST FOUR (Dayton)|
|Tuesday: To Orlando||Tuesday: To Buffalo|
|*16||MOUNT ST. MARY'S (NEC)||^11||BYU|
|16||Weber State (Big Sky)||^11||Tennessee|
|Wednesday: To St. Louis||Wednesday: To Raleigh
|16||COASTAL CAROLINA (Big South)||11||Dayton|
|16||Texas Southern (SWAC)||11||Xavier|
|BIDS BY CONFERENCE||AVOIDING DAYTON||ARRIVALS||DEPARTURES|
|Big 12: 7||Pittsburgh||Milwaukee||Robert Morris|
|A 10: 6||Stanford||Mount St. Mary's||Wright State|
|Big Ten: 6||St. Joseph's|
|AAC: 5||LAST FOUR IN|
|Big East: 3||Dayton|
|WCC: 2||FIRST FOUR OUT|
|1-Bid Conferences: 22||California|
|NEXT FOUR OUT|
Also considered: Toledo, Georgia, Clemson, West Virginia, N.C. State, Utah, LSU, Marquette, Indiana, Richmond
Wednesday is busy in terms of games played, as 14 conference tournaments will be in action. However, just one league (the Patriot) will determine its auto-bid winner tonight. The Patriot League will be won by either top-seeded Boston U. or No. 2 American. That will be the last invitation handed out until Saturday, a day which features 14 championship tilts.
The other 13 events are in some sort of preliminary round. That means that despite all of the games on the schedule, only seven feature teams that have at-large hopes.
- Baylor and Oklahoma State both participate in this evening's Big 12 First Round, facing TCU and Texas Tech, respectively.
- Georgetown is the unlucky Big East bubble team that fell into that conference's preliminary round. The Hoyas simply cannot afford a loss to woeful DePaul in the nightcap in New York.
- Colorado (vs. USC) and Stanford (vs. Washington State) should advance fairly easily to the Pac-12 quarterfinals, but Oregon and Utah may struggle to get to tomorrow. The Ducks must play archrival Oregon State, while the Utes take on Washington in the 8/9 game.
So, thanks to today's slate, there may be a more substantial bracketology update on the way for Thursday morning. Until then, head over to Blogging the Bracket, which features daily TV previews from a bracket perspective. You can also follow me during each night's action on Twitter @ChrisDobbertean.