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Bracketology 2017: Wake Forest and Vanderbilt enter the NCAA tournament field

But all is not lost for the two teams they replaced: Illinois and Rhode Island. There’s still much basketball to be played.

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Virginia Tech Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

After today’s full bracket and rundown, I’ll have a quick review of Saturday’s most noteworthy results.

No. 1 Midwest (Left) and No. 2 East (Right)

Kansas City (Thu/Sat) New York (Fri/Sun)
Kansas City (Thu/Sat) New York (Fri/Sun)
Tulsa (Fri/Sun) Buffalo (Thu/Sat)
1. Kansas (Big 12) 1. Villanova (Big East)
16. North Dakota (Big Sky) 16. Mt. St. Mary's/N.C. Central
8. Northwestern 8. Michigan
9. Virginia Tech 9. Arkansas
Milwaukee (Thu/Sat) Buffalo (Thu/Sat)
5. Notre Dame 5. Iowa State
12. UT Arlington (Sun Belt) 12. Wake Forest/Vanderbilt
4. Purdue (Big Ten) 4. Virginia
13. Bucknell (Patriot) 13. Princeton (Ivy)
Sacramento (Fri/Sun) Orlando (Thu/Sat)
6. Creighton 6. Saint Mary's
11. Middle Tennessee (C-USA) 11. Illinois State (MVC)
3. UCLA 3. Florida State
14. Winthrop (Big South) 14. FGCU (A-Sun)
Indianapolis (Fri/Sun) Tulsa (Fri/Sun)
7. South Carolina 7. Dayton (A 10)
10. Michigan State 10. Marquette
2. Louisville 2. Baylor
15. South Dakota (Summit) 15. Cal State Bakersfield (WAC)

No. 4 West (Left) and No. 3 South (Right)

San José (Thu/Sat) Memphis (Fri/Sun)
San José (Thu/Sat) Memphis (Fri/Sun)
Salt Lake City (Thu/Sat) Greenville (Fri/Sun)
1. Gonzaga (WCC) 1. North Carolina (ACC)
16. JACKSONVILLE STATE (OVC) 16. UC Irvine/New Orleans
8. Miami 8. Oklahoma State
9. VCU 9. Providence
Orlando (Thu/Sat) Salt Lake City (Thu/Sat)
5. West Virginia 5. Minnesota
12. Nevada (MW) 12. UNCW (CAA)
4. Florida 4. Arizona
13. Monmouth (MAAC) 13. Vermont (AmEast)
Greenville (Fri/Sun) Milwaukee (Thu/Sat)
6. SMU (American) 6. Cincinnati
11. Xavier/Syracuse 11. USC
3. Duke 3. Butler
14. UNC Greensboro (SoCon) 14. Akron (MAC)
Sacramento (Fri/Sun) Indianapolis (Fri/Sun)
7. Maryland 7. Wisconsin
10. Seton Hall 10. Wichita State
2. Oregon (Pac-12) 2. Kentucky (SEC)
15. Green Bay (Horizon) 15. Texas Southern (SWAC)

First Four

To Buffalo (Tue.) To Buffalo (Tue.) To Greenville (Wed.) To Greenville (Wed.)
To Buffalo (Tue.) To Buffalo (Tue.) To Greenville (Wed.) To Greenville (Wed.)
16. Mount St. Mary's (NEC) 12. Wake Forest 16. UC Irvine (Big West) 11. Xavier
16. N.C. Central (MEAC) 12. Vanderbilt 16. New Orleans (Southland) 11. Syracuse


ACC: 10 Seton Hall (38) Green Bay Belmont
Big East: 7 Michigan State (39) Jacksonville St Illinois
Big Ten: 7 Wichita State (40) UC Irvine Oakland
Big 12: 5 USC (42) Vanderbilt Rhode Island
SEC: 5 LAST FOUR IN Wake Forest UC Davis
Pac-12: 4 Xavier (43)
A 10: 2 Wake Forest (44)
American: 2 Syracuse (46)
MVC: 2 Vanderbilt (47)
One-Bid: 22 Illinois
Rhode Island
Kansas State
Georgia Tech
Ole Miss

Vanderbilt and Wake Forest were Saturday’s two biggest winners. The Commodores moved to 17-14 by completing a season sweep of Florida. While their hefty loss total is a concern, the nation’s top overall and second-best non-conference schedule strength will help keep the Commodores afloat in the event they pick up a 15th loss in the SEC Tournament. Five Top 50 wins are also noteworthy in a season when the Selection Committee has already indicated that quality victories are like gold. As for the 18-12 Demon Deacons, their Saturday win at Virginia Tech was the needed follow-up to Wednesday’s impressive home triumph over Louisville. Wake’s RPI rank is 30th, a number that all but guarantees selection (at least for a power conference team), though a 3-9 record against the Top 50 is a potential red flag. The Deacons must avoid a bad first-round ACC Tournament loss to Boston College on Tuesday.

But for every bubble winner there must be a loser and Illinois and California filled the role Saturday. Of the pair, the Fighting Illini are in better shape, as their loss at Rutgers was just their first to a team ranked outside the Top 100 (though the timing was awful). Still, Illinois has a decent RPI ranking of 57th and a 5-8 record against the Top 50, which is comparable to that of other bubble teams. As for the Golden Bears, they scored just 90 points in getting swept at Utah and Colorado. While Cal sits one spot above of Illinois in the RPI table, they have a woeful 1-7 record against the Top 50. Cuonzo Martin’s squad must make a run to the Pac-12 Tournament title to make the field, while John Groce’s could crash the party with two or three Big Ten Tournament wins. But as usual, results elsewhere will play some role in determining the fates of both.

A home win for Kansas State over Texas Tech keeps the Wildcats alive, while Iowa, suddenly the third team out, will fade right back out of the picture with a home loss against Penn State this afternoon. But the Hawkeyes aren’t the only Big Ten squad with fresh hope, as Indiana‘s win at Ohio State gave the Hoosiers a pulse (while eliminating the Buckeyes from the at-large picture). In the SEC, Georgia‘s loss at Arkansas virtually knocked the Bulldogs out, while an Ole Miss home win over South Carolina wasn’t ever going enough to improve the Rebels’ slim chances.

Even though Rhode Island rallied to defeat Davidson in overtime, the Rams drop out. Meanwhile, Syracuse, resounding 90-61 winners over Georgia Tech, remains in. While the Rams’ RPI is a full 38 spots higher than the Orange’s (42 vs. 80), Rhode Island is in more trouble than the Orange if quality wins matter. Rhode Island is just 2-3 against the RPI Top 50, while Syracuse sits at 6-7 with three Top 20 wins. Of course, a 2-10 record away from the Carrier Dome does the Orange no favors, while the Rams are 8-6 in road/neutral contests. This is one of the most fascinating bubble comparisons out there, so keep an eye on both squads in their respective conference tournaments later in the week.

Last night, the Jacksonville State Gamecocks, coached by Ray Harper (who got Western Kentucky to the 2012 and 2013 NCAAs), became the first team officially in the field of 68. As is traditional, their name now appears in all caps in my bracket. The winner of today’s Missouri Valley Tournament final between top-seeded Illinois State and No. 2 seed Wichita State will join the Gamecocks. But with both squads winning their first two Arch Madness matchups, I would be surprised if the Committee left this afternoon’s loser out.

Since Sunday’s schedule is a little less hectic than Saturday’s, I’m planning on doing a full scrub and review of the field for Monday. Expect some changes and a more comprehensive look at the teams closest to the cut line.