Friday, perhaps the most important day of the entire season because of the number of conference tournaments in action, saw no shortage of important results.
- In the chase for No. 1 seeds, Indiana, Kansas, Louisville and Miami picked up important wins, while Duke, Georgetown and Michigan lost. I still think the Blue Devils end up on the top line, despite not winning either ACC championship. Their profile is too strong.
- The biggest bubble winners of the day were idle Boise State, Middle Tennessee and St. Mary's, as there was a lot of carnage among the teams that played. Alabama defeated Tennessee, but the Crimson Tide need to keep winning to get in. Maryland's win over Duke helped the Terps' case, but they still need another win or two. (Of course, a pair of Maryland wins would make the matter moot). The same goes for Mississippi, who picked up a second victory over Missouri. Unfortunately for the Rebels, a game with Vanderbilt, which won't provide a quality win, awaits in the SEC semifinals. UMass, another team on the outside looking in right now, will get an opportunity to boost its own case tomorrow. The Minutemen defeated Temple to earn a shot at VCU in the Atlantic 10 semifinals tomorrow afternoon.
- On the flip side, N.C. State handed Virginia a costly defeat, while Butler defeated La Salle. Both the Explorers and Tennessee remain just inside this projected field of 68. Kentucky, meanwhile, is in deep trouble after a bad loss to Vanderbilt. Iowa is likely out of the running after the Hawkeyes gave up a big lead to Michigan State.
After today's bracket, I'll take a look at a Selection Eve schedule that will see the bulk of the remaining automatic bids handed out. For a closer look at the Last Four In and First Four Out, check out my post on the subject from last night.
|(1) MIDWEST |
|Dayton (Fri/Sun)||Philadelphia (Fri/Sun)|
|1||Indiana (Big Ten)||1||Duke|
|16||JAMES MADISON or LIBERTY||16||Southern (SWAC)|
|↑ 8||N.C. State||8||Oregon|
|↑ 9||Iowa State||↑ 9||Illinois|
|San Jose (Thu/Sat)||Austin (Fri/Sun)|
|↑ 55 5||UCLA (Pac-12)||5||UNLV|
|↓ 12||Boise State||12||Middle Tennessee or St. Mary's|
|13||VALPARAISO (Horizon)||13||New Mexico State (WAC)|
|Salt Lake City (Thu/Sat)||Austin (Fri/Sun)|
|↓ 6||Oklahoma State||↑ 6||VCU|
|↑ 11||Minnesota||↓ 11||California|
|↓ 3||New Mexico (MWC)||3||Florida (SEC)|
|14||Stephen F. Austin (Southland)||14||DAVIDSON (Southern)|
|Lexington (Thu/Sat)||Dayton (Fri/Sun)|
|7||Notre Dame||↓ 7||Pittsburgh|
|↓ 10||Temple||↓ 10||Wichita State|
|2||Miami (ACC)||↑ 2||Ohio State|
|15||IONA (MAAC)||*15||Pacific (Big West)|
|(4) SOUTH |
Los Angeles (Thu/Sat)
|Lexington (Thu/Sat)||Salt Lake City (Thu/Sat)|
|1||Louisville (Big East)||1||GONZAGA (WCC)|
|16||LONG ISLAND U or Morgan State||16||WESTERN KENTUCKY (Sun Belt)|
|8||North Carolina||8||San Diego State|
|9||BELMONT (OVC)||↓ 9||Missouri|
|San Jose (Thu/Sat)||Kansas City (Fri/Sun)|
|↓ 12||Akron (MAC)||12||Villanova|
|4||Saint Louis (A-10)||4||Kansas State|
|13||SOUTH DAKOTA STATE (Summit)||13||BUCKNELL (Patriot)|
|Auburn Hills (Thu/Sat)||Auburn Hills (Thu/Sat)|
|11||La Salle or Tennessee||↑ 11||Oklahoma|
|14||HARVARD (Ivy)||14||FLORIDA GULF COAST (A-Sun)|
|Kansas City (Fri/Sun)||Philadelphia (Fri/Sun)|
|7||Colorado State||7||Memphis (C-USA)|
|2||Kansas (Big 12)||2||Georgetown|
|15||Montana (Big Sky)||15||Vermont (AmEast)|
|FIRST FOUR (Dayton)|
|Tuesday: To Lexington||Tuesday: To Auburn Hills|
|16||LONG ISLAND U. (NEC)||↑ 11||La Salle|
|16||Morgan State (MEAC)||11||Tennessee|
|Wednesday: To Dayton||Wednesday: To Austin
|16||JAMES MADISON (CAA)||*12||Middle Tennessee|
|16||LIBERTY (Big South)||↓ 12||St. Mary's|
|BIDS BY CONFERENCE||AVOIDING DAYTON||ARRIVALS||DEPARTURES|
|Big East: 8||Villanova||Middle Tennessee||Kentucky|
|Big Ten: 7||Boise State||Pacific||Long Beach State|
|Big 12: 5||California|
||LAST FOUR IN|
|ACC: 4||St. Mary's|
|MVC: 2||Middle Tennessee||PROCEDURAL||MOVES|
|WCC: 2||FIRST FOUR OUT||Villanova||11 down to 12|
|Sun Belt: 2||Mississippi||La Salle, Tennessee||12 up to 11|
|1-Bid Conferences: 20||Virginia||Boise State||11 down to 12|
|Maryland||California||12 up to 11|
|NEXT FOUR OUT|
Also considered (in order): Iowa, Arizona State, Louisiana Tech
Both Games on ACC Network or ESPN and ESPN3D (Check Your Local Listings)
N.C. State vs. Miami, 1 p.m. ET
Yesterday, the Wolfpack likely burst Virginia's bubble. Today, they'll try to end the Hurricanes' hopes for a No. 1 seed.
Maryland vs. North Carolina, approx. 3:30 p.m. ET
Even though the Terrapins have two wins over Duke, there are still holes to be filled on their profile. A win over the Tar Heels is vital, but the automatic bid may still be a necessity.
Both Games on CBS Sports Network
Butler Bulldogs vs. Saint Louis, 1:30 p.m. ET
The Billikens, very much in play for a three or four seed, will look to defeat the Bulldogs for the third time this season.
UMass Minutemen vs. Va. Commonwealth Rams, approx. 4 p.m. ET
The Minutemen are a team that has a real chance to do what St. Bonaventure did last season -- make the last few at-large candidates very unhappy by grabbing the A-10's auto bid. Of course, if UMass beats the Rams, they could earn some more at-large consideration for themselves.
Big 12 Final
Kansas State vs. Kansas, 5:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Perhaps the third time will be the charm for the Wildcats, who will look to deprive the Jayhawks of a shot at a No. 1 seed.
Big East Final
Syracuse vs. Louisville, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
The Cardinals should sew up a No. 1 seed with a victory over the Orange, which is playing for a protected seed.
Big Ten Semifinals
Both Games on CBS
Wisconsin vs. Indiana, 1:30 p.m. ET
The Badgers defeated the Hoosiers by five in Bloomington on January 15th. A second win would be significant for Wisconsin's seeding and might just keep Indiana from claiming the top spot overall.
Michigan State vs. Ohio State
The winner of this one will be in good position to earn a two seed on Sunday, but a spot on the top line is unlikely, even with a Big Ten tournament crown.
Ohio vs. Akron, 6:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
When the evening arrives, bubble rooting interests will switch to the Zips, who will look to beat the Bobcats for the third time. However, tonight, they'll need to do so without the services of suspended point guard Alex Abreu.
UNLV vs. New Mexico, 6 p.m. ET (CBS)
The Lobos will deserve a spot on the second seed line with a win over the Runnin' Rebels on their home floor, and you could argue that they should get a No. 1. But will the Committee show the Mountain West any respect?
Oregon vs. UCLA, 11 p.m. ET (ESPN)
The Bruins managed to defeat Arizona for the third time on Friday night. However, UCLA will head into the remainder of the postseason, including tonight's final against the Ducks, without Jordan Adams, who broke his foot at the very end of Friday's win. Note that the Ducks won the lone regular season meeting between the two.
Both Games on ABC
Alabama vs. Florida, 1 p.m. ET
The Crimson Tide must win this one if they want to sneak in as one of the final at-larges, as another Top 50 win is a necessity. If you're a fan of the bubble team, you'll want to cheer for the Gators, even if it pains you to do so. A Florida loss means the SEC will certainly send a somewhat surprising auto bid winner into the field.
Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi, approx. 3:30 p.m. ET
Can the Commodores, the defending SEC Tournament champs, continue their surprise run? If they do, they'll likely keep the Rebels out of the field.
Seven one-bid conferences will also determine their automatic qualifiers as Saturday unfolds.
America East: Albany at Vermont, 11:30 a.m. ET (ESPN2)
SWAC: Prairie View vs. Southern U., 4:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
MEAC: North Carolina A&T vs. Morgan State, 5 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Southland: Northwestern State vs. Stephen F. Austin, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Big Sky: Weber State at Montana, 9 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Big West: UC Irvine vs. Pacific, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
WAC: UT Arlington vs. New Mexico State, 11 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
I'll have updates throughout today. Two more brackets are also forthcoming. I'll post one on Sunday morning, then I'll scrub the seeds one last time before presenting the finished product right before the Selection Committee presents the real version on Sunday evening.