clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bracketology: Boise State, Davidson and Tulsa jump into the field

The first bracket of March might not look all that different from the real thing. Why? There are a few surprise entrants that might reflect the tumult that the conference tournament portion of the season is guaranteed to deliver.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Let's start this post with a look at what didn't change: a reliable top eight that collectively survived the transition from February to March. The Kentucky Wildcats (Midwest), Virginia Cavaliers (East), Villanova Wildcats (South) and Duke Blue Devils (West) lead the way, with Midwest No. 2 Wisconsin and West second seed Arizona primed to move up should one of the four anchors fall. Gonzaga, following its Saturday home loss to bracket newcomer BYU, and Kansas -- top three in the RPI table and Big 12 co-champs (at least), but boasting a half-dozen losses -- aren't completely out of it, but will likely need the six teams ahead of them to lose frequently in the next week and a half to move up. That outcome doesn't appear likely.

Closer to the cut line, this bracket boasts just one new at-large, those Cougars from Provo, who move into the very last spot currently available after winning in Spokane on Saturday night. However, three new conference leaders that are clear bubble teams have jumped into this projection -- the Mountain West's Boise State, which completed a season sweep by winning somewhat handily at San Diego State on Saturday; Davidson, one of three teams sharing the Atlantic 10 lead heading into the final week of the regular season; and Tulsa, now leading the American by a half-game over SMU following the Mustangs' loss at Connecticut. While I would have included the Broncos and Wildcats as at-larges today, Tulsa would have been out, meaning the Golden Hurricane are keeping Temple, a team they happened to sweep, out for the moment. Tulsa's lack of quality non-conference wins, especially when compared to the Owls, who defeated Kansas in December, really hurts from a selection perspective.

Big and Small Conferences

Given the shape of the races in the Mountain West, Atlantic 10, American and even Pac-12 right now, fans of bubble teams really need to hope that these conferences' respective bubble contingents don't play deep into Selection Weekend. Plus, UConn hosts the American Athletic Conference Tournament, adding an extra layer of intrigue to those proceedings. Earlier in the Championship Fortnight, hopeful fans need to cheer for Gonzaga in the WCC (and an early BYU exit) and Northern Iowa and Wichita State in the Missouri Valley. If surprise auto bid winners emerge in either of those conferences in the coming days, there will be plenty of pacing and biting of fingernails in bubble camps from coast to coast.

Here's today's complete bracket and rundown.

Cleveland (Thu/Sat)
(2) EAST
Syracuse (Fri/Sun)
Louisville (Thu/Sat) Charlotte (Fri/Sun)
1 Kentucky (SEC) 1 Virginia (ACC)
16 North Florida/St. Francis-Brooklyn 16 Bucknell/Sacramento State
8 Ohio State 8 88 Xavier
9 LSU 9 Georgia
Jacksonville (Thu/Sat) Jacksonville (Thu/Sat)
5 Northern Iowa 5 North Carolina
12 Iona (MAAC) 122 Wofford (SoCon)
4 Notre Dame 4 Baylor
13 Louisiana Tech (C-USA) 13 Murray State (OVC)
Louisville (Thu/Sat) Pittsburgh (Thu/Sat)
6 Butler 6666 Providence
11 BYU/Oregon *11 Davidson (A 10)
3 Iowa State 3 Maryland
*14 Toledo (MAC) *14 Georgia State (Sun Belt)
Omaha (Fri/Sun) Seattle (Fri/Sun)
7 St. John's 7 San Diego State
10 Texas A&M 10 Michigan State
2 Wisconsin (Big Ten) 2 Gonzaga (WCC)
15 Albany (AE) 15 New Mexico State (WAC)
(4) WEST
Los Angeles (Thu/Sat)
Houston (Fri/Sun)
Charlotte (Fri/Sun) Pittsburgh (Thu/Sat)
1 Duke 1 Villanova (Big East)
16 Texas Southern (SWAC) *16 Charleston Southern (Big South)
8 Oklahoma State 8 Dayton
9 Ole Miss 9 Indiana
Seattle (Fri/Sun) Columbus (Fri/Sun)
5 Arkansas 5 West Virginia
12 Harvard (Ivy) *12 Tulsa (AAC)
4 Wichita State (MVC) 4 Louisville
13 Stephen F. Austin (Southland) 13 Valparaiso (Horizon)
Columbus (Fri/Sun) Portland (Thu/Sat)
6 SMU 6 Georgetown
11 Colorado State/N.C. State *11 Boise State (MW)
3 Oklahoma 3 Utah
14 South Dakota State (Summit) 14 UC Davis (Big West)
Portland (Thu/Sat) Omaha (Fri/Sun)
7 Iowa 7 VCU
10 Cincinnati 10 Purdue
2 Arizona (Pac-12) 2 Kansas (Big 12)
15 William & Mary (CAA) 15 N.C. Central (MEAC)
Tuesday: To Louisville Tuesday: To Louisville
16 North Florida (A-Sun) *11 BYU
16 St. Francis-Brooklyn (NEC) 11 Oregon
Wednesday: To Charlotte Wednesday: To Columbus
16 Bucknell (Patriot) 11 Colorado State
*16 Sacramento State (Big Sky) 11 N.C. State

* = new team

Big Ten: 7 Michigan State Boise State Central Michigan
ACC: 6 Texas A&M BYU Eastern Washington
Big 12: 6 Purdue Charleston Southern Georgia Southern
Big East: 6 Cincinnati Davidson High Point
SEC: 6 LAST FOUR IN Georgia State Illinois
AAC: 3
N.C. State Sacramento State Miami
A 10: 3 Colorado State Toledo Temple
MW: 3 Oregon Tulsa Texas
Pac-12: 3 BYU


WCC: 2 Temple

One-Bid Conferences: 21 Illinois







Old Dominion

Also considered (in alphabetical order): Alabama, Eastern Washington, Green Bay, Kansas State, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Richmond, Wyoming

SB Nation presents: Four mid-majors that will destroy your March brackets

As always, I'll close this post with a look at the games to watch between now and the first Friday update of March.

All times Eastern.

Iowa at Indiana, Tuesday 7 p.m. (ESPN)
The Hawkeyes and Hoosiers are jockeying for seeding -- both for Chicago next week and the NCAAs a week later. Beyond Wisconsin and Maryland, the Big Ten contingent looks destined for the middle of the bracket, barring some big wins late.

Georgetown at Butler, Tuesday 7 p.m. (FS1)
The Bulldogs, who dropped a two-point decision in the nation's capital on Jan. 17, lead the Hoyas and Providence by a game for second place in the Big East.

Rhode Island at Dayton, Tuesday 7 p.m. (CBSSN)

The winner remains in a tie for first in the Atlantic 10 with Davidson, though the Flyers are significantly above the Rams and Wildcats in the at-large picture at this point.

Ole Miss at Alabama, Tuesday 7 p.m. (SEC Network)
While the Rebels are three games up on the Crimson Tide in the SEC standings, this will still be a tricky road test for them.

Kentucky at Georgia, Tuesday 9 p.m. (ESPN)
The Wildcats look to complete a sweep of their true road games against a Bulldog team that was fairly competitive in a 69-58 loss at Rupp on Feb. 3.

West Virginia at Kansas, Tuesday 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Can the Mountaineers repeat their thrilling 62-61 win over the Jayhawks from Feb. 16?

Texas A&M at Florida, Tuesday 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

This could be a tricky one for the Aggies, as the Gators only fell by one in College Station on Feb. 14.

North Carolina State at Clemson, Tuesday 9 pm. (ACC RSNs/ESPN3)

After getting flat-out embarrassed at Boston College on Saturday afternoon, the Wolfpack cannot afford a loss at Littlejohn.

Notre Dame at Louisville, Wednesday 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

The Fighting Irish and Cardinals each could use a win to help their positioning in the ACC Tournament, where a double-bye is available to the top four teams, as well as the NCAAs, where both are jockeying for a spot on the three line.

Richmond at UMass, Wednesday 7:30 p.m. (American Sports Network/CST/Altitude/CSN Chicago Plus)

Two fringe Atlantic 10 bubble squads meet in Amherst, though the Spiders and Minutemen will likely need to cut the nets down in Brooklyn to qualify.

Purdue at Michigan State, Wednesday 8 p.m. (BTN)
This is a vital game for both of these bubble teams, each of whom is also in contention for a double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament.

Miami at Pittsburgh, Wednesday 8 p.m. (ACC Network Regional/ESPN3)

Considering the Hurricanes' Saturday home loss to North Carolina and the Panthers' disappointing effort at Wake Forest the next night, this has the feel of an elimination game.

USC Trojans at UCLA Bruins, Wednesday 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
The Bruins, still very much on the bubble, look to wrap up their regular season with a third consecutive win against weak opposition.

St. John's at Marquette, Wednesday 9 p.m. (FS1)

Thanks to six wins in their last seven, the Red Storm have some breathing room. A loss to a Golden Eagle team that played the Johnnies tough in a 60-57 loss on Jan. 21 would reduce their margin for error, however.

TCU at Oklahoma State, Wednesday 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

The Cowboys can't possibly lose to the Horned Frogs again, right? Especially in Stillwater?

Cincinnati at Tulsa, Wednesday 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
The Golden Hurricane will look to maintain their lead in the American, while the Bearcats need a win over a quality opponent desperately.

Nebraska at Illinois, Wednesday 10 p.m. (BTN)

Thanks to the moves of others, the Fighting Illini are currently on the wrong side of the bubble. A loss to the Cornhuskers at home would push them closer to the NIT.

Oregon at Oregon State, Wednesday 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
The Ducks have won four in a row to move into the field, but a late bad loss in Corvallis in their regular season finale would knock them right out.

Temple at East Carolina, Thursday 7 p.m. (ESPNU)

The Pirates, who have already defeated Cincinnati and played Tulsa close in Greenville, will next look to burst the Owls' bubble.

VCU at Davidson, Thursday 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

The Rams, on a two-game skid, head to Belk Arena with the aim of knocking the Wildcats out of a first-place tie in the Atlantic 10 and to the wrong side of the cut line.

Stanford at Arizona State, Thursday 11 p.m. (FS1)
The Cardinal cannot get caught looking ahead to Saturday's trip to Arizona.

Friday's update may feature some new names, as conference tournament play gets underway today in the Atlantic Sun, Horizon League and Patriot League. I'll be updating all of the matchups and broadcast info over at Conference Tournament Central throughout the next two weeks, so be sure to visit frequently.