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Bracketology 2020: NC State the biggest winner of a surreal Wednesday

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At the moment, there’s a very real possibility that there won’t be an NCAA tournament this season. However, until there’s an official announcement, bracketology will press on.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Tournament-North Carolina State vs Pittsburgh
Devon Daniels and NC State did what they absolutely had to do on Wednesday afternoon. Now the Wolfpack will get a shot at locking up a bid with a win over Duke.
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The sports world’s response to Covid-19 cascaded Wednesday, with the NCAA first deciding that March Madness would be played with only essential personnel in attendance, with many conference tournaments following suit. Then news broke that the Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus, a development that led the NBA to suspend its season. The NHL might be next. As of this post’s publication time, Thursday’s conference tournament action looks set to go on and the NCAA tournament has yet to be suspended, but given the direction professional indoor sports are going, can college sports be far behind?

Bracketology will continue until there is no longer a tournament to project. So, as promised in Wednesday’s bracket post, I completely scrubbed the field yesterday evening. That process resulted in a new No. 1 seed, the Dayton Flyers, who knocked the San Diego State Aztecs down to the No. 2 spot in the West region, along with several other shifts further down the bracket. Additionally, I attempted to keep teams as close to home as possible given bracketing restrictions, though I suspect these may be relaxed in the coming days. There are also two new at-large teams, thanks to Wednesday’s results.

This post contains more detailed information about the last four teams in and first four in.

After Thursday morning’s full bracket and rundown, I’ll have a quick look at the day’s schedule. It should be a fascinating day of college basketball, considering that few of us are used to watching games played in largely empty arenas.

Arrows indicate seed line movement, which is relative to Monday’s bracket. Asterisks (*) indicate new entries. Teams in all caps (except for those that go by their initials) have clinched auto bids (13 so far).

1. South Region (Houston)

Omaha, Nebraska (Fri./Sun.)

1. Kansas (Big 12) vs. 16. Prairie View A&M (SWAC)/NC Central (MEAC)
8. Saint Mary’s vs. 9. USC

Albany, New York (Thu./Sat.)

5. Ohio State vs. 12. YALE (Ivy)
4. Seton Hall vs. 13. Akron (MAC)

Greensboro, North Carolina (Fri./Sun.)

6. Virginia vs. 11. UTAH STATE (MW)
3. Maryland vs. 14. BRADLEY (MVC)

Cleveland, Ohio (Fri./Sun.)

7. Providence vs. 10. EAST TENNESSEE STATE (SoCon)
2. Kentucky (SEC) vs. *15. BOSTON UNIVERSITY (Patriot)

2. West Region (Los Angeles)

Spokane, Washington (Thu./Sat.)

1. GONZAGA (WCC) vs. ↓16. NORTHERN KENTUCKY (Horizon)
8. Colorado vs. ↑9. Oklahoma

Spokane (Thu./Sat.)

↑5. Iowa vs. 12. LIBERTY (ASUN)
4. Oregon (Pac-12) vs. 13. BELMONT (OVC)

Tampa, Florida (Thu./Sat.)

↓6. BYU vs. ↓11. Marquette
3. Duke vs. 14. North Texas (C-USA)

Sacramento, California (Fri./Sun.)

7. LSU vs. ↑10. Texas Tech
↓2. San Diego State vs. 15. Eastern Washington (Big Sky)

3. Midwest Region (Indianapolis)

St. Louis (Thu./Sat.)

1. Baylor vs. 16. WINTHROP (Big South)
8. Houston vs. 9. Arizona State

Sacramento (Fri./Sun.)

5. Butler vs. 12. Stephen F. Austin (Southland)
4. Wisconsin (Big Ten) vs. 13. New Mexico State (WAC)

Albany (Thu./Sat.)

6. Penn State vs. *11. Texas/NC State
3. Villanova vs. 14. HOFSTRA (CAA)

Tampa (Thu./Sat.)

7. West Virginia vs. 10. Rutgers
2. Florida State (ACC) vs. ↑15. Little Rock (Sun Belt)

4. East Region (New York)

Cleveland (Fri./Sun.)

↑1. Dayton (A 10) vs. 16. Siena (MAAC)/ROBERT MORRIS (NEC)
8. Arizona vs. 9. Florida

Omaha (Fri./Sun.)

↑5. Michigan vs. 12. Cincinnati (American)
4. Louisville vs. 13. Vermont (Amer. East)

Greensboro (Fri./Sun.)

↓6. Auburn vs. ↓11. Indiana/Richmond
3. Michigan State vs. ↑14. UC Irvine (Big West)

St. Louis, Missouri (Thu./Sat.)

7. Illinois vs. *10. UCLA
2. Creighton (Big East) vs. 15. NORTH DAKOTA STATE (Summit)

Rundown

Bids by conference: 10 Big Ten, 6 Big 12, 6 Big East, 6 Pac-12, 5 ACC, 4 SEC, 3 WCC, 2 AAC, 2 Atlantic 10, 2 MW, 22 one-bid conferences

Last four byes: Rutgers, Texas Tech, UCLA, Marquette
Last four in: Indiana, Texas, Richmond, NC State
First four out: Stanford, Xavier, Northern Iowa, Wichita State
Next four out: Mississippi State, Arkansas, UConn, Saint Louis

Lowest-ranked NET at-large: UCLA (76)
Highest-ranked NET exclusion: Purdue (32, 16-15 overall)

New today (3/68): Boston University, NC State, UCLA
Leaving today: Colgate, Stanford, Xavier

What to watch Thursday

All times are ET.

I’ll have further updates throughout the day as events warrant and as long as games continue. In the meantime, you can check out my TV viewing guides and full conference tournament coverage over at Blogging the Bracket.