Little has changed at the top since my last update on Monday, with most of the important action taking place on the bubble. A lot of critical games took place last night. On the losing side of the ledger were TCU, Butler, and Temple. TCU and Temple keep a precarious grip on a spot in the field for now, and Butler is becoming a long shot to make it (though with the “softness” of the bubble, that notion could change by the end of the weekend). On the even worse side of things was South Carolina. Their home loss to Alabama puts them at 14-14, and they don’t have the resume to get in the tournament with 15 losses. Nothing short of winning out will get them in the field at this point.
On the winning side of the ledger were Dayton, Ohio State, Alabama, VCU, and Utah State. VCU is leading the A-10 at this point, but I think they would get in as an at-large if the field were selected today. Utah State is making a strong push and I love seeing mid-majors get in, but I still think they need to add a win over a team that will make the field (or have teams just above them lose more), and they’ll have the chance to do that against Nevada this Saturday night. Basically, by avoiding a bad loss against San Diego State last night, they stayed on the cusp of the field.
Lastly, Providence and Indiana kept their faint hopes alive with wins at Butler and at home against Wisconsin, respectively. Indiana is a case worth looking at because at 14-14, you would think they have to win out. But, the past two seasons, 15-loss teams have earned at-large bids, which had never happened before 2017. And, the Hoosiers have some really high-end wins now, having beaten Marquette at home and Michigan State on the road in addition to last night’s win against Wisconsin. So, they’re a long shot, but don’t count them out just yet. With the unprecedented level of mediocrity on the bubble this year, we might even see a 16-loss team get an at-large.
With that said, here’s the latest update. I didn’t move anyone in or out of the field since my last update, but there was a lot of movement around the cut line.
1s: Virginia, Duke, Gonzaga, Kentucky
2s: North Carolina, Michigan State, Tennessee, Michigan
3s: Marquette, Houston, Purdue, Kansas
4s: Texas Tech, LSU, Florida State (+1), Wisconsin
5s: Maryland, Iowa State, Kansas State (-1), Mississippi State
6s: Virginia Tech, Nevada, Iowa, Louisville
7s: Cincinnati, Buffalo, Baylor, Villanova (+1)
8s: Ole Miss (-1), St. John’s, Washington, Texas
9s: Ohio State (+2), Syracuse, Auburn, Oklahoma
10s: Seton Hall, Arizona State (-1), Florida (+1), North Carolina State
11s: VCU, Minnesota (-1), Wofford, TCU (-1)
12s: Alabama, UCF, Clemson, Temple, Belmont, Lipscomb (+1)
13s: Old Dominion (-1), New Mexico State, Vermont, Hofstra
14s: Yale, South Dakota State, UC-Irvine, Texas State
15s: Radford, Montana, Drake, Wright State
16s: Texas Southern, Sam Houston State, Bucknell, Norfolk State, St. Francis-PA, Canisius
Last Four Byes: Florida, North Carolina State, Minnesota, TCU
Last Four In: Alabama, UCF, Clemson, Temple
First Four Out: Utah State, UNC-Greensboro, Dayton (+1), Furman
Next Four Out: Butler (-1), St. Mary’s, Georgetown, Nebraska
Others in Consideration (in no particular order): Creighton, Davidson, Murray State, Oregon State, San Francisco, Toledo, Providence, Indiana
Enjoy the games, and look for my next update on Friday, March 1. Check out the Bracket Matrix in the meantime!