Here we go! It’s officially Championship Week, and as we count down to Selection Sunday, Illustrated Sports will keep you updated on the latest movements around support during the week. Stay tuned as more teams hit their tickets, bargain thieves wreak havoc on the bubble, and bubble teams make their final plea to the selection committee.
Friday games to watch:
Ohio State vs. Purdue, Big Ten quarterfinals: This is a game with important implications for planting. Ohio State can virtually secure a No. 2 seed with a win in this one, but it would be in real danger of falling a line to No. 3 with a loss. Meanwhile, Purdue could defend a third place with a convincing victory at Indianapolis.
Georgetown vs. Seton Hall, Big East semi-final: Simply put, this is a must win for Seton Hall. I don’t see how he will get in without beating the Hoyas on Friday night, and even a win might not be enough. However, it would undoubtedly move the Pirates closer to that last spot on the field, while also giving them a shot at the conference’s automatic bid on Saturday night.
Colorado State vs. Utah State, Mountain West Semifinal: This is an absolutely critical game between two bubble teams. The state of Colorado could afford a loss; It would reduce it a little, but not too much. However, it would certainly make things more difficult for the Rams. The state of Utah absolutely needs this game. A win may not lock down the Aggies, but it would certainly be a huge boost for them.
Ole Miss vs. LSU, SEC quarterfinal: Ole Miss is calmly in the bubble, and one more win in Quadrant 1 today against LSU would bring her very close to the cutoff line. The rebels must be fans of Georgetown and Colorado State today.
In the bubble
Last four byes:
State of colorado
Last four in:
First four out:
Next four out:
de San Juan
Utah State takes the field following its convincing victory over UNLV and Boise State’s loss to Nevada in Mountain West quarterfinal action. The Broncos have lost four in a row and their overall hopes look bleak. Meanwhile, the Aggies live to fight one more day and win a date with the bubble club Colorado State.
Saint Louis fans were the biggest Virginia fans in the world Thursday afternoon, and the roar of the Billiken nation must have been deafening as the Cavs sneaked past Syracuse. The Oranges are still under consideration, but I think they will come up short when all is said and done. That leaves Saint Louis on the field for now. On Friday, I’d love to see Wichita State get upset early in the AAC tournament, Georgetown to beat Seton Hall, and LSU to beat Ole Miss. The same goes for teams like Drake and Syracuse that have been eliminated and can only wait. —Root so that the bubble loses.
At this point, the teams in my “Next Four Out” are no longer seriously considered for an offer. Nine teams are fighting for the remaining five spots on the field; The state of Colorado and the entire “last four in” group are on the right side of things right now, while the entire “first four out” remain in the mix.
* Indicates that the team has secured the automatic bid for your conference.
No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 16 Mount St. Mary’s * / Coppin State
No. 8 Florida vs. No. 9 UConn
No. 5 Creighton vs. No. 12 Drake / Utah State
No. 4 Villanova vs. No. 13 Toledo
No. 6 Oklahoma vs. No. 11 State of Colorado
No. 3 Arkansas vs. No. 14 UNC Greensboro *
No. 7 Loyola Chicago * vs. No. 10 San Buenaventura
No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 15 Drexel *
Gonzaga fell behind against an energetic BYU club in the WCC championship Tuesday night, but a late surge led by Jalen Suggs allowed the Bulldogs to complete an undefeated regular season. With that, Gonzaga is now locked in for the No. 1 overall seed in the field this year. No matter what happens between now and Selection Sunday, the Zags will be the first school to hear his name.
Ohio State’s downfall continued through the weekend with a loss to Illinois, the Buckeyes’ fourth in a row. They remain on the No. 2 line for now, but another Big Ten tournament win might be necessary to secure that spot. OSU’s seven Quad 1 wins are tied for third nationally, and combined with a NET No. 9 ranking, the team is well positioned.
No. 1 Baylor vs. No. 16 Oral Roberts *
No. 8 North Carolina vs. No. 9 LSU
No. 5 USC vs. No. 12 UC Santa Barbara
No. 4 Texas vs. No. 13 Western Kentucky
No. 6 Missouri vs. No. 11 VCU
No. 3 Oklahoma State vs. No. 14 Abilene Christian
No. 7 Clemson vs. No. 10 UCLA
No. 2 Iowa vs. No. 15 Cleveland State
Oklahoma State’s meteoric rise continues as the Cowboys won again against West Virginia in the Big 12 quarterfinals to continue adding impressive victories to their resume. As with Missouri, NET and KenPom don’t believe much in OSU, but their work is hard to ignore. My hunch is that those metrics will limit Oklahoma State to third place no matter how it finishes in the Big 12 tournament.
One team that I’m curious about what the committee will do is Missouri. The Tigers are one of nine teams in college basketball with seven wins in Quad 1, but their No. 43 NET is closer to that of a bubble team than it is to a top five. A good performance in Nashville this week would bolster the Tigers’ case for moving up the seeded list.
No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 16 Appalachian State *
No. 8 Oregon vs. No. 9 Rutgers
No. 5 Tennessee vs. No. 12 Winthrop *
No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 13 Colgate
No. 6 Colorado vs. No. 11 Michigan State
No. 3 Kansas vs. No. 14 Morehead State *
No. 7 Wisconsin vs. No. 10 Georgia Tech
No. 2 Houston vs. No. 15 Grand Canyon *
Michigan remains our No. 3 overall seed for now despite Sunday’s loss to Michigan State. However, the margin between the Wolverines and Illinois is narrowing and could disappear depending on the results in the Big Ten tournament. A head-to-head showdown in the championship game would be the easiest way to settle the debate, but it’s far from a blockage for both teams to go that far.
One story line that’s also worth watching, particularly as more and more No. 1 seeds are eliminated from mainstream conference tournaments, is how intermediates rise up the seeded roster. Using the example of Morehead State, when the Eagles punched their ticket Saturday night they were probably looking for a No. 15 seed. The losses around them have already moved them to No. 14, and it is possible that enough surprises will occur to make it happen. Getting Morehead State up to No. 13. That move can be the difference between having a chance to pull off a surprise and not.
No. 1 Illinois vs. No. 16 Hartford / Prairie View A&M
No. 8 BYU vs. No. 9 Virginia Tech
No. 5 Virginia vs. No. 12 Wichita State / Saint Louis
No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 13 Liberty *
No. 6 Texas Tech vs. No. 11 Louisville
No. 3 West Virginia vs. No. 14 Southern Utah
No. 7 San Diego State vs. No. 10 Maryland
No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 15 Iona
West Virginia had been charging hard for a No. 2 seed, but its hopes of slipping away from Ohio State or another fringe team took a major hit when the Mountaineers lost to Oklahoma State this weekend and then again Thursday when they lost a rematch. with the Cowboys in the 12 great quarters.
Full screening of Sweeney’s March Madness, starting March 12:
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.