Ahead of a big weekend slate of games across the Top 25 as well as the NCAA Tournament bubble, we get the latest projections from Joe Lunardi of ESPN.
The Big Ten’s Minnesota and A-10’s St. Bonaventure both dropped a slot, but are still in the First Four. Due to the bracketing procedures, both teams listed are listed as No. 12 seeds but actually rank ahead of Stanford, who is the last team in on the bubble as of now. Maryland would play Stanford, with the winner of that game being a No. 11 in the main draw.
Houston’s 68-63 loss last night to Wichita State had two big effects: It dropped the Cougars from a No. 2 to a No. 3 seed, and also added a backdoor bid steal. Wichita State is now in the automatic qualifiers pool as the best team in the American Conference with a 13-seed. WSU is 9-2 in the league, which is ahead of Houston at 11-3, but Houston is comfortably in the tournament while the Shockers still need an automatic bid to get there due to non-conference play.
UConn’s win over Providence got them to the last team out position. They’ll take on projected No. 2 seed Villanova on Saturday in Philly, which would be their best chance for an upset to get a for-sure spot in the NCAA Tournament.
One of the more interesting cases on the bubble is that of VCU, who has won six in a row to earn themselves a No. 10 seed. They’re also listed as the automatic qualifier in the A-10 Conference, with George Mason, Saint Louis, Davidson, and Dayton remaining on their schedule. They could also fall early in the A-10 tournament and could lose out on both ways to qualify. But with St. Bonaventure and Saint Louis also in the conference, the A-10 is almost guaranteed to be a multi-bid league.
On the top lines, no one is close to Gonzaga (an 87-65 winner over Saint Mary’s last night) or Baylor, but Illinois might be able to sneak by either Michigan or Ohio State for a No. 1 seed still. The Wolverines and Buckeyes face-off this Sunday at 1 p.m. in Columbus, with the winner for sure keeping their top-line status, and the loser possibly vulnerable to the Illini passing them.
Here are the latest projections from Joe Lunardi of the 16 teams on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament:
Last Four Byes
- North Carolina
Last Four In
- St. Bonaventure
First Four Out
- Colorado St.
- Saint Louis
- Utah State
Next Four Out
- St. John’s
- Ole Miss