We’re just over a month away from the start of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis and while a lot will change between now and Selection Sunday, it’s never too early to start projecting the where certain programs will end up.
While several teams are already virtual locks for the field of 68 (barring a late-season collapse of course), some find themselves on the bubble needing strong finishes to punch their tickets to Indy. Turning to a few bracket experts, we take a look at who’s currently sitting on the edge in early February.
ESPN Bracketology: Joe Lunardi
CBS Bracketology: Jerry Palm
11-7, 7-5 Pac-12, NET 57
Both Lunardi and Palm have the Cardinal as one of the last four teams to make the field with a signature 73-72 overtime win over Pac-12 leader UCLA a few weeks back boosting their resume.
Beating rival Cal by 15 on Thursday, they’ll have a chance to do it again when hosting the Golden Bears on Sunday.
10-8, 4-7 Big Ten, NET 38
Maryland has struggled early through Big Ten games but have rattled off three wins over ranked opponents in Illinois, Minnesota and Purdue in recent weeks.
Both experts have them playing in one of the ‘first four’ games to kick off the tournament.
11-6, 6-4 SEC, NET 41
The Tigers have wilted the last two weeks by dropping four of their last five contests, including a pair of blowout losses at the hands of conference leading Alabama.
While still considered in, they’ll need to put in work to maintain their spot, starting with a road trip to Mississippi State next Wednesday.
St. John’s Red Storm
12-7, 6-6 Big East, NET 67
As far as NET ranking goes, the Red Storm sit right on the edge at 67 but they’ve been red hot as of late. They’ve rattled off five straight victories including a 70-59 upset of No. 3 Villanova on Wednesday.
They’ll have a chance to further get themselves off the bubble with a rematch with ‘Nova and a date with Xavier on the horizon.
10-5, 4-4 ACC, NET 46
As of now, the traditional power from upstate New York are projected on the outside looking in but they have found success as of late, winning three of their last four games in ACC play.
Three of their next four games are on the road, including a trip down to Clemson on Saturday.
Seton Hall Pirates
10-8, 7-5 Big East, NET 48
After dropping four of their previous five contests, Seton Hall was able to somewhat stop the bleeding with a big 60-43 win at Providence on Wednesday. The Pirates have been the victim of heartbreak as of late with three of those aforementioned losses coming by a combined 14 points.
They’ll have a huge opportunity when traveling to UConn on Saturday.
Wichita State Shockers
10-4, 6-2 AAC, NET 76
The Shockers have been cruising through a wonky American Athletic Conference this winter but it hasn’t been enough to push them into the field of 68 in the eyes of bracketologists.
Dates with SMU and Memphis are on tap for WSU in the near future before a big collision with No. 5 Houston on Feb. 25.
11-6, 6-4 ACC, NET 55
The powerhouse from Chapel Hill was starting to find their footing in ACC play before a 63-50 road loss at Clemson on Tuesday ended their three-game win streak.
Lunardi has the Tar Heels as an 11-seed while Palmer has the blue blood on the outside looking in, so we’ll see where they stand after games against Duke, Miami and Virginia in the next week.